[FFXIV] Stormblood – First Impressions

Members of the resistance by their campfires

Stormblood’s release was something I was really hyped about for several reasons. The main one probably being that we finally get to see Ala Migho, a place I’ve heard about since back way in 1.0 and always imagined how it looked.

Back then I didn’t have much of a point of reference to imagine it since all mentions were always like “Oh, yeah, Ala Migho that place that was conquered by the Garlean empire”.  With ARR I finally started to have some image of it with the existence of Little Ala Migho. Even that paled in comparison to what I saw when I stepped into the soils of the real Ala Migho. 🙂

But I am getting ahead of myself. This post will be mostly what I’ve seem so far which is about from level 60 to 64. Also MILD SPOILERS ABOUT THE STORY ahead.

The part I was most curious about is how we would get involved in the liberation of Ala Migho. Yes, I know that was pretty much answered in the last patches of Heavensward but when Stormblood released I had just reach Ishgard so I spent all this time wondering it.

The leadership of the resistance in Ala Migho
I will admit the resistance in Ala Migho looks more well-geared than I expected!

Having Ilbert forcing the Eorzea Alliance to join the fray was a pretty good idea, from the point of view of the story. Even then I was still surprised about how low he would go to accomplish his goals. His suicide also took me by surprise. After all, what is the point of starting a revolution if you can’t see it through?

Another expectation of mine with the story is that it would follow of the trope of us just going there, be received warmly by the oppressed people then proceeding to beat the bad guy up and everyone living happily ever after.

Instead what we are seeing is the results of years of being dominated by the empire. By this point most people pretty much lost hope of anything changing. They are also tired of seeing their loved ones trying to join some kind of resistance just to see them get killed shortly after.

Zenos showing up
The first time I saw Zenos I thought “Oh, it is like in the trailer.” The second was more like “Please don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me…”

That battle with Zenos early one pretty much showed why the Grand Companies didn’t want to mess with the empire right now. That guy is a monster in battle and I had to retry twice because the first time I was confused about the best way to deal with his AOEs. Even then in the second try I had to use every trick I could think of to survive and was scared all the way through the end!

I am also liking how the story is providing some much needed depth and background to Lyse, Yugiri and Alisaie. Just like it did to Alphinaud, Tataru and Y’Shtola in Heavensward. I think it is only Thancreed left now that needs some more fleshing out. They started it in Heavensward but there is still a lot about him we don’t know yet. Or at least I don’t.

Hancock explains the meaning of the name "Kugane" while the game shows its market district
I love the all the colors and architecture in Kugane. Such beautiful place. 🙂

I am also loving the visuals of this expansion. I was afraid Ala Migho would just be some large, empty desert but they were able to fill in a lot of details with some vegetation, canyons, rivers and ruins. While Kugane is a multitude of colors. Doma itself though I haven’t seem much of yet. I am still in the countryside area, more or less. But those underwater towns were cool. 🙂

Speaking of which, going from underwater has been less hassle than I was expecting. In most MMOs I don’t like going underwater because they make it a pain to move around or fight on it. In Final Fantasy XIV we can only move around underwater so far but even that doesn’t feel too bad for me.

My only disappointment was with the Monk Job quests. Yeah, they make a lot of sense thematically but they felt so low-key compared to the previous ones. But I think I got to a point where things are starting to get really interesting.

I think that is all I have  to say about the Stormblood expansion. Maybe when I reached the end of this journey my thoughts will be different but so far it has been wonderful, probably the best one in Final Fantasy XIV. 🙂

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