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Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker Takes the Fight to Garlemald and Beyond This Fall

Will conclude the current Final Fantasy XIV saga and usher in the next.

by Brandon Adams

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The Final Fantasy XIV Announcement stream kicked off with a slick new trailer, showing the Warrior of Light in a new location: we are officially heading to Garlemald (and beyond) in Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker. The trailer opened with a shot on what appeared to be the Warrior of Light walking on the moon, and we got to see Alphinaud as the new job coming in Final Fantasy XIV. The trailer itself was vague, but we learned more afterwards thanks to Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida, with assistance from Translation Director Michael-Christopher Koji Fox

Warning: there be major spoilers for Final Fantasy XIV below if you have not completed the Patch 5.4 main scenario.

Stop Fandaniel and Zenos from ushering in the Final Days in Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker.

Yoshi-P revealed more information about the upcoming Final Fantasy XIV expansion. The two confirmed that Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker will launch later than usual due to the pandemic (Final Fantasy XIV expansions tend to come out in the late summer).  They two confirmed we wouldn’t learn everything today, since today’s announcement was as a replacement for the first FanFest that would have taken place last November.

As the trailer clearly displayed, Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker will task the Warrior of Light and Scions with stopping the Ascian Fandaniel and mad-prince Zenos from destroying the world as we know it. There’s an emphasis on growth, and the featured class for the Warrior of Light this expansion is the Paladin.

The new jobs coming in Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker were teased, and Yoshi-P did confirm there are two coming in this expansion. According to fan feedback, the team realized Final Fantasy XIV didn’t have enough healers, so one of the new jobs will fill that role. The second will be a melee damage dealer, and “not one players were expecting”. The new healer was then revealed: the Sage! This healer class uses four ether-imbued “vials” to cast spells and heal allies. The weapon itself is new to the Final Fantasy franchise, and Yoshi-P teased we’d have to play the campaign to learn how Alphinaud comes about these new tools and job. You can read more about The Sage here.

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Venture forth to save the world (again), and visit the moon.

As is tradition, Yoshi-P changed his shirt to hint at the next class, and for all intents and purposes it appears to tease Necromancer. We will have to wait until the May Digital Fan Festival to learn more. The two then moved into the story of Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, which will act as the finale to the current Final Fantasy XIV storyline. The Zodiark and Hydaelyn story will come to a close in Endwalker, though that doesn’t mean the expansion itself is the end of Final Fantasy XIV. That said, they intend for the full story to come to a conclusion at the end of 6.0, rather than the usual patch 6.3 main scenario.

Patch 6.1 will instead kick off a new sage for Final Fantasy XIV. The two confirmed Yoshi-P isn’t leaving the project. He views the game as his “lifework”, so he isn’t going anywhere. If anything, Patch 6.1 will usher in an exciting new era for Final Fantasy XIV. After assuring everyone he wasn’t leaving Final Fantasy XIV, Yoshi-P confirmed we’d have to leave Hydaelyn in our journey to save her, and that includes visiting the moon (queue the Final Fantasy IV flashbacks). We will learn more about Zodiark and Hydaelyn, what the Ancients truly wanted, and more. That, and the once powerful Garlemald empire will remain a threat (thanks, Zenos).

Yoshi-P and Koji then went over the characters of Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, confirming Alphinaud will indeed become a Sage during the Endwalker main scenario. Alisaie will remain a Red Mage, but she will get a much deserved updated outfit. Fandaniel will play a large role as one of Endwalker’s lead villains, but Yoshi-P confirmed he wouldn’t be the final boss of the expansion. Yoshi-P did state Fandaniel is in possession of one hell of a secret, but wouldn’t elaborate.

Then there’s Zenos, who is still obsessed with having a literal world-ending duel with his “friend”, the Warrior of Light. We may not view him as our pal, but Zenos is eager to face us once more in mortal combat. The two then diverged from discussing the story of Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker to avoid spoilers. They concluded the story portion by saying Endwalker’s main scenario would be complex, and have many layers to it.

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A higher level cap, new zones, and the usual fare.

As with most MMO expansion, Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker will raise the level cap, from level 80 to level 90. So, if you’ve been sleeping on Final Fantasy XIV, well, the grind has only gotten longer (it’s worth it for the story, trust me). The usual tease of “massive new areas” was rolled out, but only a few screenshots and concept art were shown off. The city of Radz-at-Han will make an appearance in Final Fantasy XIV as the “smaller” town in Endwalker (akin to Eulmore). As for the larger town we’ll have to wait until later to learn about it (likely because it’s a gigantic spoiler).

Radz-at-Han is a city on the island of Thavnair, a location long teased in Final Fantasy XIV. The whole island will be featured in Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, and it will have a “very subtropical feel to it,” according to Yoshi-P. Garlemald will also feature as a major area in Endwalker, though the Empire has certainly seen better days. The concept art shown off for Garlemald showed a realm that was deep in decay, but we’ll have to once again wait and see why the once powerful nation fell into complete ruin.

There will be another selection of Beast Tribes to interact with in Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, namely the Matanga clan of the Arkasodra beast race. They were the elephant-looking race sometimes seen in Stormblood, but the Matanga clan will be more friendly than their Doman peers. There will be additional tribes, but they won’t be introduced until – wait for it – a later date. Please look forward to it.

Yoshi-P moved on to the threats we’ll face in Endwalker, and to start was concept art of Final Fantasy X summon, Anima. Yep, mother-freaking Anima is gonna be a Primal we must face in Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker. Not only that, but Anima’s original art designer is designing Anima for XIV. Moving on, the two confirmed there will be more dungeons to overcome, which comes as a surprise to absolutely no one. One looked like a fleshy nightmare full of eyes and spines, so there’s that.

