Well, it’s finally happening. No more unexpected delays, we’ve got our maintenance time set, and we’ve gotten everything ready that we could possibly have ready to go. It’s time for Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker to go into early access on Friday, and if you’ve done this dance over the past few expansions, you probably have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Aside from just “the finished expansion but a couple days before people buying it the day of,” which you presumably already knew.
Look, this is just the reality if you’re not logging in first thing in the morning and staying logged on through the day (the AFK timer is there, so don’t try to log in before going to work and expect to still be there when you get home). There are going to be queues. Smaller servers will have smaller queues, but queues are just a reality of the expansion for the first couple of weeks. They tend to go at a reasonable pace, but they’re just the thing you’ll have to deal with.
So log in when you can and expect to wait a little bit. Get a book. Again, they’re usually not unplayable, just significant. These servers are still pretty full from the massive influx the game has seen in terms of players and the expansion launch is going to bring some people back. There’s a reason I kind of plan my days around just playing for the first few days without many breaks. Sorry. It sort of sucks, but there’s not much anyone – including the developers – can do about it.
Expect a preponderance of Reapers and Sages leveling
All right, so the reality is that a lot of people are going to start playing these jobs first thing. For some players, these are the main draw of the expansion in the first place. Which makes it a bit of a downside that both of them are fairly technical jobs and are going to have a notable learning curve, so not only are you going to see a lot of them in leveling roulettes, but a lot of them are going to be kind of terrible.
This does mean that if you have a tank job you’ve been meaning to level up, well, it’s going to be a lot easier right off the bat.
Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not in any way bitter about the fact that there will be a lot of Reapers and Sages running around, with the fields of Il Mheg practically littered with them as they level up via Pixie quests and slash or shoot their way through all sorts of enemies in Norvrandt. This is what we’re all signing up for. Just saying, you know… expect this ahead of time. Expect to see some of them at 80 way faster than you would otherwise expect, at that. It’s just the way things always go, and so you should prepare yourself for that ahead of time, especially if you plan on making one of these jobs your new main.
Expect smaller numbers
I feel like this is one of those things that everyone has been prepared for factually, but not necessarily prepared for emotionally. If you watch your numbers, those are just going to be smaller now. You shouldn’t really notice that fact most of the time if you don’t obsessively watch your numbers, but some stuff will feel off and your first few rewards in terms of experience will look weirdly small compared to what you’re expecting. Again, this is just the reality.
This is also why it’s kind of silly to math out how fast you’ll be able to go through levels once the update arrives. It’s just not going to make that big of a deal once the early access patch lands. Don’t try to make a big deal out of it. You’ll be looking at smaller numbers; try not to freak out about it.
Expect some character deaths
All right, moving on from mechanics to the story: Expect some people to die in this one.
Look, this is a big finale, and that means that some people are going to get dramatic sendoffs along the way. I would honestly place even money on none of the Scions surviving to the end of the MSQ; that’s not a spoiler (I don’t know it for a fact; I’m just guessing), but if it turns out to happen, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least. This is just the sort of thing that I have been conditioned to expect. Heck, at least one Scion Square has been teasing death for since the end of 2.5, so don’t be surprised if we finally see that promise delivered.
No, I don’t know how this would affect Trust runs. I don’t expect that to be the prevailing concern, either.
Expect to revisit the early zones
Whatever zones you start off in will almost certainly be bifurcated in such a way that you will have to revisit them later. This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, since technically the Coerthas Western Highlands weren’t, but every other introductory zone has been structured that way. You will almost certainly have your choice of two different zones to hit right at the start of the expansion, and you will almost certainly need to revisit them. Don’t be surprised when it happens or when some of the aether currents appear to be unreachable early on, just do your best with what you can and know that this is the way these zones always go.
It’s also for this reason I suspect Garlemald and Thavnair will not be our first zones, since they lacked that obvious marker during the media tour. But I could be wrong about that. Just don’t be shocked; even if you can reach all the map-based currents, there might be some missing quests on your first visit.
Naoki Yoshida is fully planning to troll you with something. I don’t know what just yet. The man has long displayed a certain impish sensibility toward implying things without saying them outright, getting people to expect one thing only to stun them with the reality, and so forth. And I have no doubt that the same is true now.
I don’t know what the last zone is going to be in this expansion just yet, but I expect to be surprised. I don’t know the context of the trial fights, but a surprise wouldn’t be unexpected. I think the best way you can go into the expansion is to fully be aware that whatever you think will happen may very well be a misdirection, and your best bet is to take things as they come and not worry too much about trying to figure it all out beforehand.
And yes, I’m excited about that.
Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments below or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week? Let’s talk about how early access went down.