Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood is the Second expansion for multi-platform MMORPG from Square Enix, released simultaneously in Japan, North America, and Europe/Australia on June 20th, 2017 for PS4, Mac, and Windows. Stormblood also marked the end of support for the PlayStation 3 version of the game, ending with the release on June 20th.
Stormblood will focus on two major areas of conflict in the world of Eorzea, Ala Mhigo, located in the eastern corner of Aldernard in the Gyr Abania region, and Doma, a city-state in the far eastern land of Yanxia on the Othardian continent.
In Ala Mhigo, the Warrior of Light and company will be supporting the Ala Mhigan resistance as they fight aginst the occupying Garlean Empire, in an effort to take back their homeland.
On the far eastern end of the world, the Vassalized nation of Doma is currently occupied by the Garlean Empire and is currently being lead under an imperial viceroy and her host.
Stormblood will split the focus of the story between the two major areas.
With the addition of the new areas and story, Stormblood also saw the release of 2 new DPS classes, the Red Mage and the Samurai.
Red Mage (RDM)
Red Mage is a Ranged DPS Spellcaster that uses both a Crystal Medium and Rapier to attack foes. The class will specialize in mixing and matching not only powerful spells but also close range Raiper attacks.
The Red Mage has the ability to use White aspected and Black aspected magics to build their White and Black mana, which can be used to chain together fast melee attacks. They are also able to deal large amounts of damage by linking their spells together using Chainspell.
Unlike the other base class jobs, Red Mage does not require leveling a base and side job and is unlocked at level 50.
Samurai is a melee DPS who uses Katanas and quick movement to overpower their foes. The class specializes in high burst damage through the use of The Kenki Gauge, which is used to perform Power Hissatsu attacks.
When the Samurai successfully hits a foe with one of their attacks, Kenki is built (represented in the New Job Gauge system), which can be spent on powerful attacks known as Hissatsu, which have a variety of deadly effects.
Samurai will also require one level 50 job, and like the Red Mage, won't require a base class.
The Job gauge is a new system brought to Final Fantasy XIV Online who's purpose is to help both new and old players perform their specific job better, adding capabilities such has Cooldown tracking and resource management. Each individual job has a unique UI element to help them keep track of specific elements of their job. For example, Black Mage's now have a timer showing the total amount of time they have left on the Enochian buff, as well as how many stacks of Astral Fire and Umbral Ice they currently have.
Each class unique element is also designed around the lore/aesthetic of that individual class.
The introduction of Stormblood (4.0) also brought Swimming to Final Fantasy XIV Online as a method of transportation. Swimming will primarily be used in the Ruby Sea zone as a way to move between the underwater living zones in the area. Movement while swimming is slightly slower than walking/running, but underwater mounts have ben confirmed by the development team. There will be no underwater combat, and no loading times when moving from Land to Water.
Diving will also be a new feature in Stormblood, but only for select bodies of water. Diving will allow you to reach underwater gathering nodes and also travel between areas in the Ruby Sea. Underwater mounts will also be accessible while diving.
Battle System Changes
Series director Naoki Yoshida and the team wanted to use the major release of 4.0 as an opportunity to make major changes to the Battle system, specifically, addressing the problem of Cross Class skills and overall ability bloat for classes.
In Final Fantasy XIV, you not only have the ability to use class/job specific skills for the class that you're currently playing as, but you also had the ability to use specific skills from other class that you've leveled. For example, the Lancer/Dragoon has a skill that unlocks at level 34, Blood for Blood, which Increases damage dealt by 10% and damage suffered by 25% for 20s. After the Lancer/Dragoon unlocks this skill, the player has the ability to use that skill on their Gladiator, Pugilist, Marauder, Lancer, Arcanist, Conjurer, Thaumaturge, Arcanist, Monk and, Bard class, as long as those classes are also level 34.
4.0 does away with the cross-class skill system, instead of replacing it with a Role specific system, which lets you select a number of role-specific skills from a pool of skills.