Figured I'd go ahead and start a thread for the expansion as the game will no longer be flying under the banner of A Realm Reborn. I'm going to try and keep things simple, mostly relative to the free company itself. This is because there's been a flood of information pouring out from the dev team leading up to the launch this month. This has sent the current fanbase into a frenzy of discussion(s) concerning classes, stats, and story-related developments. Between funky translations and over-enthused players, it's a little dangerous information-wise to commit to anything here right now.
What we do know however...
Heavensward (aka 3.0) is bringing three new jobs. One new job for each edge of the standard MMO trinity: DPS do the bulk of damage to the opposition, healers keep everyone alive and healthy, and tanks take the hits nobody else can weather and protect the rest of the party.
The new tank is Dark Knight, vigilantes who've sworn off the church. They use magic to defend themselves and their party and a greatsword for offensive tactics.
The new healer is Astrologian, stargazers who use cards and a globe to manipulate healing and shielding magics.
The new DPS is a Machinist, techs and tinkerers who follow Cid Garlond's work to make use of firearms and assault their enemies.
The expansion is also bringing us a new race known as Au Ra, an original race (series-wise) exclusive to this game. Most of the expansion will center around the Northern areas of Eorzea, a city-state known as Ishgard. This region is known for its dogmatic attitude and rather militant relationship against the race of dragons, whom they've been at war with for over a millennia.
A Realm Reborn originally featured Coerthas, a harsh snowy region which essentially served as a precursor to the landscape we'll be seeing Heavensward. Filled with xenophobic clergymen, they've made it their life's work to do anything necessary to stop the progress of the dragon race beyond their own region, which they've shrouded in secrecy throughout the events of A Realm Reborn.
However, due to dramatic political shifts in the three major southern city-states (where the original 2.0 game takes place in), they'll be forced to open their gates, welcoming all adventurers in. Ishgard has also been losing ground in their war against the dragons, enlisting the help of adventurers to compensate. Traversal will also be seeing the addition of flying mounts, significantly adding more verticality to the map design.
High-end raids will see a change from what they existed as in 2.0. The Binding Coil of Bahamut, which was a difficult eight-man raid, will be succeeded by Alexander in Heavensward. It will also be two-fold, featuring an easier mode for story purists and a harder mode for the technical raiders that grant better rewards. This is more in line with how primals were handled in 2.0 (i.e. a relatively easy fight that unlocks a harder extreme mode with better drops).
The major additions in 2.0's patch cycle consisted of constantly-added 4-man dungeons which made up the bulk of leveling and dungeon crawling. At the higher end of play, 8-man content was more typical for the challenging content the game has to offer (extreme primals, turns of Coil, various story trials, etc.) with 24 man raids (i.e. the crystal tower series) falling in between the two in terms of difficulty. How this will change in 3.0 has yet to be seen, but all signs point to them continuing at the very least the same content-density and schedule.
Let's get a couple of Q&A/Situation/UhOhs out of the way since we're likely to see these a lot in the coming months.
"I can't access the new expansion's content. What gives?"
You will have to complete the primary story quests up to the point of it leading into the expansion's quests, thus unlocking the new areas. The game from 2.0 - 2.5 has seen a major patch (which feature about as much stuff as most other MMOS put out as "expansions" and charge for) every three months since August 2013. They've been extremely aggressive with their content addition in this game, which is an unusually unique thing about it. This means there's quite a bit of things to get through and there's no need to rush it. Take your time. You are paying for it after all. Speaking of which...
"Subs? Ugh, I don't want to feel obligated to play this. I'll just wait for F2P."
Believe it or not these people are still out there and they're still as vocal as they were two years ago. The long and short of this is that you're going to be waiting for a long damn time. FFXIV is structured in such a way where players are actually getting their money's worth for their subscription. Between the regularly scheduled patches, livestreams, and consistent maintenance the developers have made a damn strong case for why the payment model should continue to exist (disregarding that you will be fighting TO pay them since Square's payment system is absolutely f@%$*d).
I want that! OMG how do you get (insert reference to that FF game I like)!"
Chances are you took notice to how much fanservice this game features. Eorzea has its own place and story but the game itself often calls forth references and allusions to just about every Final Fantasy game out there (that and a disturbingly large number of purposefully terrible puns). Most if it is very easily acquired but the answer that will most often benefit you if you're new is "follow the story". Much of it is granted to the player just by playing the main questline. Veteran rewards are also given for the amount of subscription months acquired, and various holiday events happen which grant players seasonally available items and costumes.
"'Vinnco' is missing an 'N'!"
Beat it you little punks, the company tag only allows five characters. I have to do the best with what I have.
"OMG leaving my main behind! DRK/AST/MCH 4 lyfe!"
Let's be honest here, the chances of any one of these classes hitting the ground running and not having balance or general functional issues is unlikely (it could happen though!). Before you run off to make an Au Ra Dark Knight, consider what's happening to the class you already play before you abandon it. Each of the already-existing ten jobs will be changing in significant ways as well. So, if you're a DPS switching to Dark Knight for example, do note that you'll be taking on a entirely different role and what that entails.
