Stormblood, arguably the worst of Final Fantasy XIV’s expansions, is now free for owners or new purchasers of the FFXIV Starter Edition until May 8th. You can get all the details on the promotion here. Now, before you start hollering at me about how Stormblood is actually good, let me explain.
Stormblood featured necessary character development, especially for Zenos yae Galvus. I appreciated that he’s really just a weird little freak unconcerned about being truly evil so much as, “You, Warrior of Light, are the strongest and I will dedicate every fiber of my being to destroy you.” He’s very much a Vegeta-type character if Vegeta were never rehabilitated by the love of a good woman. And your experience with him in Stormblood greatly informs his actions and behaviors in Endwalker.
I also didn’t mind the general story of the Warrior of Light uniting the Au Ra clans to fight against Garlean imperialism. But Stormblood just didn’t hook me the way the other expansions did. There were no singular expansion-defining moments that remained with me like the banquet at the end of A Realm Reborn or the battle against Nidhogg in Heavensward. Stormblood’s dungeons weren’t the best, and most of the new characters were unremarkable. The villain Yotsuyu was the sole exception, but I was extremely disappointed with her arc in Stormblood, feeling that she deserved redemption far more than Fordola, another villain with a similar backstory.
Overall, Stormblood felt interstitial to all the overarching conflicts covered in the other expansions. But interstitial stories are necessary — after all, every expansion can’t (nor should!) contain the emotional devastation of an Endwalker, Heavensward, or Shadowbringers. In that regard, Stormblood is a welcome respite where I could just chill in Kurogane, do the occasional freedom fighting, and hang out with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles underwater. Stormblood also has the incredible fortune of having the best boss fight music out of all the expansions. “Wayward Daughter” goes harder than anything before or since.
And now, if you’ve got a Final Fantasy XIV Starter Edition or are in the market to buy one, you can experience Stormblood for free. Eligible players have a little more than a month to claim the expansion before the promotion ends May 8th. Additionally, if you’re a lapsed FFXIV player like I’ve been, Square Enix is running a free login promotion that also ends May 8th. Basically, now’s the best time to return to Eorzea — and if you’ve never been, I highly recommend it.