Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail's Asura is everything a XIV trial should be

While this year's Final Fantasy XIV FanFest has been host to a number of activities for attendees to engage themselves with, by far the most popular has been the returning Battle Challenge - an opportunity for players to test their mettle against an upcoming battle. During this year's show, players had the opportunity to face Asura - a Trial that is set to be released with next year's Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail expansion. Sitting down with friend and former contributor of the site Kazuma Hashimoto and a number of other Warriors of Light (including Thallan Gildeford, King Ma, Ishtar Valentine, Worstluck NA, and Kini Solis) we steeled ourselves for what would normally not pose much of a challenge for our group of battle-hardened veterans - setting up our hotbars on the fly, and attempting a fight that nobody else in the community has had any prior experience with.

Perhaps more interesting than the fight itself was watching our group scramble to prepare for the encounter - personally, I had smuggled my Logitech G600 mouse on with my person, and the first thing I did was promptly swap out the provided mouse with my own. Every character on the setup had gearsets for every combat Job in the game ready to go, so it was only left to us to arrange our hotbars and keybindings to accommodate how we wished to attempt the fight; all within a reasonably small time limit, of course. Even accounting for the fact that everyone in our group had pre-registered for the challenge ahead of time, there was still plenty of waiting in line before we could be seated at a computer.

Our clear of Asura at Final Fantasy XIV Fanfest 2023

The other consideration is that Asura won't be properly implemented into the game until next year. The version of the encounter that we faced was one specially tuned for the Fanfest, and of course there can and will be any number of balance and job adjustments for each and every one of our jobs come the full release. 

As for the fight itself - the man gimmick of Asura is an attack coming from outside the arena. A giant effigy will mime an AOE with their posture - and between that and the cast bar players will have to both determine where an attack will land and quickly get themselves into position before it lands. You won't see the actual AOE markers appear until it is too late to react without having been on the right track to avoiding the damage in the first place. Alongside with the standard raidwides, tankbusters and a brief mechanic where line AOEs would spawn in a clockwise rotation, that was the mechanics that we saw for Asura. 

Beyond the fact that the fight, of course, isn't complete yet -  and considering the players we partied up with, it's impossible to know if perhaps we missed any mechanics due to burning Asura down too quickly - it's shaping up to be a solid addition to the game's existing roster. We'll have to wait and see if the rest of Final Fantasy XIV: Dawntrail can manage to deliver, but it's nevertheless a comforting, if not unsurprising, note to start the wait for Dawntrail.