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7 Things You Need to Know About FFXIV Patch 5.3

New patch, new rules.

Final Fantasy XIV Patch 5.3 is finally live. But unless you follow the constant updates for this game, you might not know what Patch 5.3 really means: why it’s so important, why it’s causing so many reactions and overwhelming emotions on social media, why there will be a lot more people on your timelines getting into the game in the near future. So, here are the seven things you should know about FFXIV Patch 5.3 before jumping back in or starting the game for the first time!

It’s the End of Shadowbringers

Patch 5.3 marks the end of FFXIV 5.0 — otherwise known as the game’s critically acclaimed Shadowbringers expansion. The next patch will mark the beginning of the transition between Shadowbringers and the next expansion… Which would have been revealed this year had it not been for COVID’s effects on the game development industry, including the MMORPG’s development team.

This patch will tie up loose ends from Shadowbringers, confirm and debunk several theories, and tease what is to come in the story’s future. It absolutely ends on a note of finality, tying everything together in deeply satisfying ways. Prepare to get plenty of closure and lore revelations. Shadowbringers is over now, paving the way for another hopefully incredible story that will have the difficult challenge of rising up to the quality of the third expansion.

A Realm Revamped

Patch 5.3 doesn’t just culminate with the Shadowbringers expansion story content; it also significantly overhauls the FFXIV base game. With this patch, new players working through A Realm Reborn (the launch storyline) will have an easier and quicker time getting to the best parts of the game. As veteran players are always quick to point out, those await in the Heavensward, Stormblood, and Shadowbringers expansions.

A Realm Reborn isn’t bad. It’s just absolutely not the game at its best. Many fans would even describe the difference in quality between the base game and expansions as night and day. Now, you’ll hear friends and community members asking you to stick with the game through its most tedious moments for a lot less time.

If you’re currently making your way through A Realm Reborn, the official Patch 5.3 notes state that you should refer to the duty list or journal, where you might find a notification asking you to abandon a quest. If the quest you’re doing has been changed, “you will also be asked to re-accept it. If the quest was subject to removal, you will be asked to accept the next quest of the main scenario.”

If You’re New, Play For Free For Hundreds of Hours

In addition to all the aforementioned changes, the launch of Patch 5.3 also expands the already generous FFXIV free trial. Previously, the trial allowed you to play for free until you reached level 35 with any class. This meant you had to stop in the middle of A Realm Reborn — far into the base game’s story enough that you learned of the foundations of Eorzea, but nowhere near to the first great moments of the narrative.

Now, you’ll be able to play for free until you reach level 60. You’ll not only be able to play the shortened A Realm Reborn in its entirety, but also the first expansion, Heavensward, and its patches. The trial is relatively restrictive with the social factors you have access to, but it gives you a ridiculously generous amount of room to discover whether the world of Eorzea is one you can call home. And by extremely generous, I mean anywhere from 100 to 200 hours of free content.

“We always compare Final Fantasy XIV to a TV drama series,” director Naoki Yoshida told Fanbyte in an interview about Patch 5.3. “But with A Realm Reborn and Heavensward being seasons one and two, we felt that allowing for players to experience those first two seasons would actually make it more smooth and helpful for players to transition into the great content that is Shadowbringers or future seasons. And, if people did find it interesting, they would be more motivated to experience seasons three and four.”

New NieR: Automata Raid, Fashion Gains

Known as The Puppets’ Bunker, this is the next chapter of the 24-person NieR: Automata raid crossover that was introduced in the first post-Shadowbringers patch. “YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse” is a collaboration between Yoko Taro and the FFXIV team. Earlier this year, Yoko Taro told me he had not finished the story. Nonetheless, you’ll get development for this raid’s storyline in addition to a series of some of the most intense and fun raids yet. Like the first leg of this raid, the second will allow you to get new “orchestrion” rolls (to play in-game songs at will), minions, Triple Triad cards, and armor for every class. If the armor from The Heroes’ Gauntlet was disappointing, perhaps the sleek black leather clothes of the new NieR: Automata raid will suit your Warrior of Light/Darkness more.

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Buff Astrologian Rights

Astrologians, often considered the least powerful healing job, have gotten surprisingly major buffs with this patch. MP cost for abilities like Helios, Benefic II, and Aspected Helios has been reduced by 200 points. Combust II — the Astrologian’s main damage attack — has had its MP cost reduced from 500 to 400. Aspected Benefic’s MP cost has been reduced by 100 points under the effect of Diurnal Sect; under Nocturnal Sect, it’s been reduced by 200 points.

There are even more changes, including a total revamp of the effects of Sleeve Draw. You can look at the official patch notes for a full rundown of the Astrologian buffs, as well as the more minor changes for other classes.

Sapphire Weapon Is (Kinda) Back, Baby

Following in the footsteps of the Ruby Weapon boss fight we received in an earlier patch, it’s time to face the Sapphire Weapon. Unlike the Ruby Weapon, this one is only a duty, or single-player mission. The quest to unlock the duty is named “Sleep Now in Sapphire,” which can be unlocked via the Resistance Officer at The Lochs (X:11.3 / Y:22.5). If you have not begun what is the “Sorrow of Werlyt” storyline, the same Resistance Officer will offer the previous quest you need to complete before you fight the Sapphire Weapon, which is “Ruby Doomsday.” It will become a trial later on.

You’ll Probably Cry

Yeah. It’s pretty bad. Personally, I ugly cried for over an hour, and I don’t know of anyone who’s finished who hasn’t cried. And I know a lot of people who play this game since it’s kind of, like, my life sometimes.

Just deal with it tbh. Embrace the suffering. Find joy in a beautiful and powerful story touching you as much as this one has for so many; that makes you feel so much during a time in which it’s hard for many people to feel anything at all. A smile better suits a hero, but that’s not what this patch will make you do most of the time.

About the Author

Natalie Flores

Natalie is Fanbyte's Featured Contributor, with bylines at places like VICE, Polygon, PC Gamer, Paste Magazine, and more.