Stormblood Makes Final Fantasy XIV A Better Game – ffxivbook.com

Here stands Clan Destine, level 70 red mage, ready to take on the ultimate story battle in Final Fantasy XIV’s latest expansion. She’ll get to it eventually, but there’s a lot more to Stormblood than epic battles and new job classes.

While I’ve spent a lot of time over the past week working my way through the expansion’s new jobs and fiction, I’ve also dedicated quite a lot of time to visiting some of the older content and classes I’ve missed. Sweeping changes to the way the various job classes unlock new skills and abilities coupled with extreme experience bonuses have led to me fiddling around with jobs and roles I’ve never played.

The level 70 red mage job quest scores players these sexy duds.

When the expansion launched I quickly swapped from level 60 black mage to red mage, one of the expansion’s two new classes. Over the long July 4th weekend I reached the new level 70 level cap, completing the expansion’s final dungeon but not progressing to the massive battle that occurs afterwards. No spoilers here, but damn. Just damn.

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When not working through the story, I’ve been leveling all the jobs: white mage, bard, summoner and gladiator (which transitions to paladin at level 30).

My renewed interest in other jobs (including those involving tanking and healing, which I generally avoid) is largely thanks to the game’s new skill progression. No longer do players have to level up multiple starting jobs in order to progress to the more advanced ones at level 30. Crossover abilities from multiple jobs have been replaced with a pool of role-specific generic skills that unlock as players progress. The overall effect of the skill changes is that it’s much easier to understand how to each job is meant to be played.

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So Clan Destine is all the mages, a couple of different DPS ( jobs focused on dealing damage) classes and one tank. I’ve healed in multiple dungeons. I am not a healer. I cannot handle the responsibility and stress. Playing a white mage still stresses me out, but the job feels much more approachable to me now than it did prior to Stormblood’s release.

Note the people in the background battling for their lives against a giant crab while I fish.

Now I don’t know if fishing, one of the game’s three gathering classes (along with miner and herbalist), has seen significant changes in Stormblood, but damned if I didn’t spend two days casting a line and filling my inventory with all sorts of marine life. It’s partly because the expansion has made Final Fantasy XIV so entertaining that I want to experience all the things.

It’s also because I needed a little break. One of the few issues I have with the expansion so far is the pacing of the story and how events play out. The story opens with players helping the resistance against the evil empire in the city-state of Ala Mhigo. Ala Mhigo is a vast rocky desert, one of many vast, rocky desert areas in the game.

After a few levels’ worth of questing and story we are then transported across the world to the Asian-inspired lands of Doma. These areas are filled with gorgeous, colorful architecture, vast sweeping plains and bizarre new creatures. It’s such a breath of fresh air, accompanied by a very pleasing story arc.

After Doma, however, we go right back to the desert. Also some mountains. It’s still all rocks.

Rocks.

The story is still compelling at this point, but the quests in-between the major plot points can be a real drag, especially when set against such a drab backdrop. Or maybe it’s because the game’s made my character such an amazing hero at this point that delivering letters or helping a random non-player character with chores on the eve of one of the most pivotal battles in the game’s extended story feels below me. Look at me, taking on hero airs.

I fought this. Sure, I’ll deliver a letter to your son.

But hey, that’s what other jobs and professions are for, right? After a couple of days leveling up another combat job and getting my fishing up to level 48 (it was just so relaxing), I was ready to fight my way through to the very end of Stormblood.

Here is Clan Destine, standing before the gates leading to the expansion’s biggest battle. Will evil be banished from Ala Mhigo for good, or will she retire to the shores of Costa Del Sol and spend the rest of her life angling off the pier? Find out next week, in our full review of Final Fantasy XIV’s Stormblood.

Two Final Fantasy XIV Players Buy Dozens Of Homes, Spark Debate Over Housing Shortage – ffxivbook.com

Frustration over Final Fantasy XIV’s housing shortage has come to a head after two players angered a lot of others by buying up 28 homes in the land-strapped massively multiplayer online game. Now, players are questioning whether virtual housing is an equal right or a privilege meant for the rich and over-dedicated.

The two players bought their homes in a formerly vacant corner of the game, a server called Mateus, where they could pursue dual ambitions of opulence and privacy. Their critics say they’ve hoarded land from dozens of FFXIV citizens, who feel they deserve a chance at housing. That criticism has gotten ugly as players hotly debate whether their elitism—or desire for mass amounts of property—has any place in a game where everybody pays the same fee.

