Final Fantasy 14's Dawntrail benchmark gets a glow-up, now with a new "photo studio-like environment" and less "soulless" eyes

Final Fantasy 14 Dawntrail screenshot featuring character Y'shtola Rhul, a Miqo'te woman with white hair framing her face and cat-like ears
(Image credit: Square Enix)

The revamped Dawntrail benchmark has finally arrived, providing us with a taste of Final Fantasy 14's massive graphics overhaul and a glimpse at how our Warriors of Light will look come 7.0 this summer.

Following the initial Dawntrail benchmark debacle and subsequent apology from director and producer Naoki 'Yoshi-P' Yoshida, a new version of the software has dropped. The previous release saw fans struggle with broken textures, poor lighting, and some seriously uncanny facial features - from "soulless" eyes to dolphin-esque Lalafell teeth. Yoshi-P says that the new version of the benchmark addresses these issues with "significant updates" and boasts some "major specification additions" to boot.

Dawntrail Benchmark 6.58 > 7.0 > 7.0 Updated comparisons! from r/ffxiv

The lighting is now open to customization, allowing for less of that pesky blue-colored tint that washes our characters' eye, hair, and skin colors out. Yoshi-P explains that Square Enix has "repurposed" the option to adjust lighting and time of day in the character creator with a new variant that doesn't feature that overpowering blue hue. More excitingly for us Gpose frequenters, he says that the team was "also able to fulfill requests from players who had wanted a photo studio-like environment similar to what screenshot enthusiasts recreate with in-game housing."

Other important tweaks include changes to character highlights - from glowing pupils to lip gloss. "The updated benchmark features enhanced lighting processes as well as changes to lighting and other environmental features," Yoshi-P says, encouraging us to "check out the new beautifully crisp highlights" for ourselves. Awkward wrinkles, striking smile lines, and other such undesirable facial impressions are also no more in the new benchmark, along with low-resolution hair textures and poorly projected shadows.

This massive glow-up to both the character creator and overall environment will carry over into the game itself come Dawntrail, according to Yoshi-P: "We carefully investigated the feedback from all regions to not only update the benchmark as much as possible, but also to refine the graphical update for Dawntrail's launch." Thankfully though, we don't have to hold our breath until the expansion's release since "the bulk of our adjustments and fixes are reflected in the updated benchmark" that's available today.

If you hop into the new benchmark and find yourself wishing that you could swap races or make other major changes to your Warrior of Light for Dawntrail - don't fret. You won't need to peruse the Mog Station for a pricey phial of Fantasia since one will be available for free in-game, "obtainable from a new quest that will be added with the release of Patch 7.0." As someone with way too many character recreations myself, I know that I'll certainly be making use of that phial next month.

While you download the revamped benchmark, read about the Mountain Dew employee who hangs out in the MMO to promote soda.

Anna Koselke
Staff Writer

After spending years with her head in various fantastical realms' clouds, Anna studied English Literature and then Medieval History at the University of Edinburgh, going on to specialize in narrative design and video game journalism as a writer. She has written for various publications since her postgraduate studies, including Dexerto, Fanbyte, GameSpot, IGN, PCGamesN, and more. When she's not frantically trying to form words into coherent sentences, she's probably daydreaming about becoming a fairy druid and befriending every animal or she's spending a thousand (more) hours traversing the Underdark in Baldur's Gate 3. If you spot her away from her PC, you'll always find Anna with a fantasy book, a handheld video game console of some sort, and a Tamagotchi or two on hand.