MogTalk: Episode 240 Digest – Palace of the Dead

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Are you interested in roguelike games? Do you have a desire to have a roguelike experience within Final Fantasy XIV? If so, then Palace of the Dead may be the game mode for you! This digest follows MogTalk: Episode 240, featuring AnnieFuchsia, MrHappy, and Angelus.

Annie is a veteran WoW player who started her FFXIV journey earlier this year. She is currently working through the Stormblood main scenario quests while enjoying all the game has to offer, like PotD, Chocobo Racing, and collecting Triple Triad Cards.

MrHappy has been creating FFXIV content for over 8 years. He is known for creating guides, discussing various changes to the game, and raiding. He was one of the first partnered streamers in the FFXIV category on Twitch.

Likewise, Angelus is another FFXIV content creator who focuses on the two deep dungeons available in the game. He is known and respected within the deep dungeon community for solo clearing Heaven on High on all jobs.

The Palace of the Dead is a deep dungeon experience that was introduced to FFXIV back in 2016. This popular game mode allows players to tackle an ever-changing dungeon with friends or solo to reach floor 200. Every 10th floor features a unique boss, and players can take as long of a break as desired before entering the next set of floors.

Those skilled enough to reach floor 200 solo have a chance to earn Pal-less Palace III, an achievement that grants the title of “The Necromancer.” According to FFXIV Collect, only 0.3% of players own this title. Due to a current content lull and a growing community of those searching for the best methods to earn this achievement, many players are currently honing their deep dungeon skills and seeking to clear PotD solo.

FrostyTV: Annie, what made you want to do Palace of the Dead? [4:22]

Annie: I was told that it’s quite rare to get to the end of it solo, so that alone was an interesting challenge. It caught my interest, and I wanted to know more. I heard that it’s a grind that can be quite difficult, and that sounded fun. I like grinding through things and progressing through challenges that not many people bother with. [4:31]

FrostyTV: It feels like an actual achievement. I think that’s what brings a lot of people into it. Before we go into that, we might as well get everybody’s experience with Palace of the Dead. [5:21]

Annie: On my solo run, I got to floor 137. The run before that was 99. I started again, and I’m currently on floor 80. I did clear it with a team but don’t feel that’s a real achievement since my teammates were more experienced than I. [5:49]

MrHappy: I recently soloed to floor 200, but I started from 51. My current title is way better, and I couldn’t take another three hours for the first 50 floors. I don’t care about the title. I just needed to do this. Those last 20 floors are where it’s all at. Despite being my own worst enemy for the last 20 floors of my only successful run, I managed it there. [6:36]

MrHappy is currently sporting the “World-class Troller” title, which he achieved by earning 3 million points in Ocean Fishing over the course of 3 months.

Annie: I think that’s fair because the real challenge is past floor 50. The only real difference is the time investment. I don’t think I can push all the way because I feel like I’m missing something. [7:30]

Angelus: I’ve been to the last floor 18 times, and I’ve cleared 17 times on nine different jobs. I timed out once while playing summoner. [8:30]

FrostyTV: Palace of the Dead is one of those pieces of content that anyone can get into. You can start at level 17 and go all the way up to level 60 to get familiar with your job. It’s a really good tool to figure out if you’re going to like a job or not. [10:54]

MrHappy: When it first came out, we only had up to floor 50. Then, they released 51-200 all at once. This was without the solo title because they weren’t sure if anyone could solo it. When Stormblood came out, they added “The Necromancer” title. [14:06]

Angelus: During the initial introduction, they didn’t have sustaining potions. It was even harder because you need those sustaining potions for the later floors. [14:52]

FrostyTV: Did they have a leaderboard back then? [15:03]

Angelus: Yes, they’ve had it from the very beginning. The leaderboards are initially what drew me in and why I was interested in the content early on. [15:05]

Those interested in viewing the Palace of the Dead solo rankings can find them here. According to Angelus and MrHappy, Red Mage and Machinist are currently two of the best jobs to clear the deep dungeon solo.