Martyr Igeyorhm and Seraph Altima

“Given we both came to Mateus for the quiet, it’s distinctly uncomfortable to have others come in and insult us,” one of the bulk home-owners, a player who goes by the name Martyr Igeyorhm, told me during a tour of their two-occupant neighborhood today. “We’ve had to report people for harassment a few times.” Her housing partner Seraph Altima agreed, adding, “I think it’s wrong that people ignore the work and just see themselves being deprived.”

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FFXIV has had housing drama as long as it’s had houses. When producer Naoki Yoshida introduced housing to FFXIV in 2011, he emphasized fair land distribution. But in the intervening years, housing has become a contentious topic in the game as speculators and thick-pocketed players monopolized property on big servers. Other times, players didn’t even use the houses they buy; it’s just a status symbol.

About 2,500 houses are available for each of FFXIV’s servers, which on average host over twice that amount of players. Houses aren’t a necessity in FFXIV, but owning one means having your own space to invite new raiding friends, host parties and, most importantly, decorate. Players paste ornate wallpaper to their walls, fill rooms with carved wood chests and candles and decorate with garlands and gold trimming. They cost several million FFXIV gil, unfurnished. Fur rugs, wall-to-wall bookshelves, portraits and hot tubs garnish the homes of more thick-pocketed players who choose to sink their resources in home decor. Smaller apartments remain available too, but without the grandeur of a garden or street entrance (and on some servers, houses are still available.)

Out of this design frenzy, an FFXIV adaptation of Cribs has even emerged. A year ago, it featured the player Seraph Altima and her “sanctuary,” complete with a lush garden, an attended full bar and stone partitions.

The reporter’s alternate account in Altima and Igeyorhm’s home

Altima had carved out sanctuaries on two of FFXIV’s most populous servers. There, not even apartments, the less sought-after housing option, remain on the market. Publisher Square Enix has been adding more plots to keep up with demand, and will add more in the future, but right now, there’s not enough to go around. Over e-mail, a Square Enix representative told Kotaku that players are only able to purchase one house per character. But because both individual players and Free Companies—FFXIV’s guilds—can own property, players break that mandate a lot.

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Last year, Altima fled the game’s more populous servers and established her new home on the quaint Mateus. At that point, it was one of the only servers with a wealth of land. She and Igeyorhm claimed 28 plots and thought they’d have that space to themselves. Likely, their land avarice wouldn’t have become a problem if thousands of refugees hadn’t recently fled booked-up servers searching for fresh housing frontiers.

Square Enix started offering free server transfers prior to FFXIV’s June Stormblood expansion, so players who wanted to avoid the influx of returning fans could game in peace. Mateus, which was unofficially designated a new role-playing server and was still a pristine (and cheap) housing frontier, was quickly full of home-scouters. Eventually, the housing options in that server filled up, too. When incoming transfers realized that they could no longer purchase plots on Mateus, of all places, and noticed that two players owned a plush 28 plots, accusations of greed and unfeeling avarice spread. Over Facebook and Reddit, hundreds of players had angry words for the alleged gentrifiers who felt “entitled” to own all that property when so many recent transfers (and players still saving up) never had a chance to carve out a home on Mateus.

Altima and Igeyorhm’s underground library

Altima estimates that their 28 homes, the majority of an entire ward, cost around 150 million gil. If they had bought that gil, it’d have cost $375. On FFXIV this morning, Igeyorhm described themselves as “omnicrafters,” or players who “make all of our own items and sell other items for profit.” (To save a few bucks, most of their decor was made using FFXIV’s crafting system, too.) It took a lot of time. And she doesn’t feel sorry for players who put in less effort, or got to Mateus later along with the crowds. On a now-viral Tumblr post in response to public outcry, Altima wrote, “Many people feel entitled to own a house. They feel that even knowing there are only 2,160 plots (soon to be 2,880) on any given server, they can and should be allowed to go at their own pace and have free access to any content they like, including housing. They want a house of their own, but they don’t want to accept that lots of other people want it badly enough to work harder for it than they did.”

“Good lord,” a Redditor wrote. “People who aren’t rich enough to afford houses just aren’t TRYING hard enough? Not wanting neighbors putting up ‘ugly’ Paissa houses in ‘MY neighborhood?’ It’s like the most stereotypical rich snob attitude I’ve ever seen, except it’s apparently REAL (other than being in a video game).” Another described their actions as “selfishness because this person wanted to make a bastion of single-player content in a multiplayer game.”

Altima and Igeyorhm’s cake shop

I met Altima and Igeyorhm at the entrance of Goblet Ward 12 on FFXIV’s Mateus server. There, they fielded my questions while we toured through their saccharine two-floor cake shop, picture-perfect schoolyard, somber church to the FFXIV deity Zodiark and many, many gardens. Igeyorhm excitedly pointed out ice crystal formations and bubbling fountains between dives into hand-designed underground libraries and the like. I asked whether home construction was something she pursued in other games.

