A Guide To FFXIV’s A Realm Reborn Era Dungeons (Now That Square Has Changed Them)

A Guide To FFXIV’s A Realm Reborn Era Dungeons (Now That Square Has Changed Them)
Image: Final Fantasy XIV Online/Square Enix

The problem with MMOs having such long lives is that older content sometimes ends up neglected, and unloved. Final Fantasy XIV Online has officially entered this Update The Old Stuff era.

In Final Fantasy XIV Online‘s recent 6.1 patch, all the dungeons from the A Realm Reborn expansion received a graphical and lighting upgrade. Main story dungeons have been changed to make them more engaging and introduce mechanics to bring them more in line with newer content. The only optional dungeon to see changes is Dzemael Darkhold. Some of the fights are now solo instances, and the two big dungeons are now four-player experiences.

With the addition of Duty Support, all main story content can be completed with AI companions.

To help you understand what’s changed dungeon-to-dungeon, we’ve put together a quick and handy reference guide. This guide will not only highlight the changes to each dungeon and boss, but will also give you an idea of how to take them on. With that, let’s party up and join the dungeon queue. Don’t worry, I’m a tank. I’ve got you.

 

A Guide To FFXIV’s A Realm Reborn Era Dungeons (Now That Square Has Changed Them)
They’ll get more confident. Screenshot: Renee O’Flynn/Final Fantasy XIV Online

Duty Support 

The new Duty Support team is a massive improvement to the old Adventurer Squadrons. Adventurer Squadrons allowed players to take control of soldiers within their Grand Company. Once they’d accrued enough NPC recruits, players could deploy the soldiers during special missions for rewards. They were designed to allow players to run dungeons solo while still having a bit of support. Unfortunately, the soldiers didn’t really interact meaningfully with the dungeons. They tended to stand in the middle of AOE attacks and wouldn’t help complete any of the dungeon mechanics. Duty Support reworks this system, using the NPCs to teach players how a dungeon is supposed to be played. These squads will always be made up of the same four people. Duty Support characters emit battle chatter during dungeons, changing as they grow into their assigned dungeon roles. 

 

A Guide To FFXIV’s A Realm Reborn Era Dungeons (Now That Square Has Changed Them)
Look at that fancy Tankbuster marker! Screenshot: Renee O’Flynn/Final Fantasy XIV Online

 

A short glossary of terms and markers in Final Fantasy XIV

During boss fights, FFXIV uses on-screen markers to alert players to incoming enemy moves. There are places, especially in the end game, where these tells and telegraphs are less common. Older content from A Realm Reborn would splash enemy markers all over the place, but as of patch 6.1, they’ve been reigned in to sit more neatly against recent expansions. 

As we proceed, you’ll see me use a lot of the following terms. To help you out, I’ve created a simple glossary you can refer to in the event that you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.

Adds

Short for additional enemies 

AOE

Area of Effect. These can be circles, cones, lines and doughnuts. Their placement is independent of the player and will either be in the same place each time, or whichever way the enemy is facing.

Tank buster

The tank uses a cooldown move to mitigate incoming enemy damage.

Partywide AOE

A huge area-denial move that leaves you with nowhere to run. These moves have no tell and cannot be avoided. It is the healer’s job to repair the damage done. 

Targeted AOE

This is an AOE that will target one particular player.

Party Target AOE

These moves target every member of the party at the place they were standing when it was cast. Players need to move out of the area to avoid it.

Pushback/Pull-in AOE

Does no or little damage, but will move players around. Means you have to watch your footwork. If you’re badly placed, you may be knocked over cliffs or into other AOE attacks.

Two phase AOE/Sequential AOE

These are AOE attacks that operate like a one-two punch. These usually manifest as a pair of AOE attacks that explode in sequence, one and then the other. The trick with these moves is to stand where the second AOE zone appears and move to the first the moment it explodes. There’s a three-phase version of this attack as well. The same principle for avoiding it applies: stand in the third zone, move to the first the moment it explodes.

