Final Fantasy XIV’s Heavensward launches on June 23

The expansion releases on June 23rd, early access begins on June 19th, and pre-orders open up on March 16th.Since the original launch of Final Fantasy XIV, the city of Ishgard has waited, inaccessible, present, a long shadow over the entire game. When Heavensward releases, players will finally get to access the city and fly into the lands beyond.

As for what we’ll find there… well, that was the focus of the media presentation I got to take part in on Friday at this year’s PAX East. And as someone eagerly anticipating the expansion, I now feel suitably informed.

While the presentation included a lot of information that will be familiar to those avidly following the various fan festivals, there were still new pieces of information and new visuals on display. I also had a chance to speak with producer and director Naoki Yoshida regarding the expansion and what comes next for Eorzea, from the features available at launch to those planned for slightly down the road.

Happiness is a warm etc.On the off chance you haven’t been following the reveals thus far, here’s a quick recap: Heavensward sends players to the further lands of Coerthas and throws players into the midst of the conflict between Ishgard and Dravania. Three new jobs (Dark Knight, Astrologian, and Machinist) are added to the game, the level cap is being boosted to 60, and flying mounts will allow players to explore the expansion regions at greater literal heights. This is all old information, and while some of it is recontextualized by the most recent patches — it’s quite obvious what the dragon mount represents, for example — attentive fans have seen all of this.

The presentation also walked through the process of designing the new jobs in depth. While the team is very aware of the many requests players have for other jobs, it’s not a simple process, as each new job represents about a year of development time. To add something new to the mix, the team has to consider what party roles the new job will fill while also determining what this new job will bring to the table that the other jobs do not. And that’s before getting into the difficulties of job actions and weapons. We were shown the many concepts that were used for Astrologian before the globe was finally selected, including several various card-displaying tricks that made it to the modeling stage.

From there, we were into new information, and the reveal everyone is waiting for: The expansion releases on June 23rd, early access begins on June 19th, and pre-orders open up on March 16th. Three editions will be available; players can opt for standard or collector’s editions, and an all-in-one package will be available for those who have never taken part in the game to date. Benchmarks for the expansion are expected next month.

The game’s Mac client will also be launching alongside Heavensward, so those of you who have longed to enjoy playing the game whilst handing the Steve Jobs cult of personality more money, there you go.

New artifact outfits for the existing jobs were on display as well. The new Monk set evokes Yang’s outfit from Final Fantasy IV, while other jobs have more radical appearance shifts; Scholar picks up an almost Victorian aesthetic, while Fisher seems plucked straight from Final Fantasy X‘s beachside designs. I quite liked the looks for Paladin and Dragoon, myself.

A video tour of several areas came next. Ishgard is divided into its lower quadrant, the Foundation, and its upper levels, called the Pillars. Both have mock-Tudor appearances for the houses and an oddly radial look to them; the former is crammed into small alleys with airship workshops and visible damage, while the latter is austere and clean. From there, we ventured to the Coerthas Western Highlands, where even more rime has crept in around the edges, even freezing an aetheryte node solid.

The Dravanian Forelands resemble the old version of the Black Shroud in some respects, with great roots and thick trees growing up in a marshland. Meanwhile, the Dravanian Hinterlands have high cliffs and low valleys, looking quite a bit like the original Coerthas maps. There are also several domed buildings in what appears to be a town, though whether it’s friendly or not is hard to say. It’s very clearly not Ishgardian, having an almost classical feel to the architecture.

A rare time when the Old Shroud is not used as an insult.Our last two stops were almost purely aerial zones. The Churning Mists feature elegant castles in the sky flanked by perpetual storms; they’re great sweeping structures along with plains of floating puffballs suspended in the air. The Sea of Clouds, meanwhile, is like an aerial version of Final Fantasy XI‘s Konstacht Highlands, with windmills, verdant grass, and several fat birds lumbering about.

That last one is admittedly new.

Afterwards, I had a chance to sit down with Naoki Yoshida to find out the pressing answers that we need to know, such as how long Au Ra tails can be. Sadly, the answer is “not as long as miqo’te tails.” What we’ve seen in trailers is the average length.

Reward systems for gear in the expansion will remain similar to what currently exists; the team is working to make sure that the players pressing at the furthest edge of difficult content are rewarded adequately without making the rest of the playerbase else feel as if they can’t catch up. Yoshida was somewhat coy about when players might be replacing their current endgame gear, although he did stress that it will not be promptly at level 51 by any means.

