With the release of Stormblood this week for Final Fantasy XIV, the MMORPG for the PS4 and PC is drawing a lot of renewed attention. Although the game has a healthy population of regular players, for many, the game remains a bit of mystery, as even thouhg it’s a properly numbered entry in the hugely popular series, it’s MMO nature resulted in some players used to the single player experience going right from XIII to last year’s XV. If you’re interested in taking your first steps into the world, or are an existing player who has taken a break and is now intrigued, we’ve put together this article to make sense of the expansion.
FFXIV Stormblood Explained
For the uninitiated, Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (the “A Realm Reborn” subtitle was added after a mulligan relaunch in 2013) is an MMORPG that lets you take on many of the beloved activities of Final Fantasy lore with players around the region of Eorzea in the large world of Hydaelyn: ride chocobos, airships, go on epic quests, fight iconic series monsters and save the land again and again. Added to this classic formula are free companies, housing, gathering and crafting, public battles, a flexible class (job) system that lets you change roles on the fly by switching your weapon/tool and PvP, all for a monthly sub of 12.99 – 14.99 USD/month, depending on your length and character/server needs (PS+ is not required for playing on the PS4. The first expansion titled Heavensward, dropped in 2015 and expanded on all this by increasing the level cap from 50-60, and added flying mounts, a new race and 3 new jobs.
So what does the second major expansion Stormblood bring to the table? In this expansion, players are sent to the Gyr Abania region in eastern Aldenard and Othard, and are charged with liberating the city-states of Ala Mhigo and Doma from the Garlean Empire.
With the story backdrop set up, let’s get a nice bulleted list of the comprehensive package:
- New adventures in Ala Mhigo and Doma
- Play as two new jobs ─ red mage and samurai
- New exploration with swimming and diving
- Level cap increase from 60 to 70
- Changes to the battle system
- New cities: Kugane and Rhalgr’s Reach, each which take up a single map
- New locations: Gyr Abania, the Ruby Sea, Yanxia, and the Azim Steppe
- New primals and beastmen: Lakshmi and the Ananta, Susano and the Kojin
- New instanced dungeons
- A new 8-player raid: Interdimensional Rift─Omega
- A new 24 player alliance raid: Return to Ivalice
- The Forbidden Land of Eureka with exploratory missions
- New gear and crafting recipes
- A new residential district: Shirogane, with a far east design aesthetic
- Expanded item inventory
- PvP updates: In addition to a more streamlined set-up, all job actions will now be PvP-exclusive and players can earn XP in PvP
That’s certainly a long list! The new jobs the Red Mage and Samurai both adds some lore flavor as well as unique gameplay mechanics. The Red Mage is a hybrid between range and melee, and makes use of rapiers and magic for ranged combat. They can chain large amounts of damage with dualcast and combo attacks.
Samurais are close range melee specialists that focus on high damage dealing. Their special katanas can store energy that can be unleashed as special attacks once the guage is full. Dishing out these special attacks build up a gauge for even more powerful attacks that can unlocked at higher levels.
The battle system is getting a revamp to make it smoother. All actions have been reviewed and improvements have been made to all jobs. In battle, role actions are now replacing additional actions to improve the game’s balance. Cross class skills will now be determined by role rather than class. PvP has received a huge tweak as players can now gain XP by engaging in it, drawing more players into the competitive fold.
Swimming is now a mechanic for players. Players will be able to swim and dive in the waters of Eorzea. Everyone can swim above surface but learning to dive involves unlocking a quest in the Ruby Sea zone, which accessed after completing the opening Ala Mhigo quests. You will have to resolve a rift between some turtle people and in exchange will gain the ability to dive.
The new raids and instanced dungeons give dedicated questers and group enthusiasts some new challenges to tackle. The Return to Ivalice specifically is a series of raids for 24 players that is set up similar to the Crystal Tower raids in the game, and will give players an opportunity to nab some high level equipment.
If you are a new player you can buy the Complete Edition of FFXIV for 59.99 (99.99 Collector’s edition for pre-order bonuses) which includes the base game and both expansions. Existing players can buy Stormblood on its own for 39.99 (note that it also includes Heavensward so no need to buy that if you’re still on vanilla) or the Collector’s Edition for 60-200 depending on if you opt for the physical copy with statue. You can sort through all of your buying options here. As mentioned before the game requires a monthly sub of 12.99 – 14.99 USD/month, but a free trial is available.
So there’s your tidy little primer of what’s inside and what to expect when jumping into this vast world. Are you playing FFXIV Stormblood? Do you have some new player tips and help to share? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget you can submit your own written guides to the blog if you’d like to go more in depth on these changes!
More Game Articles