It’s been a strong couple of years for Final Fantasy 14 (styled as Final Fantasy XIV). In 2019, the popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) released its third expansion, Shadowbringers, to widespread critical acclaim. This major content release sits at a strong 90/100 on Metacritic, with an equally glowing user score.
Looking at the future, Square Enix recently announced Endwalker, its fourth expansion due out in Fall 2021, which will take Warriors of Light to mystical new locales including the Moon. Final Fantasy 14 is also making its way to PS5, with those who own the game on PS4 eligible for a free upgrade.
Even though the future of FF14 is looking rather rosy, the development team at Square Enix has struggled with the Covid-19 outbreak. It’s made no secret of this fact, as months-long content delays were met with apologies from the team. Aside from these hiccups, though, Final Fantasy 14 has managed to keep a somewhat steady patch release schedule throughout Shadowbringers, keeping players engaged with new story quests, raids and other unique forms of content.
But what makes Final Fantasy 14 stand out from the crowd? Unlike most other MMOs, FF14 focuses very broadly on its story. It’s a cutscene heavy experience with an abundance of stylized “old English” dialog and a wealth of lore for concepts both grand and small. Even much of the game’s side content will tie back into the main story in some way.
What is Final Fantasy 14?
Final Fantasy 14 is an MMORPG that was originally released in 2010. This version of the game, collectively referred to as “1.0,” was a far cry from the game players know and love today. Filled with bugs, confusing gameplay, needless progression roadblocks and poor optimization, it was soon shelved in order for the game to undergo a massive rework. This led to 2013’s release of Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn on both PC and PlayStation 3.
Final Fantasy 14 is currently available on Windows 10, Steam and PlayStation 4. A PS5 version of the game is also on the way, with an open beta scheduled for release on April 13. The open beta will be available to try for players who have the game registered on PS4. When fully released, the PS5 upgrade will be available to PS4 players at no extra cost.
The PS5 version of Final Fantasy 14 boasts a high-resolution interface (something that has actually been lacking, even on the current PC and PS4 versions), much faster load times between areas, as well as support for 4K resolution and general improvements to performance.
As a massively multiplayer online game, the world of Final Fantasy 14 is shared among thousands of players simultaneously. Players can choose to undertake quests solo, or team up with other players and/or friends to tackle instances like dungeons, raid bosses and much more.
There’s a range of battle-oriented classes new players can choose in the character creation process. From axe-wielding Marauders to damage healing Conjurers and everything in between, the initial selection has something for everyone.
Don’t like the class you picked at the start? You can simply unlock another one by visiting the appropriate guild or non-player character (NPC). There’s no need to make another character to try out different classes, then, and even more will unlock as you progress through each expansion.
If you need to take a break from the frontlines, though, Final Fantasy 14 has you covered with a suite of crafting and gathering classes. Both are incredibly robust and many players spend the majority of their play time on these systems alone.
How can I play Final Fantasy 14?
Interested now? You’re in luck. Square Enix offers a free trial to all new players that haven’t subscribed in the past. The free trial is incredibly generous, allowing new Warriors of Light to experience the base game and the first expansion Heavensward in its entirety, with a level cap of 60. There’s no time limit on the free trial, either, so feel free to explore the land of Eorzea at your leisure.
If the free trial made a good impression, the Complete Edition is available for purchase on Windows, Steam and PS4. This retails at $39.99 (£34.99 /AU$50) when not on sale, and features all the game’s content up to and including the latest expansion, Shadowbringers. Keep in mind that the Complete Edition does go on sale somewhat regularly, usually for 50% off, so consider that if you’re on the fence.
Final Fantasy 14 does employ a monthly subscription fee of $12.99 (£8.99 /AU$10) if you want to enjoy the game long term, past the free trial restrictions.
Final Fantasy 14 Patch 5.5 details and release date
Before we reach Endwalker and the release of Patch 6.0 this Fall, Square Enix isn’t quite done with content for its current expansion, Shadowbringers. Patch 5.5 will put a pretty bow on the game’s Shadowbringers content, and the main story should lead us nicely into Endwalker.
