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Final Fantasy XIV

Could Stormblood Cure My Love/Hate Relationship with FFXIV?

Michael Bitton | Posted: May 24, 2017 11:00 AM
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I’ve got a love/hate relationship with Final Fantasy XIV. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Naoki Yoshida from the early days of the effort he lead to rescue the game, through to its successful re-release with A Realm Reborn. The man and his team are incredibly passionate about the work they’re doing and continue to do. FFXIV is gorgeous and I even enjoy the “slower” combat, and yet, I just can’t stick it out with FFXIV.

For me, the leveling process is just painful. The inundation of countless needlessly convoluted quests just wears me down every time I try and I’ve only been able to make it to somewhere in level 40 range as a result. I’m not one to shy away from a grind, but it’s the particular way that many of the game’s quests are designed that just seem like they’re made to deliberately waste your time in order to pad out the experience. This includes what I’ve experienced in the main story quest line, as well. Honestly, I’d rather have a quest giver just tell me to go kill 3,000 boars instead of run from place to place doing all sorts of menial tasks to complete a single quest.

I’ve heard it said countless times that ARR is a slog, but things are much better in Heavensward (and presumably this will continue through Stormblood), but the notion of not only completing what’s left of my journey through ARR’s MSQ, but also the tasks I’d need to slog through just to get to the expansion afterwards has just never worked out for me. I tried again late last year and I just couldn’t get through it.

In any case, the folks at Square Enix recently announced that Stormblood will introduce a couple of new catch up MTX items that may offer me the solution I need to perhaps be able to truly enjoy FFXIV for the first time ever. There are a couple of potions you’ll be able to buy that will allow you to skip through ARR and get right to Heavensward, or even skip Heavensward and get yourself ready to go for Stormblood. You can also purchase a potion that will boost your Job’s level, though I don’t feel that will be necessary for me. I don’t mind grinding out leves, dungeons, or even PotD to get to the right level range, I just want to skip through ARR. I’m likely to give the whole thing one more college try, but it’s good to know that I’ll be able to skip through the damn thing if I really can’t get through it.

Beyond that, there are a number of other neat quality-of-life changes being made with Stormblood that will go a long way to making my experience with the game more enjoyable. For one, you’ll no longer need to level up multiple classes to unlock a Job and even more importantly, you won’t need to level up other Jobs to acquire cross-class skills that are useful to whatever it is you’re wanting to play. Instead, Stormblood will replace cross-class actions with role specific abilities. Tank Jobs will be able to select up to five active role specific abilities from a universal list of Tank abilities, the same goes for melee DPS, and so on.

I never dabbled in PvP with FFXIV, but it sounds like it could be more fun in Stormblood, too. With the expansion, gear will be for aesthetic purposes only, stats will be normalized, and each Job will have its abilities slimmed down to about 10 or so. You’ll also be able to execute combo chains by pressing a single button through the chain instead of having to press three different buttons (this really needs to be an option in PvE, as well). I don’t know if any of this will be enough to make PvP enjoyable in FFXIV, but as someone who enjoys PvP, it certainly piques my interest.

The new Jobs are pretty interesting, as well.  True to its history, Red Mage is a sort of hybrid melee caster class, and the mechanic Square Enix has employed to make it all flow well seems like it could be a lot of fun. Basically, you’ll have spells that correspond to separate white and black mana meters and the use of these spells will slowly fill up their corresponding bars. You’ll want to alternate between black and white mana spells in order to keep the meter balanced, which allows you to deal more damage. The meters will eventually fill up and this is where you use your melee abilities to burn said meter back down to zero and repeat it all again.

Additionally, Red Mage encourages you to create a sort of rhythm through your spell casting. For every non-instant spell you cast, the following spell is cast instant. Optimally, you’ll want to cast your shorter cast time spells so that you can cast your longer ones instantly.  These mechanics sound like they’ll make for an enjoyable rotation and it’s a bonus that the Red Mage’s abilities are pretty damn flashy, too.

Speaking of flash, the Samurai offers a completely different feel from the Red Mage, with a much more subdued aesthetic. it’s kind of nice. I tend to be someone who is more inclined to appreciate a more graceful, and less flashy feel to combat, but I’m also a huge Final Fantasy fan, so the flash tends to work for me with FFXIV, at least. That said, I do think the more low-key approach to the Samurai is a bit more fitting and I can see myself enjoying the Job. I was hoping to see Final Fantasy Tactics’ Iaido come back for FFXIV’s Samurai, but what was ultimately announced sounds interesting enough.

Are you also someone who was never able to really get into Final Fantasy XIV? Do you feel the changes coming with Stormblood could change that for you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!


Michael Bitton

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB