FFXIV: Endwalker Review – Bring Me To The Moon
It’s finally time to review FFXIV: Endwalker, and I’m so glad to do it. This is practically the only game I’ve played for the past couple of weeks, waking up around 5 am to get started, and make sure the queue isn’t long. That’s been people’s biggest complaint so far, is that the queue times later in the day are horrific – 5.2k on more populated servers last night, 2.5k on my main server (Diabolos). I finished the Main Story and received my “Endwalker” title a day or two ago, and took a few weeks to do so. As a point, I will not be spoiling any story content in this FFXIV: Endwalker review. Anything I talk about is something that is already known. No bosses, trials, or duties will be discussed.
Overall, this has been an incredibly emotional expansion, and I wasn’t sure it would be able to top Shadowbringers. Shadowbringers, up until this point, was my favorite expansion in the story. They’re experts at making you care about people, and then smashing your feelings into a mushy paste. I respect and appreciate that. As someone that’s been a part of this story since 1.0/Pre-ARR, I’m so glad to see the culmination of the Hydaelyn story arc.
Admittedly, it’s very hard to play at night right now, but Yoshi-P did give a week’s worth of free game time to the players as a way of apology. They also posted about this on the official website, which you can read here.
No Spoilers Here
In each FFXIV expansion, we have an overwhelming obstacle to overcome as the Warrior of Light, and Endwalker isn’t an exception, according to this review. In Shadowbringers, we brought back darkness to a land overwhelmed in light and brought balance back. In FFXIV: Endwalker, we return home to set things right here as well. Since this is the end of the Hydaelyn story arc, we’ve got quite a few things to tie off. There is a tremendous cataclysm coming, we’ll make some unlikely allies to see if we can’t save the day.
To do this, we’ll be heading to some new areas, such as Old Sharalayan, and Thavnair. It’s no secret that we also have to head to the Moon, but the actual why, I’ll leave that up to you. I will say this story has been incredibly compelling, and it was very hard to stop, and do other things – like work. Each area is absolutely gorgeous, and the colors pop so hard in 4k. Even the Moon is beautiful in its own way, gazing up at the starring sky, in the inky black infinite.
Now that Emet-Selch is dealt with, and we prevented the end of the world, it’s time to deal with the fallout of that. In particular, Zenos yae Galvus, who wants nothing more than the defeat of the Warrior of Light. To the exception of everything else, he wants us. Endwalker, without spoiling it, is a meaningful story and has a lot of incredibly compelling moments and interactions. It has a profound message for the player. As someone who needed to hear some of this, it made me pretty misty-eyed there at the end.
This Is Our Story
It’s important to not spoil this story, so I’m going to tell you what I can without doing so. The Scions of the Seventh Dawn are essentially a group of heroes that go around righting wrongs and triumphing over evil. They’re our friends we’ve met along the way. This is the end of the Hydaelyn/Zodiark story, so everything has to come to a head, while also giving us something to look forward to. A cataclysm is coming, and of course, we’re tapped to solve the problem.
This story can get a little complicated because we’re going to a vast number of aesthetically pleasing, but complex areas. Every time you think you’ve figured out the final boss of the expansion, the story twists again. For the most part, this is for the betterment of the game. It ultimately all made sense. We see some characters come back to aid us, and there are some tributes to my favorite Final Fantasy game of all time – Final Fantasy IV.
It’s a story filled with tragedy and loss – some of it very sudden, and very jarring. One of the few downsides is that some of these new, interesting characters simply don’t get enough time to shine. I’m hoping they will in further updates to Endwalker. The areas are all absolutely stunning, and the music is thematic and perfect. Using “Answers” as the primary overture to FFXIV: Endwalker was an excellent choice. After all, that’s what we’re after right now. Answers to so many questions and problems. I loved this story though. One of the areas felt kind of flat to me near the end, but everything else struck my heart with emotion.
We learn a bit more about ourselves as Warriors of Light, and as people through the story of FFXIV: Endwalker. Take the time to watch all the cutscenes. It’s a long experience – at least 50 hours, I’d wager, of story, but it’s worth investing in. It’s an incredible story, well told, and it leaves us open for more down the line. I have some theories on that, but they can wait.
New Features, Changes
Some of the new features and systems that are introduced in FFXIV: Endwalker aren’t quite here yet, but will be soon. The new Beast Tribes aren’t here yet, but that’s fine. We’ve already got plenty to do – but they would make gathering exp a bit easier. They are the Loporits (adorable bunnies) and the Arkasodara (A Matanga Elephant race). These will likely be coming in the next major update, alongside the Praetorium Raid. That’s coming in a few weeks, so we’ve got some time to gear up for it. Personally, I’m most looking forward to the Island Sanctuary portion of the game, which is not there yet either.
In most games, this would be seen as shipping an incomplete game, but that’s not the case in an MMO. These things have schedules and are not always at the expansion’s arrival. We aren’t wanting for things to do or fight either. On the topic of gathering and crafting, the Delivery System has made a few flavor changes.
The Deliveries system changes really made sense in the Endwalker setting. It’s a first, where the Deliveries are specific to types of jobs, or faculties in Old Sharalayn. These are called Studium Deliveries and they’re a brilliant way to get EXP for your Crafting and Gathering classes. These are in a way, Role Quests for the gatherers/crafters. You have five schools to craft and gather for:
- Archaeology: Blacksmith, Armorer, Goldsmith
- Astronomy: Carpenter, Leatherworker, Weaver
- Medicine: Alchemist, Culinarian
- Anthropology: Miner, Botanist
- Aetherology: Fisher
You’ll unlock these in Old Sharalyan, and the quest for each of these school factions comes from NPCs in those sectors. I love these, and they are an incredible way to get EXP for your classes, while also learning something about the Studium in Old Sharalayan.
