For several millennia, the Crystal Tower remained hidden, buried deep underground. But, like so many other things that were better left undisturbed, the structure was freed from its stony prison by the great upheaval which accompanied the coming of the Seventh Umbral Era. It now stands revealed in all its splendor, a gleaming spear of crystal, pointed at the bosom of the heavens.
The Crystal Tower (クリスタルタワー, Kurisutarutawā?), also known as Syrcus Tower, is a location Final Fantasy XIV. Located in the Mor Dhona territory, it was initially known for playing host to the first series of alliance raids intended for 24 players. Its role was greatly expanded in Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers, when a seemingly identical structure appeared in the region of Lakeland on the First, around which sprung up the city of the Crystarium.
According to ancient scriptures, at the height of their prosperity, the Allagan Empire crafted a resplendent tower forged of crystal that collected and stored energy from the sun. The tower had numerous defenses, including ancient beings revived and augmented by Allagan technology. When the Allagan Empire fell into decline during the late Third Astral Era, its ruler Amon used their technology to clone their founding ruler, Xande, to restore the empire to its former glory. Motivated by his mortality, Xande's ambition was insatiable and he made a pact with the Cloud of Darkness to bring her and her voidsent brethren into Eorzea to wipe out everything.
To support the necessary Voidgate to the World of Darkness, Xande commissioned the creation of Dalamud to transmit solar energy to the Syrcus Tower. The resulting energy was too much for the tower to contain, and was catastrophically released in the form of an earthquake that ushered in the Fourth Umbral Era. Though the tower sank into the earth and faded into legend while the Allagan civilization was laid to ruin, Amon had kept himself and Xande in suspended animation inside the tower. The remaining Allagans desired to restore the tower as a symbol of hope for Eorzea, the last remaining princess Salina using their technology to imprint her genetic code into a Mi'qote bloodline in hope they could fulfill that dream.
The Crystal Tower was eventually unearthed during the Seventh Umbral Calamity, with its inhabitants reawakened. Following the declaration of the Seventh Astral Era, Cid nan Garlond decides to launch an expedition into the tower out of both curiosity of the technologies within, and out of fear that it may contain Allagan weapons similar to the Ultima Weapon. With Rammbroes of the Sons of Saint Coinach helping him enlist the adventurers for the task, Cid finds the tower entrance is protected by barriers created by four pairs of statues called the Eight Sentinels.
A Baldesion scholar named G'raha Tia, who named the exploration group NOAH ("Nominated Observers of Artifacts Historical") after an Allagan, commissions the Warrior of Light to acquire four Perfect Crystals and four Aethereal Sands for Cid to fashion crystal fangs so they can venture into the Labyrinth of the Ancients. The Warrior and their companions press ahead to deal with any threats in the labyrinth while Cid remains to study the sentinels. The expedition group defeats the fallen Allagan revolutionary hero Phlegethon, who was made into the tower's gatekeeper. As Cid and his group fall back to Saint Coinach's Find to recuperate, their expedition attracts the attention of Nero tol Scaeva.
Progress into the central spire—known as Syrcus Tower by ancient Allag—reaches a standstill due to the front door being impervious to all forms of physical, magical, or magitek force. Two strangers approach the camp, introducing themselves as Doga and Unei, claiming to be from the Students of Baldesion. When Doga and Unei open the door to the tower, Nero makes himself known and reveals the door only responds to those of the Allagan royal bloodline. Doga and Unei are clones of the original Allagan sages who were created to prevent Eorzea from being threatened by the revived Xande, and had needed the Warrior of Light's help to neutralize the potential threat. Climbing the massive spire, the alliance of adventurers battle their way through the tower's defenses, confronting Amon and eventually Emperor Xande himself.
As the ancient king lies defeated, Cid and the others, including Nero, arrive. When Doga and Unei seal the Voidgate and break Xande's covenant Nero laughs in excitement, detecting the energy source from the gate is greater than even the Ultima Weapon. Refusing to let the pact be broken, the Cloud of Darkness summons a group of Doga and Unei clones to hold off the Warrior of Light, NOAH, and Nero while dragging Doga into the World of Darkness before grabbing Unei. Nero attempts to intervene, but is pulled into the Voidgate as well. The void enters his body to protect Doga and Unei as the Cloud of Darkness, who cannot directly harm them, sics other Voidsent on them.
As the gate subsides, Cid suggests they return to Saint Coinach's Find. With the new threat of Cloud of Darkness revealed, their goal changes from studying Allagan relics to dealing with dangerous Voidsent. They learn that the Crystal Tower is still acting on Xande's order of gathering energy for the Cloud of Darkness and cannot be stopped except by someone with Allagan royal blood. This requires the group to save Doga and Unei. After Cid finishes the machine that would produce the Voidgate, the Warrior of Light and G'raha venture into the World of Darkness. After weakening the Cloud of Darkness, the Warrior and G'raha find Doga, Unei, and Nero, but the two clones decide to remain in the World of Darkness to hold off the bodiless Cloud of Darkness. G'raha is revealed to be of the Allagan royal bloodline and Doga and Unei transfer their blood into him to augment his powers, allowing him to control the Crystal Tower. G'raha and the Warrior of Light return to Eorzea. Nero also escapes, restored to his original self by Doga and Unei and rescued by Cid.
