Final Fantasy 14's Dawntrail Graphics Update Looks Gorgeous In New Benchmark

hero ffxiv dawntrail benchmark

Final Fantasy XIV Online is one of very few true success stories in the MMORPG space, and it comes as all the more of a surprise given the rocky launch of the title. Your author is one of many unfortunate fans of the previous Final Fantasy MMORPG, Final Fantasy XI Online, who pre-ordered the original release of Final Fantasy XIV only to be met with a terrible, half-finished experience that barely ran on his powerful gaming PC.

That original version of Final Fantasy XIV was... rough.

Of course, the tale of how Square-Enix recovered from the FFXIV launch snafu is well-known by this point. By now, the game's about to see the release of its fifth full expansion, Dawntrail, alongside the 7.0 update for the game client that's finally bringing the venerable MMORPG into the 2020s technology-wise by replacing all of the game's texture assets with ones designed for a "physically-based rendering" (PBR) paradigm.

CAPCOM's Remember Me looked incredible upon its release in 2013.

PBR is nothing new; it was first proposed way back in the 1980s and was first used in a video game in Dontnod and CAPCOM's Remember Me back in 2013 on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It's exactly what the name implies: a lighting method that uses pre-defined physical properties of object materials to calculate object shading and surface specularity, including reflections. It's not like path tracing; in fact, it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with ray-tracing at all—although having a PBR workflow makes implementing ray-tracing much, much easier.

Final Fantasy XIV Dawntrail doesn't come out until July 2nd of this year, but if you're curious to see what the new renderer looks like, you can either watch the video above, or go grab the new Dawntrail benchmark from Square-Enix yourself. It's a 4GB download, and the application lets you customize a character (including the new option to make female characters of the Hrothgar race) before you run the benchmark. We quickly tested the benchmark on a variety of machines here and have a little bit of benchmark data for you to peruse if you're so inclined:

chart ffxiv dawntrail
The benchmark really hates our 96-core Threadripper CPU.

Keep in mind that this was entirely informal testing and doesn't necessarily match up to our usual rigorous standards. However, we're interested to see how the benchmark runs on your machines. To see frame rate data like the above, you'll have to make sure to click "Save" on the benchmark launcher utility after the test is complete, at which point it will pop up a text file with that information. It seems to give anomalous minimum framerate results on some systems, especially on the first run, so maybe do a second run to make sure you're seeing your real performance. Let us know if you try it out!