Final Fantasy 14 Endwalker Expansion Revealed, Coming Fall 2021 - Everything We Know
The FFXIV announcement showcase livestream featured the premier trailer for the MMORPG's next expansion. Here's what we know.
During the Final Fantasy XIV announcement showcase, the next expansion for the MMORPG was revealed through a teaser trailer--it's called Endwalker and it's set to launch in Fall 2021. You can watch the trailer from the livestream below (be aware that there may be spoilers in the trailer).
The trailer shows the Warrior of Light (your character) walking on the moon of your realm followed by the map of Eorzea being burnt. You then see core character Alisaie fighting against what looks to be a dragon-like monsters as the world around her burns. Her brother Alphinaud, who's representing the expansion new Sage healer Job, and the Warrior of Light show up to join the fight. There are also teaser shots of the new villain overlooking a flame to represent new "Final Days" and you see returning villain Zenos as well. It appears that the world of Hydaelyn is a lot more than just an Earth-like planet from these shots. The final shot returns to the moon to reveal the new representation of the Warrior of Light who is now a Paladin.
After the trailer, director and producer Naoki Yoshida went to much greater detail about what you can expect from FFXIV Endwalker. The first of which was the two new Jobs--one healer and one melee DPS. The trailer shows Alphinaud sporting the new healer Job--it's called Sage and uses a set of floating aether-infused knives called Nouliths (a wild Gundam reference for those who are aware). It's said to be a barrier-focused healer, similar to Scholar. Sages will start at level 70 with no required class prerequisite, but you need at least one other Job at level 70 and you must own the Endwalker expansion.
No details were given about the new melee DPS job, although it will be revealed in May during the digital FFXIV Fan Fest.
What We Know About The Story
Yoshida-san explained the story setup and emphasized that Endwalker is a finale and conclusion to the current FFXIV story arc--an ending to what we know as the world of Hydaelyn, which has been going on since the very beginning of the game. He also said that things would come full circle, describing it as "a new dawn" for the story.
This will be FFXIV 6.0, and as players know, the story usually continues after the expansion. However, Endwalker will have a full conclusion to the conflict between Hydaelyn and Zodiark, and the emphasis on the moon gives us a hint as to where FFXIV goes from here. Yoshida-san emphasized that this is not the end of FFXIV, however. FFXIV 6.1 is already being planned, and will begin an entirely new story separate from what has been built since 1.0 and 2.0.
As a setup for Endwalker's story, the announcement showcase included these statements:
"What were the Final Days that brought the mighty ancients to their knees? To uncover myriad secrets--of Hydaelyn, Zodiark, and deeper mysteries still--the Warrior of Light embarks on a journey to the moon.
"The long-awaited conclusion to the tale of Gods light and dark!
"Curiouser and curiouser...burning questions remain!
"What brought about the Final Days?
"What became of Hydaelyn and Zodiark?
"What will be the Garlean Empire's fate
"What is Zenos' and Fandaniel's aim?
"What is to be found on the moon?"
In Shadowbringers, we saw what the "Final Days" were for the Ascian people, but that may come into greater focus with Endwalker--there have been many allusions to burning the world down ever since the final scene of the 5.3 story. In artwork shown later in the announcement showcase, Garlemald is basically left destroyed and desolate. If you played up to the end of the 5.4 story, you see why this might be the case.
Although Zenos and Fandaniel are featured in this teaser trailer, and that their motivations will be made clear, Yoshida-san said not worry about having a disappointing final villain--Endwalker is said to have a complex story with many surprises. Judging from the biological-organic environments below the surface shown in artwork and the trailer, we'll find out the true nature of the planet.
Some New Features
Of the new features coming to Endwalker, the level cap is increasing to level 90, as expected. It's also said to feature "massive" new areas--the new artwork features a lush jungle-like environment with a colorful bustling city in the sky called Radz-At-Han. It's said to have a similar in size to Eulmore from Shadowbringers. It's located in the region of Thavnair, which is near FFXIV's version of Dalmasca. It has a tropical climate and a different culture from the rest of the world's regions.
It was also confirmed that one of the major regions you'll be in is Garlemald, the heart of the Garlean Empire. It is absolutely destroyed in Endwalker, however. No further details about it were given.
Concept art for new dungeons was also revealed, all of which were quite different in design. One featured a great ancient-style structure with the environment burning around it, another featured that biological-organic style with alien-like flesh and bone structure making up the environment, and another was a sterile high-tech Garlean facility.
Fans of of Final Fantasy X will recognize a new enemy featured in this expansion: Anima, which has been recreated for FFXIV by the original designer.
Another high-end 8-player raid series was teased--it's called Pandaemonium, and the artwork features the likeness of the old Ascian adversary, Lahabrea. It will tell a unique and separate story for FFXIV as well.
A new 24-player alliance raid was confirmed. It is said to provide several answers to lingering mysteries about the world of Hydaelyn, which may mean that it's not going to be a crossover raid series (unlike Stormblood with Final Fantasy XII and Shadowbringers with Nier Automata).
The Trust system, which lets you take core characters into dungeons as AI companions in place of real players, is getting an update--Estinien, who was first introduced in Heavensward, will be an ally of the Scions and available in the Trust system. As for the reason he's included, we'll have to see what happens in the story.
Island Sanctuary is an all-new feature in Endwalker, described as a way of "slow living" where you'll do things like raise animals and cultivate open land on a deserted island. It won't just be for crafters and gatherers and will be geared toward all players.
FFXIV 6.0 will add a new residential area to expand housing opportunities. This time it'll be in Ishgard as a way to tie into The Firmament and Ishgard Restoration content. Actual housing won't be available until patch 6.1, but players can look at plots at the start of 6.0.
A ton of other additional content will come with FFXIV 6.0 such as more role quests, crafter and gatherer quests, Gold Saucer updates, small-scale PvP battles, a new tribe called the Matanga, and more.
Battle System Changes
A few tweaks are lined up for the core battle system in FFXIV. First is the downscaling of values and damage numbers in combat. Through the expansions, damage and attack potency has gradually increased as players got more powerful. However, downscaling is said to help with calculations and prevent overflow and bugs in the backend. Changes will be proportional as to not change how the combat system functions.
This is also said to help with calculations for enmity, which could prevent problems for Tanks. The number crunch will consolidate the flying text for damage numbers and scale down the HP pool for bosses along with everything else.
The changes will come with how player levels and stats increase from level 51 to 80, essentially squeezing the rate at which players get more powerful, which means enemy effectiveness will scale accordingly. Experience points values will be compressed along with the experience points required to level up as well.
Lastly, belts are being removed from the game entirely at the start of the 6.0 update--it's an armor gear piece, which was actually already removed from your character's appearance. The 35 inventory slots from belts will be allocated to weapons and rings (15 slots each) with the leftover five being held for the future.
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 travel system that's coming to FFXIV in the future will allow for these from different data centers to meet up and create parties, though there will be some restrictions.
PlayStation 5 Version Coming
While FFXIV is playable through backwards compatibility, a PS5-specific version is coming soon. It'll be in open beta starting April 13 this year, and will feature 4K resolution, faster loading 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. Continual updates to graphics and performance will come out 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. No further details were given for how the process will work. It'll be one of a few Final Fantasy games coming to PS5. The action-RPG Final Fantasy XVI was announced for the system in 2020, taking things to a more fantasy-inspired medieval setting instead of the modern one we see in FFXV.
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