Square Enix announced Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, the patch 6.0 expansion for Final Fantasy XIV, during its Final Fantasy XIV Announcement Showcase. It will launch this fall for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC, and Mac.
An open beta for the PlayStation 5 version of Final Fantasy XIV will begin on April 13 alongside the release patch 5.5 for existing platforms. The full version of Final Fantasy XIV for PlayStation 5 will follow soon after.
Here is a brief overview of the announcements, via Square Enix:
Scheduled to release fall 2021 for PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and Mac, Endwalker features the climax of the Hydaelyn and Zodiark story, in which Warriors of Light will encounter an even greater calamity than ever before as they travel to the far reaches of Hydaelyn and even to the moon. In addition to bringing the long-running story arc that began with A Realm Reborn to its conclusion, Endwalker will mark a new beginning for the beloved MMO, setting the stage for new adventures that longtime fans and new players can enjoy together.
Endwalker made its debut during the first-ever “Final Fantasy XIV Announcement Showcase” as producer and director Naoki Yoshida presented a stunning new trailer which set the stage for this next chapter in the Final Fantasy XIV Online epic.
During the showcase, Yoshida also revealed the upcoming PlayStation 5 version of Final Fantasy XIV Online, scheduled to launch into open beta on April 13, 2021. The PlayStation 5 version will feature numerous upgrades from the PlayStation 4 version, including significantly improved frame rates, faster load times, 4K resolution support, and more. Players whose Final Fantasy XIV Online service account has a registered license for the PlayStation 4 version may download and play the PlayStation 5 Upgrade Version at no extra cost at the start of the open beta period, while new players can experience the game on the PlayStation 5 through the Free Trial. The full version of the game will be available on PlayStation 5 following the conclusion of the open beta.
The new expansion will bring an abundance of new features, including multiple new jobs, an increased level cap, vast new areas, updates to the battle system, a variety of new challenges to overcome, as well as crafter and gatherer content. At the showcase, details on much of the new content and features were announced for Endwalker:
- Journey to Thavnair, the imperial capital of Garlemald, and even the Moon!
- New Jobs: Sage and more
- Level Cap Increase from 80 to 90
- Expansive new areas, including Garlemald, Thavnair, and the city of Radz-at-Han.
- A New Tribe: the Arkasodara
- New threats, including Anima.
- New Dungeons
- New High-Difficulty Raid: Pandæmonium
- Secrets Revealed in a New Alliance Raid Series
- New Small-scale PvP Mode
- An Additional “Trust” System ally: Estinien Wyrmblood
- A New Residential District: Ishgard
- Updates to the Gold Saucer
- Relaxing Fun in Island Sanctuary
- New Gear and Crafting Recipes
- Expanded Horizons via the Data Center Travel System
And here is a more in-depth overview from the Announcement Showcase:
(All quotes are of Final Fantasy XIV producer and director Naoki Yoshida.)
■ Launching this Fall
■ Two New Jobs
- Role: Healer
- Weapon: Nouliths
- Required Class: None
- Starting Level: 70
- Heals and protects the party with barriers.
- Uses Aether to manipulte Nouliths in combat.
- Able to temporarily augment their own magic abilities.
- Job quests are planned to start in Limsa Lominsa.
“The first new job for Endwalker is Sage, sporting a unique Aether-imbued weapon. As you can see, the main weapon that the Sage will be using is a Final Fantasy XIV original. Why did Alphinaud [Leveilleur] happen to take up this profession? You’ll have to play through the main story of 6.0 to find out.”
“Sage will be our fourth healer behind White Mage, Scholar, and Astrologian. As mentioned before, the main arm for the Sage is a Final Fantasy XIV original called the Nouliths. This weapon is controlled by Aether—the magic that the player has—and as you see, the four items that are the weapon, their visuals will change depending on what type of weapon is equipped. And as has been the case recently, there is no required and you can start directly from the Sage job. And the starting level is planned to be 70.”
“There are two conditions for playing the Sage. One is that you have at least one other job that is level 70 or above. The other is that you have purchased the Endwalker expansion.”
