Perfect Ten: 10 things I’m looking forward to in Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker

    
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More like Endgunblader.

So, life comes at you fast. When I originally planned this column out, this was going to be the week of Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker entering early access, which would have made this week the perfect time to go all gaga for the next expansion that would be in our hands later this week. Then the expansion got delayed two weeks, and now it’s perched here because, well, we’ve got our end-of-the-year stuff starting up right afterwards and so it’s got to go sometime.

That being said, it’s not as if there’s going to be a gigantic change in the feature list for the expansion at some point between now and when early access actually begins, so it’s still the same basic list. After all, we’re about to have the game’s fourth expansion here, and I’ve made no secret of the fact that I really like the game and think it’s pretty keen. So I’m just going to gush for a bit about what I’m excited for, even if I’ll be waiting a couple more weeks to actually play it.

1. The conclusion to the story

FFXIV has been telling the same story now for a decade. That’s a long time, and it’s resulted in a real long-term sense of building action and continued plot development as we moved from the earliest days of minor local conflicts to the current stage of existential engagement with the Ascians and Zodiark. And now, instead of being locked in an endless series of rising actions that just bring us another twist, we’re getting an actual conclusion and a wrap-up for this particular storyline.

Naoki Yoshida has been quick to point out many times that this isn’t the same as the end of the game, but at the same time it’s worth noting because so few MMO stories really wind up coming to a solid and unambiguous ending. It’s especially notable because this ending is going to be right in the base expansion rather than in a couple of patches, which means that we’re making it a very definite and final conclusion. That’s exciting to me.

2. Reaper

Look, I like being in melee. It’s my personal preference, and I make no hash of this fact. Having Reaper added to the game as this weird, complex, wildly stylish job that feels at once distinct and contiguous with our other melee jobs is exciting to me, and my time playing the job just made me more excited to play it more completely.

Here we go again.

3. Island Sanctuaries

We actually don’t know much about Island Sanctuaries at this point beyond the fact that they’ll give players a space to run around in a relaxing area with minions and the like. What will the gameplay loop look like? What sort of rewards, if any, will players be chasing? What the heck were those hints about this being sort of pseudo-housing? We just don’t know yet, and that is maybe a touch worrisome, but also… enticing?

Like, it’s kind of nice not being told everything to expect from this content just yet. It’s going to be different, it’s going to be low-impact, and it’s going to be there. That’s enough!

4. New areas

Hot take central here: Shadowbringers is pretty darn attractive. But we’ve also been exploring the First now for a really long time, longer than the prior expansions. Yes, we all understand why this is the case, and no one can really blame the developers for it, but it’s still going to be nice to not be roaming in the same old maps just as an a priori good for exploring new areas.

Plus, the new areas we’re actually getting look… weird. Garlemald and Thavnair are the most “normal” zones we’ve seen so far, but our other zones include an underground sanctuary, some weird floating islands, and the freaking moon. Also, we know from experience that there’s probably another zone as yet unrevealed, and that’s going to be something else, too.

Magic shield.

5. New abilities

If you read through my full media tour lineup, you’ll note that a lot of the jobs I described as not really changing all that much in terms of rotation or design. That remains entirely true. However, new abilities are new abilities just the same, and getting new tricks is always welcome. I mean, as long as we’re leveling up again, it’d just be silly to not have new abilities along the way even if they’re somewhat minor additions, right?

Right?

6. Sage

I freely admit that healing is not my primary skill in this game. Or any game, really; the lone exception was how much I healed as a Bounty Hunter when it was possible to heal people by shooting them. But I also like how Sage is occupying a new space for healing, in no small part because it feels as close as we’ve gotten to a more tech-based healer instead of the other healing jobs already in the game.

Plus, you know, it’s a close to a canonization of the existing meta of healers doing DPS as you could hope for. So that looks pretty neat, too.

Pew!

7. Rebalanced old content

I wouldn’t say I’m exactly excited by the prospect of downscaled numbers; after all, they’re supposed to be pretty invisible in actual practice, so if I could notice the changes, something will have gone wrong anyhow. But I am always interested to see how older content feels in practice when a new expansion makes it no longer the current endgame, and FFXIV is both consistent and welcome in the way that it ensures you still get something out of old content.

Plus, you know, it’ll be easy to gear up some alt jobs with a quick dose of tomestones once the expansion is patched in.

