Getting into a new MMORPG is always a little daunting, never mind one as huge as Final Fantasy XIV. Fortunately, Square Enix have made that hill a little easier to climb. Closing out Shadowbringers' story may be Patch 5.3: Reflections in Crystal's headline act - but if you've only just started dipping your toe into the massive online JRPG, today's update gives you a hell of a lot more content to prod at with 2015's Heavensward expansion.
I couldn't tell you what's going on in FFXIV's plot these days. But if Patch 5.3's done anything, it's given fence-sitters like me a hell of an excuse to try out a massive portion of the game without spending a penny.
To get through a whole 'nuther expansion, FFXIV's has also removed playtime restrictions from its trial. Additionally, free players can now also work their way up to level 60, have access to three more jobs (Dark Knight, Astrologian, and Machinist) and can choose to play as the Au Ra, a race comprised of sexy demonfolk. Access to Heavensward isn't limited to trial players, either. Anyone who picked up A Realm Reborn but never got 'round to its expansions will now find themselves with full access to all of Heavensward.
Today's patch also brings some much-needed streamlining to A Realm Reborn's questlines, shortening the arc with bumped-up XP and gear rewards, and adding flying mounts to early areas after beating the main scenario.
Mind, it's not just free players getting all the goods today. Reflections In Crystal marks the closing act of FFXIV's Shadowbringers expansion - and wrapping up that story means a new questline, new dungeon "The Heroes’ Gauntlet", new trials to pit yourself against and a whole load of updates and changes across the massive online JRPG. 5.3 also steps back into Nier: Automata crossover territory with a new raid, The Puppets’ Bunker.
There's a whole lot going on in FFXIV, then, even if you're not quite up for paying up quite yet. You can catch the breadth of today's update over on the official 5.3 patch notes.