Consider these dynamics and what you actually like before you run out on the ice and bust your ass, cursing the game for the rest of your days.
"I just started! I'm lost, I have no clue what's going on and people are yelling at me in dungeons!"
For levels 1-15 just pay close attention to what the game is making you do. It actually does a fairly good job at teaching you the foundations for what you'll be doing on your class regularly. This means read the tooltips closely for your abilities and pay close attention to what events and NPCs are having you do in story event fights.
Levels 15-30 are probably most important for developing players as it will toss them into dungeons to put their understanding of their role in the game to the test.
Experiment on your own when you can and don't be afraid to ask questions when you're queuing for dungeons (especially if you're in our free company). Entering a dungeon and not saying a word but having no clue what to do almost always ends in disaster for everyone involved. Beyond that, just take it one step at a time and you should be fine until you reach the level cap.
Probably the most prominent resource for English-speaking players playing this game across all servers is the ffxiv subreddit. It can be rather unwieldy at times, but most common questions have already been posted there and can be searched for and answered easily. It features a daily question thread, regularly updated summaries to commonly asked questions (e.g. "what do I do after I hit 50?!") and hundreds of specific problems, troubleshooting, and theorycrafting threads.
"I want to be a part of the free company! Where do I go?"
There's varying levels of integration you can seek out in this regard.
If you're just looking to join the guild see these two threads:
How to join the Giant Bomb free company: [Click Here]
FFXIV Patch 2.4 Questions & Answers from «VinCo» (Common Concerns & Questions): [Click Here]
Very easy to find and join us and only requires about ten minutes of effort. If you're looking to mingle beyond that, check out the Guildwork page here: [http://giantbomb.guildwork.com/]. Chances are if you're only an occasional player and more comfortable interacting with us in game, that will be enough for you. However, the avid daily players in the guild usually end up on the guildwork sooner or later. There they can coordinate raids, mess about and tinker with the site's features (forums, data-scrapers, streams and social functions), and post images/links ad nauseum.
I suspect we'll be seeing a lot of heaving server loads come expansion time, so make sure to keep the following in mind:
Occasionally the server might be under restrictions due to congestion and character creation will be limited. During the following times is typically when those restrictions are eased and it's easier to make a character on Ultros: 3:00 a.m./ 7:00 a.m./ 12:00 p.m./ 5:00 p.m./ 10:00 p.m. (PST)
Once your character is on Ultros, the quickest way of joining the guild is detailed in this thread.
We also have a Discord server (alternative to stuff like TeamSpeak/Vent/Skype that all the kids are using now): https://discordapp.com/channels/67933054886215680/71708349112004608
That's it for right now. I'll continue updating and tweaking this post in the coming weeks. Have some images of the FC as of 5/31/2015
- Original Giant Bomb forum thread: http://www.giantbomb.com/final-fantasy-xiv-online-a-realm-reborn/3030-26847/forums/a-realm-reborn-giant-bomb-free-company-thread-1441708/
- Heavensward Benchmark: http://na.finalfantasyxiv.com/benchmark/download/
- FFXIV subreddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/ffxiv
- Triple Triad Website: http://ffxivtriad.com/
- Official FFXIV Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/finalfantasyxiv
- Server Status: http://arrstatus.com/
- Chocobo Racing: http://xivchocoborace.com/
- FFXIV Twitter: https://twitter.com/FF_XIV_EN
- Currently the best video guides for XIV at high-level: https://www.youtube.com/user/MTQcapture
- FFXIV Gardening: http://www.ffxivgardening.com/
- Minions: http://www.xiv-minions.com/
- FFXIV Wiki #1: http://ffxiv.gamerescape.com/wiki/
- FFXIV Wiki #2: http://ffxiv.consolegameswiki.com/wiki/FF14_Wiki
- FFXIV Wiki #3: http://xivdb.com/
- Hunting Log: http://dimensionaldeath.com/?page=huntinglogs
- Exploring and Sightseeing log: http://vistas.explorexiv.com/
- Weather Forecaster: http://www.garlandtools.org/db/#skywatcher/all
- Crafting Calculator: http://ffxivcrafting.com/
- Final Fantasy 14 FFXIV A Realm Reborn Story The Waning of the Sixth Sun: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXc0loyuq9I&feature=youtu.be
- The Flames of Truth (the intro movie to A Realm Reborn + a late-game cutscene capping off its story): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xOOFCltZuc
- Gear Calculator: http://ffxiv.ariyala.com/
- Gathering Clock: http://ffxivclock.com/#/
- Amusing Recreation of the game in 16-bit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDg44MVJLrw
- Another "for giggles" recreation of the game as a fighter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuELXU0OEs4&feature=youtu.be
- Lodestone Link: http://na.finalfantasyxiv.com/lodestone/freecompany/9234208823458136603/
- Main theme of Heavensward - "Dragonsong": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtuwltmTp9I
- Letters from the Producers LIVE: http://forum.square-enix.com/ffxiv/forums/644-Letter-from-the-Producer-LIVE
- Difference between DX9 and DX11: http://i.imgur.com/LLwFTzb.gif
Reminders (via: http://redd.it/39siyx)
- For the love of Hydaelyn be mindful of spoilers, especially in FC/LS chat. Don’t be the jerk who ends up spoiling some awesome twist or emotional moment or amazing boss fight. To which end…
- People are going to want to run things blind. If someone asks to, and you’re already at the point of revisiting content, please respect that. Let people enjoy fresh content, let them fail or succeed on their own surprises. There are not many chances in XIV people have to do exactly that. Let them.
