What Are Deep Dungeons in Final Fantasy XIV?

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Deep Dungeons are procedurally generated roguelike dungeons that span multiple floors, challenging individual players or parties to delve as deep as they can for rewards.

They also use an independent leveling and gear system. So every time you start a new run you’ll start at level 1, gaining new levels at a much faster clip than you would outside.

There are currently two Deep Dungeons: Palace of the Dead to start, and then Heaven-on-High, which becomes available in Stormblood once you’ve cleared fifty floors of PotD.

Shadowbringers does not have a Deep Dungeon, but we’re likely to see one appear with FFXIV’s Endwalker expansion.

 

Deep Dungeons: The Basics

Both of the Deep Dungeons share a lot of mechanics.

They both use independent gear and leveling systems, and they don’t require a typical tank/healer/DPS party composition.

The Deep Dungeons will also change every time you play them, with new floor layouts and enemy combinations to keep the challenge fresh every time.

They can be tackled individually or in a group of up to four players.

You can find allies via the Duty Finder, but higher floors (and greater rewards) will only be available to fixed parties – the same four players, doing the same jobs as they all were at the start.

Deep Dungeons are a great change of pace from a lot of XIV’s content.

Palace Of The Dead In-Game Screenshot Of Ffxiv
Image source by BattleAxTheater / © SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

And Deep Dungeons are a fantastic opportunity to learn your way around a new job.

Palace Of The Dead in particular is great. It starts every job out as level one – even those that start at higher levels like Samurai or Gunbreaker.

Getting started in these jobs can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. So rather than learning your skills one by one, over hours of play, they’re just kinda dumped on you all at once.

By taking one of these classes to a PotD run, you’ll be able to work your way up from the start, gaining a greater understanding of your abilities in a slightly more organic way.

Successful clears reward you with items, EXP, Gil, and Tomestones – making Deep Dungeons an excellent use of your time.

Dying will kick you out of the dungeons without any rewards or EXP, so be cautious!

But you can leave every ten floors and come back later to pick up where you left off, so it’s not like you have to clear it all in one go.

 

Palace Of The Dead

Palace of the Dead was introduced in Heavensward, and can be found in Quarrymill after completing the quest “The House That Death Built” around level 17.

The quest becomes available after you beat Copperbell Mines for the first time, as part of the early game MSQ.

It originally had fifty floors, telling the story of a twisting, changing labyrinth filled with spectral entities and cursed loot. Every tenth floor is punctuated with a boss fight, and the opportunity to leave the Palace and cash out any rewards as well.

Palace Of The Dead Cairn Passage Screenshot
Image source by BattleAxTheater / © SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

If you’ve been paying attention to FFXIV’s huge and multifaceted story, beating the fifth boss will conclude a background character arc that spanned from Sastasha to the hard version of Tam-Tara Deepcroft.

It’s your typical tale of love, grief, and demons from hellish otherworlds.

Patch 3.45 expanded Palace of the Dead to a staggering two hundred floors.

Floors 151-200 are only accessible to fixed parties (so the same four players) who’ve cleared 1-50 without a total party KO.

Palace of the Dead became my group’s favorite activity for quite a long time. We had a solid team of four, and decided to tackle it in traditional party formation with a tank and healer.

It worked pretty well, and we cruised through most of the earlier floors without breaking our stride.

You’ll also stumble onto chests as you play. Some of these will increase the power of your Aetherpool weapons and armor, some will drop potions.

You’ll also accrue a small collection of Pomanders, which are single-use items with a wide variety of effects. You can use these to boost your armor, disarm traps, and reveal the entire map, but the one you’ll want to look out for is the Pomander of Intuition.

Pomanders of Intuition reveal caches of the Accursed Hoard.

Collecting pieces of this hidden treasure will reward you with sacks of Bronze, Iron, Silver, and Gold-trimmed quality, depending on how deep you’ve delved.

After exiting the Palace, you can take these to the Expedition Bishop in Quarrymill to have them appraised, rewarding you with minions, glamour items, and more.

You can also stumble upon pieces of the Accursed Hoard without Pomanders of Intuition, but it requires a lot of luck. So it’s best to use the item to find them for you.

My final tip for PotD?

Read up on the boss mechanics for the fiftieth floor.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but it can absolutely wreck an unprepared group, undoing a lot of hard work. Having a basic understanding of what you need to run towards (and away from) is essential.

 
Ffxiv Screen From Palace Of The Dead In-Game Gameplay
Image source by DrybearGamers / © SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

Heaven-on-High

Heaven-on-High was introduced with Stormblood’s patch 3.45.

Where PotD has players plunging into ever-darker depths, HoH tasks them with climbing a tower that reaches into the heavens.

It’s a huge thematic shift from PotD’s gloomy labyrinth, with all the Eastern atmosphere that defined the Stormblood expansion.

Personally, Heaven-on-High is the more enjoyable experience – grinding PotD’s catacombs gets pretty miserable after a while.

But this second Deep Dungeon only becomes available once you’ve cleared the first fifty floors of PotD, and reached the area it’s located in via the main questline.

Heaven-on-High looks very different, but this dungeon’s premise is very much the same.

It’s smaller than Palace of the Dead, with only one hundred floors. The first thirty floors contain its storyline, and anything beyond that is simply for players who want to challenge themselves and claim greater rewards.

You’ll start at level 60 here and battle your way up to 70, giving you access to almost your entire skill set.

Heaven-on-High isn’t quite as useful as PotD as a leveling/learning tool, but it does give you the opportunity to experiment with different jobs at higher levels.

 

Are Deep Dungeons Worth Playing?

Both Deep Dungeons can suffer from repetitive gameplay, and losing all of your progress after some tense battles can be demoralizing.

But if you get a good fixed party together and hang out in voice chat, they can provide some of the best casual group content that FFXIV has to offer.

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