I love Palace of the Dead Deep Dungeon. I love the concept and I love what it enables me to do.
At lower levels, it’s a great place for xp. You can even solo to 100 if you really want to. So far I’ve managed up to 50 on SMN. I like that you can go in as a ‘fixed party’ of up to 4 or that there is a Duty Finder specifically for it which matches you with random people. I love that you can go in with any combo of jobs at lower levels and get through okay. Don’t try that at 150+, possible 100+.
I like that through the Accursed Hoard system, you can obtain some interesting glamour pieces and rare minions. Sure there’s a lot of fireworks and materia too but a lot of pieces which were locked behind maps or airship exploration are now accessible.
Letting players try out classes and jobs in a contained environment is fantastic. You get to learn what your abilities are and see what’s coming up without committing to leveling the class all the way up. This is how I discovered that I don’t mind NIN. All those melee classes I really couldn’t face in FATEs and other dungeons, are all now 40+. My DRK is level 60 and my NIN is almost 50.
Having solid and vaguely interesting weapons which you can take away from the event too, is fantastic. By far and away getting weapons from this event is the easiest way to catch up. I’ve cleared Sophia Ex but not walked away with a weapon and honestly PotD is a far easier way for many players who are terrified or frustrated by the Extreme fights to walk away with a decent weapon.
Zoning out into a decent chunk of xp on classes your leveling or helpful numbers of tomes on those your not is so nice.
Floors 1-100 you can do via a Duty Finder system. This gives you plenty of chances at interesting loot and the ability to get any weapon. You can level your weapons to the required levels on the lowest floor. I personally got an upgrade in the 70’s on floor 1. Upgrades happen more frequently at higher levels.
Once you’ve beaten level 50, you’re able to restart your adventures from level 51. If you want to go above 100, you’ll need a fixed group which can beat 51 and go on. We tried this over the weekend and the group we have going right now has gotten to floor 180 so far with no full party wipes.
The increase in difficulty is subtle. The mobs hit a little harder, have higher defense, have more HP. Weapon levels really make a difference. 100-150, things are okay just a bit tougher. From 150, oh boy do they start climbing. I don’t want to spoil things but oh boy, we weren’t expecting some of the stuff we found from 170!
The first time I thought we were genuinely in for a full party wipe was the boss we just beat on floor 180. We were not really prepared for what happened but we made it thanks to some quick thinking all round.
I love how the scenery slowly changes. I love how each time the difficulty tier goes up, it’s in ways I didn’t quite anticipate. I love that you have to think carefully about pomander use once you go past 100. How each choice you make has consequences. Equally though, if you’re careful you can still do it.
I realise that our group is probably in for a rockier ride from 180 but honestly, I love this event. I don’t know what happens when you hit 200 but it would be nice if you beat it, if you could go back to starting from 101.
The loot is a really nice thought too. I haven’t seen a wind-up Edda yet, or a Pegasus mount but there are a lot of nice items which net you gil or interesting glamours.
I think the best thing for me is the feeling that in the 150+ levels, you’re really out there on your own in a very dangerous area. I’ve missed that and for me, Palace of the Dead brings back some element of teamwork, danger and player skill which has been missing.