Final Fantasy XIV's patch is now available on PS4/PC and introduces Rathalos and other Monster Hunter World-inspired gear and content. Here are GameSpot's choices for the five best expansions.

There have been six great eras of calamity since the Age of Gods passed into legend and the age of man began. Before, the cities had hired mercenaries for their inner wars, but now they trusted only professional soldiers, leaving the sellswords unemployed and restless. From that time onwards, the country became merely another imperial territory under the governance of its usurpers. The Order of the Twin Adder establishes a medium from which the Seedseers can return from their wanderings deep within the Black Shroud and directly oversee not only the safety of Gridania's citizens, but the workings of the local guard, Both the Gods' Quiver, who defend the forest from external threats, and the Wood Wailers, who protect it from internal strife, have expressed their support of this temporary measure. Needles and spinning wheels.

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Two other city-states also exist: In addition, the distant scholarly city of Sharlayan had until recently maintained a colony in Dravania, and is deeply involved in the politics and fate of Eorzea. Eorzea's main enemies consist of the Beast Tribe races and the Garlean Empire. The Beast Tribes are a group of intelligent but monstrous clans, whose ideals and objectives clash with the humanoid races, while the Garlean Empire is a magically weak but technologically advanced, cosmopolitan though Hyuran-dominated nation hailing from outside of Eorzea who seeks to conquer the land and its Aether, which powers their various technologies, including Magitek Armor and Airships.

In addition, threats from the Void frequently trouble the realm, including mysterious shadowless agents. On the southern coast of the island of Vylbrand , under the shadow of ancient cliffs worn by the relentless onslaught of the Rhotano Sea, lies the marine city-state of Limsa Lominsa.

Said to be blessed by the goddess of navigation, Llymlaen , the city is spread out over countless tiny islands, each connected by sturdy bridges of iron and wood construction, earning her the name the "Navigator's Veil" from traveling bards who have witnessed the city's beauty from afar.

Limsa Lominsa is a traditional thalassocracy, with power lying in the hands of the ruling party and its leader, the Admiral. Its economy is driven by shipbuilding, fishing, and blacksmithing, but the majority of wealth comes from the lucrative shipping industry. To maintain the safety of its maritime routes, the city employs a formidable navy known as the Knights of the Barracuda.

However, even in the waters nearby the city, pirate bands run rampant, raving and pillaging. In the eastern reaches of the Aldenard landmass, home to vast, dense woodlands and coursing rivers, lies the forest nation of Gridania. The cityscape is a mosaic of labyrinthine waterways and great wooden structures, so gracefully constructed they seem a part of the surrounding environment.

The Gridanian emphasis on natural harmony has led to its preeminence among Eorzea's city-states in trades such as forestry, agriculture, carpentry, and leatherworking. Gridania is home to the Wood Wailers, a militant band of polearm-wielding sentries charged with the protection of their homeland. The favored goddess of the citizenry is Nophica, the Matron , but great faith is also placed in the wisdom of the Seedseers— young oracles who guide the nation based on the will of the forest's elementals.

The bustling commercial hub of Ul'dah sits amid the arid desert landscape of Thanalan in southern Aldenard. The city is organized strategically around the dome-shaped citadel at its center. Its towering fortifications and protective outer walls are visible for malms in all directions, and serve as a stark deterrent to would-be besiegers.

Visitors from every corner of Eorzea come to Ul'dah to partake of the city's famed recreation, most notably the fighting arenas and gambling halls. Ul'dahn culture is known for its affluence, and the nation's wealth comes from its abundant mineral resources and prestigious clothcrafting industry. Historically, the sultan claims sovereignty over Ul'dah, but true power is wielded by the Syndicate, an elite group of six of the most influential and richest members of society.

Nald'thal the Traders is the city's patron deity and two great halls devoted to his two aspects—Nald and Thal—are found in the eastern and western sections of the city. In the central region of Abalathia's Spine, that great mountain range that spans Aldenard from east to west, can be found the forbidding highlands of Coerthas and the Holy See of Ishgard.

