Back to the beginnings of Final Fantasy XIV, primates were kind of a big deal. Not the largest deal with the lore of the game or the setting, no; It was pretty clear from the start that we were facing a larger threat from the Askers, and while the Empire was opposed to summoning Primals, that didn’t mean we were actually on the same side (especially since the Askers were very clearly manipulating the Empire as well as helping people to summon things). But Primals in general were important, and in fact we had to fight them in our earliest quests.
But now they’re just… not. Two of them end up as dungeon bosses endwalker and we actually get a bunch of them called in to help us during the final sequence. We’ll face them in a few trials, but they’ll clearly become less of a threat over time. So what are the Primals all about, what role do they play in the story and will we see more of them as we go along? (Besides, you know… spoilers follow from here on out if you’re still progressing through the earlier main storyline.)
To answer this question, you must first answer another question: Why were prehistoric humans? ever a big threat? The answer depends on Hydaelyn, Zodiark, and the way summoning magic works.
Hydaelyn’s hope and goal has always been to enable her “children” – the divided people of Source – to track down and stop the latter-day Source at the edge of the universe. However, reaching the edge of the universe would require a huge amount of ether just because of the way the universe works and how dynamis works as opposed to ether. As a result, she accumulated and concentrated magical energy for a long time, trying her best to prevent it from dissolving and being directed elsewhere.
However, Primals harnessed the same energy and ripped them from the land, damaging the Aether and ultimately serving as a threat to Hydaelyn. That issue aside, Primals are extremely powerful beings with plans based solely on their summoners’ minds; When a Primal is summoned by a group of summoners who want it to wreak havoc on their surrounding enemies, that Primal will just wreak havoc indiscriminately. Finally, and also dangerously, the Ascian’s version of the summoning involved the Primals’ ability to influence their followers, meaning that those present for a summoning were turned into slaves of the Primal, feeding them more Aether and turning them made more powerful. etc.
It should be noted that this process, commonly referred to but sometimes in more specific terms as “tempering,” varied depending on the Ur in question. Some of them would cast a spell over anyone brought to them; others were more discriminatory or showed no interest at all. This is especially true for primals who are summoned into the bodies of individuals; If Shiva, Thordan, or Tsukuyomi had the ability to bind devotees, none of them ever showed any interest in it, regardless of utility.
Because of the threat of enslavement (which for a long time seemed irreversible), fighting Primals was generally considered a death sentence; It’s hard to fight something that’s not only tremendously powerful, but can simply choose to enslave you at will. Only those with the Echo (meaning a fragment of an Ascian soul from the Etheric Sea) are able to inherently resist this process, making fighting Primals an even bigger deal.
So these things have been a big deal for a long time. Why aren’t they so important now?
Well, for one, the threat of tempering is no longer a thing. While the talismans in which Vrtra’s alchemists were developed endwalker are not infinite (they are made from its scales, for one, and these take time to regrow), they are available in sufficient numbers to actually deal with Primal threats are means defending even those who do not have the echo. That in and of itself changes many of the equations.
Second, the main reason askers spread summoning rituals was to help create the necessary conditions for subsequent cataclysms and to initiate reunion again. That’s not possible anymore. Even if the Asker searched To bring about another reunion between the various shards that is far from assured, the zodiark has been on the source destroyed. He no longer exists. The declared goal is now impossible. The Unsundered aren’t even there anymore to push for his resurrection.
Third, and just as important, the conditions that led to rampant summoning also don’t matter that much anymore. In many ways, the Garlean Empire was created as an engine to instill a need in people around the world to summon them. Tribes they declared “beast tribes,” desperate refugees fleeing their rule, and even the occasional unwitting victim, all summoned in a desperate attempt to ward off their threat. Damn, that was literally their plan in the ARR storyline – to set off a series of summons that inspire Gaius to use the Ultima weapon, which subsequently opens up the possibility of using the Heart of Sabik to force another reunion .
In fact, the largest number of subpoenas independently to the empire came in skywardboth Ysayle and the Archbishop being coerced into it as part of what happened during the Dragonsong War that the Askers were Also helps spur forward because of course they were.
The conditions that made Primals a regular and unadulterated threat have generally receded into the background and have slowly faded in importance. That’s not to say there aren’t any more Primals out there, or that they’ve somehow become super easy to deal with; Rather, they no longer have a unique threat that only allows a few people to fight them, and there’s less pressure for more of them to show up.
Also, from a metatextual perspective, we’ve gone through most of the obvious candidates for primal status. Most of the classics final fantasy Summons have popped up in one capacity or another, even some of the more obscure ones have arrived, and we even got at least a bunch of flashbacks to the “big six” summons. (Shiva, Ifrit, Garuda, Ramuh, Leviathan, and Titan.) At this point, while there are still some obscure pieces to find, it’s more productive to just do new things and find other threats to face off on the big trial bosses .
Like the Fiends maybe.
As always, feedback is welcome in the comments below or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week I want to take a look at what we can expect from patch 6.15 ahead of its arrival, as well as the slightly problematic PvP balancing that will also change when this patch arrives. Seriously, who would have thought black magicians would be needed the much help? All right, we know the answer to that question, but…work with me here.
https://massivelyop.com/2022/05/30/wisdom-of-nym-reconsidering-final-fantasy-xivs-primals/ Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV Primals Revisited