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Final Fantasy 14 Endwalker live blog - Early Access is here, come suffer with us

Come for the story, stay for the chaos

Let's get ready for an expansion launch
(Image: © Square Enix)

Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker comes out tonight, finally following up the incredible Shadowbringers expansion with an all-new story. But unlike past expansions that simply added to an ongoing saga, Endwalker is going to be the conclusion to the story arc that's been running since A Realm Reborn launched in 2014.

And while that's definitely exciting, it's also on the back of the game being more popular than ever before - it even sold out of digital copies in the middle of an expansion - which means this may potentially be a pretty chaotic launch. Because as anyone that plays MMORPGs like this, expansion launches usually feature a bunch of unexpected mayhem, and we definitely expect this new Final Fantasy XIV expansion to lead to a lot of fun stories. 

We'll be logging all of our experiences with the new expansion for the first weekend or so right here, so even if you weren't able to get the right days off after the Endwalker got delayed, you can at least get some semblance of the expansion launch experience. 

We'll also try to avoid story spoilers, but there is definitely a possibility that some story information can sneak through, especially in screenshots and as we get more absorbed in what we're doing. So, proceed with caution, but we'll do our best to let you save the experience for yourself. 

Final Fantasy 14 Endwalker

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Let's go.

I'm just finishing up a couple things in the office, before I can go home, eat some food, and get some semblance of sleep in before the servers are expected to go live at 4:00 am EST. Looks like it's going to be an early morning for me. 

Final Fantasy XIV Jackie's warrior of light wearing Noctis' outfit and hairstyle

(Image credit: Square Enix)

About to leave the office and head home now. Now I get to spend the ride home deciding which job I'm going to take to 90 first. Will it be White Mage? Astrologian? Or  am I going to suffer through leveling Sage from 70-90 at the beginning. Only time will tell. 

Ok I have made it home, eaten a sandwich and taken my meds, now it's time to wait for the servers to go up. In the meantime, it looks like Square Enix has put out a letter about the launch of the expansion, and get ready for server queues. 

In the blog post, the company says that right now there are more active players than ever before, and with a new expansion more people are going to be playing, so the servers are going to be hit harder than ever before. 

The company does include a workaround in that blog post if you're on a particularly crowded World. You can simply log onto another World on the same Data Center, by right clicking your character and selecting "visit another world server". 

There are also a number of potential issues called out in the blog post, probably just to let players know that there will probably be some issues with the launch. 

I've seen so many MMO expansion launches and none of them have gone smoothly, so I totally expect some long queues and server crashes. And don't worry, it'll all be chronicled right here. 

Jackie's alarm for 4am for endwalker.

Got my alarm set for 4am. I'm ready to suffer with everyone.  (Image credit: Future)

Probably the last update until servers go up. I think I decided on leveling Astrologian to 90 first, just because I really want to try out the new card system and also really don't want to spend hours in the Bozjan Southern Front to grind from 70-80 to level Sage. 

That reminds me, there are two new classes in Endwalker: Sage and Reaper. If you're going to level either of these from the get-go, keep in mind they both start at level 70, so you'll have to do a bit of grinding before starting the new main story content. 

And for anyone wondering the launch that happens tomorrow morning is technically early access, but you can still get access by preordering the expansion either on Steam or on Square Enix's own website (or PSN if you play on PS5). 

Then again, if you haven't played at all, did you know Final Fantasy XIV has a free trial up to level 60 that includes the award-winning expansion Heavensward? You can get that right here

Until the servers go up at 4am, I'm going to get some sleep. I'll see everyone bright and early to wait in a server queue.

Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker launcher

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Ok, one last update. Just a PSA: you can log into the launcher and download the patch now. It's about 4GB, so not huge, but not something you want to be downloading when you know you're going to already be waiting for a server queue. 

Though, while you can log into the launcher to download the patch, you can't log into the actual game yet. For that we just wait for the servers to go back up. 

Another PSA: there's now another patch to download. So, pro tip: log into the launcher, agree to the new terms of service, and start the download to the patch. 

Ok I'm awake. Kind of. Going to get a Monster.

Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker launcher

(Image credit: Square Enix)

I can confirm that the servers are still down. I know that I'm going to have to wait until at least 4am, but I keep refreshing the launcher anyways. 

FFXIV Endwalker Reaper, doing some kind of spooky ability with their scythe in a snowy area.

