The release of patch 5.3 for Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers is finally upon us, set to conclude the expansion’s dramatic narrative while introducing a number of quality of life changes to the MMORPG.
Fans have been waiting for this update’s arrival for months, with its original release being postponed due to logistical problems relating to the Covid-19 pandemic. Well, it seems such a wait was worth enduring.
Known as Reflections in Crystal, patch 5.3 will continue the Sorrow of Werlyt questline with an assortment of new dungeons, quests and the next chapter in the Nier Automata Alliance Raid crossover, which will be known as the Puppet’s Bunker.
Several adjustments have also been made to certain classes, with buffs being dished out for Astrologian, Warrior and Marauder. New Game+ enhancements means you can now replay job quests and other missions if you skipped over them originally or simply want to revisit specific moments in the narrative.
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The in-game photo mode has also received a generous update with the implementation of some genuinely adorable stickers which can liven up your virtual photoshoots with a much-needed dose of extra personality. Honestly, they’re so cute I’m tempted to log in right now.
Patch 5.3 also introduces some long-awaited changes to A Realm Reborn, with Square Enix streamlining a number of quests so things are far more appealing to new players. Previously, the vanilla campaign was a bit of a grind to progress through with objectives proving rather repetitive with little narrative reward in return. The overall story hasn’t been affected, but newcomers should find it far more pallatable than it was back in 2013.
I sat down with the game’s director, Naoki Yoshida, a number of months ago and we talked about Shadowbringers, the challenge of bringing Final Fantasy 14 to Xbox and how the MMORPG will continue to grow in the years to come. With the arrival of Reflections in Crystal, it’s fascinating to look back on how some of the team’s ideas have come to fruition.