The archbishop of the church, while leading his people in the teachings of Halone, the Fury , rules also as the nation's sovereign. Ishgard's formidable army of knights wages constant battle against its mortal enemies, the dragons. Faced with ever more aggressive attacks from its serpentine foes, as well as an unprecedented spell of bitter cold, the theocracy's days are dark indeed. Matters have grown so grave as to prompt the archbishop and his advisors to consider throwing open the heretofore sealed gates of Ishgard and calling for outside aid.

The highlands of Gyr Abania in the eastern reaches of Aldenard were once under the control of a martial nation known as Ala Mhigo. It was, perhaps, the historically conflicted nature of the territory that forged the country into a significant military power.

Even as this aggressive nation sent its forces to conquer in the west, it repelled repeated attempts at invasion from the east. From that time onwards, the country became merely another imperial territory under the governance of its usurpers. Though the people of Ala Mhigo once revered Rhalgr, the Destroyer , as their patron deity, any such religious observance has since been forbidden by the controlling authorities. These are the groups being formed by the city-states to combat the coming and current threat of the Garlean Empire, as well as clashes with the beast-tribes.

At the heart of the Thalassocratic Navy lies the Lominsan Armada, composed of nine independent squadrons, the First through the Ninth. The Maelstrom is an extension of the First Squadron, expanding its role as armada flagship and granting it power to administer not only the remaining eight squadrons, but the various merchant fleets that navigate the seas off Vylbrand.

With the reestablishment of the Maelstrom, the Admiral has begun the move to invoke ancient maritime law, by which she would promote herself to Chief Admiral, effectively expanding her authority to cover not only state and military dealings, but grant her the power to directly command all ships in Lominsan waters, and freely punish any who disobey.

The city-state's pirates are not about to take this encroachment on their freedom without a fight. The Order of the Twin Adder establishes a medium from which the Seedseers can return from their wanderings deep within the Black Shroud and directly oversee not only the safety of Gridania's citizens, but the workings of the local guard, Both the Gods' Quiver, who defend the forest from external threats, and the Wood Wailers, who protect it from internal strife, have expressed their support of this temporary measure.

There are those within Gridania who would question the ability of the Seedseers, whose duties until now have been limited to various ritualistic proceedings, and doubt whether or not they are fit to lead a nation into war. Currently, the bulk of Ul'dah's military strength comes from their standing army of mercenaries and the small contingent of the palace guard known as the Sultansworn.

To bring order to their ranks and oversee additional wartime training, the Sultana has considered resurrecting the Immortal Flames-an elite force of battle-hardened veterans that once instilled fear in the city-state's neighboring nations during ages past. This unit would act as a core aspect of the army bolstering its power, and grant more authority to the Sultana and her advisers—something of which those in control of the city-state's economy—namely the Syndicate—are wary.

The player characters move quickly from place to place by using Aetherytes , large shards of crystallized aether fused with ancient machinery. These crystals act as teleporters, for a fee.

One can also set three Aetherytes as "favorites", reducing teleport costs to that Aether by half, and one as "home", reducing teleport costs to that Aether to zero.

Teleporting to one's home aetheryte for free is limited to once every fifteen minutes, but the player can return there whether this time has elapsed or not as long as they have been KO'd. Players with a one time password attached to their account can set one Aetheryte to be free of charge for teleporting at any time. Players can also obtain mounts for swift movement within a zone.

This includes a chocobo issued from a Grand Company, as well as other exotic steeds and even Magitek Armor. Some are even capable of flight, enabling access to hard to reach areas.

Ferry and airship services can be obtained at the major cities and certain hamlets. Introduced in Patch 2. The Gold Saucer enables players to play Triple Triad , race Chocobos, and participate in a variety of minigames.

The player character must join a guild to receive Guildleves, decorative cards that hold a quest for the character to complete. The quests can include anything from hunting a specific monster to item collection or negotiation with the enemies. The Guildleves can be completed alone or with a party of other players, with everyone reaping the benefits of the quest. The players can multitask on several leves at the same time. Five years before the events of the game, metal-clad warriors invaded Eorzea with flame-spewing weapons and colossal airships.

