There’s always some uncertainty when the fourth major patch following a new Final Fantasy XIV expansion rolls out. The third major patch resolves most of the expansion’s plot threads, and the fourth patch starts setting things up for the next expansion. This is where we get a taste of where the story will be taking us for the next two years, and though there are hints and speculation before this point, we don’t really start to see what Square Enix is cooking up until the penultimate major patch. I’ve been particularly apprehensive about this patch because Shadowbringers has been so exceptional, but I’m not sure I want the story to go where it’s likely headed. Unfortunately, patch 5.4 all but confirms that the story is indeed heading where I really hoped it wouldn’t. Of course, there will be some surprises between now and the launch of the next expansion, but for now, I’m just a little bit worried.
The main issue with 5.4’s story is its antagonists. There’s a forgettable secondary antagonist introduced and dealt with rather anticlimactically, but the Scions’ first meeting with Fandaniel — the unhinged Ascian with the oh-so-punchable stolen face — and his confirmation that yes, Zenos is just as crazy and bloodthirsty as ever, is what really concerns me. Part of what made Shadowbringers so great was its nuanced main antagonist, Emet-Selch. He didn’t just want to cause pain and suffering throughout the Source