Endwalker marks the end of a story arc that has taken eleven years to develop, and for this reason, it caters to veteran and returning FFXIV players who have been playing through the game’s journey for years.
What to Expect
Unfortunately, the first thing you have to know is that there is a wait time to play. Because of its popularity, it's not uncommon for FFXIV players to have a small "queue" timer when they try to log into the game, but what used to be a 2-3 minute wait time during "peak hours" turned into 2-5 hours after the release of patch 6.0 for the Endwalker expansion. Waiting long hours to log into a game sounds insane, but people who were eager to play waited, to the point that to offer some "relief" for the queue timers, Square Enix had to STOP selling FFXIV and suspend their free trial registrations indefinitely. Even over a month after release, the queue times last about 1:30 to 2:30 hours during "peak hours" and the game is still unavailable for purchase.
If we overlook that, it's not all bad. Those who have access to the game were delighted to find that Endwalker meets all of their expectations and more. The expansion is long, fun, interesting, and engaging to play through and through. Other than an exciting story, the Endwalker expansion introduced the much-acclaimed male Viera, a playable race of handsome human bunnies. The playable Viera race was actually introduced on the previous expansion, Shadowbringers, however, it was only available as the female gender.
Two new playable “jobs” were introduced with Endwalker, a healer role known as "Sage" and a melee DPS role, the"Reaper". Despite being new, these two jobs have proven their worth by taking the lead on the damage boards in Asphodelos Savage, Endwalker's endgame raid content.
A new expansion always equals to new areas to explore, but Endwalker brings stunning scenery of both new and old. Since Heavensward, we've known about Idyllshire, an abandoned Sharlayan city, now we get to travel to "The Northern Empty" where we can experience the sophisticated Sharlayan architecture in all its glory. Another old-but-new area is Garlemald; a city we’ve known about only from the tales of our enemies, is now available for players to roam... or what's left of it anyway.
Some new cities and dungeons are inspired by Indian culture, so expect bright colorful scenery with a lot of character. That still doesn’t compare to the otherworldly visual beauties of “The Sea of Stars” and all the distant planets we get to travel to in Endwalker!
FFXIV Endwalker expansion brings with it many nice bangers, as expected from the legendary Masayoshi Soken. Some of the best music will be encountered through the main story quest fights, but we can also enjoy great overworld music, especially in cities like Radz-at-Han, where we immerse ourselves in tunes inspired by Indian culture. As this expansion is meant to be a wrap-up of all the expansions so far in FFXIV, we will hear a lot of old music as well, especially the famous ARR theme, "Answers" by Nobuo Uematsu. Using older music might sound lazy, but they manage to gracefully piece them together with the cutscenes so it enhances the experience of the story being told; every time you start to hear "Answers" playing, prepare for some deep lore incoming!
As mentioned before, the gameplay includes new playable jobs as well as new cities, but unlike previous XIV expansions, Endwalker has a little bit of everything, from traveling to the moon to the edge of the galaxy... literally. In Endwalker we travel to other planets, and even get a taste of how life was on the other 10 (out of 12) "shard" worlds that we've heard of for so long throughout the expansions. And that's not even the tip of the iceberg, as we even get to travel to the past to a place called "Elpis" and walk among the Amaurotians, guided by— yes, Emet-Selch himself.
Other playable content includes eight new dungeons and two new primals, Zodiark and Hydaelyn. Now, having learned about the Ascians during Shadowbringers, we have known for some time that we would face Zodiark... but why are we fighting against the Mothercrystal, Hydaelyn? At least this part we won't spoil.
Another big part of the playable content is the raids, this time, we fight in Pandaemonium, which (as usual) will be divided into 3 raid sections, the first of which is called Asphodelos. Right now, only Asphodelos and its four circles are accessible. Other upcoming playable content has already been hinted at, like the new beast tribes, Arkasodara and Loporrits, and the new Ishgard Empyreum Housing District.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
There’s definitely a lot more to tell about the Endwalker expansion, and as much as we have spoiled content on this article, there’s still more than half of the story we’ve avoided covering. What secrets will be revealed in Garlemald? What of our antagonist Zenos? Why is Emet-Selch our friend now? And what brings about the end of days THIS TIME? That’s up to you to play through and find out!
50+ hours of new playable content (solo).
New jobs and races.
Queue time 1+ hrs...
New players can't purchase the game right now (this will change soon, though!).
Honey's Final Verdict:
8.5/10. Honestly, we'd give it a 10, but the ridiculous queue times even over a month after release is a very big hindrance. New people not being able to play is another big, big wall that Square Enix needs to fix as soon as possible. This is the only game company that suffers from a huge title success, but really, FFXIV deserves praise, as it has only been getting better since its release in late 2010, and has stayed fun, relevant, and popular with each coming expansion. We hope that the closure of this eleven-year arc doesn't mean the end of this fantastic MMO, and we hope that the future of the game continues bringing players across the world expansions that surpass their last with compelling content.