Square Enix has revealed the newest expansion of the MMO Final Fantasy XIV, named Endwalker.
The expansion promises to be the last chapter of the story that started in A Realm Reborn, involving Hydaelyn, The Mothercrystal, and Zodiark, their counterpart. Yoshi-P, the director of FFXIV, promised there will be a new plot thereafter. So if you panicked like me when he said it was going to be the last expansion and passed out missing his next statement about a new story, don't worry, there's still a lot more to come.
In addition to the story outcome, Endwalker also brings new features such as two new jobs, increased cap level from 80 to 90, new dungeons, and many new areas to explore. Check out the trailer below, but remember, it's just a teaser.
Director and producer Naoki Yoshida explained the story and emphasized that Endwalker is the end and conclusion of the current FFXIV story arc and the antagonism between Hydaelyn and Zodiark, primal of Light and Darkness respectively. He also said that things were closing, describing it as "a new dawn".
Although our Warriors of Light - and Darkness - ventured through a myriad of places and faced numerous challenges such as ending the Dragonsong War and liberating Ala Mhigo, the core and recurrent enemies in the plot were the forthcoming and behind-the-curtain Ascians and the mystery enveloped in them. In Shadowbringers, we delve deeper and unravel a little bit of their history and our own and now, we will face its conclusion. The game promises the biggest challenge yet for the Warrior of Light since the world of FFXIV was reborn.
Fandaniel and Zenos are back. The former, plotting with chaotic humor, seems to only wish for armageddon, and the latter longs for the satiety of his bestial will by fighting the Warrior of Light. At the end of Shadowbringers, Zenos seems to retire his katana. Will he take on the role of the new melee Job to try to overcome us, or fail miserably once again?
New Areas in Endwalker
We will have many new areas to explore like Thavnair and the city of Radz-at-Han. Garlemald, the capital of the Garlean Empire. And even a trip to the moon! Which is implied as to where Zodiark is sealed. If the last battle is to be fought on the moon, how will Bards buff us if there's no sound there?
Thavnair is an island located across the Sea of Jade, in the Near East realm. It's the Bounty's largest landmass, south of Ilsabard. The game lore says it is known for its alkali sands, the blistering heat of its midday sun, and a harsh desert climate.
Radz-at-Han is a city located in Thavnair and probably will be one of the Endwalker's main hubs. It can be both the primary city equivalent to Crystarium, or the secondary city equivalent to Eulmore, where you can trade endgame gears. Also, it will be filled with players which will make my game lag as a teenager waking up in winter for school. It's a colorful and enormous city in the sky and the architecture seems to have great influences from the Indian culture.
At long last, we will step into the empire lands. More specifically in the capital, Garlemald. The capital is located in the north of the continent Ilsabard, which was almost entirely subdued by the empire. In Shadowbringers, we had quests with the Bozjan Resistance that seek to reclaim Bozja, also in the Ilsabard continent. Will Endwalker continue with these quests and introduce us to more of the Hrothgar land?
New Healer Job: Sage
As usual, the expansion will give us new jobs to master and spend hours in roulettes. So far, they announced two, a new melee job, and a healer job, the Sage.
In the trailer, we can see that Alphinaud switched his Scholar craft to assume the power of the Sage, who uses a set of floating aether-infused knives called Nouliths. In addition to the stylish juggling of Nouliths, Sage will be a healer job specializing in creating barriers to protect the party.
Players can unlock the Sage in Limsa Lominsa and the only requirement is owning the new expansion and having at least one other job leveled to 70.
Estinien Joins the Trust System
The Trust system, which allows you to bring central characters into the dungeons as AI companions instead of real players, is getting an update - Estinien Wyrmblood, which was first introduced in Heavensward, will be an ally of the Scions and will be available on the Trust system. It looks like someone is trying to steal my main role dragoon. Not today, not ever, Estinien.
But one wonders, in the current Trust system, there are two modes, Scenario mode, and Avatar mode. If you run a dungeon with NPCs, you will earn fewer rewards and some enemies won't drop items. In Avatar mode, you must repeat dungeons in order for your companions to level up. Does the level linger from one expansion to another or players will have to level up the NPCs from 70 to 80 before taking them on new dungeons in Avatar mode? (Storywise, you play in Scenario mode and it doesn't matter what level they are in).
A New Familiar Threat: Anima
Final Fantasy X fans will recognize this one. In FFX, Anima was an aeon, something you know as summon - or eikon, if you're Garlean. Presented as a new enemy, Anima must be one of the new trials of the game, where 8 players face a giant boss and need to keep moving to avoid the insane amounts of AOE attacks if you don't want to be expelled from the party. Youtube is a great place to learn about the mechanics before shaming yourself as I usually do. Don't even let me start on the extreme Trials that drop a new mount ... hard times to be had in Final Fantasy XIV.
PandÆmonium is the New Raid
Another high-end 8-player raid series had a teaser - it's called PandÆmonium, and the art bears the resemblance of former Ascian opponent Lahabrea. So far, high-end raids feature 12 new bosses, 4 of which are released by patch as well as its extreme version. The storyline is different from the main one and adds more content to the game's lore.
A new 24-player alliance raid has been confirmed. It is said to provide several answers to the remaining mysteries about Hydaelyn's world, which may mean it will not be a franchise crossover raid series (give me Kingdom Hearts raid!), but they certainly raised the bay by declaring it will be one, if not the best yet.
