At Final Fantasy 14 FanFest 2023 North America, attendees were given the opportunity to challenge Asura, the upcoming Primal Trial that will appear through a new content patch. I took this opportunity in hand and fought my way through the FanFest online queue (which required attendees to uninstall and reinstall the app to get it working properly) to mark my place in line with other prospective Warriors of Light to tackle this new Trial.
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For those unfamiliar with Trials, they’re effectively 8-person boss fights. These instances are arguably my favorite part of Final Fantasy 14, so I was super eager to fight Asura and see what she’d bring to the table by comparison to previous Trials like Heavensward’s Nidhogg, Endwalker’s Golbez, or Stormblood’s Susano. Waiting in line I ended up pulling together a group comprised of James Galizio of RPGSite, and the following Warriors of Light: Thallan Gildeford, King Ma, Ishtar Valentine, Worstluck NA, and Kini Solis. The final four in that lineup are five-time Legends, which means they’ve cleared all currently available Ultimate fights — some of the hardest pieces of content in the game.
Waiting in line we discussed what Job Classes we would play; I assigned myself the role of White Mage, since it was what I was most comfortable with and had the most experience in. While I do enjoy playing Tank as Gunbreaker and DPS as Summoner, I jumped in as a White Mage as I had for previous Battle Challenges (notably Thordan and Susano at Gamescom when those fights respectively appeared). After setting up our hotbars, making sure we had the right skills in the right places, and chatting amongst ourselves, we were ready to jump into the fight and take down Asura.
The special battle encounter at Fan Festival 2023-2024 will be…The Gilded Araya! ✨Attendees will have a chance to try it early before it’s officially implemented into the game at a later date! pic.twitter.com/Q5ox8YZNKM
— FINAL FANTASY XIV (@FF_XIV_EN) May 12, 2023
However, once we got into the fight, it was the same song and dance as previous trials. Asura was hardly challenging, and despite my sub lapsing for upwards of three months, I had no issues co-healing alongside our Sage. Maybe it was because he was extremely good at the game, or because White Mage is easy to get back into, or maybe this even speaks about how you can quickly get back into the groove of things in Final Fantasy 14, but Asura was easy. Extremely easy.
She featured all of the hallmarks of a standard Final Fantasy 14 fight: Telegraphed attacks, Tank busters (extremely hard-hitting attacks reserved only for the Tanks), and orange AoEs on the ground that would sometimes manifest in large circles or rings. There was also a mechanic where she would channel a larger version of herself to then spawn orange rings on the ground that we would have to run out of before getting hit and receiving a negligible amount of damage and a vulnerability stack. (I can’t speak on any of the music, because for some reason the audio wasn’t working for my setup.) And before we knew it, the fight was over.
Image: Square Enix via Kazuma Hashimoto for Polygon
Asura was felled, and we emerged victorious. All of us were silent, almost surprised it had ended as quickly as it began, but then we piped up to congratulate one another. I wished my team well on their next Ultimate clear, and told James I’d be heading back to my hotel room to cool down.
Part of me wonders if Asura was easy because of the group I was in, or if Asura is a demonstration of Creative Business Unit 3’s dedication to making content more approachable for all players. If the latter, they nailed it. Unlike when Nidhogg released at the tail end of Heavensward, I can’t see people getting stuck and having to use Party Finder to clear the fight. If anything, I’m interested to see what her Extreme fight will be and what other mechanics will be layered on. In the end, it was a nice experience and a great way to bond with other players, even if it was just five minutes of their time.