Shadowbringers, the latest expansion of FFXIV, has officially launched, and those that are up to date on all of the latest patch content or are willing to pay for a skip can play through the incredible main story quest. We highly, highly, hiiiiiighly, suggest if you’re anyone that has played, or ever might play, Final Fantasy XIV to play through the Shadowbringers expansion on your own. If that doesn’t apply to you, or you just want a refresher, here’s a story summary of FFXIV Shadowbringers.
Super Spoiler Warning: Obviously, this FFXIV Shadowbringers story summary is, you know, going to go through the entirety of the Shadowbringers main story quest. As a result, it’s going to spoil all of the major points in the plot including the ending.
Another note: This guide will assume that you have played the story up to the point of Shadowbringers and are familiar with the game’s core characters and elements, such as Ascians, Primals, and what happened in Heavensward and Stormblood etc.
We’re pretty sure we know what you’re doing when you arrived here, but just in case you somehow landed here by accident and/or don’t realize what you’re getting yourself into when you read this article, allow me to confirm that yes, this article will contain lots and lots of spoilers for the main story quest that you should absolutely experience on your own first in-game.
We’re going to go over the main points in this FFXIV Shadowbringer story summary, but obviously, playing it for yourself will give you way more details. Without further ado…
*Final Warning Turn Back Now if You Don’t Want to be Spoiled on the Story of FFXIV Shadowbringers.*
FFXIV Shadowbringers Story Summary
Chapter 1: Between Two Worlds
The story picks up at a ravine under The Crystal Tower on the Source, a location that players are very familiar with at this point as it’s your own homeworld. The Ironworks team are looking for something, anything, that might help return the rest of the Scions back to their body.
The hero (you) finds a mysterious object, and touching it is apparently the catalyst that the mysterious voice needed to finally bring you to The First, a world that appears similar on the surface but is very different.
You arrive in Novrandt, the major – -and final, as we’ll soon learn– region in this world.
After wandering around The Lakeland area where the hero was brought to, he/she arrives at The Crystarium and meets with the man behind the mysterious voice heard in your protagonists’ head leading up to the events of Shadowbringers.
Known only as The Crystal Exarch, this hooded figure has been trying to bring you to The First for a long time now, but hadn’t yet perfected the magic needed to preform such a feat until he was successful in bringing you over. He tried and failed to transport you each time one of the Scions were brought over instead.
So while the hero is able to freely go back and forth, the imperfect method of the magic used on the Scions means that for now, they are stuck on The First and cannot return The Source, AKA the usual setting of FFXIV.
Not only that, but the flow of time works differently on The First. While right now time more or less moves at the same speed between the two worlds, that hasn’t always been the case.
So while it’s only been days and weeks since the Scions have slumbered on The Source, to all of the Scions on The First, they have been stuck on there for months and even years. They all met with the Crystal Exarch and have all gone their separate ways at one point or another to find solutions to a major problem plaguing The First, which for now (as of FFXIV Shadowbringers) is their new home.
The First is plagued by an over-abundance of light. The Power of Light became so overwhelming on this world that a Flood of Light swept over the planet and nearly destroyed everyone and everything.
The only thing that prevented that from happening was another person, the Oracle of Light, that was sent from The Source to save The First and buy its people more time. That person is none other than Minfilia, who gave up her life to save The First back during the post FFXIV: Heavensward saga.
Even now, though, Everlasting Light blocks the night sky from ever appearing in this region, and emerging from the light are enemies known as Sin Eaters. They’re a nasty bunch, who exist only to wipe out the remaining life on the planet by consuming the aether of its people, and in some cases, converting them into monstrous Sin Eaters as well.
Warden of Light
In each area of Novrandt, a Warden of Light leads all of the Sin Eaters, and as long as these Wardens of Light exist, the light will never fade. Attempts to defeat the Wardens of Light have been unsuccessful because even upon their defeat, they will simply transfer their power to someone/something else and turn them into a new Warden.
The Crystal Exarch believes that you, the hero of The Source, is the key to saving The First. Because not only is the hero a badass capable of performing miraculous feats, the Exarch believes that he/she is the only one capable of dispersing/absorbing the light that comes from a defeated Warden of Light and restoring the balance between Light and Dark on The First.
The first step, however, is getting all of the Scions back on board with a new plan now that the hero of The Source has finally arrived. The Crystal Exarch cannot stray from the Crystal Tower too long, as he is linked to the tower after literally bringing it from The Source to The First. So the player character will need to go and find the Scions once again.
They start with Alisaie and Alphinaud, who are in the regions of Amh Araeng and Kholusia respectively. Alisaie is helping the people of the region survive Sin Eater attacks as a guard/defender of sorts. The people in this region are especially hard hit and there exists a community of “afflicted,” which are those that have been injured by Sin Eaters and doomed to eventually become one themselves.
In Kholusia, Alphinaud is trying to learn more about Eulmore, a regional power that opposes The Crystarium. It’s a highly stratified city where the rich are living out the last days before this world is eventually consumed by light in luxury while the poor serve them.
Unlike The Crystarium which continues the fight against the Sin Eaters, Eulmore not only has given up but are led by a mysterious “person” called Lord Vaughtry who has found a way to bend Sin Eaters to his will, promising those that follow him a peaceful ride to the end of times.
Through visiting both of them, the hero gets a sense of what he/she is up against and upon his return, is greeted by a sin eater attack on a small village near The Crystarium that is being led by the Warden of Light of the Lakeland area.
Not only are the heroes compelled to help, but it’s also a perfect opportunity to test the Crystal Exarch’s theory about the hero of The Source being able to resist the influence of light after defeating a Warden of Light.
The hero is triumphant in battle against this first Warden of Light and absorbs the light and restores the night sky to The Crystarium to the amazement of the locals that have never seen the night sky before.
After the battle, you go to your apartment in The Crystarium and rest up, but soon notice that the specter of the former “Warrior of Darkness” (at least that’s what they were on The Source) Ardbert, is with you in your room.
No one else can see him, and he doesn’t understand why he has been cursed to wander the world as a spirit while everyone else in his group was free to move on. In The First, he and his party are hated as they are blamed for bringing on the flood through their actions as Warriors of Light.
He doesn’t know his purpose yet, but is going to follow you and hopefully figure out what it is.