Athletics and Recreation

[FFXIV] SoH’s Top 10 Dungeons from Heavensward

[FFXIV] SoH’s Top 10 Dungeons from Heavensward


2 years after FFXIV’s successful relaunch
with A Realm Reborn, the much-anticipated expansion Heavensward was released. The expansion delivered a vast amount of brand
new content to Eorzea. With 18 dungeons in total, there was definitely
enough content to keep you busy. But which one of these dungeons stood out? What was the best dungeon of Heavensward? That’s the question we’ll try to answer
in this video. It’s time for another top 10 video, Eorzeans! Just like the previous videos we’ll be scoring
the dungeons based on the following criteria: – Length – This doesn’t necessarily mean
physical length, but more perceived length. Basically how annoying would it be to get
this on a roulette. – Map Design – Meaning the overall layout
of the dungeon, architecture, mob placement and pacing. – Bosses – Bosses are based on mechanics,
interest, memorability and difficulty. – Atmosphere – Here meaning whether the
dungeon sells the illusion it’s set out to do. In other words: Immersion. – And the final criteria: Monster variety
– How well do the monsters actually fit the dungeon? Is there enough variety? Also a big disclaimer before we begin: These
are obviously scores based on our personal opinions – yours might differ, and that’s
fine. Let us know in the comments why you agree
and/or disagree and maybe give us your top 10 list as well! Okay with that out of the way I guess there’s
no reason to keep you waiting. Let’s get started! It’s time to reveal Speakers of Hydaelyn’s
Top 10 dungeons from Heavensward. NUMBER 10
The Vault Okay, I know, controversial already. I expect a lot of you will have this dungeon
way higher on your lists but hear me out. The Vault is a truly beautiful dungeon. Unlike a lot of the dull, dark, and grey dungeons
you have passed through before at this point, The Vault is almost the complete opposite. The Vault presents itself as a massive cathedral
with a high ceiling, lots of light, shiny floors, and beautiful architecture. In terms of length, the Vault doesn’t feel
too long, perhaps helped by its pretty design, and long gaps between gates which allows for
large pulls and faster runs if you have a good party. The Vault’s enemies are thematically correct,
but quite boring, consisting mostly of Elezen soldiers and priests. There are some interesting mobs as well though
such as the chess horsies and that annoying priest that summons enemies even if you kill
him before he’s done casting. The bosses make up for this though and all
feel unique in their own way, and the final boss is a good reward for climbing all the
way up to the top of The Vault. Unfortunately, where The Vault falls flat
for us is the music. The track consists entirely of a church organ,
and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, the theme quickly becomes a mess of discordant
sounds about 30 seconds in. It has its good parts, but is unfortunately
the weakest part of the dungeon, which is why the Vault is number 10 on this list. NUMBER 9
The Fractal Continuum Don’t you just love a good Allagan dungeon? It’s got all those shiny veins I the walls! This dungeon gets the number 9 spot for not
only being a pretty allagan dungeon, but for being a relatively quick one. The gates are few and far between, so you
get a greater sense of control over what mobs to pull where. Design-wise it’s not so different from what
we’ve seen before from Allagan-themed dungeons, but it does contain a lot data terminals with
all kinds of neat Allagan lore bits that’s genuinely worth reading. Ask your party first, though. The music in the dungeon is a fantastic remix
of the Azys Lla theme, but it might feel a little out of place, and the mobs are mostly
allagan machina like the clockwork soldiers and knights, and bioweapons like Chimeras
and Nagas. But it does have Manikins. Manikins are cool. Look, no face. The dungeon’s final boss is spectacular
and unique with some mechanics that would wipe many duty finder parties back in the
day. The Curator may very well be the best part
of the dungeon. NUMBER 8
The Aetherochemical Research Facility Well well well if it isn’t another Allagan
dungeon. This dungeon takes everything Fractal Continuum
has, and improves it. The design is stunning, with even more glowy
bits that really pop in this environment. The map is also clearly divided into 3 distinct
zones each with their own sets of mobs. The first area having the vibrant blue lights
containing the more basic Allagan machina, but progress further and you’re facing off
with Garlean machina as well! The second area is filled with an ominous
red light and contains a plethora of bioweapons that we’ve all seen before, and finally
that pale whiteish green light area with the high heel shabtis that leads to the dungeon’s
final boss where everything is… kinda gross tbh… What even is that? Is that MEAT? As gross as this fleshy boss room is, it’s
perhaps the coolest boss up to this point in the expansion. It’s a pretty intense two part-fight where
you end up fighting the Ascian Prime. Speaking of prime… NUMBER 7
Baelsar’s Wall Baelsar’s Wall marked the end of 3.5’s
story and had us invade the wall that had kept Ala Mhigo separated from its brothers
and sisters in Eorzea for decades. That obviously means we’re in for an epic
dungeon. And for the most part, it is. The music – what I can only describe as
a Garlean reinterpretation of the Black Shroud theme, gives us an eerie glimpse into what
the Black Shroud would have sounded like had Garlemald’s invasion of Eorzea succeeded. It’s haunting yet beautiful. The dungeon’s mobs are generally well placed,
and the dungeon doesn’t feel too long with one major exception: the moving platform part. This kind of artificially extending the duration
of a dungeon is never fun and feels cheap because you’re not actually treated to any
new visuals when the platform moves between mob dispensers. In terms of bosses there’s not much to say
other than (SLOPPEH). NUMBER 6
