12 Years of Closing Fantasy XIV Half 2: Heavensward and Stormblood

12 Years of Closing Fantasy XIV Half 2: Heavensward and Stormblood

Welcome to half 2 of our Closing Fantasy XIV recap. Right here we mirror on the award-winning Heavensward enlargement and the way the title transitioned into Stormblood.

**Warning This Contains Minor Spoilers For Closing Fantasy XIV**


If the submit A Realm Reborn content material wasn’t a giant indicator that Closing Fantasy XIV had made a miraculous comeback and was safe in what sort of recreation it wished to be. Heavensward was the exclamation level to the sentence ‘We’re nonetheless right here and we’re not going anyplace!’. From the second you enter the Gates of Judgment and stroll the Steps of Religion, the air across the recreation modified dramatically. Not solely the recast of the English voice actors but additionally the cinematics and presentation now boasted a lot confidence.


Ishgard was an enormous metropolis to discover with its personal tradition and folks that had a really distinct feeling from what we have seen earlier than. The story of Heavensward is a traditional fantasy story of dragons and knights combating an everlasting conflict that non appeared to recollect the origin of. And most of three.0, the Heavensward enlargement patch dealt primarily with that thriller as we slowly ventured from Coerthas into the dragon’s territories of Dravania.

Content material-wise, Heavensward felt very very like A Realm Reborn however larger and higher. Dungeons appeared extra spectacular, trials turned extra intense, and raids appeared initially to cater to all the pieces gamers grew to count on from the Coils of Bahamut. It was additionally when Closing Fantasy XIV launched its Savage content material correct into the raid collection. Whereas the ARR variations of the Savage raids simply offered a crisp problem. The primary set of Alexander’s Savage fights almost killed the complete raid scene. Gamers wished onerous content material they usually received it, fights with tight DPS checks that required flawless play and equipment to again it up.

This may ultimately result in the kind of Savage fights now we have now; crisp challenges that the majority gamers can do in the event that they’re keen to place within the work. However the first slew of Heavensward Raid and Trial content material was tough. And it taught gamers a worthwhile lesson, watch out what you ask for.

However there’s a motive why Heavensward known as the award-winning enlargement. It was the enlargement that put Closing Fantasy XIV on the map and it was most likely the primary time folks began to note its success. However it’s additionally the story that basically made this MMORPG enlargement shine. That is fairly humorous as a result of, for many of its runtime, Heavensward’s story is self-contained and barely touches most of Closing Fantasy XIVs extra fascinating story beats.

And what do you get? Some would say is without doubt one of the greatest fantasy tales in gaming, perhaps even in media as an entire. Written by Kazutoyo Maehiro who’s now writing Closing Fantasy XVI and it is protected to say that it was Heavensward that gave Sq. Enix the arrogance to place Yoshida and his staff to work on that recreation. Heavensward’s story is so successfully simple that in case you would simply recap for somebody it could hit as onerous because it does while you play it. In case you’ve by no means fought your method by means of the Vault and accomplished all the pieces main as much as it that exact second would by no means hit as onerous.

However it was additionally when Closing Fantasy XIV began to experiment with its story construction slightly. As an alternative of being despatched out from an HQ to do duties, most of base Heavensward seems like an journey. You and your occasion of unlikely comrades got down to finish a conflict that had been happening for a thousand years and it was additionally after we noticed the MMORPG take a couple of steps again and let the world and its characters simply breathe. So in case you’ve by no means performed Closing Fantasy XIV, do not rush it. Take your time and take within the sights.

As Mild Goes, So Goes Darkness

Because the submit Heavensward content material rolled out, Closing Fantasy XIV slowly began to broaden the kind of content material it wished to supply. We received the Diadem, a giant open zone gamers might discover and grind in to get higher gear. New dungeons, new trials, and a brand new tier of raids each few patches. That with the brand new set of alliance raids made for among the greatest content material the sport had to this point. Every little thing simply felt like an extension of what A Realm Reborn did however on the similar time, it additionally began to point out among the cracks within the system.

