heavensward

Heavensward is an expansion for Final Fantasy XIV.

Check out Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood’s new abilities in action

The second expansion for Final Fantasy XIV is bringing more than just new abilities; it’s also bringing an extensive set of changes for existing abilities and classes. Yesterday’s live letter covered the changes in brief, including the various job gauges for each job and the new role-specific actions for tanks, healers, and all three types of DPS. But perhaps you’d prefer to see these things in action? You can do exactly that with the latest job ability trailer and screenshots of the same just below.

The letter also revealed that PvP will be changed to have specific job layouts for PvP, with a small selection of traits and abilities replacing the existing system of PvP ranks and improvements. Players will also have access to jumping potions starting on June 16th, with one potion allowing you to level a specific job to 60 instantly and another allowing you to flag all of the MSQ as cleared up through Heavensward. Both will cost $25, so you can use them to speed your way to being ready for all of the new tricks shown below in Stormblood.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward in review – the final assessment

Here we are, then, at the end of this particular road. We’ve had enough time to look back over Heavensward as a whole, the things it did well and the things it did less well, and where do we stand? Was it a good first expansion for Final Fantasy XIV? A pedestrian one? Or did it make the game significantly worse than when it launched?

All right, the answer to the last question there is pretty transparently a “no,” but let’s not derail the opening preamble here too badly. We’re considering here.

The biggest problem with evaluating any expansion at this point is that until Stormblood releases, we don’t really have a great deal of context, just the base game and what came afterward. Context matters a great deal, but it’s easy to speculate about whether Heavensward will go down as being one of the best or one of the worst expansions. But we can at least look at it in relation to the base game, and what it changed.

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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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Square-Enix financials show steady incoming but slow sales on online gaming

If you’re worried about the overall health of Square-Enix, a glance at the company’s most recent financials should assuage any concerns, since the past financial year was quite good for the company. That’s with an extraordinary loss in the company’s yearly evaluation, even. But if you’re worried about the company’s health when it comes just to online games, that’s… also just fine, according to the same report. It’s not as good as it could be, but it’s fine.

The report states that ongoing revenue from the company’s online titles (Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy XIV, and Dragon Quest X in Japan) was steady and reliable, although actual sales and operating income were lower due to the lack of an expansion disk during the year. Considering that the point of comparison was the previous financial year and the release of Heavensward, this would fall under the “unsurprising” header. With Stormblood on the way later this year, it’s good for fans to see that the company continues to post solid results for its various online offerings.

Source: PR Newswire

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward in review – the trials

At a preliminary glance, I think we’ve got about three more weeks of this particular feature, including this column. That sounds like a lot, but hey, I want to give Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward the space it deserves for a proper evaluation. And to the surprise of almost no one who has listened to me ramble on about this stuff before now, I have a lot to say about the expansion. At least we’re through a good portion of it now!

I’ve also gone back through and re-titled some portions of this series simply because numbering wasn’t doing any favors to the overall structure. So if you’re looking through the roundup, it should be easier to tell what each installment is all about.

The “trials” category is, of course, pretty broad; it covers Alexander, the full alliance content, and the Primal fights. It’s also where we start running into some content where I personally just sort of nod and opt out… but we’ll get to that in the column itself. Onward! We can see the endpoint!

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward in review – expert dungeons

It’s benchmark time, friends! I have, no the surprise of no one, already run the benchmark and played around with the character creator (I scored 11,000 or so on max settings, so I’m not worried). So that’s all the more reason to focus on this week’s look across the whole of Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward and look at what went right, what went wrong, and why Palace of the Dead is such a cool addition to the game.

Seriously, if I haven’t mentioned this lately, I really like Palace of the Dead and I can’t wait for our next deep dungeon. It’s a really cool addition.

We’ve also got a roundup of all of these columns at the end, if you need to catch up, because fitting in a rundown of everything was getting increasingly difficult as I’d been doing these in-review columns for more than a month now. Last week, I talked chiefly about leveling dungeons and the zones we ran through along the way; this week, it’s time to start talking about things at the top. Start, naturally, with the expert-level dungeons.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward in review – leveling content

At least we’re finally thought the story. While we walk through a review of Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward in its totality, we’ve taken three weeks covering all of the various stories within the expansion, as well as touching upon a bit of the class design in the last part. Parts one, two, and three cover everything from the main scenario to some of the zone side stories. And now we can move on to the mechanical side of things enthusiastically.

Also, we’re reaching the point where I know I’m going to forget to mention at least one or two things that were really keen from the expansion, but that’s a different discussion.

