Image:-Final Fantasy 14
Director / producer Naoki Yoshida and community manager Toshio Murouchi went into the upcoming update of FFXIV 5.3 in the latest Letter from the Producer livestream, including the revisions made to A Realm Reborn. Main scenario quests will be affected from the start of the game through to the final quests from the 2.5 patch. Approximately 13 per cent of the main quests were either cut or truncated, according to Nova Crystallis. Even though it will be shorter, the experience points gained through these quests have been altered so players will still reach the level cap of level 50 of the base game by the end and be prepared to go into the first expansion pack, Heavensward.
Another significant change is that flying mounts in zones from A Realm Reborn will be able to take to the skies (flying has been restricted since those zones were not designed with it in mind). However, the main quest, "The Ultimate Weapon," which is towards the end of the questline of the base game, will have to be over. Unlike the expansions, you won't need to collect aether currents to start flying in those zones.
Story-wise there is one big change. Although it doesn't necessarily alter what's already in the core narrative, players will be required to complete the "The Crystal Tower" 24-player Alliance Raid series to progress past the base game when patch 5.3 comes in. It's been optional for players, but as in subsequent expansions it has major implications for what happens in the main story, FFXIV will ensure that players experience that.
As to why A Realm Reborn was the way it is, it was originally developed for the PlayStation 3 and launched in 2013, subject to running on time-time low-end hardware - zones are also much smaller due to previous limitations. The base game was born out of the now-defunct original FFXIV launched in 2010, but has grown significantly since then as clear examples with the expansions (Heavensward, Stormblood, and Shadowbringers).
The real-world COVID-19 situation affects everyone globally, including game development studios like Square Enix. That also means the scheduled FFXIV Patch 5.3 release has changed. It was intended to launch in mid-June, but Yoshida-san indicated that an estimated delay of 1-2 weeks could extend to a month. He reiterated that the FFXIV team is working from home and, because of the circumstances, the workflow of ironing out bugs, pushing changes, and recording voice over for new story quests has changed.
Be sure to check out our breakdown of the upcoming FFXIV 5.3 patch for more on the game, which adds new story quests, the next Nier Automata raid, and a whole host of features for craftsmen / gatherers.