The road to FINAL FANTASY XIV: Stormblood

Claimed the free Stormblood expansion and about to start your adventures? Here’s the story so far…
By Duncan Heaney

As ever, we begin with a reminder: FINAL FANTASY XIV: Stormblood is free for anyone with the FINAL FANTASY XIV Starter Edition, until May 8, 2023.

To help all the new players about to embark on this epic adventure, we’ve been taking a look at what to expect from the expansion. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve given you a glimpse of Ala Mhigo and Doma - and a few familiar faces who hail from these regions.

Today, however, we thought it would be useful to take a look back at the story so far. Below, we’ve summarized the most important plot points in the lead up to Stormblood. It’s a handy refresher for those of you about to start the expansion, or a nostalgia trip if you’ve already experienced the story!

While the occupation of Ala Mhigo has been a looming topic in the story since its earliest moments, the road to Stormblood really started with Patch 3.4…

If you are not up to date with Heavensward’s story, please be aware that spoilers will be included below!

Patch 3.4 series: Soul Surrender

After bringing a centuries-old war between humans and dragons to an end in Heavensward, you’d think the Warrior of Light would have earned a rest. Alas, a hero's work is never done, and the threat of the Primals continues to escalate.

The Warrior of Light and the Scions of the Seventh Dawn’s investigation into some stolen crystals leads them to Little Ala Mhigo - a settlement in Southern Thanalan populated by refugees from the occupied East, which you might remember from early quests in A Realm Reborn.

There, they learn of the Masks - a new splinter group of the Ala Mhigan Resistance led by a mysterious figure known as the "Griffin." The Warrior of Light attends his speech and discovers this charismatic leader who claims to have the power to take down the Empire and free Ala Mhigo from its oppressors once and for all.

While listening to the speech, they spot a couple of friendly faces: Yda and Papalymo, from the Scions of the Seventh Dawn. Both had gone into hiding after the group was framed for the assassination of Sultana Nanamo Ul Namo (during A Realm Reborn).

The duo bring the Warrior of Light up to speed and reveal a startling truth - the "Griffin" whose speech they attended is actually a fake. He’s a decoy used by the real leader - both for protection, and because he has more charisma than the real thing.

The real Griffin has no love for the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, or the Eorzean Alliance in general, so the heroes decide to investigate his true motives. After cornering the fake Griffin, they discover the Masks’ plan: to trade the stolen crystals with the Amal’jaa tribe. This would give them the ability to summon Ifrit in exchange for their support when conflict with the Garlean Empire erupts.

It's a revelation that could break the Resistance apart - and an indication of just how morally compromised the Griffin truly is…

That point is truly driven home at the end of the Patch 3.4 series main scenario, when the Griffin meets with the Ascian Elidibus and takes possession of the Eyes of Nidhogg…

Patch 3.5 series: The Far Edge of Fate

The story continues in Patch 3.5, as the Griffin’s plot moves forward.

Word reaches the Scions that he is planning an assault on Baelsar’s Wall - the massive barrier that separates the Black Shroud and Garlean-occupied Gyr Abania.

The Eorzean Alliance agrees to send additional troops to fortify the Wall - despite concerns that an increase in military presence could provoke a response from the Empire. While the Warrior of Light and Alphinaud meet with the commanders of the Grand Companies, Yda, Papalymo, Thancred and Yugiri use a secret Resistance tunnel to sneak past the Wall and try to convince the Griffin to stop his dangerous plan

However, there is an explosion on the Wall, and reports come in that Grand Company forces are attacking the Wall… despite the leaders giving no such order. The Griffin’s plan suddenly becomes clear: by dressing his soldiers in Grand Company uniforms, he’s made it look like the Alliance has launched an assault themselves, forcing Eorzea into the fight to liberate his homeland… whether they like it or not.

The Warrior of Light races to the Wall to intervene. There they encounter the Griffin, who reveals his true identity: Ilberd Feare - the former Captain of the Crystal Braves, who had betrayed both the Warrior of Light and his own allies during the events of A Realm Reborn (read all about him here).

The Warrior of Light defeats the radical Ala Mhigan, but it’s too late - his plans are already in motion. Disguised as Imperials, Ilberd’s allies set Magitek machines loose on the Resistance, and the slaughter commences. As the dying soldiers cry for vengeance, Ilberd reveals the Eyes of Nidhogg and how he intends to use them.

At the cost of his own life, and using the Eyes as an aether battery, he summons a Primal that, he claims, will dwarf even Bahamut in strength. As the entity begins to manifest, Papalymo orders the Warrior of Light and their allies to retreat while he attempts a dangerous ritual to contain the powerful new threat.

