Final Fantasy XIV gets a new Xbox open beta date window, alongside new Job announcements, playable races, and more

Final Fantasy XIV Dawntrail full CG trailer screenshot
(Image credit: Square Enix)

What you need to know

  • Square Enix has shown off new gameplay details for Final Fantasy XIV's fifth expansion, Dawntrail at Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival 2024 Japan.
  • These announcements include the reveal of the Pictomancer and Beastmaster Jobs, the long-awaited female Hrothgar playable race, a new date for the Xbox open beta test date, and more.
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail is scheduled to launch during the summer of 2024 on Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and PC.

On January 7, 2024, Square Enix showcased a mountain of new info regarding Final Fantasy XIV's upcoming expansion, Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail at this year's Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival in Japan (which can be viewed on YouTube). These include new player Jobs, a new playable race, a new date for the open beta test of Final Fantasy XIV's upcoming Xbox version, and so much more.

Here are all the biggest announcements from Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival Japan 2024:

New Magical Ranged DPS Job: Pictomancer

The first major announcement was the reveal of the Magical Ranged DPS player Job which will be added to Final Fantasy XIV alongside the new Melee DPS Job, Viper. Last year, we predicted that one of the new Jobs for Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail last year would be Pictomancer based on hints given by the game's director, Naoki Yoshida. It turns out we were right on the money as the new Ranged Magical DPS Job will indeed be the Pictomancer.

Pictomancers are an unorthodox Job that originated in Final Fantasy VI used by the character Relm, and its main gimmick is combining art with magic. For example, Pictomancers can sketch monsters, locations, or even weather patterns and then use magic to bring their artwork to life to attack enemies or support allies.

Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker Patch 6.55 part 2

Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker's story will soon draw to a close... (Image credit: Square Enix)

The second major news announcement is that Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker's next major update, Patch 6.55, will be released on January 16, 2024. This update will include new side quests and new Main Scenario Quests that will conclude the story of Endwalker and set the stage for Dawntrail. 

New areas

We have been given a trailer showcasing the new jungle and desert-themed areas players will explore in Dawntrail's main setting, the continent of Tural. Then afterward, Square Enix unveiled a trailer showcasing a new player hub called Solution 9, which is unlike any locale we have seen in Final Fantasy XIV thus far.

All we know about this futuristic-looking city is that it was built by a civilization entirely separate from Tuliyollal, the main player hub city of Dawntrail.

Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail will feature civilizations that mingle ancient and modern technology together. (Image credit: Square Enix)

Similar to Solution 9, Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail will feature another locale that mixes low-fantasy and advanced science-fiction-esque technology called Heritage Found. This region is brimming with magical energy that conjures eternal thunderclouds that blot out the sun and strike the land with purple lightning.

New Allied Tribes: Yok Huy and Hanu Hanu

Players can expect new Allied Tribes to interact with at Dawntrail. (Image credit: Square Enix)

In addition to the Mamool Ja, Pelupelu, and Moblin Allied Tribes, Dawntrail will introduce a new Allied Tribe of giants called the Yok Huy and what appear to be regional variants of the Vanu Vanu Allied Tribe from Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, called the Hanu Hanu.

New Expansive Lifestyle content: Cosmic Exploration

Journey to the stars to explore other planets in Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail (Image credit: Square Enix)

The next major new announcement is that Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail will feature a brand new lifestyle content activity called Cosmic Exploration. This activity will involve players traveling through space to explore other planets alongside the Loporitts from Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker. Cosmic Exploration can be tackled solo or with other players.

New Raid dungeon info

Final Fantasy XIV and Final Fantasy XI fans unite to take on the Shadow Lord in the Echoes of Vana'Diel Alliance Raid. (Image credit: Square Enix)

Square Enix unveils new information regarding Dawntrail's Raid content. First up is that new concept art has been unveiled for the Shadow Lord, one of the enemies players will face in Echoes of Vana'Diel, the 24-man Alliance Raid dungeon that will be based on Final Fantasy XI. The Echoes of Vana'Diel will be added to Final Fantasy XIV through Dawntrail's post-launch updates at a later date.

What strange new adventures will players be tangled up in the Arcadion Raid? (Image credit: Square Enix)

Next up is that Square Enix gives players a glimpse of what Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail's 8-man Raid will be like through mysterious concept art. This artwork shows us a futuristic city looks like it takes place in the same general area as Solution Nine but with gigantic skyscrapers with fans built into them.

In addition, the title of the 8-man raid will be "The Arcadion" and will feature a completely original story with new characters to meet and new enemies to battle. As with previous 8-man Raids, there will be a Normal version for all players of any skill level to enjoy the story and a Savage version that will test the mettle of hardcore raiders. The Arcadion will be implemented at least a month after the base game of Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail launches.

