Shadowbringers, the newest expansion for the critically-acclaimed MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) has been out for a few months now, and with the close release of the 5.1 update, which is said to add new changes to the classes, add extra story content to advance the plot, as well as more 4-player, 8-player, and even 24-player dungeons, this an opportune moment to review the expansion that almost overtook World of Warcraft at its peak. However, to get to the Shadowbringers expansion, players need to have completed the other two expansions, as well as the original story (A Realm Reborn, Heavensward, and Stormblood in that order.) to access it.
Personally, it took about 3 months… yeah. It took the entirety of the summer just to catch up to one game, so it goes without saying that this game is massive. There are hundreds of activities to participate in, such as hunts, crafting, mining, fishing, and cooking—all with their own level progression and unique system. On top of this, for combat, there are currently 19 different classes (or jobs, as they are called in the game) that each have their own play style, look, mechanics, and personal job-related story.
These 19 classes are then separated into roles: 4 “Tanks”: Dark Knight, Paladin, Warrior, and the new Shadowbringers Gunbreaker, which is the job I currently main. Their job is to keep the enemy focused on them and use their defensive abilities to survive deadly attacks no one else could. 4 close-range “DPS” (Damage Per Second): Monk, Ninja, Dragoon, and Samurai. Their job is to dodge attacks, and remain close to the enemy to deal damage. 4 ranged “DPS”: Bard, Machinist, Dancer, and Red-Mage is a hybrid of a caster and ranged DPS. Their job is the same, as close-range, but they have the advantage of being able to be far from the target. However, they do weaker damage and are primarily known for their support skills. 3 “Casters”: Black Mage (my favorite before ShadowBringers.), Summoner, and Red Mage. Their job is similar to both types of DPS, but they have the advantage of being able to stand at any range and attack. However, they have cast timers, which means they must find a good spot to barrage the enemy without moving. And lastly, the “Healers”: White Mage, Astrologian, and Scholar. They simply have to heal and keep the group alive. There are many more nuances to it, but that is the main idea of the combat. There is also a housing system, and as weird as it may sound, marriage options as well. That is only a tiny bit, but it would be far too long to delve into the details. So without further delay, let’s talk about the story of ShadowBringers.
Without spoilers, the story is fairly simple. Your character (The “Warrior of Light”) is transported to a new world, Norvrandt, to save it from the flooding of light, a disease that is plaguing the world, that creates abominations and monstrosities. The story is expertly done, with superb voice acting and a fantastic plot, which keeps you hooked until the very end. The presentation is amazing, and the music helps the player feel immersed in the atmosphere. The sort of fetch-quest style is done now, and quests have purpose and meaning. The villain of this expansion is one of the most believable and sympathetic I had seen in years, and the conclusion had me watery-eyed. The gameplay, as explained before, has been improved greatly with quality-of-life changes to all of the jobs. This expansion also includes the greatest dungeons and bosses in the game’s history, and the spectacle is something to behold.
Other than that, there are not many negatives to say about the expansion. The developers really outdid themselves, and have kept the hype going, by releasing content through updates, like bosses, and more story elements. So, in short, go play this game if you have any interest in the MMO genre, or just RPGs in general. It’s guaranteed to be an amazing experience.
Also, to add some more understanding to the combat system, watch the video below of my character doing one of the various boss encounters as a Gunbreaker.
DeMere Strickland is the senior editor-in-chief of The Rambler. He is a member of the Class of 2020. His interests include video games, comics, and art. He lives with his sister and his mother.