expansions

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood has launched today

The time is finally here. While pre-ordered players were able to play from Friday onward, Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood officially launches today. Players of all sorts can log in and start fighting for the liberation of Ala Mhigo and Doma beneath the heel of Imperial occupation; the developers have even officially confirmed that the instance issues hitting the game at the start of Early Access have been largely resolved. (Most players were able to solve those issues on Sunday, but the official statement is still nice.)

Not currently a subscriber? You can take part in the game’s Welcome Back campaign to take a trip in and see what all of the fuss over Red Mage and Samurai is about. Planning to remain a subscriber? You can take part in the game’s first subscription loyalty campaign to pick up a mount based off of the Falcon in Final Fantasy VI. Just want to catch a roundup and the launch trailer again? Jump on down below, friends.

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Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood early access is live

The time has come, everyone. Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is now available for play on PlayStation 4 and PC, assuming you pre-ordered and registered your early access code. You can log in right now and explore everything! Or you can sit at work and know there will be a queue and everyone will have Red Mage to 70 by the time you get home. One or the other.

And yes, there is a queue. At the time of this writing, an issue is also affecting instanced content, preventing certain job quests or content in the Duty Finder from being accessed, but the development team is hard at work correcting the issues. So expect issues, but also expect work on them. It’s almost like an expansion launch or something.

Of course, if you are stuck at work, you can enjoy a video tour of the expansion dungeons just past the break. And don’t worry, it’ll still be here in a little bit. There are only, like, five level-capped Red Mages so far. That’s hardly any.

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The Daily Grind: Do you alter your sleep schedule for major MMO releases?

Friday is when Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood comes out. It’ll be early on Friday, too, at around 5:00 a.m. EDT. And that’s not too far from when I normally wake up, which means that the temptation to wake up a few hours earlier and take part in what will no doubt be a mad rush on the servers is… significant, let’s say.

Of course, I remember when World of Warcraft would launch an expansion and my wife and I would actually stay up past midnight to take part in the launch and the first moments of live service. We’d usually try to nap the day before, rearrange our entire schedules crudely around the servers being up. It was only for a couple of days, but it was notable.

At this point, I won’t do that, but I could live with getting up a couple of hours early. What about you, dear readers? Do you alter your sleep schedule for major MMO releases? And if so, what do you consider “major” enough to qualify?

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Take a tour through the eastern zones coming with Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood

Yesterday was a big preview for Final Fantasy XIV fans about the upcoming Stormblood, full of details on the abilities of every single job, one of the dungeons, and so forth. Did you miss it? You can catch up on the whole thing from our landing post right here. But it didn’t include a real look at the areas where you’ll be using all of these new abilites. What’s the actual landscape going to be like?

Good news: the new Tour of the East video can be watched just below, and it should give you an idea of the regions you’ll be exploring around Ala Mhigo and in Othard alike. At six minutes long, it’s a quick watch, but it should help whet your appetite for the expansion’s early access launch on June 16th. Consider it a look into your future of exploration.

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Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood preview: The dungeon

Don’t miss the rest of our Stormblood preview coverage!
One of the core parts of Final Fantasy XIV is dungeon crawling. I’m reluctant as heck to say that it lies at the very heart of the game – after all, there’s acres of content and gameplay which never involves setting foot in a dungeon, and that’s even if you count the other instanced content which is technically not a dungeon under the same header – but it’s sure somewhere near the heart. One of the lungs, perhaps. Or the aorta. It’s important, that’s the real takeaway.

So it only makes sense that as part of our hands-on look at Stormblood, we would get to dive into a dungeon. I can’t tell you the story behind Shisui of the Violet Tides here, but I can tell you it was synced to level 63 and it was very visibly part of the aesthetics of Othard. It was time to take on the challenge of the dungeon with nothing more than pluck, determination, and a large number of role skills and class changes pretty much none of us had yet acclimated to!

And thus I took Red Mage as my job in the dungeon, because I hadn’t made it hard enough on myself yet.

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Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood preview: The healers

Don’t miss the rest of our Stormblood preview coverage!
Healers! You need them in Final Fantasy XIV. Seriously, they’re vital, and not just to make sure the tank doesn’t enjoy a new experience with several new unscheduled puncture holes. Everyone needs healers, and the three existing healer jobs will have to work overtime in Stormblood to be as flashy and fun as the new DPS jobs. Even though Square-Enix is pretty certain that anyone who has signed up to be a healer at this point is pretty well committed.

The healer role is also the hardest one to test out and get a feel for without a group, which means that my impressions of the healers is also perhaps the least in-depth out of all three. This isn’t because I don’t love healers, just because there’s only so much you can glean from not playing a healer in dungeons. But I did still get a chance to play around with the relevant tools, and I think it’s safe to say that if you’re already fond of playing a healer, it’s going to be both easier and more engaging in Stormblood.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward in review – odds and ends

By the time you read this, I’ll be up in the air flying across the country. Assuming you read it on the day it publishes, anyhow, and odds are that you will do so since you certainly won’t be playing Final Fantasy XIV today. Which makes for a good day to take a closer look at the odds and ends of Heavensward, doesn’t it? I sure hope so, because that’s what I’ve got lined up, it’s going to cause problems if this is a bad time.

