Do you remember Final Fantasy XIV’s Hard dungeons? The concept started back in A Realm Reborn, where they were remixed versions of leveling dungeons with slightly-harder mechanics and continuing storylines. This carried partially into Heavensward; Stormblood’s two Hard dungeons were entirely their own thing. The concept hasn’t been seen since.
Dungeons are generally the thing you do while leveling and then continue to do in your daily Duty Roulette. You’ve gotten the story once and are past that, you’re just repeating the same content on the same level of difficulty.
The FFXIV team has some ideas on how to improve that experience, however. During today’s Live Letter From the Producer, they revealed Variant and Criterion dungeons. These new types of dungeon content are aimed in two directions, hoping to provide a new experience for casual and hardcore PVE players alike.
What Are Variant Dungeons?
The Variant dungeons are what were previously announced as Criterion dungeons. These are dungeons that are tuned for one to four players, scaling enemy strength as the number of players increases. If you use the Duty Finder, you’ll have a full party of four, but you can also run Variant dungeons solo or with up to two friends. Unlike standard dungeons, there are no role restrictions in place and you can switch Jobs.
The first Variant dungeon is The Sil’dihn Subterrane. The name suggests that the dungeon is under some region, while the single screenshot shown points to it being a series of ruins. The name leans towards the dungeon being somewhere in Thanalan.
According to Yoshida, players will run the dungeon with a very talkative NPC. In fact, Variant dungeons are intended to be story-heavy. The dungeon has different paths depending on what players do, and you can only experience the full story by doing multiple playthroughs.
What Are Criterion Dungeons?
Wait, we said Variant dungeons are the system that was previously called “Criterion” dungeons, right? Yes, that is true. There is, however, another new system called Criterion Dungeons! These are dungeons aimed in the other direction.
Criterion dungeons are high-difficulty versions of the normal Variant dungeons. Party restrictions return — one Tank, one Healer, and two DPS — and they fall into two flavors. There’s the base version and then the Savage iteration, similar to raid dungeons.
The first of these will be Another Sil’dihn Subterrane, the Criterion version of the above Variant dungeon. Parties of fewer than four will be supplemented by matchmaking. Not only is the dungeon harder, but also standard resurrection spells won’t work. Instead, the party has a limited number of revival actions. Once you’re out of those, you’re done!
Then there’s Another Sil’dihn Subterrane (Savage). You need to have a pre-made party for this version. Like before, resurrection spells won’t work, but there aren’t any revival actions to act as a safety net. If you die, you’re gone. Worse: if the entire party dies, all defeated enemies will revive, forcing you to tackle them again.
There’s an extra shadow looming over the Savage version as well. Enemies will become much stronger in the dungeon if they’re not defeated within a certain time limit. Think of it as a dungeon-wide enrage timer.
These new dungeon types are intended to provide some more variety for dungeons. Variants allow solo players or smaller parties to tackle some new story content that changes each time. Criterion dungeons give hardcore raiders some smaller group content to work with.
“We managed to implement a lot of different content with varying difficulties, I hope everyone can find the type of content they enjoy the most,” said Yoshida during the Live Letter, according to a translation from the FFXIV Discord.
When Are Variant and Criterion Dungeons Releasing?
There’s no indication of what kinds of rewards will drop from the dungeons. Will Savage offer high Item Level gear? More capped tomestones? Or perhaps there are mounts, achievements, or other items that can be rewarded. We won’t know until Patch 6.25 drops, and that’s a few months away.
Patch 6.18 will be dropping on July 5, while Patch 6.2 is planned for a release in late August. That puts Patch 6.25 in late September or early October. We’ll see how the community takes to the new dungeons later this year, it seems.
We have plenty more on Live Letter 71 and FFXIV Patch 6.2, so be sure to check out our coverage on The Linkshell. Check out what we learned about the next Tribal Quests with the Omicron on Ultima Thule, which will focus on gathering. We also got information on Island Sanctuary, the new relic weapons through the Hildibrand quests, the next MSQ dungeon called The Fell Court of Troia, and much more.