Frankly, there weren’t a ton of “new systems” added to the game. Another nice change though is the Achievement System received a new UI, and Fishing’s Spearfishing will become its own neat mini-game. Something to make it less tedious and boring. I think this is a good thing. Some MMOs figure that a new expansion and updates need an absolute mountain of new systems and things to memorize and figure out.
Not in this case. Systems are changed when they need it, or when they add to the game, instead of simply complicating the game for the sake of complication. FFXIV did add Male Viera, and the female Hrothgar will be added as well. That’s right, you can be a Bunny Boy if that is your wish. One change did worry me – the stat crunch. It was only a matter of time anyway. It made me worry that older content would suddenly be harder to get through.
This was not the case. I have no problem going back through older trials solo easy as ever. It should open up more content for me and my friends to a two/three-person run. On the note of older content, there was a very important change made to the trials. When you complete trials that drop weapons, they also now drop a Coffer. For example, the Crag Coffer in Titan. This will change the weapon you receive, based on the class that opens up – minimum level 50. An amazing change that makes grinding the old trials worth it for glamours.
So while there weren’t massive changes, other than to classes, they all made sense.
Apply to Be A Sage and Reaper
Many of the classes in FFXIV: Endwalker received major changes, which we covered in a previous review. For example, Summoner is so much easier but lost all the cool dots that – admittedly did complicate it. Most of the classes feel fantastic, but I spent much of this expansion as a White Mage. I have spent time with the new classes, though neither are 90 yet. I did spend more time with Sage because that’s the one I’m likely going to main going into the new content. I had some fun with Reaper too, and have played with several new high-level Reaper mains.
If you want to unlock the two jobs, you can find them below:
Quest Title: Sage’s Path
Requirement: Disciple of War or Magic Level 70
Location: Limsa Lominsa Lower Decks (X: 9.4, Y: 12.9)
NPC: Sharlayan Maiden
Reaper (Melee DPS)
Quest Title: The Killer Instinct
Requirement: Disciple of War or Magic Level 70
Location: Ul’dah – Steps of Nald (X: 12.8, Y: 8.6)
NPC: Flustered Attendant
Sage is an absolute blast though. It feels stronger than White Mage, at least to me. Kardia is an effect you can tack onto someone, which heals them as you deal damage. It heals technically, through a variety of spells, but that includes our direct damage spell (Dosis) and AOE damage spell (Dyskrasia). I will say, these names feel very confusing though. I have a hard time remembering them compared to other abilities.
Sage has a bit of everything. They have a powerful single-target shield, can reduce the damage your allies around you take, and it has an AOE heal/regeneration ability (which also increases the power of our heals). Sage even has the ability to restore its own MP while dropping an AOE heal! That’s incredible! I’m in love with the Sage class, and it’s definitely going to be my main for a while – after I gear out my WHM.
Reaper has the aesthetic I’m after though. A huge, sick-looking scythe, and you can even emulate Magus’ look in Chrono Trigger. Reaper’s attacks are powerful, and they look gorgeous. From Slice, Waxing Slice, and Infernal Slice, you’ll build your Soul Gauge. That will also allow you to use new skills and then fuse with a powerful spirit, via Enshroud. You can increase your damage, or increase the damage of everyone – Arcane Circle. They are automatically useful in group content for this.
The Reaper is mobile, has incredible damage, and looks rad. I’ve seen a Reaper with full gauges absolutely obliterate fights – fights I can’t talk about here. That’s the best part – they’re going to be viable in Solo and Group Content. They have amazing burst potential. They may take over my time with Samurai and Dragoon when it comes to Melee DPS. It’s not all single target, there are solid area attacks as well.
Technically, there’s a third new class as well – Summoner. It was completely remade from the ground up. Now, your rotation involves summoning a variety of Primals (Summons/Aeons) to deal damage. They deal solid damage, look amazing, but can be very annoying when something huge like Titan drops down in the middle of a fight.
The Crystals Silently Shed Their Light: 9/10 (Excellent)
Seriously, FFXIV: Endwalker is amazing, and the most enjoyable of the expansions I have put a review out for. Every time I think I figured things out, a new threat or a new thread to the story was revealed. The dungeons were thematic and challenging, without being too ridiculous. The Final Fight was an emotional experience but did feel a bit easier than the fight before it. The game has been improved and updated, and there are all sorts of quests to take on in the MSQ. It’s not all just kill X of Y, like in other MMOs. We had Stealth missions, exploration missions, and the odd “fight this thing” quest. I appreciate that they expanded the Trust System as well.
Not everyone wants to play with other people, after all. Yoshi-P has already said he’s going to expand what you can do in the Trust System, as well. He doesn’t want the game to be a solo affair though but understands that some people want to play that way. FFXIV: Endwalker was a feast for the eyes and ears, and it had a story that kept me on the edge of my seat. It did get a little complicated at times, but I enjoyed it far more often than not. It’s been a long road to this point, and it did not disappoint at all.
- Sage and Reaper are amazing
- Compelling, gripping story with a wonderful payoff
- Visuals and music are incredible, as is the actual gameplay
- Island Sanctuary is not in the game yet
- Some of the story feels a little complicated for little reason
- Queue times are absolutely horrifying at night right now.
Release Date: December 7th, 2021
Reviewed on: Live
Available on: PC, Steam, Playstation 4, Playstation 5
Developer/Creator: Square Enix