The Final Fantasy XIV team has been hard at work since the release of Stormblood, and they have a lot to show off. This week’s media tour is going to focus on three of the new zones in Stormblood: Azim Steppe, Azim Valley, and the Far East.
The ffxiv new zones endwalker is a preview of three of the new zones in Final Fantasy XIV. These zones will be released with patch 4.1.
Zones! They’re very significant. Also, during the Final Fantasy XIV media tour, we got a sneak peek at a few of the Endwalker zones, so that’s a plus. Of course, it wasn’t exactly surprising, but it was still enjoyable! While I’ve always taken advantage of the opportunity to receive a walking tour of the new zones during a media tour, this time I had the opportunity to capture a few more screenshots, and I figured that fans would appreciate at least a brief summary of the three zones accessible during the preview.
It’s essential to remember that although the zones are staged with monsters, FATEs, and NPCs during the previews, NPC conversation, quests, incidental speech, and overall flow are not present. As a result, all previews are restricted to the landscape, the atmosphere, and conjecture about what may be there in the future. So keep that in mind when I speak about the zones; no matter how much I’ve seen so far, there will be a lot more once the expansion goes online.
The short version of Thavnair is that it is very stunning. With its violet stones scattered around the zone, it seems somewhat strange, but the pale olive-to-brown of dirt and scrubs, along with the green accents, creates a distinct and unforgettable color scheme as you go through the zone. And the fact that the whole area is extremely visually unique helps a lot.
As I flew about the globe, I saw what seemed to be three or four separate “sub-zones,” areas where the aesthetics of the terrain varied dramatically and felt distinct even though they were all part of the same region. There was the beach, a more jungle-filled section, a location that reminded me of Thanalan’s tiered caves, and the map’s more savannah-like sections. And none of this takes into consideration the basic character of the regions with more developed civilization, which are still a significant portion of the globe.
Of course, we’ve seen many of these elements before; beaches and islands, as well as dense woods and the like, aren’t new to the game. However, the fact that they were all mixed together, along with the different palette, made the zone seem distinct and fascinating simply to walk through.
The zone’s only apparent flaw is that it seems to be a fairly “flat” zone at this stage, rather than one of the places with radically varied opponents and regions that you explore over time. However, this isn’t unusual; the same could be said about both of the locations we visited during the Shadowbringers media tour. Once we get complete access to the expansion, I’m looking forward to exploring this area on foot and by plane.
In contrast, I’m going to be forthright… Garlemald was a bit of a bore for me. And I can’t help but wonder whether flying had a role.
Let’s start with the disadvantages. In terms of aesthetics, Garlemald, unlike Thavnair, has just two sub-zones. Then there are the snowy plains around the city, which are studded with Imperial buildings here and there (including a very elaborate-looking oil rig), but otherwise resemble other snowy zones in Coerthas. Don’t get me wrong: it’s great to see it again after Coerthas, but it doesn’t seem all that different.
The destroyed metropolis you’ll be exploring makes up the other half of the zone, and let’s be honest: that portion might be very fascinating. For the love of God, there’s an aetheryte at a subway station, and we can only image the Final Fantasy VII allusions that might be made with that. However, since the tour required flying through the whole thing and missions were not pre-staged, it was impossible to get a sense of how navigating in this region would feel, making the whole affair seem a little more… perfunctory. The notion of these tightly packed places and traveling through cramped alleys seemed to be doing more effort than the map itself.
This isn’t to suggest that the map isn’t good; it simply needs more than just the graphics to feel like a unique location. I’d want to be enthusiastic about this zone as well, and I’m glad we’ll have the opportunity to do so. I’m also intrigued by a zone line shown on the map, which we don’t yet know what it links to. But, thus far, I’ve found it to be a bit disappointing in practice.
Sharlayan the Elder
Old Sharlayan had a design issue from the start. Because… well, that’s where the idea for those regions originated from in the first place, it needs to appear recognizably similar to the architecture found in the Dravanian Hinterlands and Idyllshire. As a result, it must feel comfortable. At the same time, it has to seem unique enough that it isn’t simply a rehash of zones we’ve previously seen, otherwise it will be useful but aesthetically uninteresting.
I’m pleased to inform that the zone generally achieves its objectives. While there are obvious architectural differences between the old and modern districts, Old Sharlayan feels far more established, august, and respectable than its younger counterpart. The whole zone has a distinct intellectual feel to it, with libraries, classrooms, and lecture halls strewn around, supporting the impression that the city is a cross between a live cultural center and a college campus.
Of course, it has plenty of places to rest and relax around the area, much like a college campus. Along the journey, the grounds are dotted with plant life and beautiful gazebos, creating the sense of an area that has been meticulously maintained and cared to honor learning and cultural variety. It has a distinct personality from the other cities in the game, yet it still manages to have that beautiful coastal vibe without being anything like Limsa Lominsa.
You know, the city that is already surrounded by a coastal area with lots of white stone.
Of course, the city suffers from the lack of NPCs and places staged thus far; it’s difficult to get a feel of the centers or the overall rhythm of the map without all of the stuff people will be gathering around throughout the expansion. Still, it’s a beautiful city, and although it seems to be a little smaller than the Crystarium at first look, it’s just as attractive and well-realized in my opinion.
The ff14 media tour 2021 date is a preview of three of the new zones in Final Fantasy XIV. It will be released on March 4th, 2021.
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