The Daily Grind: How long does an MMO encounter need to be out before you can judge its difficulty?

    
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Eikonic!

At the time of this writing, Final Fantasy XIV‘s newest patch has been out for less than a full day. (It’ll be two days when you read this.) My first run of Weeping City of Mhach ended at Ozma, and while I cleared Nidhogg on the Final Steps of Faith it took some doing. That speaks to a certain level of difficulty, but it’s not entirely clear whether that’s because it’s actually difficult or not.

I mean, I was running into these encounters blind on the first day with several other people who had never done these things before. Maybe Weeping City is actually tough, or maybe it’s just a matter of people not yet knowing the fights reliably and having some bad matchups in my own groups. Maybe I’ll run it again with no problems.

That brings me to the question: How long does an encounter need to be out before you can judge its difficulty? A new dungeon in World of Warcraft is going to seem harder than its contemporaries when no one knows any of the mechanics, after all. How much time needs to pass for people to write strategies, distribute them, and understand them before you can point to something and say “yes, this is very hard” or “yes, this is easy”?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!