Annie: How does it work with the leaderboard if you get to floor 200? Is there a difference between you and another person on the same job? [15:19]

Angelus: There’s a really complicated system with points and many details. Basically, you get a scorecard at the very end that is uploaded to the leaderboard. It’ll be based on whatever things you do in the run, such as time spent, enemy kills, and opening chests. It’s crazy detailed. [15:30]

Angelus explained that in Heaven on High, you could clear and not make it to the leaderboards because there’s too many people there with higher points.

FrostyTV: The other interesting part to this is that the leaderboard isn’t ranked by who cleared it first. It’s cleared by points. [16:21]

MrHappy: If you don’t know how the scoring works, you should inherently do worse than someone who does know how to get through each set of floors in less than 30 minutes while hitting as many chests as possible. There’s a big amount of skill that goes into the first 150 floors. After that, it’s tough to do the time-related stuff. [16:44]

Angelus: A community member discovered that the amount of points per kill steadily increases every 20 floors. The more kills you get, the more points you get. There’s also a speed bonus for doing a floor under 30 minutes. There’s also a line in floors 100+ where it’s better to kill everything for 60 minutes versus going faster. Getting all the chests and tiles in the map grants more points, too. [17:16]

Finding and killing Mimics also adds points to player scores. Mimics are found in gold coffer traps and are infamous for applying a Pox debuff, which causes damage over time to players for the next 10 minutes. 

FrostyTV: The leaderboard has never been reset, right? [18:40]

Angelus: Nope. It’s never been reset. [18:46]

The highest PotD ranking is currently held by a machinist with a score of 3.4 million. If a player holds a spot on the leaderboards and transfers to another server, they are taken off the leaderboards and must redo the deep dungeon to have a chance to get their spot back.

Angelus: When I was on Paladin, I utilized landmines to explode enemies. Using Hallowed Ground, I dragged 10 enemies onto a landmine to kill them all in quick succession. Stuff like that is where the fun tricks come into play. You have to utilize job kits to their maximum to get the most out of it. [21:32]

FrostyTV: Angelus, you mainly play on a keyboard, right? You don’t use a mouse at all. [24:14]

Angelus: That’s right. I don’t know what a mouse is. I have my camera binded to keys on my keyboard, so it moves like that. [24:17]

Angelus has a keyboard on the bottom right of his stream so viewers can watch in real time as an indicator for what buttons he’s pressing. He first played FFXI, which didn’t have great mouse support, so he learned how to play on a full keyboard. After doing this for 9 years, he transferred this skill to FFXIV content.

Annie compared Palace of the Dead to Torghast, which is a newer endgame feature in WoW that allows players to farm a currency needed to create legendary armor.

MrHappy: When a deep dungeon is brand new, it’s similar to Torghast. The goal is to go in with a group of friends and get through it in one or two goes. [29:31]

Annie: I do love that PoTD is scaled, meaning that it is always relevant and has the same difficulty. [30:03]

FrostyTV: The appeal of this content is the exclusivity of the achievement. You also don’t have to get a group together. Getting a group together for PotD can be difficult because you can only go in with that group. If one person in the group is missing, you can’t go back in. [35:44]

Palace of the Dead grants a generous amount of experience for those using it as a method to level. Additionally, there is a chance to find pieces of the Accursed Hoard, which have the possibility to contain rare minions and mounts. Upon reaching floor 200, players are given the opportunity to choose an accessory for glamour or an outside furnishing.

