Final Fantasy XIV’s Huge 5.3 Update Expands Free Trial.
Final Fantasy XIV’s long-awaited 5.3 update is here, bringing many updates including new quests, another NieR raid, and extending the free trial for players up to level 60 – plus free access to the Heavensward expansion.
This 5.3 update, subtitled Reflections in Crystal, concludes the Shadowbringers expansion story, while creating a more approachable beginning point for new players. Anecdotally, Final Fantasy XIV fans I’ve spoken with suggest the base game – known as A Realm Reborn – content is solid, but the best stuff is found in the subsequent expansions.
As part of Final Fantasy XIV’s 5.3 update, a chunk of A Realm Reborn’s content has been streamlined or cut entirely to get players to the best content quicker. PowerUp!’s James Wood interviewed game director Yoshida Naoki, revealing that an oddly specific figure of 13% of the base game’s content was removed. Which suggests the early-game content should now be called ‘A Realm Re-reborn’.
While Heavensward, the MMO’s first expansion is now included in the generous free trial period, additional expansions Stormblood and Shadowbringers require separate purchases to access.
So you know what to expect heading into 5.3, here are the patch notes – no sighting of another shark to befriend, I’m afraid:
- New Main Scenario Quests – The Scions endeavour to shed light upon the Ascian Elidibus’ dark plot in the final act of the Shadowbringers storyline.
- Main Scenario Questline Update: A Realm Reborn – The main scenario is now streamlined in terms of overall length, with adjustments to experience point gain and gear rewards for quest completion. Additionally, players will also be able to use flying mounts in A Realm Reborn areas upon completion of The Ultimate Weapon quest.
- Expanded Free Trial – The free trial now offers unlimited playtime and a level cap of 60, along with access to Heavensward content, an additional playable race (Au Ra), and an additional three playable jobs (Dark Knight, Astrologian, and Machinist).
- New YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse Alliance Raid – The white-robed android 2P awakens at last, but so too does an unforeseen danger to Komra in the next chapter of this NieR-inspired alliance raid, The Puppets’ Bunker.
- New “Chronicles of a New Era” Quest: The Sorrow of Werlyt – Part of the ‘Weapon Series’ questline, players can enjoy a story-focused experience culminating in a special event battle.
- New Dungeon: The Heroes’ Gauntlet – The whole of Norvrandt has become a battlefield across which the Warriors of Darkness must fight their way. Players can tackle this new challenge alongside fellow adventurers, or a party of non-player characters, using the Trust system.
- New Trial — A fearsome new foe possessed of immeasurable might has arisen to test Warriors of Darkness in both normal and extreme difficulties.
- New Tribe Quests – A new crafter-focused questline featuring the dwarves.
- New Game+ Updates – The class quests from A Realm Reborn are now available for players to revisit while retaining their current character and level. Patch 5.35 will see the addition of the revamped A Realm Reborn main scenario quests as well.
- New Battle Content: Unreal Trials – Players can challenge a powered-up version of Shiva, who will now prove a fierce challenge for level 80 heroes. Unreal Trials will feature one primal fight which rotates with each patch.
- Crafter and Gatherer Updates – New custom deliveries, updates to Rowena’s House of Splendors, and an update to the Skysteel Tools questline headline several crafter and gatherer updates. Additionally, recipe search functionality will be improved for ease of use.
- YO-KAI WATCH Collaboration Returns – The YO-KAI WATCH collaboration event, Gather One, Gather All returns to FINAL FANTASY XIV Online beginning August 19th and includes new YO-KAI WATCH-themed rewards for players to earn.
- Ishgard Restoration Update (Patch 5.31) – The third phase of restoration begins following the efforts of the Skybuilders. Skybuilder Rankings return, with new items for players to craft and new achievements for top contributors to the restoration efforts.
- Save the Queen Questline Updates (Patch 5.35) – Players can enhance weapons obtained in the first chapter of this quest series as they explore The Bozjan Southern Front, a new area where the Bozjan Resistance has begun Operation Eagle’s Nest in a bid to regain Alermuc Fortress from the Empire.
- Job Adjustments for PvE and PvP, System Updates, and more.
Additionally, if you’re eager to go beyond Final Fantasy XIV’s hefty free trial content, both the Complete Edition and the Shadowbringers expansion are selling for below $30AUD via the Square Enix Store.
With now arguably the best time for new players to tackle Final Fantasy XIV, it’s time for me to revisit my MMO noob series which was unfortunately derailed by a certain pandemic!
Adelaide-based Donkey Kong Country evangelist & enthusiast.
Chris writes for Player2.net.au, Vooks, PC PowerPlay and Hyper about games and the wider community.
Also loves the Crows & the Philly Eagles – feel free to say hi!