“As you know, we have our White Mage, which could be considered a pure healer; and then we have our Scholar, which can be considered more of a barrier healer. If this time the Sage is also going to be more of a barrier healer, then what’s going to happen with the Astrologian? Starting in 6.0, we are planning to make a clearer distinction between pure healers and barrier healers. We want to have two pure healers and two barrier healers. So with 6.0 we plan on performing some retooling of the Astrologian job to make it a more pure healer. And this will extend to our matching in the Raid finders to make a distinction between barrier healers and pure healers.
“As mentioned before, the Sage will use Aether to manpiulate their weapon, the Nouliths, in combat, whether that be for healing, or for attacking, or for putting up barriers. And because we try to make our jobs unique from the other jobs to give a different kind of experience for each job, we’re trying something here with the Sage where they’re able to temporarily augment their own magic abilities to make them more powerful. We believe the experience that we’ll be providing wih the Sage will be completely unique and we hope that you can look forward to it.”
“And so this job quest for the Sage will be offered in Limsa Lominsa, so if you want to play the new 6.0 main scenario as the Sage, you will be able to do that.”
The second job will be announced at Final Fantasy XIV Digital Fan Festival 2021 in May (more information below). Yoshida changed his shirt to one with a comic featuring Death (the Grim Reaper) before announcing this.
The End of the Hydaelyn and Zodiark Saga
“Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker. Kyougetsu no Finale (Japanese subtitle). ‘Final.’ ‘End.’ ‘Finale.’ These are all keywords that allude to the ending of the 10-year saga of Hydaelyn and Zodiark.”
“Normally with our expansions as you know, we don’t end the story with that first expansion. While in 5.0 for example, we did get that end credits at the end of 5.0, the story wasn’t actually finished until 5.3. However, with Endwalker and 6.0, we plan on having the story complete itself by the end of the actual expansion 6.0. But of course this does not mean we are shutting down Final Fantasy XIV and ending the game at this point. Patch 6.1 will mark the beginning of an entirely new adventure separate from the Hydaelyn and Zodiark saga.”
“I also see some people thinking that I [Naoki Yoshida] will be leaving the project at this point. But I want to assure everyone that I’m not going anywhere, I’m not leaving the project. I look at Final Fantasy XIV as my life’s work, or at least until the president [of Square Enix] tells me to stop. But 6.0 will be ending the story, and from 6.1 we have an even greater story. And I personally I feel like I’m going to end up being with Final Fantasy XIV for my whole life. Every now and then I do hear a lot of rumors of people thinking that I might quit and leave the project. If I do leave the project, I will make sure I let you all know. But for now I feel like this is my life’s work and I have no plans on leaving. People are telling me I should continue even after I die.”
Onward and upward… ever greater adventures await the Warrior of Light!
What were the Final Days that brought the mighty Ancients to the knees? To uncover myriad secrets—of Hydaelyn, Zodiark, and deeper mysteries still—the Warrior of Light embarks on a journey to the moon.
The long-awaited conclusion to the tale of gods light and dark!
Curiouser and curiouser… burning questions remain!
What brought about the Final Days?
What became of Hydaelyn and Zodiark?
What will be the Garlean Empire’s fate?
What is Zenos and Fandaniel’s aim?
What is to be found on the moon?
“First up, we have Alphinaud, our new resident Sage. The gear that he’s wearing in the trailer is the Sage AF gear, but it’s been designed especially for him.”
“And next up we have his twin sister Alisaie. And as you can see, she is still fighting as a Red Mage, no job change for her. But she will be getting a costume change. She didn’t get one before, but she’s finally getting one. And you may be surprised to see who she gets it from and how.”
“Next up we have the Ashen Fandaniel. And so the sundered Ashen Fandaniel currently inhabits the corpse of Asahi who first appeared in Stormblood, but we still don’t know too much about him. A lot of people love to hate this guy. But don’t worry, he’s not the last boss. And he’s keeping a pretty big, complex secret, and if we say anymore, it’ll be too big a spoiler, so we’re going to stop right here.”
—Zenos Yae Galvus
“And last but not least, we have Zenos. And he’s ready to take the Sage once again, and his one purpose in life is to battle with his friend and enemy the Warrior of Light. And we understand that not a lot of you think of him as a friend. But he most certainly feels that way about you—you are his friend. And it does look like he has a change of costume as well, but to find out any more, we’ll have to play.”