8. Dungeons

Not everyone is going to like dungeons. Not everyone finds them fun. But I do like them, and I find them fun, and they’re my primary form of content in this game. And I’m also strongly of the mind that FFXIV does dungeons pretty wonderfully and better than most of its contemporaries. So this is going to mean a new batch of dungeons with new mechanics and new stuff to do, and let me make no bones about it: I am here for this.

If you’re not here for this, well, that’s valid, but this is a list of what I’m excited for. When you write your own installment of this column, you can list something else.

Oliphants.

9. New mountains to climb

As someone who really enjoys this game, I’ve been pretty much done for months now. I’ve gotten the gear for my main job, and then my secondary jobs, and then my tertiary jobs, and then just the stuff that might be nice to have. And that was back in June or so. There’s been a long chunk of time this year spent waiting for Endwalker, not because I don’t enjoy the game as it stands now but because I’ve accomplished most of the things I set out to finish up when I originally planned out my path toward the expansion.

In the not-too-distant future, that changes. I’ll have new jobs to level, existing jobs to level, new quests to do, new stuff that requires attention. I’m very much not in the “there’s nothing to do” camp. There’s a ton to do; I’ve just done all of it that I care to. But soon I’ll have new things to do again, and for that I’m excited.

10. What comes next

Oh, and let’s not forget that with the conclusion of a story arc and all those other endings, that means there’s a wide-open map of new stuff to explore and all sorts of new possibilities moving forward. I’m not saying I’m less than excited about what happens in this expansion, but once 6.1 rolls around we’re starting into a new world of content updates. And I am here for this.

Everyone likes a good list, and we are no different! Perfect Ten takes an MMO topic and divvies it up into 10 delicious, entertaining, and often informative segments for your snacking pleasure. Got a good idea for a list? Email us at justin@massivelyop.com or eliot@massivelyop.com with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
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elenie

I’m really looking forward to the island sanctuaries! I’d love for this to be a little downtime spot where we can do light customisation (e.g. have some of our minions roam around) and do fairly inconsequential, relaxing things (like farming). We’ll see what we actually get :-)
Other than that I’m excited to see Sharlayan and experience an expansion at launch, with my in game friends. Also very happy that the main story arc is getting a conclusion, I think that is a great idea and I look forward to what will follow.

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Sean Caruso

If the 6.0 patch notes were one line that read:

  • You can be bunny boys now.

I would be happy.

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Matt Cramp

Honestly one of the things I’m really looking forward to in Endwalker is seeing the Pandaemoneum Savage world first race. I’m absolutely not a hardcore raider, but seeing a bunch of top-flight WoW raiders have a positive experience with the game and promise to come back for the Savage raids, alongside all the existing competitive FFXIV raiders, suggests it’s going to be the most competitive world-first race the game will have ever seen. It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch.

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Sean Walsh

the main thing I take away from this article is that Eliot is DECIDEDLY

here for this.

…and so I am!

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r00ch

So I’m just going to gush for a bit about what I’m excited for

Yay! I wish there was a dedicated opinion column called Massively Hyped where every article began like this.

Anyway, I didn’t read past the intro of this article for fear of spoilers, but I love the sentiment. I’m taking my sweet time with the story and I’m still in ARR trying out all the classes/jobs. I keep coming back to paladin and warrior, but I get anxious tanking dungeons blind (especially when I’m trying to watch all the cutscenes), so I’m looking for a DPS to learn the ropes of dungeon encounters. I think I may level bard and paladin through ARR then switch to machinist for DPS as soon as it’s available.

Even though I’ve got just a bit of story ahead of me, I love the excitement in the air for Endwalker. Feels festive AF.

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cursedseishi

And #11 for me…

A Relic Weapon Questline NOT tied exclusively to some secondary zone, hopefully, for the love of god…

Two big reasons I haven’t even bothered with Relic Gear for both Stormblood and Shadowbringers. One being… well, they’re godawfully ugly to me (Stormblood’s more so, but Shadowbringer’s Drg weapon ain’t that great either).

And the other just… the obnoxious tie-in to an area that I do not enjoy playing around in. I was excited to hear Shadowbringer would at least let us do the Relic weapons outside of it–until they explicitly decided not to by requiring you to grind your face against a perpetual fate-train with little actual meat to it just to unlock the next step of the next instance for the next part to do the thing to unlock the next part of upgrading your weapon.

They have yet to announce any sort of… new area exclusive to relic weapons or the like so my hopes are up I know people do enjoy this content, and good on you for enjoying a foot-stubbing simulator… But there’s a reason I went and did 60 fates around the game’s world rather than lock myself in the beige war-closet. There’s a reason why I have ‘Z’ and ‘Carrier of the Kettle’, and have been slowly plinking away at ARR/HW relic weapons from early on still.

