Rather than give a number score to Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, I figure I'd go the blog route and talk about my time in the game. We're a week removed from a fairly painless launch for a major expansion to Square Enix's resurrected MMO, and so far everything has been pretty excellent. There has been the normal bouts of server congestion, but thanks to the 30 minute idle timer the queues have never been more than a minute to get on to a server. Fair warning, I am not going to name names of major characters that haven't already been revealed by Square Enix, but there may be some minor spoilers for the story leading up to Heavensward and up to the first major Primal fight. You can get more, after the jump.
The story so far has kept up with the pace that ended with the 2.55 patch, the Scions of the Seventh have been splintered and the Hero of Light has broken for Ishgard in hopes of clearing their name after the events of 'Before the Fall.' As a guest of House Fortemps, I've been introduced to all of the major players of Ishgard, including the Holy See and the Heavensward, knights sworn to protect the Holy See. I've also felled the first major primal fight, Ravana, which felt like a good place to wrap up this week.
I've been through three of the six new zones, and they are absolutely massive, and while flight is a big deal for these new zones, you're initially landlocked until you find all of the Aetheric Currents in a given zone, five of which are locked behind quests. Once you find them all, flight is just a double tap of the space bar. And if you're like me and got the limited edition, the music that accompanies the griffin mount is incredibly good. Completing the story mode will award you with a flying mount as well, so there's no need to worry about missing out on one of the cool new additions.
I've hit one new dungeon so far, and thankfully the queue times have been relatively minor for my Bard. I've also unlocked Astrologian, Dark Knight, and Machinist. All three new jobs are simple to unlock and don't take more than about twenty minutes each. Each job starts at level thirty, so there is a chance to grow into the new jobs. I've managed to get myself up to level 53 on my Bard, which has unlocked one new skill so far, Bard Minuet, which hasn't really fit into my rotation yet, as it increases my damage by twenty percent, but at the cost of auto-attacks and the addition of cast timers on all of my skills. So right now it's a wash, unless I go Bard Minuet, burn all of my cool-downs, and then use Straight Shot with the critical proc active. That in all takes about fifteen seconds to fire off, but the damage potential there is absolutely crazy.
The new primal, Ravana, felt like a mix between Garuda and Titan, there's some adds to burn down, ground attacks to dodge, and the potential to fall off a platform to instant death. His mechanics require a bit of a DPS race, which means your gear is of utmost import. If you haven't been farming Ironworks Gear, then you might have a hard time, though the gear that the game has been handing out up to this point has been slightly comparable. To account for the gear gap, the main story leading up to Heavensward is also handing out higher level gear than ever before. This means there is a bit of an influx of new players, though up to this point I haven't run in to any who haven't been able to pick up the mechanics.
One week in the books, and really, if you haven't made the jump to Heavensward, go out and get it. The new zones look great, and the DirectX11 support has this game looking better than ever. The story content requires that you complete through patch 2.55 content, so if you're at that point, you'll be accelerated through to Heavensward thanks to the increased experience that is awarded now. Personally, I'm having a blast with Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward and this expansion pack is so far proving to be very much worth the investment.