Waterfall AOE

This is a series of AOEs that cover the arena in overlapping circles. There will be a slight time gap between each zone exploding. 

Continuous AOE

A continuous AOE is one that stays active for a duration. Ice AOEs frequently have this feature, like a blizzard that stays in one place for a short time. 

Gaze AOE

These attacks are either a clear cone or are a room-wide attack. You’ll know them by the eye marker appearing above an enemy’s head. Players must look away to avoid the effects.

Prey marker

The prey marker means that player is going to be targeted for an attack. The attack will chase them for the duration it’s around.  

Stack marker

Every other marker up to this point has meant marker = bad, so stack markers are notorious for confusing new players. Unlike the previous markers, players need to stack on the person with the marker so they can share the damage, otherwise the marked player will die. 

What’s changed from dungeon to dungeon?

Satasha 

Satasha has very minor changes. They have added a few scurvy dog enemies in the corridor after the first boss and removed a table in the captain’s quarters. This table was annoying and would often block line of sight, preventing attacks. Players could get stuck on it too. 

Bosses 

None of the bosses have been changed. 

 

Tam-Tara Deepcroft 

No gameplay changes. Pretty wild. It is the same as it has ever been.

A Guide To FFXIV’s A Realm Reborn Era Dungeons (Now That Square Has Changed Them)
Copper, copper, copper. Screenshot: Renee O’Flynn/Final Fantasy XIV Online

Copperbell Mines 

Some spriggans are called Spriggan Copper Copper. This is supposed to say Spriggan Copper Carrier, but someone made a boo-boo. Enemies on the wooden boardwalks are spaced out better and all the fire sand is in the room that requires it. 

No more waiting for Kottos to spawn while killing waves of mobs. He has his own arena now, with mechanics. The next area has had its lighting changed in a drastic way. They’ve also removed an open steel door. Just before the last boss was two enemies which could not be avoided. These are now gone.  

Bosses 

Kottos 

Tank Buster: Grand slam 

Sequential AOE: Lumbering leap. Three large circular AOEs that covers the north, south and either the east or west of the arena. Best tactic is to wait until the second AOE shows up to know whether it’s going to be east or west. The AOEs will go off in the order they appeared. 

Targeted Cone AOE: Colossal slam. After the third Lumbering leap AOE, Kottos will target a player and unleash a cone-shaped AOE. 

Target AOE:  Catapult. Kottos will target a player and throw a rock at them. It’s usually a DPS 

 

Ichorous Ire 

Tank buster: Fluid Spread 

AOE: Divide. Ichorous Ire will cover two parts of the arena in bits of slime. They will become a bunch of AOEs that will explode.  

Targeted AOE: Syrup.  

 

Gyges the Great 

Tank Buster: Grand Slam 

Doughnut AOE: Gigantic Swing. Move close to Gyges to avoid.  

Sequential AOE: Gigantic Smash. Move away from Gyges to avoid it, but watch out of the four AOEs that will show up after the centre one. The centre one will go off first, followed by the four others. 

Targeted cone AOE: Colossal Slam 

 

A Guide To FFXIV’s A Realm Reborn Era Dungeons (Now That Square Has Changed Them)
It’s uh, very green. Image: Renee O’Flynn/Final Fantasy XIV Online

Thousand Maws of Totorak 

This dungeon is now linear. This means it’s now impossible to get lost or wind up facing the wrong direction. Any offshoots from the core path have been removed, and chests are now dotted along the core path as a breadcrumb trail. Previous annoyances like exploding pods and the annoying green goop are gone, and now only show up during the Grafias fight.  

Bosses 

Coeurl o’ Nine Tails 

Poison can no longer be cleansed with Esuna. Beyond that, Coeurl is unchanged. There are actually two versions of this fight, one of which features adds and one that doesn’t.

 

Grafias 

AOE : Realm shaker. This move has no tell so be ready for it.