And I gotta admit, Reaper looks really cool (Image credit: Square Enix)

Me and a couple of folks from my free company are going through the abilities of the new classes, and, well, it looks like I'm going to be playing Sage. I'm ready to spend a bunch of time in Bozja getting Sage up to level 80 quickly. 

I like to punish myself, but wow does it sound fun. 

Also, did you know that Reaper has an ability called Gibbets? And another one called Guillotine? I don't really do DPS, but even I'm tempted. 

10 minutes to go!


I don't think there will be any delays, but I have to admit there's part of me that's ready for everything to go wrong. But whatever, I got my monster and now I'm just going to keep refreshing the server status page to see when my Data Center is back online. 

Pink monster next to a pink keyboard on a really messy desk.

(Image credit: Future)

The server status page is unavailable due to maintenance. The anxiety. 

FFXIV launcher

This is all the FFXIV launcher is right now. Love it.  (Image credit: Square Enix)

Apparently servers are up but my launcher crashed, and now it's not loading. It's going well already! 

People in my Free Company are saying there's a server queue with just like 425 people, but one of them said he disconnected as soon as he got into the city. 

But then again, he did tell me he logged off in Ul'Dah so, there's that. 

The poor servers. 

FFXIV launcher

(Image credit: Square Enix)

My launcher is no longer a blank void, but it's been "Checking Final Fantasy XIV" for like 5 minutes. But I'm watching a discord stream, that's kind of like playing the game myself. 

Apparently Rhys got into the game but is in a login queue of 1,616. And I can't even get that far. I got the play button finally, but then just got a black screen with music. Then the game crashed. 

So, I can't play Endwalker, but I can watch one of my friends rearrange their bars.

FFXIV endwalker login screen

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Happy Endwalker day, folks! I'm in and very, very steadily creeping up the login queue. I started at around 1,616 in the queue, which if I recall correctly isn't quite as far behind as I was for Shadowbringers' launch (not to mention Stormblood, oof). Special shoutout to the gorgeous new login screen, too. - Rhys

FFXIV endwalker login screen

(Image credit: Square Enix)

I'm finally in. Now I get to wait 20 years to be able to play. 

Oh, wait, nevermind. 


FFXIV endwalker login screen

I love MMOs (Image credit: Square Enix)

Ok I'm restarting my PC. I don't know how that will help, but it is the first instinct for solving any problem. 

- Jackie

Rhys Wood's character in Final Fantasy XIV in the Gold Saucer

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Rhys: And I'm in! The login queue was unbelievably merciful. Maybe logging out in the Gold Saucer was a good move after all! Unlike previous expansions, Red Mage doesn't seem to have had any of its abilities pruned. That may also be the case with other jobs as Shadowbringers got most down to a tee (though expect to do some hotbar shifting on jobs with heavy reworks, like Summoner).

Jackie's log in screen in FFXIV, shes wearing a really cute pink dress that she got because she suffered through Titan Savage.

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Jackie: Got to the character selection screen! It only took 41 minutes! This expansion launch is going great!

Jackie's log in screen in FFXIV, shes wearing a really cute pink dress that she got because she suffered through Titan Savage. This time with a server queue

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Jackie: I'm finally in a server queue, just 2,800 players have to get out of my way so I can go to the moon or whatever. I just want to play the game. Let me in!

Jackie: Queue is under 2,000 players now, but at least it seems like everyone is starting to actually be able to get into the game. Then again, one of my friends got disconnected as soon as they hit 1,000 players in the server queue, so the fight isn't over yet. 

It seems like the biggest problem is a disconnection error, error 2002. If you're running into this problem, my suggestion is to just keep trying to log in, you'll be able to get past it eventually. 

I'm just imagining that the Final Fantasy XIV servers are melting. 


(Image credit: Square Enix)

Jackie: Nevermind! Got disconnected again!

Mor Dhona

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Rhys: Mor Dhona isn't quite as busy as I was expecting, to be honest. But that's probably because everyone's at the Rising Stones. If you're eager to get started on the MSQ, this is where you'll begin the first quest, as has been the case with previous expansions.

Jackie: Square Enix just tweeted out that the login server is congested and folks may see Error 2002 when logging in. It also says players should wait before trying to log in again. 

No one is going to wait to log in again. I know I'm not. 

Jackie: Watching friends streaming a Hells Lid run, and the two DPS are both Reapers. I can't say what it feels like to play, but the spell effects and animations look really freaking cool. 

