Final Fantasy


Final Fantasy XIV: Every Expansion Ranked by Story

, Comment regular icon0 comments

Final Fantasy XIV has become one of the most played MMORPGs in the world, and one of its strengths is its rich and deep lore. In this article, we rank FFXIV's expansions based on their main story!

Writer image

translated by Romeu

Writer image

revised by Romeu

Edit Article

Final Fantasy XIV is one of the most played MMORPGs in the world. After a troubled launch in 2010, the title was rebuilt from the scratch by a team led by director and producer Naoki Yoshidalink outside website, for a re-release in 2013.

Since then, FFXIV has become a worldwide success, with an average of 1.6 million daily players, in addition to four new expansions available, with the fifth - Dawntrail - scheduled for release in the summer of 2024.


One of the game's highlights is its story. Its world is rich in lore, its central plots are engaging, and its characters are remarkable. The adventures of the Scions of Seventh Dawn and their personal development during the expansions are wonderful, and make the title a reference both within the franchise and in the universe of MMOs.

In this article, we will rank the Final Fantasy XIV expansions, based on their main stories.

Ranking the best Final Fantasy XIV expansions

For this article, given how much Final Fantasy XIV is a great entry point for MMO fanslink outside website, we seek to avoid major spoilers. Therefore, we have vaguely mentioned some of the main highs and lows of each expansion, and have sought to give less detail to points that, for some, are striking revelations of the story.

5 - A Realm Reborn

Image: Square Enix
Image: Square Enix

Although we put it here as an expansion, A Realm Reborn is Final Fantasy XIV's base game after its relaunch, where all the title's mechanics were made from scratch to create a game that could save the title from its disastrous start.

A Realm Reborn delivers a solid experience capable of engaging the player in the Warrior of Light's adventure in Eorzea, with a dozen intro elements, several jobs to choose from, and its own range of activities that guarantee hours of extra content, but it still suffers from all the problems that being the base game entails: some main quests sound repetitive and/or lead to uninteresting conclusions.

Its plot delivers a consistent proposal in introducing the world and politics of Eorzea and making the player an integrated part of it, but despite the shortened time needed to complete the main story, its narrative is still slow and with pacing problems capable of making less engaged players lose interest in the game: the mysteries and villains seem very generic, and there isn't enough room for any character to grow in the story, as we are being introduced to most of them.

Added to the amount of tedious activities required to progress to the next expansion, despite being a good base game, A Realm Reborn leaves a lot to be desired when compared it to its successors.

4 - Stormblood

Image: Square Enix
Image: Square Enix

Stormblood was Final Fantasy XIV's second expansion. It brings two new jobs, Samurai and Red Mage, and some interesting new features, like swimming underwater. Its story, focused on the rebellions in Ala Mhigo and Kugane, regions conquered by the Empire, is praised for its approach to political conflicts from a non-binary perspective.


Like A Realm Reborn, Stormblood suffers from pacing issues in its main story. Since it addresses a large-scale war with in-depth details, such as the need to form alliances and make agreements, the expansion takes too much time with dialogue and other subjects that don't really please players looking for more action-oriented stories, while it's great for those interested in its politics.

The new characters introduced, such as Hien and Yotsuyu, are some of the strengths that make long journeys searching for allies more tolerable. Stormblood also does an excellent job of showing the less moralistic side of war and avoids the famous "we are good, they are bad" concept by demonstrating how people's origin and personal experiences are the driving forces leading them to war.

With a drawn-out plot full of ups and downs, an average ending that makes the events that precede it and those that follow until the next expansion seem more exciting, Stormblood divides fans' opinions to this day.

3 - Endwalker

Image: Square Enix
Image: Square Enix

Endwalker is a unique experience, and its result comes from the construction of lore that Final Fantasy XIV had since its launch. As the epilogue to the Hydaelyn and Zodiark arc, this expansion does an excellent job of delivering one of the best conclusions in the video game industry.