The Lost City of Amdapor (Hard) We return to a wet Amdapor in our 6th spot. This dungeon’s aesthetic is truly unique,
which is why it’s found this high up on our list. The haunting remix of the dungeon’s original
theme paired with the rain and general state of this once vibrant and beautiful city sets
the tone perfectly. The dungeon is also divided into 3 very distinct
areas. The old broken and overgrown topside part,
the dark descent, and the pristine and divine part, which honestly feels really weird to
come back to after Shadowbringers. Especially considering the two final bosses
of the dungeon – The Winged Lion and Kuribu, who both reappeared in Shadowbringers as sin
eaters! Here’s hoping we’ll get more Amdapor lore
in the future! NUMBER 5
The Great Gubal Library (Hard) While the Great Gubal Librar’s normal mode
didn’t make it on this list, the hard mode definitely did. This is in many ways an improvement on everything
we didn’t like in the normal mode. The dungeon allows for much bigger pulls between
gates, which makes it a really quick dungeon to run through if you’ve got good DPS with
you. We are served with bosses that feel unique,
and while I’m kinda done with Demon Wall at this point, it was quite funny seeing the
boss presented just like the normal mode version but immediately have the book fade away to
reveal its DISGUSTING CORKSCREW ASS. The final part of the dungeon is a brand new
section with nice lighting and these cool looking mammets with cute little wigs and
hats. Plus points, of course, for having both “The
Boy and the Dragon Gay” and the literary analysis of it. My favorite book. NUMBER 4
The Antitower We’re gonna keep it Sharlayan for a bit
longer with this classic HW dungeon. The Antitower wowed us with its whimsical
upside down design. The bosses are especially good in the Antitower,
with a frog singing “It’s not easy being green”, A Spriggan with a David Bowie tribute
(The spiggan is called Ziggy and one of its attacks is called Stardust), and the final
boss – the nightmare that is Calcabrina. The length of the dungeon is average at best,
but the dungeon is structured in a way that makes it harder to get bored. At some point you’re literally in a place
filled with floating cabinets. It’s weird. I think that’s the word that best describes
this dungeon actually it’s just… Weird. Weird enough to end up as number 4 on our
list. NUMBER 3
Xelphatol While it’s sad Xelphatol was relegated to
a dungeon, it was at least done well. Xelphatol is not like most mountain-themed
dungeons in HW. This dungeon has a lot of varied environments
which eventually leads inside the mountain, revealing a huge amount of Ixali buildings. A truly impressive sight to behold. Also babi pigs. The journey to the top feels epic, and we’re
introduced to three Ixali bosses that all have their own unique mechanics. Gating feels very natural here, which is rare
for XIV’s early dungeons, and we can’t forget about this thing. That looks… less natural. The theme is a remix of the Natalan theme,
something I never really thought I’d ever hear, but Soken has once again produced gold
and the theme helps lift the dungeon up into 3rd place. NUMBER 2
Sohr Khai Let’s just say it before we move on. The fans have tiddies for eyes. Okay, we can move on. Sohr Khai is one of the most beautiful dungeons
in Heavensward. And it just gets prettier and prettier as
you continue through the dungeon. Mobs feel natural here, like they all genuinely
reside here before you come along and kill them all. The cute sleeping box monsters at the beginning
that you have to wake up in order to kill is a bit harsh, but it adds to the uniqueness
of this dungeon. The music is also a big plus. Sohr Khai is not only unique in map design
and mob variety – the music for the first and last boss differs from the regular dungeon
boss themes. Speaking of bosses, this is another field
where the dungeon really shines. The two final bosses have arenas that aren’t
strictly square or circular! The bosses also hit you with enrages if your
DPS is too low, which is extremely rare in regular dungeons in XIV. All in all, Sohr Khai is a beautiful and unique
dungeon that brings new experiences to the players without being too difficult or too
long. And come on, that final boss area looks so
beautiful with its golden sky – which is why it made it all the way up to number 2
on our list. NUMBER 1
Saint Mocianne’s Arboretum Our number one goes to the Arboretum in The
Dravanian Hinterlands. This place looks stunning, and is close to
perfection in terms of visuals-, and boss- and monster variety. The dungeon has many gates, but allows for
a lot of mobs to be pulled between them. The dungeon is relatively long, spreading
over multiple maps, but with the monster variety, and the amount of mobs you can pull between
gates, it sure doesn’t feel very long. The bosses all feel unique, even the first
boss which brings us a new take on the Morbol’s bad breath mechanics. The second part of the dungeon is a beehive
which pits us against a Queen Hawk which has a multitude of attacks that can wipe parties
that aren’t paying close attention to their surroundings. The last boss, Belladonna, was a unique model
at the time and… oh my god that disgusting corkscrew butt I swear… The mob variety is great, you’ll encounter
anything from ochus to bilokos to, yes the best mob KORPUKKURS! You also encounter some morbols and they still
feel like a threat in this dungeon with their signature bad breath attacks. So in summary: Saint Mocianne’s Arboretum
is one of the prettiest dungeons in the game, paired with a great monster variety, fun and
engaging bosses, korpokkurs, immersive atmosphere, and beautiful music. Saint Mocianne’s Arboretum is Speakers of
Hydaelyn’s Number 1 dungeon from Heavensward. So that’s our list, do you agree with our
picks, or would you pick differently, if so why? Let us know in the comments below, and we’d
be interested to see what your list would look like! Thank you for watching! Leave a like if you enjoyed and subscribe
for more XIV content in the future! See you in the next one, until then, may you
ever walk in the Light of the Crystal!