The army came from the Garlean Empire, and it didn't take long before the mightiest of the six city-states, Ala Mhigo , fell under their force. The other city-states united their power to defend themselves, but just as fast as it had arrived, the imperial army was gone. A new era began at Eorzea, known as the Age of Calm , which the city-states spent by building up their defenses and training their armies.

Before, the cities had hired mercenaries for their inner wars, but now they trusted only professional soldiers, leaving the sellswords unemployed and restless. To keep them from causing harm and steer their energy into helping others instead, the city-states founded a network of adventuring guilds.

Not all songs added on later patches have been composed by Uematsu, being compositions or remixes by Masayoshi Soken , Naoshi Mizuta , Ryo Yamazaki and Tsuyoshi Sekito , with most "banner" pieces being composed by Soken. A Realm Reborn uses many new themes as well, most composed by Soken, who is now the main sound director for the game.

She is the vocalist for the Distant Worlds concert CDs and has performed live in many of the concerts. In the wake of the disastrous launch of the original version, and the backlash the game received from players, critics and investors [5] , Square Enix announced the development of a "2. A Realm Reborn would be the culmination of the cycle of updates to the game that began after the staff replacements earlier that year.

A Realm Reborn was pitched not as an expansion pack, but an entire reworking of the game, rebuilt from the ground up. The update requires an all new client, currently available for free download for all purchasers of 1. It uses a different graphics engine, based on a branch of Square's Luminous technology and drastically redesigns the game world map for ease of use and play and boasts a different server structure which allows for more rapid player action; the new engine is also better optimized for both lower end PCs and the PlayStation 3.

The main storyline is modified to fit in with the new Eorzea, but does hit a number of similar plot beats to the original storyline; the new story is set five years after the fall of Meteor and the end of Legacy. During E3 , new information regarding the release for the PlayStation 3 version and the 2.

It included concept art for Typhon , a series recurring enemy, Fenrir with a design similar to that of the one seen in Final Fantasy XI , new screenshots of male Miqo'te as a Paladin and another as a Dragoon, as well as many new weapons and equipment.

The first gameplay presentation was shown at Gamescom [6] , and the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary event on September 1st featured a keynote with Naoki Yoshida. On July 5, , Square Enix launched a new teaser site , which was constantly updated with information, including a blog with weekly updates concerning everything from teases to new content to the occasional bit of office shenanigans.

The Alpha Test, conducted during the last several weeks of , was an encouraging success. Many praised the Alpha for having far more content than was needed to conduct server stress tests.

The Beta Test application site was open from early until late July of that year, and the A Realm Reborn beta commenced on February 25th, , with testing coming to a successful close on August 19th. Legacy members and players with a Final Fantasy XIII Members Registration Code were given priority for selection in Phase 1 of the Beta, but more testers were invited regularly; Phase 4 was an "open beta" in which virtually everyone who applied before the July cut-off was allowed in, and progress made carried forward into the release game.

This resulted in several problematic errors on the North American server cluster that caused some people to get locked out of the game, but these were largely caused by congestion as the beta shattered player-concurrency records, not just for Final Fantasy XIV but for any massively-multiplayer open beta, anywhere.

In July Square Enix's Final Fantasy XIV development team was recorded as saying the team has progressed their planning to about four years into the future. A Realm Reborn was released on December 17, The main concept of this patch is the further awakening of the Primals.

Two previously released dungeons received a hard mode option; the Haukke Manor and the Copperbell Mines. The first man raid was introduced with the Crystal Tower where players get into one of three full party groups.

The Aesthetician NPC allowed the players to change their hairstyle and hair color. Lightning and Snow 's hairstyles are also available for players who finished the quest Lightning Strikes.

Released on March 27, The Primal Leviathan debuted as the main boss of the main scenario, with the mysteries of the Allagan civilization further covered. The Lost City of Amdapor was included as a new dungeon, along with Turns in the Second Coil of Bahamut also known as Turn by players dungeon and hard mode versions of Brayflox's Longstop and Halatali. The patch also included new beastmen daily quests focusing on the Sahagin and Kobold tribes.

