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Dzemael Darkhold - QuestionsFollow

#1 Oct 02 2011 at 2:00 PM Rating: Excellent
3,962 posts
So I wasn't around really when Dzemael Darkhold came out, nor was I the adequate level to participate, so I missed the wave of threads I am sure that it spawned. With the upcoming patch threatening to lock me out of finishing Into the Dark for the other two nations I won't be joining, I decided it was time to knock these out. Easier said than done it seems...

Researched the boss fights, but being a big fan of written explanations over video guides, I was actually not able to find too much on the dungeon up to the bosses, which lead me to believe it was fairly straightforward. Fast forward through a few sh*tty runs that ended in my internet dying (perhaps to save me from myself, perhaps out of sheer apathy for what was going on over its bandwidth... I'll never know) and I'm left wondering, what the ****?

It seems that the community adopted strategy for completing even the quest, and not attempting Batraal is to just book it through the entire dungeon, not fighting pretty much anything, and attempting to sleep frogs, etc.

Which leads me to two questions I have:

#1 Has anyone here completed the dungeon (at least through the captain's quarters) comfortably with a PUG or partial PUG without running by every single enemy in the dungeon? If so, any tips? I honestly do not enjoy the idea of running by an entire dungeon full of enemies, not to mention if you do manage to botch it, you're royally @#%^ed.

#2 Does anyone actually enjoy this thing, or feel that it's a well designed experience? Honestly, I'm now fairly certain my question for the Letter from the Producer live is now going to center around whether or not the player approach to Dzemael Darkhold was intentional, and if they really, honestly spent all of that time placing enemies and objectives in a way that they intended everyone to simply run by them. And as a follow up, if all instanced experiences are going to follow in that route, with a strict time limit that forces players to run through the content.

I can just imagine someone watching a video of a run of the dungeon, and thinking "Wow that looks stupid" and honestly they're not far off, it really is in my estimation, kind of well... stupid. For the record, I enjoyed most of FFXI's end game, and experience all of it excluding the very, very recent post-Abyssea content. I'm not principally against time limits, but time limits that make sense for the content would be nice. Running can be a fun mechanic in games, if that game is Mirror's Edge, or Prince of Persia, but I'm not really all that excited at the prospect of running in FFXIV.

Edit: And as a qualifier to my second question, I could understand why some of you who may be in end-game focused Linkshells would enjoy the Darkhold regardless of it's flaws, because its's something to actually... well do, but taking that into account, do you think it stands on it's own two legs as fun, enjoyable content? Or would you be having more fun if it were slightly different?

Edited, Oct 2nd 2011 1:08pm by RamseySylph
#2 Oct 02 2011 at 2:52 PM Rating: Good
1,235 posts
It would be pointless to fight the mobs everyone runs by. The eye itself would make that a logistical nightmare, but that aside, they provide nothing but a roadblock as far as time goes. The only mobs you "need" to kill are the ones that open up barriers, trigger quest completion, and spawn chests (the orbon in the first light room, ogre, drakes in the buckler room, skellies in the skelly room, captain, and batraal).
Even with just those, and a good chest grab/quickstride strat, it's REALLY close for a full chest run, so close it's easier to just do the speed runs for the just the speed chest, and do the other 4 chests on a separate run.

There is room for a job that's non-optimal for that particular dungeon. You can elbow drop the ogre, which if done well will result in the ogre dealing about no damage to anyone whatsover. You can aoe the skellies in the skelly room, and lastly you can help pull/aoe skellies in batraal room, and/or handle the lights. I suppose you could melee him before he goes into final rage, but the ghosts would beat the crap out of you, and turn u into a massive mp sponge.

We take our members that don't have arc, tank, or mage jobs in all the time to get them gear, and we have no problems. Just be sure the rest of the party is optimal to that dungeon.

As far as enjoying it, it's always fun to get your friends/LS mates gear. It's also fun as far as getting your LS working as an end-game team. Nothing else in this game can really be used to get a group of people in tip-top crack-squad shape, and used to each others play-styles. To me anyway, that is incredibly fun, watching a loose group of people that did some rather easy NMs and fail leves together, transform into a mean machine over the course of a month of runs.

Edited, Oct 2nd 2011 4:57pm by Restyoneck

"Don't take it personally man, white knights would eat a can of **** if the label said SE on it. If anyone dared mention that it was not a good product, they'd just argue if someone can't appreciate the subtle nuances in the ****, they should just go back to eating lolrealfood, cuz the devs prolly know more about canning food than they do."
#3 Oct 02 2011 at 3:19 PM Rating: Decent
2,000 posts
If you want to use the dungeon to grind, kill every mob.

If you are looking for challenge/gear, run past the skippable mobs and head straight for the bosses.

I still have no idea why people complain about running past mobs. Killing dozens and dozens of hippogryphs proves nothing. It actually requires more skill/coordination to run past the trash mobs and clear only the required rooms while leaving enough time left on the clock to get the 5th chest.

And yes, SE clearly intended us to run past the trash mobs, or else they wouldn't have set such a tight time limit for the last chest.

What would be "stupid" is SE forcing you to kill an entire dungeon full of the same easy trash mobs for 60 minutes. Instead, they have given players the choice to use the dungeon as they see fit, which results in complaint after complaint from players who are unable to understand their thinking.

