Final Fantasy XIV Patch 5.3 Gets More Details, Trailer; Free Trial Expanded
Square Enix held its latest Letter from the Producer presentation for MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV, during which producer Naoki Yoshida showed more of the upcoming content and changes to the game in its newest patch. Patch 5.3, Reflections in Crystal, includes new main scenario quests continuing the story from the Shadowbringers expansion as well as adjustments to the content in A Realm Reborn and the 2.x patch series and the second part of the YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse Alliance Raid, with previously-revealed details available here. Patch 5.3 will launch on August 11, 2020.
As part of giving an overview of the previously-confirmed changes, Naoki Yoshida revealed that the new Unreal Trials see the Trial boss being upscaled to match the players, letting them use their full range of abilities, as opposed to regular Trials where higher-level players are synced down. He also showed off the new Group Pose options, where players can take a photo of their party and customise it with stickers as well as the new ability for players to fly in the original areas from A Realm Reborn.
Final Fantasy XIV’s Free Trial version will be expanded to include the Heavensward expansion. The level cap will be increased from 35 to 60, while all quests up until the end of the Heavensward patch series (Patch 3.56); the Dark Knight, Astrologian, and Machinist jobs; and the Au Ra race will be made made available. For those who own it, the Final Fantasy XIV Starter Edition will also be expanded to receive the same content.
Patch 5.3 will introduce some further updates to the game’s crafting and gathering classes, with crafters also getting new Beast Tribe quests involving the Dwarves. Starting at level 15, crafters will be able to practice synthesising items without needing the materials to create them. A reverse lookup function will also be added, where players can search for recipes based on a specific ingredient, in addition to the ability for players to check how many materials are needed to create different amounts of items. Phase three of the Ishgardian Restoration content will begin with Patch 5.31, with new gathering items added to the Diadem. The Skybuilder rankings will be reopened, with more achievements and titles to be awarded for high-place finishers in the third phase.
Naoki Yoshida also provided details about the new Save the Queen: Blades of Gunnhildr content, which will be added in Patch 5.35 and take players to a large-scale encounter in the Bozjan Southern Front where up to 72 players join together to fight with the Bozjan Resistance against the IVth Imperial Legion. Players can choose to focus on story quests in the Bozjan Southern Front or try and take on additional challenges. Players will need to be level 71 or above to enter the instance, but are free to change jobs and form parties once in. All players will be synced to level 80 with all gear synced to item level 430, though those below the current level cap of 80 will receive experience, offering a further levelling method for players. Mounts can be used, but cannot fly.
The general pattern of Save the Queen is for players to increase their mettle by fighting the legion in special encounters, divided into skirmishes, which act similarly to Fates with any number of participants, and Critical Encounters, which feature between 24-48 players and act similarly to raid battles. Once players’ mettle is raised high enough, they can push the front line of fighting forward, attempting to get close enough to storm Castrum Lacus Litore. Following Critical Encounters, players who perform particularly well may get invited into a special One vs. One fight. Save the Queen also features its own set of unique Lost Actions with effects including healing and reviving players in battle. These actions are created by finding crystal fragments in the field; each crystal has its own weight and players can only carry a certain combined weight, requiring some choice as to which ones to carry.
The Bozjan Southern Front will also play a part in the strengthening of special Resistance weapons. Once players have gained access the front, they can start a quest to collect the items needed to upgrade their weapons. These items can be found both inside and outside of the Bozjan Southern Front.
Square Enix and Level-5 also announced a new Yo-kai Watch collaboration for the game titled Yo-kai Watch: Gather One, Gather All!. The collaboration is an upgraded version of the one that took place in 2016, and will give players the opportunity to acquire Yo-kai Watch-themed weapons, mounts, and minions. The event will run from August 19, 2020, until the release of Patch 5.4, which has not yet been dated.
Square Enix confirmed that the North American and Japanese Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festivals scheduled for November and December 2020 have been cancelled. The European Fan Festival is currently still under consideration for its February 2021 date and will depend on the status of the COVID-19 outbreak. Square Enix also announced a Y’shtola BRING ARTS figure, which will launch in November 2020 and can be pre-ordered now for $94/99/€89.88/£81.99, as well as an Omega Meister Quality figure, which will release in January 2021 priced at $229.99/€225.99/£215.99. Finally, Pulse: Final Fantasy XIV Remix Album will launch on September 30, 2020, priced at $34.99/€24.99/£21.99, and contain fourteen songs from the game remixed into various genres including EDM, house, techno pop, and more.
Shadowbringers is the third expansion to Final Fantasy XIV and launched for PC, Mac, and PlayStation 4 in 2019. Shadowbringers won multiple awards in RPGamer’s Best of 2019 Awards, including Game of the Year, with those interested in reading more about the expansion able to check out RPGamer’s review. Reviews are also available for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn as well as the previous Heavensward and Stormblood expansions.
(Presentation is in Japanese only, without subtitles, though slides are in English)