Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail

Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail

released on Jul 02, 2024

Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail

released on Jul 02, 2024

An expansion for Final Fantasy XIV Online

Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail is the fifth expansion pack to Final Fantasy XIV. The expansion will bring an abundance of fresh content, including an increased level cap, multiple new jobs, sprawling new areas, new allied tribes, new dungeons, and new core battle content such as FATEs, Hunts, Treasure Hunts, and sidequests, and much more.

Also in series

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth
Final Fantasy VII Rebirth
Final Fantasy XVI
Final Fantasy XVI
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin
Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker
Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker

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you all are too mean to Wuk Lamat

I don't have it in me to write something elaborate about the last 100 hours I spent here but I will say some brief points:

- Wuk Lamat rules and you all cannot match her freak
- The final dungeon and trial are the absolute best "final dungeon/trial" of any expansion thus far.
- Splitting this expac into two parts was a great decision
- Pictomancer is genuinely my new favorite class in the entire game
- I love the increase in difficulty

I'll see you all in a couple days for the Arcadion

To cut it short: fightings and graphical update are 5/5, story really didn't resonated with me.
I'm not surprised to see so many mixed feelings about it, also Wuk Lamat is a super lovable character but she at some point she was just too much overbearing for me.
And the shonen main character tropes didn't helped me to enjoy her presence.

Also same problem as always on EVERY game produced by Yoshi-P: the story telling is terrible and a lot of times that waste a lot of good narrative ideas, that are executed very poorly.

I will preface this by saying I'm biased as fuck and this game would have to be at the lowest of lows for me to really hate it. That being said while I do love this expansion, this is the most mixed I have ever felt towards this game and it's a shame. This review contains out of context, non-direct spoilers for Dawntrail.

I'll start with the problems. Wuk Lamat. I don't really need to say more, I'm sure every complaint that could be had has already been said. My main problem with her, however, doesn't lie so much in the characters writing, though I do have some issues there, but more so the presentation and presence of the character. She is every where, and it gets a little overbearing. I probably could have gotten over this, but her ENG VA kinda sucks. None of the key moments felt like they hit the right emotion, and this character that is ever present feels hard to believe.

It's really immersion breaking when this game has had nothing but good VAs since Heavensward, only to have the most recent expansions main character fall short. VAs mean a lot to me, especially for immersion and feeling for characters; they make the character. The more I played the game the more I wished I had swapped to JP VA, but I chose to stay as I am deeply attached to the scions ENG VAs. That decision really haunted me, but especially in the final trial. That whole moment felt so unearned and poorly delivered it killed much of the momentum I felt.

She is also very much a Mary Sue, and while her whole arc is about learning and improving, the mistakes she makes are never quite consequential. It feels like a real slap in the face to be presented a character who is supposed to be really "flawed" but learns everything she's given almost perfectly with little to no pushback.

Other than that, I felt a lack of a sense of direction and purpose in the second half of the expansion. This game is known to have pacing issues given the structure of the story, but I never quite felt them until here. We're supposed to believe our tasks are extremely urgent and should be our main priority, yet we're meandering and exploring. It doesn't help that the size of areas and relatively slow speed your characters permeate said meandering. By the last area I felt this problem mostly go away.

The major themes also felt largely too similar to Shadowbringers, as well as executed worse than Shadowbringers. While I do think they created an interest premise and delivery with those themes, I couldn't help but feel a little underwhelmed because the game had already tackled the subjects.

I cannot give a full opinion on the subject of classes yet, as I haven't gotten to play every job at max level yet, but a majority of the jobs changes feel uninspired and lackadaisical. Their given excuse for this was focusing on the encounter design instead, which they have held up to so far. Even so, I can't help but feel that jobs feeling mostly the same for 5-6 years in a row will be unhealthy for the playerbase. Jobs continue to be more and more simple, and it feels as if we get so little in return.

Now for the good, this is the best the story content has felt design wise. Many fights felt like a breath of fresh air and were genuinely interesting to do as a newcomer, compared to their recent formula which felt quite repetitive. The trials specifically were all very fun this time around, and were visual spectacles too.

The graphics update has vastly improved the games environments and models, and you can especially see these improvements in the new areas. Every one of them felt quite unique and beautiful in their own way while still keeping the FFXIV artstyle well intact. Where I feel the change is most noticeable, however, is on the player characters and npcs. Their quality feels improved by tenfold, and it's instantly noticeable as soon as you go into a cutscene. This honestly feels like one of the best improvements as you spend a majority of cutscenes staring at characters anyways.

The new jobs, Pictomancer and Viper, are fucking AMAZING. I've played both of them in the new extremes and it is some of the most fun I've had playing jobs, only next to EW BLM (rip!). I think it made me realize what I really enjoy from this games classes is decision making, not a large amount of buttons. Both of the jobs feel extremely rewarding for making correct decisions and have a bunch of small optimizations that make there feel like there will be a lot of room for improvement fight to fight. All while being some of the simplest to understand jobs in the game. I feel as if they're testing the water for 8.0 and beyond job design, and I think I would be completely okay with this. I used to be averse to button consolidation and feared that making 123s 1 button would be boring, but I've come to realize my problem more so lies with not having much to do outside of the 123s. Most jobs in the game spend their time in-between bursts just pressing their basic combos and it can get feel pretty boring and rigid. While I feel Viper can feel a little lacking in identity and feels mostly "Viper-like" in name, I don't necessarily mind because the job is super slick and fun regardless. Pictomancer on the other hand, is very vibrant and outstanding in its design. I think they really outdid themselves when designing this job, and everything about it is just oozing with color and fun. The one issue I do have is that Viper feels like it does not change at all from level 1-89 and I would not see myself playing the job synced down. Pictomancer feels fine in this aspect.

The new extremes have felt like such a breath of fresh air, and I'm quite excited to see how future difficult content looks. I'm especially fond of the first one, which I think does quite a good job of keeping things fresh and fun while still maintaining difficulty compared to most extremes.

The music in this expansion is also TOP TIER. I think it might be the most consistently good OST we've had so far in FFXIV. Just nonstop back to back greatness. There was so much genre variety as well. From Latin-inspired jazz, to lo-fi, to trap, to gospel, to bass: it was a great expansion to have headphones to say the least. I will be permanently AFKing in Solution Nine, and I can't wait to see what greatness we get in Arcadion. I'm hoping for some synthwave or jazz-fusion, and I will donate my firstborn to Soken if it happens.

Overall, though I have major problems, I do think the story managed to hit where it needed to, and there were definitely many standout moments per usual FFXIV greatness. It was a fun adventure as always. As an FF9 Fan and an FF10 fan, there were so many sections of the game that had me geeking out. The last area was such a unique experience and I do think it made me remorseful. The lore bits they've laid out do have me extremely interested to see where we go moving forward. Now I wait for Arcadion savage.

At the end of the day, this is just divisive story with fun battle content. Welcome back Stormblood.

Really solid expansion, among the best of the series to me. I really enjoyed it the whole way through, even during the slower paced opening which I know a lot of people didn't like. it has a really solid and consistent theming and messaging that helps tie those early arcs together into the overall story really effectively.

That said, and I do hate to say it, I think a lot of really solid and important moments are unfortunately held back by Wuk Lamat's English voice acting. It's not a consistently average performance, there's a lot of points where the delivery is on the level I'd expect, but a looooot of it is unfortunately average and undersells a lot of really big moments. And it's a shame because I think it generally is going to impact peoples overall view of the character, which I do think is a good character. But oh well. Japanese dub players win this round for now