Square Enix held a quite eventful keynote during the Final Fantasy XIV Fan fest 2016. The conference reached its climax when the company showed the trailer of Stormblood, the second expansion for Final Fantasy XIV which is scheduled to come out less than a year from now, during Summer 2017.
The expansion, as many fans theorized, will be set in Ala Migho, a region of Eorzea controlled by the Garlean Empire. The main quest of the expansion will revolve around the resistance and the effort to get back the area from the imperium. Ala Migho is a zone that is talked about really often during the game and the expansion (especially if you happen to play a monk) and is a major plot point in the war between Eorzean and the Garlean Empire. Being finally able to explore its deserts and forests is something that fans of Final Fantasy XIV wished for a long time.
Reddit user AnghellicKarma posted a nice list of what has been revealed about Stormblood during the keynote. Let's give it a look.
There are a couple of things that stand out in this list. First of all, there's no mention of new classes to be added into the game. With the release of Heavensward, three new classes were added to Final Fantasy XIV so it's only natural to expect the same from Stormblood. Square Enix probably aims to reveal them in the future keynotes leading to the release of the expansion. Looking at the teaser trailer, though, it would seem like expecting some kind of dancer-type class would be a safe bet.
- Stormblood will explore Ala Mhigo
- Main focus is to regain control of Ala Mhigo from the Garlean Empire
- 20 years have passed since Garleans have had control
- Main antagonist to be Zenos Yae Galvus, XIIth Legion Legatus and de facto ruler of Ala Mhigo
- Woman depicted in trailer to potentially be revealed in future 3.X patch
- Warrior of Light's main job in 4.0 is Monk (akin to DRG for 3.0)
- Area shown in teaser trailer is Rhalgr's Reach, the HQ of Ala Migho's main resistance.
- Multiple new jobs to be discussed at future date
- Yoshi-P wore a t-shirt of Marvel's Scarlet Witch, said that was the only hint he'd give at this time
- New Level Cap: 70 (for all classes)
- More actions for each job to go with new cap
- Revamped battle system to go with new actions
- Additional Skill System to be overhauled, with skills shared by roles instead of jobs, and can choose from shared role ability options
- Reassessment of unused/ineffective actions
- Example used is Dragoon's Blood of the Dragon buff, where in 4.0 an icon/gauge showing how much time is left will be better visible on screen so players aren't just staring at the current icon
- New Areas to be introduced, comparable in size to Heavensward areas
- Stormblood will be a full standalone game's worth of content
- New Primals to be introduced, including known names and all-new original-to-FF14 ones.
- New Dungeons to be introduced with new battle and dungeon concepts to be introduced
- High-End Raids to also be added, with possibility of different story depending on difficulty, with normal on odd patches, savage on even (NOTE: I may have transcribed this backwards. Please look forward to more information on it).
- New Alliance Raids to be added. Big news, but will wait until Tokyo Fan Fest, but will be, "very, very Final Fantasy"
- Expanded form of Exploration to be introduced: The Forbidden Land of Eureka (they really like FF3!), something different from Diadem and will expand its own entire area, unique to Stormblood. There might even be Notorious Monsters that only appear once every 72 hours.
- Eureka may also be used for next set of high-end weapons, akin to Relic/Anima, rather than upgrades in "normal areas."
- New Gear and Recipes, including winners of Fan's Gear Design Contest
- Item Inventory Exansion (this got the biggest cheers so far), looking to increase "as much as humanly possible." There is uncertainty in how this will be implemented due to the server needs, and it will be addressed in a future Live Letter
- A 4th Residential Area to be added. Where? "Sorry, can't tell ya."
- In-game footage of new areas shown
- Screenshots now being shown of new areas
- Indications are that Ala Mhigo is crossed via a wall in The Black Shroud, which will be shown in Patch 3.5. Yoshi joked that Dragoon Jump won't work to scale the wall, but that The Warrior of Light has a lot of practice falling off of things.
- Ala Mhigo will not be just deserts and wasteland. Forests are also part of it.
- All areas of 4.0 will be accessible by flying mounts, but there was an indication that it will again by quest-based like in 3.0. At groans from the audience, Yoshi said it will be easier than Moogle Quests.
- That's all the information for now from this keynote. More information will be released in other Fan Fests elsewhere, Live Letters, and so forth. "This is just the start." Yoshi teases he wants to say more everytime the audience cheers, but then he'd be dead and Stormblood wouldn't come out.
- Two final announcements: 1) Changes to Windows version Minimum Specs requirements. Current minimum specs are geared towards components you can't even buy anymore. So, for the best gaming experience possible, they've decided to raise their minimum specs. "If possible, maybe upgrade to 64-bit OS" but they will still support 32-bit. They just suggest 64-bit will be best gaming experience. 2) End of PlayStation 3 support. This got the second biggest cheers. They've been examining numbers and have seen a large migration of PS3 to PS4 so they have decided it is the right time to end PS3 support. To show appreciation to their PS3 fans that helped them get to where they are now, there will be a special FREE PS3 to PS4 upgrade campaign.
- Keynote ends with Yoshi saying, in English, "Please look forward to it."
The second bullet point to stand out is the one about the company pulling the plug on PlayStation 3 support for the game. With the release of Stormblood, it will not be possible anymore to play Final Fantasy XIV on PlayStation 3. It's not unexpected news at this point. In order to allow the game to grow, Square decided to interrupt the support on older hardware that risks to hold the game back. The fact that they also announced that they're going to raise the minimum PC requirements to play the game, attests the will of the devs to have more space to stretch their legs and experiment with new stuff.
For the Warriors of Light playing on PS3 out there, though, not everything is lost. PS3 players will be able to upgrade their version of the game to the PS4 version for free in order to continue to play on the new console. There are still no details about how the free upgrade will work but considering that PS3 support will continue until next summer, there's plenty of time to lay down details.