In terms of sheer volume, of course, Heavensward nearly matched what we got from the base game in terms of patches, and arguably surpassed it in some categories; sure, we only got 10 dungeons from patches rather than 15, but if you didn’t have any interest in Coil in 2.x, you got the entirety of Alexander, which was new. But volume alone isn’t the determinant of how good that content was. So let’s start in on that, albeit not with the dungeons.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward in review – side stories, part two

Boy, I will be really miffed if this winds up taking more time than I have until Final Fantasy XIV‘s second expansion arrives. I will be put out. But there was a lot of stuff here to review! So far we’ve covered a whole lot of story in the first two parts of this series, but there’s… still a bit more story to resolve here! Yeesh. This expansion had some stuff in it.

Of course, it also had other stuff in it, so this time around we can start going into other useful stuff like new jobs and class design. Which is a good thing, since, again, we’ve got a little while longer until Stormblood arrives, but not forever. So enough preamble; let’s finish up talking about the stories in Heavensward, especially as we’re moving into the parts that just unambiguously did not land well.

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward in review – side stories, part one

Here’s a fun fact: I don’t actually know how long this series of columns is going to be at this point. That shouldn’t affect your enjoyment of it, but it’s still true. I just know that I want to cover the entire expansion, top to bottom, and last week we started in by looking at the main scenario quests and story. I hate scores, so I didn’t assign it one, but it was a pretty positive evaluation, so that’s a good thing for Final Fantasy XIV’s first expansion.

Unfortunately for the overall evaluation, that leaves us today diving into the side stories… which is a much less positive tale. Because some of these were just weak, some of them were mildly engaging, and several were flat-out bad. But there were a lot of them, so I can’t be too harsh to the conceptual level, even if the execution was… lacking. Severely, in some places.

So let’s start in with the part of the stories that almost everyone seems to have forgot existed.

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PSA: Get FFXIV and Heavensward for $20 from Humble Bundle

Here’s your solid deal for the day: Humble Bundle is selling both the core Final Fantasy XIV game and its first expansion, Heavensward, for a mere $19.79. Even though this is a subscription game, that price should save you some dough to spend on your second and third month of play.

Keep in mind that FFXIV’s second expansion, Stormblood, is coming out this June. If you haven’t gotten into this game yet, this would be an excellent price point for entry. The deal will expire sometime next Monday, so you have a few days to decide.

Take a look at Eliot’s Heavensward retrospective to help you make up your mind!

Source: Humble Bundle. Hat tip to Belghast!

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Wisdom of Nym: Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward in review – the main scenario

I never really had a chance to explore Final Fantasy XI expansion by expansion. By the time the game launched in North America, the first expansion was already out and was bundled with the game. But Final Fantasy XIV has been worldwide since its launch, which means that I can look at the game both before and after Heavensward in something approaching real time.

Of course, it’s also difficult to evaluate expansions as they’re live, simply because you lack a certain degree of perspective. Still, Heavensward is over, and while I can’t put it in the context of the game’s overall history, I can look at it as it stands as a whole. With five major patches and a whole lot of storytelling, how was the expansion? Didi it start strong and then falter? Did it deliver what it promised? Was it fun all the way through?

The answers to those questions are complex. Fortunately, we’ve got a couple of months to examine the expansion before the next one comes out. So let’s get started with the story.

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Final Fantasy XIV launches patch 3.56 and removes free trial time restrictions

Patch 3.56 has arrived for Final Fantasy XIV, bringing with it the end of the Heavensward main story quests, Season 4 of the competitive Feast rankings, and an increase to the weekly Allagan Tomestone cap, which you’re probably not going to hit on a regular basis. (900 tomestones a week is a lot.) It’s enough stuff to give you good reason to keep working your way across Eorzea until the game’s second expansion comes out in June.

But maybe you haven’t actually bought the game yet. Does the patch still hold something of interest for you? The answer is yes; this patch marks the abolition of the 14-day free trial’s time limitations. So the free trial is now unlimited, although you can’t get higher than level 35 and you’re limited to the base game without Heavensward content. You can check out some screenshots for the patch just below if that’s what you need as an eventual motivator, at that.

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Wisdom of Nym: Speculating on the healer skills Final Fantasy XIV could delete

Tomorrow, we’re getting the end of the Heavensward story quests in Final Fantasy XIV, which means I need to start looking at Heavensward as a whole. For now, however, we can look forward to Stormblood and ask ourselves what we’re not going to be using any longer as healers. And this wrapped up just before the final story patch, so I feel rather satisfied about how that timing worked out.

I’d say “all according to plan” if I remembered actually planning it this way.

As with previous installments, I’d advise you to take a look back through past articles in this series; the first one has tanks and the general philosophy, while the second column tackles melee damage and the third tackles ranged damage of all flavors. Today, we’re finishing things off with healers. That’s kind of a tangled mess with every option other than White Mage, but we’ll plot a course.

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