Something that isn’t obvious for new players is that a good 40% of the base game (“A Realm Reborn”) story content is a literal remake of the same story beats from the original shut down version of the game. How do you make a brand new MMO in just 2 years? You copy and paste the salvageable parts of the old one, warts and all!
As for Alphinaud, he’s such a little shit at this point in the story that his twin sister, who calls out the Grand Companies for nationalist baiting, fucks off and does more important shit for the rest of the expansion (see the Binding Coil storyline). There’s interesting stuff that peeks through the edges of the beast tribe stories, even as the early writers fumble the delivery. For example, the Kobolds had a non-aggression treaty with Limsa that Limsan miners broke the terms of by prospecting on their lands. They’re acting in self-defense, not antagonism. This gets expanded on Later™.
Here’s an in-universe excerpt from the Lore Book that aptly illustrates the current writing team’s more nuanced perspective on “beast” tribes:
Beastmen—a most common term in the modern Eorzean lexicon, yet one that proves nigh impossible to define. Why have we as Eorzeans chosen to brand a select few of Hydaelyn’s children with an epithet that serves only to demean? What is gained by drawing this line betwixt hypothetical “us’” and a “them?” Does not this line merely serve to separate us further? To foster confusion and hate by veiling our eyes to the truth—the truth that these men we call beasts are no more beast than we?
The Folly of Bias
What exactly is it then that separates man from beastman? It cannot, for one, be the capacity for language, for those that make up these so-called “beast tribes” have also been undeniably classified as spoken—the slyphs and goblins having gone as far as adopting our own Eorzean as their preferred means of parlance. It cannot be culture, for as we have explored in these very publications, the beliefs and customs of these peoples are as rich as they are diverse, and as complex as any of those seen amongst the “five races” (a similarly questionable term in is own right suggesting that Hyur, Lalafell, Elezen, Miqo’te, and Roegadyn are somehow above the Garleans, the Au Ra, the Bangaa, the Seeq, or the myriad spoken races that call Hydaelyn home). Many of the realm’s most notable inventions prove the answer does not lie in a lack of skill or intelligence—the sprawling kobold forges and refineries of Vylbrand, the Ixali dirigibles, predating the realm’s earliest airships, the goblins’ colossal walking fortress, all of these arguably equal to or rivaling creation attributed to that small slice of civilization known as “mankind.” Just as the answer does not lie in fairness of feature, for if it did, then who could say that the leonine Miqo’te are not beasts, or that the horns of an Au Ra make them more dragon than man? Or that a Roegadyn is but a gigas of diminutive stature? No. There exist no distinctly plausible linguistic, anthropological, or biological variance that might warrant a separate classification. Yet, one exists, and the poison of its twisted logic, conceived for the political and economic benefit of a select few, has permeated modern society, breeding animosity where there ought be none.
In the year 1559th year of the Sixth Astral Era, the sultanate of Ul’dah, under heavy influence by the Syndicate, officially coined the term “beast tribe,” using it to describe those “foreign” entities whose interests directly oppose or interfere with those of the city-state. Amalj’aa were declared enemies of the people for opposing expansionist policies that saw the tribe’s traditional homeland divided up by mining concerns. Citing the protection of “local interests,” evictions were issued for Qiqirn, goblin, and sylph traders, and all dealing with the victims of circumstance strictly prohibited. The Syndicate had swiftly and effectively sown a national distrust in entire races so as to create a diversion that they may profit in the confusion—a distrust that remains to this day, and has become accepted amongst even our most educated. Yet, as stated above, if there is naught that separates our peoples beyond a term born of convenience and fostered in self-serving sanctimony, then does that not make us beast for insisting that these, our brothers, are in some way beneath us? Are we Eorzeans so insecure that we must continue this practice which historians will almost certainly look back upon with both disgust and disbelief?
There are none in Eorzea so foolish as to suggest the wise Padjal leaders of Gridania might be of inferior stock. Yet if we are to compartmentalize the realm’s denizens based on whether they are to be counted amongst the five races, then where does that leave the Seedseers? Their fawn-like horns, their ceased aging, their ability to commune with the elementals, are all traits more commonly associated with those peoples dishonored with the “beastmen” designation.
And what of the dragons? If intelligence is to be measured by the volume of knowledge amassed over one’s lifetime, then how might we conceive the intelligence of one who has lived a hundred lifetimes? A thousand? And how might we even begin to claim any manner of moral or intellectual superiority over such a being? If anything, the prevailing theory that Midgardsormer’s First Brood are not of Hydaelyn and came to this world from some distant star suggests that the dragons are neither man nor beastman, but instead something wholly unclassifiable by modern standards.
Signed, a concerned editor.