Reader Comments

  1. I still remember the first time I went to Atherialchemical Research Facility, it was so amazingly and beautiful, and ended up feeling like the true finale to HW, and the Anti-tower…mmmm when this game does High magic, its just chefs kiss Muwah~!

  2. Honestly, it's really cool to see different perspectives on dungeons! Thanks for the trip down memory lane. HW was such a fun expansion!

  3. Great list! I agreed with all of it except for Xelphatol since I didn’t love that one. I would also personally switch Sohr Kai and the Aboretum. Maela’s scores were making me laugh though. So low in comparison, haha!

  4. Never a fan of the last boss of the Vault, whoever thought it a good idea to have a white arena floor at sunset (therefore tinting it orange) when we have orange-coloured AOE markers needs a slap.

  5. I personally don't have Antitower that high up in my list. While the dungeon itself is okay, I started playing in the patch that the tower was introduced so I hit a very severe ilvl wall when I wanted to run it. It took me a lot of grinding and what little gil I had in order to get my gear high enough for it as the MSQ did not naturally help that progression. This experience has left Antitower a bad taste in my mouth so my joy for it is very low.

  6. Very interesting top 10!
    I myself have Baelsar's Wall on #1, mostly because I have fond memories of it, and the music gets me pumped…
    Plus… totally not plus points for The Griffin being the end boss, as he has been my favourite character ^^'
    Although I highly agree on the pacing, that moving platform is the only thing that really puts me out of the dungeon's immersion.

  7. Heavensward has the best dungeons so far, imo. I would have these as some of the top rated. Neverreap, with its SoC theme variant and that Sanuwa final boss that would knock back everyone off the platform, a beautiful dungeon especially at sunsets/sunrises. Dusk Vigil, while appearing bleak, is a fun place with a CWH variant theme, eerie story pages, a griffin first appearance [that I remember] and the first time you hear HW boss theme Ominous Prognisticks. Sohm Al at sunset with the dragon floating in the background at Betryal beautiful and the panic Tioman caused with those comet aoe and while Sohm Al HM is to me a hideous place it does have 1.0 Thanalan battle theme.

  8. Not entirely in the same census with the list. Some of it might come from the fact that I didn't watch the English audio so some meme's were completely lost to me with roulette groups. (Really, I think I've met a whole different characters with the audio differences.) Personal favorites of mine are still The Fractal Continuum and The Aetherochemical Research Facility, with Xelphatol, Baelsar's Wall and Sohr Khai following up. Mostly for the music, visuals and/or how easy it is to get through. I did however enjoy Gubal Libraries and Antitower, but they're more of a fun surprise if they pop-up.
    And probably heretically so – I despise getting Vault from a roulette. It's in my bottom 3 of all dungeons in the game. Idk why really.
    Edit: To add to this something I just recalled because of Eureka – Arboretum end boss model, Belladonna, among my few friends is called "Bulbasaur",because I at one time couldn't think of what the boss name was other than it began with a B… and it has a bulbous flower thing… and yeah.

