Bok Choy, a prominent FFXIV raider, recently wrote up a breakdown of tanks in Shadowbringers that’s a great comparison of each tank and the similarities and differences in their ability sets. I got Gunbreaker to 70 last night, and a tank is probably my next thing to level to 80, so I’ve got tanking on the mind.
What time I had to play this weekend, I spent mostly helping others and figuring out what to level up next. I did want to get capped on Phantasmagoria tomestones, and that happened, in part because of an impromptu maps party with free company friends and a couple more friends from another server, to try and see the new Dungeons of Lyhe Ghiah. Figures that I’d forget to get a couple screenshots, but you’re a fan of the Lost Canals/Hidden Canals/Shifting Altars of Uznair, you know how this one goes too. But it’s still fun to do with friends, potentially lucrative, and the first time we saw how we went from one room to the next, we were all delighted and typed in our various ‘OOOOH’s into party chat.
I’ve only leveled red mage and black mage to 80, and right now I’m splitting my time between a few jobs before picking one to focus on. I’d like to get Dancer up to 70, both because it’s fun so far, and also to keep the Aiming leveling gear floating around to a minimum, as I’ve got Bard and Machinist at 70 already. I do feel like I should glamour the level 60 Shire tomestone gear for it, as of course it wasn’t designed with the feel of Dancer in mind. But it just feels off, visually… unless there’s a Gene Kelly-equivalent on Hydaelyn I haven’t run into yet.
Teeeeny spoilers here if you play FFXIV but haven’t finished the Shadowbringers 5.0 story yet. In the comments, too.
When we first come across Dulia-Chai and Chai-Nuzz, there’s this moment that I instantly hated. The cutscene shows your character making a face of shock at seeing Dulia-Chai, who’s doing nothing but sitting there having tea. She’s also, quite possibly, FFXIV’s first fat character. A resident of Eulmore, she has nothing to do but eat, drink, and be merry. That look of shock took me out of the moment—that’s not how any character of mine would react, and having it decided for me left me felt robbed of my agency. Despite how I think my alter-ego would react, there he is gaping. And that lead-up filled me with a knowing dread. Here it is, I thought, here come the fat jokes.
But thank goodness, for once I was wrong. From then on out, she’s portrayed very kindly. Any humor in her scenes plays out either from her rich and matronly, Oh Alphinaud you’re adorable, let’s go shopping and get you a new outfit personality, or at how her flustered but very-much-in-love husband tries to look after her even though she’s the clear decision-maker.
You see this when Chai-Nuzz sees Alphinaud’s first sketch of them, a realistic portrayal of the couple. His issue is with its realism, having wanted a more fantastical depiction of them; presumably flying around on giant flowers or traipsing across rainbows on a pegasus-drawn chariot. From this, I inferred that he thought—erroneously—he was somehow protecting his wife from her own appearance, thinking she might take offense. However, the portrait turns out to be exactly what Dulia didn’t know she wanted. After she sees it, she tells Alphinaud that she loved the portrait and was touched by it, feeling seen in a way she hadn’t been in some time.
It’s also worth mentioning that this revelation occurs at a point where you and Alphinaud are fleeing the city, and when she confirms that yes, it’s you that the city guards are looking for, and that yes, you’re okay but have to go, she quickly states that she and her husband will cover for the both of you. This conviction plays out throughout the story. At a point where the townspeople are confused about what to do next, she’s the first to speak up and admit that she’s as lost as everyone else, but is ready to help in any way she can. She and Chai-Nuzz also own up to mistakes they’d made earlier on, and attempt to make amends as soon as they’re able. She contributes in other ways as well, but to discuss these would be to wade deeper into spoilery waters.
It was so utterly gratifying to see a fat character portrayed this way: Not for laughs, but as a loving, caring individual who, while maybe slightly out-of-touch with the world, knows who she is, likes who she is, and is willing to do the right thing. Her husband adores her even if he doesn’t always know how she thinks. And despite that agency-robbing initial expression from my character, all the other characters treat her with respect as well. The Chais radiate love, and I’m pretty sure they’re my favorite characters in Shadowbringers so far.