Tag Archives: universe

The Numbers of Pazudora

This game is as much about stats and basic mathematical calculations in a dungeon as it is about art and orb matching. From the early days of our gaming careers we are faced with the simple but important decision of whom to invest in. Well, it’s either that or a lot of regret later on.

Growth Curves

Another perfect example of pazudora’s perfect, subtle mash of gameplay and business are the stat-exp/lv growth curves. While the monsters might vary from early (stats peaking around lv50) to late bloomers (stats peaking around lv99), one can observe a rule of thumb which is that lv66 (two thirds of the maximum level) can be reached rather easily by simply feeding the “trash mobs” from normal, special dungeons etc. For it is up to around 1M exp that one can feed those monsters of no value such as knights, devils, goblins and ogres – and not have the cost of the power-up fusion exceed the experience gain. This sum of exp more or less coincides with lv66, or around two thirds of the maximum stats. With the right monsters and utilities, a good player can make do in pretty much any dungeon without maxing out their team (just check out dacho’s “work” – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxJXwYLqwpT7ZOw8Qy4eqJw). However, it is the not-immediately-noticeable benefit of the added last third of the stats/levels (66-99) that really makes a difference. GungHo’s brilliance in crafting descends is soon made apparent with every team you might choose to take; the enemies’ skills, which are dependent on their HP, timers or just chosen carefully to inhibit certain popular strategies (e.g. delay, nukes) diversify the challenges that the game presents and encourages having multiple teams. At the same time, descends are almost always possible to clear with any decent/fashionable team but require meeting a precondition that can be summed down to either having some monster with a rare skill (pulling a gacha), or increasing your team’s levels (more feasible and easier to plan, but requiring time and effort). It is here that the last third of the stats and levels of a given monster card comes into play. Unsurprisingly, that part constitutes the large majority of the total exp (2 out of 3M, 3 out of 4M, 4 out of 5M exp), and is in fact the crux of a monster’s excellence, and excelling does make a difference in the merciless pit of randomness that is a descend dungeon.

 

+297

Similarly, plus eggs, the abundance of which is a trademark of pros and super IAPers, even further enhance a team’s capabilities and are also dependent on one’s investment in the game. Compared to maxing out a monster, +297-ing it takes a lot more focus and deliberation, and the cost and time required is tenfold. It opens a lot of possibilities, much more than can be gleaned from the added stats; even a single +297 monster paired with a helper of the same caliber makes for a significant change as that combination is practically like adding a seventh monster. In addition to that, through plus eggs one is able to show his love for a god or a hero to the world, attract friends and pal points. All that leads to every player’s roster being distinct, and the game subsequently feeling more real and important.

As in real life, only on a considerably smaller scale, learning a skill and being merely good at it is far less difficult to achieve than to excel at it. The nuances of the latter, and the saturation of the effort-to-reciprocated-reward ratio are ever so reminiscent to the growth curves and the “last thirds” and “+297s” in pazudora. There, the question of whether to settle for the comfort of mediocrity without failed dreams or strive for greatness at the risk of getting crushed under the weight of one’s own aspirations arises in the depths of each human soul.

Perhaps it’s nice that we’re able to peruse this great dilemma of life in a smaller, more contained medium and to attempt to solve it here, in pazudora. It might lead us to a greater knowing of our own selves, or a more transient, virtual happiness, in life where nothing is certain…