The first Ultimate Raid based on the popular Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringer expansion will debut in Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail. (Image credit: Square Enix)

Finally, Square Enix announces that the first Ultimate Raid (the hardest battle content of FFXIV) of Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail will be called "Futures Rewritten (Ultimate)" and it will be based on the 8-man Eden Raid series from Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers. The Eden Raids were extremely popular with the fans for featuring a storyline and a host of bosses inspired by Final Fantasy VIII and introducing the fan-favorite character Gaia. 

As with the other Raids, Futures Rewritten (Ultimate) will be added to Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail after its release, and more information about how the Raid will play out at a later date.

Field Operations

Fans of Eureka and Bozja rejoice as Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail will feature new Field Operations. (Image credit: Square Enix)

After stating various smaller-scale updates coming to Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail like new Variant Dungeons, Deep Dungeon updates, PVP updates, Hildibrand Quests, Blue Mage updates, Square Enix announces that they are planning to add new Field Operations.

Field Operations are instanced areas where players band together to defeat hordes of enemies and giant bosses on large-scale battlefields. They were featured in FFXIV: Stormblood as "The Forbidden Land, Eureka" and FFXIV: Shadowbringers as "Save the Queen: Blades of Gunnhildr", but were absent in FFXIV: Endwalker, so fans of those activities can look forward to their return in Dawntrail.

New Limited Job: Beastmaster

Tame the wild beasts of Eorzea with the new Beastmaster Job. (Image credit: Square Enix)

In addition to the Viper and Pictomancer Jobs, Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail will introduce a new Limited Job called Beastmaster. Limited Jobs are restricted from most of Final Fantasy XIV's content like Ultimate Raids and Main Scenario Quests, but are compensated with a gigantic wealth of exclusive content and quests that can be tackled solo or with parties filled with players also using Limited Jobs.

The only Limited Job currently available is the Blue Mage so Beastmaster will be the second Limited Job added to the game. Beastmasters debuted in Final Fantasy V and their main gimmick is being able to tame and control monsters in battle. Square Enix has not stated what Beastmaster's gameplay will entail in Final Fantasy XIV as of yet, but we can hazard a guess they will feature Pokémon-style quests where we capture monsters and train them to fight bigger monsters at our behest.

Xbox Open Beta

Xbox fans can expect to the open beta for the Xbox version of Final Fantasy XIV in February 2024. (Image credit: Square Enix)

After showcasing previously announced miscellaneous features in more detail like the Graphics Update and the new Dye system, Square Enix announces when Xbox fans can expect to join open beta for the Xbox edition of Final Fantasy XIV. Square Enix plans to start the open beta on February 21st, 2024, but this date is subject to change before then.

FFXIV x FFXVI crossover

Final Fantasy XIV x Final Fantasy XVI crossover

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Square Enix then declares that the highly-anticipated crossover event with Final Fantasy XVI is scheduled to begin in early April 2024.

Playable Female Hrothgar

To close out the list of announcements, Square Enix unveiled a trailer confirming that female Hrothgar will finally be playable once Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail launches. The Hrothgar are a playable race of half-human/lion hybrids introduced in Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers, whose bestial appearances are mostly inspired by the Ronso Race from Final Fantasy X. 

Players were only able to play as male Hrothgar when they were added in Shadowbringers in 2019 and had to wait several years until now before playable female Hrothgar became official. 

We are drawing ever closer to a new era for Final Fantasy XIV

That was a lot of new information to unpack for this upcoming PC title. We've got new Jobs, new Raids, new activities, a new playable race, new locales to explore, and so much more to look forward to. 

However, I will say it is pretty bold of Square Enix to release Patch 6.55 on January 16, 2024. This is likely going to be the last major content update for Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker and Square Enix is releasing it at the same time as the Seeds of Renewal update for World of Warcraft: Dragonflight. Needless to say, the competition for player retention between the two biggest MMORPGs on the market is going to be fierce. 

Could this be a sign that Square Enix plans to release Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail around the same timeframe as World of Warcraft's upcoming The War Within expansion in the summer of 2024? Is Square Enix planning on taking Blizzard's juggernaut MMORPG directly to see which game comes out on top as one of the best PC titles of 2024? We will have to wait and see to find out.

Alexander Cope

Alexander Cope is a gaming veteran of 30-plus years, primarily covering PC and Xbox games here on Windows Central. Gaming since the 8-bit era, Alexander's expertise revolves around gaming guides and news, with a particular focus on Japanese titles from the likes of Elden Ring to Final Fantasy. Alexander is always on deck to help our readers conquer the industry's most difficult games — when he can pry himself away from Monster Hunter that is!