New quests, a new dungeon, a new raid, an oddball new job and mahjong of all things - today's Final Fantasy XIV update does not mess around. Patch 4.5 - A Requiem For Heroes - caps off the MMORPG's current run of content bridging from the end of the Stormblood expansion into the upcoming Shadowbringers. This update includes one final return to the world of Final Fantasy Tactics, plus the curious blue mage class, who copy skills from slain monsters. Check out the patch notes here, and a dramatic update trailer below.
As usual, the patch notes today are enormous, but the highlights are the new story, dungeon, raid and class. Raid-wise, the Final Fantasy Tactics crossover arc concludes with a visit to Orbonne Monastery. Series fans will immediately recognise the name - it's where Tactics began. This raid will should also re-introduce the Viera, the rabbit-eared amazons (Fran's people in FFXII) hinted strongly as the new expansion's next playable race. New dungeon The Ghimlyt Dark is an open field battle against Imperial forces, including some familiar looking big stompy mechs.
While their job quests have been delayed for another week, blue mages are probably the most interesting part of 4.5. They're playable only from level 1 to 50 (most new classes start at 50) with plans to expand their range later. Blue mages level up faster than other classes, and gain new abilities by observing new enemy attacks before defeating that target. There's dozens of monster skills to be learnt, and you can equip up to 24 at a time. Once at max level, blue mages can challenge The Masked Carnivale, a series of 25 arena challenges designed specifically around the class.
There's a lot of curious little additions this update. The winners of a furnishing design contest have been added to the game, for those wanting to decorate their virtual home further. There's also the surprising addition of Doman mahjong. The traditional Japanese poker-like game is now available for play against NPCs or other humans, and you can start learning the ropes down at the Gold Saucer casino. I've tried learning mahjong before and failed miserably (I can barely remember what a winning hand in poker looks like), but your mileage may vary.
This isn't quite the final update before Final Fantasy XIV's next expansion, Shadowbringers, but it is the last major one. Before the expansion launches sometime this summer, we'll see patch 4.55, adding a new map for the MOBA-like Rival Wings PvP mode and another high-level hunting zone, Eureka Hydatos. Patch 4.56 will cap off the current episodic story arc and include one final round of slapstick adventuring with Hildibrand and pals. Lastly, Patch 4.57 will add the World Visit system, allowing players to join friends in other regions - there's no firm date on those updates.
Final Fantasy XIV patch 4.5: A Requiem For Heroes goes live today, although the vast majority of it will only be available to those who have finished the Stormblood main story and all the episodic content released so far.