Targeted AOE: Sticky web. Creates a fleshy pod where a player was standing. Explodes after a while.

AOE: Deadly thrust. Creates a large pool of green poison. 

Adds: Comesmite, two.

Line AOE: Silkscreen.

 

A Guide To FFXIV’s A Realm Reborn Era Dungeons (Now That Square Has Changed Them)
You can see things now! Screenshot: Renee O’Flynn, Square Enix

Haukke Manor 

The biggest change to the Haukke Manor dungeon is actually simple set decorations. A set of tables and chairs are sitting in the corner near the grand staircase. Keys are right where they’ve always been, and are still required to progress through the dungeon. The number of patrolling manor servants has been reduced from eight to five in the first area, before you reach the first boss. The Great Resignation, man. It’s affecting everyone.

The number of mobs in the stairwell area has been reduced from six to three. Mobs that spawned on the staircase proper have been removed as most players ignored them anyway. The number of manor servants in the basement has also been reduced, from three to two. One of the most exciting changes isn’t noticeable until after the fight concludes. Previously, players wanting to exit the dungeon after defeating the boss had to either run all the way back up the stairs to the main entrance or burn a Return spell. Now, completing the dungeon reveals an Aetherial Flow that can take players back to the beginning of the dungeon in an instant.

Void lamps have been removed from Lady Amandine’s arena. Previously, the battle could wind up in a frustrating cycle: When you would try to turn a lamp off, Amandine would interrupt you. While you’re interrupted, she turns the lamp back on. Now that they’ve been removed, a massive pain point in the dungeon is gone.

Bosses 

Manor Claviger 

Unchanged

Manor Steward and Manor Jester 

Unchanged 

Lady Amandine 

Tank buster: Void lightning III 

Call adds: Void call. The called add will either be a Manor Sentry or Manor Maidservant. If it’s a Manor Maidservant, they will use the Terror attack. If it is a Manor Sentry, it will use a Gaze AOE. Prepare accordingly.

Combo attack: Beguiling Mist + Manor Sentry. Lady Amandine will Seduce the player with Beguiling Mist, causing players to move toward her. As they are lured into the open, the Manor Sentry will use its Gaze AOE. The Seduce will wear off just before the Gaze pops off, so players need to get out of its way as soon as they can.

 

A Guide To FFXIV’s A Realm Reborn Era Dungeons (Now That Square Has Changed Them)
This will only stay safe for so long … Image: Renee O’Flynn, Square Enix

 

Brayflox’s Longstop 

There haven’t been a lot of changes to Brayflox’s Longstop. The main change is that players can no longer ut through the water area at Mudstop Watergush. Instead, they have to stick to the core path or outer area. Aitar’s Arena has also been made round.

Bosses 

Great Yellow Pelican 

Unchanged 

 

Inferno Drake 

Unchanged 

 

Hellbender 

Unchanged 

 

Aitar 

Tank buster: Salivous Snap. 

Sequential AOE: Toxic vomit. Toxic vomit will create four AOEs. After the first attack, Aitar will create two lots of AOEs, the first lot going off before the second. 

Target Line AOE: Dragon Breath. 

 

A Guide To FFXIV’s A Realm Reborn Era Dungeons (Now That Square Has Changed Them)
Where’s all the enemies? Screenshot: Renee O’Flynn, Square Enix

 

Stone Vigil 

The Stone Vigil is an important story dungeon that previously concealed a painful difficulty spike. What would happen is the dungeon would spawn large amounts of enemies, which would take unsuspecting players off-guard. Unprepared to battle back a swarm, party wipes became all too common in Stone Vigil. To combat the spike, Square has removed patrolling Aevis from the dungeon. Side rooms no longer contain enemies either, preventing any extra foes from being pulled into the fray.

During the Koshchei fight, one player no longer has to dedicate themselves to manning the arena cannons. This used to be a non-negotiable, as it was the only way to prevent party-wide damage, but it also took a member of the dungeon party off the dancefloor. Thankfully, that’s now a thing of the past.

