Monday, May 17, 2021

FFXIV Fanfest 2021 Keynote - More Endwalker Reveals

On Friday night in the U.S., Square Enix began its two-day Final Fantasy XIV Fanfest 2021. I'll just write about the keynote address, as that is the only part I watched all the way through. In my experience with game fanfests, the keynote is where the most information is revealed.

As opposed to events held by CCP, Square Enix opened up this year's online event with the full trailer for the Endwalker expansion. I imagine the lore hounds will pour over the lyrics to the soundtrack for days searching for clues.

After the trailer finished, producer and director of FFXIV Naoki Yoshida (aka Yoshi-P) walked down to the stage dressed as the latest job being introduced in Endwalker, the Reaper. The first, the healing job Sage, was introduced last month.

Yoshi-P & Koji Fox as Reaper and Avatar (Art by u/takomunch)

The Reaper is the second new job in Endwalker. A melee DPS class, the Reaper uses a two-handed scythe and can call sort of avatar from the void during battle. A sub-class of the Dragoon, players start the job at level 70 in Ul'dah. While Yoshi-P suggested logging out in the city before the launch of Endwalker, I suspect the zone will experience plenty of lag the first day or two.

The expansions of the Hydaelyn/Zodiark saga

Going into Fanfest, Square Enix had revealed the story of Hydaelyn and Zodiark would end with 6.0, with the patch releases afterward beginning a new story. The sub-title of the expansion, "A New Dawn", harkens back to A Realm Reborn's full title, "Sunrise Over A Realm Reborn". 

Old Sharlayan

The city hub for Endwalker is Old Sharlayan. Viewers of the stream learned that Final Fantasy XIV originally planned to have six starting cities, not three. When Yoshi-P took over the game, he maintained the original three cities. The three omitted cities were Ishgard, Ala Mhigo, and Old Sharlayan. Okay, Ala Mhigo isn't much of a city. But unlike Mythic's Warhammer Online, all the planned starting cities eventually made it into the game.

Other new regions revealed were the subterranean region of Labyrinthos, the city-state of Radz-at-Han on the island of Thavnair, Garlemald, and Mare Lamentorum on the moon.

Fourchenault facing down Y'shtola

The most intriguing character being introduced in Endwalker probably is Fourchenault Leveilleur. The father of Alphinaud and Alisaie, the trailer shows Fourchenault opposing the plans of the Scions. The conflict between father and children is one to watch.

Other characters and a race of note is the The Magus Sisters from Final Fantasy IV and the Loporrits. With the story presumably ending on the moon, the Loporrits will populate the final zones.

While Square Enix is done introducing new playable races to Eorzea, they did have some unfinished business to conclude. Male Viera will make their first appearance in Endwalker. Female Hrothgar are scheduled for sometime after, but when is not known. Still, neither race can wear hats.

I think the final big news was the reveal of the name of the alliance raid: Myths of the Realm. The deities that players get to chose from that make no difference finally make their appearance outside wedding ceremonies. Will the players' choices finally matter?

In-game items available

Now for the business news. The expansion launches on 23 November 2021, with early access on the 19th. The physical collector's edition explanation was rather complicated, but Square Enix has already sold out, so no more worries on that score. Pre-ordering the digital or standard editions will grant two in-game items available immediately. The first is the Palom minion, the companion to the Porom minion available in the collector's editions. Going along with the moon theme, both Palom and Porom were characters from Final Fantasy IV. To top things off, a new piece of jewelry, Menphina's Earring, gives a 30% experience bonus when leveling any job under level 80.

The final bit of news was celebrated by all the Australians streaming the event. Oceania will receive its own data center sometime before 6.1. Besides making FFXIV more playable for folks in Australia, the new infrastructure is a sign that while the current story is ending, Square Enix has no plans to abandon Final Fantasy XIV

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