The Final Fantasy XIV dev team has certainly found their groove. Shadowbringers, the most recent expansion which we adored, put together the strongest aspects of the previous two (Heavensward & Stormblood) creating a nearly perfect experience.
That said, veteran FFXIV players know that the initial expansion drop is just the tip of the content iceberg. Over the next two years or whenever the next expansion comes out, battle and story content will pad out the Shadowbringers expansion manyfold.
Spoiler Warning: We’re not going to break down the events of the main story quest of Shadowbringers, but considering the Eden Raid’s plot does follow it, it’s best you just finish the main story before reading this article or at least skim over the parts where we lightly discuss the Eden’s Gate plot. Also, we’ll be mentioning the bosses by name if that’s going to bother you, turn away.
The first of said content updates came this week by way of the first part of the Eden Raid, Eden’s Gate, which is at least aesthetically inspired by the ultimate summon from Final Fantasy VIII and features classic music such as Balamb Garden from FFVIII.
While we’ll maybe see those connections evolve further as the other two parts roll out (slowly) over time, the meat and potatoes this time around are the new fights and the strong connection to the ending of the main story quest of Shadowbringers.
Eden’s Gate, like the eight-person raid story content previous, has a connection to the overall main storyline. It’s even stronger this time around though with the involvement of three major NPC characters: Thancred, Urianger, and Ryne.
On top of that, the post-credit sequence of Shadowbringers doesn’t hint at that much as far as the future of Norvandt goes, and really the only thread tugged at is the discovery of Eden. As a result, the story of Eden’s Gate kind of feels like main story content that would normally be added via patch updates even though it technically isn’t.
Without spoiling the events in detail, I will say that it feels surprisingly consequential compared to other raids. Bahamut, Alexander, Omega, all kind of happened in the background with a large portion of the main cast, and world as a whole, none the wiser.
The Eden raid appears to be trending in a direction that feels way more world-changing and significant. If it goes the way that I think it’s going to go, I don’t know how the events of it will be contained as optional content. It seems like it’s going to be so important to the evolution The First and of Novrandt.
While the story is intriguing for that reason, it’s still has a way to go before we can judge whether or not it will meet the high bar for Chronicles of a New Era content set by the Ivalice raid during Stormblood.
The battles were for me, the star of the Eden’s Gate raid. The developers have found the perfect difficulty for the normal versions of these fights. Nestled somewhere in between story and extreme trials, it’s something you could figure out the mechanics for blind, but you’re going to probably die a lot and potentially cause your team to wipe. Basically, you can, but shouldn’t wing it.
The series of battles start off hot with Eden Prime and doesn’t let up. Eden Prime has chaotic moments where you’re dodging attacks like mad and has the flashiest attacks of the group.
The Voidwalker has a deep connection to the story which we won’t spoil, but her battle uses a unique Spell-in-Waiting mechanic which isn’t overly difficult but still very fun to manage.
Titan, the final boss of Eden’s Gate, is by far the most difficult and is a proper send off to this first part of the series. Unlike the other bosses where you can absorb a few mistakes, Titan will punish mistakes and/or ignorance of the mechanics with instant death over and over. It is Titan after all, master of Landslides, of course falling off the sides is going to be a thing again.
Leviathan, the third fight, is the only one of the four-pack that’s a bit underwhelming. It’s a fine enough fight but outside of the floor dropping out during the battle, there’s not a whole lot that stands out about it; it’s quite generic.
Still, Eden’s Gate is a solid four-pack of challenging fights that will push skills of the casual and mid-core fans of FFXIV. Those that can handle Savage will find it to be a cakewalk. Fortunately, Savage will be out in just a few weeks on July 30.