Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is the second expansion pack of Final Fantasy XIV, announced at the 2016 Fan Fest, being released for PC, Macintosh, and PlayStation 4. It was released on June 20, 2017. It officially marked the end of Final Fantasy XIV on PlayStation 3, with support for the platform being discontinued coinciding with the expansion's launch.
The expansion sees Adventurers heading to the Gyr Abania region in eastern Aldenard and beyond to the continent of Othard, liberating both the city-states of Ala Mhigo and Doma from the Garlean Empire.
Shortly after the events of the finale of the Heavensward expansion, the Warrior of Light and their comrades make way to the war torn region of Gyr Abania, home to the city state of Ala Mhigo, which is under the control of the Garlean Empire. After tragedy strikes in the wake of the Adventurer's efforts to help the Ala Mhigan resistance at the hand of the Imperial Viceroy Zenos yae Galvus, the Warrior of Light makes their way to the land of Orthard to the east to help liberate the Kingdom of Doma from the Empire. What follows is a quest that revolves around the liberation of both Ala Mhigo and Doma.
- The expansion automatically increases the level cap to 70 for all disciplines.
- New jobs Red Mage and Samurai.
- A revamped battle system that introduces the Job Gauge gameplay mechanic, which gives every job a unique gauge to eliminate the complexity of managing important buffs or to introduce more unique job elements. In addition, the cross-class system is removed from the game and replaced with a new Cross Role system. Lastly, certain stats have been reworked, replaced, or became exclusive to certain roles.
- New new vast zone areas that allow players to go swimming in bodies of water and support flying mounts.
- New locations: in Othard can be found the Ruby Sea, home to pirates and the Kojin beast tribe; Yanxia, home to the Garlean-occupied Doma; and the Azim Steppe, ancestral home of the Au Ra. The Fringes, The Peaks, and The Lochs make up Gyr Abania.
- Two new cities: Rhalgr's Reach in Gyr Abania, and Kugane in Hingashi.
- A new far eastern styled housing area, Shirogane, in Hingashi.
- Two new Beast Tribes, the Ananta, a serpentine tribe, and the Kojin, a tortoise-like tribe.
- New Primals, including the Ananta primal Lakshmi, Lady of Bliss, and the Kojin primal Susano, Lord of the Revel.
- A new high-end raid: Interdimensional Rift - Omega, the Bend of Time.
- A new 24-man raid series: Return to Ivalice, with a story written by Yasumi Matsuno.
- Expanded inventory space up to 140 slots.
Note that the below version updates also added features and adjustments to A Realm Reborn (2.x) or Heavensward (3.x) content.
The Legend Returns (4.1)
Released on October 10, 2017, The Legend Returns was the first major patch released for the Stormblood expansions. The patch debuts The Return to Ivalice raid series with the The Royal City of Rabanastre 24-main raid. The Minstrel's Ballad: Shinryu's Domain was added as a new Extreme difficulty trial for players. The main scenario received its first continuation following the events of Ala Mhigo's liberation and the Drowned City of Skalla was added as a new main scenario Expert dungeon.
The Grand Companies' Adventurer Squadrons system was expanded to feature exploration of certain instanced dungeons as party members. A new introductory quest for the Hildibrand Manderville questline was implemented, as well as the Kojin beast-tribe quests. In addition, several new gear sets were added into the game through dungeons and recipes. Lastly, the new housing area of Shirogane also now allowed for players to purchase housing and apartments in the facility and the housing relocation feature was added into the game.
The new high end challenge known as the Unending Coil of Bahamut will be added into the game in patch 4.12. It will serve as the introduction for the newest tier of end-game raiding known as "(Ultimate)", which is meant for only the most determined and experienced players.
While not a change within the game itself, the Mogstation online store lifted the one "Adventuring Record" limit per character restriction, so players are now allowed to purchase multiple records to level up multiple jobs to level 60.
Rise of a New Sun (4.2)
Released on January 30, 2018, patch 4.2 introduced a story set in Doma for the new main scenario's quests. As for instanced duties, it brought the new dungeonsHells' Lid and the Fractal Continuum (Hard); the second part of the Omega - The Bend of Time raid series with Omega: Sigmascape and its Savage version, featuring Final Fantasy VI themed battles; and a new trial series: "The Four Lords", starting with The Jade Stoa and its Extreme mode. The Castrum Meridianum and Praetorium dungeons were also adjusted.
A new system called "Duty Recorder" was added, so players can record their experiences in certain duties. For now, just the two versions of the Jade Stoa trial ara available for recording.
