It’s finally arrived. The expansion all Final Fantasy XIV players and even some other MMO players have been waiting for, Stormblood has finally released. I’ve spent the last week playing, starting in the early access and through all the hiccups and all the way through the Main Story Quests and I can safely say, this expansion is amazing.
Let’s start with how the overall execution of launch went. Early access, which at this point can just be called launch, had too many issues and hiccups to call it a smooth launch. The servers were getting DDoS’d so several players were getting disconnected and thrown out of the game. For the most part, all server issues have been addressed by the time the full retail release, 4 days after the start of early access. The only remaining issue people have is the log in queues for the congested servers taking up to 2 hours, but this will be alleviated in time. I play on the most congested world, but that hasn’t hindered my enjoyment. Joining the queue then doing other things helps make the queue feel nonexistant.
Now on to the good stuff. The story of Stormblood is hands down the best main story Final Fantasy XIV has to offer. The base game, A Realm Reborn, was known for having a rather lengthy and somewhat boring storyline. The first expansion, Heavensward was much more concise and definitely better but did not have as epic of a feel as Stormblood. You join the Ala Mhigan liberation to free the lands Zenos Yae Galvus of the Garlean Empire has under his control. Traveling with the scions, we meet up with both familiar and new faces during the uprising. The story even takes us to Othard, a continent to the east of Eorzea, to experience a new culture and aid them in the issues they too are having against the Garleans.
Combat got a revamp in this expansion. Previously you needed to level a second and third class to get necessary skills to use to play optimally. They did away with that system and now have skills that unlock for your role based on your level. In addition, you do not need to level another class to unlock the advanced Job your main class progresses into. Unused skills were pruned so rotations were simplified but still deal absurd amounts of damage. If you were a veteran of this game or a returning, you have a lot to look forward to when it comes to combat. I have not played every job yet since the expansion but most jobs, from what I’ve heard, received quality of life changes that make up for the loss of complexity and skills.
Unlike Heavensward’s 3 jobs, this expansion only received 2 new DPS jobs, Red Mage, and Samurai. Red Mage is a fast caster that takes advantage of instant casts and the White and Black aspected magic spells in empower their melee strikes for a large burst. Samurai, on the other hand, deals large damage all the time with high potency combos and even higher potency Iaijutsus. Both jobs are easy to pick up and learn the basics but will take some time to master, especially since there aren’t too many players comfortable enough with it to write guides. I have yet to take these jobs to level cap but what I have played is really fun and interesting to learn.
Aside from the hiccups at launch, Stormblood is an amazing expansion and it will only get better from here on out. If you have taken a break from FFXIV, now might be a good time to come back. For those that are new, you do have to work your way through the A Realm Reborn and Heavensward story before you can do any of the new stuff from Stormblood. Square Enix has made level and story skip available for purchase for those in a rush to play with friends, but I suggest taking your time as the content pre-Stormblood is still just as amazing. Hope to see you around! Do you have any questions or opinions? Leave them in the comments below!