Mike Salbato
Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood - New Details, Media, Benchmark Available
This expansion just gets better and better.
05.01.17 - 1:15 PM

Final Fantasy XIV director and producer Naoki Yoshida hosted the 35th "Letter from the Producer LIVE" on Friday, and revealed a storm flood host of new information on the upcoming expansion, including a new trailer, media, and the release of the official Benchmark, so you can see how well your PC will be able to run Stormblood. I'm happy to report that even with the increased minimum requirements, I can eke by a little bit longer...

We have a lot to cover here, but the first thing we need to address this is stunning new artwork released this morning:

Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood Artwork

Gorgeous. Along with this artwork comes 40 new screens and character art that you can find in our gallery. All of these shots are from the newly-released Benchmark, which brings us to our first point.

Stormblood Benchmark

If you play FFXIV on PC, you'll likely want to know how well Stormblood will run on your rig. Since the expansion marks the end of PlayStation 3 support, the minimum requirements have gone up slightly. So will you have to upgrade before June? Go download the Benchmark and find out! Note that the Benchmark is only available for PC, so the three of us who also play on Mac will just have to cross our fingers. If you're a PS4 player, you can still view the footage of the Benchmark here:

Letter from the Producer LIVE Updates

If you weren't awake at 5am Pacific Time on Friday – or speak Japanese – it was easy to miss this Live Letter. But there's a lot of tidbits we learned! The majority of information came in the form of questions, as the dev team pulled questions from the community for Yoshida to answer.

  • For the first time, we'll be able to move from one residential housing area to another. This much we knew, but it was reiterated that housing plots in the new area won't be available on day one. Further, to move, it will be as simple as approaching your new plot of land, buying it, and choosing a "Move" option. We also learned of a new outdoor storage system, which should help free up space for furniture (especially given the increased furniture capacity).
  • Much like Heavensward's new areas included a host of all-new elite monsters for hunting, Stormblood will introduce new hunts.
  • The sightseeing log is a divisive feature, depending on who you ask – me, I like it – and it will be expanded upon for the new areas. Pre-expansion, discovering these secret vistas were largely for one's own satisfaction, but the Heavensward ones offered one important change: EXP rewards. Upon trying the new locations in Stormblood (there's 45 of them), Yoshida commented to the person in charge that he felt they were a little easy, and he – maybe jokingly? – said he would be an "Extreme" sightseeing log. That would be interesting...
  • There's some really important adjustments coming to gear drops: In Savage mode for the new Omega raid, when a weapon drops, it's guaranteed to be usable by one of the 8 party members' jobs. Additionally, the final boss of each new dungeon will drop gear for all new classes, but again, it will be usable by at least one of your current party members. Both of these should make things smoother, as you won't risk spending 30+ minutes to get an item none of your team can use.
  • Stormblood will bring the third tier of Artifact gear (aka AF3), and with it an important change. In A Realm Reborn, each job earned their iconic job gear as part of their job story quests. The AF2 gear, by contrast, was purchased with special currency, so it was a drawn-out process to finish the set. The AF3 gear is going to be obtained as part of your job quest again, because the devs "want everyone to look cool when they hit level 70," and I'm very okay with this. There will, of course, be new Allagan tomestones and high-level gear as well, so don't fret.
  • Gatherers will be able to gather in the new underwater areas, and fishers will be able to fish with spears, as well. Just be careful if you're trying to spearfish that Kraken…
  • Mounts are getting some interesting adjustments: Not only will all flying mounts be usable underwater, but ground mounts will gain new levels of speed as you clear story quests in each new area.
  • PlayStation 4 Pro users will have two new graphic modes as options: One that maintains current (1080p?) resolution with a stable 60fps frame rate, and another that will be higher resolution, with current frame rates. The typical FPS on a PS4 Pro is pretty nice anyway, so both of these are nice options.
  • And now, the info we've all been waiting for: Inventory expansion! At the launch of 4.0, player inventory will increase by 40 slots, while each category in the Armory Chest will increase from 25 to 35 slots. And while all of this helps, this is only the first storage bump: Once Yoshida and co. see how this increase affects servers and performance, they plan additional expansions, provided the extra data isn't negatively affecting players.
  • We're almost done here, really.
  • Yoshida updated us on the long-in-development mobile app that will allow us to chat with in-game friends outside of the game. In addition to chat, this app will also include some premium (paid) options, such as the ability to access your retainers and the market board while away from the game. As someone who sometimes logs in just to do this, I look forward to the app! But because this is as complex an undertaking as it sounds, the app is scheduled for a late 2017 or early 2018 release.

Whew! Believe it or not, but those were just the highlights. If you're a serious Final Fantasy XIV player... well, you already know all this. But I also left out really specific questions about certain NPCs and hairstyles, but you can get the entire official rundown from this official FFXIV forum topic.

Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood New Gear

That covers things for now! Remember, check out our Stormblood gallery for new pics, and since the expansion will certainly be at Square Enix's E3 booth next month, look for hands-on impressions then! Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood releases June 20th for PC, Mac, and PlayStation 4, and is available in several retail variations.

Of note: We now know that the special in-game earrings available for pre-orders have a bonus of giving your characters a 30% EXP boost up to level 50. So that's helpful!

(Oh, and, yes, I promise I'm going to finish my backlog of Patch 3.x reviews, for the 3 of you who read them - stay tuned ;)