With all three fanfests cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic, this was XIV director and producer Yoshi-P’s chance to share a lot of new info about the upcoming expansion.
Before we break down everything shown during the announcement showcase, please bear in mind that there’ll be some spoilers here and there for Shadowbringers. If you’ve just started Final Fantasy XIV for the first time, or are catching up with story content after a long break, you might want to give this article (and any related videos) a miss for now.
Story and Locations
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we’ll move straight into the meat of this event. Square Enix opened with a teaser trailer, revealing Endwalker and hinting at where the story will be going next.
After the Warrior of Light’s adventures in the First, they’ve returned to the Source. Naturally, things are already going downhill, with new villain Fandaniel intending on destroying the world. World ending plots aren’t a new thing to the Final Fantasy series, but it’s definitely a stark contrast to most of XIV’s previous villains.
Paying attention to the trailer and shared concept art, we get a few glimpses at where we’ll be travelling during Endwalker’s main story. There’s the island of Thavnair, home to the city Radz-at-Han (both having been alluded to since A Realm Reborn), Garlemald’s imperial capital, and most excitingly, the Moon itself.
The Moon has appeared multiple times over the course of Final Fantasy XIV’s story, usually when the late Elidibus wanted to act all mysterious as he gazed upon Eorzea. In fact, the trailer make a direct reference to this, with the Warrior of Light’s silhouette at the start looking very Ascian-like.
While Endwalker will receive multiple patches post launch, the Zodiark and Hydaelyn storyline that has been at the forefront since A Realm Reborn’s launch will wrap up with 6.0. Of course, this doesn’t mean the end for Final Fantasy XIV, and Yoshi-P even jokes that he’ll working on the game for his whole life.
Two new jobs were announced for Endwalker during the event, though only one was fully revealed. Yoshi-P mentions that one of the jobs will be a melee DPS (possibly Necromancer), while the other is a new healer.
Said healer is Sage, a job that has rarely made an appearance in the Final Fantasy series. It makes use of four nouliths (basically magic floating guns) to provide barriers and deal damage. Yoshi-P mentions that Sages can “temporarily augment their own magic ability”, though he doesn’t really go into more detail — ending with “please look forward to it!”
Sage is the second barrier healer coming to Final Fantasy XIV, following A Realm Reborn’s Scholar. To create an even number of pure and barrier healers, Astrologian is losing its barrier stance. From Endwalker onwards, both healer types will be made more distinct, so there likely wont be any hybrid jobs like Astro in the future.
Battle content and changes
When it came to battle content, there was a surprising lack of info. We did get some concept art and screenshots for a few of the expansion’s dungeons — with Estinien being introduced as a new Trust companion — but most details are being held back for later announcements.
Pandæmonium, Endwalker’s endgame 8-man content, was teased, with artwork hinting at it being an Elidibus themed raid, and there’ll be a Final Fantasy XIV original alliance raid. For primals, Final Fantasy X’s Anima will make an appearance, with it being worked on by the original art designer.
A couple of changes were at least revealed regarding stats and gear. Yoshi-P stated that, while the level cap may be increasing to 90 in Endwalker, stats across the board will be getting reduced from level 51 onwards.
This is due to the high stat values, especially boss HP, causing issues in the game’s code. You’ll still be dealing roughly the same damage percentage-wise, just without the inflated values of the last expansion. Experience values are also decreasing in line with the stat changes, since we have already been reaching 8-digit values after level 70.
Another welcome change is the removal of belts. They’ve always been the odd one out in regards to gear, having had no effect on your character’s appearance since A Realm Reborn. The freed up armoury slots will now go to weapons and rings, adding 15 to each.
Finally, a new small-scale PvP mode is being worked on for Endwalker. PvP is something that has never seen much success in XIV compared to PvE, but the team is still committed to making it work. It’s intended to be a more casual experience with no role restrictions. Matching up with others should be easier because of this, though previous small-scale PvP modes didn’t have much longevity.
Of the non-battle content that was mentioned, the Island Sanctuary is by far the most intriguing addition. It’s intended to allow adventurers to experience slow living, growing crops and raising animals.
From the way it was described, it almost sounds like a Story of Seasons style area, and it’s not just limited to gatherers and crafters. Minions also seem to play a part in this content, as shown by the key art.
The Gold Saucer is also receiving an update, though again Yoshi-P was tight lipped as to what exactly will be added. He did mention that it’ll be a large piece of content, on par with Doman Mahjong.
Of course, a new expansion means a boatload of new quests. Role quests return, with all three DPS types thankfully getting separate questlines this time. Beast tribes will also once again show up in Endwalker, starting with the Arkasodara, a race of elephant-like humanoids.
Those of you that have been working on Ishgard Restoration will be happy to know that the Ishgard housing districts will finally be getting added in Endwalker. Though, while it will be possible to explore the district in 6.0, housing wont be available for purchase until 6.1.
One final major addition will be the introduction of the Data Center Travel System. Working as an expanded version of the existing World Visit System, it’ll be possible to visit worlds that are on different data centers to your own. Yoshi-P mentions that there might be more restrictions that normal world travel, but you’ll still be able to group up and do content with friends.
XIV is coming to PS5
Final Fantasy XIV launching on PS5 was an expected, but welcome, announcement. There were already noticeable improvements playing the PS4 version on PS5, so a proper current-gen release will be even better.
The announcement video highlights improved load times, which will now be a few seconds at most, along with higher resolutions and framarates.
As was the case with the PS3 to PS4 upgrade, the PS5 version will be free for existing PS4 owners. This even applies to physical copies, with the disc not being required to play once you upgrade.
A beta is planned for April 13, the same day as Patch 5.5, with the full version becoming available at a later date. It should fully launch before Endwalker, assuming that there are no issues during the beta.
Digital Fanfest 2021
To make up for the lack of physical events over the last year, Square Enix will be holding a digital fanfest on May 14-15, 2021. There’ll be even more news on Endwalker, most likely including gameplay footage and a look at the currently unnamed DPS job.
The entire event will be free to watch, though players can support the event by purchasing a digital ticket. It’ll grant access to multiple iconic Final Fantasy IV items, including XIV’s first 8-man mount, the Lunar Whale.
And that’s everything that we currently know about Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker. It’s an exciting time for fans of the MMO, though we’ve still got a while to go before it launches. Be sure to check back with us over the coming months for coverage on future reveals as they arrive.
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