Depending on when my editor publishes this article, Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward’s Early Access period may have already started.
In fact, the two likely possibilities are that you’re already prepared for Heavensward as a fan of the franchise… or you may be waking up to this article with the knowledge that you have to go to work in 30 minutes and can only play the game when you get home after a shift at the office.
That said, this article for the latter folks who are planning on playing catch-up to the Heavensward hype train. These are some assorted notes and warnings from folks online who have been more eagerly awaiting Heavensward than you have, and are likely already in the game (or trying to get in the game) by the time you read this.
Patch notes and actual patching
Here’s what you’ll likely want to know to get ready for Heavensward after a slog at the office.
First, you’ll want to actually log into your account, and get the patcher to patch. Current information available online says that Heavensward is comprised of either one or two patches, with a total file size of approximately 8.5 GB.
If you happen to get a 4.x GB or so download, you’ll likely have to download a second patch that contains the remaining 4 or so gigabytes of data by restarting your client after the first download completes.
Heavensward currently appears to be comprised of the two patches, with half the patch featuring the game-wide tweaks that affect A Realm Reborn and Heavensward, and the other half installing Heavensward into your system.
Preliminary patch notes for the expansion are available at this Lodestone link, with a more complete set of notes (including minor quest spoilers that give the proper locations for unlocking specific story quests) likely to follow once Heavensward is up, so check the FFXIV lodestone or MMORPG.com for a relevant link when the time comes.
Mog Station Changes
The Mog Station, the account management system for Final Fantasy XIV, is also getting slightly revamped for Heavensward.
It should now be easier to see if you have access to the expansion, and there is supposed to be a big sign right above your account for the entry of the actual expansion code once you receive it. The changes should also make it easier to see if your early access privileges and items are already enabled. The image above, by Agnes Lynd of Excalibur on Reddit, is basically what you should expect later on.
For those who are doing a last minute pre-order, you’ll also want to consult the following Lodestone announcement for the steps to getting your account squared away.
More Retainers, for a price
Lastly, those of you worried about item space in Final Fantasy XIV will have the option to purchase additional retainer slots beyond the current four-count maximum. according to a June 17 report from Siliconera.
Currently, you get two retainers free, and can acquire two more retainer slots for a small monthly fee. Come the expansion, you will be able to purchase up to an additional four other slots, for a total of eight retainer slots, if you wanted to go overboard and hoard a ton of items.
The explanation for this, according to Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida, is that there’s a ton of data that needs to be saved per character:
Yoshida explained, "The reason why we can’t increase item space is saving to the servers and getting that data transferred is one of the main reasons we haven’t been able to increase space. Currently, the save data size amount per character is probably the biggest in all of MMOs in the world,"
He added, "We have the most data per character. Every 15 seconds we take a backup of every player’s data. This is good for players because if the servers crash there is no rollback. Every 15 seconds we are updating that data. Increasing the inventory also increases the amount of data we send back to the servers to save every 15 seconds. What we could do is extend that time from every 15 seconds to five minutes we can add more data, but what happens then is if the servers crash there is the threat of rolling back player data and players losing some data."
That said, I’ll leave you guys here for now. Don’t forget to patch your game ahead of schedule, and I hope to see everyone in Ishgard eventually. Cheers!