  9. The Vault is one I dread due to a particular run that went very badly. I was healing- but as a SCH (and I'm a WHM main, I'm not great at SCH, here I was levelling it). One of the DPS had never been in the dungeon before, but only mentioned this at the end. Finally, the Tank… just did nothing right.
    So at the end, we get the clear after some fairly brute force healing (I just decided to be ok with the idea that I would not have any time to do any damage, so just brute forced them through their mechanics fails), I unclench, thank the party for the run and then the tank says "Thankyou, this was my first time tanking anything."
    I replied "There are better places to start than here!"

  10. Lukile on the zip line in Xelphatol—is exactly how I hold the safety bars on buses and trains when traveling. 🤧😵

  11. My first time experience with "The Vault":
    I healed for the first time…. and my stupid ass apparently forgot to put on my true gear on.
    So we were dying to everything over and over. So when my friend pointed out that I had no gear on…
    Welp… LMAO but I got practice out of it, and it's not so bad now.

  12. I'm gonna have to gripe about The Aery being left off the list. Niddhogg being a true DPS check/race, which is something they didn't repeat again makes it challenging to go thru.

  13. Baelsar's Wall's "moving platform" area is probably the most interesting thing they did in heavensward, because it re-uses a concept they used back in ARR for Leviathan, where it's not the platform that's moving, but the world around you. This is re-used in Anamnesis Anyder in Shadowbringers once more. I would have said Dun Scaith and the Bismarck trial, but those two duties actually have objects move, not the world/room/environment around you. (This is why the rocks floating about fade in/out, as they're individual objects.)

    I really liked Gubal Hard's last boss because it presented a fluid way of teaching players the boss' mechanics, and in fact, closely resembles that of old 3D Platforms that would teach you how things worked without directly saying things.

    The Antitower actually does something that FF9's Olivert did prior: make an orchestrial corruption of the main theme of its game. It was a really nice touch. In addition, the final boss presents FF4's same boss rather well. Having her music change into the boss theme when we finally fight her boss form, which is similar to how it works in FF4 (Though in FF4, it has the theme play in the cut-scene, then the boss theme in the actual fight.)

    I like how they had to rename the second boss of Sohr Khai's line attack to "Burning Bright" because of BLU getting "Quasar" from Sophia.

  14. I'm apparently a weirdo because I fuckin' love when I get The Vault in my roulette, especially if I'm healing it. Love, you hear me! The Antitower is the best one to get with sprouts, though, the last boss never fails to get a 'wtf' out of them. <3

  15. Excellent choice on number 1. Looking forward to see what you say about the hard version in stormblood top/bottom lists 🙂

  16. Wow…I totally forgot Xelphatol existed. Same with Gubal Library Hard. I've just…never had these dungeons come up again. I get the Vault pretty often, though.

  17. The Vault is still one of the best Dungeons in the game next to Sohr Kai in my opinion. I still run around quoting lines from the bosses to this day. I'd definitely put it higher up on my list. I will agree that the music could have been better but honestly, for me it sets the mood for the dungeon itself.
    "SICKNESS MUST BE PURGED!!"
    "FILTHY RATS!!"
    "THIS WILL BE A MERCY!! "
    "AND NOW, THE FINAL CURTAIN!!"
    "YOU DISGUST ME!!"
    "I WILL NOT YIELD TO YOU!!"

    As far as the list goes, for me it would be:
    1. Sohr Khai
    2. The Vault
    3. The Aetherochemical Research Facility
    4.The Antitower
    5.The Aery
    6. Saint Mocianne's Arboretum
    7. Hullbreaker Isle (Hard)
    8. Baelsar's Wall
    9. Neverreap
    10. Gubal Library (Hard)

  18. Disappointed with no Sohm Al Hard for Quicksand being the dungeon theme. That can be treated as a 1.0 relic can't it? lol

  19. Huh, I always found your number one, kinda bland and the mobs blurr together. It actually feels rather middle of the road, with so so bosses and to much plants. For me Anti Tower is the best of HW and I was actually heart broken when the team said no more Hard mode duties cause I've been begging for a Hard mode of the Tower since the first time we got a HW hard mode in Stormblood. While I disagree a few duties on the list, I would replace Hullbreaker over the Lost City for example I can't fault any of your reasons, well maybe like I said your number one, I will say you guys have guts to put your number 10 where you did. As for why I wouldn't place Lost City but would place Hullbreaker, well its all for two reasons, I'm a big fan of the MaelStorms and found all boss fights a hoot and Lost city has TOO MANY GROSS GROSS BUGS!

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