Final Fantasy XIV Endwalker - How long is maintenance and when is early access?

Final Fantasy XIV is preparing for the end of an era this week as Endwalker begins its early access period. As usual, you'll experience the extra-long maintenance downtime and transition from the headstart period into 6.0's "full" launch on December 7. 

It's kind of a confusing process, but if you pre-order Endwalker, you can play on December 3. Pre-orders don't close after that date, so there's no rush if you have to wait a day or two before paying up. There's no big difference in what you play this week or next, but if you want to know when the game goes down in your timezone and when's the soonest you can begin - we've got it all explained here. 

 FFXIV Endwalker Maintenance | When do servers go offline?

Final Fantasy XIV's servers go down the day before Endwalker begins, so that means the game is offline on December 2. It'll remain that way at least a full 24 hours before you can play, so if you have any loose ends to tie up you should try to finish on Wednesday.  Here's when the game is expected to start maintenance in your timezone: 

  • PST - Thursday, December 2, 1am
  • MST - Thursday, December 2, 2am
  • CST - Thursday, December 2, 3am
  • EST - Thursday, December 2, 4am
  • GMT - Thursday, December 2, 9am
  • JST - Thursday, December 2, 6pm
  • AEDT - Thursday, December 2, 8pm

 FFXIV Endwalker | When can I play? 

Square Enix typically finishes maintenance within the estimated timeframe, so any early word on expected completion times is a safe bet to schedule around. North American servers (Primal, Aether, and Crystal) open back up for players with an early access code on December 3, and you can log in again at the following times: 

  • PST - Friday, December 3, 1am
  • MST - Friday, December 3, 2am
  • CST - Friday, December 3, 3am
  • EST - Friday, December 3, 4am
  • GMT - Friday, December 3, 9am
  • JST - Friday, December 3, 6pm
  • AEDT - Friday, December 3, 8pm

 How to download Endwalker early

Just because Final Fantasy XIV is down, it doesn't mean you can't update your game early. Square Enix typically sends the patch files live before the servers go back online during maintence, which means you can be ready to go as soon as Endwalker begins. Download speeds vary, but even in patches prior to the MMO's popularity jump, new versions usually update slowly as players flood in for new content

Watch the Lodestone updates carefully, or keep an eye on Final Fantasy XIV's Twitter account where they make those announcements. You can try to log into the client during maintenance, and once the files are live your game will automatically begin to update once opened. Usually, it's hours before maintenance is over, so it's worth trying if you want to play Endwalker with your friends the second version 6.0 begins.