More than 10 years after a disastrous debut, Final Fantasy XIV is currently one of the most talked about MMORPGs in the world. The story, created from the ashes of the public crisis, will come to an end in just a few weeks with the release of Endwalker expansion. Set to take the original inhabitants of Eorzea further around the world, this is the game’s most significant launch since its 2013 revival. It has big boots to fill and if spread. My diluted experience with the preview build is whatever happens, I’m more certain than ever that what makes a game play is not the exploration of the world, but the people that exist within it.
Despite the strange companionship of Emet-Selch – the latest in a long line of Ascian enemies – throughout Shadowbringers renewing our tolerance for baddies that we’ve fixed over and over again, patches appear then start pulling on the rusty cord. Assure us that Endwalker warm-up is just that (end of one arc and first steps towards another), I’m confident the team has picked up the tee tempo for this round. They could have plotted things out in another two year patch cycle, but things will come to an end with this launch, leaving building for the next expansion to set the scene for a potential 10 years. another of the new plot – hopefully no Ascian in sight.
Take a walk around the neighborhood
Everything in my long trip back Endwalker happens with zero context. This is not a sneaky story. It has been stripped bare. Spoiler alert for those still trying to get through Shadowbringers, but the end of the expansion gives us a solid reason to knock on the door of Old Sharlayan, a place of scholars who rarely want to do with the rest of the world. Logging into the college town reveals a place that unsurprisingly resembles the crumbling ruins of the Dravanian Hinterlands, and it’s actually sad to see the moment.
I spent a decent amount of time enjoying the cobblestone streets and giant doorways, but aside from the fanfare of seeing it before its release, there isn’t very little reason to hang around. . NPCs, unless we befriend them as soon as we get there, are too much fun; each wished me a quick “Good Day” (or something in effect) before going on a hike. It’s obviously just placeholder text, but that’s not how I expected my first visit to this part of the world to go.
Although it is certainly a pleasure to wander the halls filled with the best and brightest Final Fantasy XIV the characters used to call home, the glaring omission of any major world-building details on my first trip there, admittedly, a bit of wet wipes one day different interesting from the future of the game. And two other regions, Thavnair and Garlemald, have repeated that experience. Without any form of world building, they’re just large, mostly hollow chaffs that end up showing the game’s age more than we’d normally admit. But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel – my first taste of combat content.
Presented in the preview build is the first Endwalker dungeon, Tower of Zot. If you have played Final Fantasy IV, you’ll realize it’s the name of a place with very little legend behind it. Final Fantasy XIV want to fix that. And we already know a lot about its place in the world. Standing ominously before Thavnair, this glowing ziggurat is just one of many that grow across Eorzea such as Shadowbringers the story begins to sing its swan song. It’s not the most exciting dungeon in the world, and it certainly doesn’t have the formal and urgent atmosphere that its counterpart in the previous expansion did, but it does give a great taste of what it’s like. how to tax experience from level 80 to 90.
Some people would be upset to see a certain group of enemies deployed so early into the plot (assuming that’s the last we see of them), but they fought well, combining their abilities. together to have the final match in accordance with the game design 101 lesson period before the test. Again, it’s not the most enjoyable place without proper context and no ending cutscene, but when it comes to doing one run with my new preview friends and another with Trusts , the game’s AI companion, I’m absolutely eager to rerun it with people looking to try out some new work and abilities. I just don’t have time.
By far the main reason for building the preview was to test out the game’s new work and any new abilities and gameplay changes it brings to the already huge class offering of the game. it. Having played White Mage since the very beginning, it was my first stop and my first source of conflicting emotions.
On paper, Endwalker doesn’t bring much of a big change to what Shadowbringers forward it. Class-specific Job Gauge will forever be the best example of that, and this expansion is fitting in. Most classes have been lightly tweaked rather than reworked, mostly to fit a new skill or two into their rotation.
The White Mage’s day job is mostly unchanged apart from the ability to leave a healing field that can be activated at a selected location to power up distant teammates and the ability to use certain skills like Divine Benison grants its shield. They are welcome additions, but not too exciting. And when playing other classes like Astrologian, Scholar and Red Mage, the same thing happens there. We’ve had larger class changes and rework in post-launch patches. If you’re expecting your class to be brand new in a few weeks’ time, you can limit those expectations.
What pleasantly surprised me, however, were the two main character classes: the damage-dealing Reaper and the barrier-level Sage. The former person has lost me completely. It’s hard to master two dozen new skills on time. But whenever I grind its buttons enough to max out its size, it becomes an incredibly fast, snappy, and flashy edge lord that I think we’ll see more of soon. For Sage, a class in a role that I understand more deeply, it didn’t turn out the way I expected.
It took years for the White Mage to gain the ability to interweave spells, but that’s all Sage – a spell weaver, not a strap. Most of its kit revolves around using one skill to power up a bunch of other skills, then using those skills in the correct situations to prepare healers, cards sure and other context-based modifiers. It is extremely portable and very refreshing. There has long been disagreement between veterans and newcomers that a healer will help deal damage when possible, and Sage looks set to end that debate with a summoner spell that allows it to heal a select member of the team. group by actually dealing damage to enemies.
Although my six hours were spent working around the most accessible areas of one of the My all-time favorite MMO wasn’t as engaging as I expected it to be, it made me rethink how the game first drew me in and how it didn’t matter anymore in just a few weeks.
Developed to run on the current PlayStation 3 which is practically retro, Final Fantasy XIV attention to the initial design decisions. As the areas get bigger and bigger, they start to feel mostly hollow compared to the early days. In my opinion, flying mounts play an important role, but they are absolutely essential in a game of this caliber with content appearing here, there, and everywhere. But in having preview areas completely devoid of any lore NPCs to go down and talk to, I was left with little choice but to simply take in the view from the sky. And it didn’t really do much for me.
Aside from the main body of the story, I can’t really remember the last time I was really interested in exploring the world of Final Fantasy XIV like I did for the first few years. The main cities will always be a fun spot to hang out. Especially since they have similar facilities to endgame player centers. But wandering around Dravania, Gyr Abania, or even Kholusia, in hindsight, never managed to regain its original sense of wonder and belonging to the Tranquility Camp, the Clock, or Vesper Bay did it all. all previous years.
Since it’s behind the preview event, I don’t know how Endwalker will appear more than anyone else in the world right now. Just like I gave Shadowbringers. And if the final expansion proves anything, the game’s strengths will be based less on the world and more on the story told within. Endwalker is considered the best of both worlds: A satisfying end to a story that spanned a decade at launch and laid the foundation for the next 10.
It’s impossible to predict what the future holds, but as long as it lands at launch, having an immediate conclusion will make the older aspects of the game less of a concern. There’s a lot to pack in a small amount of time, and while it might feel rushed, it’s definitely going to be a roller coaster hell of a ride.
Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker launches on November 23 for PlayStation 4, PS5, and PC.