Final Fantasy XIV devs plan to shorten the monstrously long main story for new players

Get to the good stuff a little faster

September 1, 2019 We spoke with Final Fantasy XIV’s main scenario designer about how Square Enix plans on shortening ARR’s main campaign.

Getting into an MMORPG is a massive time investment, and Final Fantasy XIV is no exception. It can take hundreds of hours to make it through the basic story quests, which can be a big roadblock to new players – especially those who’ve heard that the real good stuff is in the expansions. (It’s me. I’m talking about myself.)

The developers are aware of the problem, and they plan to trim back the massive collection of quests in A Realm Reborn. In the latest Letter from the Producer livestream, the studio says (via Polygon) “we’re working on adjusting the A Realm Reborn main scenario to be more compact, and are aiming for patch 5.3.”

There’s no guarantee of when patch 5.3 will launch, but .3 updates have tended to come around a year after the launch of an expansion. That would put 5.3 out in July 2020, one year after the Shadowbringers release date. So if you’ve been holding out on getting into FFXIV, that might be the date you’re looking for.

Which Final Fantasy XIV quests are getting cut?

We spoke with Natsuko Ishikawa, the main scenario writer on Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers, who explained the approach Square Enix is taking to trimming down the quest count remaining from A Realm Reborn. She said the team is looking at paring back on some of the extra steps built into certain quests, particularly in questlines that take place after A Realm Reborn’s main story.

“If you’re trying to get from Point A to Point B, and then there are extra tasks that are not as important as some of the key points, we would take them away,” she said through a translator. “Say there’s a Point C in between which isn’t all that relevant. Maybe we would streamline it so that we can pare it down. That’s the kind of approach we’re going to be taking.”

Ishikawa says there’s no plan to alter the framework of the main storyline, and new players will still meet all the important characters who are critical to the base game’s narrative. What may change, as an example, are things like fetch quests characters send you on before getting into important story information – it’s likely we’ll see less of those when Patch 5.3 finally arrives.

“You can rest assured there,” she said. “I don’t think we will be changing how we will be writing our stories in the future.”

If you’re current on Shadowbringers content, you might already be looking ahead to patch 5.1 – which now officially will mark the beginning of the YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse raid.

In the meantime, we just need to come up with a proper name for the shortened ARR. A Realm Recut? A Realm Reduced?