The fourth expansion of Final Fantasy XIV has been announced, with a release date scheduled to be in the Autumn. The expansion was revealed in a stream online in a special event last night, hosted by producer and director Naoki Yoshida and translation director Michael-Christopher Koji Fox. Many details from the expansion were announced, such as a new story arc, new jobs, new areas, and surprising changes to the battle system. The reveal trailer:
New Jobs for the Endwalker Expansion
During the announcement, it was revealed that we will see two new jobs. The first of which is a healer, known as the Sage. The Sage will use a unique aether-imbued weapon called a Nouliths. This is a Final Fantasy XIV original weapon and is controlled by the aether. The job of the Sage is to heal and protect the party with barriers. It will use aether to manipulate Nouliths in combat and be able to temporarily augment their own magic abilities.
The Sage will be similar to other recently added jobs in that there is no class associated with it. The Sage will have a starting level of 70 and to gain access to it you will need to have one other job at level 70 and above and of course, purchase the Endwalker expansion. The job quest will begin within Limsa Lominsa and you can begin playing right from the start of the Endwalker expansion.
Starting with 6.0, Yoshida announced that they want to make a distinction between pure healers and varied healers. Currently, we have the White Mage, which is considered a pure healer, whilst the Scholar and Astrologian are considered varied healers. With Sage also being a varied healer the plan is to retool the Astrologian job to make it more of a pure healer. This distinction will be added to the matchmaking process in raid finder.
The second new job in the Endwalker expansion will be a melee DPS job, with the name of the job yet to be announced. Expect more on this job at the digital fan festival on May 15-16th.
The End of the 10 Year Saga of Hydaelyn and Zodiark
Endwalker will bring to an end the 10-year story arc of Hydaelyn and Zodiark that the game has revolved around so far. This will end in 6.0, with a brand new story arc beginning with patch 6.1. With this and Naoki Yoshida's involvement as the producer of the upcoming Final Fantasy XVI, there has been some speculation that he may leave the FFXIV project. However, during the stream, he confirmed that he will not be leaving the project and considers the game to be his life work. He has no plans to stop.
Very little was revealed for the story of 6.0 or the new story arc from 6.1 but we know the conclusion of the original story arc aims to answer the questions of what brought about the final days of Hydaelyn and Zodiark as well as the fate of the Garlean Empire. It was announced that characters from other expansions may make a return as well.
We Are Going to the Moon!
It was announced during the live stream that in the Endwalker expansion players will be able to travel to the moon. This will form part of the story arc in 6.0 and allows players to explore a whole new area. How do we get to the moon? What will we find there? These are questions that remain to be answered.
Lots of New Content Was Announced for the Endwalker Expansion
As you would expect with any expansion to Final Fantasy XIV, lots of new content was announced. It follows the same pattern of previous expansions where we saw new areas, new dungeons, new raids, and new gear. As expected, the level cap will increase from 80 to 90. This is consistent with previous expansions in that the level cap was raised by 10 levels.
The expansion will contain as many new areas as previous expansions.
A new city called Radz-At-Han will be added, which is located within the island region of Thavnair. This will be the smaller of two towns that will be added in the Endwalker expansion. No details of the larger town were revealed. The island of Thavnair has a subtropical feel to it.
We will finally see the capital of the Garlean Empire, known as Garlemald. The city looks as though it has been destroyed, and we will find out what happened to this area as part of the story.
New tribes will be added. One of which is the Matanga tribe, which is located within Thavnair. You may have encountered one of these before within the Azim Steppe. Another new tribe to be added is called the Arkasodara. Other tribes will be added but no details were revealed. In the stream, they hinted at the moon being a place to look.
New dungeons will be added. Some will be high fantasy, some ancient ruins, and some modern.
The new high level raid is called Pandemonium.
A new alliance raid will be added. No name was revealed.
A small-scale PVP mode will be added, with new rewards.
Anima has been announced as a new threat in the Endwalker expansion. If you recognize the name that is because Anima was a summon in Final Fantasy X.
Ishgard Housing Will Finally Arrive in Endwalker Expansion
Players will soon be able to access a new housing district within the city of Ishgard from the Endwalker Expansion. From the start of the expansion in 6.0, you will be able to enter the district and look around but you will not be able to purchase land there until 6.1. The district will contain as many residential wards as the other housing districts currently in Final Fantasy XIV.
Nothing was revealed yet on how players will be able to purchase the houses but we hope there is a better system than was used for the last new housing district that was added as we felt that it benefitted players who already owned a house more than others.
