With every beginning must come an end. Final Fantasy 14's story has been going on for nearly a decade and it's understandable if some players didn't see the end coming. However, the upcoming Endwalker expansion is just that. It's the end. However, before the MMORPG embarks on a new adventure, it looks like Square Enix is saving the best for last. Shacknews recently had the opportunity to check out a piece of the Endwalker expansion and get an idea of what's on the horizon.
A chunk of my time in this Endwalker demo was spent touring some of the expansion's new sights. Here are a few new locations that players should expect to see:
- Old Sharlayan: This academic city stands out for being painted almost entirely white. Located in a lone archipelago along the North Sea, this is a place of learning and where the Sharlayan society goes for knowledge.
- Thavnair: This is an island located along the southeastern Bounty region. The main landmark in this area is a magically-infused stone giantsgall. Find merchants and NPCs throughout the town, some practice dummies along its outskirts, and some dangerous swamp creatures beyond.
- Garlemaid: Not quite as lively as the other two areas, Garlemaid is located along the frozen plains of northern Ilsabard. The Empire once housed itself here, protecting the city from the elements with powerful magitek. However, civil war has left this once prosperous bastion of industry in ruin.
Of course, exploring these regions is just one piece of the formula for Endwalker. A major component of my time with the game involved trying out the MMORPG's two latest jobs. First off, I got to try out the Sage. This is a new healer job that relies largely on floating daggers to heal teammates or buff their attacks. The Sage can access area-of-effect healing ablities, such as Prognosis and Ixochole. The daggers also help initiate attacks like Dosis III, which can have teammate-healing buffs stacked onto it. One thing to note, however, is that the Sage has to be wary of positioning, because it can't effectively heal from a distance. Staying alive is the key to making the most of this class, whether it's moving in to keep everyone healthy or trying to sneak in a quick Egeiro spell, which will resurrect a fallen ally.
The Reaper is a close-range DPS class, one that mainly fights with a scythe. This class comes with buffing abilities, like Arcane Circle, but the real draw is what that scythe can do. Aside from standard slice attacks, the Reaper is an expert at chaining damage across enemies with moves like Communion and Plentiful Harvest. If things start to get a little hairy, the Bloodbath ability will allow the Reaper to heal for a percentage of damage dealt.
After familiarizing myself with Endwalker's new classes, the time came to try out one of the expansion's new dungeons. The Tower of Rot sees Urianger Augurelt, Y'shtola Rhul, G'raha Tia, and Krile Mayer Baldesion escort willing parties through the dungeon's outskirts, helping take out any minor enemies that stand in the way. They eventually go off on their way, which is where the dungeon starts to get tough.
Final Fantasy veterans are likely familiar with the Magus Sisters. They appear here in a new form and they are brutal to deal with. The first major boss fight is with Minduruva, who attacks with different elemental abilities. There are patterns that can be memorized, but slip up and get hit by these spells and party members will fall like dominoes before long. Sanduruva is a difficult fight in that she fights with illusion magic. Parties will have to look out for instances where multiple copies of this boss will appear at once. Fortunately, the real one is easy enough to spot, since the fakes will all start dancing. Lastly, Cinduruva is tough enough on her own, since she has powerful magic at her disposal. This fight gets brutal when she's able to summon her two sisters to fight by her side simultaneously. This dungeon run is not for the ill-prepared and will take a lot of patience.
Before wrapping up, one thing I should note is that I'm not a frequent Final Fantasy 14 player. The reason I want to mention that is that one of the major updates coming in Endwalker is a massive downscaling of attributes and combat damage. Damage and attribute numbers have gotten so out of control that it's started affecting the game's performance. In an effort to cut down on calculations, reduce lag, and improve performance, the game's attribute and damage values are being reduced by a flat percentage. The difference appeared to be negligible to me, as I was able to run through overworld bosses and the Tower of Zot dungeon without noticing anything off. However, if you're a regular Final Fantasy 14 player, that's something you'll want to look out for.
There's much more that looks to be coming with Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker, which will effectively end the 10-year storyline that first began with A Realm Reborn. Whoever reaches the endgame in Endwalker will experience the storyline's full conclusion before Endwalker's first major 6.1 content patch officially starts up a brand new saga.
This preview is based on play of an in-development build of Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker. Content in the final version is subject to change.
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker hands-on preview: The end is near
Fantastic stuff! Really looking forward to the rumored private housing / island.