A lot has changed in Final Fantasy 14: Stormblood. Whether you’re a returning player or a newcomer who bought their way into level 60 with the recently added boost microtransaction, here are some tips to help you get used to the changes in version 4.0.
What’s new in Final Fantasy 14: Stormblood
Ever since the world was reborn with the 2.0 edition, the narrative has expanded quickly. We’ve moved away from the winter wonderland of Ishgard and into the desert city-state of Ala Mhigo, which deals with a more personal conflict against Imperial Viceroy Zenos Yae Galvus.
The story of Final Fantasy 14 so far
After the death of Gaius van Baelsar in Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn, Imperial Emperor Varis zos Galvus appointed his son, Zenos Yae Galvus, to rule Ala Mhigo. That obviously rubs the locals the wrong way, and it’s your job to lead the insurrection as the Warrior of Light. With a little help from your friends in the eastern city of Kugane, you’ll set off to make things right and take on the empire once again.
Stormblood’s narrative is framed around the scorching hot desert and brings the main conflict back in line with A Realm Reborn’s humanoid political focus.
Two new classes
Stormblood introduced both the Red Mage and the Samurai, which provide new damage-dealing roles for the party.
While Samurai can pump out some serious damage and has a few errant raid utility abilities, the Red Mage is proving to be most valuable in many group compositions. They’re not technically healers. They can throw out the occasional spot heal, and their ability to resurrect party members (like the Summoner) allows for them to adapt to nearly every situation.
Even though they follow a jack of all trades, master of none archetype, they flourish in a group, making them a very popular option as a new job to level in Stormblood.
A handful of new areas
Stormblood takes place partially in the existing area of Ala Mhigo, but also sprawls across six new leveling areas and two new cities: Rhalgr’s Reach and Kugane.
Rhalgr’s Reach operates a lot like Idyllshire and Mor Dhona did in 3.0 and 2.0 respectively, providing vendors for endgame gear. Kugane is more of a social hub and has its own marketboard, allowing access to the auction house. A housing district for Kugane is set to open with a future patch — at the moment, that seems to be Patch 4.1 which will arrive in the coming weeks.
Three new trials
Think of Final Fantasy 14: Stormblood’s trials like miniature dungeons, with only one tough boss fight to face.
Stormblood has two: The Pool of Tribute (which houses Susano) and Emanation (Lakshmi). While you’ll encounter them at level 63 and 67 respectively, both have an EX version that will test your mettle at level 70.
There’s also a third trial that caps off the main story quest. Odds are you’ll only complete The Royal Menagerie once, as it doesn’t provide significant rewards. It’ll occasionally come up in the trial roulette — a feature that lets you face a random boss for extra experience or Tomestones (more on those later).
As a final challenge for veteran players, each expansion has one endgame raid. While these were previously a mix of dungeons and trials, they’ve now sort of settled on the former, putting players to the test against complicated mechanics and breakneck damage and healing checks.
For Stormblood that raid is Omega, an ancient weapon that now has a mind of its own. At the moment, four wings of Omega are open for business, all of which deal with an enemy from Final Fantasy 5. To unlock it, you merely need to speak with an NPC in The Fringes zone after you’ve completed the main story quest.
A 24-person raid, Return to Ivalice, is also set to debut in the upcoming 4.1 patch. Historically these have been easier to complete. They’re intended to be run with randomly matched players, not a static raid group (though Omega’s normal mode is certainly possible with the matchmaking feature).
What’s changed mechanically?
In an attempt to make everything more streamlined, job abilities have been swapped around. But the biggest change is easily the dearth of additional cross-class skills.
In Final Fantasy 14’s past, you’d have to level up an individual job to reap the benefits of a cross-job skill. Black Mage’s swiftcast — an ability that lets you instantly cast a spell — was the most notorious as, coveted by other healing jobs for its power to cast an instant resurrection spell on a party member. Now you merely need to get your own caster job to level 32 to unlock it.
With this new spattering of spells, you’re going to have more choices, but you’re still stuck with the same five-slot maximum in which to load them. There are several must-haves, but you can circumvent this limitation with this simple macro.
If you want to just cast a protect spell for a moment, then have it immediately replaced with another spell, type this into your macro section:
/aaction Esuna off
/aaction Protect on
/ac Protect <wait.4>
/aaction Protect off
/aaction Esuna on
You can swap out Esuna for whatever spell you wish.
You have options when leveling up from 60 to the new cap at 70
Provided that you’ve already cleared through the end of the Heavensward questline, you can speak to Alphinaud at The Rising Stones in Mor Dhona to begin your journey through Stormblood.
