FINAL FANTASY XIV: Stormblood - Tour of the EastWe take you through some of the key regions you’ll visit on your quest to liberate the Far East in this epic expansion.
Let’s start with an important message: FINAL FANTASY XIV: Stormblood is currently free to players who own or buy the FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Starter Edition… but not for much longer! The promotion ends May 8, so be sure to claim it before time runs out!
With that PSA out of the way, let’s continue our deep dive into this most expansive of expansions. Previously, we’ve looked at Ala Mhigo and Doma, recapped the story so far, and reminisced about some of the activities brought by new expansion.
Today, we’ll take you on a tour of the new regions you’ll get to explore - both in Eorzea and beyond!
We’ll start with Gyr Abania. This mountainous region was once a powerful and influential region of Eorzea, but following the city-state of Ala Mhigo’s fall to the Garlean Empire, it’s now a shadow of its former self.
But while the misery inflicted by the Garleans has diminished its strength and influence, it can’t supress its beauty. The region is full of amazing sights, incredible architecture and areas that positively beg to be explored.
Here are just some of the areas you’ll visit on your quest to liberate the region:
Venture beyond the imposing Baelsar's Wall and you’ll enter the Fringes. This area is cut in half by the mighty Velodyna River, which has carved a deep canyon into the land.
It’s the first area you’ll visit during your journey to liberate the region, and you’ll see the wrecks of Garlean war machines littering the landscape.
It’s a spectacular introduction to the wonders of Gyr Abania… but your journey is just beginning.
One of your first tasks in Stormblood will be to contact the Ala Mhigan Resistance. Their headquarters can be found in Rhalgr's Reach - the central grounds of a massive temple. After all, if you’re going to hole up away from the prying eyes of the Garlean Empire, you might as well choose somewhere beautiful!
Amid the stunning architecture, you’ll find a bustling camp populated by the brave fighters of the resistance and merchants with valuable supplies. It’s a great place to plan and resupply.
As the name implies, this area is set among towering mountains. It’s not all isolated craggy peaks, though - there are villages, trading posts, and some of the most spectacular sights in Gyr Abania.
One of the most distinctive is the Ziggurat - a striking structure originally built as an act of co-operation between the Amdapori and Mhachi - ancient civilizations of white and black mages respectively.
You’ll also see Nyunkrepf's Hope - a massive ship perched atop a high peak. It hails back to the 6th Umbral Calamity, when the Archon Nyunkrepf Nyunkrepsyn attempted to save as many people as possible from the Great Flood by teleporting it to this location.
The Lochs are one of the reasons Ala Mhigo has traditionally been so difficult to conquer or retake - they provide a natural moat for the city. As a result, many battles have been fought for this strategically significant area.
The area is rich in salt, and miners used to pan the shallows for this precious resource. A salt refinery was erected in the appropriately-called Saltery to take advantage of it, but Garlean rule led to a steady decline in operations for the humble-looking village...
In the far eastern archipelago of Hingashi lies this picturesque port town that doubles as a major hub of travel and trade.
As the only port in the island nation that remains open to foreign vessels and where Eorzean and Garlean ships can both dock, it is something of an anomaly. It’s also a great place for travelers to visit - expect amazing taverns, markets full of silks and garments and rejuvenating hot springs.
But don’t be fooled by the air of relative peace. There’s a dark underbelly to this town, where espionage and political intrigue is rife.
If you head up, though, you’ll find some fun activities for the athletic adventurer - hidden jumping puzzles! We asked the developers how these super-fun challenges were made.
Ask the Developers
Within the Eastern City of Kugane are hidden jumping puzzles, where players can jump across tiny scaffolds to reach the rooftops of very high buildings… one of which has the hardest difficulty in the game even today! How was this planned, and how long did it take to settle on its final difficulty?
Yoshiki Takanashi, Lead Background Artist:
The planning all started when Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida told me “I want to be able to climb up this tower” during the check for the mock-up of Kugane.
I knew that players liked finding various places where they could climb in-game, which they’d take screenshots of and upload to their blogs and so on. With that in mind, I talked to the staff in charge of Kugane about the idea to make the platforms hard to recognise and to produce something with a high difficulty, so that players would enjoy the challenge and take screenshots once they reach the top.
For regular content (GATEs in the Manderville Gold Saucer, jumping challenges in the Moonfire Faire and so on), we’ll work together with the person in charge of planning to create the content, but all jump puzzles in the towns are created solely within the Background section. Having created simple blocks, we’d rearrange them, climb them, and repeat the process throughout the course of development.
At first, I didn’t expect it to become an entry in the Sightseeing Log – we simply intended it to be a fun addition for those who found it. But as I, and the person in charge, carried on with our work, we got excited about doing more and ended up with the difficulty that players can experience in the final product.
Having said that, we were working on it at the same time as part of the overall production of Kugane, so we didn’t spend as much time on it as players may imagine!
The Ruby Sea
This expansive stretch of water separates Hingashi and the continent of Othard, though neither has a claim on it. It’s ruled by the Confederacy - a group of pirates who know the sea like the back of their hands.
While there’s plenty to see about the waves, there’s also much to experience below. Special domes create areas where air-breathers are able to explore, and even live.
FINAL FANTASY XIV: Stormblood takes you out of Eorzea and into the wider world of Hydaelyn for the very first time. You’ll cross the ocean to Othard - one of the world’s three great continents.
Of course, it’s got its fair share of problems, not least of which is that many parts are currently under occupation by the Garlean Empire. Someone should probably do something about that…
In the meantime, you’ll explore some visually spectacular locales that are quite unlike anything you’ve seen in Eorzea.
Yanxia makes an immediate impression, thanks to its sweeping vistas, verdant landscape and the presence of the mighty One River.
But this natural beauty masks a deeper ugliness. The Garlean occupation left marks on this area, and the Kingdom of Doma. Many buildings lie in ruins, the people endure tortuous physical labor, and are hit with punishing taxes. Their once proud spirits have been broken, and an atmosphere of despair fills the region.
Even so, there’s plenty for an experienced adventurer to do here… and maybe help reignite the peoples’ passion to fight while they’re at it…
The sprawling plains of the Azim Steppe is said to be the ancestral home of the Au Ra and remains home to the many tribes of the Xaela clan.
There’s a lot to discover when you reach this massive area - you can battle monsters across the grasslands, visit the mountains, or head into an intricate cave system that runs through them.
That was just a whistle-stop tour through the wondrous regions that await in FINAL FANTASY XIV: Stormblood.
Remember, the expansion is completely free to everyone with the FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Starter Edition… but only for a few more days. The promotion ends May 8, 2023.
Head over to the FINAL FANTASY XIV website to find out more:
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