Impressions: Week Two of Stormblood

Warning: Potentially spoilers for those who have not completed the main 4.0 quest chain.

Quick thoughts on recent FFXIV Online expansion, Stormblood – quick mostly because I can’t stop playing long enough to put anything more extensive together. Initial Early Access Raubahn bottleneck aside, Stormblood has been overall a phenomenal addition to the game and the world of Eorzea.

I took a week off work to enjoy Early Access and focus on the game, and by the end of my vacation, I had leveled my SCH to 70, geared up to i300, and managed to kill Lakshmi Ex within one lockout with a 7/8 blind party. On Saturday night, over hotel WiFi, I managed to clear Susano Ex with a 5/8 blind party.

Maybe, like some people are saying, this content is overall quite easy for trials called “Extreme”. On the other hand, these are the first primals released in the new expansion while people are still learning their new skills and the adjustments to the old. I was pleasantly surprised by the complexity of the final trial in the Stormblood quest chain (not mentioned for potential spoilers), this is above the typical difficulty for what DF parties are expected to do – it’s my hope that the normal mode of the Omega raid will be similarly challenging when it releases in July.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this tale of revolution, but darn if the story didn’t suck me directly into the game, making me seriously care about the characters and their efforts. It felt like we were up against the ropes a few times, as it should have – and aside from some occasional sheer irrationality (the first trial and our enemies’ bizarre decisions), the campaign felt like we were pushing against our foes through restricting access to areas and other means. By the end of the quest chain I was practically in tears of joy when we vanquished the final boss and reclaimed Ala Mhigo. I really did feel a swell of pride and joy as the assembled forces sang:

O come ye wayward brothers, bereft of hearth and home,
Beyond yon burning star there lies a haven for the bold.
Raise up your hands and voice; let fill your hearts with pride;
Above the churning waters we stand strong and unified!

Speaking of adjustments to classes, there has been a lot of back and forth on Reddit regarding the changes to the SCH job. Some people are saying it’s not okay what’s happened to the class. Others are saying it’s still quite workable for raid content but yes admittedly somewhat lame in dungeons. My take, both from my experience as a Heavensward raid scholar and now as a level 70 Keeper of the Lilacs is somewhat mixed. I’ll be writing a longer piece on this subject later, but overall getting used to the new MP economy – Adloquium as expensive as Succor used to be, Succor now at Cure III levels of MP with significantly lower healing per MP, and MP recovery of Aetherflow reduced by half – is proving to be by far the biggest adjustment. The new skills are frankly underwhelming and Fey Union’s animation delay seems to me to be about double the length of Benediction’s – so make sure to plan appropriately.

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