Final Fantasy 14 is currently in amazingly good shape. After such a rocky, ROCKY launch, to have the game in the state it’s currently in is an incredible achievement. Director and Producer Naoki Yoshida deserves all of the kudos and praise being heaped upon him as he continues to take the game from strength to strength. With more than 16 million players, fantastic success with Shadowbringers and great additions and changes thanks to patch 5.1, the icing on this wonderful cake is the NieR Automata YoRHa: Dark Alliance crossover Raid.
Patch 5.1 is the game’s first major update since Shadowbringers was released and while the Raid is certainly a big part of it, the patch introduces much, much more. Adding more main scenario quests to the already impressive Shadowbringers story, New Game +, a new trial and dungeon, new tribe quests and tonnes more.
Even though Final Fantasy 14 is well and truly killing it in 2019, Yoshida and his team aren’t going to rest on their laurels. They’re looking for ways to improve the game, keep players engaged, challenged and excited.
The NieR Automata Raid is one such way they’re doing it.
Final Fantasy 14 NieR Crossover
There’s a lot going on when it comes to the Final Fantasy 14 NieR crossover, both inside and outside the game.
From a development perspective, the raid featured guest creators Yosuke Saito and YOKO TARO and is the first part of YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse. Inside the game, a series of quests lead up to the raid and sees the Warrior of Darkness discover the android 2P.
Newfound ruins amidst the Duergar Mountains have drawn the attention of curious dwarves and the Warrior of Darkness alike.
The discovery of a pale-garbed woman calling herself 2P, however, will force these intrepid explorers to confront the reality─and dangers─of technology beyond their wildest imaginings.
The raid, The Copied Factory, is a 24-player affair, featuring four bosses and six objectives. While I won’t delve into the ins-and-outs of the raid itself, it has been widely well-received.
With the raid and patch 5.1 released, I took the time to speak with some members of the Final Fantasy XIV Australia and New Zealand Fan Group about the raid and the game overall. Something interesting I discovered when talking to these fans is that despite having played the game for varying lengths of time, they are still excited, interested and proud to be associated with it.
Many fans described how much more they’ve been playing Final Fantasy 14 this year, particularly in the lead up to and after the release of Shadowbringers.
Now that the raid is here, most of these Aussie and Kiwi fans have completed it multiple times. Fascinatingly, many of the players I spoke to either aren’t fans of NieR or haven’t really heard of it. In spite of this, they’ve told me that the raid’s story is interesting and, although it expects a level of NieR knowledge, they’re interested in seeing where it goes.
I enjoyed having this “otherworldly” experience in my “other world” or FFXIV. I feel like the mystery of the new raid fits in well with the world of the First.
I’m really excited to see how it continues to tie into the world and possibly lore of the First.
One player told me they think the two games are a good fit for a crossover, especially in Shadowbringers.
They deal with a lot of the same themes. Of course, FFXIV doesn’t get as dark and nihilist as Nier does–as is Yoko Taro’s signature style of telling a story.
But especially in Shadowbringers, FFXIV deals with a dying world, and how humanity copes with that fate, which is something similarly seen in NieR. They both deal with humanity, and their actions when faced with that fate.
Another surprising thing about the way the players talk about the crossover is that they’re happy for others, even if NieR isn’t their cup of team. For example, I asked if they thought the two games were a good fit and some people didn’t think they were at all. They told me that they thought the crossover wasn’t a particularly good one but added;
There are a lot of people who are really enjoying it, so it’s good in that it’s bring joy and bringing the communities together
It’s pretty rare to find gamers who will admit they don’t like or agree with something in a game but still praise it based on other people’s enjoyment. It’s something I’ve experienced with the game myself. The community is friendly, welcoming and helpful, which is a far cry from the usual interactions you find while gaming online.
A huge part of this comes from the camaraderie the players have. When I asked them why Final Fantasy 14 was so special to them the answers were almost universally the same; they’d met friends playing the game and become part of a community. Three of the people I interviewed met their partners by playing FF14 and two of them had moved to Australia from overseas.
That’s the power of Final Fantasy 14 that just isn’t found in many other games.
Another part of Final Fantasy 14 and the NieR crossover that clearly keeps players coming back for more is the gameplay.
In fact, it’s one of the things that most of the players talked about in our interviews. They point to new mechanics, the initial challenge and difficulty of the raid and the freshness of the encounters as reasons to play again and again.
Just based on the new mechanics that we have seen thus far it feels challenging at first and provides something fresh to the table
The mechanics of the raid have been praised as being interesting and “fun” by most players I spoke to, with many of them hoping for some more complex, NieR inspired gameplay in the future.
Leaving the raid aside, Final Fantasy 14 has never been in such good shape when it comes to gameplay. The Dancer and Gunbreaker jobs have been added in addition to new quests for all Jobs, charged actions and the removal of TP etc.
Final Fantasy 14 has been streamlined and refined so that existing players are getting a faster, better experience and new players are finding it easier to jump in and start playing.
For a lot of players the Final Fantasy 14 NieR crossover represents potential and lots of it. Some players are really excited by the ramifications the raid and future raids could have for both FF14 and NieR.
It raises some interesting questions as to how 2P and Co have ended up on the First and what exactly is going on with the machine lifeforms. Whilst also bringing back the separate questlines we saw Square Enix dabble with in the Eureka Hydatos Questline in Stormblood.
For NieR, it opens quite the can of worms in regards to certain endings in Automata, whilst also Delving into Drakengard Elements, Such as Accord from D3 and The White Chlorination syndrome that bridges Drakengard and NieR together.
Others are more interested in how the gameplay can be advanced and change as more raids are released. Many fans are looking forward to more complex mechanics and would love to see more elements from NieR included. One player told me they were “looking forward to more complex fights similar to Nier’s style of boss fights and encounters.”
As for this raid? Whether they’re fans of NieR or not, the players are enjoying The Copied Factory quite a lot. They point to the sombre opening moments, the music, interesting boss fights and reveal of the enemies are standout moments.
It also gives them hope for additional crossovers in the future, for more great content and to be able to keep playing this game they love so much with the people who have become their second family.
Final Fantasy 14 Shadowbringers is available.
Special thanks to the Final Fantasy XIV Australia and New Zealand Fan Group.