Wednesday, August 02, 2017

FFXIV: Stormblood

Last month, FFXIV released its latest expansion, Stormblood. Early access and the first week or so had several problems, with blocked instance servers and massive queues that kept people from progressing. But eventually everything calmed down.

The main story in Stormblood is about the attempt to liberate Ala Mhigo and Doma from the Garlean Empire. It's quite a good story with lots of interesting turns and new characters. The sidequests are particularly good this time around, particularly in the Azim Steppes, filling out the new cultures introduced.

The main villain, Zenos, is a little boring. He's the bored, overpowered type who's just looking for a challenge. He serves his purpose, but the two sub-villains, Yotsuyu and Fordola, are much more interesting characters.

On the whole, I think the Heavensward story was slightly better, but I'm a fan of high fantasy stories about knights and dragons. Stormblood is a bit more political war fantasy with two human sides fighting each other.

Stormblood also introduced some simple new quest types, including one where you play a merchant at a stall helping customers. It was an interesting and unusual quest.

The dungeons are pretty standard fare, though quite well done. There's even one boss fight which doesn't have any combat at all.

Stormblood also added swimming and underwater areas. Unlike other implementations, underwater areas are entirely non-combat. Personally, I like this implementation, as I find fighting underwater to be a huge hassle in most games, especially as melee.

Finally, Stormblood adds the Red Mage and Samurai classes. They're both interesting. Red Mage wields a rapier. She alternates between Black magic and White magic, then jumps into melee, executes a combo, and flips back out. It's very stylish. Samurai, meanwhile, is pretty much what you'd expect. It's an understated melee swordsman, executing combos and building up to a very powerful strike.

General mechanics-wise, there was some streamlining, mostly in how cross-class skills are handled. Each role now has a pool of common skills available to all classes in that role. You no longer need to level up a second class to unlock your job.  If you're looking for significant changes to FFXIV's mechanics, you'll be disappointed.

All in all, Stormblood is a great expansion for FFXIV. It doesn't do anything radical, but focuses on FFXIV's main strength, the story. It also adds two interesting new classes and some polish to other areas of the game.


  1. I've been enjoying it quite a lot!

    1. Glad to hear that you're having fun with Stormblood.