- The servers are going to suck. It’s common with every major MMORPG, both at launch and at expansions; and if an MMORPG doesn't have launch day issues, it's frankly not a good sign for the game's future. Generally, more people are going to be playing immediately following a release/expansion than at any other time in an MMORPG’s lifespan. Prepare yourself for that reality. You will probably get more lag than usual due to massive network activity. You will probably get login queues. You will probably get 90k’d (or people you’re doing dungeons with will). Brace yourself now.
- There will be bugs. All the beta testing a dedicated QA team can do is nothing compared to the amount of playtime the game will get when it goes live. Be ready for the possibility of some really strange things happening, both good and bad.
- Going to make a new alt/join another server? Create the character now, so you don't have to fight server restrictions. Once EA starts, the traffic on servers is going to pick up massively. With that comes increased character creation restrictions on servers - which, let's face it, will inevitably be on whatever server you're trying to get into. Create the character now to beat the rush. You can Fantasia over into an actual Au Ra once EA starts (you do get one Fantasia free from Veteran rewards) and not have to fight the system that way.
- There will probably be an Emergency Maintenance at least once in the first couple weeks.This is simply inevitable, for hotfixes, server maintenance, etc. If this happens during the time you’re able to play, sorry. Remember that when they have to do it, it’s going to suck for someone - a different time just means a different group that gets angry.
- You don’t have to do it all immediately. The developers have already confirmed that, while Soldiery and Poetics will be phased out, the new Tomestones for endgame content will be staggered out over the first few weeks after launch. This also includes the new endgame raid, Alexander (and even later than that, Alexander (Savage)). You don’t need to be running the final dungeon today. You can take your time. Remember this when servers are unstable or maintenance is going on.
- People are going to suck at the game again. Sure, many players out there are fantastic. But let's be real - after months of being able to massively outgear the content we're tackling, a lot of people have gotten used to letting their iLvl carry them. That discrepency is going to fall off, and there are people who are going to have a hard time breaking bad habits they've gotten away with. Others will also be trying to get used to new techniques/classes and make mistakes because of it. Have patience.
- The things you worked so hard to get aren’t going to be worth as much anymore. That max melded Forager’s gear? That crafting Lucis? That Zeta weapon? Those Dreadwyrm pieces? Be ready for the fact it’s not going to be the best anymore. Expect the costs and efforts involved in even making those from now on to sink as well. You should be somewhat used to this from patches as is, but the gap’s going to be even more notable. Get over this now, and remember you still have these cool things, and that you did it.
- Rested Experience is a thing. It's that bonus EXP you accumulate when you log out in Sanctuaries. While the exact return/amount of time is something I've had trouble finding, if you want to ease up the initial levelling in Heavensward, you may wish to stop levelling low-levelled classes for a couple days prior to release. Regardless of if you're heading straight from 50 to 60, or going to start right away on one of the new classes, it's a leg up.
Dem Hot Tips
- RMT/Spam Messages - While there are some relatively effective methods to curb you getting tells from people gil spammers, my lazy man's recommendation is to simply set your status in-game to "busy". This effectively blocks you from receiving any tells, but you will also have to switch it off to accept party invites and such too. Personally, /tells are not the biggest loss for me since most of my conversing is done in free company chat and various linkshells, but that may not work for you. You can set your status by hitting F1 on your keyboard (or down on the D-pad if you're using a controller), right clicking your name (square on controller) and selecting "Edit Search Info". You'll be able to set your status from a drop-down menu here.
- Guildwork - If you play the game on PC, consider using the guildwork client. While the game isn't "officially" endorsing third-party apps yet, most people have taken to using the guildworks app, which has its own site integration and features such as remote chat, various in-game notifications, and a couple of other nifty quality-of-life additions. There's also mobile integration so you can use iOS and android with the game as well.
- Find a Free Company ASAP - It's not necessary to enjoy the game but a good free company can make all the difference between playing the game long beyond the story or simply getting bored and frustrated with it halfway through and giving up. If you can find enough people, you can just as easily start your own as well. Whether you consider yourself a casual player or a hardcore raider, there's guilds out there always looking for people to recruit.
- Don't rush it - This is especially true of those who plan to stick around but want to catch up. If you wind up exhausting yourself on the game, you'll begin noticing you're actively fighting how its designed. That latter point is more directed at veteran XI players (or just general MMO gluttons) who easily become frustrated with adapting to things such as vertical gear progression, but it's still a valuable tip, especially for long-term enjoyment of this game. XIV is not an MMO meant to be the only-end-all-be-all game you're playing. Adjust your playtime and pace yourself.