To answer your other question, yes, I've had a blast doing dungeon runs. At first the ogre seemed impossible. After planning and practice, he is now a complete pushover. The same is true to a slightly lesser extent for Batraal.

The dungeon is one of the only aspects of the game that requires strategizing, coordination, and timing, and allows you to clearly see the progress and improvement that results from sustained effort.

But I guess none of that counts cause we ran past a couple hippos amiright?
#4 Oct 02 2011 at 4:55 PM Rating: Excellent
3,962 posts
Smaller encounters book ended by bosses provides something called "pacing" to content. If the idea is just that the boss fights are content, then just make a series of empty hallways with bosses in rooms, what I don't understand is all of the enemies in the way, if there's no reason to fight them.

It's like if you played a single player Final Fantasy and just hit "run" at every encounter, except it's worse than that, because they continue to follow you, and pull you back towards them in some cases.

Time pressure certainly ups the ante in content, but why do you feel that that time pressure couldn't be applied to situations where you actually had to defeat enemies in order to progress? Why is it more enjoyable to you, to have to run by a series of enemies under time pressure, instead of fight enemies under time pressure? It still requires skill in order to defeat enemies quickly enough to progress, there's a lot of FFXI content that progressed in that way.

The idea that an entire dungeon needs to be run through to be, seems unintuitive, to say the least. Perhaps if it were designed in a way that running seemed to be implied by the actual physical surroundings, such as segments of the dungeon having an Evil Wall (enemy from previous games, some of you may know) closing in slowly behind you, that I could see being a situation where it makes sense to run. An enemy is closing in behind you, and you're running from it.

Currently there's just a big dungeon full of scattered enemies, with a constantly wandering/AoEing mob, that doesn't really seem to say to me "Run for your life, don't stop for anything!"

I understand why many people would find the content enjoyable on the basis that it's something complex and difficult to accomplish with a group of tightly knit friends or a linkshell. But as actual content you find it compelling? You don't feel like the running parts are contrived, and not actually intended to be performed in that way? And you actually feel that the mechanics involved in running by all of those enemies are enjoyable on their own?

akirussan wrote:
What would be "stupid" is SE forcing you to kill an entire dungeon full of the same easy trash mobs for 60 minutes. Instead, they have given players the choice to use the dungeon as they see fit, which results in complaint after complaint from players who are unable to understand their thinking.

I couldn't agree with you more about creating dungeons that have multiple paths and purposes. That was perhaps the most endearing part of most dungeons and end game content in FFXI, and what provided oodles of replayability.

If they really wanted to take this route though, I think it would be far more intuitive to simply provide some kind of key item that allows a group that possess the item to progress to various segments of the dungeon, or various branching paths.

Similar to Nyzul Isle from FFXI, you had to climb the tower at least once to gain access to boss chambers, but afterwards you could return directly to them, or you could return to other floors for whatever reason if you wanted to farm them. I don't believe that future dungeons should be "easier" or that they should force players to clear trash on run after run, but that some intuitive approach to segmenting the various content, or allowing parts to be skipped would be much better than forcing players to run by enemies.

Without any prior knowledge of the dungeon a group of new players are just going to get crushed as far as the time limit goes and think "What did we do wrong?" and the game offers them no explanation, or keys to moving forward. I am sure at some point someone would simply suggesting running past all of the enemies, or someone may look it up online. But the game gives you no reasoning for this, and it's a totally unintuitive learning process. I don't "intuitive" and "difficult" are mutually exclusive concepts.

Edited, Oct 2nd 2011 4:05pm by RamseySylph
#5 Oct 02 2011 at 5:51 PM Rating: Good
1,948 posts
A bit too late to that argument. To be honest, I'm fed up with the idea that a Dungeon need to be full of mobs and the only way to clear it is killing every single one of the mobs. Darkhold implementation is a bit wrong, but it perhaps has something going there. What we need is Stealth based approach with mobs patrol, mobs that are very hard to kill but they are stationary turret-like facing a few direction that you can bypass through secret tunnels that are filled with traps instead of mobs.

#6 Oct 03 2011 at 10:19 PM Rating: Good
2,000 posts
You have to keep in mind the current state of the game.

There is a serious lack of higher level content at the moment, both in terms of grinding options (other than raptors) and endgame challenges.

The way they implimented this dungeon is pretty much a "kill two birds with one stone" strategy. You have the option of using it to grind by killing all mobs, or you have the option of running through the trash mobs and heading straight for the bosses if you want and endgame challenge.

Is this dungeon the perfect incarnation of endgame content? Absolutely not. Is forcing players to run past trash mobs the best form of challenge? No. Does this dungeon make complete sense in light of the current state of FFXIV? Yes.

You referred to the dungeon design as "stupid," which it is not. If this dungeon was added to another MMORPG that had been released for several years, then yes, calling it stupid might be appropriate. But this is not a well established MMORPG.

Would I have personally preferred endgame content that zoned you directly to an extremely difficult boss? Sure. But this appears like the direction they are heading in with the Ifrit fight. In my opinion, this is only a viable option once encounters like the darkhold are already in the game.
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