“It has been 10 years since the beginning of this Hydaelyn and Zodiark saga, and you’ve met a lot of characters along the way, and we hope to bring back a lot of those characters for this story in 6.0. There are a lot more mysteries regarding the games story, but it’s hard to talk about it further without revealing any spoilers. And as was the case with Shadowbringers, this story will not be a simple one. It’s going to be a very complex and intricate story that is sure to bring lots of surprises and excitement.”
■ Version 6.0 Features
A Higher Level Cap
The level cap has been raised from level 80 to level 90.
Massive New Areas
“We’re planning to add new locales on the same scale as we have with previous expansions.”
—New City: Radz-at-Han
“Starting off with one of our smaller towns… With each expansion, we usually release two towns—one smaller town and one larger town—this is going to be the smaller town of 6.0, kind of on the same scale as Eulmore from 5.0. As for what the large town is going to be like, we really cannot talk about that yet… The design [for Radz-at-Han] has a cultural flair that’s a little bit different from anything that we’ve seen in Final Fantasy XIV up until now.”
—New Area: Thavnair
“And so where exactly is Radz-At-Han. Well, a lot of players who have been playing Final Fantasy XIV for a long time will have heard the term Thavnair, the region, as it has appeared a lot since back in the early days of Final Fantasy XIV. If you remember the Dancer, most of the original Dancer outfits and fashion comes from the island of Thavnair. And so, one of our new areas is going to be that complete island of Thavnair along with the town of Radz-At-Han inside it. The whole area has a very subtropical feel to it that is original to 6.0.”
—The Garlean Empire: Garlemald
“What could this place be, it’s completely different from Radz-At-Han. The capital of the Garlean Empire, Garlemald. Although it looks a little like it’s broken down a bit… We always though of the Garlean Empire as a majestic place, but if you look at it here, it’s pretty run down. I wonder what happened to it? So how did this area turn this way and why does the Warrior of Light have to go there? What will they find there? There’s a very deep and intricate story that is related to this area. So get ready for your journey there.”
—The Arkasodara: Matanga
“Our new tribe that you will be meeting are th Matanga of the Arkasodara tribe. In the Azim Steppe, especially those players that have participated in the hunt, have maybe encountered one of these very aggressive beings before. However, the ones that you will be meeting in 6.0, you will be meeting in Thavnair, are a little bit more friendly. At least those from the Arkasodara Tribe. Players may recognize some of the elephant-like designs from some of the treasure hunts that they’ve gone on in the past. We’re finally going to that area and seeing the inspiration for that type of treasure. We have many more tribes to introduce, but we can’t introduce them today, those will be saved for a later date. But thinking about it, you will be going to the moon, so… knowing it’s Final Fantasy, you’re going to the moon, what could be on the moon? And that’s enough, we’ll talk about it later.”
“If there are fans of Final Fantasy X out there, they might recognize this creature. Its name is Anima. The original art designer of Anima in Final Fantasy X is actually a member of the art team on Final Fantasy XIV and recreated the design for Anima to fit Final Fantasy XIV.”
Challenging New Dungeons
“You’ll be visiting most of them in the main scenario, but this time we have a wide variety of dungeons.”
New High-End Raid: Pandaemonium
“It’s too early to give details, but we have some art to show you.”
“We cannot talk about where this raid will take place, but it’s going to be very very unique to Final Fantasy XIV.”
New Alliance Raid
“We plan to release more information on this new Alliance Raid at our Digital Fan Festival, but we’d like to tell you that it is a completely original Final Fantasy XIV Alliance Raid, it is not a crossover. And it will be based on a piece of Eorzean lore that has been steeped in mystery for a long time. There are still a lot of questions that haven’t been answered for a long time.”
New Small-Scale Player-versus-Player Mode
“Currently, our plan here is to create new player-versus-player content that feels more casual and more immersive by removing role restrictions. And our goal is to make something that makes matching easier than before and casual, yet immersive in its gameplay. We’re also working on a new type of rewards system for this new player-versus-player mode as well that doesn’t focus solely on gear. Of course there will also be gear, but we want to have a new category of reward as well to open this up to a lot of new players.”
