Final Fantasy XIV is a very solid MMO with a solid player base and a solid formula for content types and releases. We know, for example, the next patch will be getting two new level 60 dungeons, which will probably phase out the current two dungeons that make up the Expert Roulette. We know that every other patch we’ll see new 8-man raid content released for Alexander. We know that between those patches, we’ll see new 24-man alliance raids that follow in the footsteps of Void Ark.
While I’m grateful that we see this kind of consistent content, and always impressed by the size of the regular patches the team produces, it’s hard not to feel like you can pretty much foretell what you’re going to be playing once you’ve finished the story line for the newest patch.
Dungeons and raids become memorized pretty quickly, and go on farm status within the first week or two of release now days. I’ve never been a fan of speed running and farming when it relates to Roulettes, but if you want to progress, you gotta build your own party or put up with what the PUG community gives you.
I’m the type of person who can absorb and memorize a dungeon and boss mechanics by playing it a few times – and there’s a certain kind of satisfaction to knowing your way around things. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that as much as I love FFXIV, sometimes I want something a little less predictable. Sometimes I itch to explore and not know what’s coming. And even more importantly, I long for experiences that aren’t just on farm mode.
So, when I heard about the team’s ideas for Deep Dungeons, I jumped for joy.
The Palace of the Dead
This information came out of the blue, an announcement at PAX, which was clarified a bit in the newest Live Letter. Suddenly, Yoshi-P was painting a picture of a dungeon that was never the same twice, had its own form of progression, and was built for up to 4 people to challenge.
We don’t know a whole lot about this dungeon, called the Palace of the Dead, but what information has been released is exciting. I think this is just what FFXIV needs to shake up content for folks who would prefer something different than the daily Roulette and weekly raids.
So, we’ve got the Palace of the Dead, which is going to be located somewhere in the Black Shroud. It’s described as a “bottomless” dungeon that is home to all sorts of undead baddies.
The dungeon is designed for 4 players to enter, but it sounds like you can go in with any number of folks. Keep in mind that solo play is meant to be “hard mode,” so while it’s possible, it’s going to be challenging. You will be able to use the Duty Finder to bring a party into the Palace, however.
Your current level and item level will have no effect on this dungeon. While you do need to be at least level 17 on any class to enter, once you get in the dungeon, you start back at level 1. You grow stronger by leveling and finding gear within the dungeon itself. We don’t yet know what kind of gear this will be, but it was confirmed during the Live Letter that the gear you find there can be used outside of the Deep Dungeon.
As you progress, you will find lamps that provide buffs or debuffs. You’ll also run across save points where you will revive should you happen to die during your exploration. Some floors will feature bosses as well. Though we don’t know anything about these bosses yet, we can assume the mechanics will be something you can handle as a solo player if you choose to.
Just Some Speculation
The few screenshots we have from the presentation slides show a dark, stone dungeon environment, as you’d probably expect from something called the Palace of the Dead. It’s noted that the deeper you go into the dungeon, the atmosphere will change. How it changes wasn’t expanded on, however, and I figure the team wants to leave some surprise to it.
Another interesting note from the Live Letter is that your level and progress are recorded at the save points. This makes me curious about whether leaving the dungeon and re-entering it will put you back at level 1 again. Many of these types of delving games will do that – reset something you’ve earned in the dungeon (items, gold, levels, etc) while leaving something else as a kind of currency to help make future runs a little bit easier in the beginning. After all, it’s not much fun to make no progress at all.
From the sound of it, we will get to keep whatever gear we find within the dungeon, so I’m going to wager if level is reset, we’re going to be relying on gear to help us delve down deeper each time. One of the pictures shows a pretty nifty glowing sword, for example, and folks commenting on that image instantly were interested in it for glamour purposes.
Release and the Future
The Palace of the Dead is set to be released with patch 3.35. Seeing we haven’t quite seen a date nailed down for patch 3.3 yet, it’s hard to estimate when this will see release, other than saying “soon.” It can’t be too far out there, however, because the Feast Season 1 is also scheduled to end with patch 3.35. So can we hope for this to come late summer/early fall?
It seems the team already has the designs for more floors to the dungeon in mind, however. One of the points during the announcement touted that new floors will be added with future updates. They also want to add a score ranking system. This is, from what I understand, for solo players. So if you have a competitive streak for PvE content, here’s where you can push your skills to the limits!
Speak of skills… I also have to wonder how being reset to level 1 effects that. Do we keep all of the skills we’ve unlocked in normal play, or do we have to struggle to unlock skills when in the Deep Dungeon level by level? Or will we see a completely different skill set that puts all classes on a more level playing ground?
I’d love for Deep Dungeons to be a challenge that focuses on player’s skills, not what class the player has chosen. Because, we all know there are some jobs out there that are just slightly more overpowered than others.
We’ll hear more information about upcoming features, and hopefully about Deep Dungeons, during the next Live Letter, which is set for May 22. Until then, we’ll just have to speculate and hope that the Palace of the Dead will be awesome!Related: Column, Dungeon, Eorzean Evening Post, Final Fantasy XIV, Update