Being one of the few remaining MMO’s that are pay to play, FF14 has faced an uphill battle. From fans and critics, they catch a lot of flak for making their adoring fans pay $10+ a month for the pleasure of logging in to the fantasy world of Eorzea.
But never is it so readily apparent where those dollars go, then when you return to a game after a 2 year hiatus.
The last time I logged into FF14 in any serious capacity was back in Summer 2015, after 2 long months of playing the last expansion, Heavensward, and doing all the content it provided, I had my fill of my favorite online world.
I would dip a toe in the pool every couple months for their seasons events, for Christmas, Halloween and other timed events that provide vanity gear for an hour or so of play.
But I had forgone any of the additional story content they added in that time.
So, when I stepped back into Eorzea, I came to find I had a massive amount of content I needed to explore before I could even attempt Stormblood.
Thankfully I had planned for this by starting 1 month prior just in case, and man am I glad I did.
What I had waiting for me was easily 100 hours of content, with major patch 3.1 through 3.5 tons of things were added to the world.
2 whole new raids, one a typical 8 person ran and the other a massive 24 person dungeon raid.
So, I ground like crazy for 4 week and finished just in time for the release of Stormblood.
Day one of Stormblood was rough, really the whole first weekend. We had early access if you pre-order, and really, who is playing this game and not pre-ordering.
So after the first few hours sadly you got roadblocked by an instanced story mission, servers were overloaded and with 50k people all hammering on the same door, we had some major issues.
But by Sunday the congestion had passed for the most part, and we were all well on our way.
In addition to the 100+ hours of story missions and side mission, they added in 2 new jobs to the mix.
The ever popular Samurai and the FF staple Red Mage.
Now my main has been Bard since the begging of FF, and also as Ranger back in the FF11 days, so I had no intention at all of taking either job to level 70. I do have all the other main jobs up to 50 or 60, but really found little to no reason to pursue a new main or alt this late in the game.
Now something that needs to be said here before I go on, is that with the addition of Stormblood, they completely revamped all the existing jobs in the game. Taking away abilities, adding new ones, and adding in a sort of gauge to all jobs as well.
Unfortunately, this took my well loved Bard, and in my eyes really gimped my dps as well as my party helping abilities.
I no longer felt like a DPS / support class and just a arrow slinging monkey that barely scratch the things we were fighting.
So once I hit level 70 with Bard, I decided to fall back and see just what Red Mage was about.
I trotted into the Palace of the Dead to test drive the job, and was instantly in love.
RDM is fun and fast to play, you have to constantly keep an eye on things and keep a magic scale of white and dark in check to deal some devastating damage.
It is the most fun I have had with a job in years now.
So, I continued the main story with my Red Mage and have not looked back.
All in all, Stormblood’s story was a decent fantasy fare, heading a budding group of rebels you take back the lands in which many beloved NPC heroes you have fought alongside with lived before fleeing for their lives many years before.
We saw a completely new city state, very Samurai themed with Asian flavor abound. This is really the only thing I had an issue with, I personally did not find that Kugane fit into the FF world of fantasy. It was far too much like ancient China and not at all like a fantasy realm.
It was vastly different than any other area in FF, but it truly felt out of place in the world Square-Enix have created.
There was a large number of new areas to explore here as well, Kugane was one of the eastern cities, but they also added the entire realm of Ala Migho as well. Time was not exactly evenly split, with the vast majority of the adventure taking place overseas in the far east, you being charged with the job of getting the locals there to rebel against the empire and thus creating a distraction for your goings on in the west.
This set the stage for the whole adventure, meeting new friends and allies and nefarious enemies along the way.
All in all it was a great expansion, if you are in any way a Final Fantasy 14 fan, you likely already own the pack.
It did not add any significant advancements in terms of tech like the last DX10 addition with Heavensward, but it is more of the same great stuff we all come to love in the franchise.
A solid 9/10.