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THE BATTLE HEARD AROUND THE WORLD

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n August 2008, Final Fantasy XI faced one of its largest challenges - a full-blown controversy. In-game, the linkshell ‘Beyond the Limitation’ had gathered together to take on one of the newest bosses of FFXI - Pandemonium Warden (Pictured). Pandemonium Warden has several different forms that must be defeated during a confrontation. Originally there were nineteen forms - a number later almost halved to ten. Talking to Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, Mizuki Ito and Daisuke Sase spoke of their original battle design for the monster. Sase anticipated that between 36 and 54 players would be needed to take the boss down, and placed the spawn point close to town so that players could change jobs and gear mid-fight - good design. When Beyond the Limitation spawned Pandemonium Warden, they began to fight it. They fought it more and more and more. After eighteen hours they gave up. Pandemonium Warden hadn’t been defeated. Eighteen hours. FFXI fan site Pet Food Alpha ran a story titled ‘How Long is too Long?’ and spoke directly to players involved. “People were passing out and getting physically ill,” one said. “We decided to end it before we risked turning into a horrible news story about how video games ruin people’s lives.” News of this fight hit gaming sites, causing an outcry. Square Enix had no choice but to make changes not only to Pandemonium Warden but to many of the game’s major bosses, making it so they could be defeated within two hours. If players were unable to defeat them within two hours, they would despawn. After these changes, Pandemonium Warden was edited to be defeatable, and is even easier to beat in the current game. Lesson learned, then.

FFXI and the Long Arm of the Law Pandemonium Warden wasn’t Final Fantasy XI’s only brush with controversy - the game actually prompted a change in law in the US state of Illinois. In 2008, one Illinois resident decided he’d had his fill of Vana’diel - it was time to cancel. There was only one problem - he couldn’t figure out how. FFXI’s website didn’t feature an option to unsubscribe from the $13 a month subscription fee. The player’s parents got involved, but they too were stumped - FFXI’s website didn’t even list a phone number for customer support. Eventually contact details were found on the statement of the credit card that had been charged for the game’s subscription. Even then it wasn’t easy, with the parents allegedly on hold for a massive 45 minutes before somebody at Square Enix took their call. Complaints about this chain of events led to a change in Illinois law which now means that any provider of an Internet Gaming Service in that state - from FFXI to Xbox Live - must offer a method of unsubscribing online without use of telephone or post. FFXI customer support and billing is much better now, too. 59

Profile for SeeD Fan Sites

Final Fantasy: Celebrating 25 Years  

A free fan-made digital magazine intended as a celebration of 25 years of the Final Fantasy series. Featuring contributions from a large num...

Final Fantasy: Celebrating 25 Years  

A free fan-made digital magazine intended as a celebration of 25 years of the Final Fantasy series. Featuring contributions from a large num...

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