Final Fantasy XIV New Game+ : A Realm Reborn
Table of Contents
The previous expansion of Final Fantasy XIV added a feature that is pretty rare for a MMORPG but fairly well-known among RPG players : the New Game + mode. The idea is simple : when the feature is enabled, the player can replay the main campaign story, or the Job quest lines, or some side quest lines like the raids stories or independent stories, while retaining their level and current progression. Basically, your character won’t be synced to the quest level unless its a solo duty. The story dungeons can also be made in unrestricted mode. To unlock a New Game + chapter, the player must have played it normally. The player can start whatever chapter they want and are not obligated to replay the story in the order. For example, the ARR campaign is six chapters long : you can choose which chapter you want.
A few weeks ago, as I’ve almost finished leveling my character Jobs and waiting for the next Patch that will add daily beast quests in Endwalkers, I’ve wanted to try this feature. Another reason which I wanted to do it is because I’ve started FFXIV in 2013, almost ten years ago, and played the game time to time during a trimester and stopping it until the next expansion. So let’s be clear : I don’t remember everything as the story is pretty dense and the characters pass and go. As Endwalker is the closure of the narrative arc started with A Realm Reborn, some cut scenes featured characters that made me think : “err… who’s that ?”.
A reminder is truly welcome, so I’ve started the New Game + for the A Realm Reborn main story, which is the start of the adventure (unless you’ve played the 1.0 game, which is today officially impossible, maybe private servers exists, I don’t know). The New Game + will only reactivate the selected story line main quest. The side leveling quests (like “can you kill 3 wolfs”) won’t be available. Another reason that made me start the New Game + mode is because since the path 6.11, they updated some old contents like one of the first dungeon and ARR’s last one, and some duties became solo duties. So it was a good opportunity to discover these changes !
After activating the first chapter of ARR, the story begins when your character met for the first time the barkeeper of their beginning city (this part looks like to still depend of your character first class choice during the creation, I was still in Limsa while playing as a Gunbreaker, a Job that didn’t exists at this time). You start the usual beginners quests of the main story and quickly met one of the first Scion. The story unfolding was a little more longer in my memories, but at this time I was leveling my first class (which took time) and it looks like they removed some low value FedEx quests.
One thing that interested me while replaying these chapters is to discover how the narrative patterns are related to the gameplay. Indeed, for each new discovered zone, the pattern was already the same : The story NPC sends your character to the new place and tells you to speak with Whateveritsname. Whateveritsname will tell you he/she doesn’t know you and doesn’t know if you can be trusted, so they send you to do some chores to earn their trust. A fun fact is during the story, one NPC character accompanying you will complain against this scheme regarding the emergency of their situation.
The four first chapters of the ARR campaign are the first story back on the time when the game came out. Your character make its debuts in the Scions of the Seventh Dawn organization and earn a good reputation among the City-States leaders. The first part of the story is mainly the Primals hunting, when the Scions are tracking the Beasts Tribes movement and repeals the Primals summoning. On a parallel story axis, we follow the Garlemald Empire conquest campaign of Eorzea led by Gaius Van Baelsar. The story is nicely written and the various protagonists and antagonists are well developed. There are some nice plot twists until the final confrontation where the Warrior of Light must fight against the Ultima Weapon made by the Empire. During this campaign, we also met the Ishgardians in the Coerthas region while inquiring for their help to recover the required materials for repealing the Primal Garuda. Ishgard is the theater of the Heavensward expansion, so the country and its main characters were nicely introduced.
After the end of the first ARR story, two new chapters were added as a continuity development for the Heavensward expansion. In these new chapters, we met the Dorman people who are refugees of the Empire attack on their country. After this chapter, I’ve noticed another narrative mechanics of FFXIV : one story line of two is according to a further expansion and setup the basis for the further characters introduction.
Like I’ve said, while unfolding the first ARR chapters we met the Ishgardians who are the next expansion setting before concluding ARR’s first story. During ARR’s second story, we follow the introduction of the Dorman people who will play a more important role in the third expansion : Stormblood. And during Heavensward’s new chapters, a bunch of Shadownbringers characters were introduced. Endwalker made a little exception to this rule as most of the characters and settings were introduced during the previous stories. However, it still integrates some parts and characters introduced in Stormblood.
The two next chapters of ARR follow two main story lines : The inquiry of the Scions for learning how to beat the Ascians, one of the main antagonist of the story who pulls many wires of the plot, and the construction of a new Eorzean Alliance lead by one of the main character of the story in order to create a unified military corp to repeal the Primals or the Empire threat among the City-States of Eorzea. For these two mainlines, the story patterns changed as the player character is now a famous Hero of Eorzea. So instead of making you discovering more lands and earn the trust of some minor characters by slaying 4 rats, your character gets involved into more political schemes, alliance and treason. During the sixth chapter, the setting of Heavensward is starting to put its pieces in place and your character starts to be involved in the Dragonsong War depicted in the new expansion. The story final is nicely written, but executed like a standard shônen anime with the same narrative patterns like a nice intensity and some good cliffhangers (and the traditional “I’ll keep them, go away” self-sacrifice, and the melodrama taking hours while the situation is in a hurry).
After a nicely executed ending, the Heavensward campaign starts. Until now, the narrative patterns are quite similar to the two last chapters of ARR. Despite discovering a new area, your character still have a reputation and is progressively involved into Ishgard’s business. But I’ve just started this chapter, so it’ll be for a next article.