FFXIV: Stormblood Will Have Insanely Time Consuming Story Requirements like Heavensward

Update: And just like that, Square Enix has announced an option to skip this required progression. In today’s Letter From The Producer Live, producer Naoki Yoshida confirmed that four potions will be available at Stormblood‘s launch as follows:

  • Tales of Adventure: A Realm Reborn ($18) – This will flag all main scenario quests from 2.0 through 2.55 as complete.
  • Tales of Adventure: Heavensward ($25) – This will flag all main scenario quests from 2.0 through 3.56 as complete.
  • Job Level Boost – Boost a job to level 60. Initially, Red Mage and Samurai will not be supported.

This largely addresses my complaints, although the $25 cost is a bit steep. Nonetheless, we would like to thank Square Enix for making this move.

Original: As Final Fantasy XIV gears up for a new chapter, its player base has begun deliberate preparation by pushing to complete Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward’s mountain of content while optimizing their gear. Although much of these efforts have been localized to the active player base, those who haven’t played in a while may need it most.

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is arriving on June 20th, and unlike expansions for most modern games it won’t provide access to its content without the player first having completed a surprisingly large number of prerequisites.

Stormblood’s level 60 to 70 content will be gated behind Heavensward’s main scenario quests. This is a composition of more than a dozen story-driven quests that were made available during the expansion’s launch, in addition to 44 that were added in subsequent updates numbered 3.1 to 3.5.

After months of speculation, Square Enix confirmed the prerequisites earlier this month with a forum post by community representative Sicycre, who stated the following:

Hi, everyone~!

As many of you have mentioned, the completion of the Heavensward main scenario questline is required in order to access Stormblood areas and content.

However, this time the NPCs to unlock the new jobs, red mage and samurai, will be located in non-Stormblood areas so that players can become these new jobs ahead of the journey into Stormblood.

We reached out to the media that conducted this interview to get it updated for clarity.

Hopefully, that clears up any confusion!

In addition, pre-release marketing material reads, “You will need to complete the main scenario quests for Heavensward to journey to Ala Mhigo and Doma in the new Expansion”, effectively confirming Square Enix’s stance on the matter.

This was similarly the case with Heavensward, which required main scenario quest completion at a similar scale.

Learning of Stormblood‘s requirements this past week, I was both overwhelmed and struck with deja-vu. Almost exactly two years ago I faced a similar situation, having fallen behind in progression yet needing to complete the entirety of A Realm Reborn’s main scenario quest offerings in order to play Heavensward at launch. I even wrote about my personal frustration hoping that Square Enix would take the feedback into consideration. Though, as indicated in the comments section, a large portion of the community preferred the steep requirements despite it severely limiting the accessibility of the game.

Also Read: FFXIV’s Redemption Continues with Stormblood, an Expansion Rich of Meaningful Improvements

Thus, this week I was forced to return to Final Fantasy XIV earlier than I anticipated to fulfill the requirements so I can immediately jump into the expansion, play it, and properly write launch coverage and even a review once it arrives. After all, I consider myself not only a huge Final Fantasy fan, but a veteran Final Fantasy XIV player with multiple maximum level jobs, and a full library of collector’s editions dating back to its original pre-ARR release.

During this past weekend I started getting caught up. After eight hours of work I barely made any progress, sadly. It isn’t necessarily the whopping total of 44 quests that makes this a huge barrier, but rather the several quests involving dungeons that have high item level requirements.

My journey began on a good note, having knocked out all of 3.1’s main scenario quests without a hitch. However, a few more quests down the road and I was required to complete Antitower, a dungeon that can only be entered with an item level of 180 or higher. “Here we go again”, I thought to myself. Since I last quit shortly after Heavensward’s release, my item level was only 172, far short of the minimum.

I soon found myself staring at the auction house for more than half an hour, looking for the most inexpensive items that would upgrade my outdated gear. After careful investigation, I would find myself investing more than 800,000 gil to jump just 13 item levels. While only moving the needly ever-so-slightly, at the very least I was able to enter Antitower and continue progressing.

Also Read: Heavensward’s 2.55 Story Requirement Is Insane and Hurts the Expansion

But this was just the beginning. In order to complete all the required main scenario quests I will eventually need to finish Sohr Khai, The Final Steps of Faith, Xelphatol, and eventually Baelsar’s Wall, the last of which requires item level 230 to enter.

As just about any Final Fantasy XIV player will tell you, obtaining item level 230 is no easy task. For the average player it requires months of work, and at the very least 40 or more hours of dungeon running and quest-completion, much of involves old, outdated content that active players simply have no interest in anymore.

But I have no choice. If I want to play Stormblood, I have to keep moving forward. It’s either I do this now, or feel pressured to complete the older content when just about everyone else is having fun enjoying the “new stuff”.

If you’re like me and need to get caught up before playing Stormblood, I recommend the following:

  • Queue every day for duty roulettes that provide Tomestones of
  • Buy item level 220 or 250 equipment on the auction house as your budget permits
  • Progress through Palace of the Dead to obtain your item level 235 weapon
  • Run the highest difficulty dungeon available for equipment drops

A much more comprehensive guide has been published on FFXIV‘s subreddit.

There’s no way around it, this is time consuming and at times soul-draining. There are several other games I want to play and cover in the coming weeks, including The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind, but for now I’m busy finishing these main scenario quests that will likely take me the entirety of the next three weeks leading up to E3 to finish.

Some veteran players argue that these strict requirements are good for the game, ensuring that everyone has to consume the full breadth of Final Fantasy XIV’s narrative in order to move forward. However, for those who don’t play regularly, or take little interest in the story, it comes across as a potential deal-breaker for an expansion that offers a large number of attractive gameplay and content options.

On the plus side, Red Mage and Samurai will be available to everyone regardless of their item level, provided they have at least one level 50 job. But even then, these two jobs won’t have access to the level 60 to 70 areas and new endgame without first completing the Heavensward main scenario quest as with every other job.

Final Fantasy XIV producer Naoki Yoshida has confirmed that [Update: The potion will be available at Stormblood‘s launch for $25 and will auto-complete all Heavensward story content] at some point a potion will be added to the game, likely in the form of an optional DLC purchase, that will instantly auto-complete all main scenario quests so that the player can move forward without a hitch. Unfortunately, his language during interviews hinted that it won’t be made available until a few months down the road, long after Stormblood’s release.

My biggest problem with these requirements isn’t how they affect me, but how they affect others. I have friends who have played Final Fantasy XIV casually over the years to enjoy group content alongside me. None of them are interesting in spending the dozens of hours required to complete the main scenario quests. It looks like even though I’m willing to put in the time to make this work, I will be playing alone.

Stormblood will introduce two new jobs, additional areas, a level cap increase to 70, adjustments to the game’s battle system, swimming, and much more.