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FFXIV Endwalker preview: 4 big changes to expect

Here’s how Hydaelyn is changing for the game’s fourth expansion.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn’s fourth expansion is Endwalker, and Inverse got a hands-on preview of the new Jobs, locations, and dungeon that come with it.

These impressions are based on a pre-release build that’s still undergoing changes, so anything you see here is subject to change before release (and may contain spoilers).

Here are the 4 biggest changes coming in Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker.

1. New Jobs

Endwalker adds the melee DPS Reaper and the healer Sage.

Both Reaper and Sage start at level 70, so you should have a good deal of experience with FFXIV before you start playing. That’s a good thing because both will take some skill to play well.

The Reaper fights with a giant scythe and uses their bond with an otherworldly avatar to power their attacks.

To play one successfully, you’ll need to attack enemies to fill a Soul Gauge, then spend that resource to use avatar abilities. Eventually, you can “host” your avatar, briefly taking on their form to gain more powerful attacks.

Like the Reaper, the Sage balances multiple resources to power their abilities. They use weapons called Nouliths (essentially magical laser-firing drones) to attack enemies and heal allies.

A resource called Addersgall generates over time in combat, much like the White Mage’s Blood Lillies. It can be spent to power healing and barrier skills.

Addersting is generated by using an ability to create an empowered barrier around an ally then letting the barrier be destroyed. It’s used to power offensive skills like an area-of-effect laser blast.

2. Upgrades for old jobs

Every expansion changes up existing Jobs in some way, and Endwalker has updates across the board.

In Endwalker, you’ll find it easier to keep combos going, since actions like ranged attacks no longer break them. That frees up lots of Jobs to be more flexible in combat.

Along with new abilities after level 80, existing abilities are being tweaked. New buffs and altered rotations, particularly for melee classes, make for longer combos that flow together more naturally.

Some classes have had major reworks. The Summoner is losing all of its damage-over-time abilities but gaining the ability to call in Primals (like Ifrit and Garuda) for support.

There’s also level 90 gear to look forward to, which riffs on old armor sets while adding new twists to their designs.

3. New locations

In Endwalker, you’ll travel to the ruined stronghold of the Garlean Empire, Garlemald, and the colorful island of Thavnair.

Thavnair is a gorgeous new setting, with brightly painted buildings and the imposing Tower of Zot dungeon looming in the background.

Dancer mains should feel right at home here, as Thavnair is where the Job was canonically developed.

Though not as pretty, Garlemald is the more interesting location for its story implications. In Endwalker, you’ll be picking through the rubble of Garlemald, which is overrun with rogue machines.

Most areas in FFXIV seem stuck in time, not really changing with the events of the game. Garlemald feels more active, with its ruins still smoking as the result of a major story event.

Square Enix

Old Sharlayan serves as a hub city in Endwalker. Like Thavnair, it’s been mentioned a lot in FFXIV, but this is the first time players will set foot there.

4. The end of the Hydaelyn saga

The story that started in A Realm Reborn comes to a close.

Endwalker’s entire main story will be available at release, unlike previous expansions which left some content for later patches.

Story content wasn’t available in the preview build, but we at least know that Garlemald is in for rough times, and the first dungeon includes a trio of summoned Primals that should be familiar to old-school Final Fantasy players.

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Director Naoki Yoshida tells Inverse it wasn’t until the launch of Stormblood in 2017 that the team began to consider ending the current story. Up until then, he says, they weren’t even sure how many more expansions they would get to make.

He likens FFXIV’s expansions to seasons of a TV show, saying he didn’t want the story to lose its impact by being stretched thin for too many years.

This isn’t the end for Final Fantasy XIV, though. A new story arc will start in Endwalker’s post-release patches, but the team isn’t about to spill any details before release.

Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker will be available on PS4, PS5, and PC on November 23.