An extreme mode version of Good King Moggle Mog was added, along with the 2nd episode of the Inspector Hildibrand sidequest and the addition of a vanity slot system called Glamor. This update was released on July 8, Ramuh was introduced as the newest Primal trial in the Main Scenario quests. The 3rd episode of Inspector Hildibrand and the second part of the Crystal Tower debuted.

Desynthesis and the Hunt were be implemented as new game systems. A massive PvP mode called " Frontline " was added that involves three teams fighting against each other, with up to 24 players. Three new dungeons were added: In addition, a brutally difficult version of the patch 2. The Primal Shiva debuted as the main boss of the main scenario quests.

In addition, the new Rogue class and its upgrade Ninja were introduced in 2. The Allagan Tomestones of Poetics were also implemented into the game for equipment exchange. Allagan Tomestones of Mythology were removed from the game and players are no longer able to obtain Allagan Tomestones of Mythology or purchase items with them. Unlike other patches, Before the Fall was split in three parts, as part of the lead up to the events of Heavensward 3. Part One was released on January 20, As an intermission, Patch 2.

Triple Triad and Chocobo Racing were introduced as features of the park. The final stage of the Zodiac Weapons were introduced. The first expansion pack was announced on October 18, It was released on June 23, , with early access for pre-orders opening on June Two new major plotlines were introduced in the expansion: The Dragonsong War, the tale of the year conflict between the Dravanians and Ishgard, and the tale of "Thordan and his Knights Twelve" against the Wyrmking.

The city of Ishgard opened its gates to outsiders for the first time, granting access to the wilderness of Coerthas and the Dravanian lands. New sky zones were introduced, along with flying mounts and player airships.

The level cap was increased to Three new jobs were introduced: Dark Knight , Astrologian , and Machinist. The citadel Alexander provides the setting for the new top-tier raid in the game.

The Au Ra , a race of dragon-like humanoids, were introduced as playable characters. The second expansion pack was announced on October 14, It was released on June 20, , with early access for pre-orders opening on June The plot centers around efforts to liberate Ala Mhigo and Doma after two decades of subjugation under the Garlean Empire.

Adventurers may now cross Baelsar's Wall into the imperial territory of Gyr Abania as well as visit the Far Eastern shores of Othard, along with the exotic port city of Kugane.

Six new outdoor zones were added, many featuring underwater content to explore. Two new jobs were added, Red Mage and Samurai , with the existing jobs significantly rebalanced to reduce ability bloat. New primals featured include Susano and Lakshmi. A new raid series series surrounding Omega in the Interdimensional Rift is featured. Players who pre-ordered A Realm Reborn got "early access" on August The Steam version was released on February 17, Both Standard and Digital Collector's Editions are available.

The PlayStation 4 version was released on April Players of the PS3 version were able to upgrade to the PS4 version for free. A Realm Reborn was available in Sony Japan stores, limited to only 1, units.

A Realm Reborn on disc. A Realm Reborn Game of the Year Edition was released on November 14, , and only available for PC and comes bundled in a printed Book of Diamonds Grimoire box, along with five art cards and 90 days worth of subscription to the game. Korean server will also be published by Actoz Soft with full Korean translations.

Early previews and reception of A Realm Reborn were more positive than reception of Version 1. Among the fan community, A Realm Reborn received some criticism for the difficulties connecting to the game during "prime time" hours in the game's first week or so of service.

This was due to unprecedented interest and sales which exceeded Square Enix's projections and led to every server being at capacity before even the end of early access; even the beta was breaking concurrency records, [25] and the game's release saw concurrency go even higher with still greater sales, necessitating significant expansion of the data centers for both major regions.

A Realm Reborn is a triumph for Naoki Yoshida and his team. The game went on to sell a million and a half copies in its first month of renewed operation, and in its first month where a paid subscription was required, immediately surpassed the concurrent subscriber record of Final Fantasy XI , with over , subscribers. A Realm Reborn reached 2 million registered users in April Final Fantasy XIV is rife with callbacks to the rest of the series and other games, movies, music, and popular culture.

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