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“Not really,” she said. “A lot of people like to ask us, ‘Why not play the Sims?’ Because we do so much other stuff!” Igyorhm said that, after her husband died, she hasn’t decorated much in real life. A few months later, she met Altima, and together they’ve spent an estimated thousand hours curating their 28 plots.

Neither thinks they’re unfairly eating up FFXIV’s limited housing resources. They blame Square Enix for not accommodating players’ passion for home-ownership—at least with houses. Although more cramped apartments are available on some servers and more housing will be added soon, the problem is more of philosophy than accessibility: Are players entitled to property in FFXIV—any more than they’re entitled to raiding mounts or veteran rewards? Is it the richer players, or the ones with more free time to grind out crafting exp, who are more entitled to take up space?

Altima and Igeyorhm’s schoolhouse

I asked Altima and Igeyorhm whether they’d give up any one of their plots for a new transfer desperate for a home. They paused. “These are our memories. Our precious time spent together,” Igeyorhm said.

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Of course, some players still think they should be able to get those houses. “Not everyone needs everything in-game,” counters Altima. She argues that she’s not depriving anyone of housing; the plots were empty for years before they took them. “For example, not everyone deserves the Savage raiding mounts if they don’t do Alexander.”

Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood: The ffxivbook Review

I haven’t completed the final battle in the Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood expansions’ main story line. The titular quest has been sitting in the top left corner of my screen for a week, and I’ve been doing everything I can to ignore it. I don’t want it to end.

Being a highly successful massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Final Fantasy XIV isn’t going to end any time soon. The story of Stormblood, in which the forces of good in the world of Hydaelyn attempt to liberate two city-states from the oppressive grip of the Garlean Empire, will continue in some form or another until the next Final Fantasy XIV expansion arrives.

I just fear that once the final boss falls and the credits roll it’ll be all over. No more late nights spent tackling a seemingly endless string of “one last” quests. No more shuffling off in the middle of the workday to play a little more “for review purposes.” Hours played per day will become hours played per week.

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Stormblood’s fast-paced story doesn’t help. After a failed attempt at rebellion against the Garleans in the city-state of Ala Mhigo, the Warrior of Light (the player) and their contingent of non-player character allies hatch a plan. They travel to the other side of the planet, to the Asian-inspired lands of Doma, and help that city-state liberate itself from decades of Garlean rule. Then, with the Empire’s resources stretched thin, the Eorzean alliance returns to Ala Mhigo to finish the job.

If there’s a place you got to go, he’s the one you need to know, he’s the map.

Reading over it now, it doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that can be accomplished in the span of a few weeks, even with the ridiculously powerful (when the plot calls for it at least) Warrior of Light on the good guys’ team. Alliances are formed, tribes are united and massive battles are pitched with a speed that would make a Game of Thrones fan’s head spin.

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It’s not all epic battles and monumental feats of diplomacy. Between story quests the Warrior of Light, champion of Eorzea, killer of gods, spends time fetching people’s food, weeding their gardens, handing out flyers—you know, side quest stuff. Square Enix does its best this time around to keep the menial labor somewhat exciting, with longer, more story-rich quest lines trumping one-off “kill X of Y” types.

This time side quests aren’t limited to the land. The expansion introduces swimming to Final Fantasy XIV, allowing players to dive into select areas to explore the briny deep. It’s an impressive means of travel with some very cool special effects. It’s also woefully underutilized. With no underwater combat, the watery depths of Eorzea are home to simple fetch quests. Of the handful I encountered, two involved fetching a dropped fishing pole. Epic adventure, right there.

The side quests are mainly a chance to explore the expansion’s beautiful new environments and outstanding soundtrack between rapid-fire rebellions and revolutions. Shit goes down fast in Stormblood. It’s silly, but it’s a welcome change of pace from the meandering side story that was Final Fantasy XIV’s previous expansion, Heavensward. The narrative that began when the game relaunched in 2013 as A Realm Reborn kicks into high gear here, setting the stage for the updates to come and, according to game director Naoki Yoshida in a recent interview with Kotaku, at least two more expansions.

In my quest to avoid the ending of Stormblood, I’ve spent a lot of time exploring the streamlined job progression system introduced in the expansion. Previously a player who wanted to be a Paladin, for example, would have to level two lower-tier jobs, Marauder and Conjurer, to 30 and 15 respectively. That job-juggling’s been done away with, and now all one has to do to become a Paladin is level the Gladiator job to 30 and undertake a simple quest.