Along with the Final Days and the conclusion of Zenos' plans, Endwalker introduced the city of Old Sharlayan, and its plot later takes us to the imperial capital, Garlemald, and even to the moon, where major plot twists take place.

Endwalker is another story of ups and downs. It's excellent when its focus is on developing its main events, with some of the game's most dramatic points to date, while it loses too much of the pace when it seeks to leave space for exposition, or when taking a detour.

Therefore, we have remarkable moments, such as the battle against Zodiark, time travel, among situations that further solidify the Scions' relationships with each other, with quests such as the Hummingways', where some fun moments soon become tedious, as they break the sense of urgency in the literal end of the world - it's sometimes challenging to keep up with these detours, which makes it a bit of a frustrating experience, especially as it follows Shadowbringers.

Endwalker is still very rewarding and brings an outcome worthy of the greatness of Hydaelyn and Zodiark's arc, as long as the player is patient with its less interesting parts.

2 - Heavensward

Image: Square Enix
Image: Square Enix

Heavensward was FFXIV's first expansion after its relaunch and presents a noticeable improvement when compared to A Realm Reborn. Its events are some of the most striking in the game.


It also brought some new features that became incredibly famous, such as the ability to fly and, consequently, the Aether Currents, as well as three new jobs with Machinist, Astrologian and Dark Knight. The Ishgard region also carries with it a dozen iconic characters, such as Estinien and Ysayle, and the Dragonsong War is one of the best arcs in Final Fantasy XIV.

Despite suffering from some clichés, Heavensward is a step forward from A Realm Reborn's proposal. The events that precede its beginning demonstrate an evident literary improvement in the game's overall plot, as an orchestrated murder puts the Scions as villains in Eorzea and takes the Warrior of Light to the cold lands of Ishgard, where social inequality and speciesism are addressed in a realm dominated by religious doctrines.

Many players claim they prefer Endwalker over Heavensward as their favorite expansion, an understandable fact given how well the most recent release wraps up the events built into FFXIV over a decade. Heavensward's position in second place is due to the notable leap in quality when compared to its predecessor, and also at how it has set the quality standards that players expect from each new release.

1 - Shadowbringers

Image: Square Enix
Image: Square Enix

Released in 2019, Shadowbringers brought an entirely new quality standards to FFXIV's story, being considered not only the game's best expansion, but also one of the best and well-received releases in the Final Fantasy franchise.

With a script written by Natsuko Ishikawa, responsible for the Azem Steppe arc in Stormblood and the Dark Knight quests in Heavensward, Shadowbringers won the hearts of fans for its simultaneous approach to the climax on the war against the Empire, while the Scions deals with an even greater threat in a sphere known as The First - a world on the brink of destruction, where the predominance of light has overwhelmed darkness to the point where the night no longer exists.

The highlight of its plot is everywhere: whether in the vivid and obscene portrayal of social inequality in Eulmore, or in the way it explains the horror of the Sin Eaters and how they overwhelm the entire world, in the way it deconstructs several aspects already pre-established in the expansions that precede it, or through the personal and collective growth of the Scions.

Its approach to the end of times and the revelations surrounding it bring a new perspective on the Ascians, and connect them to emotions such as responsibility and grief, a topic incredibly well discussed through characters such as Thancred, and the antagonist Emet-Selch, considered today one of the best villains in the franchiselink outside website.

The atmosphere, world building and lore in Shadowbringers is impeccable. There are few moments when it goes too far into a particular subject and/or mission. Its story is not a happy one either: several times, even its smallest details bring some information about the dystopia surrounding the First that leads the interlocutor to consider the horrors that its survivors experience as routine, and yet, Shadowbringers brings its own messages about hope and overcoming the worst scenarios.



That's all for today.

Now, we would like to know your opinion! What is your favorite Final Fantasy XIV expansion? And what are your expectations for Dawntrail?

We intend to delve deeper into each expansion and unravel its story, pros and cons in individual reviews. Let us know in the comments if the idea interests you!

Thanks for reading!