Having successfully undergone its hotly-anticipated rebirth, the realm of Eorzea is soon to be awoken.
Patch 2.1 for Square Enix's excellent MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV -- also, coincidentally, the best Final Fantasy in years -- is coming on December 17. While non-MMO players may not find news of an impending update particularly exciting -- unless, perhaps, you've been struggling against Battlefield 4's problems -- patch 2.1, or A Realm Awoken as it's now known, is the first of many significant content updates players can expect to enjoy over the game's lifespan, with new expansions intended to follow at three-month intervals.
Here's a 10-minute trailer, consisting entirely of gameplay footage, and summarizing what we can expect from A Realm Awoken.
Just in case you're not able to view the video where you are -- do check it out when you get the chance, if only for the amazing music -- here's a rundown of everything that's coming.
First up is the new dungeon The Crystal Tower. This Final Fantasy III-inspired locale is a 24-player raid dungeon intended to ease people more gently into the more challenging end of FFXIV's endgame content such as the Binding Coil of Bahamut. The 24 players will be split into three groups, and each will have to work together to survive; the trailer shows both situations where all players work together against a common foe, and challenges where the three teams work in parallel to complete different challenges at the same time. The dungeon will include both music and enemies from Final Fantasy III.
Next is the Wolves' Den, a PvP arena in which teams of players will be able to face off against one another in order to prove who really is the best. This was tested back during the beta test of the game, but was only available to those with "legacy" characters from Final Fantasy XIV's version 1.0 who had exceeded a certain level; this will be the first time the population at large will be able to directly compete against one another, and the first "true" PvP in Final Fantasy history.
The trailer then shows off the three housing areas -- Gridania's verdant Lavender Beds area, Ul'Dah's sandstone The Goblet area, and Limsa Lominsa's distinctly Mediterranean-looking Mist region. Initially, housing will only be available to Free Companies -- Final Fantasy XIV's equivalent of guilds -- but the possibility of personal housing will be explored further down the road. If you're already in a Free Company, get saving if you're not already; land will be distributed using a Dutch auction system, so those with more money to throw around will have a distinct advantage.
We also get a peek at the customization options available for housing. You'll be able to pick and choose wall, roof and floor types, plus fill both the interior and exterior areas of your plot with various objects.
Next up comes a new boss fight and a throwback to the original incarnation of Final Fantasy XIV: the distinctly ridiculous battle against Good King Moggle Mog XII, who is, as the name suggests, king of the moogles. The fight against him features a wonderful Danny Elfman-inspired take on the traditional Final Fantasy moogle theme, and will be an all-new challenge for A Realm Reborn players.
Following this, we get a peek at the new Beastman Tribe and Treasure Hunt quests. Details for both of these are relatively thin on the ground at present, but the former looks like a series of specific quests themed around groups such as the Amal'jaa and Sylphs and their strongholds on the various maps -- rather underutilized areas at present -- while the latter is exactly what it sounds like: you get a treasure map, and have to find a hidden treasure. Further details on Beastman Tribe quests are coming in the next "Letter from the Producer Live" event on December 14, just ahead of the new expansion's launch.
New character customization options will make an appearance thanks to the "aesthetician," who will be able to give you an exciting new haircut. Those who have completed the Lightning Strikes event, which finishes on December 9, will be able to get their hair cut like Lightning or Snow as well as being able to wear their clothes.
Final Fantasy XIV version 1.0 veterans will doubtless be pleased to see the return of comic-relief character and incompetent secret agent Hildibrand, Agent of Enquiry, though the role he has to play in A Realm Reborn/Awoken is yet to be revealed. In the original Final Fantasy XIV, he largely related to inn-related quests, so perhaps he'll be reprising that role.
The brand-new four-player dungeon Pharos Sirius is teased, and it looks like we'll be fighting Siren at the end of it. At present, there's a main storyline quest in which you defend yourself against an attack from Siren, but she escapes at the end of it; this looks like a resolution to that particular issue. Low-level dungeons Haukke Manor and Copperbell Mines both get a level 50 Hard mode makeover with more challenging fights, too, and just in case the already difficult Hard mode primal battles weren't enough for you, there are now Extreme versions of all of them for the truly masochistic to take on, plus what looks like a separate, dedicated battle against final story boss Ultima Weapon that doesn't involve running the final Praetorium dungeon.
Those who enjoy running dungeons with random groups will be able to try out the Duty Roulette mode, which picks a random dungeon and groups you up with other players. Should be fun.
Finally, it's also pleasing to see that the main scenario quests for the game will continue the ongoing story of Eorzea for those who have already reached level 50 and vanquished the evil Empire and its machinations. The trailer doesn't give any real hints as to what's coming next for the story, but you can doubtless expect further mischief from the dastardly Ascians.
The new trailer has been impressing people on social media all morning, with a significant number of people I've spoken to today now being quite interested in trying Final Fantasy XIV for themselves. How about you? Do you like the look of this new content?