An everyday RPG with stats and particular gear and an entire slew of skills gamers had considerably free reign over doesn’t go nicely with an MMO through which gamers optimized all the pieces. And yea, why would you convey a Paladin whose power is obstructing bodily injury into content material that largely dealt magical injury? Raid content material in Heavenward felt considerably ridged it was most likely that time limit when the least quantity of individuals really cleared savage content material. Both as a result of it was too onerous in an annoying method or simply not enjoyable to do all of the prep work for.

In counter to that ran the story content material which continued the pattern of being one of the best story but. It was additionally round that point when folks began saying that Closing Fantasy XIV had an awesome story regardless of being an MMORPG. Not solely did we get the precise finale to Heavensward in 3.3, however Closing Fantasy XIV additionally began the lay the muse for its subsequent two expansions and found out the route they wished to take the story from right here on out.

For me personally, it was throughout that 3.3 content material when Closing Fantasy XIV turned from an MMORPG that id performed for six years at that time, so one thing actually particular. The second you leap off the dragon earlier than the Closing Steps of Religion trial, the music swells and also you stare down your foe and it was a lot greater than being the hero who needed to slay the evil dragon. And even after all of the makes an attempt to make peace, some conflicts might solely finish in a technique.

That pattern continued into the following patch as nicely, all of a sudden your enemies weren’t simply folks standing in your method. The Warriors of Darkness you encounter are usually not simply polar opposites of you, they’re very very like you. On their very own journey, making an attempt their greatest to guard what’s vital to them. And it is one thing we might contact on once more an enlargement later.

The ultimate patch of Heavensward was additionally the top of Closing Fantasy XIVs lifecycle on PlayStation 3. Right here we handled the aftermath of A Realm Reborn’s post-launch content material, not solely did we reunite with outdated associates and foes. We additionally needed to say goodbye to yet one more comrade and within the aftermath, all eyes wandered to Ala Mhigo as we might now, lastly take the combat to the Empire. And the sport itself would evolve as soon as once more.


Whereas Heavensward was a extremely anticipated enlargement, the air round Stormblood was far more understated. The lengthy content material fraud and other people falling off raiding left Stormblood with a lot much less of a chip on its shoulder but additionally was the rationale for most of the adjustments. To start with, fight obtained a beneficiant overhaul and the step from hitting the extent cap to having the ability to effortlessly raid was streamlined and fight general felt much less like combating the sport.

Content material alternatively appeared prefer it was about to burst in each route potential. If Heavensward put Closing Fantasy XIV on the map and that was when the builders actually honed their expertise and found out what sort of MMORPG they wished to make. Stormblood was when Closing Fantasy XIV actually sanded off all of the tough edges and broadened its viewers. As a result of why simply enchantment to raiders and informal MMORPG enjoyers? It is while you noticed Closing Fantasy XIV turn into a way more social recreation with lots of content material that had nothing to do with gearing up.

And whereas the primary raid tier wasn’t precisely what folks wished when it comes to problem, Sq. Enix would quickly have their revenge by introducing the Final problem. A form of remix of older fights squeezed into a ten to 15-minute encounter with the issue dialed as much as 11. It is a kind of content material that went over so nicely with the group that they are now the highlights of the patch schedule.

Storywise we lastly had an actual encounter with the Garlean Empire for the primary time because the finish of A Realm Reborn. Stormblood was a conflict story by means of and thru as we needed to be taught the onerous method that simply calling for a revolution does not precisely encourage confidence in folks. And throughout the intro, we gear up in the direction of a traditional story of the place we beat the dangerous guys right here, after which we beat the dangerous guys over there…

After which he appeared. Zenos Yae Galvus the throne prince of the Garlean Empire and our foil for the enlargement. Now I’d love to jot down a 50-page love letter to Zenos and particularly his English voice actor Luke Allen-Gale however I simply put a pin in right here that I actually appreciated all the pieces about that character. To this point we by no means had a direct enemy or a rival within the story of Closing Fantasy XIV. Normally, we needed to cope with individuals who had values opposing ours. However Zenos is totally different, he does not care about something however an excellent combat.