All the jobs and classes will be getting new abilities along with new options for cross hotbar users to quickly toggle between pages to account for the new tricks. The team has also heard the requests for more armoury chest space, but due to the database structure of the game and the high number of per-character data, it’s not a simple solution to implement. Players will be getting access to more retainers to help address storage issues, but whether or not more armoury space can be added is still to be determined.

This long would be the correct answer.Beast tribe quests will be returning, although the timeframe is still up in the air; with so much to do on the expansion launch, the team doesn’t want players to be spread too thin. No new housing options will make it into Coerthas, but there are plans to continue expanding the existing districts and make them more vibrant and accessible.

While Yoshida would not reveal the main stats of the new jobs, he did say that you will not be able to start playing one at level 1. As with other jobs, you have to reach level 30 first and do job quests to unlock them. As these extra jobs do not have base classes, the team is still making decisions about what level players will start at with them, although we likely will not be starting fresh from level 1. No, the existing base classes are not going anywhere, but at this point the team is focused on pushing jobs rather than classes for further development.

Those enjoying the Gold Saucer will be happy to know that more content for the attraction is planned, including at least one upcoming system in a future patch at the same depth as chocobo racing or Triple Triad. Heavensward will also include 20 new Triple Triad cards for players to earn, giving plenty of space for players to enjoy the attractions. The old endgame content is not being forgotten, either, as Yoshida acknowledged that no one wants to do content that puts him or her below the level cap. But he floated undertaking specific challenge content or hiring Grand Company NPCs to tackles specific challenges as potential ways to keep the older dungeons relevant, approachable, and interesting.

What is Yoshida himself most excited to show off? Flight. Adding flight into the game allows for a new kind of movement, but it also allows for designs that really make use of all three dimensions rather than root the player in a mostly ground-bound game. It introduces another vector for design, which will be a game-changer for the maps on the whole.

We’re due for a lot of game changes, and we’ll all be able to see them in June.

Massively Overpowered was on the ground in Boston for PAX East 2015, bringing you all the best MMORPG and MMO coverage from GW2, FFXIV, Blizzard, and more!
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91 Comments on "Final Fantasy XIV’s Heavensward launches on June 23"

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Loyheta
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Loyheta

I’ll probably pre-purchase this just in case I decide to play it again. It’s a good game but subs are gross and the classes have so little variety I am afraid of falling asleep in a dungeon. I do miss my chocobo though.

shaw sbst
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shaw sbst

Presbytier Just grow a pair Presb. Its a joke. Sorry it was on “you” this time. (technically not you, because he wasn’t joking personally about you, but you seemed to take it that way)

Valkyriez
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Valkyriez

See, I’m the opposite. All the text in FFXIV and it’s weird way of doing classes had me bored out of my brains by 40 and the quests were so benign. ESO on the other hand seems much much better in comparison.

Madda
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Madda

Walpurgisnacht Haggar Madda did too. 

It’s fun watching people in the comments flash their “That was wrong” cards over something so minuscule.

djriful
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djriful

jmadfour I wouldn’t even bother with ESO… tried and played on PC. Contents is just null.

jmadfour
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jmadfour

Well fuck.
June 23rd?
That gives ESO only two weeks to impress me.
My poor wallet too.

Presbytier
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Presbytier

Well I am not quite delusional enough to equate it with religious persecution. It I do think it’s bad form to outright try to offend a segment of people just because they prefer to use Macs.

MoneyisSlavery
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MoneyisSlavery

Denice J Cook thatchefdude Speaking for myself, I joined in version 2 and I enjoy $12.99 a month. I don’t need alts on the same server. One character can do it all for me. So you don’t need to pay the extra per month if you don’t want to. I wouldn’t see the point.

Rahzel
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Rahzel

Walpurgisnacht eLdritchMD Same! I was really relieved hearing the release wouldn’t be until June. I’ve always felt like I’m a patch behind. I still have so much stuff I want to do before 3.0.

Esoteric Coyote
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Esoteric Coyote

Hellbound Heart Showed this to my husband and he said “Damn it, Coyote!”  And pulled up the mogstation.  XD

Esoteric Coyote
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Esoteric Coyote

Denice J Cook thatchefdude If you only what 1 character on your server you can pay the entry which is 12 or 13 bucks.  I do that and add a retainer on top.  Since I am leveling all crafting jobs, I have insane amounts of materials and needed a 3rd.  I imagine if I wasn’t so careful about what a hoar, I’d need 4.  I wish there was a way to get extra retainers in the game.  But alas no.

Esoteric Coyote
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Esoteric Coyote

thatchefdude omedon666 I just resubbed.  I have no idea what I’m doing. I joined a very small FC on Siren.  I haven’t touched my 50s because I just don’t want to dive into progression and/or gear them up just yet and I want to try Ninja.  I love stabby classes, and ninja might be fun.  Sneak attack seems really odd to me at the moment.  You do it to their face.  That’s either the most sneaky move ever, or just crazy.  And assassinate has the best animation ever.  I just wish it did more damage.  It looks so epic.
And mug makes me think “I wish I had you when I was farming diremite silk for 4 hours.”  But it went fast on a summoner or scholar just dotting everything around me up and watching it die.

Esoteric Coyote
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Esoteric Coyote

Presbytier I used to game on a mac.  I didn’t pick it because I was a yuppy or whatever.  I picked it because I worked with macs at work all day long.  It was a convenient just to stay to a similar computer.  I would also bring my personal laptop to work some days and use either.  People use to rag on me about it, and I just say “For work” and they seemed to shut up.  I wouldn’t let it get to you.  Its stupid people need to poke at others for being “different” in some way just to make themselves feel better.  It’s basically adult bullying, only we are more capable of handling it then when we were five.  I just wish people would grow up.
And just to point out, if you have a gaming laptop, or a dell, or a monster gaming pc, or even a cheap computer.  People will still poke at you.  So it’s no win.  They do it for AMD processors, or even different videocards, it’s weird.  And it’s dumb.

Flimflamberge
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Flimflamberge

JonBuck
I suspect the new jobs won’t even be based in Ishgard. Astrologian is going to work with Sharlayan techniques, rather than be related to Ishgardian astrologians, there’s some suggestion Dark Knight has Garlean origins or is connected to Odin, and Machinist is probably related to the Garlond Ironworks. My guess is that we’ll be introduced to them in the starting cities, where they’ll fill existing gaps.
So, Dark Knight in Gridania gives that city a tank, which makes sense given that it’s the Shroud that Odin plagues and it’s the closest city to actual Garlean territory  that hasn’t been reclaimed in the main story. Astrologian in Ul’dah gives it a healer, and as former home of the Scions and closest city to much of Mor Dhona, it’s like as not to draw Sharlayan visitors. That leaves Machinist in Limsa Lominsa, which is only logical withit being home to the guilds for Blacksmiths, Armourers and even musketeers.

Flimflamberge
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Flimflamberge

Presbytier
Yes, it’s outright religious persecution, making jokes about the sacred Cult of Apple!

Walpurgisnacht
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Walpurgisnacht

Anad Walpurgisnacht Haggar I just thought the author was making fun of that stereotype. Apple vs Windows or Android wars get pretty heated on the internet and I find a lot of “it’s just better” arguments on the Apple side (hence the zealot stereotype). I do have to disagree on Macs not being overpriced though. Apple products in general are priced at a premium. That isn’t to say that they don’t produce high quality products, they do. Their brand is synonymous with quality for a reason. As a console gamer, I don’t feel that PC gamers are getting ripped off compared to PS4 gamers because they get Steam and better graphics.

Presbytier
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Presbytier

As someone who has looked forward to a Mac client this news is exciteing, however I don’t feel I deserve to be the brunt of a snide ass remark do to my preference of computing machinery.

Presbytier
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Presbytier

“The game’s Mac client will also be launching alongside Heavensward, so those of you who have longed to enjoy playing the game whilst handing the Steve Jobs cult of personality more money, there you go.”
I enjoy your columns especially the Mog Log and its new counterpart wisdom of Nym, and I also believe everyone is entitled to an opinion. That being said this statement is absurd, offensive, and generally unkind. It has no place in a journalistic article.

Anad
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Anad

Walpurgisnacht Haggar I have to disagree, it is not funny at all. The offense in his comment is two parts, one that Mac buys are zealots, and the other that they are being ripped off. Which ignores the whole reason why people buy Macs (they just love the designs or OS X), and that Macs in fact are NOT over priced, but actually equally prices spec per spec.

If I was to go with similar line of thought, and only compare performance/price, I would be inclined to say anyone who isn’t playing the game on PS4, was being ripped off, or wasting money unnecessarily on overpriced PC rigs. Does this comment sound fair or funny?

(disclaimer, it does sound funny coming from someone who have the game on PS4, PC and is going to buy it on Mac -.-!!!!!)

Walpurgisnacht
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Walpurgisnacht

usagizero AlexisDuprey I hope they saved samurai for the Othod expansion.

Walpurgisnacht
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Walpurgisnacht

JonBuck Hellbound Heart I didn’t know chocobo could fly!

Walpurgisnacht
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Walpurgisnacht

ThunderJackson Denice J Cook thatchefdude It’s insane. I wonder how they do it.

