FINAL FANTASY XIV Online has been reborn for new and returning players

A streamlined A Realm Reborn scenario and massively expanded Free Trial have thrown wide the gates for new players. Here’s why you should join them.
By Duncan Heaney

Some big and exciting changes have come to FINAL FANTASY XIV Online. The latest update for the game, Patch 5.3, has arrived, and not only does it add a wealth of new content for existing players, but it essentially kicks the door wide open for newcomers as well.

The development team has revisited the base game - FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn - and made some serious revisions to make it more welcoming. Not only that, the Free Trial has been dramatically expanded and it now features a massive amount of content to play through!

But what exactly does all that mean? We thought we’d take a closer look at what’s been done to explain exactly why it’s the perfect time to jump into the game.

A Realm Reborn has been… erm, reborn

Okay, let’s lay our (Triple Triad) cards on the table: FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn in its original form was a big game. Some might say it was a bit too big…

The development team set out with the goal of ensuring a smoother journey through main scenario for newer players, and took steps to streamline that original main scenario, including all story content through Patch 2.5.

Some quests have been altered, others have been removed entirely, but it essentially means you spend less time to-ing and fro-ing between different quest-givers, and more time doing the fun stuff like battling fearsome foes, exploring the varied locales of Eorzea and experiencing the game’s fascinating story.

Not only that, but elements like experience and quest rewards have also been adjusted to account for the new changes. Again, it makes the progression faster and more rewarding than ever before.

Let’s be clear though, A Realm Reborn’s campaign still offers an exciting adventure. This is still as rich and deep as you’d expect from a FINAL FANTASY game - just streamlined so you can continue your adventure in Heavensward and beyond a bit more quickly, and a more welcoming experience to new players than ever before.

Flying mounts are now in A Realm Reborn

There are other additions to A Realm Reborn that can benefit both new and experienced players. After you’ve completed “The Ultimate Weapon” quest (you’ll need to be at least level 50), you’ll be able to explore ARR areas on a flying mount.

As long-time players will tell you: this is a big deal. Until the most recent patch, players have been grounded in A Realm Reborn’s varied locales, but now they have the freedom to soar through the sky like a majestic chocobo. Or dragon. Or something more wacky - there are plenty of mounts to choose from.

Not only is this remarkably freeing, it makes it even more fast and convenient to explore Eorzea - and perfect for anyone coming to the game for the first time.

Heavensward is included in the Free Trial and Starter Edition

To date, FINAL FANTASY XIV Online has seen three expansions: Heavensward, Stormblood and - most recently - Shadowbringers.

Fans will debate endlessly about which of these expansions has the best story - even here in Square Enix HQ you’ll hear that particular discussion play out! Some adore the political shenanigans of Stormblood, while others can’t stop singing the praises of Shadowbringers’ tale of light and darkness.

But Heavensward’s stirring tale of war and dragons is a particular favorite among fans. Not only did it expand the world of Hydaelyn in some pretty dramatic ways, it presented an emotional adventure that stands up alongside the best stories in the FINAL FANTASY series - yes, it’s that good.

And now it’s included in both the FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Free Trial and Starter Edition as standard - with all the content up to Patch 3.56. Suffice to say, that’s a lot of quests, dungeons, and content to enjoy.

Three additional jobs are now also included as standard

The updates to the FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Free Trial and Starter Edition add three new jobs for players of those versions of the game: Dark Knight, Astrologian, and Machinist. Previously, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy these jobs unless you purchased the Heavensward expansion, but now that it is included in the Free Trial and Starter Edition, you can dive into any of these jobs as soon as you reach level 50 with a Disciple of War or Magic job and complete the A Realm Reborn scenario.

This is fantastic, because they’re super-fun to play. For example, Dark Knights are tough armor-clad warriors that can take plenty of hits from enemies as they restore HP and MP with attacks from their massive greatswords - perfect for those of us who like to confront their enemies head on.

Astrologians are a great option for anyone who likes to lend a helping hand - they’re healers who use their mastery of the arcana to assist their allies and help turn the tide of battles.

Machinists are gear-heads who can bring all sorts of fun gizmos into battle - a really unique job that offers a different experience—and robots (once you’re experienced enough!).

Of course, these are on top of all the jobs that were included in A Realm Reborn. There’s now so many different ways to play - and as you can switch jobs at any time, there’s hundreds of hours of gameplay to be had just experimenting with the different jobs and roles.

The Free Trial is now MASSIVE

As mentioned, everything we’ve talked about so far is also in the expanded Free Trial. That means that you can now essentially play two full RPGs-worth of content for free - no additional payment, and no obligation.

Along with this additional content, the Free Trial’s level cap has also been increased. You can now play every job from A Realm Reborn and Heavensward – a total of thirteen – up to level 60.

There’s no time limit on the Free Trial either, so don’t worry about rushing through. Take your time, explore the world, experiment with the different jobs, hang out with Haurchefant (he’s the best) and you’ll soon know if it’s for you.

We’re pretty sure it will be.

The new content has been automatically added to existing players’ accounts

It’s not just new players who get access to all of this additional content—anyone who’s played FINAL FANTASY XIV Online before, whether you bought the original A Realm Reborn or the Starter Edition - will also have Heavensward and its content and benefits added to their accounts.

To start playing, all you need to do is re-subscribe to the game. Once you log on, you’ll find the full Heavensward experience is already there ready to play (as soon as you finish A Realm Reborn, of course). It couldn’t be simpler!

FINAL FANTASY XIV Online was always designed to be a welcoming game - one that’s easy to get to grips with, and that offers a fun experience for groups and solo players alike.

The reworked A Realm Reborn scenario makes it even easier to get into - or back into - and the addition of Heavensward for all players will give you even more of a great game … and ridiculously good value.

The game is available now - hopefully we’ll see you all in Eorzea soon!