It wasn’t so long ago that I got to sit down in front of my computer and do something that every Final Fantasy XIV fan probably wants to do: play Endwalker. More specifically, play the media tour preview of Endwalker, which meant a whole lot of combat jobs, a couple of zones to tour, and a dungeon to try out ahead of the expansions’ full release. As I imagine would also be the case for most every FFXIV fan, this mostly served to whet my appetite for the full thing.
The first thing that Yoshida wanted all of us to acknowledge as journalists and influencers is that this media tour is taking place in the middle of the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and we are all indebted to the medical personnel working hard to keep people safe and treat this disease that has had an incalculable impact across the world from Japan to the United States. He’s right that we owe so much to the people working hard on the front lines of this pandemic.
He also noted that the professionals who have said to him that FFXIV is part of their way of relaxing after a long day of work help keep the team motivated to do better and to keep putting out the best content possible for the fans. Across the world, we are all reliant on the people doing their best to keep us all safe, and it behooves everyone to be thankful and respectful of these dedicated professionals.
The second part, perhaps more immediately relevant to the game itself, is that everything on display at the event was part of an in-development build. Work is still being done on balance, tuning, and precise timing. While I will give my thoughts on all of the jobs, I will be avoiding discussing specific potencies for abilities beyond the barest possible mention in a couple places, and hard numbers will be absent. This is not the time for theorycrafting out which job is going to have the best DPS; tuning is still ongoing, and everything is subject to change before release.
For that matter, it’s possible (though unlikely) that further tweaks will take place ahead of the expansion’s early access release date of November 19th. The team is plainly still hard at work on the expansion, and that means that much of what is being worked on is not yet set in stone.
Yoshida also implored all of those in attendance to avoid leaking or releasing any information early, which is important in both ensuring that all coverage goes out at the same time and that all coverage is offered with appropriate context. Those who have followed the darker corners of the FFXIV community no doubt know that at least some attendees ignored to these requests, so some of the information we’ll be covering today was leaked ahead of release. (Look forward to a separate column about that in the not-too-distant future.)
What makes the leaks especially distressing is the fact that this year Square-Enix did something special for those of us in the media tour. During previous tours, if we wanted to have a reference of the tooltips for various job abilities, we had to personally screencap every single one. Because of the sheer number of jobs and abilities involved, this took up a lot of time; I have a whole pile of screenshots doing just that from the Shadowbringers tour in particular, and it left me with less time to do some other things I would have liked to do.
This year, however, the staff working the event actually went in and captured every single tooltip as well as job gauge descriptions for every job ahead of the tour, giving it out to all of us to use as reference. Those tooltips are not included here because, well, we were asked not to publish them but to use them as reference; as mentioned, potencies and the like are still being adjusted. However, this was an immensely useful reference for those of us writing about all of this content. So it’s kind of upsetting that some people put this stuff live after being asked not to in spite of all that. Kind of makes you more than a little angry about it, doesn’t it?
The event in question was handled remotely via a remote desktop app connected to a special Japanese server. As a result, there was some unusual lag in places, which led to some things (most notably the first dungeon) being a little harder to do than would otherwise be the case. It’s a necessary limitation due to the ongoing pandemic and safety, but it is also worth keeping in mind, especially if some of the mechanics sound easier to deal with than would otherwise seem plausible.
Last but not least, on a personal note, I want to thank the Square-Enix staff who made this event possible and facilitated all of the coverage you’re about to read today. This event in particular was a nest of difficult technical issues and a lot of effort to make work properly for the studio’s first-ever remote media tour. I can only imagine the behind-the-scenes struggle, so the fact that everything worked as smoothly as it did is a testament to the dedication of the support team that rarely gets its due.
With all of that preamble out of the way, let’s get on with the coverage. Remember, it’s all an early development version, so things are subject to change, but what I saw was pretty excellent just the same. We’ll be starting shortly with our first look at the various job roles in turn starting with melee DPS, followed by a tour of the Tower of Zot and the preview zones, and then capping it all off with our interview with Yoshida before noon. All nine pieces will populate below as they go live: