Final Fantasy XIV Blue Mage via official FF XIV site 2018
More info i
Credit: Square Enix

Gaming: FF XIV gets the magic blues; goodbye Avengers Academy; Atlas ahoy

Contributed by
Dec 22, 2018, 12:47 PM EST

Final Fantasy XIV is getting a significant addition to its playable character classes ahead of Shadowbringers, the online game’s third major expansion set to launch next year: enter the Blue Mage.

Arriving in January, FF XIV’s A Requiem for Heroes update will roll out the new magic-wielding class as part of the finale to last year’s Stormblood expansion, while also giving players plenty of time to level up their characters before Shadowbringers lands next summer.

Square Enix released a three-minute trailer this week teasing the new class, as well as the next chapter in the ongoing Stormblood storyline. Incidentally, there’s a familiar-looking pair of FF XII-era legs around the 1:30 mark, which might or might not be an easter egg referencing the development team’s coy allusions, in recent months, to the possibility that the fan-favorite, bunny-eared Viera race of Ivalice may soon be joining FF XIV’s expanding lore-verse.

Check out the FF XIV trailer below, followed by a peek at Fran, FFXII’s suspiciously similar-looking Viera, below:

Final Fantasy XIV on YouTube

Final Fantasy XII Fran Viera via Square Enix official site 2018

Fran, the playable Viera from Final Fantasy XII. Credit: Square Enix

The Blue Mage class will allow players to acquire the powers of defeated monsters, but limits player progression to solo leveling (capped at level 50 until Shadowbringers debuts) ahead of The Masked Carnivale, a piece of special reward content, to be revealed later.

A Requiem for Heroes, FF XIV’s update 4.5, will be available beginning Jan. 8, with the Blue Mage class rolling out the following week. As for FF XIV proper, Square Enix has so far only revealed that the Shadowbringers expansion is coming sometime in “early summer 2019” for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Mac, and PC.

Marvel Avengers Academy, the free-to-play mobile game that features not-ready-for-prime-time versions of the MCU’s big-screen heroes, reportedly isn’t long for this world.

Via Gamasutra, developer TinyCo announced this week that Avengers Academy (no relation to Marvel’s comic series) will be going offline for good on Feb. 4, ending a three-year run that allowed players to school student versions of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes within the safety net of an expandable “academy” campus. Current players reportedly have only until the end of the year to download the complete app or buy upgrades for the freemium game, but after Feb. 4, support for the game will end entirely.

It’s not as if the Avengers are hurting on the gaming front, though: Fans are still eagerly awaiting the next update from Square Enix on the mysterious Avengers Project, which the studio’s stable of in-house developers are describing as “a universe gamers can play in for years to come.”

Today’s the day for PC early adopters who’ve been patiently waiting for Atlas, Studio Wildcard’s pirate-themed successor to its hugely popular ARK: Survival Evolved MMORPG. After a series of delays, the game’s official Twitter account dropped an announcement that the early access period for Atlas will open today at 3 p.m. ET (noon Pacific time) on Steam.

Buzz for Atlas began with its announcement at this year’s Game Awards, especially when the development team teased that the new game will be significantly larger than ARK, sporting an ocean world map dotted generously with hand-crafted, non-procedurally-generated islands. The team pledges Atlas will arrive as “one of the largest game worlds ever,” allowing more than 40,000 simultaneous players to inhabit the same server-supported game. 

Be on the lookout for last-minute changes by following the game on Twitter, and stay tuned for more news once a final wide release date is announced. Barring any more last-minute delays, Atlas early access goes live today for PC gamers on Steam.