RPGamer had the opportunity sit down with Naoki Yoshida (who rocks some awesome rings) and talk about Heavensward, Final Fantasy XIV's impending expansion. The biggest question in the room was what would be done for new players or players who quit playing to get them into the Heavensward content as quickly as possible. As it stands now, players have to have completed all of the main game content up through patch 2.55 before being able to access any of the new stuff. Yoshida said this would be addressed by two main changes. First, the main story quests from A Realm Reborn through patch 2.55 would have their XP doubled and new gear drops added. Players can get to level 50 from just doing the main story content and will now end up with ilvl 110 gear in the process. Second, the duty finder will be changed to permit smaller parties and parties with large level gaps between their members to take on content. This way a level 60 player could help their level 15 friend through a dungeon with ease.
Heavensward's story was the next topic of discussion, and it will be split into four main threads. The Dragonsong War is the primary storyline and it deals with the impact of the Warrior of Light (you) entering into the war as well as diving deeper into the history of Ishgard. The second thread is a continuation of the political intrigue from patch 2.55. Third, the Garlean Empire will be back on the stage. Finally, the Ascians and Primals will be back. All four of these storylines will ultimately interconnect, and Yoshida hopes that RPGamers who get to the climax of one of the storylines will find themselves presented with a hook to draw them into the next one.
When first entering the new Heavensward content, players will have a bit of story to play through before finding themselves in Ishgard with access to the three new jobs. At that point, Yoshida is hoping RPGamers will try out these new jobs and make room on the server for other players doing the story content. After a while the new PvP content will be added to the game, once everyone has had a chance to try the new PvE events. The main story of Heavensward will apparently be fifty hours long, so players can expect to see a lot of PvE content.
Players who reach the end-game in Heavensward should find themselves occupied with things like new player housing options, the Free Company crafting and workshop, and other combat-focused content. There are guild airships that can be made and even new Golden Saucer events that will be added.
Heavensward is looking to be a gigantic expansion, so much so that Yoshida promises they won't do another one of this size again. Apparently the balance team doesn't want to have to work with three new jobs at once again either. All of this new content is coming together to make this expansion look like something really special for FFXIV fans and newcomers looking for another MMORPG to sink their time into. Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward launches next week on June 23, 2015, with Early Access starting on June 19.
An audio version of this interview is available in our Dialog Trees archive.
PS: The Flying Fat Chocobo is awesome.