Final Fantasy XIV remains, to this day, the MMO most likely to tempt me back. I played, and was consumed by, Final Fantasy XI before moving to World of Warcraft. Then it was Guild Wars with its focus on tight, technical team fighting that sucked me in for a few thousand more hours. Since Guild Wars? Well we've all dabbled; resubscribed to WoW and FFXI only to find the magic not quite there, bought Guild Wars 2 to find everything so unique about the first was done away with to appeal more broadly.
Then it was Final Fantasy XIV. No, not the rubbish 1.0 version which, yes, I played - I'm talking about from 2.0 onward. Beautiful, fun and with just enough grind to keep people going (before horrific end game time sinks) I spent a bunch of time with friends playing through the game's stories and dungeons before trailing off back into Rocket League and DOTA 2.
Then Heavensward game - new areas, new classes - you know, the general MMO expansion lark. It wasn't enough to tempt me quite back, though I still watch the patch note videos to see what I'm missing. However the past couple of days a new expansion has been announced: Stormblood.
Yes it's CGI and yes it doesn't show much - but also a load of information has been dropped alongside it, handily compiled by folks from reddit - I've bolded a couple that I find most exciting:
- Stormblood will explore Ala Mihgo
- Main focus is to regain control of Ala Mihgo from the Garlean Empire
- 20 years have passed since Garleans have had control
- Main atagonist to be Zenos Yae Galvus, XIIth Legion Legatus and de facto ruler of Ala Mihgo
- Woman depicted in trailer to potentially be revealed in future 3.X patch
- Warrior of Light's main job in 4.0 is Monk (akin to DRG for 3.0)
- Area shown in teaser trailer is Rhalgr's Reach, the HQ of Ala Migho's main resistance.
- Multiple new jobs to be discussed at future date
- Yoshi-P wore a t-shirt of Marvel's Scarlet Witch, said that was the only hint he'd give at this time [Red Mage]
- New Level Cap: 70 (for all classes)
- More actions for each job to go with new cap
- Revamped battle system to go with new actions
- Additional Skill System to be overhauled, with skills shared by roles instead of jobs, and can choose from shared role ability options
- Reassessment of unused/ineffective actions
- Example used is Dragoon's Blood of the Dragon buff, where in 4.0 an icon/gauge showing how much time is left will be better visible on screen so players aren't just staring at the current icon
- New Areas to be introduced, comparable in size to Heavensward areas
- Stormblood will be a full standalone game's worth of content
- New Primals to be introduced, including known names and all-new original-to-FF14 ones.
- New Dungeons to be introduced with new battle and dungeon concepts to be introduced
- High-End Raids to also be added, with possibility of different story depending on difficulty, with normal on odd patches, savage on even
- New Alliance Raids to be added. Big news, but will wait until Tokyo Fan Fest, but will be, "very, very Final Fantasy"
- Expanded form of Exploration to be introduced: The Forbidden Land of Eureka (they really like FF3!), something different from Diadem and will expand its own entire area, unique to Stormblood. There might even be Notorious Monsters that only appear once every 72 hours.
- Eureka may also be used for next set of high-end weapons, akin to Relic/Anima, rather than upgrades in "normal areas."
- New Gear and Recipes, including winners of Fan's Gear Design Contest
- Item Inventory Exansion (this got the biggest cheers so far), looking to increase "as much as humanly possible." There is uncertainty in how this will be implemented due to the server needs, and it will be addressed in a future Live Letter
- A 4th Residential Area to be added. Where? "Sorry, can't tell ya."
- In-game footage of new areas shown
- Screenshots now being shown of new areas
- Indications are that Ala Mihgo is crossed via a wall in The Black Shroud, which will be shown in Patch 3.5. Yoshi joked that Dragoon Jump won't work to scale the wall, but that The Warrior of Light has a lot of practice falling off of things.
- Ala Mihgo will not be just deserts and wasteland. Forests are also part of it.
- All areas of 4.0 will be accessible by flying mounts, but there was an indication that it will again by quest-based like in 3.0. At groans from the audience, Yoshi said it will be easier than Moogle Quests.
- That's all the information for now from this keynote. More information will be released in other Fan Fests elsewhere, Live Letters, and so forth. "This is just the start." Yoshi teases he wants to say more everytime the audience cheers, but then he'd be dead and Stormblood wouldn't come out.
- Two final announcements:
- 1) Changes to Windows version Minimum Specs requirements. Current minimum specs are geared towards components you can't even buy anymore. So, for the best gaming experience possible, they've decided to raise their minimum specs. "If possible, maybe upgrade to 64-bit OS" but they will still support 32-bit. They just suggest 64-bit will be best gaming experience.
- 2) End of PlayStation 3 support. This got the second biggest cheers. They've been examining numbers and have seen a large migration of PS3 to PS4 so they have decided it is the right time to end PS3 support. To show appreciation to their PS3 fans that helped them get to where they are now, there will be a special FREE PS3 to PS4 upgrade campaign.
Quite a hefty list of stuff, but plenty to chew on. We'll no doubt see more of Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood in the coming weeks.