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Comic for: August 14th, 2008
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Poopy Strip: "Pandemonium Warden"
Posted: Thursday August 14th, 2008 by

Yesterday I found an article by way of Joystiq that asked the simple question "How Long is Too Long?" On June 9th Square Enix (SE) added a NM (Notorious Monster) system to Final Fantasy XI's Treasures of Aht Urhgan region. These ZNMs (Zeni Notorious Monsters) are tier based; beat all the monsters in one to unlock the next. Tier 5 is the Pandemoium Warden.

This past weekend a LS (linkshell) on Seraph by the name of Beyond the Limitation BtL fought the Pandemonium Warden for 18 hours, through 20 transformations, before having to give up. One member of BtL explained the retreat saying, "People were passing out and getting physically ill."
Source: PetFoodAlpha [ more info ]

My brain wiggled when I read that these folks had essentially fought one boss mob for 18 hours before being forced to give up. The idea was to do a comic where one of the versions of the transformation was paying cards with one of the other NM's while people poked at him ineffectively. The problem was, I struggled to find clear images of the Pandemonium Wardens various forms. And, unlike the other MMOs I've played, these forms weren't super sized. They looked to be no bigger than the characters attacking them, making my plans for the comic useless. But even after all the reading I did, I can't say this for certain.

I'm not certain how many people were attacking the mob. I don't know how long the pauses between transformations were. Was there any downtime? Could people fight in shifts to make future attempts easier? Are 8 or more hour boss fights common? I just don't know. I've never played FFXI and almost every aspect of the articles, posts, and conversations I read sounded somewhat foreign to me.

What I did take away from the information I did manage to collect was this: 18 hours is not okay. Many of the participants denigrated SE for making the Pandemonium Warden excessively difficult for no better reason than to make him nearly impossible to beat. Granted the other side of the argument was that this kind of thing has happened in the past; an NM has taken hours upon hours to beat, but as members geared up and strategy solidified the time to bring the boss down dwindled to something infinitely more manageable. And if players don't want to spend 18 hours trying to beat a boss then they just shouldn't.

What I will say in defense of BtL's ordeal is this, they probably went into the fight expecting 7-10 hours to bring the Pandemonium Warden down. And, as each extra hour ticked by they probably figured "just a bit longer". But, when people started getting "physically ill" and the LS had no idea how much longer they might be involved in the fight, they had to back out for the sake of their members.

Ultimately, I applaud BtL's effort even if I don't fully understand it. I just hope I did their story some justice despite not being knowledgable about the game in which they struggle.

--- Editted to Add ---
One of the members of the Pandemonium 18 hour Attempt, has posted a two part dissertation on the fight, strategy, experience, and publicity surrounding the event. It's a long read, but very informative and should help people understand the situation as it occured.

Part One
Part Two

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