Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker is set to conclude a decades-long storyline that began at launch. Aside from hours and hours of new story content, the next expansion, Endwalker, will include several new areas and two new job classes: the healer-class Sage, and melee DPS Reaper.
IGN was given hands-on time with both of the new classes, an opportunity to try out a new dungeon, as well as a tour of three of the six new areas coming to Endwalker. Here is everything we saw during our preview with the upcoming expansion.
What’s New in Endwalker?
As far as MMORPG expansions go, Final Fantasy 14 keeps things relatively simple. Each new chapter adds a few new classes, new areas, and tentpole content like dungeons and raids. This makes Final Fantasy 14 one of the easier MMORPGs to preview as there aren’t game-changing meta-systems added with each expansion.
Along with the two classes and six new areas — including a new hub city called Old Sharlayan — there will be a level cap increase from 80 to 90.
There will also be some downscaling coming down the pipeline. Final Fantasy 14 director Naoki Yoshida was keen to explain how the downscaling is required to solve a few incoming issues like bugs resulting from calculations overflow, and enemy HP becoming monstrously high.
To solve this, gear attributes, overall player HP, damage values, and enemy HP and damage have been reduced, making the overall difficulty balance relatively the same as before the downscaling.
The core of any Final Fantasy 14 expansion, however, is the story, and Yoshida says Endwalker has the largest “volume of story quests” to date. Unfortunately, none of the story content was available during our preview.
Two New Classes: Sage and Reaper
Instead, IGN spent most of our hands-on time with a work-in-progress build of the new classes. Yoshida stressed that development for both the Sage and Reaper classes is ongoing and that the skills shared with us are not final.
Before diving in, I should mention first that my main class in Final Fantasy 14 is Dancer, a ranged physical DPS. And while I’ve completed the most recent high-end Savage content, I am not a theory-crafter like my raid leader. I’m just a very good Dancer.
This is intended as a general look at the new classes, and if it’s helpful, insight into whether either of the new classes is friendly for folks looking to dip their toes into Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker. If you are looking for a more granular preview, I’ve included the toolkits for both new classes below while reiterating that these are not the final specs for either of these classes.
Sage and Reaper are the two newest classes added to Final Fantasy 14 with the Endwalker expansion. The Sage is the new barrier healer class, while Reaper is a melee DPS. On a surface level, both classes are pretty flashy as they both utilize unique and visually stunning weapons and abilities. The Sage uses hovering machines that heal and fire lasers called Nouliths, while the Reaper carries a big scythe and can summon a dark familiar.
Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker – Reaper Skills and Tooltips
Reaper is a fairly straightforward class and one I imagine will be quite popular with veterans and newcomers alike. The character has two gauges, a soul gauge and a shroud gauge that are built up using specific attacks. You’ll then spend this meter to unleash even more devastating – and very cool-looking – attacks on anything that wrongs you.
In an interview with Yoshida after the demo, he explained that the goal with the Reaper class is that it has a fast tempo. And instead of waiting to fill your gauge fully for a burst attack, players will instead unleash attacks when they become available to them. “There are certain skills you can throw in there to quickly fill up your gauge and rapidly cycle through those,” Yoshida explained.
The Sage class is a bit trickier and I would not recommend this class to beginners. The core concept, as far as I can tell from my hands-on time, is to utilize Sage’s ability to heal or shield party members while simultaneously attacking.
Final Fantasy 14: Endwalker – Sage Skills and Tooltips
At the higher levels, a Sage can translate damage done to enemies into healing or buffs for party members, which might be welcome news for the more offensive-minded healers currently playing Final Fantasy 14. But as you can see below in my full run-through of the new dungeon, The Tower of Zot, ineffective utilization of your abilities will mean you aren’t maximizing damage or healing throughout your party.
10 Years of Final Fantasy 14
Final Fantasy 14 has come a long way since it was first released in 2010. Following a rocky launch and a soft reboot with Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn, Yoshida announced that Final Fantasy 14 has officially surpassed 24 million players worldwide. According to Yoshida, Final Fantasy 14 is the most profitable game in the Final Fantasy series, which is no small feat.
Despite the decade of development, there’s no indication Final Fantasy 14 is slowing down and Yoshida tells the press the team is already looking forward to the next ten years of the game. By wrapping up the long-running storyline, the Final Fantasy 14 team is already looking towards new kinds of experiences, including a patch content called Island Sanctuary that sounds pretty similar to Animal Crossing.
Much has been made about Final Fantasy 14’s popularity in recent months, especially as discontent mounts against its rivals. But Endwalker is shaping up to be an expansion from a development team confident in its vision for an MMORPG. Check out our previous interview with Final Fantasy 14’s director, and keep an eye out for Endwalker when it’s released on November 23.
Matt T.M. Kim is IGN’s News Editor. You can reach him @lawoftd.