Final Fantasy XIV’s Letter from the Producer series is always a treat. And with Stormblood so close you can practically taste it, the shows are stuffed to the gills with content. If you missed the stream — or don’t fancy wading through translations for the good info — here’s everything you need to know from this month’s stream.
Stormblood characters introduced
FFXIV is a hugely story-driven MMO, and Stormblood won’t be any different. While we only have a vague idea of how the story will pan out, this month’s live letter introduced some of the characters we’ll be fighting with — and fighting against.
Lyse, the “brash and impulsive” girl in red from the trailer, longs to free her homeland. Yoshi said the day may come “when she must rise to the occasion and become a leader of men”, so expect that towards the end of 4.0’s story. Gosetsu and Yugiri, too, are framed as folk labouring tirelessly to liberate their own homeland. Yugiri holds the central spot on a lot of the concept art (see above), which I assume will infuriate everybody who was hoping this expansion would focus entirely on Ala Mhigo.
We’re introduced to Hien, a Doman prince loved by his people who disappeared some time ago, and Fordola, an Ala Mhigan born after the start of the Garlean occupation, considered a traitor by her own people and a savage by the Garleans. Raubahn and Pippin will also be making an appearance, with Raubahn getting a full origin story.
We also learned a little bit about Stormblood’s antagonists, too; Zenos yae Galvus, the crown prince of the Garlean empire, and Yotsuyu, the acting governor of occupied Doma. Yotsuyu is beautiful and charming — and also racist as hell, as far as the doman people are concerned — while Zenos is… Well, he’s visited the far-east and developed a passion for katanas. Given that he shares his interests with 14-year-old me, perhaps the MSQ will have you robbing his manga library. Either way, he loves to fight, and you’ll probably end up doing just that at one point or another. This expansion’s Regula van Hydrus? Quite possibly.
Finally, a way to move house — and other essentials
Just in time for the new residential wards, SE are implementing a way to easily move house. In fact, if you move from one lot to another of the same size, once you’ve completed the move all of your furniture will be in the same space. Essentially, the new system will allow you to buy a lot and vacate the old lot in one fell swoop. Housing plots will open up for sale after the release of Stormblood, but we’ll still be able to take a look around the new area. There is a possibility that Free Companies and individuals may get access at different times, if the team thinks that ownership is too imbalanced.
Thavnair — the place that those ubiquitous glamour pieces are named after — will be available in patch 4.05, presumably around the same time Ultima goes live. To be clear, this has already been said, but Ultima (the expansion’s Alexander / Coil style raids) will go live two weeks after Stormblood hits, with Savage mode coming two weeks after that. On the subject of Savage, it seems that, at least in terms of weapon drops, something will always drop that is usable for the group — so no katanas dropping if there’s no Samurai on your team.
Level 70 gear will come from job quests this time, so there won’t be an immediate tomestone grind once you hit max level; you should be able to run whatever the equivalent of Neverreap is right off the bat. Pictures of artifact gear for some classes were shown, and you can check out a gallery here. Gatherers will get a trait increasing GP regeneration available through class quests, which were previously mostly useless. Underwater gathering will be a thing too.
Inventory space will be getting a boost: every ‘compartment’ for different types of gear (weapons, helms, gloves, etc) will get 10 extra slots. Your general inventory will also grow by 40 slots. There are plans to increase space further depending on how server performance is affected. The number of macros players can save will also increase. We will not be getting additional retainers, as SE’s data says very few people fill them up both of the ones you get for free as-is.
New Allagan tomestones will be introduced — of course — and current tomestones will be able to be exchanged for them when the time comes. With that in mind, it may be a nice idea to go into SB with as many tomes as possible. All restrictions on content up to level 60 will be lifted with the release of SB.
Finally, any mount that can fly currently will be available for use underwater. Your Gobwalker can totally become a submarine if you want it to. Doman emotes allowing players to ‘be respectful’’ — presumably a Japanese-style bow — will be introduced. There will also be 20 new minions and a ream of new sightseeing spots. Please look forward to it, and all that.
So this isn’t really relevant to PS4 players, but there’s a benchmark for the PC version of Stormblood out. It’ll test your PC and see how well it runs the game using assets from the expansion. You can download it here.
Given that the basic specs aren’t all that different, it’s probably not going to tell you anything you don’t already know. But it’s worth running anyway; the new assets are gorgeous, and there are new abilities and other bits and pieces in the mix. It looks like WAR is getting a gap closer, and Ninjas might be getting a new mudra or something like it. You can get a glimpse of Samurai and Red Mage, though you won’t see much new. There’s also a sneak-peak of new fights, including Yojimbo. Take a look:
Sadly there’s no benchmark for PS4, so you’ll have to make do with the youtube video. It’d be kind of interesting to see how The PS4 Pro scored compared to the base model, but the game will run fine on the hardware. (Well, you’d hope so, at least.) The PS4 Pro will get a patch letting you boost settings beyond is currently available.
Cleric stance no more?
Last but not least, a developer blog post yesterday goes through changes to Black Mage skills… And also hints that Cleric Stance might be getting changed or removed. Yoshi has previously said he hates it, but it’d be incredible if it was removed entirely and healers were left with no way to do DPS. Perhaps damage and healing spells will just share the same stat? It’d make sense. God forbid healers are left just healing...