Main Story Quest
If this is your first expansion character, going through the main story quest is best. Complete as much as you can. Then,when you’re locked out of the next story, use the tips below as a guide for what to do next.
You will need to go through the story to open up new dungeons anyway, so there’s no disadvantage in completing its questline. Also, quests do not count toward any rested bonus experience that you may have for parking your character in a safe zone, so it compounds with any other experience you earn killing enemies.
Stormblood shipped with eight new dungeons, three of which are relegated to the maximum level of 70. You’re going to want to take advantage of all of them at some point.
Dungeon spam, otherwise known as queuing up for dungeons immediately after you’ve finished one, is a healthy way to level-up when you’re a tank or healing class that can pop instant queues (damage dealers are more plentiful and thus have to wait longer). New dungeons are available at levels 61, 63, 65, 67, 69 and 70. Each time you hit one of those milestones, spam the next available area until you’re ready for the next tier. Make sure you consume food of any type (even cheap vendor food that provides no stat enhancements) to get a bonus experience boost.
If you’re a damage job dealing with 30+ minute queues, just keep doing your main story quest. Those of you who already finished it may need a little extra boost from 60 to 61 to get to that first dungeon, which Palace of the Dead is perfect for.
Palace of the Dead
The Palace of the Dead is a unique dungeon that starts players off at level 1, bringing them through the entire leveling process in the span of roughly 30 minutes. The Palace is broken down into chunks, with 10 levels at a time in each section capped off by a boss at the very end of them.
Each job you take into the Palace will have its own save file (of two total), which you can load up to continue your run at the start of each floor (11, 21, 31). Once you hit level 51, you can continue from that particular floor on any run (even a new save file). That’s what you’re going to use to get the bulk of your leveling done, because it provides the biggest experience boost in relation to how quickly you can clear those relatively easy floors.
If you’ve never done the Palace of the Dead before, head over to Quarrymill and speak to the Wood Waller Expeditionary Captain next to the Aetheryte teleportation crystal. Speak to him, start a new save and you’re on your way.
Although you do get an XP bonus for completing 10 floors at a time, you also lose that entire bonus if your party dies, so stay alert.
PVP, specifically Frontline play (which pits massive teams against one another to compete for objections) was a huge deal at Stormblood’s launch, but now it’s been tweaked. While you initially obtained a huge XP bonus by simply completing a match, as of patch 4.01, your bonus is lessened for second and third place.
Spamming PVP Frontline matches is a good last resort way to level up if you’re tired of running dungeons and the Palace of the Dead (which by extension is a dungeon), but play to win.
How the endgame works
Once again, endgame (defined as content past level 70 and the main story) is dictated by Tomestones.
Nearly every activity, from roulettes to dungeon clears to trials, will net you Allagan Tomestones, which you can use to unlock new high-end gear to take on the ultimate challenge, the Omega raid. (You can see how many stones an event will unlock by viewing it in the duty finder tool.)
Stormblood’s main currency right now is Allagan Tomestones of verity.
If you want to prepare yourself for Stormblood’s raid, your goal is to get 70 first, then grab your job gear which will provide item level 290 (referred to as i290) left side equipment — head, body, hand, waist, legs and feet. You’ll obtain this when you complete your job questline, which is separate from the main story quest and unique for each job.
Next, consider gearing up every piece you can on both sides through the trio of level 70 dungeons. All of them provide i300 drops, which are enough to get you into the minimum item level of 300 requirement for the endgame trials, Susano EX and Lakshmi EX.
Along the way, you can suppliment your missing pieces with i310 verity gear, which you can purchase at the eastern counter in Rhalgr’s Reach.
At this point, all top-end content will grant you verity tomes, including the expert dungeon (consisting of the aforementioned trio) and trials roulettes, which are the highest yield for the least amount of time required.
EX trials (Susano and Lakshmi) grant i320 weapons and right side (jewelry), respectively. The normal difficulty Omega raid will provide i320 left side gear (as well as a matching ring for Lakshmi, since you can’t wear the same ring twice. Savage difficulty will go beyond that, as well as add another Tomestone into the mix.
For now, the maximum level a player can get in Final Fantasy 14: Stormblood is i320, but since you can only earn one piece of currency per Omega wing per week (a total of four right now), it’ll take you multiple weeks to unlock all of your left side gear. Keep progressing until you’re at a full set of i320, at which point you’ll be more than prepared for Omega’s savage mode, the highest challenge in Stormblood.
Eventually more 24-person raids and Omega wings will be added, further increasing the item level and repeating the entire process until the next expansion.