Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is a New Beginning

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Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is a New Beginning

As our heroes travel to distant lands, Naoki Yoshida and his team revitalize the sprawling MMO for old and new players alike.

The story of Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood takes our heroes to the faraway lands of Ala Mhigo, oppressed and occupied by the Garlean Empire for 20 years. We join the Resistance in their efforts for liberation, though not all the people of Ala Mhigo see eye to eye. The older generation longs for their days of freedom. The newer generation has grown up under Garlean rule and knows nothing else. There is a disparity in perspective between the old and the new that changes their mutual experience.

This same disparity exists between veteran Final Fantasy XIV players and new ones. And it’s a gulf that Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida plans to bridge.

Final Fantasy XIV: Naoki Yoshida

Yes, Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is the second major expansion to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. But unlike the first expansion, Heavensward, which pulled our heroes into European high fantasy and an ancient war, Stormblood is a new beginning in both story and design. The result is a more approachable, more visual Final Fantasy XIV — one that aims to bring the community closer together, and welcome newcomers who have yet to see some of the best the franchise has to offer.

Let’s be realistic: not everyone interested in Final Fantasy XIV has several hundred hours to spare to play through the staggering amount of content in A Realm Reborn and Heavensward. That’s why the new Tales of Adventure items exist. These optional items can be purchased to skip forward in the story, or boost a single class up to level 60 (the new cap is 70). Currently, only one job can be boosted per account, but this goes a long way in bringing new heroes into the fold.

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood

Yoshida describes the thinking behind these items with a metaphor. Final Fantasy XIV is a mountain. Veteran players have been slowly climbing this mountain for the past several years at their own pace, stopping now and then to enjoy the view. They may not feel like they’ve come far because they only climb a few steps at a time.

But for new players starting at the base of the mountain, it can be overwhelming to see how far everyone else has risen. These items are designed to lift those players up to meet the rest of us — not push them past the devoted longtimers and beat them to the summit.

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood

The second fundamental change to the formula is the introduction of Job Gauges. Now, every battle class has its own unique gauge that tracks important information with colorful aplomb. Players will spend less time squinting over rows of small icons and timers, and more time focused on the flow of the battle, with critical job-specific info displayed across jeweled lights, mechanized meters, and blossoming flower petals. The change is small, but the result is colossal. It feels more like a Final Fantasy and less like a spreadsheet (no disrespect to players who pore over spreadsheets — I admire you dearly).

Final Fantasy XIV: Naoki Yoshida

Yoshida and his team have also made great strides in streamlining the skills our heroes learn over time, collapsing redundant skills together, enabling our hotbars to update automatically given specific leveling requirements, and reworking cross-class skills altogether.

Now different roles (like tank, healer, and damage per second classes) share a pool of unlockable skills. No longer must a player level multiple classes to fully empower the single job of their choice. Stick with one, and sail it clear into the endgame.

These kinds of refinements also significantly streamline the flow of combat for DualShock 4 users, providing them with even more room to customize and tweak their preferred setup.

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is exactly the kind of step forward you want to see from a long-running MMO. It embraces its strengths while abandoning traditions that no longer serve the player. With a new Garlean threat to face, new lands inspired by classical Japanese art and architecture, and even a full swimming/diving system to enhance exploration, Stormblood is an exhilarating next step for Final Fantasy XIV.

You can take it with me when it launches on June 20, 2017.

All content previewed during the Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood media event is under development and subject to change.

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3 Author Replies

  • This is a very well written post and just has me more excited for Stormblood. The videos they showed so far look really good, cant wait for the rest of the information at E3

  • I gotta hurry up and get my Astrologian to 60.

    • Astro’s new animations look so amazing. I want to try it, I’m just afraid that if I have that amazing of animations, I’ll simply cast spells for the appearance and let people die ;)

    • Savor the journey!

  • Wth. Leveling up a new job class after mastering an old one was one of my favorite things. I can understand trying to bridge the gulf between new players and veterans while trying to make the game less grindy but boosting characters to near cap like wow does and dumbing down the actual experience is a bit much. This is an mmorpg, if the investment of time is too much for some people… they should play something else. Way to make the hundreds of hours I put into my account seem like a waste now. Stop retooling the game and just add content.

    • They’re not dumbing down the experience, they’re just removing the 200 hour~ gap between new players and the expansion content that got them to play.

      It’s an incredibly smart decision. I love FFXIV but I very rarely recommend it to people because of exactly this. Getting ‘caught up’ to be able to enjoy the new story stuff takes an insane length of time and while the content is solid, it’s just too much to expect out of new players.