FFXIV endwaler login screen

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Jackie: Under 1,000 players in my way! Could this finally be happening? Will I actually be able to play Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker? That's literally all I want right now. 

FFXIV endwaler login screen

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Under 200 players!

FFXIV, Jackie's character in the Crystarium.

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Jackie: *hacker voice* I'm in.

FFXIV, Jackie's character in Limsa Lominsa, getting ready to unlock Sage, with the Sage's Path quest open.

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Jackie: First thing I'm doing is unlocking Sage. If you want to unlock Sage, you'll need at least one character at level 70, and you pick up the quest in Limsa Lominsa.

Jackie: There are so many players around NPCs. If you're having trouble clicking on quest givers and you're on PC, remember you can hold down the X key, and your cursor will ignore other players, making it easy to accept a quest even when there's dozens of players around. 

Jackie: Once I got in, it seems like everything is working pretty smoothly with minimal lag. Knock on wood, of course, but maybe things are getting better? 

To be fair I am leveling Sage first, so I'm not in the new zones quite yet. 

Jackie: Just did my first duty as Sage, and let me tell you: its just a lot of fun. First impressions are that it kind of feels like Astrologian on steroids, but without the cards. A lot of spells that play into each other and enhance one another. Definitely not for the first-time healer, but I'm in love with it. 

FFXIV, Jackie standing outside Idyllshire, with the character page open

(Image credit: Square Enix)

FFXIV, dungeon screenshot, from a Sage's point of view.

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Jackie: Just finished my first dungeon as Sage, was a level 50 dungeon so didn't have all the abilities, but the class feels exceptionally fun to play. And good news! No one died!

Until the last boss at least.

FFXIV, character in the middle of a city area, about to take a quest.

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Rhys: The MSQ has been beautiful so far, even just after the introductory quests. I'm taking a quick diversion to unlock Reaper, though, as I genuinely can't wait any longer to try out what looks to be the coolest melee DPS job yet. You can unlock it, too, by heading to Ul'dah. Teleport to the Adventurer's Guild aethernet shard and speak to the Flustered Attendant nearby to begin the quest.

Jackie: Just got done with the intro segment of the new main story quest, and it's shaping up to be one of the best stories yet. 

However, I woke up at like 3:15 am for this expansion launch, and I'm exhausted so I'm going to take a bit of a nap. I'll hand things over to Rhys for a couple of hours. 

Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker Reaper

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Rhys: Initial Reaper impressions: this job utterly rules. Even at Level 70. So far I've done the introductory Reaper quest (which was fantastic), as well as Shadowbringers hunt marks and the Pixie daily beast tribes, just to get a feel for the job.

And it's excellent. You have your usual 3-part rotation for single targets, and a suite of AoE abilities, too. Plus, by filling the Soul Gauge, you can summon your voidsent familiar, which in turn leads to another set of damaging abilities.

A super involving job, and I've only just begun, but I highly recommend you check it out if you're even the least bit curious.

Rhys: In case you're unaware, Endwalker brings with it a brand new and enhanced audio option in the form of Immerse Spatial Audio! This enhanced option brings 360-degree spatial audio to Final Fantasy 14, and was worked on in conjunction with audio firm Embody and composer Masayoshi Soken. I've just given it a try via the free trial option, and it's brilliant.

If you want to try it out for yourself, you can do so right now. Simply head to System Configuration in-game, scroll to the bottom of the sound settings and you'll find an "Enable Immerse Spatial Audio" option. Follow the browser link and the install process to add the option to your game. You don't even need to restart your client to make use of it.

There's also new Equalizer options including Bass and Treble boosts, which pair extremely well with the new Immerse Spatial Audio.

FFXIV Endwalker Reaper, doing some kind of spooky ability with their scythe in a snowy area.

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Rhys: If you wanna level Reaper or Sage fast, here's a tip. The Bozjan Southern Front content from Shadowbringers will be your best bet, assuming you've completed the prerequisite Return to Ivalice alliance raids in order to unlock it.

The Bozjan Southern Front is fantastic for leveling any job from 71 to 80 in general, as it spawns tons of Skirmishes and Critical Engagements that give you a boatload of EXP upon completion. You'll also be able to get more familiar with the new jobs fast, considering the content is very battle-oriented.