FrostyTV: Annie, are you feeling inspired to get that floor 200 achievement? [39:01]

Annie: Yes. People got impatient with me not going into Stormblood, which I completely understand. I spent a week or two doing PotD things but also promised to progress SB. Once I’ve progressed a bit more, I’ll go back to my daily hours invested in PotD to get further. [39:09]

FrostyTV: Do you dislike anything about Palace of the Dead? [44:13]

Annie: I don’t really dislike anything, but the only negative is being locked to a group. It’s also very long, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. [44:26]

FrostyTV: Do we think the leveling and weapon system is something that should stay within the deep dungeon? [44:51]

Annie: I don’t mind it. You need to practice, anyways. [45:02]

MrHappy: Although it’s technically an obstacle if you’ve never done PotD, it’s really there for the people who want the weapons to take outside of the deep dungeon. It’s a fine system to have. I think the chests in Heaven on High take a better approach because it gives people who are already capped out a reason to open them. [45:05]

FrostyTV: Angelus, there is a community around Palace of the Dead. What is the community like? [49:24]

Angelus: It’s pretty big and has been growing recently. It’s made up of a lot of people doing solo runs. When I was streaming yesterday, six different people came in and told me they got “The Necromancer.” There’s a continuing cycle of people trying it out and trying to learn. There’s an interesting vibe to this community. It’s fun because you’re not really competing against other people. This is a self-accomplishment, so there’s no big drama. Everyone is worried about their own thing and picking the brains of other’s experiences. It’s been cool to witness seeing the community grow as of late. [49:49]

MrHappy shared this sentiment, describing the deep dungeon community as very supportive. 

FrostyTV: Do you think anyone will ever start competing with these harder jobs? [55:33]

Angelus: That’s tricky. A common question people have is about the easiest job to clear with. It’s difficult to point them in another direction when some jobs have much more clears. However, a lot of the other jobs do have their own capabilities. You may have to pull a little bit more or do weirder things to get the most of these jobs’ kits. On Paladin, I utilized every part of that kit. To be fair, a lot of my previous experience has contributed more success to these jobs. People in the community have gotten “The Necromancer” on Monk and Ninja. It isn’t impossible, but you have to know your preference. [56:05]

Frosty noted that a challenge of Palace of the Dead is that it can be mind numbing at times. If a player goes on autopilot for just a moment, they may run into a trap and completely ruin their run at a later floor.

Annie: That’s why it’s also good that the deep dungeon is split up into sets of 10 floors. You can take a break. On my last run, I wasn’t really watching and pulled too much. It was a bit unfortunate because I didn’t use anything defensively. [1:01:28]

MrHappy: When I study Angelus, I look for bad situations more than anything else. Obviously, you don’t want to see someone in a bad situation, but whether or not you know how to handle them is imperative. I’ve seen many crazy situations, like a monster that does a point-blank AOE while another pulls you in. Hitting a luring trap is another big one. If you hit a luring trap, you better figure it out quickly. Generally, a rule with these deep dungeons is to hug the wall. [1:05:35]

FrostyTV: Angelus, since you’ve been doing this for so long, what are some tips and advice that might help those trying to get into running PotD solo?  [1:07:56]

Angelus: Expect to lose. Any run that you lose is a learning experience. When you go back in, you’ll take what you’ve learned from the previous run to get a little bit higher. Even if you look up all the information, you have to experience it to learn from it. If you win, great. If you don’t, you learn something and next time go and apply that personal experience. Some basics include not opening a silver chest if your health isn’t full and learning the pomanders. [1:08:12]

Annie: I haven’t had many runs. When I did fail, chat was more upset about it than I was. I think it’s okay because I’ve learned something new and won’t make the same mistake again. [1:09:30]

Pomanders are a unique mechanic to FFXIV’s deep dungeons. Each pomander has a unique effect. These usable items can change a party’s strengths, reveal clues about the map’s various rooms, and weaken enemies. For example, the Pomander of Intuition reveals hidden treasure on the current floor, and the Pomander of Steel decreases damage received by 40%.

