This report on the FFXIV Fan Fest in Frankfurt comes in two parts. This first part focuses on the expansion itself, with Part 2 focussing on the festival. Enjoy!

For two days only in Frankfurt, Germany, thousands of Hydaelynian adventurers descended on Frankfurt to celebrate Europe’s second Fan Festival for all things Final Fantasy 14.

If you asked me several years ago, I wouldn’t have even thought that the game was going to make it this far. The first iteration of the MMO was a riddled with failures, making Square Enix’s second attempt at an MMO a troubled one indeed. After an emotional destruction of the world that adventurers first came to know, Eorzea’s resurrection in A Realm Reborn catapulted the game into success and is where I joined as an adventurous Elezen (or elf, if you come from outside the FFXIV world).

Fast forward from then to this year’s Fan Festival at Frankfurt and memories of the original game’s destruction are still keenly felt. From Susan Calloway’s chillingly beautiful performance of Answers played against that cutscene to Guinness recognising FFXIV for the record of longest credits in a game (thanks to all those adventurers from the original game being credited), its memories have stuck with the development team and adventurers alike.

If you haven’t watched it yet, go right on ahead and check it out. In my opinion, it’s one of the most powerful cinematics created for a video game.

Now, with the Heavensward expansion reaching its conclusion and FFXIV’s latest expansion around the corner, the rate of the game’s pace has been incredible to be a part of and this festival was a fantastic celebration of everything that led to this point and what’s to come in the future.

Concerning the future, this Fan Fest served to add more pieces to the puzzle of the Stormblood expansion. If you missed the trailer earlier, let’s recap on the key points:

The World Map for Hydaelyn has exploded

Up until now, the adventurers of FFXIV have become accustomed to the realm of Eorzea. With Ishgard to the North being the focus of the Heavensward expansion, it was originally thought that the liberation of Ala Mhigo to the East of Eorzea would be the focus of Stormblood.

It’s as if this school of thought has been thoroughly blasted by a Black Mage’s Flare spell, as the World Map has been expanded significantly.

Check it out below, circled in red is the extent that adventurers have travelled in A Realm Reborn and Heavensward (click for larger view):

In the centre of that map, we have the Garlean Empire, the big bad baddies of Final Fantasy XIV. The Empire occupies the vast expanses of the continent of Othard and the Eorzean nation of Ala Mhigo. Since we originally thought that Ala Mhigo was going to be the sole focus, that means…

More nation states to explore

Beyond core perception that Stormblood’s story will focus on Ala Mhigo’s liberation from the Empire, the story will also focus on the liberation of another Empire-controlled state: Doma. Refugees from Doma and Ala Mhigo have been feeling to Eorzea during the course of FFXIV’s renewed story, and this new expansion should hopefully see some justice made for these two states. As seasoned adventurers may expect, Yugiri- a key character from Doma- will feature prominently in the Stormblood story.

In addition to Ala Mhigo (which we didn’t see screenshots of strangely) and Doma, the isolationist nation of Hingashi will also play a part of the story. The focus of Hingashi’s part of the story will be in the beautiful city of Kugane. This city is the only place where foreigners can visit in Hingashi and as such is the country’s focal point for import and export.

Kugane will also play host to a fourth residential area to go alongside the three areas already present in Eorzea. The district of Shirogane will surely tempt many adventurers and Free Companies to make a move to the Far East. In fact, discussions in the Free Company I’m part of are already taking place on this prospect. In addition to this new residential area, it was announced that a facility to move houses is being worked on by the FFXIV dev team. Combined that with the doubling of housing item limits and interior design will soon become a hot topic among adventurers extremely quickly.

New Jobs!

At previous Fan Fests, we learned that the Red Mage would make its way to FFXIV as a DPS job. Up until Fan Fest at Frankfurt, that was the only new job we were aware of that was making its way to the game. Now we know that a second class is coming and those two will make up the entirety of the new jobs for the game at launch.

The Samurai is another DPS (damage dealing) job, using a Katana to deliver devastating damage singlehandedly. The principle of the job is through the mastery of Far Eastern swordplay techniques, building up energy inside the Katana before unleashing it for major damage. Suspicions of the existence of the Samurai was rife up to its announcement, thinking it would be a new job that would sit in the Tank category. The DPS choice was down to producer Yoshida-san’s interpretation of what a Samurai is, in combination with the decision to keep the number of healer and tank jobs balanced.

For both the Red Mage and the Samurai, the starting level for these jobs will be at Level 50, giving some breathing room to get experience up to the increased level cap of 70.

New Beast Tribe

Nestled between Doma and Hingashi is an expanse called the Ruby Sea. This pirate-ridden area plays host to a new beast tribe for Stormblood called the Kojin.

The Kojin are master traders and are typically very welcoming of foreign races. They have a particular interest in deities, believing that all living things play host to the energies of gods (or Kami). With that in mind, they collect treasures they believe to contain powerful deities and specifically worship one lord in particular. The Kojin consider this god to be above all others and as you’d expect, take the form of another new Primal to take on.

The Lord of the Revel, Susano, is the second Primal that has been designed specifically for Final Fantasy XIV. This acclaim is now reserved to just two Primals that are present in the FFXIV universe. Both Susano and Ravana are unique to the game, whereas other Primals have been adapted from previous Final Fantasy games.

Other tidbits…

One small but significant tidbit revealed during the keynote was the announcement that your maximum inventory capacity is going to increase alongside the earlier mentioned housing item capacities. The latter is a key driver for two other moves happening with regards to system support.

If you play FFXIV on PC, you’ll need to make sure that you’re running a 64-bit operating system by the time Stormblood comes out. The enhancement to the minimum requirements is worth bearing in mind when it comes to getting prepared for the expansion’s release. I’ve requested comment from Square Enix on any further changes to requirements and will let you know once I’ve received a clearer picture.

For consoles, Stormblood will also mark the end of PS3 support for Final Fantasy XIV. Fortunately, a free upgrade campaign is in place to transfer across to the PS4 gratis. Visit this link on the Lodestone to find out more on how to transfer your game. As an added bonus for those coming back to the game, if your subscription was expired at the time you process the upgrade you’ll be gifted with fourteen days of free game time. Not bad!

One other thing…

During a press Q&A, Yoshida-san mentioned that plans are in place for Blitzball to come to Final Fantasy 14! Given that swimming is already going to be a coming with Stormblood, it makes a lot of sense.

Check out our post on this here to find out more! As it stands, the thinking now is on how to make it fit in the overall FFXIV universe, to make it fit with the lore of Hydaelyn. I suspect this will be a similar exercise to how they implemented the Manderville Gold Saucer. Hopefully, we’ll find out more about this soon!

That wraps up the majority of tasty news that came out of the Final Fantasy 14 Fan Festival at Frankfurt. In our next report, we’ll dive a bit deeper into what the Festival itself was like! Join us soon for that detailed report.