The Adventurer Squadrons system was expanded to include more playable dungeons. Some other things were also implemented, such as the Ananta Beast Tribe quests, an update for both the inventory, glamour, Perform, and plot purchasing systems, Subaquatic Voyages, and adjustments for the Lost Canals of Uznair and for the EXP rates for crafters. The PvP mode "the Feast" also received a new map: the Crystal Tower Training Grounds; rule revisions and ranked team matches as well.
Patch 4.25 included a new chapter for the Hildibrand Manderville questline. It also introduced a new sidestory with the instanced duty Forbidden Land of Eureka - Anemos, in which players can explore a mysterious land related with a previous event mentioned earlier in A Realm Reborn. Also, the players can collect certain items to get the new Relics, which this time consists in both weapons and gear.
Under the Moonlight (4.3)
Released May 22, 2018, the Main Scenario quests will bring a close to the Doma storyline, and will start a new one, leaving the Doma reconstruction as part of a new sidequest series. It will also continue the Return to Ivalice raid series with the Ridorana Lighthouse 24-main raid, and the Four Lords storyline. New instances are also included, such as a new dungeon: the Swallow's Compass, and a new Trial for the Main Scenario, both in normal and extreme modes.
Patch 4.3 will see changes to some features: the Duty Roulette will have a new one for High-End Raids; a new beast tribe: the Namazu, focused on crafting and gathering; new sounds and animations for the Performance action; guestbooks and mannequins for housing; and a new custom delivery client: Kurenai. Some features will have adjustments like the loot system for Alliance Raids, jobs, and PvP. The patch 4.3 will also bring the cross-world Linkshells, so players can create Linkshells to be in contact with players from other servers.
Sometime after it's initial release, it is planned more content like the continuation of the Hildibrand sidequests, and new instances: a new Ultimate Trial: The Minstrel's Ballad: The Weapon's Refrain; the next section of The Forbidden Land of Eureka: Pagos; and Heaven-on-High, a new Deep Dungeon similar to the Palace of the Dead.
Prelude in Violet (4.4)
Released on September 18, 2018, the Main Scenario will continue with a new storyline in a way Yoshida compared like the "start of a new season in a TV series". It will also introduce the second trial of the Four Lords storyline and the final tier of the Omega high-end raid series.
Two new dungeons are also included: the Burn and the Saint Mocianne's Arboretum (Hard). There will be also some job adjustments like the increase of slots for Role Actions, some updates to PvP and Eternal Bond stuff, a new GATE at the Gold Saucer, and the Lost Canals of Uznair will be updated too. New recipes will be included and a new fishing hole at the Doman Enclave as well. Players will also be able to rank up in their Grand Companies to the new Captain rank.
In patch 4.45, they will continue the Hildibrand sidequest, and include the third installment of The Forbidden Land of Eureka.
A Requiem for Heroes (4.5)
Just like the final patches of previous versions of the game, this one will be split into two parts, the first planned to be released on January 2019 and the second on March 2019.
The Main Scenario will lead the players to the events of Shadowbringers including a new dungeon called Ghimlyt Dark. It will also close the storylines of the Four Lords and Return to Ivalice with their respective duties: the trial against Seiryu and the alliance raid of the Orbonne Monastery.
4.5 will also bring the final chapter of Hildibrand's Stormblood quests, new content for the Gold Saucer including a new GATE, a new map for the Rival Wings PvP mode, and Hydatos, the last instance of the Eureka expeditions.
One of the most important features of this patch will be the introduction of the Blue Mage as the first of the new "limited job" class, a job designed for Solo Play to work in a new activity known as the Masked Carnivale. Another feature will be the possibility to visit another "Worlds" inside the same Data Center, and both new Data Centers and Worlds for North America and Europe. However, Worlds will be redistributed.
- The literal name of the expansion in Japanese is Guren no Kaihō-sha (紅蓮の解放者?), which translates to "Liberators of the Crimson Lotus". However, the term Kaihō-sha (解放者?) is meant to be read as Riberētā (リベレーター?) in accordance with the furigana provided.
- As with his Batman/James Bond teases for Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, director Naoki Yoshida wore a Scarlet Witch shirt to the announcement event to tease a new upcoming class. Scarlet Witch is a synonym for Red Mage. At another event he wore a Spider-Man shirt to tease a different class, which was a much more obscure connection - namely the similar spelling between film director Sam Raimi, who directed the 2000s Spider-Man trilogy, and Samurai.