At this point, I think so many people are expecting an expansion announcement that it would be more surprising if we didn't get one. Everything is leading up to an expansion, everyone knows that an expansion has been in the works, everyone is waiting to hear more about it, and the team basically kneecapped its own E3/TGS presentations specifically to avoid dropping expansion news at the time. It's going to happen during one of the fanfests.
So why am I betting on Las Vegas? Well, for one thing, the community is at a fever pitch waiting for it. Second, it allows the team to announce the expansion with only a few details... and then reveal more stuff in Tokyo in a month, when 2.4 is no longer the immediately anticipated new shiny. Thus, the staff keeps attention turned on for all three fanfests. It also keeps people focused on this over Warlords of Draenor; while that has all the makings of being a terrible expansion, it still pulls eyes.
I've been saying for a while that I expect further expansion into Coerthas, but the other running theory is that we'll be heading to the Far East. Either one would be neat. Although taking to the air would make sense when dealing with dragons...
Hard details on new gear
First and foremost, I'm pretty sure that we're going to hear about some pretty serious scaling-back of requirements to upgrade relic weapons in 2.4. Part of this is just because a new job is coming out, so there may be a solid portion of the population unwilling to do the Atma dance again. Part of it is that it's been something that the playerbase has been angry about basically since it was released. And last but not least, we're all expecting better gear to drop with this update, so doing all that legwork for an inferior weapon just isn't a big deal any more, you know?
The obvious expectation is that the new tomestone gear will be pegged at 120 with another upgrade system to bring it to 130. I'm hoping that the team abandons the whole idea of the upgrade items, but I'm not expecting it. Players are also expecting the new tomestone gear to be another set of artifact gear, job-specific rather than role-specific. However, we may also see all of the new gear at the hard cap of 120, with plans for the final portion of Crystal Tower to hit 110 with its drops. We'll know for sure by the end of the fanfest.
Ninja and Shiva, but not together
There will almost certainly be hands-on stations set up for players to try out the hard mode battle against Shiva, and I expect there will be other stations to try out Ninja. But I tend to doubt they'll be the same stations. Learning to play a totally new class while fighting an Primal is hardly an ideal state of affairs.
One of the most irritating lingering questions about Ninja is what sort of gear it will be using. While all evidence points to using the same gear as Monk, especially with the Fuma set from Labyrinth of the Ancients, it's not yet a certainty. I'm not sure if this will ever be explicitly stated during the fanfest, but I suspect the question will be answered, if only in passing.
No 2.5 talk
Heck, I think we'll even see minimal chatter about 2.45. All of the questions that players are going to be asking are going to be about the soon-arriving patch and about the expansion, so talk about what I expect to be the last major patch is going to be very understated if present at all. At most, we might hear confirmation that it'll include the last part of Crystal Tower and the long-promised Gold Saucer; I don't expect much beyond that.
Meanwhile, once the Tokyo convention rolls around, expect to hear about 2.45, 2.5, and the expansion, which partly ties into my last prediction...
Patch 2.4 on October 21st
Yes, right after Las Vegas and right before London, just before All Saints' Wake fires up. We've already started seeing most of the pre-patch previews we get when the launch is just around the corner, we know most of what's in the patch, and it's been just long enough that people are starting to get antsy. I'm almost surprised it's not this week, but holding it until after the first fanfest makes a certain amount of sense.
By releasing the patch right after the first fanfest, it allows the PR team to do previews at one event, answer questions about the patch and hint at what's next at the one-day-only London gathering, and then talk 2.45 and expansion details in Tokyo without anything seeming too far in the future or in the past. It gives players a little time to focus on 2.4 before the Halloween celebration kicks off. And it'll hit just about three months after the last major patch. All perfect timing.
So how's my aim? I don't know; we'll see next week. As always, feedback is welcome in the comments below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We've been playing with venues a bit, so Episode 25 comes direct from my own home in the Shroud with chatter about a smattering of news. Episode 26, on the other hand, comes to you with special guests along with a hijacking and some sombreros. It was the six-month mark; we wanted to celebrate.
What was that other thing I was doing? Oh, right, Final Fantasy IV, which has featured a dungeon wherein the party needed a bard to save them. Then they got punked by an arm. It's even dumber in context.
From Eorzea to Vana'diel, there is a constant: the moogles. And for analysis and opinions about the online portions of the Final Fantasy series, there is also a constant: The Mog Log. Longtime series fan Eliot Lefebvre serves up a new installment of the log every other Monday, covering almost anything related to Square-Enix's vibrant online worlds.