      If trailer footage for stormblood gets me interested in the game enough to want to give it a try, forcing me through 100-200 hours of not-stormblood is just a recipe to get me to quit. I want to be able to jump into what encouraged me to try the game.

      The game has reached the point where a feature like this was absolutely necessary.

      This type of comment makes me sad… most of the FFXIV community is so mature, to see us represented by such a whiny, entitled comment just sells the community short.

    • “Whiny & entitled?” because I simply disagree with the current direction of the game? Or because I think my time in this wonderful land should not be belittled in an attempt to make the game more accessible? I voiced my opinion, you voiced yours, but you had to include a little snide comment. Take a hard look at what it means to be mature, cause I think your confused.

      I disagree entirely, in fact this is the last thing ffarr needed. With their flirt last month with the free to play till 30 weekend and news of the game being retooled with cutting the amount of time needed to reach end game content. I’m sure the death knell of free to play will sadly not be far off once significant chances alienate those of us who have been playing the game since launch or beta.

    • Whiny & Entitled because of comments like “Way to make the hundreds of hours I put into my account seem like a waste now”

      As to your last comment, every single person I’ve talked to who has been playing since launch loves what is going on except you. So maybe your doom and gloom scenario is not as inevitable as you think.

    • Hey TrueLordX,

      I appreciate the dialogue you and Seluhir are having here. Let me chime in with my own take.

      While I obviously can’t speak for Yoshida and his team, my feeling is that they want more players to join us in the endgame. More people playing and participating means a more active, engaging MMO. By giving people a one-time boost, it helps them participate with us — and that helps everyone.

      Hope you enjoy the game!

    • I can see where you are coming from but I think this shouldn’t be looked at as a cup-half-empty situation. I have many friends who used to play the game but now have a huge gap between then and now and it discourages them from wanting to play again. With this option, it’s a bit more lucrative for them to play again so we can go through the new content together. They have made these story and level jumping items pricey for a reason, so that way there isn’t a surpluss of people just jumping through content. I really don’t feel that my hours of game play have went to waste because they were all hours I enjoyed reading story and having fun!

    • You pretty much can’t master a job until you reach level cap. For example while leveling Dragoon you get an ability called Blood of the Dragon. You pretty much just use it, get a damage boost and then it falls off. Then Fang and Claw ends all your combos and boosts BoD for 15 seconds.

      Chaos combo requires behind enemy, fang and claw requires flank. Basic combo 2 times inbetween chaos combos.

      A bit later you learn Wheeling Thrust. Now instead of staying on the flank for Fang and Claw, the game randomly makes you go behind the enemy for Wheeling Thrust or to the Flank of the enemy for Fang and Claw.

      Then you get Geirskogul AoE damage but lose 15 seconds of Blood of the Dragon. Great. Now you have to go do hard fights and tricky boss battles where you’re performing a dance around mechanics, while trying to get Geirskogul off, without letting Blood of the Dragon fall off, by moving when necessary to avoid AoE and DPS loss.

      Those 8 levels did NOTHING to prepare you for this and your damage will be terrible until you gear up, get timings down, master off global cooldown usage, and reorganize your hotbar so you can muscle memory everything.

    • As a matter of fact the longer you’re playing incorrectly because you only have half of your abilities, the more you will probably struggle with muscle memory. Your absolute best bet is to go into Palace of the Dead Solo on a floor where you are at the level cap (60-70) and organize your bar based on some guide.

      Then go die to something, it won’t be hard since you don’t know what you’re doing and go join other people in doing Palace of the Dead. Though you’ll also need to look at guides and stuff.

      A lot of people who are going to be buying skip potions are hardcore raiders who know the game in and out and did the content and just want to get an alt up so that they and their buddies can all do the raid multiple times a week and get a better chance at getting the drops they need for their main characters. Rather than playing for another 100 hours they can just skip to endgame, and they will hand your butt to you in a week or 2 numbers wise.

    • TrueLordX has the right idea. I don’t mind having the option to skip some of the level grind, but allowing players to skip the story will only breed a worse community, full of people who shouldn’t be playing a Final Fantasy game. The story is and has always been the core of the franchise, and the MMOs are no exception. Starting directly with Stormblood is like skipping straight to the latest season of Game of Thrones. As for people complaining that they have to complete the previous content before accessing the new stuff, I say this: “Gee, so you mean you have to actually play the game to get to the end of the game? You poor thing.”