New Side Quests
New Role Quests, Crafter Quests, and Gatherer Quests.
“Up until now there were originally four categories that we split these Role Quests into: Tank, Healer, Melee DPS, and Ranged DPS. We’re going to now be expanding that from four different types to five different types, making it Tank, Healer, Melee Physical DPS, Ranged Physical DPS, and Magic DPS. This will allow us to focus more directly on each type of role and make a deeper story. There’s also plenty of Role Quests planned for Crafters and Gatherers as well such as those offered in 5.0’s Crystalline Mean. I want to tell you more about it, but because we haven’t talked about the large town yet, I can’t say it.”
New Gear and Recipes
“There won’t just be Role Quests for Crafters. We’ve also developed plenty of new craftable gear.”
Trust System Update
“Estinien will be joining the Trust System as a Dragoon. Being a melee DPS character, this will hopefully help alleviate that glaring lack of melee DPS characters in the Scions. But why would a lone wolf like Estinien join this group of the Scions? You’ll have to wait and find out, but information is coming if you play 5.5. He won’t betray us. Dragoons in Final Fantasy usually betray. He was betrayed once, he won’t do it again. And of course we have further plans for the Trust System, not only adding new characters, but also making adjustments to that system, but we can’t talk about them today because it’s still a bit too early. Again, not just adding new characters, but also adding new types of activities and duties for your companions to take part in. Again, we won’t talk anymore today about it, but we have exciting information coming up in future Producer Letter Lives.”
Gold Saucer Update
“We’re also planning an update to the Gold Saucer with new content. The current plan is to add something almost as big as the recent addition of mahjong… We plan on it being very big, something for all players—multiplayer—but we can’t talk about it right now because we don’t have much to tell you, but we do have details coming in the future, so please look forward to it. The team is crazy enough to put the full game of mahjong into Final Fantasy XIV, so we know something big is coming.”
“We’re currently working on this content where Final Fantasy XIV players’ adventures can enjoy a bit of slow living. This is not just something that is limited to Crafters and Gatherers, anyone can enjoy this. Of course, Crafters and Gatherers will be able to do different things here, but this is something for everyone. For example, you might be raising animals. And maybe cultivating the land of this uninhabited deserted island and then taking the fruits of your labor and selling them. Maybe throwing your minions out there on the range and letting them roam. The development team has been calling this the ‘Dash Island’—from a Japanese TV show. It’s kind of like that, where you take a deserted island and make it something your own. Players will be able to enjoy the activities in the Sanctuary over the entirety of the 6.0 series as we update it.”
New Residential District: Ishgard
“Crafters all over the world have poured their hearts into the rebuilding of the firmament and Ishgard restoration. And inspired by that work, the city wants to present a new housing area to those that have worked hard to rebuild the firmament. Just like we have since 4.0, at the release of 6.0, we will be opening the area for players to go in and look at. At the launch of 6.0, players can go to the residential area and look around and see what might be a good place to buy a plot of land, but the actual purchase of that won’t be available until 6.1, because again there is a lot of stuff to do in 6.0 before worrying about getting that plot of land. Currently, the plan is to have the exact same number of wards as all of the other residential districts in Eorzea, as well as having apartments. And because we understand this is very important for players and a lot of feedback has been given about this, we’re continuing our efforts to make sure there will be enough plots available. And whether or not it will be exactly like the firmament you are currently rebuilding now, that’s left to be said, but it will give you a very good idea of what that residential area will look like.”
A Lot More to Reveal in Future Shows
“I think we’ve covered all the types of new content that we can talk about today, but we have a lot more to reveal in future shows.”
■ Battle System Adjustments
“As with previous expansions, there will be a fair bit of fine-tuning when it comes to the battle system… But today’s announcements are completely different from that.”
“We will be performing a downscaling of the values—the numbers we using in calculations. We have discussed in previous Producer Letters, and today I want to go into a little bit more detail… Since the release of A Realm Reborn, every increase to a job level cap sees an increase to the base job damage. And I understand that it feels great to dish out a lot of damage to enemies, but after a certain point it becomes very difficult to easily discern the numbers on the screen, as well as as the numbers get bigger, the potential for other problems increase on the backend.”
