MMORPGs have found themselves impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Although the servers are online and maintenance (where required) has continued being rolled out, games such as Final Fantasy XIV Online have had new content updates delayed as the development team adapts to their new work-at-home arrangements. After providing a summary of what Patch 5.3: Reflections in Crystal would contain back in April 2020, news has been coming in very slowly about an eventual release date. While this would not impact those newer to the game, many endgame players have taken hiatuses due to the lack of fresh content until the next major update is released. So… when should they begin planning to return?
In their latest ‘Letter from the Producer’ producer Naoki Yoshida (aka. Yoshi-P) apologised that they were unable to meet their hoped release date of 16 June 2020 and that everything taking place recently had cost them roughly two months. The new target release date for Patch 5.2: Reflections in Crystal is confirmed as Tuesday 11 August 2020. Furthermore, while they will be unable to be able to play catch-up with future patches without impacting quality, from now, Yoshi-P is aiming for future patches to be released every three and a half months. How this will impact the usual 2-year release cycle for each expansion is unknown.
Content currently confirmed for Final Fantasy XIV Patch 5.3: Reflection in Crystal includes:
- New Main Scenario Quests – The curtains raise for the final act of the FINAL FANTASY XIV: Shadowbringers main scenario questline.
- Main Scenario Questline Update: A Realm Reborn – The main scenario questline in A Realm Reborn will be reworked to give new players a more streamlined experience as they progress to Heavensward and beyond. Additionally, players will be able to fly in A Realm Reborn areas upon completion of “The Ultima Weapon” quest.
- New YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse Alliance Raid – Following Patch 5.1’s The Copied Factory, this next NieR-inspiered alliance raid, titled The Puppets Bunker will unravel further mysteries of the machine lifeforms on the First.
- New Dungeon: The Heroes’ Gauntlet – Players can tackle this new challenge alongside fellow adventurers, or a party of non-player characters, using the Trust system.
- New Trial: Parties of eight players can challenge this new challenging trial battle in both normal and extreme difficulties.
- Save the Queen Questline Updates – Players can enhance weapons obtained in the first chapter of this ongoing quest series as they explore an all-new area. Additionally, new large-scale battle content will be added as part of the update.
- New “Chronicles of a New Era” Quest: The Sorrow of Welt – Part of the Ruby Weapon series, players can enjoy a story-focused experience culminating in a special event battle.
- Ishgard Restoration Update – The third phase of restoration begins following the efforts of the Skybuilders. Skybuilder Rankings return, withnew items for players to craft and new achievements for top contributors to the restoration.
- New Beast Tribe Quests – A new crafter-focused questline featuring the dwarves.
- New Game+ Updates – The updated A Realm Reborn main scenario and other quests are now available for players to revisit while keeping your current character and level.
- New Battle Content: Unreal Trials – Players will be able to challenge powered-up primals from earlier expansions that are ready to fight against level 80 heroes. Unreal Trials will feature one primal fight which will change with each patch, beginning with Shiva in Patch 5.3. Defeating the primal each week gives players the chance to complete a new mini-game, with those who emerge triumphant receiving tokens to exchange for prizes.
- 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.
- Job Adjustments for PvE and PvP, System Updates, and more.
Most endgame content included in this update will require players to own the latest Final Fantasy XIV expansion – Shadowbringers.