Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood

As we draw near to nearly five full month since the release of the latest expansion to Final Fantasy XIV, I finally feel like I have both the time and enough experience to write this. OK, I had enough of both before, but I was having too much fun playing the game!

Let me give you some very quick back story to the first two main stories for XIV. In ARR, or 2.0 to legacy players, we discovered/rediscovered the lands of Eorzea, then battled primals to stop the Beast Tribes from destroying all that is around them, and finally fight the Garleans to win back the power in Eorzea. Then in Heavensward we took to Ishgard to seek help but ended up saving the Ishgardians from their Dravarian war against the Dragons. Finally defeating Nidhogg and removing the corrupt Government. All in all, quite a successful two expansions.

Stormblood brings us to the often mentioned Ala Mhigo to liberate it from the tyranny of the Garlemold and the Garleans. The empire, having taken control of Ala Mhigo about 25 years in the past, have driven the Ala Mhigans into the ground while a small Resistance force has continued to fight but diminishing forces and a broken spirit have meant that the Garleans hold on Ala Mhigo has never been stronger. But thankful, no task is daunting for the Warrior of Light. I.E you. Not only

4.1 has been released and the story continues to grip and develop. It is something that I look forward to playing every 3-4 months now. If it could come out quicker than it does, that would be awesome. But it also gives me time to catch up on all the content I haven’t covered in the game….there is an awful lot of content to cover. I have also started a new character on a new world, with the EXP buff to level 60.

 

World design

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The new areas are very diverse and large in size. The landscapes are eye catchers and make it very pleasing to travel around them. The Aether Currents (learning how to fly on your mount) are still tedious to get and it is never until the second trip to a map that you really get them all. When you do, you are free to uncover some real hidden gems around the areas as the diversity seems to have increased greatly in the map design. The FATEs around each zone carry some new icons on them. Some will award bonus EXP for completing the FATE, others will spawn special monsters that, when killed, award a buff to the player that gives another extra bonus of EXP to players. Using both of these will allow for a crazy amount of EXP per FATE and it was something that most people were making great use of when the servers were being bombarded in the days after Early Access started and the game released.

Job Actions

With this expansion, there has been a revamping of the jobs in XIV. A new system for each job of building up certain actions to either better effect the next action or reduce the recast time on it. Taking White Mage as an example, which just so happens to be my main job, you can build Lilies to a maximum of 3. You are rewarded a Lily if you cast Cure or Cure II. When you are at 3 Lilies it reduces your cast time on 3 actions, Asylum, Assize and Tetragrammaton, by 20%. Making the game a little more technical in the end game content but not overly difficult in the earlier stuff at max level. Each job is unique so it is something to try out and play around with. A really good adjustment altogether.

End Game

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Currently there is three dungeons for the Expert Roulette. All three dungeons are quick, taking no more than twenty minutes with my current quickest run standing somewhere around 15. They are relatively easy and drop Materia V which sells for a decent amount depending on what drops.

The 8-man Raid for this expansion is Omega. It looks to carry a good storyline through it as we follow Cid and Nero as they continue to play “nice” with some witty banter and seething hatred. The four stages so far have brought some interesting mechanics to the game. Delta Void (as they are called) 1 is a fairly straight forward fight with a few knock backs and stacks to deal with. Void 2 brings in a bit of a new battle tactic with the use of “float” to raise yourself over ground AoEs but don’t jump up too often because the boss also does damage on the higher level as well.

Void 3 starts to get a bit more difficult with a stack mechanic on certain squares depending on your job type. If you stack on the wrong one you take massive damage. Then as a bit of troll the boss casts Ribbit during the fight as a conal AoE. Get caught in it and you are a toad for the next 20 seconds and your health is going to get close to that 0 mark. And just for good measure, sometimes the icons on the floor change to a picture of a toad in which you have to stand in front of the AoE.

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Void 4, and the final fight of our first soirée into 4.0 Raiding, has us fighting against Exdeath, a famous boss from an earlier Final Fantasy game. This fight can be tough enough with a Duty Finder group. He has three main abilities that he uses before getting him down to about 60% health. Fire III, Lightning III and Blizzard III. The trick with this one is that if he is taking the power of the void, indicated by him reaching towards the black cloud and drawing it into himself, then you have to do certain things to avoid too much damage. For Fire III you have to stay still and stop casting, any movement or ability will incur some damage. For Blizzard III you have to move about or you will be frozen in place for about 4 seconds and you will take some hefty damage. And finally for Thunder III you have to run away from him as there will be an AoE radius around him.

There is more to the fight as well but these will get you on your way to beating him. For more have a look at a few videos before heading into the fight. It is the Savage mode that is there to really push you!

 

Bahamut – Ultimate

Released in patch 4.11, this beast is the ultimate in Gear Check and knowing the fight. Mechanics coming at you from every direction. This fight was released on the 23rd of October and it took until November 4th for the world first clear. Funnily enough, it was by a team with no name on the Alexander server. Just over 24 hours later, Blacklist, a team from the EU server Odin, cleared it as well. It is a real slug out and absolutely no room for error. This isn’t a fight for the average player. Probably not even a fight for 90% of the player base of XIV but it is something that was a wonderful effect of the community. It gives something for the extreme hardcore groups to do. Good luck to everyone trying it! It must be Ultimately rough. Big congrats to two teams that have beaten it so far. That is an amazing achievement.

Unending

Gathering And Crafting

There has been no big overhaul of either of these since 3.0. Still one of the better ways of levelling is spamming Leves and Collectables. One of the biggest changes for each of them is you can no longer buy your way through the class quests. And, personally, I think this is a much better system of doing it. The class quests are not hard, they have some damn good stories which I advise you to follow, but the big change for them is that the NPCs will actually give you the materials to craft the requested items. For the gatherers it is relatively easy to do the quests, but again they are specific items that only appear when you are on that quest and are market prohibited.  There is a lot of money to get from crafting and gathering at the moment as there always is when there is a new expansion.

Conclusion

I wish there was a way for me to describe how much I have enjoyed the current expansion. I genuinely do not think I have enjoyed the game this much since 1.X. The story line is really strong and engaging, the battles are enjoyable and don’t seem too long or arduous. The maps are varied and give you a good distraction while you are running around. The crafters are still enjoyable with some handy new abilities.

TL;DR

 

All in all the game rocks and the next few numbered patches should be awesome!!

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