The Primal is sealed in a brilliant shining cocoon, reminiscent of the prison Louisoix attempted to seal Bahamut in during the Seventh Umbral Calamity, but the cost is high: Papalymo is also consumed by the light, as a distraught Yda looks on.

Papalymo’s brave actions may have fended off a new Calamity, but the Primal remains trapped in the Cocoon of Light. The Leaders of the Eorzean Alliance, Cid Garlond, and the Scions of Seventh Dawn meet to discuss what to do about this threat, but ideas are far from forthcoming…

…at least until the arrival of an uninvited guest: Nero tol Scaeva. He suggests that to defeat a Primal, they need an anti-Primal weapon. They need to reactivate Omega, still buried underneath the Carteneau Flats. This ancient superweapon was once used to capture Bahamut… and it could be used to do the same for Ilberd’s Primal!

It’s a risky plan, and nobody trusts Nero, but with no other ideas forthcoming it seems to be the only path forward.

Meanwhile, a mysterious samurai arrives in Eorzea. His name is Gosetsu, and he has come to ask the shinobi Yugiri to return to occupied Doma to aid their Lord. But she refuses, saying she has responsibilities to the refugees she led out of the kingdom, as well as the Scions.

Realizing that these responsibilities will put the group into conflict with the Garlean Empire, Gosetsu offers to lend his aid on the mission. The Warrior of Light and his allies travel to Carteneau, where they do indeed encounter Imperial Troops.

After a fierce battle, Cid and Nero prepare Omega for activation, but they leave the final decision to activate it to Yda. As an Ala Mhigan, and Papalymo’s steadfast companion, she has earned the right.

Yda chooses to activate the superweapon, which launches towards Baelsar’s Wall as the Primal emerges from the cocoon, revealing the draconic form of Shinryu. An epic battle ensues, and the two fly off over the horizon into Gyr Abania.

If you are anything like us, that cutscene probably left you in awe, and you’d probably want to know more about it! Well, you're in luck - our latest “Ask the Developers” corner might just be the thing you need!

Ask the Developers: Omega vs Shinryu

Q: In patch 3.5, there’s a very exciting cutscene featuring an intense battle between Omega and Shinryu. There are many elements and visuals in this cutscene that hadn’t been realized in other scenes prior to that point - what was the overall concept and inspiration behind that particular scene? 

Masaki Imamura, Lead Cutscene Artist:

As our concept, we had a battle between the top hidden bosses that all FINAL FANTASY fans are familiar with, which would play out as a “huge monster showdown” of sorts - similar to what people would find in the ‘Kaiju’ genre of Japanese cinema.

The challenge was to control the cutscenes in FFXIV as an MMO title, and also make sure it would work on the PlayStation 3, which was still supported at the time. Basically, we wanted to push the boundaries of what could be expressed in the game’s visuals.

For this reason, we had a slightly longer preparation period than usual for cutscenes and had to communicate about technical matters with each section in charge of resources as we worked on the production. We carefully created each part of the scene and, although we experienced various hardships when it came to keeping the data within the limits of the available memory, I’m genuinely glad that we were successful in adjusting and implementing the scene, despite it coming down to the wire!

As Omega’s sensors went offline during the battle, the ultimate fate of both Omega and Shinryu is a mystery. The team decides that they must head into occupied territory in pursuit. It seems like a war with the Empire is brewing after all.

In the aftermath of the battle, Yda reveals a secret of her own - she isn’t who she claims to be. She’s actually Yda’s sister, Lyse, taking her sibling’s identity after the real Yda was killed helping refugees. She determines that it’s time to forge her own path and continue to fight for the freedom of Ala Mhigo.

With her honor debt to the Scions fulfilled, Yugiri agrees to accompany Gosetsu back to Doma, and the two depart for their homeland.

Meanwhile, in Ala Mhigo, the Viceroy of the region receives a report about Omega and Shinryu. As he sits ominously on this throne, he muses that the coming days are going to be very interesting…

And thus, the stage is set for Stormblood.

The lead-up to the expansion is a real rollercoaster, full of shocking twists and unforgettable moments, but the fun has only just begun.

You can experience the next chapter in the saga for yourself in FINAL FANTASY XIV: Stormblood, which is currently freely available to anyone who owns or buys the FINAL FANTASY XIV Starter Edition.

The promotional period ends May 8, 2023, so be sure to claim it now… and let the liberation of Ala Mhigo and the Far East begin! To find out more, check out the official site:

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