To get Reaper and/or Sage to Level 71 quickly, pair a levelling roulette with your daily Pixie beast tribe quests to get you most of the way. From there, an alliance raid roulette, or a Wondrous Tails turn-in should get you the rest of the way there.

Final Fantasy XIV Reaper on mount

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Rhys: I always try and pair a suitable mount with each of my main jobs, and I'm loving this Reaper / Sleipnir combo. Looks suitably moody here in Lakeland, especially in the pouring rain!

Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker Pixie beast tribes

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Rhys: Back in Il Mheg now, doing my second round of Pixie beast tribes of the day. Yes, even after the stat squish, the EXP you get from these quests is absurdly high, and one of the best ways to get your new job past the Level 70 - 71 threshold.

Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Rhys: Does Old Sharlayan have the best designed Aetheryte yet? Yes. Yes it does.

Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker hunt board

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Rhys: Wondering where the Hunt Board is in Old Sharlayan? Thankfully it's very easy to unlock. After the first set of introductory MSQ quests, you'll start seeing the usual sidequests pop up all over Old Sharlayan. The one you want is called "The Hunt for Specimens."

Pick up the quest, then simply head over to the marked NPC, Northota, to unlock the Guildship Hunt Board. This should be a nice daily source of EXP as you make your way through Endwalker.

Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker sightseeing log

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Rhys: Oh, yeah! Before you go dashing off to Thavnair, Labyrinthos and the like, you'll probably want to unlock your sightseeing log entries for Endwalker. You can do so at the above location. It's just southeast of Scholar's Harbor at X 13.4, Y 16.9.

I just disabled the HUD because the view of the statue is breathtaking from here.

Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker Ravana party

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Jackie: Did a trial. Was all Reapers and Sages. Don't know what I expected, but Ravana died fast.

Rhys: If you racked up those bicolor gemstones in Shadowbringers, you're in luck. The currency has carried over into Endwalker's areas, too, meaning completing FATEs is still well worth doing as you progress through the MSQ, or explore areas at your own leisure.

Jackie: My wonderful free company just did all of the daily roulettes with me, and wow pretty much every single DPS and healer I ran into was a Reaper or a Sage, respectively. Just talking to people in the parties, it seems like the new jobs are a hit. 

Personally speaking, I'm absolutely in love with Sage. The sound and visual effects for all of the abilities make it feel like I'm in a science fiction movie. I love it. I think I found my new main job. 

Jackie: Alright, unfortunately I have to run to an appointment real quick. I can't believe I have to stop playing this game for a whole hour. Hopefully there isn't a huge server queue when I get back. 

Final Fantasy 14 Endwalker login screen

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Jackie: Ok, just got back from my appointment, that took way longer than I thought it would, but it's time to get back in the action. 

I mean I have to wait for 1,200 people to log out before I can get into said action. But at least I'm in queue again. 

Jackie: You know, I've heard that the new Main Story Quest is just a ton of fun, but I'm in love with Sage. So, do you know what that means? It's time to grind fates in the Bozjan Southern Front. If you're looking to level Sage or Reaper, this is the most efficient way to do it, even though it's kind of boring. 

Final Fantasy 14 Bozjan Southern Front with a ton of players

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Jackie: Right now my Endwalker experience is very similar to my Shadowbringers experience. Just endlessly grinding fates in the Bozjan Southern Front. But hey, there are a ton of other players here. 

Most of them are Reapers and Sages, of course, but I just saw a Scholar. And while I know that job wasn't actually taken out of the game, it certainly feels like it was. Level 73, 7 more levels to go on Sage before I can do the new main story quest. Let's go. 

Jackie: Did so much Bozja that all my gear was down at 10% durability. But I'm level 74. Getting there. I'm only a little bit miserable. 

Jackie: Last update for the night. Other than the load of login errors I saw this morning, it's been a pretty smooth launch: at least once you get in. I'm still hearing some friends say that they're seeing some pretty huge server queues and errors, but it seems to be dwindling - though I can't say for sure. 

Square Enix has put out a notice about the congestion, apologizing for the problems, and saying "the maximum number of logins has been reached for each world". That's a lot of people. 

The notice also says that there are some Worlds going down as well. My World hasn't been affected, but I'm not on one of the super popular ones. If your world goes down, it will be back up in between 30 minutes to an hour. Hopefully minimal worlds go down. 

Thanks for tuning in, and if you're playing, good luck in the race to level 90!