The first fully-dedicated Endwalker live letter is in less than 2 hours as I write this!
The excitement is absolutely there, but it is a curious one – going in, all we know is that it is focused on combat changes primarily. What could that mean? Well, we have a few things that I think that will certainly mean, a few other things that it might mean, and a few longshots that I have, and I’m going to share them all prior to the live letter!
The Sure Hits
Job Action Trailer: It’s the correct amount of time before an expansion and the easiest way to communicate combat changes rapidly is to show them, even devoid of a lot of context. It’s easy hype especially since FFXIV has flashy attack animations! With the job action trailer, we’ll probably see…
New Job Job Gauges and Changes To Existing Ones: Easy prediction, given that Job Action Trailers since the introduction of Job Gauges with Stormblood have shown the gauges, we’ll get to see the Reaper and Sage ones and I suspect that at least one existing job will get a revamped gauge which will also be shown.
Low Detail Stat Squish Preview: My thoughts are this on the squish – at the bare minimum, we’ll see scaled HP and MP values or another low information way of sharing the rough impact of the changes to stats.
The Less-Sure Possibilities
Healer Revamp Details: I’m of two minds on this one. It is possible and perhaps likely that the FFXIV team holds off on major details about healing in Endwalker until the Media Tour, so that existing players can play the new designs and provide feedback and information through that lens. On the other hand, a lot of the change we are seeing in Endwalker is around the healing paradigm with an even split of regen and shield healers, and it feels like that is a core detail of how combat in the expansion will work. Certainly, at the very least Astrologian players will want to know more, as their job has been identified as the major target of changes in this paradigm shift.
Actual Stat Squish Details: Given that Blizzard is keen on not sharing this kind of information in the now-multiple stat squishes they’ve had, I find it less likely that Square Enix is going to put out a ton of detail on their first such move. I would like to be wrong, and I think there are some favorable odds that given the named “combat” focus for tonight that such a discussion would be had. But we’ll see!
Skill/Spell Speed Consolidation: I think this would be a nice move and it feels like a stat consolidation or relook is likely to happen alongside the squish. On the other hand, these stats aren’t really used together on a single job as far as I know (so that could be wrong) and so consolidating them would just be a QoL change more than anything for inventory and storage.
Materia Rework: With the stat squish, Materia getting a once over also feels pretty likely, and after other systems that touch upon crafting like desynth were hit in Shadowbringers, it seems like a prime target. Perhaps improvements to Materia synthesis could be due, like making it a player skill instead of using Mutamix? Stat consolidation in certain pieces of Materia? Changes to overmelding and advanced systems? I’m not sure of what extent I would predict change, but I think there is a rebalancing due with the squish at the very least.
Class Removal: When Stormblood did away with cross-class job requirements and cross-class skills in favor of Role Actions, the function of the base classes seemed to be in danger, but we’re now 4 years removed from that and the system of class into job remains the one sort of weird holdout of that original ARR design. For the most part, it’s functionally non-existent, as you either play your class and it just seamlessly becomes the job after the level 30 job quest or you start as a job and move forward that way, but then there’s still the Arcanist loophole to get two max-level jobs in different roles. Removing the base class would, in my mind, then allow you to just pick the job you want to begin with. Healers could level a Scholar from 1 and have that playstyle early on! The only thing with that is that I’m not sure how far you’d want to extend that – do you then make all existing jobs except Reaper and Sage start at 1 and be selectable from the beginning? Do you still gate access to Ninja? For those reasons, I think this is the longest of longshots, but hey!
The Minor Predictions
New Boss and Dungeon Preview: If we get to see combat in action in the live letter, I imagine we’ll get some of that preview in a new dungeon environment being shown on a random, undefined boss.
Expansion Music: Soken always gives us a little treat in the job action trailer with new music (we got our first listen of the epic Twinning music in the Shadowbringers job action trailer!) and I am hopeful we’ll get some real good early listens tonight!
And that’s that, so I’ll see you all on the other side!