In Live Letter on July 1, 2022, Naoki Yoshida, Lead Producer and Director of Final Fantasy XIV, revealed a brand new feature for the game called Variant Dungeons. This new feature, previously referred to as Criterion Dungeons, is a series of dungeons of varying difficulty, containing both narrative and casual elements, as well as more hardcore elements.
Variant Dungeons are divided into two types: Variant Dungeons, which are more casual, narrative content; and Another Path or Criterion Dungeons.
What are variant dungeons in FFXIV?
Variant dungeons are Level 90 content for 1-4 players, or four players if matchmade together. There are no role restrictions and job changes are allowed within the content. Enemy strength is determined by party size, and the path of progression branches based on player progress. This means branching path dungeons with multiple endings that can be collected through multiple playthroughs.
The underground of Sild’Dihn
The first variant dungeon is called The underground of Sild’Dihn, and will see you “explore the depths together with a certain person.” Fans have already speculated that this will be G’raha Tia, whom the in-game avatar has promised many times to take with him on his next adventure. In The Sild’Dihn Subterrane you will experience a different story depending on the path you choose, although all stories can be experienced if you play through multiple games. In this dungeon you will be accompanied by NPCs.
Related: What is the island sanctuary in Final Fantasy XIV? – Everything you need to know
What are Other Path / Criterion Dungeons in FFXIV?
Another Path or Criterion dungeons are level 90 content with high difficulty for groups of 4 players. The parties must form a light party (one tank, one healer, two DPS) and while visually similar to variant dungeons, these will not feature a branching path. Instead, these dungeons will have a predetermined route and no NPCs.
Another underground from Sild’Dihn
The first Another Path dungeon will be Another underground from Sild’Dihn. Normal revival methods are forbidden in Another Path’s dungeons, but each player is granted a limited number of revive actions. Defeated enemies remain dead after group KO.
Another Subterranean Sild’Dihn (Savage)
In this more difficult version, you must pre-form your entire party as matchmaking and duty finder are unavailable. There is no resurrection of any kind, and if you K/O, all enemies will be resurrected. In addition, the entire dungeon is practically at one entrance, with enemies becoming much stronger if not defeated within a certain time limit!
Overall, this is incredibly interesting new content. Dungeons have been casual affairs for most of their existence, with most players running dungeons quickly after the first clear. Final Fantasy XIV will be getting some tough content for the 4-player party for the first time in a long time.
For more Final Fantasy XIV news, guides, and information, check out the July Live Letter on Pro Game Guides.
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