It’s almost time. Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker is going to be here very shortly – just a bit less than two weeks from now, in fact – and while we’ve had to wait a bit longer than initially planned, that wait is nearly over. That means the end of the arc that we’ve been experiencing for a really long time now, and that also means we get to see a lot of longstanding story threads pay off and resolved along the way.
But which ones? That’s the real question.
There are a lot of story threads that I really don’t hope to see resolved in this particular bit of story; for example, even though we’re seeing Vrtra show up with Estinien, I really hope we don’t have any threads tidied up or explored for Meracydia just yet. That seems like an obvious thing to explore and resolve in the future. But at the same time, there are some threads that I’m kind of hoping we do get resolved along the way, either long-standing plots or relatively new ones that really could make good use of a firm resolution as we forge ahead.
The Final Roundup of Ascians
To be fair, I’m willing to believe that some of this might be relegated to Pandæmonium, since that’ll be out two weeks after the expansion launches. But this point is that we should be getting a final assessment of where all the Ascians are, what all of them are doing, and why all of them are extremely dead at this point.
You may remember that I wrote an entire article about the state of the Ascians as a whole, and there are five “outstanding” Ascians for whom we have nothing approaching a final resolution. Fandaniel, obviously, is palling around right now with Zenos and helping to make things a gigantic mess leading into Endwalker, so there’s little doubt that we’re going to be dealing with him one way or the other. Pashtarot, Deudalaphon, Altima, and Halmarut are little-scene and little-discussed and may very well be on other shards at the moment or otherwise occupied.
However, if we’re ending the whole Zodiark storyline, that also means that we should probably finish dealing with the Ascians along the way. No, I don’t think that the remaining four sundered Ascians represent anything on the scale of the threat posed by the overall organization before any of them had fallen, but it’s going to be kind of tedious to spend a chunk of additional time dealing with these lingering minions of a decayed threat.
Since Fandaniel doesn’t seem as interested in Zodiark as Emet-Selch or his companions are, it’s quite possible that he’s going to be responsible for some of what happens when dealing with the other outstanding members. I also fully expect that at least some of this will be tied up with our new normal raid, but the point remains that this should be the closing of the curtain for these particular antagonists. They’re done.
The Fate of the Shards
When the world was first sundered, there were 13 shards plus the Source. There have been seven Calamities since then, and we know that each Calamity is part of a rejoining to the Source. That means simple math leaves us six shards still out there, including the First and the Thirteenth, both of which we know about in some capacity; the Thirteenth is the domain of the Void, and the First is we just spent an entire expansion faffing about here; we don’t need more information.
Obviously, the First is on the track to repairing itself once again, and that’s important. But the four shards we don’t know about beyond “they exist” are out there, too. What is happening there? Where are the Ascian plans? How close are they to fruition? Are the residents there safe as well? When there’s no more need for Hydaelyn to exist, what happens to the shards in the first place?
To a certain extent you can see leaving these unresolved, since if we run out of space to explore on Eorzea, it’s really easy to say “well, now we’re going to the Seventh” and that’s an entirely new expansion in the bag. (That’s hardly what anyone wants at this point and it’s probably a bad idea, but let’s offer the benefit of the doubt to the writing team at this point.) At the same time, the fate of the Thirteenth is tied to our world, and the fate of the First is probably still on everyone’s mind even if we just prevented the worst of what could happen.
Personally, I expect we’ll be heading back to the First for our relic weapons in this expansion, which would be pretty cool and a chance to do a rather organic time skip if the writers wanted to. But regardless of that speculation, it’d be nice to at least see an acknowledgement of this particular plot point before we get rid of our main obvious reason to care about it with what we know now.
The Garlean Empire
The funny thing about the Empire is that we’ve never really fought against the Empire as a whole. It was this big, obvious threat for a really long time, but we’ve always fought off disconnected pieces of it. Even in Stormblood the full might of the Empire didn’t come down to help out with Zenos, and between our piecemeal fight against their forces, the various civil wars, and just general poor management we know that now the whole thing is collapsing in on itself before we even wind up in Garlemald.
Honestly? I’m fine with this. This is hardly the first game in the franchise where the evil empire has proven to ultimately be a secondary threat. I kind of like that Garlemald collapsed under its own weight with our own actions providing more of a push than being the primary impetus. Heck, we never even actually got to fight the Emperor at any point!
No, the EX trial is not a fight against the Emperor; that’s a fantasy memory.
At the same time, the fact that we’re heading to Garlemald as a bombed-out wreck in this expansion means that we need to put a bow on this particular story arc as a whole. We can certainly believe that the various Imperial facilities still scattered around the world have gone rogue and are self-sustaining encampments not easily pulled apart, that’s fine, but I do think it would make sense to put a final resolution to everything the Empire has gone through.
After all, how stupid would it be for us to go in there, liberate the nation’s remnants from whatever the heck Zenos is doing, get the remaining Legions back under control, only to find that the new leaders are still a problem and we have to invade the country all over again? Although spending more time in the continent picking things up would be interesting… but that’s for another expansion.
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments down below or via mail to email@example.com. Next week is the week of Endwalker, so I’m going to be prepping everyone for early access with a list of things to expect.