This new patch, ominously titled Death Unto Dawn, will see its main story content split into two parts. Part 1 will release on April 13, the same day as the PS5 open beta. Part 2 is scheduled for the end of May, with no concrete release date as of yet. Besides the main story content, Patch 5.5 looks like it won’t leave players wanting.
Patch 5.5 will release the final raid in the YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse saga. This crossover with Nier: Automata has been a bit of a divisive one among players, many who feel the story has been lacking. Hopefully, this last raid in the series can address those issues, and tie the world of Nier successfully into Final Fantasy 14.
Players will also get to witness the conclusion of The Sorrow of Werlyt storyline. This series of trials pitched players against familiar Final Fantasy 7 superbosses: the Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald Weapons. Patch 5.5 will close out with Diamond Weapon, the most powerful of them all. Both Normal and Extreme difficulties will of course be present as usual.
Updates to the Triple Triad card game, a new Custom Delivery client for crafters and gatherers, and various hotfixes to the Resistance Weapon quest line are all coming, too. Unfortunately, those looking forward to the planned Ultimate difficulty Dragonsong War trial have another lengthy delay in store. That content has sadly been pushed back into 6.1, after the release of Endwalker.
Final Fantasy 14 Endwalker expansion details, release date and more
On February 5, Final Fantasy 14 director and producer Naoki Yoshida presented an announcement showcase for the next expansion, Endwalker. The first thing that was shown off was a brand new CG trailer, announcing that Endwalker will launch in Fall 2021.
The showcase touched on the things we can expect when Endwalker releases. For the most part, the main story will take us back on home soil, Eorzea, after traipses to the east and to other worlds entirely.
Yoshida was quick to detail one of two new Jobs (playable classes) that will be added in Endwalker. That being the Sage, a new healer with some delightfully sci-fi looking lasers. Oh, those lasers can fly, too, and float independently of the user. The second new class was confirmed to be a melee DPS (a close-range damage dealer) but that’s all we know so far.
One announcement that really stuck with players was the Island Sanctuary. This was billed as more casual, laid-back content for any player to enjoy. Most likely it won’t be dissimilar to farming sims like Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon.
Not much is known about this new mode currently, except that we will be put in charge of our very own instanced island paradise. It’s also a place where the player’s minions (collectable critters that follow you around the overworld) can roam free, and potentially perform tasks themselves.
Scant details were revealed about the new raids that will feature in Endwalker. Firstly, the new eight-man raid series will be titled Pandaemonium, the announcement of which was accompanied only by an ominous piece of key art. Almost nothing was shared about the new 24-man alliance raids, however, only that it will be a move away from the last two expansions’ focus on crossovers, in favor of an original story.
In terms of new trials, (Final Fantasy 14’s term for boss fights) fans were treated to a key art of Anima. The fan favorite boss is making a return from its appearance in Final Fantasy 10. This was joined by concept art and in-game screenshots of some new dungeons and overworld areas including Garlemald, the Imperial capital players have been eager to visit ever since A Realm Reborn.
Rounding out the announcements were details on the upcoming downscaling of numbered values throughout the game. Yoshida went into minute detail of what will be happening here. Essentially, the numbers the game is currently handling right now are far too big (bosses have HP values in the hundreds of millions, for example) and their bloated size is causing bugs within the game.
Yoshida was adamant in explaining that while numbers across the board will be downscaled, it’s all relative. Even though our damage numbers will be significantly lower, players themselves aren’t getting any less powerful. It’s one way the team is future proofing itself for all content in the coming years.
Finally, players will see their belts removed. No, not like that. Belts have been something of a bane to players for years. They’re not visible on characters at all, and they offer negligent stat bonuses compared to the more valuable gear pieces. As a result, Square is doing away with them entirely.
The slots belts currently occupy in the Armory Chest will instead be allocated to primary weapons and ring slots, with some storage being held in reserve until the team knows what it wants to do with them.
Patch 5.45 details
Final Fantasy 14’s latest patch, 5.45, released on February 2. The updates it brought included new content for Shadowbringers’ Resistance weapon quest line and a heap of new abilities for the Blue Mage job. You can read our full breakdown of Patch 5.45 here.