Isgebind’s sheet of ice is no longer a continuous AOE, and instead now pops only once. Igsebind will always land in the middle of the arena now, instead of directly on the tank.  I can hear the tank mains sighing with relief from here.

Bosses 

Chudo-Yudo 

No changes 

 

Koshchei 

Tank buster: Spiked tail 

AOE: Typhoon. Koshchei will create a pair of typhoons in the north of the arena that will slowly move south. The next time he uses the attack, he’ll conjure three typhoons and then four, covering the entire arena. Two will descend before the others, giving players the space to dodge them. 

Targeted AOE: Sonic Storm. 

 

Isgebind 

Targeted AOE: Frost Breath, targets the space directly in front of the boss

Party wide AOE: Rime Wreath 

AOE: Touchdown  

Targeted AOE: Sheet of Ice 

AOE: Cauterise. Cauterise covers one-third of the arena in an ice AOE. After the first single attack, Isgebind will do it again, twice in a row. To make things difficult he’ll also add in two targeted AOEs as well, so stay on your toes.

 

Castrum Meridianum 

One of the first things you may notice about Castrum Meridianum is that its recognisable spotlights have been removed. Also new: gates blocking players from pulling all enemies in the first and second areas. Just one cutscene, right before you fight the dungeon boss.

Bosses 

Black Eft

Party wide AOE: Incendiary support 

Targeted AOE: Magitek Cannon 

AOE: High-powered Magitek Ray. No tell on this one, watch out for it.

Adds: Request assistance 

 

Vangard F-1 

Tank buster: Cermet drill 

AOE: Thermobaric strike. Players must move as way away from this as possible to take the least amount of damage. 

Combo Doughnut and Circle AOE: Hypercharge. There will be a small safe doughnut surrounding the Vangard F-1. 

Cone AOE: Overcharge 

Party target AOE: Targeted support 

 

Livia Sas Junius 

Tank buster: Aglaia climb 

Party wide AOE: Artificial plasma 

Sequential AOE: Roundhouse. Livia will move the centre of the arena and drop a circular AOE. Other AOEs will surround the central one. The central AOE will go off first, and you should move into that space for safety. 

Sequential AOE combo: Thermobaric Strike followed by Stunning Sweep. Six circles will cover the arena, leaving two safe spaces. These safe spaces will then have an AOE drop on them. Stay nimble.

Sequential AOE combo: Thermobaric Strike followed by Angry Salamander. This sets off several Line AOEs with four more appearing on the edges of the arena.

Limit Break: Infinite Reach. This is a Line AOE followed by six Circle AOEs. Livia will cast this spell this four times before finishing with Angry Salamander.

A Guide To FFXIV’s A Realm Reborn Era Dungeons (Now That Square Has Changed Them)
Maggie! Screenshot: Renee O’Flynn, Square Enix

 

Praetorium 

This is a dungeon that can be run with Duty support. The good news is that there are now fewer cutscenes in Praetorium. The bad news is that, though they are fewer, they still cannot be skipped. More good news is that players no longer have to run the dungeon’s massive gauntlet. This required running down to a teleporter, where one tank would often be sacrificed to continue onward. Instead, they now only have to blast through a few groups of enemies until they face the first boss, the Mark II Colossus. 

After a short cutscene, the party heads straight to Maggie, the Black Eft nicked from Castrum Centri. There’s no longer any need to interact with the authorisation console. This had been a problem with the dungeon for a long time. Many a new player has missed this small, simple, but important mechanic, leaving them lost (and unable to unlock the Black Eft mount).

The entire Black Eft ride is still the same. The arms still exist and they still knock players back. If the dungeon is run with the Duty support, only the player gets the armour, so it’s worth doing it with four players. All the cutscenes seem to show the Warrior of Light with many more facial expressions, bringing it more in line with later expansion. Gaius’ battle is now similar to other empire battles from Heavensward, Stormblood and Shadowbringers as his attacks include cross shapes.