In case you discuss to Closing Fantasy XIV followers about Stormblood, they might name it a weaker enlargement. I feel that’s largely on account of the truth that Stormblood is far more involved with world-building for essentially the most half. Not solely did we lastly get to enterprise into Ala Mhigo, however we additionally received to journey east to the Japanese-inspired Hingashi and the Chinese language-inspired Doma. The spotlight was most likely assembly the Xaela warriors of the Steppe and studying about their tradition.

A very good chunk of Stormblood is simply exploring the world till we prepare and set for the curler coaster of feelings that begins as soon as we return to Doma. The latter a part of Stormblood will get darkish, darkish and uncomfortable at instances. For an anime-weeb, MMORPG Closing Fantasy XIV actually doesn’t draw back to point out off how darkish and messy a conflict can get. One thing it could develop upon in its post-release content material.

A Requiem for Heroes

Promotional art released with Final Fantasy XIV's Stormblood showcasing the Samurai class

Very similar to earlier patches, the content material that adopted Stormblood largely handled the fallout of the occasions of the 4.0 patch. Whereas this was by not the primary conflict we needed to clear up, Stormblood was significantly darker in its themes. But additionally felt much more mature in the way it tackled these themes. Now not was it proper vs mistaken and doing objectively the best factor. No, as an alternative the story began to juggle varied folks from all walks of life making an attempt to determine what to do transferring ahead.

In each Ala Mhigo and Doma, we tried to make amends, both by ensuring Ala Mhigo would have a future and that errors of the previous would not be repeated. Or serving to Hien in Doma to determine what sort of chief he wished to be.

Thematically all of this got here collectively within the 4.3 Patch: Below the Moonlight. Right here the Warriors of Mild needed to be taught one very heartfelt lesson, some souls do not wish to be saved. Regardless of how a lot you attempt to perceive them, irrespective of how onerous to attempt to assist them. There’s all the time somebody who prefers to at the least finish issues on their very own phrases. Once more sowing seeds and themes we might discover in later expansions.

However, Closing Fantasy XIV Director and Producer Naoki Yoshida received to dwell out one among his desires. For the Alliance Raids former Sq. Enix legend Yasumi Matsuno returned to combine his Ivalice tales into the world of Closing Fantasy XIV. And so we received a whole three-part raid collection devoted to Closing Fantasy Ways and Closing Fantasy XII with all of the fan service and references one would count on.

And Closing Fantasy XIV additionally revamped the concepts of the Diadem content material with Eureka. Open zone content material that’s in massive an homage to Closing Fantasy XI, right here gamers can sort out troublesome world bosses and group as much as courageous this harmful isle which might finish within the 56-man dungeon The Baldesion Arsenal. A sort of content material they might refine within the subsequent enlargement. Stormblood was most likely when Closing Fantasy XIV actually discovered its footing when it comes to content material. Out of the blue there was simply a lot extra to do and I have never even touched on the revisions made to the crafting system and all of the optionally available content material that was simply there to get cosmetics.

In fact, its remaining patches would result in the following enlargement and I feel I am not alone once I say that the ultimate dungeon of Stormblood might be probably the greatest dungeons within the recreation to today and the ultimate patch’s story was only a style of what was to come back.

Be a part of us subsequent time after we take an intensive have a look at how Shadowbringers made Closing Fantasy XIV into the most important MMORPG available on the market and the way Endwalker gracefully ended a narrative that had been advised for over a decade. For extra gaming and esports information, go to us right here at ESTNN.

Author: Joshua Evans