A New Beast Tribe: Arkasodara
The new Beast Tribe we’ll be encountering in Endwalker is the Matanga – specifically, the Arkasodara tribe. Generally, Beast Tribes in FFXIV consist of two distinct breeds, one hostile and one friendly. These are daily quests that will unlock more about the history of the tribe and reward you with minions, a specific mount, and other prizes. In former expansions, one beast tribe gives quests for crafters and gatherers, and the others were focused on combat.
If this expansion maintains the standard of having three new beast tribes, I hope we have one on the moon. Have you ever imagined how interesting it will be to do crafting quests to help build a lunar village? Aweeesome!
Housing in Ishgard Arrives
FFXIV 6.0 will add a new residential area to expand housing opportunities, this time in Ishgard, as a way to link content from The Firmament and Ishgard Restoration. Finally, I've saved my Gil just for this moment. Hop on Midgardsormr server after patch 6.1 to visit my medium-sized house a.k.a Drakengard.
Island Sanctuary is a brand new feature on the Endwalker, described as a slow life that will let you chill between saving worlds, freeing cities, or ending wars. At a glance, it looked similar to Diadem, an area solely for crafters and gatherers, but they said it's destined for all players. You will do things like raising animals and cultivating open land on a desert island.
A Lot of Changes to The Battle System
Some adjustments are in line with the battle system in FFXIV. The first is the reduction of values and numbers of damage in combat. Through expansions, damage and attack power gradually increased as players became more powerful. However, scaling down helps with calculations and avoids overflow and bugs in the backend. The changes will be proportionate so as not to alter the operation of the combat system.
This also helps with enmity calculations, which can create problems for the Tanks. The numerical analysis will consolidate the flying text for damage numbers and reduce the HP pool for bosses along with everything else.
The changes will come as players' levels and statistics increase from level 51 to 80, essentially compressing the rate at which players become more powerful, meaning that the enemy's effectiveness will be scaled accordingly. The experience point values will be compressed together with the experience points needed to level up as well.
Finally, Belts are being removed entirely from the game at the beginning of the 6.0 update - it is a piece of armor gear, which has already been removed from your character's appearance. The 35 slots allocated to Belts in the Armoury Chest will be reallocated. 15 slots will be added to primary weapons, for a total of 50 slots. 15 slots will be added to rings, for a total of 50 slots as well and the remaining five slots will be held in reserve.
Data Center Travel
Currently, FFXIV players can travel between different servers within their data centers, but not to other data centers. However, the data center's travel system will reach FFXIV in the future.
And what's the good in that, you ask? For example, you can check the market board price of an item that is overpriced on yours and buy on other servers if they are undervalued and resell, or even participate in Hunt Trains whose times do not match your playing time. With Data Center Travel, these possibilities increase even more. There's also something incredible to expect. If they allow the Party Finder to also include members from another Data Center, the waiting time for a dungeon will be reduced - especially for DPS.
FFXIV Coming to PS5
While FFXIV can be still be played on the PS4 - and if you don't own a Pro version like me, the loading is tough - a specific version for the PS5 is coming. It will be in open beta starting April 13 this year and will feature 4K resolution, faster load times, more detailed visual effects, and an improved frame rate. There will be two options, however: full native 4K resolution or a higher frame rate mode with 1440p resolution. Continuous updates to graphics and performances will be released in future patches.
Players who have a registered license for the game on PS4 will be able to upgrade and access the PS5 version for free. They did that in the past when the game was ported from PS3 to PS4 and it was just as easy as clicking an option in the Mogstation and pressing "I accept and will take all the risks since my PS3 version will be lost for eternity".
Look at how thundaga-fast the loading will be:
More to Come for Endwalker
A new small-scale PVP mode has been announced. Updates to the Golden Saucer, such as new mini-games, (Yoshi-P joked about snowboarding), and new gear and craft recipes, but no additional information has been provided regarding these subjects yet.
More information was promised at the FINAL FANTASY XIV Digital Fan Festival 2021, which will take place May 14 and 15. We can expect the full Endwalker trailer, the second job announcement, the other main city - I bet it's Sharlayan -, the release date, possibly new races (they said in previous letters that they won't be releasing new races, but who knows) or gender to Viera and Hrothgar, new primals, and much more! In the past, they released new Jobs amidst the patches, such as the Rogue/Ninja in patch 2.4 and Blue Mage in patch 4.5.
Fanboy analysis: As always, strong references from other games in the franchise revolve around FFXIV. But in this expansion, we can see great influences from Final Fantasy IV. In Shadowbringers, the highlighted job was Dark Knight and now, through the trailers, our protagonist takes on the mantle of the Paladin, something that also happened in FFIV with Cecil. He starts the game as Dark Knight and in the course of the game becomes a Paladin.
Another main feature is the moon, a scenario already seen and explored in FFIV. To conclude with this theory, they launched three new minions at the end of the showcase, Edge, Rosa, and Rydia, all characters in the fourth game of the franchise. Drawing my current analysis to a close: Tellah is the most famous Sage in the franchise and Cid, in FFIV, used a hammer as a weapon. So if the new class melee is hammer-user, remember, you heard it from here first!