August 27, 2023 marks the 10-year anniversary since the launch of FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn!
Not only was there a large variety of new content introduced over the decade, but there were also plenty of quality of life updates as well. Here at FINAL FANTASY Portal, we would like to highlight the various enhancements FINAL FANTASY XIV received since the start of its official service all the way to its latest playable expansion, Endwalker.
*We made sure to avoid spoilers, so don’t worry even if you have yet to play.
We are pleased to present an overview of the ever-popular MMORPG which boasts over 27 million registered accounts worldwide*!
*The total accounts registered across Japan, North America, Europe, China, and South Korea. Includes free trial accounts.
FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn
On August 27, 2013, FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn began its official service, and the adventure for players, also known as “Warriors of Light,” began.
The game begins with creating your character, which acts as your avatar in the game. At release, there were five races to choose from: the Hyur, who look very similar to real-life humans, the Miqo’te with cat ears and a tail, the petite and adorable Lalafell, the Elezen with their elegantly long arms and legs, and the big and brawny Roegadyn. Each is so unique that you might have trouble picking one!
Players would start their adventure in one of the three city-states: Ul’dah, Gridania, or Limsa Lominsa. Where did you begin your adventure?
In FFXIV, you can experience various styles of adventure and jobs using a single character. There are Disciples of War, who primarily fight using a weapon, Disciples of Magic, who fight with magic, as well as Disciples of the Hand, who can craft equipment, medicine, and food items, and Disciples of the Land—classes like fisher and miner—who gather and forage. You’re sure to find something you want to master.
Additionally, at the time, there were nine jobs available: paladin, monk, warrior, dragoon, bard, white mage, black mage, summoner, and scholar, with ninja being added in October of 2014 to make a total of 10. As we showcase the expansions, you will see that more and more jobs were added to this roster.
Throughout A Realm Reborn, the player will explore the story with the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, including their leader Minfilia and members like Thancred and twin brother and sister Alphinaud and Alisaie.
FFXIV’s first ever expansion was Heavensward, which was released on June 23, 2015. The adventure here took place in the northern mountain region of Coerthas, and a new journey began. The Warrior of Light meets Ysayle, who was also known as “Lady Iceheart,” Aymeric, who was fighting against the Dravanian Horde, and Estinien the Azure Dragoon.
During Heavensward, three new jobs—dark knight, astrologian, and machinist—were introduced. All classes and jobs saw an increase in level cap, which rose from level 50 to 60. Many new job actions were added, and the breadth of battle strategies continued to expand.
Additionally, players were able to select Au Ra as a new race during character creation. With roots traced back to the Far East, the Au Ra have beautiful scale-like patterns on their skin.
From a gameplay system perspective, the “Hall of the Novice” was introduced. Here, players who are unfamiliar with the game would learn about the basics of combat and how to position themselves in battle.
For those who want to strive for even higher levels of combat, this expansion introduced “Stone, Sky, Sea,” in which players can assess their battle prowess.
On top of that, flying mounts were also added to take advantage of the verticality present in the northern regions and to further enhance players’ quality of life.
Released on June 20, 2017, Stormblood took players to the military nation of Ala Mhigo, as well as the Far Eastern nation of Doma. Both were under the rule of the Garlean Empire, who plotted to expand their territory.
Alongside Lyse, a young warrior with a burning desire to liberate her homeland of Ala Mhigo, the Doman samurai Gosetsu, and the ninja Yugiri, the Warrior of Light faced their most formidable foe yet.
Two new jobs were added: the katana-wielding samurai, and red mage, who wields a new type of magic that is neither black nor white. Furthermore, a “limited job” was introduced. This limited job—blue mage—allowed for players to “learn” enemy actions. The level cap was raised to 70 and battle actions were reviewed and reworked, allowing for each job to evolve into something more user-friendly.
As for battle content, the “Ultimate” difficulty level—even more challenging than “Savage” raids—made its debut. Ultimate battle content still boasts the highest difficulty level to this day.
As always, there were many quality of life updates as well. While the ability to change the appearance of your gear has been available since A Realm Reborn, new features were added to further enhance the flexibility: a glamour dresser and glamour plates. The dresser allows you to store gear, and plates allow you to save specific outfits and glamour it over your equipped gear at the push of a button. Changing outfits became very easy to do and surely we’ve all been caught staring at adventurers with cool outfits at one point.