Other Content Additions
New role quests, crafter quests, and gatherer quests. Physical DPS role quests will be split into melee and ranged DPS role quests to allow for a deeper story.
New gear will be added.
The trust system will receive an update. Estinien will be added, as a dragoon and will join the Scions.
The Gold Saucer will receive a very big update. No details were revealed yet.
A new type of content called the Island Sanctuary will be added. It is designed for players who want some slower-paced content such as raiding animals or cultivating the land.
Battle System Adjustments
As with previous expansions, there will be a fair amount of adjustments to the battle system and actions. A big change that none of us were expecting is that values will be downscaled, on pretty much everything. This means we will be seeing smaller numbers for HP and damage. This will be done by reducing the numbers that go into the formulas the battle system uses. The reasons for this change were mentioned as:
The numbers are getting so large that it is resulting in overflow bugs* during the calculations.
The calculations for enmity are reaching their limits.
Flying text becoming lengthy, causing graphical issues.
Enemy HP is becoming huge, which is creating problems. It was mentioned that a certain boss in patch 5.5 will have 440 million HP.
Planning for the future - Yoshida expects the game to continue for many years and current numbers weren't sustainable.
* An overflow bug occurs in programming when attempting to store a number that is higher than the maximum that can be stored. For example, a 32-bit integer has a maximum of roughly 2.1 billion.
The plan the developers have to fix these problems is to reduce the difference in values used between the levels of 51 and 80, meaning less character growth between these levels. For example, if a character grew in strength by 5% per level before 6.0 that could be reduced to 1% in Endwalker. During the stream, an example for a Black Mage was given where they can expect their damage to go from around 50,000 for an attack to around 10,000. So we can expect a reduction to around 1/5 of previous damage dealt and most likely the same for HP.
During the stream, Yoshida Naoki made clear that this does not necessarily mean players will get weaker as boss HP and damage dealt will reduce with it. Everything will be relative. Experience points gained and needed to level up will also be reduced. For levels 81-90, growth will be as before. The one downside mentioned is that it may become more difficult to play some of the older content with an undersized party. They are looking at a way to address this.
No More Belts
Another big change is that belts will be going away. Starting in patch 6.0 it will no longer be possible to equip them. Any currently equipped belts will be given to the Calamity Salvager NPCs. You should remove your materia from belts before 6.0. Belts will no longer be obtained from quests or duties. The 35 belt slots within the armory chest will be reallocated, giving 15 extra for weapons and 15 extra for rings. This allows you to store 50 each of these items. The remaining 5 will be kept in reserve for the team to use later.
The reasons Naoki Yoshida mentioned for their removal were that belts have no graphical appearance, their stats are often not great and they take up as much space in your inventory as other equipment. Generally, players do not like them.
Data Center Travel
This will be similar to the world travel system in that you can visit other worlds and play with your friends. However, in order to switch to a different data center, you will first need to logout of the game. There will be some restrictions, potentially more than there is with the world travel system. It was not revealed what these might be.
Final Fantasy XIV on the PS5
One other major announcement during the live stream was that Final Fantasy XIV will be coming to the PlayStation 5, with an open beta scheduled to begin on Tuesday, April 13th, 2021. This is the same day as the 5.5 patch. It is already possible to play Final Fantasy XIV on a PS5 in backward compatibility mode with the PS4 version, however, this announcement is for an actual PS5 version.
This new version will take advantage of the new hardware. It will feature 4k visuals, a significantly improved frame rate, and take advantage of the PS5's faster loading times. During the stream, a trailer was shown which contained a player teleporting from Limsa Lominsa to Camp Bronze Lake. This took around 2 seconds thanks to the PS5's super-fast SSD.
The PS5 version will have two modes. One for players who want to play in 4k with improved visuals, whilst the second mode focuses on frame rate. Players will be able to go into the settings and change this freely. Further graphical updates will be made for the PS5 version in future patches. Players who have registered a license for the PS4 version will be able to upgrade to the PS5 version for free. No release date was given for the retail version of the PS5 version. More information about the open beta will be given at a later date.
For those wondering if the game may be coming to the XBox platform - nothing was announced.
FFXIV Fan Festival
On May 15-16th more information about the Endwalker expansion will be revealed. The live stream will be free for all to stream, as will a primals concert that is due to take place at the same time. It was mentioned that the stream for the concert may not be available to view afterward so make sure you catch it live.
A 2021 fan festival commemorative item will be available to purchase. This is a new mount called the Lunar Whale. It will be the first 8 person mount. There will also be three new minions to purchase.