5 reasons why I’m excited for Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood
Now before I get into my list, I just want to state that I did get a chance to preview Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood several weeks ago during the Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood EU media tour, so if you are interested in my early impression of the expansion, I recommend checking out my Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood preview.
So, without further delay let’s look at the five reasons why I’m excited for Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood.
While it might not be a massive addition, swimming caught my attention. There is something fun about just running out into the ocean and swimming on the surface and exploring what lies below.
Swimming in Stormblood looks to be a relaxing addition to the game with it appearing to be something you need to do to reach a location or gather materials. Personally, I can see myself heading to the Costa del Sol in Eastern La Noscea and happily swim on the surface of the water. Swimming of course finally gives players a legitimate reason to wear one of the multiple swimming outfits available in the game.
4) PVP Changes
Player versus Player content first made its appearance in Final Fantasy XIV with patch 2.1. The patch introduced The Wolves’ Den, which is a PVP arena that supports 4vs4 matches, since the addition of The Wolves’ Den PVP has expanded to The Feast, a competitive PVP mode featuring 8v8 and 4v4, ranked and unranked matches, Frontlines, which is a 72 player battleground where the three grand companies do battle, and finally 1v1 duelling.
PVP in Final Fantasy XIV can be considered a niche aspect of the game, with not everyone willing to try it out, and those who wish to are met with overly complex controls, too many additional actions, and an ability disparity between veterans and newcomers.
To reduce the complexity and the skill gap, Stormblood will change PVP actions. The PVP action changes will see the number of abilities reduce to just twelve, with nine actions per job, two selectable actions and adrenaline rush. The reasoning for this is to make PVP easier to balance and to free up hotbar space. The new changes will also see the removal of the PVP action points, which gave veterans a clear advantage over newcomers.
For me, the changes make PVP a more viable drop-in and drop-out feature in Final Fantasy XIV, because prior to the announced changes I felt PVP only rewarded those who focused on just PVP thus leaving casual PVP players at a disadvantage.
3) New jobs
As with any new expansion, Stormblood includes two new jobs – Red Mage and Samurai. If you read or watched my preview you will know that I have mixed feelings regarding the Samurai and I am highly interested in the Red Mage. From a purely visual perspective, both new jobs offer flashy spells and some fetching level 70 artefact armour.
The reason behind the new jobs being number three on this list is due to how both jobs feel easy to understand but difficult to master. For example, the Red Mage requires you to balance two types of mana with Veraero and Verthunder, and inexperienced players will lambast both abilities long cast time, but those who have mastered the job would know to only use one of the two abilities when you proc Dualcast, which allows you to instant cast either one of the previously mentioned abilities.
2) Battle system changes
One of the major changes coming to Stormblood is the changes to the game’s battle system. The changes will see the merging and culling of certain actions in an effort to remove a lot of clutter from the action bar. For example, the White Mage’s stone ability will no longer be split into stone 1, 2, 3 and 4, but will just be cut to a single stone ability, with the ability increasing in power as you level.
The battle system changes will also see the addition of job gauges. The job gauges are unique to each job with the gauges acting as references for the job’s key abilities. In my opinion, the job gauge is a fantastic addition as it means you are no longer squinting trying to see tiny and easy to miss icons on the top of your screen.
What makes the battle system changes greatly is that it doesn’t detract from the overall feel of combat; the changes just make the system less cluttered and easier to understand. Just don’t expect the changes to allow you to become a top tier player, because it still requires some learning to get the best out of each job.
Of course, my number one had to be the story. Final Fantasy XIV and its first expansion, Heavensward, have amazing main stories that offer numerous twists, gut-wrenching moments and an impressive narrative flow.
Now, while the story wasn’t accessible during the Stormblood media tour, the Revolutions video and launch trailer both depict a story focused on freeing Ala Mhigo and Doma from Garlean control, and well if the videos are anything to go by it will most likely have more gut-wrenching moments and twists.
My main hope with the story is that it doesn’t try too much in 4.0; I want some of the conflicts to be resolved or continue into later updates. While it would be great to see Ala Mhigo and Doma liberated in 4.0 I feel it would weaken the subsequent updates.
For more information on Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood, visit http://eu.finalfantasyxiv.com/stormblood/.