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Rather than have players level up extraneous jobs in order to unlock borrow-able skills for their main, each job role now gets a pool of role-specific abilities that unlock as they level. Again it’s less job-juggling, plus the role-specific abilities help give newer players a sense of what their place is an a party.

Coupled with experience percentage bonuses introduced for the expansion’s launch, these changes make leveling up new job classes a joy. I started my new character, Clan Destine, as a level 60 Black Mage (thanks to a job potion purchased for $25 from Square Enix’s Mog Station store). Now I am a level 53 Bard, level 30 White Mage, level 30 Summoner, level 30 Astrologian, level 20 Gladiator and level 8 Lancer. On top of that I’ve also dabbled in the game’s two new jobs, Red Mage and Samurai.

I’m also a level 51 Fisher. I fish all the fish.

In a game with essentially three roles—damage, healing and tanking—adding two more damage jobs to the mix was an odd choice. The addition of Red Mage and Saurai bring the total damage jobs in Final Fantasy XIV to nine, compared to three each healer and tank.

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The new additions are a blast to play with some very cool mechanics. The Red Mage, which I’ve leveled all the way up to the new cap of 70, has a mechanic where the player builds up a balance of white and black magic and then unleashes them in a flurry of powerful sword strokes. It’s so satisfying. Not as satisfying as it must be for a healer or a tank to hop into the “duty finder” and get matched with a team immediately while damage jobs wait in half-hour queues, but pretty good.

With two new job classes to master and more enjoyable ways to level up the previous thirteen, there’s plenty for me to enjoy in Stormblood without having to pull the trigger on that final battle. Now that the initial new and returning player rush, server issues and frequent DDOS attacks have subsided, I’ve got all the time in the world to fish, forage, craft and fight my way around the liberation of Ala Mhigo. They’ve been oppressed for a while. A few more weeks won’t kill many of them.

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Final Fantasy XIV is one of the best massively multiplayer online role-playing games going, one of the few able to maintain a monthly subscription model in a day when even an Elder Scrolls MMO has to go free-to-play. Stormblood’s epic narrative, gorgeous new locales, spectacular battles and some fresh gameplay mechanics make a great game even better.

Nope.

I am never going to finish it and no one can make me.

A Whirlwind Dance Tour Of Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood – ffxivbook.com

Now that our Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood review is up, there are only four things left to do. Beat the final boss battle and dance, dance, dance. YouTube video creator Denmo has those last three covered with an outstanding musical journey through the expansion. Mind the spoilers.

Fans have been creating music videos in their massively multiplayer online role-playing games since MMORPGs have been a thing. Hell, even I dabbled in my own clumsy fashion. But what Denmo has done here in his “Find Your Dance, Eorzea” video is on another level.

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The transitions between areas are seamless. The music, a tune by Mondo Grosso, fits perfectly. I can only imagine how much editing went on here, but it sure paid off.

As for the beating the final boss bit, not happening any time soon. I’m all about prolonging the magic. Now dance.

Final Fantasy XIV Besieged By DDoS Attacks – ffxivbook.com

The biggest threat to Eorza isn’t the Garleans, or some other villain that I don’t want to look up because I haven’t even finished Heavensward yet. It’s Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, which have been hitting Final Fantasy XIV since June and show no sign of stopping, according to the developers at Square Enix.

Square says that the DDoS attacks have grown more difficult to thwart over time, moving from Final Fantasy XIV’s servers to “upper-tier internet service providers” and leading to all sorts of server issues.

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“Since mid-June, a third party has been targeting the Final Fantasy XIV game servers on the NA data center,” writes Square Enix today on the company’s website. “Until now, we have been implementing defensive measures at our own facilities to combat DDoS attacks against our Final Fantasy XIV game servers, and have been able to keep the impact to services at a minimum. However, since July the attacks have shifted away from the Final Fantasy XIV game servers and the target has changed to focus on the upper-tier internet service providers (ISPs) that are required to connect to the data center. These attacks to the upper-tier ISP network are causing lapses in communication to the game servers, giving rise to instant disconnects during logins.

“Because we can no longer combat the situation on our own, we have been in contact with the upper-tier ISPs, who have then been taking defensive measures sequentially on their end. This implementation has already been effective; however, there is the possibility that the attacks could occur again. Therefore, we will seek to strengthen our cooperation with the upper-tier ISPs and continue observing our defenses.”

DDoS attacks, which involve firing enormous amounts of data at a target in an attempt to clog its servers, are easy to perform and nearly impossible to stop. They also suck for just about everyone. More reading: