ESTNN breaks down everything you need to know about the new Variant Dungeons and Criterion Dungeons coming to Final Fantasy XIV in patch 6.2.
Final Fantasy XIV Patch 6.2 Buried Memory means new content. And besides the Island Sanctuary, we also get two more pieces of brand new content to please both casual players and hardcore raiders alike. Here is all we know about the Variant and Criterion Dungeons!
A New Kind of Dungeon
So, before we go into the specifics of each of those new dungeons that are to come in Patch 6.25. Lets try and clarify what the concept for them looks like. And for that we need to look into the past. Final Fantasy XIV always had more linear dungeons and by the time we reached Heavensward, dungeon's usually turned into straight forward affairs with long linear hallways laced with trash mobs before a boss. By this point it is fairly formulaic and instead of focusing dungeons being unique experiences they are more about the spectacle.
Think dungeons like Doma Castle, Ghimlyt Dark, Mt. Gulg or Endwalker's Tower of Babil. And for years since, players have yearned for a more non linear experience but also one that offers a bit more of a challenge. So in the past we got the excellent Baldesion Arsenal, Castrum Lacus Litore, Delubrum Reginae (And its Savage version) and The Dalriada. These new types of dungeons seem to follow more in the vein of that content. Just no gathering an Alliance Raid for them, a light party of four people is more than enough. Which also means the team can crank up the difficulty.
But don't be fooled, this won't to replace the next Deep Dungeons. (That content is still to come in a future,) nor do they exist in order to just be vanity content either. We would assume; since the relic weapons this time around are going to be quest based, these dungeons and especially the Criterion Dungeon's will be an alternative way of getting armor sets and accessories. Or maybe something completely different. But for now, let's examine both types of dungeon to get a clearer picture.
Variant Dungeons aim to be more casual content. They'll be largely focused around narrative and exploration, while giving you the usual in terms of dungeon diving. Well, kind of. Instead of one linear path, you get to pick from several paths. Picking one locks you out of the other ones. Through this a small story will play out as you explore these new dungeons and brave their monsters and bosses. The first one, The Sil'dihn Subterrane, will include 12 story events for you to collect, but you can only acquire a select few per run. So you need to repeat the content, choosing the different paths to collect them all.
For this first adventure, we're flanked by the lovely sultana Nanamo Ul Namo of Ul'dah. And if we have to make any guesses, we're gonna uncover Ul'dah's dark secrets and the ultimate fate of its sister citystate, Sil'dihn, which it's now built upon. (Some of these secrets you can already explore by catching up on the A Realm Reborn Hildibrand quests, who's 2.5 chapter involved that mystery.)
You can play this content alone, with another player or a light party composed of 4 players. And you won't have any restriction's on roles either. As long as you're at level 90, you can make up your party however you please and there are special skills that you can select before loading into the new content to make up for any missing roles. So you can for example turn a DPS into a Tank or a Healer can make up for missing damage. And you can also queue into this content via a new duty finder system, specifically made for the Variant and Criterion Dungeons.
Director and Producer Naoki Yoshida also revealed that this content will have similar bosses across all selected paths. But despite sharing looks, each path is supposed to have its own mechanics to deal with.
The only thing we don't really know yet, is how this content will reward players. We know that there will be a mount and probably a title for completing all story paths. But everything else is still up in the air. We only know for certain that players will get personal chests to open; what the rewards will look like is still left to be seen.
Now Final Fantasy XIV veterans have been asking for harder light party content for a while now. And outside of the Deep Dungeons, Palace of the Dead and Heaven on High, there's not much to do for four player groups outside of running Blue Mage content and trying to cheese encounters form the last raid tier. So Yoshida proudly announcing that the normal difficulty of the Criterion Dungeons will be on the same level as the first three encounters of the last Savage Tier had many players excited.
Instead of having to pick and chose paths that lead through the dungeon, it'll be a linear experience. Raises will also be limited to only one raise per player. And this will only recharge after a boss is slain. To reach a boss, players have to clear out monsters roaming the maze. But, unlike other dungeons, just pulling everything wall to wall will guarantee a wipe. Naoki Yoshida warned players that pulling more than one enemy at a time will end up in disaster and it is up to players to position and pull monsters in the right order to smoothly advance to the next boss.
What that means exactly is unclear, but we can assume that you will have to make good use of those stuns, damage debuffs and slow/sleep effects that usually don't see much use outside of questing and Deep Dungeons. So taking a ranged class or a caster with you should prove a good idea. Oh and you have to enter these with a regular light party of four. Which means a Tank, a Healer and two DPS. And unlike the Variant Dungeons you won't be able to make up for any deficits by choosing optional skills.
And since the party is smaller compared to your usual high end content, it also means that fights will be a lot more fast paced. So expect them to be jam packed with mechanics. In the normal version players can completely wipe and just pick up where they left off. Meaning you can throw yourself at the content as much and long as you want. But it's also unclear for this kind of content what the rewards will actually look like. Again we can only assume that it will probably be an alternative way to get gear, farm tomestones or maybe it'll really just be cosmetics, mounts and titles to show off.
Did we mention there is also a Savage version for this content? Yes, while the normal version of the Criterion Dungeons starts out on the same level as the last tier's Savage difficulty, the Savage version's of the Criterion Dungeons are a different beast. Not only will the dungeon reset whenever the party wipes, but the longer you take to clear our the entire dungeon the harder enemies will hit you eventually. And if that wasn't enough yet, apparently monsters attacks won't even have indicators for what they'll do. Which means you'll probably have to practice lots in the normal version to get the timings down.
Ask and you shall receive. We've been asking for harder small group content for years now and this is what we get. Suffering. And that's not all by a long shot. The team plans to release two more Variant and Criterion Dungeons over the course of Endwalker's patch schedule and if the content is well received, we might even see more of it in 7.0 and beyond. Both the Criterion Dungeons and the Variant Dungeons will release with Patch 6.25. As a reminder, Patch 6.2 is planned to release on August 23, 2022 and the X.X5 Patches usually release around two months into the new Patch.
And since they'll release with the new set of relic weapons, it is safe to assume that you'll need full sets of the new armor that'll release with the new raid tier to challenge the Savage difficulty…
As always we'll keep you updated, should we receive any more information on this new and exciting content and you can find a summary of the entire Letter from the Producer LIVE 72 here.
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