So what’s coming next in Stormblood? We’re getting Red Mage, we’re getting swimming, we’re getting Ala Mhigo, but what else is right around the corner? Oh, tons of other things. For one thing, the new job is actually Spider-man. Yeah, we were all taking that t-shirt bit far too figuratively.
All right, no, that’s not true. The actual revelations were even better, and if you weren’t up at an unusual hour to catch them all on the livestream, we’ve got them right here.
The keynote started with the same trailer from the Las Vegas keynote, which is pretty much to be expected by this point. However, this time the trailer was slightly expanded with a flyover of other portions of the world, including Othard… and a new scene of a Samurai. Doing the Samurai thing.
At this point, Yoshida emerged in full Samurai garb. It was pretty awesome.
Yoshida stated that the world map has been expanded for Stormblood; while thus far we’ve been limited to Aldenard, we can now see Othard on the map, as well as the obscured heart of the Garlean Empire and Ilsabard. We will, in fact, be traveling to Othard as well as Ala Mhigo; we will also be working on liberating Doma. Instead of focusing on just one city, the story will focus on two.
This is, of course, a pretty big deal, since it means that the world is bigger than expected and that there’s quite a bit more going on. Yugiri will be playing a major role in Stormblood after being largely absent in Heavensward. We also have a new character being introduced named Gosetsu, who’s pretty visibly a Samurai to counterpart Yugiri as a Ninja. He’ll be introduced in the next part of the 3.5 story.
At this point, we had the Samurai reveal. Yoshida was surprised at how quickly fans connected that to Samurai, it seems. After a look at the job, we got a discussion of how it will work in gameplay. Samurai will be a melee DPS; Yoshida took a moment to address any concerns about matching parties with two new DPS jobs and no tank or healer jobs in the expansion. He stated that the people who played tanks or healers in Heavensward remained more or less consistent with a new tank and healer, so it shouldn’t be a major difference.
The main weapon of Samurai is a katana, obviously. Each katana will have a unique scabbard. Like Red Mage, there will be no starting class for Samurai, and the job will start at 50. You’ll be sharing the same equipment as Monks, so you can expect that Samurai will use Strength as an attribute. The job will “chain attacks to deal massive damage,” with several Far Eastern swordplay techniques, unleashing several attacks with the art of “sen” while storing energy in the katana.
At a glance, this sounds rather like another take on the Ninja’s Mudra system, but we don’t yet know all of the details. (It also seems to have some of the same mechanics as the Red Mage Chainspell effect.) Samurai quests will also start in the Eorzean areas, so you need not finish Heavensward storylines first.
Yoshida also stated while recapping features that we’ll very soon know what the scope of the inventory expansion will be; it’s still in heavy development and nothing is yet certain. He also notes that you will still have to throw something away eventually.
The new city for players to congregate in is Kugane, as seen in the trailer. It’s colorful and very different from what we’ve seen in our prior cities. The port town is located on the southern tip of the island chain of Hingashi, a Far Eastern nation with isolationist policies. Foreign trade vessels may dock there, but violent acts are strictly prohibited within Kugane’s borders.
Othard will (obviously) include new areas, including the Ruby Sea, a rocky area with cannons, fortifications, and plenty of pirates. (Those from Limsa Lominsa will be familiar with that.) It’s inhabited by a beast tribe called the Kojin, a tortoise-like people found on and near the Ruby Sea. They’re skilled traders who deal with other races extensively and settle under the sea. They also believe that unique gods, the kami, reside in all things, which leads them to collect powerful items which they believe house powerful kami.
And, of course, they’re a beast tribe, so they have a Primal: Susano, Lord of the Revel. Susano is new to the franchise (although those familiar with Japanese mythology and/or the Persona series may recognize the name). We got a peek at one of the new dungeons, which appears to be the often-seen series staple of the ship graveyard (complete with haunted ships).
Another new area is Yanxia, the home of the city of Doma and under the control of the Garlean Empire. Then there’s the Azim Steppe, a home of the Xaela and the first expansive plain-type area in the game. There was preview footage of the zones, including rice paddies, crystal formations reminiscent of certain areas of Final Fantasy XI, expansive fields, and some rather elaborate structures of unclear origin.
The fourth residential area is also finally revealed to be in Shirogane, off of Hingashi. This means both Far Eastern houses as well as furnishings. While players will gain access to Shirogane at the launch of Stormblood, plots of land will not be made immediately available; players will be busy playing Red Mage and Samurai, so you don’t want to be forced into rushing for housing. When the time is right, plots will be opened in Shirogane, and there will also be a new moving feature to allow you to move estates from one district to another.
Patch 4.0 will also double the furnishing capacity for all estates (presumably including apartments and private rooms). This might cause some issues if you’re on a 32-bit OS, so that’s more reason to upgrade to 64-bit if you haven’t already.
Yoshida then called Nobou Uematsu to the stage, the composer of the prior two expansion themes. Uematsu discussed a bit of the main theme being composed for Stormblood and the ideas behind the song, at which point the theme “Revolutions” was sampled (not played in its entirety). It’s much more of a military march and anthem, and it hints at some plot points possible in the MSQ.
Uematsu and Yoshida both noted that Susan Calloway’s vocals have more or less become the de facto voice of FFXIV, which does create a nice piece of continuity.
At this point, the keynote wrapped up, and it’s clear that we’re going to have a lot of things to look forward to once the expansion comes around. It’s unlikely that anyone had expected the revelation of actually heading to Othard, even if Samurai had been expected. We look forward to more information in the coming months, as we’ve certainly got lots to chew on before Stormblood releases in June of this year.