After delays from the game not being ready, Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker has been eagerly anticipated by old and new fans alike. Being a fan of Final Fantasy XIV myself (given my previous articles), I was one of many that immediately jumped into the new expansion. If you’re considering purchasing the expansion yourself and are unsure whether to do so or not, here are my first impressions of Endwalker.
This article is spoiler-free and more about the gameplay than anything else.
Queues and Disconnections
When I originally said I “jumped into” the expansion, that wasn’t entirely true. Like many others, I had to wait in queues that stretched for hours, full of thousands of people. It’s been the topic of many memes. However, it is understandably infuriating. After all the hype the game got, as well as the delays, many fans were left disappointed. Yoshi-P has since given fans seven days of free play time to apologize for the queues and has also said he will provide additional time if the situation doesn’t improve.
Players have also had trouble with the connection because of traffic. Some have had difficulties getting into the lobby, while others have been kicked out in the middle of cutscenes. Added to the long queue times, this can be infuriating for players that are trying to advance through the story. Many players are advising others to keep moving and not remain idle to not get disconnected.
There are some things to remember with this. It’s the opening weekend of early access – everyone is rushing to play it. It could be argued that the queue times will die down over the course of the week as the hype goes. However, those that haven’t been given access aren’t also trying to log on yet. It’s unclear whether the queue times will improve or not. However, it is still new content, and queues are likely to shorten as time goes on, and people aren’t playing quite as regularly.
The Story (So Far) and Content
I personally haven’t gotten that deep into the story yet. However, I have heard from friends that this new chapter is immense. I have been warned to prepare tissues as well as for eventual heartbreak – like any other Final Fantasy game.
However, I can say from my own experience the stunning visuals. To me, Final Fantasy XIV has always been a visually striking game, and Endwalker is no different. Seeing Sharlayan, one of the cities we saw in the trailer and benchmark, immediately filled me with a sense of excitement as my WoL overlooked the horizon. I also loved how the Greek-inspired white pillars of Sharlayan contrasted the blasts of color from Thavnair, one of the first areas you unlock progressing through the story. It shows how different cultures and countries all inspire the narrative of Final Fantasy XIV.
The new classes are also something to shout about. Both Reaper and Sage have some interesting mechanics not seen in other classes, despite their respective comparisons to Dragoon and Scholar. Both start at level seventy, which is ten levels below what you need to begin Endwalker. It’s easy enough to level through various means, so players can easily catch up if they want to main one of the new classes. However, it does mean trials are currently filled with people learning these new classes. It is good if you’re a tank looking for some extra spoils, though.
Tidbits and Changes
Many of the older classes have also undergone changes. All of the class changes can be found in patch notes as well as in different videos on YouTube. These changes wouldn’t hugely influence anyone beginning the game, but more those that have gotten used to the way classes run currently. Fortunately, everyone is in the same position, so there isn’t some kind of disadvantage.
Those that enjoy crafting and gathering will also experience changes. While crafting items can still become a high quality (HQ), the gathering will no longer be. While this may not seem like a huge change, it will likely change how players make Gil using the market board.
More changes come with races, hairstyles, and gender options. Male Viera are now playable, with Viera themselves now having more hairstyle options with the new release. Female Hrothgar is still currently in the works but is said to be released with the next major update. Clothing items, such as the maid dress, are also no longer gender locked, meaning any race and gender can wear them.
So is Endwalker Worth the Wait?
Personally, yes. While I have only done the very beginning of the story, I’m enjoying the new classes and areas. The queues are bothersome at times but are being rectified through maintenance and updates, as well as the offer of free playtime. The queues are the only problem I’ve had so far, and this is something which is easily fixed. Everything else has been great, with a definite lean toward the visuals and the iconic music.
Will you be playing Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker? Have you already played it and have your own opinions? Let us know below in the comments!