My mad dash to catch up in time for Final Fantasy XIV’s Endwalker expansion


Endwalker is coming, and I’m not prepared for it. I got here to Final Fantasy XIV solely this 12 months, ravenously tearing by means of A Realm Reborn and Heavensward earlier than abandoning the sport someplace in the center of Stormblood, which is mostly thought of to be inferior to the opposite FFXIV expansions.

Then information of a brand new expansion hit, rekindling my need to restart my journey, hopefully ending in time for Endwalker’s launch. I harbored no illusions about my capacity to energy by means of one-and-a-half expansions’ price of content material earlier than December eighth, however I may attempt, and making an attempt meant getting by means of Stormblood first. So I proposed an experiment: Final Fantasy XIV will go down for upkeep at 4AM EST in preparation for a brand new patch and to open up Endwalker early entry for the fortunate chosen. If I may end Stormblood earlier than the servers go down, I’d be in a great place to get shut to the tip of Shadowbringers in time to begin Endwalker, if not by launch day, then that very same week. May I do it?

With out figuring out the place I used to be in the Stormblood primary story questline and devoted to the silly thought of maintaining my tank and healer jobs evenly leveled, I stated sure.

May I end Stormblood earlier than the servers go down at 4AM?

One factor I recognize about Final Fantasy XIV is that it respects your time. In order for you to play a number of courses in different MMOs — like World of Warcraft — you may have to degree completely different characters for every class, typically forcing you to repeat content material. Final Fantasy’s job system helps you to degree as many courses as you need on the identical character seamlessly. I can bounce between my gunbreaker tank and astrologian healer whereas progressing by means of the primary story quest with relative ease. I’ve even developed a technique by which I saved these two courses shut in degree. I’d achieve two ranges on my gunbreaker, then change to my astrologian and catch up, rinse and repeat. It’s not an ideal system. Typically I’d get too far forward in the primary story quest on one class such that once I switched to the opposite class, I didn’t meet the extent requirement to proceed, forcing me to cease development and grind just a little bit to make up for misplaced XP.

Now you’d assume in the mad dash to end Stormblood earlier than server upkeep locks me out of the sport that I’d give up this quirky leveling dance in favor of choosing one class and powering by means of. You’ll be fallacious.

I, like Thanos, am a creature of stability. If my class ranges fall too far out of sync, there’s a larger likelihood that one class can be left behind to toil in meaningless side-quests to catch up. I hate grinding with a ardour. There’s a motive I’ve solely created one character in a decade of taking part in World of Warcraft. I get pleasure from each courses an excessive amount of to go away one behind due to my cussed refusal to grind, and that rule caught even when time was of the essence.

My gunbreaker, cute as a button she is.

At round midnight, I had about 700,000 XP to go to even out my class ranges and unlock the subsequent primary story quest. I made a decision to hop throughout the map finishing fates, that are timed quests with massive XP rewards anybody can take part in. I used to be alone, ending a destiny, when a participant joined me. I didn’t catch their identify, however after we completed the destiny, they carried out the kiss emote in thanks. I went to the subsequent destiny, and there they have been once more, and once more for the destiny after that. I liked it. Our functions have been quickly aligned (they have been most likely in want of a fast grinding session like I used to be), and we had this very human connection and cooperation whereas by no means truly talking to one another, speaking solely in emotes. For a second, there was a bond solid — and simply as fast because it got here, it was over.

Most of my MMO-playing life has been devoted to being a harm supplier as a result of I didn’t assume I used to be able to dealing with the duty that comes with being a tank or a healer. You’ll be able to usually muddle by means of with a nasty harm supplier, but when the tank or healer sucks, it’s recreation over. I made a decision to step out of my consolation zone by taking part in these courses in FFXIV, and whereas my confidence in these roles has improved, I nonetheless get anxious when it’s time to do a narrative dungeon. I spent an unimaginable quantity of time final evening making an attempt to degree my healer to 70 as a result of, though my tank was already at degree 70 and will go on to end the ultimate dungeon, thereby ending Stormblood with time to spare, I used to be afraid of tanking that dungeon. The dungeon’s single boss struggle was so advanced with so many mechanics to keep in mind and be careful for that I believed there was no method I’d get by means of it with out killing the occasion, squandering precious time. I spent a whole lot of time I couldn’t actually afford to spare getting my healer to 70 so I may do the a lot simpler (however nonetheless extremely anxious) job of therapeutic.

For a second, there was a bond solid — and simply as fast because it got here, it was over

I reached 70 on my healer by 3AM. The servers go down in an hour, I’m bleary-eyed and hunched over my keyboard, however I made it. As soon as I end this dungeon, I’m carried out. And that ought to be a fast activity as a result of whereas harm sellers have to wait exceedingly lengthy instances to get right into a dungeon, healers don’t, as they’re usually in larger demand with a decrease provide. I entered the queue, and I waited.

And waited.

Oh shit.

What I believed can be an instantaneous queue stretched on and on as a result of my dumb, sleep-deprived ass didn’t understand that most individuals nonetheless taking part in Final Fantasy XIV an hour earlier than server upkeep most likely have higher issues to do than queuing for a dungeon from an expansion in the past.

lol i actually did assume i may slide in on the buzzer
man plans
rhalgr laughs

— Ash Piss-mad Bear Parrish (@adashtra) December 2, 2021

I waited 20 minutes — an unimaginable quantity of time as a healer — considering that my quest to end Stormblood earlier than time ran out would finish right here in failure. In fact, I may come again after upkeep and take a look at once more, however I used to be dissatisfied as a result of I had come so shut to reaching my completely bonkers objective. I appeared away to tweet my failure, my hand shifting towards the escape button as I completed so I may log off in disgrace. I nearly missed the “Responsibility Commenced” field letting me know the occasion was full and the dungeon awaited. I very almost clicked “withdraw” in shock.

Queue popped at 3:17 AM

Seems, my fears about this dungeon have been unfounded. My group made mild work of the boss, Shinryu, with barely a scratch, not to mention a loss of life. We simply blew by means of it like moist tissue paper, though the dungeon guide video I watched made me imagine this boss would wipe the occasion for the tiniest mistake. To the seven of you who queued for a Stormblood dungeon in the ultimate minutes earlier than server shutdown, thanks.

As soon as Shinryu lay lifeless, and after a number of dramatic cutscenes, I arrived at Stormblood’s finish with lower than half-hour to spare.

I gained’t miss Stormblood. It was a typical revolution story that didn’t appear to match the grandioseness of the tales that got here earlier than it. And whereas Stormblood didn’t transfer me the way in which Heavensward and A Realm Reborn did, this expertise positively improved my general impression of it. For me, Stormblood was an expansion concerning the journey, not the vacation spot, and this time, the tip of the journey was one of the best. I’ll look again on the touring companions who accompanied me by means of the ultimate minutes of Stormblood fondly, though I’ll by no means keep in mind their names nor a lot else of what occurred in this expansion. Now solely Shadowbringers stands between me and my journey to the moon in Endwalker, and from what I hear, it’s one of the best of one of the best.

Will I make it by means of Shadowbringers in time for Endwalker? In all probability not. However I’ve made ill-advised sprints through Final Fantasy content earlier than, and by the Twelve, I can do it once more.