Bosses 

Mark II Colossus 

AOE: Prototype Laser Alpha. This has five circle AOEs forming an X shape.  

Party Target AOE: Prototype Laser Beta.  

Cone AOE: Grand Sword 

Party wide AOE: Ceruleum Vent 

Nero Tol Scaeva 

Pushback: Augmented suffering 

Target cone AOE: Iron uprising 

Targeted AOE: Wheel of suffering 

Cone AOE: Augmented uprising 

Adds: Activate. 

Stack marker: Augmented shatter 

 

Gaius van Baelsar 

Tank buster: Innocence 

Party wide AOE: Horrida Bella 

Targeted party AOE: Hand of the Empire. 

Stack: Festina Lente 

Target AOE: Heirsbane 

Line AOE: Terminus Est. Gaius creates blue Xs. These shoot forward, creating line AOEs. 

Combo AOE: Phantasmata. Gaius creates copies of himself and positions them on either side of the arena. They will use Terminus Est which creates a grid pattern. 

Waterfall AOE: Ductus. Circle AOEs cover the arena, with the middle one starting on the opposite side to the other two. These move across the arena until they reach the opposing side.  

Limit break: Veni, Vici, Vidi. If the power level is allowed to go to 100, it’s an insta-wipe. Don’t let it go to 100.

 

A Guide To FFXIV’s A Realm Reborn Era Dungeons (Now That Square Has Changed Them)
This is gonna hurt … Just kidding, I’m a tank! Screenshot: Renee O’Flynn, Square Enix

 

The Porta Decumana 

Porta Decumana is when players finally get to fight the ultimate weapon. Similar to how summoners now use the primals abilities as their own, so does Ultima. It starts off with Titan’s attacks. Ultima moves through the phases as Hydaelyn pulls each primal from the machine.

Bosses 

Titan 

Party wide AOE: Earthen Fury 

Line AOE: Landslide 

AOE: Geocrush. You want to be standing as far away from Titan as possible, but don’t worry about the edges of arena. No chance of falling to your death here. Titan will always cast Landslide after Geocrush. 

Sequential AOE: Weight of the Land. Either the outer part of the arena will be covered in AOES, or the inner. Move to avoid them. 

Garuda 

Party wide AOE: Aerial blast 

AOE: Mistral shriek. Garuda uses an AOE that does not have a long tell. Whatever side of the arena she teleports to is where it will appear.  

Doughnut AOE: Eye of the Storm. Usually followed by Mistral Shriek 

Ifrit 

When you get Ifrit down to 20%, an unskippable cutscene will play. This is the cutscene between Gaius, Lahabrea and the Warrior of Light.  

Party wide AOE: Hellfire 

Sequential AOE: Radiant plume.  

Pushback AOE: Vulcan burst. Usually followed by a Radiant Plume. 

Ultima 

Target AOE (Tank): Homing Lasers 

Line AOE: Magitek ray. This is a Line AOE that produces three lines at the same time.

Target party AOE: Homing Ray. 

Target AOE: Tank Purge 

Pushback AOE: Aetheric Boom. 

Soak mechanic: Aetheroplasm. Run into the orbs so they don’t cause large amounts of damage. 

Line AOE: Citadel Buster 

Line AOE: Magitek Bits 

AOE: Explosion. Move as far away from the AOE as possible to reduce damage taken.  

Ultima is the last attack. It’s an insta-wipe if not defeated before it finishes casting it. 

 

And there you have it, most of the changes in the ARR Main Story Quest dungeons and a guide for first-time runners!

Personally, I would have liked to have seen Brayflox tweaked a bit more, and maybe something more done to Aurum Vale. But what do you think? Are they an improvement? Have they made things worse? Let us know your thoughts, and tell us your dungeon stories, in the comments below. 

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