      Next up: Pay money to skip to the end credits of FF15, bypassing all that lame boyband road trip stuff!

    • You’re not the only one who has played since beta and the original 1.0 launch that was reworked as I am also one of those. You are, however, the only one I have seen so far from this otherwise great community that complained about this new “optional” feature.

      I completely have no idea how it would impact you and your game in any way whatsoever except for your perceived “worth of your time”. And that’s why the other person called you out of being entitled.

      It’s like yelling at the other guy ordering a big mac and a fries combo when you’re on a diet. Real mature.

    • Takfloyd… if Square Enix didn’t implement some form of story catchup method with this expansion, the expansion would’ve been an enormous flop. Not because of content, but because even the most diehard isn’t going to be willing to play 100+ hours just to START getting to what they bought the game for. It’s simple logic.

      The reality is that introducing a ‘story skip’ is something that is going to help bring friends together and improve the community by making it easier for current players to bring their nearest and dearest to share the experience with them. It’s not going to ‘ruin the community’. It’s just going to make it easier for people to play together. How could that be a bad thing?

    • If you spent any amount of time actually engaging with the community for the game you would know that the concept of skip potions is abhorred by the majority of the current community. The developers had to simultaneously sugarcoat, apologize for and tiptoe around the fact that they were going to add them, because they KNEW the reception would be extremely negative, which it was. Casualizing the game is a very dangerous road to go down, because the game in its current state has a disproportionally large hardcore playerbase compared to other MMOs, and these people make up the biggest source of income for Square Enix, as many of them also spend a lot on the cash shop.

    • Square Enix’s business department has repeatedly reaffirmed their focus on retaining these players. Adding skip potions, simplifying the jobs and so on are things that can and will alienate these players who desire a “pure” experience, and if they start dropping the game en masse, the game will fail. This is a much bigger danger than the risk of deterring new players with an overly long main story – after all, Heavensward was a huge success despite the long stretch of dull quests people had to go through to get to it. The main story of Heavensward itself meanwhile is so exciting that I doubt anyone who gets that far will want to quit. So, there is no need for story skip potions to exist, at least not yet.

    • Jeez dude so many of the things you said there are just idiotic. Not trying to be mean but… When i created a new character on a friend’s server to play with him (a friend who didn’t care about the story because he trusted his FC mates opinion and they said the story was crap so he didn’t read any of it) I would have used a story skip potion no problem. I mean why not? I’ve already done story in 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 I don’t need to retread the story all over again. The hardcore raiders have no problems with skip and jump potions because those people are using them on alts anyway because that’s the most effective way to be able to have a second character to allow yourself an increased chance at getting the rewards you want. Hell people might even add a 3rd alt so they can have a 3rd chance at getting the drops they want which would benefit hardcore players dramatically.

      Yes they have to simplify the jobs. Do you know why? The harder the mechanics are, the harder it messes up your job mechanics, and they have to do something about the fact that we only have so many fingers. People are short on hotbar space and controller hotbar space already, to add another 5+ actions every expansion it’d be impossible to play at a high level.

    • I know the really loud segments of the player base were against the jump potions and the skip potions, I’m sure your circle of friends were, but how many people are scared to say “Yeah I want this kind of feature” or “I don’t care one way or another” without a flame war engulfing them when all they want to do is piddle around in /shout waiting for their queues.

      Maybe you do know better than Square Enix, but I doubt that since there’s a lot of nuance in these features, and your post doesn’t have a shred of nuance. You didn’t say any way that you think it can be used beneficially, you didn’t say any way that you think they could have improved the system.

      When you write posts that don’t cover nuance, claiming that most of the people in the game support your opinion, and have no constructive criticism, all you are doing at that point is being a toxic troll.

      I was working on Anima, but Anima weapons are never BiS and you sacrifice so much money doing the Anima that they really aren’t worth the time and the effort. I couldn’t keep up with the anima because I was making 10s of millions off of selling Lore materials instead.

    • As I said, nothing unjustifiably entitled about my statement. It’s simply my opinion and reaction based on the changes to the game. If you spent a great deal of time doing something and were then told that process is now made obsolete in order to accommodate a group that you are not a part of, your reaction might be similar. It’s not entitlement, at least not for its own sake. Your allowed to disagree. Just as I’m allowed to feel slighted. I’m done defending the source of my reaction as I’ve made it clear at this point.

