Variant Dungeons (and their bigger, meaner sibling Criterion Dungeons) were introduced to Final Fantasy XIV in Patch 6.25, and with them came a feature that was rarely before seen in other Duties – choice. These dungeons are a unique spin on the type of content that players have grown accustomed to and allow more freedom by having branching paths, multiple endings, and Variant Actions that can change the makeup of the party’s composition.
At the time of writing, there is one normal difficulty Variant Dungeon, The Sil’dihn Subterrane, and its more difficult Criterion Dungeon counterparts, Another Sil’dihn Subterrane and Another Sil’dihn Subterrane (Savage). The base version can be unlocked with the quest “A Key to the Past” and must be completed before the tougher versions can be accessible.
How to Unlock “A Key to the Past”
Warriors of Light that have a Disciple of War or Magic job at level 90 and an item level of 575 must first have completed the Main Scenario Quest “Endwalker” before taking the quest “An Odd Job” from Osmon in Old Sharlayan (X: 12, Y: 13.4). This quest isn’t really a quest at all, since it completes after having a quick chat with the NPC. This unlocks the Variant and Criterion (V&C) Dungeon Finder, but you haven’t unlocked the Variant Dungeon itself yet.
Upon completion of “An Odd Job,” the quest “A Key to the Past” is now accessible by talking to Shallow Moor just nearby in Old Sharlayan (X: 12.0, Y: 13.3). You will unlock the Sil’dihn Subterrane after just the second step.
How to Unlock Criterion Dungeons
Criterion Dungeons at their core are the same as their base versions, but their difficulty is compared more to Extreme Trials, or as the Criterion (Savage) name implies, Savage Raids. Enemies deal significantly more damage, the bosses have more mechanics, and Variant Actions are much more restricted.
After “A Key to the Past” is completed and players have reached one of the dozen endings of Sil’dihn Subterrane, speaking to Osmon again in Old Sharlayan (X: 12, Y: 13.4) will unlock Another Sil’dihn Subterrane. Parties will need to be much more prepared as this dungeon’s requirement jumps to item level 610.
Another Sil’dihn Subterrane (Savage) is unlocked in a similar fashion to the previous version. Once a party has completed the Criterion Dungeon, speaking to Osmon once more will grant access to the Savage version. While it’s mechanically similar to Another Sil’dihn Subterrane, the item level requirement is 635, living up to its Savage difficulty.
Mount Rokkon, a new Variant Dungeon and its Criterion counterparts, is set to arrive in Patch 6.45. The full details of what’s needed to unlock the new Variant Dungeon aren’t currently known, but it has been stated that completion of Sil’dihn Subterrane will not be a requirement.