FFXIV: A Benchmark Reborn

Posted on June 7, 2024 by Aywren

Every FFXIV expansion has a standalone benchmark program that you can download for PC. The practical purpose of this benchmark is to see how well your PC will run the game given new requirements and graphical updates. It usually gives a look at some of the locations, new job skills and gear, creatures you’ll battle, and it has a built-in character creator where you can get the first look at new races if they are being released.

The Dawntrail benchmark is special however as it sparked quite a controversy. The next expansion brings the graphical update for player characters, and this was the first time we got to see what they’d look like with these changes. While these were meant to be minor upgrades, and we were reassured that the basis of characters wouldn’t change, that didn’t turn out to be the case for everyone.

There was quite the uproar on the forums and other social media sites as folks compared current character appearance to that of the benchmark. Some of the changes were good, some of them were bad. I expected folks to be ultra picky about this – since these are their long-time characters, and no one likes to see things change. But even with the promise of a free fantasia for the expansion, some of the changes people found I felt merited raising up with concern.

Much to my surprise, the team didn’t just wave off the feedback telling us they hear us, might make changes, and to wait until the expansion. No, instead, Yoshi-P himself addressed all the concerns publicly, and not only said “we hear you” but that they were going to take the resources (right before an expansion launch) to update the benchmark, fix the issues, and re-release a new version of the benchmark for us to review.

Now, that is incredible customer service!

This week, we finally received the benchmark reborn, along with an explanation from Yoshi-P on what changed and how these changes improve what we’re seeing. In some cases, better lighting and shadows helped a huge amount. In other cases, they actually went in and fixed textures or geometry within the avatars – such as Keeper of the Moon fangs (which were nerfed in the original benchmark).

I wasn’t personally up in arms about the original benchmark for my characters. There were a couple I flagged for needing a fantasia – Ben was particularly bad looking when it came to skin textures.

Amon and Tad, who both use the “young Elezen” faces got quite an improvement. So, I wasn’t too fussed.

However, seeing the change between the original benchmark and the newest benchmark is astounding. Even Amon, whom I had no real complaints about originally, looks so much better. There’s something about the shape of the eyes and the shadowing that makes him appear more mature for some reason.

Here’s my examples:

Current Amon
Amon in original benchmark
Amon in newest reworked benchmark

Overall, there is still some feedback, because of course there will be, but what I’ve been seeing is far more positive than the original benchmark. It’s amazing what some better lighting can do – and these old character creation environments really, really needed an update.

As someone who spends way too much time rolling alts, I can vouch for that. 😊

You can check out the newest version of the benchmark here!

*|* {June} *|* {2024} *|* {FFXIV} *|*