While in attendance at the Final Fantasy 14 Shadowbringers preview event in London, I was given an overview of the content coming to the MMO. In addition, Director and Producer Naoki Yoshida gave some detailed information regarding content coming to the game.
One of the most significant changes and additions to the game with Shadowbringers is the Trust System.
The Trust System allows players to “challenge dungeons with a party of trusted non-player characters, including various Scions of the Seventh Dawn.” Essentially, players can now attempt dungeons without needing to team up with friends or random players.
Shadowbringers Trust System
In Shadowbringers, the Trust System has been designed so that players who prefer to play solo can still experience the multiplayer content. It’s also been designed so that while playing with NPCs feels more like a single-player game rather than an MMO.
When players use the Trust System they can fill whatever Role they choose and NPCs will fill the others as required. When entering a dungeon while using the Trust System, players are presented with a selection of NPCs and Jobs in order to tailor their party however they like.
The NPCs that players choose will also react differently to situarions occuring in dungeons. Some will be brave and others will be scared. As you play, flavour text from the NPCs will appear on screen which helps to give it the feeling of a single player game but also one that’s made so that the player doesn’t feel lonely.
Even though players have a party of NPCs with them in Dungeons while using the Trust System the NPCs will act independantly. Players won’t be able to give any orders or commands to the NPCs, much in the same way that you can’t force your human party members to perform certain actions.
While designing the Trust System, Yoshida said that Square Enix carefully designed special AI which brings out the characteristics of the NPCs. He also said that playing with human players is still far more effective and each Dungeon has been balanced for humans.
Effectively, Square Enix wants players to team up with each other, however, Yoshida understands that many players enjoy playing by themselves. When using the Trust System, Dungeons should take around 30-minutes to complete.
At the preview event, the Shadowbringers Dungeon Dohn Mheg was available to play. This is the Dungeon that was shown in Tokyo that elicited gasps from the crowd. Looking like something out of Alice in Wonderland, Dohn Mheg is colourful, bright and more than a little weird.
As you make your way through the Dungeon, you pursue a frog named Dohnfast Fuath as he taunts you and your attempts to reach the conclusion. The first major encounter sees you facing off against Teag Gye, a large frog in a top hat and a ruffled collar. He looks a bit like Mr Toad of Toad Hall.
A Wind in the Willows
The second boss is named Griaule and seems to draw inspiration from Alice’s potions. As you fight, nodes appear around the edge of the encounter which fire beams towards Griaule. After a few moments, these beams cause Griaule to grow larger. When it gets to a certain size, your attacks don’t deal much damage and it kills you really easily.
What you need to do is stand in the way of the beams and make sure that you’re made bigger in line with the boss. That way it can’t one-hit you and you still deal damage.
The final encounter sees you fighting Aent Thon, Lord of the Lenghtsome Gait. I won’t ruin it for you but rest assured it’s a lot of fun. It’s also pretty silly and even manages to include a platforming section.
I played the Dungeon both with human players and with a few different Trust System parties and I have to say, I had a great time either way. As someone who generally prefers to play alone, the Trust System seems to have been designed specifically for me.
Obviously, it can’t replace the same synergies and strategies used when playing with people, but it certainly works well enough.
During the interview with Yoshida, he mentioned that all Trust NPCs will be useful, even if some fan favourite characters would be fun to include. Yoshida also said that he wants to hear from players about the Trust System, how it works and other characters players would like to see included.
Because it is the first time we’re implementing this, we would love to hear the players’ feedback actually.
If you do enjoy it, please let us know or if it is feedback like “We don’t care if we have to carry our NPCs, please include Tataru.”
I like Tataru so it’s a really unique idea that you brought her up.
The Trust System will be included with Shadowbringers and is just another example of Square Enix and Yoshida making Final Fantasy 14 an MMO that can be played by players of all styles and preferences in whatever way they choose.
Leo Stevenson travelled to London, UK as a guest of Square Enix. Flights, Meals and Accommodation were provided by Square Enix.