Image via Square Enix

FFXIV Dawntrail Benchmark Makes Player Characters Look Worse

Square Enix is gearing up for the release of the fifth Final Fantasy XIV expansion, Dawntrail. As part of the marketing cycle, players now have access to the FFXIV Dawntrail Benchmark tool ahead of the expansion’s release. However, it is making many player’s characters look much worse in the process, including my own.

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The Benchmark’s purpose is to mainly test the player’s computer to make sure it is up to par for the new PC requirements for the expansion. But it also gives players a glimpse of what’s to come. If you happen to have your character’s appearance data saved locally on your computer, you can even view how they’ll look with the major graphical update in 7.0.

Despite being a primarily PlayStation player, I booted up the Benchmark on my laptop to see how my player would look with the new expansion, which I recommend other players to do. In the end, I found my adorable little blue-haired Lalafell looks both worse and better in certain ways due to the graphical changes.

What I appreciate about the underrated Lalafells in this update is they can now look more adult and mature than before. But the graphical changes ruined the color and appearance of my character’s hair and eyes, which I will have to change when the update comes out. In addition, my Lalafell’s eyes look soulless now, as you can see in the screenshot I took above.

Fortunately for me, these changes are relatively easy to fix. But for some other players, the FFXIV Dawntrail Benchmark is making them look significantly worse on a widespread scale. For the most part, Au Ra, Lalafell, and Elezen characters benefited from these graphical changes, but the other races didn’t fare as well.

The human-like Hyur look fine, but others like the Miqote need quite a lot of changes to make their characters look viable again. That is all before talking about the issues with the Viera. The poor bunny people got the short end of the stick with these graphical changes around their eyes and nose.

It was even to the point where Viera and Au Ra were both trending worldwide on social media after the FFXIV Benchmark tool’s release, and Viera continue to be as of April 15, 2024. Viera were trending for the rampant issues with how they look, while the Au Ra were mostly trending for the opposite reason. In the case of Viera, they lost some of the edge they have. They look softer, brighter, and younger, which negatively affects many player characters.

Here’s a tweet from NawlienSuzu offering an example of the change:

There is a general shininess to skin with this graphical update. Again, this benefits some like the Au Ra, but hurts other races, particularly furrier ones like Miqote. There is even concern this update could make some NPCs look not nearly as attractive.

The best thing most players can do right now is prepare for this major shift. There is no avoiding these changes, and players could try and look at this from a positive light. The new expansion is a chance to start fresh with a new makeover for your character. For some, maybe even a total remake with a new race they’ve never used before. This all works, too, with the current state of the Warrior of Light in the story.

To prepare for this, I highly suggest all players download the FFXIV Dawntrail Benchmark tool. This way, you can play around with the new looks and see what works best for you. You also get a warning as to if your character will need a makeover. There are still months until the expansion’s release, so this is the time to address these issues. That way, you don’t have to sit in the character creator screen for hours upon the expansion’s release when you could enjoy the new content.

Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail will release for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC on July 2, 2024. A FFXIV Dawntrail benchmark tool is available right now on PCs.

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Cody Perez
Cody is a writer who has been sharing his love for video games and anime since his high school days in 2012. When he isn’t writing about the latest JRPGs and anime series, he can be found in Final Fantasy XIV, occasionally playing some Call of Duty, or lurking on Twitter @SoulcapCody.