By Jaime Skelton (MissyS), Senior Editor
If you’re a Final Fantasy XIV fan, you’ve probably spent the last few months on the edge of your seat, bubbling with anticipation any time the upcoming expansion, Stormblood, gets mentioned. Expansions are always exciting things: new classes, new areas, new story, new shiny things to collect. But when the game’s developer, Square Enix, knows how to carefully bait and hook their fans through not one but three international fanfests? Well, by the time Frankfurt’s fan fest started the waters were in a foamed frenzy.
Now, if you weren’t up late enough in the States (or early enough in Europe) to watch the keynote live, you missed out on all the fun that the keynote was. To give you a sample of what the emotional rollercoaster was like, here’s how I described those opening five minutes to Jason (Ragachak), my fellow FFXIV nerd on staff:
“Oh, they’re playing the Stormblood cinematic trailer to start off the keynote. NBD, they did that at Tokyo too.”
-proceeds to mostly ignore-
-trailer reaches last ‘end point’ … and then suddenly shifts to a map-
“… wait. WAIT”
“WAIT WHY IS IT GOING TO OTHARD”
“IT JUST WENT UNDERWATER??? TO DOMA??”
“… oh. okay. this is samurai. samurai confirmed. gotcha. what a weird way to do things…”
– few moments pass, and then a new reveal-
“WAIT HOLY SHIT WE’RE GOING TO OTHARD TOO”
You see, we’ve had the original Stormblood trailer for months – one which we all thought was complete. So when that trailer kept going, Square Enix managed to inject a new super level of excitement into FFXIV fans without saying a word.
And then, after Yoshida entered to applause and wearing a samurai outfit, the new reveals started dropping with the thrill of the very first Stormblood keynote. What’s new to be so excited about?
Samurai! Yes, the conspiracy theories that the Spiderman shirt Yoshida wore at the last conference (Sam Raimi – Samu Raimi in Japanese) were correct. Samurai’s also been confirmed as a melee DPS, not a tank – and while there’s battles being waged in forums about whether this was an appropriate choice, the fact remains that the bad-ass katana master is coming to Eorzea soon.
Doma! More importantly, the Warrior of Light won’t just be liberating Ala Mhigo – they’ll also be liberating Doma in Othard. That’s right: the expansion is going to be split between two areas, liberating two cities. Yoshida’s indicated this is meant to be a pretty even 50/50 split, too, so perhaps it will feel like two expansions in one.
Far Eastern Housing! Not only is the new player city in a Far Eastern themed area, but the fourth residential district is also there, with lots of Far Eastern furnishings promised too. Speaking of housing, all furnishing slots are doubling – home decor will reach new levels!
Nods to the past! A ghostly ship graveyard has echoes of FFV all over it, and FFXI fans will notice the presence of the Four Guardians on the map to the east of Othard.
Blitzball! … well, maybe. During a press conference, Yoshida said “… maybe we should make a MMO specific version of Blitzball. . . However on the other hand if we do that we’re going away from the Blitzball everyone knows and is expecting. So we’re trying to figure out how to mix both sides.” But with swimming and diving, the promise is there: an attempt will be made.
And that wraps up the biggest reveals for Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood. There are still more details pending, including an announcement about leveling potions in an upcoming Producer’s Letter. If you’re a lore fiend, there’s a ton of tiny things to over-analyze. There’s new music, new art, and a new story we’ve yet to uncover. But if there’s anything we do know, it’s that Square Enix has us hooked and ready for another amazing expansion.
Bonus: FFXIV won a Guinness World Record for the longest end credits (ARR), clocking at 1 hour 38 minutes long – thanks to honoring over 32,000 players who played in the original 1.0 – and a world record for the most original music, almost near 400 original songs before Stormblood!