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During the fight with early Final Fantasy XIV villain Gaius Van Baelsar, his armor takes on a golden hue. There isn’t really a concrete gameplay reason as to why, but we can make a few educated guesses – chief among them being a good ol’ anime style power-up.
Fair warning: This article will go into some mild spoiler territory for Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. So if you want to experience that with fresh eyes, check this out later on.
Ah, The Praetorium.
That fabled land at the end of A Realm Reborn. Is it a raid? Is it a dungeon? Is it experimental boredom-induced torture?
We’ll never really know, but it does have a fairly epic conclusion at the end of all those unskippable cutscenes.
After slogging through a lot of trash enemies and desperately trying to keep up with party members zooming around the instance at the speed of light, players will finally confront Gaius Van Baelsar, dreaded Legatus of the Garlean Empire.
This brutal general played a role in the original legacy version of Final Fantasy XIV. But he’ll be encountered and overcome fairly early now in your journey.
Why (And When) Do We Fight Gaius Van Baelsar?
Gaius is planning to unleash the Ultima Weapon to end the Primal threat once and for all, conquering Eorzea in the process.
Half of that sounds great, until you learn that yes, of course, those tricksy Ascians are behind it all again.
So at the end of The Praetorium, you and seven other players will team up to kick Gaius’ face in and bring an end to his schemes.
Praetorium and its preceding counterpart (Castrum Meridianum) are the only two dungeons in the game that have completely unskippable cutscenes.
No matter how many times you conquer these dungeons, you’ll have to sit through all the dialogue every single time.
These two dungeons cap off the Realm Reborn Main Scenario.
You’ll reach them when you’re at the level 50 mark in the quests (your character may be higher than level 50 when you get there).
Luckily they’re excepted from the standard Duty Roulettes, so you won’t get lumped with them if you’re just trying to do a quick dungeon.
So Why Does Gaius Turn Gold?
There’s a few theories on this, but the most likely contender is that, well, it just looks cool.
He’s all amped up, he’s in the fight of his life, and he’s still got time to style on his enemies with a golden flourish. Some players think it’s a nod to Dragon Ball Z – Frieza has a similar golden child moment, after all.
With regards to the actual practicalities behind it, the Dissidia Dream wiki suggests that the golden sheen in his EX form comes from the Aetherial powering his armor.
Some people have theorized that gold-plated Garlean armor is typically more resistant to magical attacks.
This theory is based on the flavor text for the Gilded Magitek Armor mount. The description states that the Garleans use golden plating on machinery to make it resistant to magic.
We can assume that Gaius’ armor probably works in the same way – he’s an incredibly powerful figure in the Garlean Empire, and would have access to the most cutting-edge equipment.
But there isn’t really one solid answer as to why his armor turns gold.
As mentioned above, it probably just looked cool.
It’s a pretty standard anime trope to have someone “change form” when things get serious, and that’s probably what we’re looking at now.
Is Gaius Van Baelsar A Hard Fight For New Players?
Despite his golden sheen, no, not really.
At this point you’ll probably be running through The Praetorium with players that have done it hundreds of times, and are extremely overgeared/leveled for the challenge.
There are some fairly simple tactics to bear in mind, but for the most part you’ll find these two dungeons (and Gaius) easy to overcome.
Follow your party members, don’t stand in AOEs, and you’ll be fine.
That is, of course, unless you get extremely unlucky with your party members. But usually the hardest challenge you’ll find in The Praetorium is staying awake throughout all those cutscenes!