You can’t have a Final Fantasy XIV expansion without a new 8-man raid. Yet again nothing was confirmed or properly revealed, but we did get concept art of Lahabrea and the name: Pandaemonium. This new raid will feature an original story, though the two refused to tell us much more than that. The new 24-man Alliance Raid is a thing, it will be an original raid (not a crossover), and focus on a piece of Eorzean lore that has been “steeped in mystery.”

After saying not much of anything about the raids, the two moved into discussing a new small-scale PvP mode. Role-restrictions will be removed to make finding matches easier, and they are aiming for a more “casual” experience. Like everything else during the announcement, Yoshi-P didn’t reveal any detailed information, but he did state the new mode would bring forth a new reward system for PvP.

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More Role Quests, a new Trust companion, and a number-squish are coming in Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker.

Following PvP, Yoshi-P briefly went over all the non-battle oriented content coming in Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker. There will be new side quests, to include more Role Quests (first introduced in Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers). One change will be made to role-quests, however: there will be five different types of Role Quests, with DPS now featuring Melee, Ranged, and Magic Role Quests (so each role can have a deeper story). Crafters and Gatherers will also see a return of Role Quests, but Yoshi-P couldn’t go into detail since those quests would be set in the new large town.

There will be new gear, as expected. What wasn’t expected was the expansion of the Trust System. For one, Estinien will be added as a Trust companion, addressing the lack of any proper melee DPS within the system. We’ll find out why he joins us in Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker. The Gold Saucer will also receive an update with new content: Blitzball! Just kidding: Yoshi-P and Koji teased many ideas before stating we’d have to wait until later to learn more. My fingers remain crossed we’ll get Blitzball, foolish as I may be.

A new piece of content will come to Final Fantasy XIV in Endwalker – the Island Sanctuary. Think Harvest Moon meets Final Fantasy, and you’ve got the right idea. It’s “something for everyone, not just crafters and gatherers,” but we will – you guessed it – have to wait until later to learn more. The two confirmed the Ishgard residential district will open with the release of Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, but plots won’t go for sale until 6.1. It will have the same number of wards as the other districts, and apartments. No changes to buying a house were discussed, other than a vague promise that more plots will be available, so expect Ishgard housing to go about as well as all the other districts.

The battle system will receive another round of adjustments, such as the addition of new actions. Bigger than new actions, however, is the downscaling of values within the game. In short: we’re getting a number squish, akin to what World of Warcraft did prior to Shadowlands. Yoshi-P assuaged player concerns, saying this had to happen to avoid problems and bugs that come from ever-increasing numbers (such as breaking tank Enmity).

Only the numbers are being changed, not the formulas, so aside from lower health-pools, damage numbers, etc., we shouldn’t notice a change in how stats in Final Fantasy XIV are calculated when Endwalker downscales everything. Undersized parties will see some changes due to the downscaling of values in Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, which the team are still investigating. We’ll have to wait until later to learn more.

The second major change coming to the battle system in Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker is the removal of belts as equipment. Belts were graphically removed in 1.0, but they remained as a vestige of that troubled portion of Final Fantasy XIV’s legacy since A Realm Reborn rebooted the whole game. Since they clutter the loot pool, provide minimal stat increases, and congest the armory chest, the team decided it was high time to do away with them.

As of 6.0 belts will no longer be equippable, and currently equipped belts will be unequipped and moved to the Calamity Salvager for safekeeping (to include belts retainers are wearing). The 35 slots used by belts in the armory chest will be reallocated: 15 slots to primary weapons, and 15 to rings. The five unused slots will “be saved for a rainy” day.

Data Center Travel is on the way, as is the official PlayStation 5 Upgrade and a Digital Fan Festival.

The last reveal was a big one: Data Center Travel. Currently, players can only travel between “Worlds”, or servers, within their Data Center. With this new Data Center Travel system that restriction will be removed, meaning we can play with our friends on any server we want. There will be some restrictions as compared to the current World Travel System (what those will be Yoshi-P didn’t get into), but Data Center Travel will be a welcome addition to Final Fantasy XIV overall.

Square-Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda then came on stage to announce the PlayStation 5 open beta, which will begin April 13th, 2021. Wait, beta? Doesn’t Final Fantasy XIV already run on PlayStation 5 via backwards compatibility? Well, yes and no. Think of this as the enhanced edition for PlayStation 5. The beta lines up with the launch date of Patch 5.5, at least according to Matsuda (a statement that made both Yoshi-P and Koji a bit uncomfortable).

The PlayStation 5 version of Final Fantasy XIV will run in 4K and feature enhanced graphics, load times, and an improved frame rate. There will be two modes: 4K 30 FPS, or 2K “higher frame rate”. Owners of the PlayStation 4 version of the game will get the PS5 Upgrade Edition for free (so long as they are subscribed, so kinda free).

The stream then ended with the announcement of the Digital Fan Festival, which will be held May 15th and 16th this year, and it will be free of charge to everyone. You can pay to get a Lunar Whale mount (based on the original design from Final Fantasy IV) if you want though. I mean, it is an eight-seated mount. Just saying. Minions of Edge, Rosa, and Rydia will also be included in the paid FanFest package. More information will be revealed during the Digital Fan Festival, and there will even be a live concert. Until then, we’ll have to content ourselves with the news we learned today. Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker will release sometime this Fall.

- This article was updated on:February 5th, 2021

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