Today, during the opening keynote of the Final Fantasy XIV FanFest held in Las Vegas, Director and Producer Naoki Yoshida offered the first batch of details on the newly announced expansion Stormblood, that will be released early next summer for PS4 and PC.
The expansion will revolve about taking back the lost city-state of Ala Mhigo from the Garlean Empire. So much time has passed from the conquest of the city-state, that the new generation of Ala Mhigan doesn’t know anything else than Garlean Rule.
The main enemy will become the Garlean Empire, led by the de-facto ruler of Ala Mhigo, XIIth Legion Legatus Zenos Yae Galvus.
The story will revolve around the warrior of light getting in contact with the Ala Mhigan resistance, and the cover job will be the monk. The first new area was also revealed, named Rhalgr’s Reach.
The expansion will include new jobs, and Yoshida-san teased it with a T-shirt portraying Marvel’s The Scarlet Witch. This could be a hint to the implementation of red mage as a job, but Yoshida-san did not confirm or provide further hints.
The level cap will be increased from level 60 to level 70. All jobs will get new actions, and the battle system will be revamped. The additional skill system will be overhauled as well. Skills will be regrouped and categorized to be shared between roles and not jobs.
Unused and ineffective actions will be reassessed, possibly reducing their number. The UI will be changed as well, with specific icons for all jobs to make it easier to keep track of cooldowns.
There will be multiple new areas. The number and size won’t be less than what was released with Heavensward. Stormblood will have a full game worth of content. They will also showcase a variety in nature.
The expansion will include “many, many new primals.” There will be familiar ones from the Final Fantasy series, as well as original primals made exclusively for Final Fantasy XIV.
There will be challenging new dungeons coming in large numbers, and new high-end raids. The team has been discussing how to handle difficulty for the next raid, which will feel very “Final Fantasy-esque.” There will be more alliance raids as well, with more to be shared at the next FanFest in Tokyo. The next alliance raid will be very Final Fantasy-esque as well.
An expanded form of exploratory missions will be brought in in the form of The Forbidden Land Eureka. It will be unique to Stormblood and it will span a whole area. There might be a notorious monster appearing only every 72 hours there. The next set of relic weapons might also be upgraded there.
There will be plenty of new gear and recipes, including the winners of the hear design contest.
The item inventory will be expanded. The expansion will be “extreme.” This is something that people wanted for a long time, but it took time and investment to implement without slowing down the servers. It will probably be done in two parts, to make sure that the servers remain stable.
A fourth residential area will be added. Unfortunately the location wasn’t revealed. It will affect the main storyline, so it’s still a secret to avoid spoilers.
Patch 3.5 will reveal how the players will be able to cross the wall between the Gridanian territory and Ala Mhigo, acting as the prequel to the expansion.
In the expansion we’ll finally get a feel of the real Garlean architecture (most of what we saw so far were just temporary structures), as well as that of Ala Mhigo and a mix of the two. Ala Mhigo is not just wasteland and desert, but there are also forests and more. More information will be shared in the future about this.
Of course all 4.0 areas will be enabled for flight, but players will still have to find the spots that will enable flight.
The minimum specs on PC for the game will be changed with the release of Stormblood. While the team will do its best to keep supporting 32 bit Windows, they’d really like everyone to upgrade to a 64-but OS. Support for the PS3 version will also end. The team has watched the number of players on PS3, and they decided that the new expansion was the perfect timing to discontinue PS3 support.
In collaboration with Sony a new upgrade campaign will be put in place, letting everyone who is playing on the PS3 version to upgrade to the PS4 version of the game for free. The PS3 version is going to be supported until the release of the expansion, and then it’ll go the way of the dodo. The team is also thinking to extend the free PS4 upgrade to PS3 players that have allows their subscription to lapse.
Square Enix plans to release a consistent stream of information over the next months, but in the meanwhile you can check out all the presentation slides below, including screenshots of the new areas. At the end of the gallery you’ll also find a special illustration by Yoshitaka Amano.