That feeling…

A cosmic whirlpool of man-made quasi-randomness and universal laws of probability, to which the former is intrinsically linked to, gushing out the result of modern Man’s hopes and dreams, the reaction to one’s action. Gambling. Taking a shot. Initiating the process to which the outcome – something seemingly unnecessary on a basic, human level of needs and desires, but altogether simple to explain on a microscopic scale of the evolutionary carrot-and-stick mechanism embedded in our physiology – can lead to however transient and minute, true, palpable feeling of happiness. It is why Man finds it so effortless to become engulfed in that wild, dangerous chase for endogenous endorphins, and consequently, to spin out of control. That also presents an explanation for why playing the game of odds with universe has been Man’s companion since the dawn of civilization. Our minds and bodies (which are becoming increasingly difficult to separate owing to the wonders of science), as well as everything around us, is either drawn by that fundamentally simple nature’s law of striving toward something, whether that be a different molecule, food, water, a companion or a more abstract object of lust, or destined to a slow (or rapid) decay. To question the needs rooted in this is to question the point of doing anything in life since the reasons behind everything can always be reduced to some basic molecular attraction, made more complex by eons of reactions set in motion by…well, that part remains to be discovered. What is really left to debate is the issue of which need to focus on so as to use the time we have been given as sentient organisms in the most optimal way – and it has been more or less agreed that the growing of our intellect should supersede our primal urges, and that a balance between the two is the recommended path which humanity ought to take.

Completing a team…

This modern age of loneliness, but also of tolerance, and of rapid expansion of Man’s knowledge and wisdom, blurs the line between what can be considered a quasi-need and a worthy pursuit. When Man, for the most part, is getting rid of the heavy burden of survival and is being left with a clear path for prosperity of the mind, an entirely different light is cast on the notions of what is right or wrong, real or unreal.  A trip to unseen lands can lead to sensations, perspective and understanding unparalleled by anything a person has experienced in his lifetime hitherto. However, an addicting substance with no nutritional value, easily developed tolerance and the potential to render one a slave to its dopamine-regulated mental trap of steadily decreasing enjoyable effects would not be considered the most wise use of the vast potential one’s life offers. To have the passage to other vistas and sensations (physical or those more ethereal) barred from within is to succumb to the notion of unimportance of a sentient existence, however confined and powerless it might seem when lulled by the illusion of continuity provided by the society and its expectations. A certain dose of alienation to the already familiar joys of life might be welcome in revealing their true value, the miraculous odds which have led to their fruition in this harsh universe powered by entropy.

Pazudora, a game whose inner workings bear a striking resemblance to those of the human society in which we’ve learned to play our roles most dutifully, lest we were to be left stranded on the shores of the truly ruthless natural order outside of the comfort of the cities, and apartments, and beds and chairs that we’ve come to build as a species – a resemblance rooted in the free-to-play model worked out to perfection, offering each a chance to achieve everything that can be achieved. A chance that can be increased with effort, time, passion, ingenuity, knowledge, resources, and the randomly distributed blessing of rolling a stupendous monster or being born in a rich family or a highly developed country which enables you to IAP freely.

I have been fortunate enough to receive some of those blessings over where others I have not, and to learn and start playing this wondrous game against all odds; having lived in neither Japan or US and despite not having been in the area of influence of GungHo’s marketing.

To experience the feeling of rolling a super rare gacha God is akin to getting riches in life that aren’t easily acquired, but which are desired by many. The confluence of hope and incredibly low probability coming to pass, something so few find among the billions living humans, each and every one a central existence in the universe from his perspective.

Gold!

Mixed feelings of pride, undistilled happiness, a drop of growing arrogance for having something others do not and of excitement, all arising from the surge of adrenaline, endorphin and serotonin rush.

Pazudora is a world of its own, and what makes it so real and “addicting” is that it reflects the way our own world outside of the game works so well. It is necessary to find balance in both for us mortals or we risk losing everything, including our faith in whichever game we are currently playing and the drive to play it. Pazudora can grant one knowledge and perspective on what it is like to want, lose, and gain something but also, about what follows those feelings commonly associated with and described as “happiness” for reaching our goals or succeeding in obtaining something.

I will always strive to create my own goals, distill happiness from otherwise indistinct occurrences, and to keep in mind the carrot-and-stick mechanism that all games, and organisms, operate on. For all its addictiveness, I find that Pazudora helps me with that, so long as I put in the effort to maintain true free will. And through gaining the understanding of that part of life, I become more and more able to delve inside the more intricate and remarkable parts of the human psyche and life.