Also, cross-world linkshells were added, allowing players to communicate with people outside of their Home World (the server your character resides on), as long as they are within the same logical data center. Plus, players were able to utilize the newly implemented World Visit system to travel to other Worlds within the same logical data center and play with friends there.
And Stormblood also introduced the ability to swim and dive! Adventures were now available on land, air, and the sea.
The third expansion, Shadowbringers, was released on July 2, 2019.
Norvrandt was the setting for the new adventure that the Warrior of Light would be embarking on. Norvrandt seemed very similar to Eorzea in terms of its topography and environment, but it existed in its own timeline, and so the history and culture were very different.
The Warrior of Light and the Scions are beckoned by a mysterious figure known as the Crystal Exarch and thrust into a new adventure.
In Shadowbringers, two new races were added. The male Hrothgar, whose face is reminiscent of a lion or leopard, with well-developed muscles and sharp claws and fangs, and female Viera, who are characterized by their long ears and their dwellings deep within the forest. With this, players were able to choose from eight different races, which broadened the variety significantly.
New jobs added were gunbreaker, who wields a weapon that combines the blade of a sword with a firing mechanism, and the dancer, who gracefully wields throwing weapons with the same exacting precision as their footfalls.
The level cap was increased to 80 and players were able to enjoy even more intense battles.
From a gameplay system perspective, Shadowbringers introduced the Trust system, with which players can party up with prominent NPCs, including members of the Scions, to tackle dungeons that appear throughout the main story.
Later on, Explorer Mode was implemented, allowing players to revisit dungeons and enjoy the scenery of their favorite dungeons with no enemies or obstacles to ruin their fun.
Parasols were introduced for those who wanted to further accessorize their character, allowing the ability to raise an umbrella while it was raining. These items—known as fashion accessories—would see more additions later on, allowing players to enjoy wearing glasses or wings.
The fourth expansion, Endwalker, was released on December 7, 2021.
The Warrior of Light would travel to new cities, including Old Sharlayan and Radz-at-Han, as well as the large open spaces of Labyrinthos, Garlemald, and the island of Thavnair. Accompanied by the Scions, the group faces yet another cataclysmic event that threatens the world.
Jobs added in this expansion were sage, whose art draws upon the wisdom of aetherology, sorcery, and medicine, and reaper, who took up their scythes as harvesters of souls. Since A Realm Reborn, a total of nine new jobs were added, which makes the grand total of playable jobs a whopping 20!
The level cap was raised to 90 and new skills were added, and job action usability was improved for skills introduced previously in Shadowbringers.
A new playable race of male Viera were added as well.
Duty Support was introduced, a feature which allows players to party up with NPCs and challenge dungeons associated with the main story. With this, players now had the option to proceed through the story solo!
Quality of life updates included Data Center Travel, which allowed players to travel to Worlds (servers) outside of their own logical data center. As long as you are within the same physical data center, you can travel and interact with players on different Worlds. (*There are four physical data centers separated by region: Japan, Europe, North America, and Oceania.)
New ways for players to introduce themselves to each other were introduced as well. Adventurer plates, which function as a personalized calling card that contains your profile image and playstyle information, as well as character portraits, which allow you to snap images of your character to feature on your adventurer plate, made their debut here.
Plus, a new type of easy-going content called Island Sanctuary was introduced. Each player would receive a deserted island on which they can erect buildings, grow crops, and capture wild animals to enjoy a carefree, chill time between rounds of saving the world.
The ever-evolving FINAL FANTASY XIV
FFXIV has continued to evolve since its launch in 2013. Many races, jobs, types of gameplay content, as well as quality of life updates were added throughout the years.
Intense battles are available in abundance, but players have the choice to do whatever they’d like to, from snapping screenshots of your character dressed up in the most stylish glamour, to visiting meticulously decorated estates, to sometimes just chatting with friends and enjoying fishing!
And FFXIV will continue to evolve, too! In last month’s Fan Festival 2023 in Las Vegas, they announced the latest expansion, Dawntrail, planned for release in summer of 2024. A new adventure in Toral is about to begin!
Check out the latest information on Dawntrail!
And, for those who have yet to play FFXIV – we recommend you try the Free Trial, in which you can play up through Heavensward for free.
Now that FFXIV has accumulated 10 years’ worth of evolution, we would love for you to experience it!
LOGO ILLUSTRATION:© YOSHITAKA AMANO