Do not make me go to the Dark side of the Moon to fight Moon-Mogs in some one-off area with its own brand of obnoxiously locked leveling and requirement of certain skills within a random poolset to be remotely viable in its content.

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Andrew Clear

You and I are of different opinions on the relic grind. I for one love the Stormblood relic content, it is the best in my opinion. I liked Bozja, but I did dislike the fact that it is more optimal to get the upgrade materials outside of the relic areas. It is fine to have the option to get the materials from outside the area, but incentivizing people not to do the content you spent millions of dollars making, makes absolutely no sense (and for people who like the areas, it really sucks that we get punished if we want to just stay in the areas).

The ARR and HW grinds just aren’t my cup of tea. The majority of the game is already just an instanced dungeon / raid grind, and that is what made Stormblood and Shadowbringers relic content a breath of fresh air (they are not instanced dungeon / raid content grinds). The more open world / social aspects are a nice break away from the rest of the game. To top that off, the experimentation with the game systems in these areas really makes it feel different.

You are going to be disappointed though, as the next relic grind is also going to be like Stormblood and Shadowbringers.

I do agree though, the resistance weapons (the final stage) are pretty ugly, with a few exceptions (I love the white mage relic). Eureka has some good looking relics, though (and some ugly).

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Ray O'Brien

Man I’m so damn excited! Should have my alchemy maxed by then and just go HAM with my Bard on the MSQ! Gonna be epic!

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IronSalamander8 .

Not in the same order, but largely the same things here.

MCH gets buzz saws? Yes please! :D

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Josh

At this point I’m just yelling “Reaper” at my screen incoherently.

I need Reaper, I need it

Theryl
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Theryl

There’s a business/design decision to be made with the current story (we’ll call it Chapter 1) wrapping up and I’m really interested to see what they do and what Yoshi means by our reaction being “You’re going that far?”

Right now you have to play through ARR and three expansions to get to Endwalker, a pattern that’s unsustainable in the long run. So how are they going to wrap up Chapter 1 and make Chapter 2 accessible to new players? Soft reset? Alternate universe? Time travel? I’m very interested to find out.

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Lord Omedon

I believe Yoshi P was asked about this by I think it was Jesse Cox, and the gist of his answer was to essentially shrug off the overthinking of the very idea of starting where we always have ever being fixed or addressed. No, I don’t have a source, but I was looking for this line of questioning, and I saw it addressed and, I believe, shot down.

I agree that it’s unsustainable, and I was disappointed and surprised that they seemingly don’t have a Chromie-time-like fix in the pipeline.

The vibe I got was that the story was too important to skip in a non-paid, officially provided/encouraged way.

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Lord Omedon

To be clear, I don’t get any joy out of communicating this interpretation of Yoshida’s intent. I said as recently as yesterday that the new player experience is the last glaring weakness of FFXIV once the housing lottery bandaid is applied.

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Rob Hagaman

This is why people are still playing New World, despite its faults. The gameplay itself grabs you from the start. It has some of the best New player gameplay I’ve experienced. It’s the one thing that prevents FFXIV from being even more of a juggernaut. That, and the BS “play in an NPC storyline” BS gate to the main storyline. If I WANTED to play as that character, I would have MADE that character! After the third one of these, I dropped the sub for New World.

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Lord Omedon

You’re not alone in strongly disliking the “roleplay duties.” It’s the main reason that the closest I’ll ever come to new game plus on my singular character is re-watching cutscenes, which I do rather enjoy, so much that a central piece of furniture in my apartment is the console to do so!

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Andrew Clear

@Theryl you missed the part of the interview, where he said “You’re going that far?,” where he stated that the threads for the story after 6.0 will start in 6.0. So, while they are ending a storyline, it isn’t a fresh start afterwards, it still is a continuation. There will be changes, but everything that came before is important.

@Lord Omedon You are correct, Yoshi-P did address this in an interview, but he stated that they will not start new players at the new story. He likened it to a TV show, and stated that you don’t start binge watching a TV show at season 7. He also said that if people can binge TV shows, they can binge the FFXIV story. That is his take on it.

@Theryl in regards to a soft reset, etc, he said that they would not do a 2.o again, where they move forward five years, and everyone has amnesia again, etc. He said that we would continue playing in the same world “sort of.” They way he answered the question, does imply something fundamental will happen to the game world. Will be interesting to see.

Most of the info is from the media tour interviews, but some of the statements were from interviews done around the time of the fan festival.