Walpurgisnacht
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Walpurgisnacht

eLdritchMD Yup. I was afraid of an April release. There is just too much content.

Walpurgisnacht
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Walpurgisnacht

Haggar I thought it was funny.

ThunderJackson
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ThunderJackson

Denice J Cook thatchefdude I don’t think he means rate as in the payment pricing; I think he is referring to the speed of the content releases. 

Every three months is new dungeons, raids, trials, main story quests and a lot more and the quality is always there.

Rahzel
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Rahzel

thatchefdude There are two separate places called ‘Sharlayan’. The Sharlayan on the map located in Dravania is a city-state that was abandoned after the capture of Ala Mhigo; the one I was referencing. Sharlayan proper is located on an island not visible on the Eorzean map.

The Lore Train: Is Sharlayan An Island Or What?

thatchefdude
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thatchefdude

Sharlayan is supposed to be in Heavenswards
They are adding both provinces of Coerthas-Ishgard and Dravania-sharlayan

Rahzel
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Rahzel

JonBuck Don’t forget personal airship!
And I’m still waiting to hear more about those Free Company airships. I really hope they haven’t scrapped a lot of their intended functionality that they hinted at so long ago. They never seem to want to talk about it with any concrete details.

Rahzel
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Rahzel

I’m pretty sure that those white, domed buildings belong to the old Sharlayan colony. Considering its architecture is very unlike anything we’ve seen in Eorzea, it would make since that it originates from elsewhere. I was really excited to catch a glimpse of those in the trailer, because I’ve been hoping that colony would provide some insight into what Sharlayan proper looks like. Sharlayan seems like it’d be such an interesting place, so I hope we get a chance to go there some day.

masterx25
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masterx25

Denice J Cook thatchefdude The perma-discount only existed because SE screwed up FFXIV1.0 so badly. Not something worthy to give credit for.

Denice J Cook
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Denice J Cook

Gylnne Maybe he means the devs want to get paid and that’s a problem.  You know the type.  :P

Denice J Cook
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Denice J Cook

thatchefdude 
Great rate?  When I peeked into my account, they still wanted $14.95 a month.  Are you one of those that’s been playing since original launch and got a perma-discount?

Haggar
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Haggar

Exciting news! Also is it just me or was that a snide anti Mac comment, seems rather pointless given the topic at hand.

wolfyseyes
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wolfyseyes

Gotta admit, Pally AF2 looks damn fine.

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

Hellbound Heart 
It’s like their version of Northrend, with more floating islands than the original Nagrand could shake a stick at. o.O

Phubarrh
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Phubarrh

Ow, nostalgia for EQ2’s Sundered Frontier triggered again…

eLdritchMD
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eLdritchMD

looking forward to it =)

I’m actually kinda happy it got pushed back a bit… gives me enough time to catch up :D

eLdritchMD
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eLdritchMD

Kosmic it’s the only one I don’t like ._. way too needlessly spikey for my taste

but I love the others!

n4tive
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n4tive

Hmmm.. I think I’m convinced (resubbing that is).

wolfyseyes
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wolfyseyes

Bingo. I don’t expect their servers or instences will be ready for the congestion.
In fact, I wholly anticipate launch to be a week-long cluster.

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

seemsthatway98 ManastuUtakata 
You should stay away from that stuff if it does that to you. :(

omedon666
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omedon666

thatchefdude omedon666 Not disagreeing about their quality, indeed I think they’ve eclipsed Blizzard in all ways but those tied to WoW’s head start, but I have my bones to pick, and I’m also trying not to irresponsibly overspend.

thatchefdude
Guest
thatchefdude

omedon666 Say what you want about the game, Square Enix is the best developer of a AAA MMO today and this game provides the best content and great rate for a sub game.

JonBuck
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JonBuck

usagizero Given how they handle so much in this game with quest unlocks, I’m wondering how they’re going to integrate the Au Ra into the storyline from level 1. Guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

seemsthatway98
Guest
seemsthatway98

ManastuUtakata comment image

JonBuck
Guest
JonBuck
omedon666
Guest
omedon666

For all of my criticisms, these guys are making it really hard not to re-up my subscription…

JonBuck
Guest
JonBuck

Hellbound Heart Griffin mounts? A flying chocobo? Dragon mount? Can’t wait. :D

ManastuUtakata
Guest
ManastuUtakata

Kupo! O.O

usagizero
Guest
usagizero

JonBuck Or the story quests are elsewhere, and you work your way to it. I’m really curious about the details of it all. The zones could be like the ones we have now, where there are areas with different levels of mobs and quests, so the same zone has lower level ones but also higher ones.

wpDiscuz