With FFXIV Dawntrail closing in, you might be wondering which side missions you should take on during the time between Final Fantasy 14’s recent patch 6.5, Growing Light, and the arrival of the new expansion in summer 2024. There’s a lot to choose from, and we at PCGamesN were pondering what the best optional content to do before Dawntrail might be. So, at a press conference during FFXIV Fanfest London 2023, I put the question to the top dog himself – game director Naoki ‘Yoshi-P’ Yoshida.
We all have our own ways of getting ready for the FFXIV Dawntrail release date. Perhaps you’re using the downtime to level alternate jobs, try out other content in the critically acclaimed MMORPG such as Criterion dungeons or Ultimate duties, or build out your Island Sanctuary. Maybe, like me, you’ve decided to embark on a full story replay to prepare for the next adventure. Or just possibly, you might take the FFXIV dev team’s advice and go play some other games for a bit while there’s some downtime.
With so much optional content outside the main scenario quest, however, you may be wondering where to start – especially if you only have a limited amount of time to play. At London Fanfest I asked Yoshi-P, who attended the conference dressed as the new FFXIV Viper job coming in Dawntrail, which one optional quest line he would recommend that all players should make sure to do, if he could.
“It’s difficult to choose but if I was going to choose one, I would go for Heavensward,” Yoshida muses. “In Heavensward, there is the Warring Triad quest series, and this is quite intricately linked with the thirteenth reflection, and you get a bit more of a deep dive into the lore, and you also get more insight into the relationship of the characters. So if you have the time, I would definitely recommend playing that.”
Personally, I’ll always have a fondness for this trio of legendary eikons – locked away in Allagan prisons, but beginning to stir, it’s up to you to be ready to deal with the three of them as they awaken, one by one. The three fights, which take place following the conclusion of the main Heavensward story in Azys Lla, felt on a new level of spectacle when they first arrived and paved the way for even more impressive fights that would come down the line.
Yoshida doesn’t stop there, however. “To give another example, during the 5.x series there are the Eden raids.” The Shadowbringers raid series is another great pick, and interestingly also ties back in nicely to the concepts of light and dark, the void, and the thirteenth. For those worried about raid difficulty, Yoshida reassures, “It’s fine even if you just play through on normal, at least you will be able to enjoy the story, and through that you get a bit more insight into the reflections, and just what will happen to the other reflections of the source.
“Of course, the reflections are quite a big element in the main story,” he comments. “So by playing through the raids – you don’t have to rush through it, just take your time, take it easy – but if you have the time, play through it. And then you’ll be able to, I think, get a wider view overall into the lore and the setting behind Final Fantasy XIV.”
While we may have brought the central story arc of Hydaelyn and Zodiark to a conclusion, the events of the post-Heavensward patch story centered around Zero, and particularly the events of patch 6.5 (which I’ll steer clear of being too specific about for now), are a good reminder that there’s certainly still a lot of consideration to be done on the futures of the first and the thirteenth.
Yoshida’s highlighting of Eden is particularly curious, as the end of the patch 6.5 story features an additional cutscene for those who have finished the Eden storyline. That’s caused myself and others to wonder whether the team would consider making the raid series mandatory content in the future because of its story relevance, much as the base A Realm Reborn’s alliance raid series The Crystal Tower was made essential due to its strong ties to Shadowbringers.
On that particular idea, Yoshida isn’t giving anything away right now. Nevertheless, now you have your answer for which optional quests to play first – the Warring Triad story from Heavensward, and the Eden raid series of Shadowbringers. If I could make one supplemental recommendation, I’d highly encourage you to seek out completing all the Shadowbringers role quests if you enjoy those two aforementioned stories.
Doing so unlocks a brief additional quest chain which once again connects back to the Warring Triad series, and looks like it might become very important when the team comes back around to follow up on the events of FFXIV patch 6.5. That likely won’t happen right at the start of Dawntrail, which is set to take us off on a whole new adventure, but Natsuko Ishikawa and the writing team at Square Enix don’t tend to leave threads hanging forever, so I’m certain it’ll come back around in good time.
Looking for more to keep you busy until Dawntrail? Why not head to your FFXIV Island Sanctuary and work on your beautiful, relaxing getaway home? Or you could browse through even more of the best free PC games for something else to play altogether.