Stormblood is the next expansion for Final Fantasy XIV, as revealed by Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida during the opening keynote presentation at the Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival in Las Vegas. This marks the second expansion for the MMORPG, following the positively-reviewed Heavensward that debuted in June 2015. Although a firm release date has not yet been announced, the expected launch window for Stormblood has been detailed as sometime in the early summer of 2017.
Stormblood ushers in the Version 4.0 era of the Final Fantasy XIV experience, and with it comes several key changes. Perhaps one of the most potentially dynamic shifts in the gameplay is an overhaul of the game’s battle system that changes how skills are grouped and categorized. Yoshida has also confirmed multiple new jobs are going to be added, with specifics to be revealed at a later date.
In addition to the changes, the development team does not seem to be neglecting to give the player base more of what they want. The amount of content planned is set to be on par with what fans have seen in Heavensward. Along with the expected dungeons and raids, a new residential area is in the works. More original and Final Fantasy-inspired Summons, known as Primals in the game, are on the list of new additions to the game as well. The level cap is getting raised from 60 to 70, plus players clamoring for more inventory space have been assured their wishes will be granted when the expansion drops.
In Stormblood, players travel to the land of Ala Mhigo. Many may recall the references made about the city-state and its war-torn past that have been disclosed throughout Final Fantasy XIV’s storyline. Presently reigning over Ala Mhigo with an iron fist is Zenos yae Galvus of the XIIth Legion Legatus. Central to the expansion’s plot is an uprising against the tyrant and freeing the people of Ala Mhigo from the clutches of the Garlean Empire.
The teaser trailer unveiled during the Fan Festival offers a first look at a hub that is home to the resistance group, an oasis defined by towering mountains and dramatic waterfalls called Rhalgr’s Reach. It also showcases what appears to be a sparring match between the Warrior of Light and a mysterious woman. See all the action in the video below.
Players can currently enjoy Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and Heavensward on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC with the ability to enjoy playing in a cross-play experience that includes all three platforms. But, with all of the changes coming once Stormblood drops, fans on some PlayStation and PC platforms may need to make some adjustments to continue playing. To start, PC gamers have been forewarned the minimum machine specs to run the game are going to be increased. A shift to a 64-bit operating system is also being strongly recommended.
On the console side, Stormblood is not going to be released on PS3 at all, and support for the game on the platform will cease once the expansion becomes available. An upgrade campaign for PS3 players interested in jumping to the PS4 version has been announced with additional details forthcoming. A previous upgrade campaign took place before the launch of the PS4, which gave players who purchased the PS3 version the option to upgrade to the PS4 version for free.
Fans can look forward to more Stormblood announcements in December during the Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival being held in Tokyo, Japan, on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Europe gets its own Fan Festival event in Frankfurt, Germany, which is scheduled to be held February 18 and 19, 2017.
[Featured Image by Square Enix]