      And while I’m so sure those of you who know and speak to hundreds if not thousands of players and who must obviously be asking all of them to weigh in on this topic daily since you’ve gathered such a vast and thorough consensus of their opinions that you can speak on all them personally, can tell me what the majority of the community is thinking… I know more than my share of friends and family that play, that feel at least similar to how I do on the subject. Regardless of that, I’m not required to be a part of the over all community to play or enjoy FFARR. While I respect those that don’t have a problem with these changes it doesn’t make me feel any
      better since my reasons are valid.

    • I never claimed to be the only person who played since beta but the reasons for the changes are clear. The type of players these changes are catering to are also clear. I am not that type of player, and neither are a lot of other A realm reborn players. No, these changes are not necessary. Are they a good idea? For beginners sure. For some they take away from the reason we played in the first place. Will the game still be fun? I’m sure to some degree it will be. But nothing said here changes the fact that I feel this is not going to end well.

      Continue to comment if you like. I’ve said everything I need to say. I’m done discussing this, I’m not here to go back and forth in comments in an attempt to disuade people to my opinion, I’m simply voicing my own. To do so in cases like these would be pointless and unnecessary. Thanks to those who shared their opinions.

  • I like it! So happy to get a different style than European history.

    Also, I’m all about boosting one class to 60. I mean, I still want to go back and play Heavensward, but my friends have multiple classes at max and it’s good to know I’ll at least have ONE class I can use to play with them when I’m not grinding solo.

    • Justin Massongill

      Agreed! This will make it a lot easier to get friends to consider jumping into the game. Right now when they ask how long it’ll take them to catch up my reply starts with “Well…”

    • The problem is that the way the game and these cheat potions work, if you buy one of them so you can play with your friends in Stormblood, you will be unable to play the Heavensward story on that character, because it’s registered as complete. You’ll have to make a new character for that and start at level 1 again. Unless, of course, you fork over money for ANOTHER potion to jump to the start of Heavensward with your second character. And then maybe yet another potion to skip the level grind for that character…

      Man, Square Enix is going to get rich off of this. I hate it.

  • Currently just trying to beat Heavensward. Don’t mind getting to 3.1 when SB launches because then the 3.1 story missions will probably give xp.

    Having the combat look less spreadsheet-like sounds great but speaking of squinting they need to overhaul the font size for the entire game! Especially during story scenes and dialogue. I really have to be right in front of my 65 inch to read it. Not everyone plays on PC right in front of their monitors

    • I absolutely agree with the font size!!! Pretty much bought a new projector and screen just for this game when I moved to a bigger room where my 42 inch screen TV was going to be 10 feet away from where I was sitting. Needless to say I couldn’t read anything because it was so small.

  • So excited for early access to start and to return to my old main from XI, SAMURAI!! Also, love the top artwork piece of Kugane, is that available in high resolution anywhere? :o

  • I love the theory behind a lot of what is changing in SB. I think they’re doing a great job of reducing some of the burden of knowledge and leveling the playing field just that little bit between launch players and new players.

    I’ve been playing on and off since launch, but have started getting back into it again in the past few weeks. It never fails to impress me how pretty FFXIV is. I’m glad that the new convenience features will allow new players to experience that beauty as well.

  • When they talk about reducing button bloat, I feel like they’re trying to help consoles more. On PC, this isn’t really an issue. I’m glad the PS3 died. It’s why we’re getting a new city zone with no loading areas. Now if only the PS4 could die too…

    • Not really, you can comfortably have access to 48 actions with the gamepad setup in XIV, which is more than any single job uses, you can also use M+KB on PS4 to play the game if you’re so inclined. Condensing and pruning of older abilities makes it easier to concentrate on new mechanics instead of feeling bogged down by older stuff.

  • The only thing that saddens me with the content jump potion is that the people using it are skipping an excellent story and building the feeling of a relationship between their WoL and the people around them… I mean look at when [REDACTED] died at the end of The Vaults, that was utterly heartbreaking, but would someone just watching the cutscenes in an Inn room get that same feeling? Doubtful.

    With all the XP boosts to low end content it doesn’t take that long to blast through the MSQ.

  • IS the base game now free to play up to a certain level? Id like to jump in but I’m not sure the game will be for me. I thought there was a free trial??

  • I don’t know why so many people are against the when jump potion thing and this is coming from a veteran who was at the last patch the far edge of date pt2 I deleted my account cuz I didn’t feel like playing anymore but it was a mistake and now I have too start over again but thanks too the jump potions I don’t have too try SE!

  • Not try I meant ty sorry….

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