FrostyTV: Is Palace of the Dead clearable with every job? [1:22:18]

Angelus: It has been cleared with every job. [1:22:21]

FrostyTV: What jobs have the least amount of clears? [1:22:36]

Angelus: Black Mage has three. Astrologian has two or three. Bard and Dancer are up there, too. Those jobs and healers in general are typically the hardest. Behemoth is the boss that stops many jobs, and that’s why Dancer, Dark Night, and Bard in particular have a unique issue to get through solo. Compared to the other physical ranged jobs, Machinist has legit burst. Bard and Dancer need galaxy brain strategies to pass through Behemoth. [1:22:42]

MrHappy: If there’s a single part of PotD that feels like it was never meant to be soloed, it’s Behemoth. [1:23:38]

Angelus: Take healers and Red Mage on Behemoth. That’s an easy game because you can heal through it until it’s dead. On Machinist, it’s not difficult with burst damage. On tanks, you must line up tinctures and stat potions while correctly doing your rotation for a long period of time without messing up. On Bard, you have to line up your sustaining potion on a very specific server tick. You will die between meteors otherwise. There’s a very specific strategy that’s been developed that doesn’t rely on RNG. [1:24:00]

Angelus also noted that upcoming job changes seen in Endwalker may affect such strategies.

FrostyTV: Where does the challenge for Black Mage come in? Why does it have such a low clear rate? [1:27:06]

Angelus: It’s the higher floors. Black Mage’s kit is also terrible at 60. It’s way better at 70. All you have at 60 is Swiftcast and Thundercloud. Everything else is a hard cast. You have Leylines, but you don’t have Between the Lines. It’s essentially all about managing your hard casts while not dying with low defense. Your main damage is hard casting. If you’re not able to hard cast, you can’t stay alive. You can also be interrupted. [1:27:17]

FrostyTV: If I got into Palace of the Dead right now knowing barely anything, how reasonable would it be to clear it in a month or two on Paladin? [1:32:32]

Angelus: It depends on how much you study. You’re welcome to go in blind, but it took one person two years to eventually clear it. It’ll probably take you a long time, but there’s a lot of information out there now. How fast you study will determine how fast you go. You can look at all the resources available and know exactly what you’re walking into and work up that way. It’s all up to you to decide. [1:32:52]

FrostyTV: Annie, how are you tackling Palace of the Dead? [1:34:30]

Annie: Before each boss, I ask for a general description of abilities it has. I also have Maygi’s guide open. I often don’t understand it until I try it myself, but it does give a good general idea. When I ran it with a group, they allowed me to try new things and potentially die. Doing it with a group makes it more forgiving. At first, I read everything, but I realized that I learn more as I see how each mob works. [1:34:39]

Those interested in using Maygi’s guide as a resource can find it here.

FrostyTV: Angelus, if you had one thing you wanted to tell Square Enix about the next iteration of deep dungeon, what would you tell them? [1:47:29]

Angelus: Make it. That’s about it. We have info suggesting it, but I want them to confirm it. [1:47:36]

MrHappy: When I went through Heaven on High and Palace of the Dead, I saw a lot of pros and cons in the design of both of them. While I give PotD a lot of grief for being really long and boring in that regard, I think it’s better designed as a whole package. The level of play and understanding that goes into the higher floors is way more interactive than Heaven on High. In PotD, it’s more of my fault when I make a mistake, and I prefer that experience. I think they should find a middle ground between the interesting aspects of both. [1:47:58]

Angelus: Heaven on High was a quality of life adjustment to Palace of the Dead, but I agree with what was mentioned in terms of finding a middle ground of what is best from both and formulating it to the next deep dungeon. [1:49:39]

Click here to enjoy the entire conversation.MogTalk is a weekly podcast airing every Saturday at 5PM ET on twitch.tv/Frosty_TV. The show is entirely focused on bringing the community together to discuss topics of interest regarding FFXIV, including patch notes, game mechanics, and raid insights. Mogtalk Digests are now available thanks to Patreon supporters! If you are interested in supporting all of the content MogTalk has to offer, please visit our Patreon page.

All images used in this article belong to SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

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