MMORPGs are notorious for content overload, this is doubly true for any game that has a long tail of development. A Realm Reborn, considered the “base” game of Final Fantasy XIV, saw the beginning of the story of the Warrior of Light. And with all of that, the years have not been kind to the new player in one very specific way. The amount of story in this game is insane, there’s just no other way to put it.
The biggest problem here is that these bulky batches of content become increasingly hard to catch up with for a lot of players. New players eager to follow the story have a lot of fights and cutscenes to slog through, it can be kind of tedious. And it’s not even something that returning players are immune from either. And now that 7.X and the Dawntrail expansion has been teased, things are about to get a bit tougher. The debut of a new expansion has brought with it a ton of questions from the fans. When the Xbox version of FF14 drops, some questions will need to be answered.
The team has worked pretty hard to keep players engaged, by giving them methods and tools to avoid the grind too much. After all, they want people to play the game, not watch endless cutscenes.
“What we’ve already implemented since Patch 6.1 is a system where you can go back and read about the different characters and the lore throughout the stories,” Yoshi-P responded when asked about lore and how returning players could cope with it. “We are trying to consider methods if adventurers wanted to skip forward to the latest content and to be able to jump into it.” Makes sense, as there are a lot of things going on in this MMO.
FFXIV already has the option to skip to the beginning of the current expansion in the form of “Tales of Adventure.” These are purchased from Final Fantasy XIV’s Online Store, and a premium story skip meant to allow you to blow through the MSQ. It’s not a great idea if you’re actually brand new, as the MSQ and early content teaches you a lot about how to play the game well.
With Dawntrail, things are a bit more complicated, as 7.X will likely cause a lot more confusion. This seems a bit different though. The different versions of Tales of Adventure also don’t raise the player’s level, so the leveling grind is still there. There’s also a ton of cost associated, as the overall price of Tales of Adventure can be more than several months of sub to the MMO.
And the team is very aware of the mentality that a lot of players have when it comes to story. Yoshi-P added, “Honestly speaking, I understand with the analogy of a TV series, this is like a ‘season six’ that we are just now releasing, and people might be tempted to say, ‘Oh, well, just start from six!’ I honestly feel like, well, it’s season six and we’ve made it so that season one is very easy to get through and to binge. So I think it would be easier to recommend for them to just start at the beginning and take it from there.”
That doesn’t really answer the question of whether Dawntrail will have a story skip like previous expansions, but the team is definitely considering it.