We’ve covered the majority of the game’s battle content, but there’s still a bit more stuff to cover, and I could probably go into more depth on a few areas if I wanted this to be even longer. But let’s start by covering the content that, arguably, flopped pretty badly on launch, to the point where the whole system got yanked, revised, and returned in a much more tolerable form. Which has its own problems, but hopefully provides a good template moving forward.

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Path of Exile previews updated NPC models and adds new cosmetics to its store

Since Path of Exile’s next major update is really heavy on story, it’s the perfect time for the team behind the game to work on updating old NPC models around the game. After all, you don’t want to be pulled out of the experience by noticing that a character model is slightly sub-par before you go laying waste to everything around you with explosions of lightning. Nessa and Tarkleigh’s models are both available for preview, with a quick glance making it rather clear which model is the new and improved version.

Of course, with all of the good work being done on The Fall of Oriath, perhaps you’re inclined to drop a little money on the game to support these kinds of huge updates. So it’s a good thing there’s new stuff to spend money on, including a wallaby pet, a swarm of bats, and a glowing red portal effect. (Glowing red portals are the best portals.) You can check out some of the video previews for these new items in the store, which should be helpful for determining how much you need a virtual wallaby.

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Final Fantasy XIV’s latest live letter discusses inventory, benchmarks, and housing in Stormblood

The anticipation for Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is pretty high among the game’s players at this point. It’s just under two months away, and there’s still so much left to learn about what it’ll be like. The latest live letter from producer and director Naoki Yoshida certainly does answer some questions, though, like how much players can expect in terms of inventory expansion: Basic inventory will add 40 more spaces, and 10 more slots will be added to each Armoury Chest category.

Moving your housing (which will not be available at expansion launch) will be a matter of buying the new land and then indicating you wish to move; if you buy a larger plot of land than your existing spot, you’ll have your furniture stored for convenience. Players can also look forward to receiving the full set of artifact armor in a box for the level 70 job quests, and there should be a benchmark available in the near future… like, say, right now. There’s a lot to digest from the live letter, so feel free to take a look at GamerEscape’s point-by-point summary while you wait for the benchmark and figure out what to do with 130 new Armoury Chest spots.

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EverQuest II outlines upcoming familiars, cooperative competitions, and a level boost in the near future

Are you cooperative or competitive in EverQuest II? Do you like to work with others or work against them? The good news is that according to the newest producer’s letter, you’ll have an opportunity to do both with the game’s new “co-opetitive” challenges. (That’s their term, not ours.) You’ll work together with your group to clear content, and in the process you’ll be hindering and trying to go faster than other groups doing the same challenge. The rewards are new loot, including the upcoming Familiars, companions that can allow you access to stat boosts and the like.

The game is also offering a free level 100 boost token for players with accounts existing before April 20th, or players who make a subsequent account with paid membership time before the promotion starts up on May 2nd. There are also plans in motion for the game’s upcoming expansion and a new time-locked expansion server with special Heritage quest rewards. So there’s a lot to look forward to on the game’s live servers for the next couple of months, whether you like being part of a team or working against a team. Or both.

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Final Fantasy XIV updates the Stormblood site with screenshots and lore

We’ve still got a couple of months to go before Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is released, but at this point we all know what’s coming next. So why not read some lore about it beforehand? The official site for the expansion has been updated with screenshots, lore, and details about the new beast tribes, new jobs, and new regions being added to the game in both Gyr Abania and Othard.

So, for example, do you want to know where Red Mages come from? It turns out that the job was developed from the survivors of the War of the Magi from Mhach and Amdapor, unifying their black and white magics into a new order with other refugees. Curious to learn more about the Lord of the Revel, Susano, primal to the aquatic Kojin? You can read all of that on the official site, or you can take a peek down below for all of the screenshots you could want.

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Star Trek Online brings Agents of Yesterday to consoles

The original Star Trek series has come to consoles with the latest update to Star Trek Online. Sure, you could always stream the original series with Netflix, but why not jump into Agents of Yesterday? The expansion goes live today, giving players who prefer to play from the couch the option of creating a captain from the old-school Federation and trek along in the warp signature of Captain James T. Kirk.

PC players have already gotten to experience this expansion and everything it has to offer, so if you’ve already been playing on your desktop, the experience will be rather familiar. If not, however, you’ve got new missions, a new specialization, new ships, and all sorts of other fun things to explore bridging the past (our future) and the present (also our future, just further in the future). Check out some screenshots down below and get your consoles patching.

Of course, do note that the maintenance is currently being extended for some time, so… don’t be in too much of a rush to get that patching started.

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