Preview

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward

Everything You Need To Know About Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward
by Kimberley Wallace on Mar 07, 2015 at 06:00 AM
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Release:
Rating: Rating Pending
Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PC

Ever since Final Fantasy XIV’s inception, Ishgard has been closed off to players, teasing them with its mysteries. Over the past few months, the MMO's plot has been leading players there. The upcoming Heavensward expansion provides the chance to finally step into Ishgard, and it’s packed with a ton of new content to make the trip worthwhile. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect.

A New Storyline

As with every area, Ishgard holds its own mysteries and struggles. The new expansion places you in the Holy See of Ishgard during the thousand-year Dragonsong War. Expect lots of dragons, since Isghard is known as the “home of the dragons.” As you explore, you’ll uncover what led to this war; Square Enix is keeping a lot of the plot under wraps, so we don’t know specifics, but at the very least you can expect juicy new story content.

Massive Lands With Unique Exploration

Heavensward boasts large, wide-open areas that will rival A Realm Reborn’s in size. The expansion is also taking a page from A Realm Reborn in the area of creating unique lands. You’re able to explore floating continents (an homage to Final Fantasy VI), and to get around to those airborne lands, you take to the sky via flying mounts, including dragons, griffins, and chocobos. When director Naoki Yoshida was asked if we’d see any others, he hinted that the fat chocobo might be a choice. We saw a slew of new areas from the Sea of Clouds, which contained tons of mysterious statues, to the Coerthes Western Highlands, which had a wintry feel.

Packed With Fresh Content: New Jobs, Primals, And A Race

The Au Ra is the new playable race. If you’ve been playing Final Fantasy XIV, you’ve actually seen a cloaked character of this race. More to that storyline is coming, especially since you haven’t seen the character’s face yet. The Au Ra hail from the eastern continent of Othard. As for their features, their horns, scaley skin, and tails stand out most. The men are buff and angry looking. The women look more mystical with softer features. If you want to change your race, a fantasia will be available in the in the collector's edition; otherwise, you can purchase it for ten dollars. 

Three jobs also debut with the expansion. The dark knight, astrologian, and machinist are your new choices. The dark knight functions as a tank, wielding a two-handed greatsword and harnessing the power of darkness. The astrologian is a healer who can use a deck of cards and star globe to tap into healing and support powers. The machinist is a ranged class that allows you to use firearms and mechanical turrets to hurt the enemy from afar. Fun fact: While Yoshida thinks every new job is great, the dark knight is his personal favorite. He likes that it has a high-fantasy vibe and looks really cool.

Are you ready to form new allegiances? More primals based off of Final Fantasy summons are in Heavensward. The Vanu Vanu tribe’s primal is Bismarck, while the Gnath have Ravana. Fans have been acquainted with Bismarck since Final Fantasy VI, but Ravana was created specifically for Heavensward. 

 Raising the Battle Stakes

The level cap has increased from 50 to level 60. A lot of the Heavensward content is in that range, so you might want to spend some time revisiting older areas if you’re not at level 50.  Yoshida said the focus is still on growing your characters and their skillsets. Therefore, you’re still improving, learning new abilities in this level range. This means players have more options for strategizing; old standbys that have been in heavy rotation will finally get some variety. Monsters also take players’ new abilities into consideration, so be ready to leverage your new skillset and find new strategies for taking them down.

 New Raids With Difficulty Options

Final Fantasy fans will recognize mechanical giant Alexander. The new raid dungeon in Heavensward is based off the legendary boss. You actually go inside Alexander and fight him from within. For instance, one section of the raid will occur in his left arm, another is in his chest. Raid dungeons have been massive undertakings in Final Fantasy XIV and extremely difficult to beat. After taking player feedback into account, Square has decided to add two different difficulty modes: normal and hard. This way, players can still see the content. Hard mode will function on the same difficulty of past raids. While the story content of both modes are the same, you’ll get better gear and items for playing on hard.

Preorders for Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward begin on March 16. What do you think of the additions announced so far?