Reasons for downscaling:
- Calculations causing overflow, resulting in bugs.
- Calculations for enmity reaching their limits.
- Flying text becoming lengthy.
- Enemy HP is becoming monstrously high.
- The highest HP pool for bosses in 5.5 was… 440,000,000 HP!
What’s the plan?
- The difference in values used from levels 51 to 80 will be reduced.
- Maximum damage per attack will be reduced.
- Experience points will also be reduced (while also reducing the amount of experience points needed to level up).
- Enemy HP and damage dealt will be reduced.
Bear in mind, this doesn’t mean players are getting weaker! The numbers are going down, but relatively everything is staying the same.
“There is one thing, however, that will be slightly affected by this change, and that is playing as undersized parties. For example, as level 80, going back and playing some of the old content as an undersized party—this may become more difficult. Regarding these undersized parties, we understand this is a large portion of what a lot of players enjoy doing, so we understand this is still something we need to address. As for how we’re going to address it, we’re still in the process of finding that. So that’s something for the future. Otherwise, we want to reiterate the fact that while the numbers here are going down, the player is not getting weaker. It’s all relative.”
“Many of you remember back from 1.0, we had this item, it was there, and even though it was removed graphically, it remained. But the belt era is over. As you know, belts have no bearing on players’ outward appearances. Their stat values as accessories is pretty negligible. Because of that, they’re not a very popular piece of equipment, yet they take up the same amount of space in our Armoury Chest as other equipment. We’ve even had a lot of fans ask us just to stop dropping them in Alliance Raids because they don’t need them. A lot of people were also complaining about rings. And regarding rings, while we did consider [removing them], we also understand that because you can put them on both hands and actually graphically see them on both hands, we’re decided that we’re not going to do that this time.”
What’s the plan?
- Belts will no longer be equippable starting with patch 6.0.
- Equipped belts will be given to Calamity Salvagers for safekeeping. (You should remove Materia from them beforehand.)
- Belts will no longer be obtainable via Duties and item exchanges.
The 35 slots allocated to belts in the Armoury Chest will be reallocated:
- 15 slots will be added to primary weapons, for a total of 50 slots.
- 15 slots will be added to rings, for a total of 50 slots.
- The remaining five slots will be held in reserve.
New System: Data Center Travel
“All of you know about the current system that we have that lets players move between worlds called the World Visit System. While this won’t work exactly the same as the World Visit System, we hope that it can be similar. Although it will require changing the system outside of the game and then logging back in. And so there will be a lot of restrictions with this, possibly even more than there are currently with the World Visit System, however this will allow players to move freely to other data centers temporarily, party up with friends, take screenshots, and have a lot of fun. There are some people that might be worried about what effect this might have on Data Center and world economies. There was the same worry right before we started the World Visit system as well, but it turned out that the effect was negligible.”
■ PlayStation 5 Version Open Beta
The Final Fantasy XIV PlayStation 5 version open beta will begin on Tuesday, April 13. This is the same day as the release of patch 5.5.
PlayStation 5 Version Features
- 4K resolution support.
- Faster loading times.
- Significantly improved frame rate.
- Further graphical improvements will be made to the game in subsequent updates.
The PlayStation 5 version will feature two modes: one that favors resolution (4K resolution) and one that favors frame rate (2K resolution).
Players whose Final Fantasy XIV service account has a registered license for the PlayStation 4 version may download and play the PlayStation 5 upgrade edition at no extra cost. (Monthly subscription is still required.)
■ Final Fantasy XIV Digital Fan Festival 2021
Final Fantasy XIV Digital Fan Festival 2021 will be held from May 15 to 16. The entire stream, including the live concert, will be available free of charge. Details on how to tune in will be announced a later date.
Final Fantasy XIV Digital Fan Festival 2021 Commemorative Items
—Mount: Lunar Whale
—Minions: Edge, Rosa, and Rydia
These items will be available for purchase starting on the first day of Final Fantasy XIV Digital Fan Festival 2021.
■ Yoshitaka Amano Artwork
“There is a lot of stuff about the story hidden in this illustration.”
Final Fantasy XIV Online is available now for PlayStation 4, PC, and Mac.