The Pandemonium Saga ConcludedAlternate Title: "Excuse me, waiter... There's a challenge in my game."
So, we ended up returning the linkshell's key and letting them take on Pandemonium Warden.
They were happy.
Unfortunately, I've come to notice that happiness is often short lived.
See, a ways back we created a boss named Absolute Virtue. This guy was an epic ass kicker and player's still haven't figured out how to fight him properly.
It's all in the video, guys.
Still, as AV grew a little stale, the devs came up with a newer, more challenging boss.
Hello, Pandemonium Warden.
This guy makes Absolute Virtue look like a four year old girl.
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with four year old girls. I'm sure they're very tough.
But if 18 people jumped a four year old girl with swords and magic and shit, that girl is going down.
Pandemonium Warden was designed as a real challenge. In order to defeat him, players would have to carefully devise the proper strategy and not just wail away on him like other monsters in the game.
Do you know what players hate?
A real challenge.
Now, if you ask a player if they like a challenge, they will tell you yes. They will tell you they enjoy a good challenge.
They are lying.
Players like things that are slightly harder than easy. They like being able to win.
Sure, we can make it seem difficult. We can make it take slightly longer or maybe have slightly more complex requirements.
But only slightly.
When you actually face them with a real challenge, a true challenge, they get upset.
The first time an organized group tried to really take on Pandemonium Warden, it took them over 18 hours.
No, that is not a typo.
And they didn't even win.
They actually had to stop trying because people were getting physically ill and passing out.
Now, that... That's a challenge.
Yeah, Battletoads was a hard freakin' game. It was really, really hard.
But it never actually kicked your ass.
That's progress, people. We actually have game bosses that beat the shit out of you for real.
Force feedback is so yesterday.
I will grant you... 18 hours is excessive for any boss battle. Expecting a group of people to coordinate and maintain a continuous play strategy and group dynamic for that long is insane.
Here's where an interesting question should be popping up.
What if they were wrong?
I'm sure they had this plan well thought out. They brought Black Mages and refreshers. They brought tanks.
They brought the guys with the pointy things.
But that shit is entirely pointless if that's not how you defeat that boss.
Imagine a level 75 casting fire on an extremely low level fire elemental.
That would be a long damned fight, wouldn't it?
Oh, yeah. He's casting magic.
Magic makes things go boom.
That'll totally work.
And yet... The damned elemental isn't going to die.
See, fire elementals aren't hurt when you cast fire.
They're made of fire.
Yes, you had a strategy.
That strategy was retarded.
You can obviously see why. You're casting fire on a fire elemental.
It's obvious that your strategy was flawed.
Here's the interesting thing, though... Just because it's not obvious, doesn't mean your plan isn't flawed.
After 18 hours, you'd assume someone would have said "You know, guys... Maybe we're doing this wrong."
Instead, this became a huge source of news because SE designed a boss that takes more than 18 hours to defeat.
And now, because of that feedback, they're going to lower the difficulty of Pandemonium Warden.
Dumb him down if you will.
But what does that really prove? Will you still be proud when you beat him?
Sure, you might get some shiny new piece of equipment.
But can you really say you met the challenge?
Remember when you were a kid and you'd play a game with your Dad? Remember how he'd let you win because he loved you or didn't want to listen to you whine or something?
Does that make you feel proud that you won?
Hey... Maybe we should invent an olympics where everybody gets a medal!
I'll give you some time to get that joke.