Final Fantasy 14 Online will receive at least ten more years of development support that will introduce major graphical changes, gameplay tweaks, and reopen the game’s free trials from February 22nd.
announced in the last Live producer letter, director and producer Naoki Yoshida described several changes to the MMORPG. In April, patch 6.1 will expand the game’s Trust System to allow you to tackle more dungeons with NPCs instead of online players, low-level scenarios will be tweaked to better support solo play, and more quests and cosmetics will be added to the game.
The following patches will add more dungeons, cosmetics, a new dungeon type, the Myths of the Realm 24-man raid series, and the Island Sanctuary pastoral area that was first teased as part of the Endwalker expansion. The start of the new main scenario questline will also appear in the upcoming 6.1 patch.
Going forward, patch 7.0 will introduce the game’s first major graphical overhaul, adding new lighting and shadow effects, animations, higher resolution textures, and more environmental effects. The game’s minimum system requirements are expected to increase, but shouldn’t be too demanding.
Yoshida emphasized that this will improve the game’s existing art style, rather than turning it in a more photorealistic direction. There’s no word yet on when the graphics patch will release, but we probably won’t see it until 7.0, the game’s next major expansion, which is currently set to release sometime in late 2023 or sometime in 2024.
Before that, the game’s free trial will reopen on February 22nd. Both testing and sales of Final Fantasy XIV have been temporarily suspended following an increase in player numbers and server congestion around the launch of its Endwalker expansion last December. The suspension was intended to reduce the long queue times and connectivity errors that arose after a large number of new players signed up for the game.
The opening of new servers across the world stabilized the game, allowing Square Enix to open it up once more.
Analysis: a great feat
For a developer to commit ten years of future support to any game is a huge achievement, but doubly so for one as old as Final Fantasy 14. The MMORPG was originally released on PS3 and PC in 2013 as a follow-up and replacement for another Square Enix title. with the same name that hit stores in 2010.
He quickly gained a following and was popular enough to be ported to PS4 and PS5. Square Enix’s commitment to the game for the next decade only serves to showcase the valuable title the publisher believes it to be. But its decision to introduce the game’s first major graphical update also demonstrates that it cannot rest on its laurels forever. If Final Fantasy 14 can’t keep up with its MMO competitors, it will lose players.
The return of its free trial is also worthwhile for any big fan of Final Fantasy, or anyone interested in checking out the series for the first time. The preview lets you play as much of the base game and the entire first expansion, Heavensward, with no game time restrictions. That’s potentially hundreds of hours of gameplay; not a bad deal for a freebie that will ease you into the general ethos of Final Fantasy.
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