Final Fantasy XIV Patch 5.3 finally brings flight to old zones

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As well as the usual assortment of new quests, dungeons, and raids, Final Fantasy XIV Patch 5.3 will make a very welcome improvement to the game’s older areas: support for flying mounts.

When Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn launched in 2013, flying mounts weren’t a part of the game; as such, none of the areas in that initial launch were designed with flight in mind. The first expansion, 2015’s Heavensward, introduced flying mounts, but their use was limited to the expansion’s new zones—a trend that’s continued through the Stormblood and Shadowbringers expansions, too.

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But the next major update, Patch 5.3, is making some big changes to the main scenario quest line from A Realm Reborn “to give new players a more streamlined experience”. With that comes the ability to use flying mounts in A Realm Reborn areas after completion of “The Ultima Weapon” main scenario quest. Even for players who are deep into the expansions’ stories, Final Fantasy XIV gives plenty of reason to continue visiting old zones, and being able to fly is sure to make those visits run smoother.

The other big addition in Final Fantasy XIV is the new chapter of the NieR: Automata alliance raid series, YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse. Called The Puppets Bunker, the new raid promises to “unravel further mysteries of the machine lifeforms on the First.” The whole YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse collaboration is being developed with NieR: Automata writer/director Yoko Taro at the helm, and we’ve already seen his trademark sense of humour and love of subverting genre norms in the crossover’s first chapter, The Copied Factory. It’ll be very interesting to see where that story goes next.

For people who want a bit more insight into the creation of YoRHa: Dark Apocalypse (or just the hilarity that is Yoko Taro any time he’s in front of a camera), a bonus episode of “The Creation of Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers” will be released on April 30. The episode is all about the NieR collaboration, with Yoko Taro, Yosuke Saito (NieR: Automata producer), and Naoki Yoshida (Final Fantasy XIV producer/director) discussing how the crossover came about and what to expect from the future.

Here are some of the other additions and improvements players can expect from Final Fantasy XIV Patch 5.3, as announced by Yoshida this weekend:

New Main Scenario Quests – The curtains rise for the final act of the FINAL FANTASY XIV: Shadowbringers main scenario questline.

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 ‘Weapon Series’ questline, 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, with new 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 will be 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.

We don’t yet have a release date for Patch 5.3, though it looks like it’ll be sometime in July. It was initially planned for a mid-June release (which fits with the general trend of roughly four months between major patches), but Yoshida announced earlier this month that it would be delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement at the time, Yoshida said “we are at this time undecided as to whether it will be feasible to limit the delay to two or three weeks, or if it will be closer to a month.”

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Matthew is a writer based in Wellington. He loves all things pop culture, and is fascinated by its place in history and the wider social context.