I've had very few chances to play an MMORPG expansion at launch when I was at the end game. Sentinel's Fate in EverQuest II. Rise of the Hut Cartel in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Heart of Thorns in Guild Wars 2. And I guess I need to add The Burning Crusade in World of Warcraft. But by the time the expansions rolled around, I was off playing other games.
Friday is different. Early access for Final Fantasy XIV's Endwalker expansion is Friday and I reached the end of the main story questline months ago. Not only am I at level 80 as a white mage, I also have scholar and summoner at max level as well. My crafting and harvesting classes are all at level 80 and my equipment, when not best in slot, is close. In other words, I'm ready to join the stampede toward the new content.
I've played MMORPGs for over 16 years and written about them for almost 13, so I know everything won't go smoothly. Spending hours in a login queue is almost assured. Bugs are guaranteed. But 12 years of EVE Online expansions has let me know to prepare as best I can for the changes in game mechanics. The best way to do that is to read the patch notes.
For example, the first thing I do won't involve adventuring. Instead, I will begin crafting. According to the patch notes:
Players above level 80 will receive a maximum of 1,000 EXP when submitting items to the House of Splendors or Ishgardian Restoration.
That means I have one more level of nice experience point gains for turn-ins. I spent Tuesday making sure I had enough materials to make 30 items for each crafting class to turn in. I'm going to stock up on the scrips from the Ishardian Restoration at the same time I reach level 81 in each crafting class. After all, the true endgame of FFXIV is glamour, and I'll be able to stock up on really good dyes.
Another trick I plan to use is using levequests to raise my fishing from 80 to 81. My retainers keep catching fish for levequests, so I plan to use up my allotment of 100 levequests on fishing. Once I ding 81, I'll stop.
I have also spent a lot of time cooking in preparation for the expansion. My plan is to have 30 hours worth of food each for my white mage, crafting classes, and gathering classes. The 3% XP and stats boosts will help a lot until I can make better food.
Everything doesn't just revolved around crafting. Final Fantasy XIV has alternative currencies players use to access high level gear. Every expansion, the expansion specific currencies from the previous expansion can be exchanged for Tomestones of Poetics. I have acquired the maximum number of Tomestones of Allegory I can carry as well as a fair amount of Tomestones of Revelation. Not only does that mean I can complete my item level 520 set for white mage, I'll be able to buy most of a set of gear for summoner as well.
I'm waiting until just before the 24-hour downtime before doing tasks that will free up inventory slots, such as manually downgrading certain high quality items and either breaking down or turning in all my belts. Then I am going to find a nice spot in Ishgard to log out in and wait until Friday.