Final Fantasy XIV is thriving due in no small part to its recently launched and critically acclaimed expansion Shadowbringers, and there’s even more in store for the MMORPG as it’s getting its first major update since the expansion. It’s right around the corner, going live on October 29, and Square Enix has given details in the lead-up to patch 5.1. This update is a big deal considering the roster of new features and the start of a high-profile collaboration. Patch 5.1, called “Vows of Virtue, Deeds of Cruelty” (a direct Nier reference), will premiere the first part of the Nier Automata crossover raid. You can get a taste of it in the trailer above.
The update includes a new dungeon, a handful of story quests to push the narrative forward, and the first iteration of the New Game+ feature. Patch 5.1 isn’t solely for those who have finished Shadowbringers and caught up on everything; there will be an easier way to find groups and communities, some mechanical tweaks to classes/jobs, and more side content.
Below, we outline many of the additions coming. We’ll be updating this story as we parse more of the new details that came out of the latest Letter From The Producer Live stream.
What We Know About The Nier Automata Raid – YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse
It’s been talked about for quite some time, but we will finally get part one of the Nier Automata crossover raid in FFXIV. This will be a 24-player Alliance Raid, and while we don’t know exactly how it’s going to play, we’re certain it’ll pit you against multiple tough bosses with some surprising mechanics. That’s what you usually expect from Alliance Raids, but in talking with Yoshida-san and from what he’s previously said, these raids will lean heavily toward themes and gameplay mechanics from Nier Automata. You can catch glimpses of the action that takes place in the first part of the raid series.
At Tokyo Game Show 2019, Nier series creator Yoko Taro and producer Yosuke Saito took the stage with FFXIV director Naoki Yoshida to talk about this collaboration project. Thanks to Fire Sanctuary, we have detailed translation of that stage show in which Yoshida-san and Yoko-san recalled funny moments developing the raid, as well as what they did to write the raid’s story elements. And if you’re a fan of the Nier Automata soundtrack, you’ll be pleased to know that the game’s composer Keiichi Okabe also composed the score for this raid series–you can hear the powerful remix of the song “Weight of the World” in the trailer, which samples Final Fantasy’s iconic theme.
Part One: The Copied Factory
In FFXIV, Alliance Raids are traditionally doled out in three parts in approximately six-month increments through patches x.1, x.3, and x.5. This being patch 5.1, we’re getting the first part called The Copied Factory. For those who have played Nier Automata, you may recall the Copied City in which machines tried to rebuild humanity’s city-like structures, and the Abandoned Factory which pivotal moments took place. So, the Copied Factory, being an all new location, is likely to have a place in the Nier lore as well.
Judging from the screenshots and trailer, the Copied Factory has Nier Automata’s rusty, overgrown aesthetic with familiar robot enemies that litter the game’s world. It looks like we’ll have another daunting encounter with the massive rusty bot Engels, and have pods flying you across different parts of the map. We’re excitedly hoping for narrative implications and character cameos from one of Platinum’s best games, and to see what 2P’s place is in it all.
Meet The Newest Nier and FFXIV Character: 2P
We’re introduced to the newest character in Nier lore who is your companion during the raid. Her name? 2P. Sure, she may look like an inverse color swap of Automata’s android protagonist 2B, but she’s the key to navigating The Copied Factory and fights alongside the group. 2P uses similar weapons and abilities as 2B and even hops into a YoRHa Flight Unit at some point.
The official website for YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse describes 2P as, “An android in white, awakened within the excavation tunnels near Komra. Her knowledge of the ruins and their machine lifeforms could be an invaluable asset…”
How New Game+ Works
Another feature that’s been talked about for a while, New Game+, will get its first iteration. You’ll be able to replay story quests from Heavensward, Stormblood, and Shadowbringers. You’ll maintain your character’s story and job progress, rather it’s the system for which you can experience the story again. It can work as another way to level up other classes/jobs, but you will not receive the quest’s item rewards.
Both Heavensward and Stormblood quests will be divided into four parts–we’re not entirely clear which exact quest or story beat each part starts. However, we know that Heavensward, for example, will have Part 1 and 2 covering the main expansion story while Part 3 and 4 cover the post-release quests. Shadowbringers on the other hand seems to be divided into two parts. You won’t be able to freely jump between quests as each chapter must be played from the beginning, and you’ll have one auto-save slot for your New Game+ journey.
It’s an ambitious system for the MMORPG, though it is not yet incorporating anything from the base game, A Realm Reborn, though it will come in a future update. Considering that the team is currently tweaking A Realm Reborn to condense its questline and make it a better experience for new players, we may have to wait for the revamp before New Game+ incorporates the original story.
New Main Scenario Quests And Dungeon: The Grand Cosmos
Patches x.1 to x.5 also include new quests in the main story. Not only do they give you additional activities, but they push the narrative forward in the lead-up to the next expansion. And in 5.1, that means we’re getting a new dungeon, the Grand Cosmos. It’ll be a normal four-player instanced duty and it looks to be a beautiful, fancy mansion with flower gardens and decadent interiors. It was a luxurious palace built by elves that was abandoned as it was overtaken by the Flood.
The Grand Cosmos will be compatible with the Trust system, where you can take on the main story’s instanced dungeons with NPCs and let the core characters take on the supporting roles necessary to complete the run.
What Are Fellowships? A New Way To Build Community
Fellowships are a new feature that lets players group up and band together outside of free companies. It seems to be an easier way to maintain friend groups, organize events, or make announcements without having to commit to any one free company. You can set fellowships to indicate up to three specific interests such as housing, events, and/or casual, for example, and it’ll have message board-like features and voting. Players can be a member of up to 10 fellowships with each one being able to hold 1,000 players–fellowships will be restricted to the data center they’re created on.