July 16 is the normal raid (Eden), and July 30 is the savage difficulty
So for the most part, the way players gear up in Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers is not changing. There are some tweaks, mind, but generally you’re going to be racing to the new level cap of 80, then acquiring better gear through tomestones (end-game currency), and the key items from the expected two EX trials (single-boss fights). Now, thanks to the last producer live letter from Square Enix, we have an idea of when we’ll be able to play the most challenging endgame content.
As revealed in the aforementioned letter, July 16 is when patch 5.01 hits. “Eden,” the first new raid, will arrive at that point, alongside of a handful of new boss encounters. Through Eden you’ll earn more tomes to buy better gear, as well as raid currency (on a lockout timer) that you can turn in for other pieces of gear.
On July 30 (Patch 5.05), the real test begins. The savage raid hits, the race for world first begins, and the endgame gear cycle begins anew. Also on that date a new treasure hunt dungeon (Lyhe Giahl) will arrive, as well as the new (better) tomestone currency of Phantasmagoria. This is on top of the quality of life changes coming in 5.0, and Square Enix has also revealed that crafting and gathering classes are getting reworked to provide more information for both archetypes.
If you want a better look at some of the new beautiful dungeons (which you’ll be playing a lot of as you grind for tomes) that will launch with Shadowbringers, check out the video below. As a recap, nine new dungeons are coming in the expansion, as well as the Eden raid, and the upcoming 24-person alliance raid YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse, which was created in tandem with NieR boss Yoko Taro. New Game Plus, which will allow players to replay the story campaign, is still coming at some point after the launch of the expansion, and Gunbreaker (tank) and Dancer (ranged DPS) will be available right away.
Although I’m not jazzed about a lack of a big shakeup of the formula, the content seems sound, and I haven’t gotten bored of Final Fantasy XIV‘s fundamentals yet. Producer Naoki “Yoshi P” Yoshida also seems confident based on a discussion we had a few months back. To be frank, I’m expecting individual facets of the expansion like Gunbreaker alone to take up tons of my time.
Now all we have to do is wait until July 2 (early access is June 28) to see if he and his team deliver.