Once again, man will walk on the moon.
In early February, Square Enix unveiled its newest expansion for the popular MMORPG, Final Fantasy XIV. This new expansion comes two years after the release of the much-beloved Shadowbringers expansion, and promises to bring the current arc of the story of the fantasy world of Eorzea to a close. In this article, I will review what is currently known and discuss what may be possible going forward.
This article will contain spoilers for Shadowbringers and previous expansions, so please read at your own risk!
The story of Endwalkers will pick up right after the end of the Shadowbringers patches, the last of which is set to drop in two parts: one on April 13th, and the final part will drop at the end of May.
As of the current patch, the world of Eorzea is in a precarious state; after defeating the last of the leaders of the Ascians (evil dimension-hoppers aiming to join all worlds into one) in the parallel world known as the First, you return to your own world to find a rogue Ascian intent on ending it.
As we saw throughout the Shadowbringers patches, this Ascian has partnered with Zenos, prince of the enemy nation Garlemald and the main antagonist of the second expansion, Stormblood. Zenos’ only desire is to fight with the protagonist once more, even if he has to burn the world to do it.
As usual, Endwalker will add two new classes to the game; however, fans are particularly excited about these additions, as Endwalker is adding the first new healer class since Heavensward, the first expansion: Sage.
While Square Enix has not yet revealed any gameplay details about the new class, it certainly *looks* unique: unlike the other healer classes, it is not seemingly based on some degree of mysticism and medieval aesthetic. Instead, the Sage class seems to embrace the science fiction side of the Final Fantasy series, employing floating laser cannons (called “Noulith knives,” per the game’s director/producer, Naoki Yoshida) for its skills. , According to Naoki Yoshida, these devices also have the ability to throw up barriers, leading this writer to believe that the class will have a focus on defensive buffs.
Endwalker will also introduce a new melee DPS class, though details about this class have not yet been revealed.
There are three new areas of note in Endwalker: the floating city of Radz-at-Han, located in the nation of Thavnair, an ally of Garlemald. Garlemald itself will also be traversable, though much of its capital city has been reduced to rubble and ash.
Of course, the most exciting addition is the ability to go to the moon; while this has been done in previous Final Fantasy games, most notably in Final Fantasy IV, released in 1991 for the SNES. While not much is known about these new areas, we can expect to see expansive maps akin to those in previous expansions.
In addition to the changes listed above, Endwalkers will be adding in several other changes: the level cap will be increasing from 80 to 90, a new high-level raid is being introduced as well as new alliance raids, new dungeons and trials are being implemented, a new residential area for purchasing in-game homes is being added, and a new PVP mode is being added, as well as other fixes and quality-of-life changes, including the removal of belts as their own gear slot.
We can look forward to more specific updates as the Fall 2021 release date inches closer.
Where is this going? (SPOILERS!)
This new expansion already has plenty of references to previous Final Fantasy entries; as mentioned previously, this game calls back heavily to Final Fantasy IV, both with the moon trip and the presence of the villainous Lunar Bahamut (though its FFIV counterpart was far less villainous, being a summon who lent you its power if you bested it in combat).
Similarly, one of the major villains of this arc seeks the power of the moon, similar to FFIV’s villain Golbez. Because of this, many have begun to speculate that the final boss of the Endwalkers expansion will be created in reference to the final boss of FFIV; in that game, however, the final boss Zeromus is a man from the moon who becomes a monster of rage and hatred upon the death of his humanoid form.
While this may cause complications in creating a direct parallel, it is important to point out that the Primal Zodiark, one of the main antagonistic forces of the entire game and the god of the Ascians, is heavily implied to reside on/be the moon, and Zenos, who is seeking the moon’s power, has merged with a primal in the past. It is likely that any potential Zeromus parallel would be a fusion of Zenos and Zodiark, both focused solely on their desire to take on the Warrior of Light.
Additionally, the newest raid tier is known as Pandemonium, sharing its name with both the final dungeon of Final Fantasy II and one of the final dungeons of FFIX, a fan favorite game in the series.
While not much is known about the gameplay or story of this new raid series, we do know that it shares many of its aesthetic trappings with the dungeon from FFIX, so it is likely to feature battles reminiscent of those in that game; this would fit with the trend of new raid tiers borrowing bosses from older games in the series; Stormblood’s Alpha, Delta, and Sigmascape raids borrowed bosses from the SNES games (primarily V and VI), and Shadowbringers’ Eden raids borrowed bosses and theming largely from Final Fantasy VIII.
More information about this raid tier will be released as the launch of Endwalker inches closer!
For those in Japan who are interested in starting Final Fantasy XIV, a free trial until level 60 is available as of right now. Japan is one of the more convenient places to have a subscription to the game, as those with a paid subscription can pick up new game time cards from almost any convenience store. With the newest expansion coming out later this year and the current expansion being the game’s most acclaimed, now’s the perfect time to hop in!
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