First off, let me just say that I did enjoy FFXIV Endwalker as a whole, but there were several parts of it that made me want to throw in the towel and forget about ever finishing. Fortunately, I had some very good friends that kept nudging and pulling me onward to continue and complete the MSQ on my Star Kitty, D’azri Estrela. As far as who dragged me? I had to drag myself at times.
I’m not going to divulge a lot of details about Endwalker’s story because that can all be found online elsewhere and there are differing opinions on it. I’m only going to share what I enjoyed, what I struggled with, and how I found the motivation to keep going. Everyone’s experience of the game is different because our life experiences are all different.
There were parts of the MSQ that occurred during very wrong times of my life and my biggest struggle sometimes was finding the desire to play a game called “Endwalker” when I’d been dealing with losing two beloved pets in a relatively short period of time. I didn’t want to deal with “the end” any more than I already was. But as my dear friend Jack has told me many times, Endwalker isn’t about the end of life, it’s more about beginnings, seeing all the good in life, and being able to keep moving forward. And thus, I kept moving forward, and I walked on.
Now when I’d struggle in Endwalker (or Stormblood or Shadowbringers), it was usually due to having to play as an NPC with skills I was unfamiliar with. Or having to do a special duty to fight someone or other for some silly reason such as the privilege of riding their golden, flying dog.
I much prefer to play as the class I know the best, which is dancer, and thus when I have to play as a tank or healer, or some other kind of class and have only a few of that class’s usual abilities, I get annoyed. Plus, if the required challenge has a lot of magical attacks on the floor and the need to move quickly, I struggle with that because I have rather terrible lag due to an older laptop. The more things going on in the fight, the more it slows down my computer and by that same token, my character movements.
So my poor friends had to listen to a lot of whining, complaining, and grumbling from me when I’d fail a duty for any of the reasons listed previously. Some duties I would fail numerous times, even on very easy mode, and that’s when I’d have to step away from the Endwalker MSQ for a bit and do other things. I know lots of people don’t get all wound up about things in a game like I do, and I envy them. But for me, I get wrapped up in self-doubt and just feel like an idiot because if everyone else can do it and I can’t, there must be something wrong with me. I really do the best I can but I’m not a great gamer and I’m limited by the technology I have. So when a game stops being fun for me, I need to take a break…and I won’t say go touch grass because I have a yard full of grass in real life and I hate mowing it, so I don’t need to touch it. 😉
I enjoyed most of Endwalker’s story and I loved all of the locations except the very last zone, but there were parts that did drag a bit and seemed unnecessary. But I think that happens in any game and those parts did contribute to the story overall. The FFXIV developers like to make sure they don’t leave any stone unturned, and I appreciate and admire them for that! If you think they’ve left a loose end somewhere, I can pretty much guarantee that they’ve wrapped it up or made mention of it in side quests somewhere. I actually have proof of that in a way that surprised me.
During one of the times when I had to step away from the Endwalker MSQ, my friend Jack suggested I try doing some of the Stormblood raid content and he offered to do the content with me. So I started in on the Omega Raids and he and I found those all very enjoyable! The story was great, the fights were interesting, and I got to hang out with my favorite divorced couple, Cid and Nero, and meet the ridiculously adorable Alpha! I highly recommend those raids to anyone who hasn’t done them yet.
Well, later on when I was towards the end of Endwalker, there came a point in the MSQ where I got a special dialogue option because I’d already done the Omega Raids. I was so happy to see that detail that I actually laughed and clapped in real life. It’s such a wonderful thing to see that the developers pay attention to their story details and make special content for those who have played the different parts. It makes me want to try and catch up on various side content before the next expansion comes out and I imagine I have plenty of time to do that.
My favorite area of Endwalker was definitely Elpis and I enjoyed all the quests I did there with Emet-Selch, Hythlodaeus, and of course, Venat. I loved the interaction between Emet and Hyth and I loved being all sneaky as “Azem’s familiar.” Hyth was my spirit animal because he too knew what it felt like to prove unexpectedly useful when push came to shove. And well Venat is my soul sister and she was a lot of fun to hang out with, aside from the golden, flying dog incident…
I think the character I developed the biggest crush on during Endwalker was Estinien because he always seemed to show up right when I needed him. I really appreciate how much his character changed and developed during Heavensward, through Stormblood and Shadowbringers, and into Endwalker. I do sometimes wonder what would’ve happened if he’d found himself in The First with the other Scions during Shadowbringers, but he managed to avoid that particular fate. Regardless, I’m sure he would’ve handled it in his usual no-nonsense way.
By the time I reached the very last duty of Endwalker where I had to fight someone I’m really rather tired of fighting, I’d been through quite an emotional rollercoaster, both in the MSQ and in real life. I very nearly failed that last duty, which wouldn’t have been the end of the world because I could’ve tried again on very easy. But somehow I managed to complete it on normal mode and on the first try, which is a miracle for me really. As I told my friends after I’d done it, hatred and anger can be very big motivators!
I was so relieved when I finished that duty and the credits began to roll because I could finally just sit back and breathe and let the cutscenes unfold before me knowing that my fighting was done for a while.
Endwalker made me cry several times and of course, the ending made me cry too. As much as I struggled with the MSQ of Endwalker and previous expansions, now that I’ve managed to survive it all, I feel better about myself and I know that if I need to, I can do it again on other characters.
Endwalker really is about appreciating all you have, knowing that you don’t have to carry your burdens alone, and that no matter how dark it gets, the light will always return. I really wanted to give the entire FFXIV community a huge hug of camaraderie when I finished the expansion, but I’m too shy to speak to most people, so that didn’t happen. Maybe someday. But for now I just go where there’s a big crowd of people and try to feel like I’m part of something bigger.
And while I may not always believe in myself, I’m grateful that my good friends believe in me and that they’re always there to nudge, drag, pull, and cheerlead me on when I need it.