Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward is the first expansion pack for the successful multi-platform MMORPG from Square Enix, released simultaneously in Japan, North America, and Europe/Australia on June 23rd, 2015 for PS3, PS4, Mac and Windows. In August 2020, with Final Fantasy XIV's 5.3 update, the Heavensward expansion was bundled into the game's free trial.
The Dragonsong War and the Road to Ishgard Opens
Heavensward focuses on the north-central Aldenard region of Eorzea, namely around the city-state of Ishgard and regions of Dravania and Coerthas. The expansion marks the first time the majority of these areas were made accessible, as they were hinted at but inaccessible even in the launch of Final Fantasy XIV 1.0.
Dravania is the home of the dragons in Eorzea, and they have been in an endless war with the Holy See of Ishgard. Mounting troubles in the war, from both the dragons and from heretical forces inside of Ishgard, leads some within Ishgard's complicated political system to open their borders, calling upon the Warrior of Light for aid.
Heavensward, introduced three new jobs to the game: Dark Knight (DRK), Astrologian (AST), and the Machinist (MCH). These jobs, unlike previously available jobs, start at level 30, and do not have a second-tier progression.
Dark Knights are a tank class which use MP and darkness abilities to perform their job functions.
They wield the two-handed Great sword as their weapon of choice, and focus on parrying and evasion for damage mitigation.
The Astrologian is a healer job, wielding the unique Star Globe weapon, and using a divining deck of celestial cards to provide support for the party.
The machinist is a ranged DPS job who wields firearms and also can call upon deployed turrets to debuff foes, or enhance party members.
New Player Race - Au Ra
Heavenward also introduced a new player race option, called the Au Ra, previously only seen in the character Yugiri Mistwalker. The only requirement for playing as an Au Ra is owning the Heavensward expansion, including free trial players as of Final Fantasy XIV's 5.3 update.
One of the defining characteristics of this new player race are the horns coming from the sides of their skulls, and their scale-like tails.
The males and females of the race differ, in where the males are generally quite tall and have large horns, the female Au Ra are much more feminine, and their horns tend to flow away from their faces.
The expansion also introduced flying mounts, a first for online games in the series. Upon launch, flight was restricted to certain mounts ridden in expansion areas, with the ability to fly in a given area being further barred behind aether currents, obtained from the environment and from side quests.As of the 5.3 update, flight was introduced to pre-Heavensward areas and all mounts, however expansion areas still require the player attune to aether currents.
Originally, players' initial flying mount was the Black Chocobo, a callback to previous titles in the Final Fantasy series, where the Black Chocobo was generally the only color that could fly. However, other flying mounts were present, including griffons, a personal airship made by Cid, and more.
With the addition of flying mounts, the travel speed of ground based mounts wias increased to match those which can fly.
New Endgame Raid Content - Alexander
The primal of the Goblins, Alexander is the major end game raid to be found in Heavensward.
Much like the Binding Coil of Bahamut in A Realm Reborn, Alexander houses some of the hardest content to be found in Final Fantasy XIV. But unlike the Binding Coil, there are two versions of this content: A Story mode, and a Hard mode. Both version will have essentially the same content, but the content found in Story mode will be noticeably less difficult than that found in Hard mode. Though the rewards for beating its Hard mode are of much higher quality than what can be attained via its Story mode.