Solution Nine Inside
Image: Square Enix

How Solution Nine and Other FFXIV Dawntrail Areas Could Affect the Story

It'll probably take me more than nine theories to come up with the solution.

The new Dawntrail areas revealed from the Japan Fanfest keynote were quite telling about certain elements of the next expansion’s story. Here’s how Solution Nine and other FFXIV Dawntrail areas could affect the story.

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Tural, Solution Nine, and more: The unfolding story of Dawntrail

Tural Full Map
Image: Square Enix

First of all, it is worth noting that Tural is huge. Looking at it on the full map, it’s bigger than Eorzea, and it rivals the Far East in size. Its north and south divisions tell of Tural being not just inspired by Central and South America, but the Americas as a whole. With a landmass this large and diverse, why has Tural barely been mentioned or involved in the numerous global events of Etheirys? It might be the new world, but it’s populated. Even Sharlayan, the resident do-nothing nation of Etheirys, has been involved more than Tural. There has to be a story reason behind Tural being so quiet.

Related: Dawntrail Dungeon preview at Fanfest: Cruises, processing plants, et al

We see a mining town resembling the look of the American Wild West as it’s depicted in popular culture. It even goes so far as to show a saloon. If Tural is meant to be both North and South America, this would suggest this area is in Northern Tural. While Tural might have a city of gold, I don’t think it’s a gold rush taking place in this area. We learn from the Blue Mage questline Tural has untapped reserves of cerulean for businessmen to make expenditures into mining. One of them is even on a native tribe’s land. If these businessmen had taken to the cerulean reserves in Tural, it could have sparked these mining towns to appear. The cerulean processing plant depicted in the last reveal further supports this idea.

The ominous and mysterious Solution Nine and how it could affect the story of Dawntrail

This brings us to the biggest bomb drop of the keynote: Solution Nine. Among all the visuals of Tural’s varied but peaceful locations, we are suddenly met with a purple cyberpunk city with no warning. That would be out of place in any part of Etheirys, but especially somewhere like the rest of Tural. Solution Nine was described on the keynote slide as “A city of towering facades constructed by an entirely different civilization than that of Tuliyollal”.

There is much to speculate from the name alone. What happened to the other eight solutions, and what could a purple cyberpunk city be a solution for? The lore of Etheirys provides many possible answers- a previous Calamity, a civilization on the brink of collapse, the Allagan Empire’s attempts to conquer the world, and so forth.

We’ve seen several advanced civilizations in the narrative- the Allagans, Garlemald, Ronka, the Loporrits, and the Ancients. The only one Solution Nine vaguely resembles is Allag- but we’ve seen a lot of Allagan areas at this point, and it doesn’t entirely match the Allagan architecture we’re used to. They do not use that many neon screens. If anything, I have a sneaking suspicion the recent PvP glamour outfits are the aesthetic of Solution Nine. They look modern, but not Allagan or Garlean. So are we dealing with Allag’s remains yet again, or is this an entirely new advanced civilization, and if so, where did they come from?

Who made Solution Nine?

Beyond Etheirys isn’t impossible, given dragons already come from outer space. However, Endwalker established extraterrestrial life was mostly dead in Ancient times. Another speculation I keep hearing is Solution Nine is the remains of another shard lost to a previous Calamity. This isn’t out of the realm of possibility given how each shard mirrors the Source but would be unprecedented in scale. One detail in the reveal of the eight-man raid’s location, The Arcadion, is especially telling:

The Arcadion Dawntrail How Solution Nine and Other FFXIV Dawntrail Areas Could Affect the Story
Image: Square Enix

You can see what resembles an Ascian glyph in the background. We know the Ascians facilitated the rise of the Allagan Empire. Was this civilization an entire other they tried to have destroy everything?

If nothing else, I’m almost certain Solution Nine is the endgame area of Dawntrail. It could even be the fabled city of gold. It doesn’t look like one, but perhaps gold has another meaning. When it comes to how Solution Nine and other FFXIV Dawntrail areas could affect the story, Solution Nine feels too big to be anything but the ‘sudden new and unexpected final area that breaks open the truth of the plot and world’ we’ve seen in Heavensward, Shadowbringers, and Endwalker thus far. But what truth of the world could we be missing? We learned about the Ancients, the shards, and all life in the universe being dead. The developers hinted there’s a big secret in Dawntrail. This cyberpunk city has to be the key to it.

That’s about everything to be gleaned from how Solution Nine and other FFXIV Dawntrail areas could affect the story. I am looking forward to riding a motorbike around the cyberpunk city and equipping the Noir outfit for immersion. In the meantime, catch up on all the changes coming up in FFXIV 7.0.

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Alexa BeMent
Alexa BeMent is an aspiring media creator and writer who may also secretly be a manatee masquerading as a human. A Virginia Tech graduate with Creative Writing and Cinema degrees, she has been a Freelance Writer for PC Invasion since February 2023, and enjoys writing stories and consuming video essays when she's not planning the Manatee Uprising. Having played video games since before she could read, she is a lover of all things Legend of Zelda, FFXIV, horror games, and can play competitive Pokémon, especially as a Ghost type Gym Leader. We don't discuss how big her Pokémon plush collection is.