It has just been announced, along with a trailer, that the next Final Fantasy XIV expansion is called Stormblood and is stated to be released early summer 2017. The developers have confirmed that they’ve been working on the expansion for some time and that are quite a way through their development process, which will come as a welcome relief to many players after the Heavensward expansion was delayed with some features being worked on right into launch.
The expansion will focus on liberating Ala Migho from the Garlean Empire after 20 years of occupation. The current ruler of the Ala Mhigo is the XIIth Legion Legatus Zeons Yae Galvus and will most likely be the main antagonist of the expansion. From the brief glimpse provided during the keynote, the new areas have a distinctly Eastern feel with sprawling waterfalls and giant statues carved in stone. With this, the expansion feels to be focused around the Monk job, similarly to how Heavensward focused around the Dragoon job.
One hamlet that has been revealed is called Rhalgr’s Reach. It is likely that Rhalgr’s Reach will serve the same function as Ishgard does in Heavensward as the main hub for questing and commerce, although not much other information has been provided about the location.
New jobs have been confirmed as coming with the new expansion. Some eagle eyed viewers saw producer Naoki Yoshida’s Scarlet Witch t-shirt worn during the Keynote presentation. In past events, Yoshida’s t-shirts have given clues as to the new jobs such as a Batman shirt alluding to the Dark Knight job. Could this mean possibly mean the Red Mage job?
The player level cap will be increased to level 70 with new job actions with a revamped battle system to boot, including a skill system overhaul. The development team are reassessing often unused or ineffective actions, which will be a welcome change to some. Underused skills may in fact be removed, which will help avoid skill bloat with the addition of new skills obtained on the way to the new level cap. In addition to the skill changes, enhancements to the UI will be made, such as making overhauls to buff timers like Blood of the Dragon, which requires changes in player behaviour to make the full use of.
In addition to the aforementioned details, the usual suspects crop up as with every patch and/or expansion. New gear, crafting recipes, primals, dungeons and raids will be introduced, as well as a new Exploratory Mission type. This new mission will take you to The Forbidden Land, Eureka. It was noted that this new Exploratory Mission will behave differently to the current Diadem, but little else is known about it.
New ‘sprawling’ areas will be introduced, the number of which is equal to or more than those introduced in Heavensward. The new areas will allow players to fly, but they will need to find the Aether Currents first, much like in Heavensward . As well as the new areas, a 4th residential area has been confirmed, however it remains to be seen where the exact location of this area will be.
Another improvement is that the current inventory space will be expanded. Lots of players are already struggling to store all of their equipment, since a single character has the ability to play as every class and job, without having some gear overflow from their Armory Chest into their normal inventory. However, this may come after the launch of Stormblood as they want to test their server stability before implementing a change which may cause further issues. That being said, the dev team is going to be reinvesting money to improve their server quality, and hopefully preventing the needed inventory expansion from causing problems. More information will be provided about the inventory change during the Live Letter on Saturday.
Finally, with the addition of Stormblood, there is going to be changes to the minimum requirements for Windows users. Hardware like core 2 processor units will no longer be supported. Also, while the dev team will do their best to continue to support 32-bit systems, it is recommended that players try to upgrade to a 64-bit operating system by the launch of the expansion.
For PlayStation users, the PS3 will no longer be supported. If you do play on the PS3, you will need to upgrade to a PS4 continue playing. It’s not all doom and gloom though, as the Final Fantasy XIV team are partnering with Sony to provide a special upgrade campaign for those still playing on PS3. This campaign will mean PS3 players will be able to get the PS4 version of the game without having to pay a penny, in order to encourage them to switch to the PS4.
With all that said and done, I hope you are as excited with Stormblood as I am. If you are, you’ll be interested to know that there will be big news to be announced during the Tokyo Fanfest 24-25 December which will be a most welcome Christmas present for all. And as Yoshida likes to say, “Please look forward to it.”