G'raha tells the rest of NOAH that Doga and Unei's blood has revealed to him the secret of his own bloodline and his purpose, intending to seal the Crystal Tower with himself inside. G'raha wishes to make Salina's dream a reality, believing it can be once Eorzea has developed a means of unlocking the gate. He bids farewell to his companions, who promise to help make that day come sooner than he expects. The Sons of Saint Coinach remain to record NOAH's findings while Cid, Nero, and the Warrior of Light go their separate ways.In an alternate future where the Eighth Umbral Calamity was unleashed upon Eorzea in the form of Black Rose, Cid was among the survivors who searched for a means to avert the tragedy. His research would be continued by Garlond Ironworks and their descendants by combining the various technologies from Xande's throne, Alexander, and Omega. The group eventually found a means to open the Crystal Tower two centuries after the Eighth Umbral Era began and awakened G'raha, who had partially fused himself into the Crystal Tower to become its immortal caretaker. Once informed of the events that transpired during his slumber, G'raha agrees to assist. The tower is transported through timespace to the First, to a time after the Flood of Light. G'raha builds the haven of the Crystarium around the Crystal Tower, subsequently becoming Norvrandt's last bastion against the sin eaters.
The scale of this structure defies comprehension... Someone clearly thought bigger was better.Cid nan Garlond, on the Labyrinth of Ancients
The first line of defenses, these statuary are located outside the main entrances in Mor Dhona. Each pair creates an elemental barrier that prevents any means of breaching, even with flight. The player must help Cid assemble the elemental fangs needed to overload the Sentinels before the raid instances can be undertaken.
Labyrinth of the Ancients
With the help of Cid nan Garlond, members of the expedition to the Crystal Tower have successfully penetrated the defenses of the Eight Sentinels. The ancient Allagan structure is not so easily entered, however, and the Labyrinth of the Ancients now awaits the fellowship of NOAH as they seek the ultimate prize.Description
A maze that circles the Crystal Tower, serving as the only path leading to the tower itself. The raid alliance must clear several halls containing Voidsent before they can activate the lift leading to the labyrinth's guardian: Phlegethon.
Having secured a path through the Labyrinth of the Ancients, the fellowship of NOAH finds itself before the entrance to the Crystal Tower proper. With the aid of their new comrades, Unei and Doga, the companions succeed in opening the gate whose workings had baffled even the brightest minds among them. Upon learning that dark forces have awakened within, the fellowship decides to suspend its investigative effort in favor of sealing off the tower. You must fight your way to the apex and defeat the resurrected Emperor Xande, that Eorzea might be free of his all-consuming ambition.Description
The immense central spire of the tower complex itself. The full alliance must climb the tower and defeat its guardians to confront Emperor Xande.
The treasure coffers are split for each party in the alliance, and contain armor based on the various humanoid bosses in the Crystal Tower raid, as well as items needed to upgrade Gerolt Masterworks equipment.
The World of Darkness
In the twilight of his reign, the first and last emperor of Allag, Xande, desired power above all else. He turned to the terrible being known as the Cloud of Darkness, a ruler of the void, and asked of her strength to make the world kneel before his throne with a covenant of blood.
When Xande was slain, his ambitions were laid to rest alongside him. Yet the Cloud of Darkness still seeks to enter the material realm, and will soon find passage through the Voidgate set to manifest within Syrcus Tower. With the fiend's coming, can the fellowship of NOAH brave the void and rescue the three souls able to stem the Cloud's flood of shadows, or will the expedition itself vanish beyond the rift in the World of Darkness?Description
Located beyond a Voidgate created by Syrcus Tower's energies, the raid alliance must brave the Void itself to confront the Cloud of Darkness and rescue her hostages.
The treasure coffers are split for each party in the alliance, and contain Demon equipment.
In the Labyrinth of the Ancients part, plays a rearranged version of "The Altar Cave" from Final Fantasy III, called "Hubris". The battle theme, called "Ever Upwards", is also a more aggressive remix of the same theme.
A rearranged version of "Battle 2", called "Tumbling Down", plays during the battles with Phlegethon, Xande, and Cerberus. A muffled variation plays for players who are in Cerberus's stomach.
In the Syrcus Tower part, rearranged versions of "The Crystal Tower" titled "Out of the Labyrinth" and "Shattered" play throughout it. "Shattered" is a more active sounding variant that is swapped to whenever the raid group is in combat.
In the World of Darkness, a rearrangement of the "The Dark Crystals" titled "Blind to the Dark" plays. Like the previous raids, a more active sounding version called "Hamartomania" plays once the raid alliance is in combat.
"To the Edge" plays during the battle against the Warrior of Light in the Seat of Sacrifice trial.
Behind the scenes
The Crystal Tower in Final Fantasy XIV is filled to the brim with callbacks to the tower of the same name from Final Fantasy III. The Eight Sentinels reflect the statues blocking the path to the Crystal Tower on the world map in Final Fantasy III, both being disabled with elemental "fangs." The Labyrinth of the Ancients instance is based on the Ancients' Maze, which surrounds the tower in Final Fantasy III, from music to similar color palettes and visual elements (particularly the lava) to the enemies and bosses (the Bone Dragon, Thanatos and King Behemoth all being enemies in Final Fantasy III, and Phlegethon being based on the version of Titan who served as a boss). Concept art for a number of other classic Final Fantasy III enemies has also been shown, intended as bosses for later parts of the tower.