The Den of Woe is an optional dungeon in Final Fantasy X-2. It is a hidden cave in the Mushroom Rock Ravine sealed with special spheres. Although the Den of Woe is a sidequest, unlocking and entering the Den is necessary for achieving 100% completion. Completing Den of Woe gives the player Episode Complete.
The Den of Woe is where the spirit of Shuyin has dwelt for 1,000 years and the pyreflies within have become imprinted with his hatred and begun acting on their own volition. Rumors began circulating that people who entered the den witnessed illusions of a colossal machina.
During Operation Mi'ihen Maester Wen Kinoc sends in a group of aspiring Crimson Squad members, an elite branch of the Crusaders, under the guise of a final test to enter the force, his true reason being investigating the rumored illusions. Shuyin's spirit possesses the Crimson Squad candidates and they slaughter one another, with only one group escaping: Nooj, Baralai and Gippal and their sphere recorder Paine. As they fail to provide any useful information on the visions of a giant machina, Kinoc orders them executed to cover up the failure but the four escape. Kinoc orders the den to be sealed with magic.
Two years later the Gullwings stumble upon the den while heading to the Youth League Headquarters as they detect spherewaves and decide to investigate. They discover Ormi and Logos, Leblanc's henchmen who once worked for Kinoc, trying to open the sealed door by using various spheres. The goons flee, but leave behind a sphere, coincidentally the one that was part of the unlocking mechanism of the door: a Crimson Sphere, part of the set of spheres Paine had recorded of her group's progress. If the Gullwings return to the den after relinquishing the Awesome Sphere to either Youth League or New Yevon, they can meet Nooj outside the den who gives the party a Crimson Sphere.
The Crimson Spheres are the records of Nooj, Baralai, Gippal, and Paine's experiences while training for the Crimson Squad. Locating all ten spheres unlocks the door and allows the party to enter the den. They find a cave filled with the pyreflies that have kept Shuyin in a semi-corporeal state for a millennium, fueling his anger and grief. During the sojourn, Rikku and Paine are possessed by Shuyin, and he shows Yuna how he and Lenne died, and summons the images of Nooj, Baralai, and Gippal to fight Yuna. Yuna dispatches the illusions of Nooj, Baralai, and Gippal and breaks Rikku and Paine free from their possession and the trio escapes the cave.
Location of the Crimson Spheres
Crimson Spheres are found all around the world, some of them permanently missable if not picked up at the right time.
Episode Complete bug
If the player fails to get the Mascot dressphere due to finishing Zanarkand last (as getting Episode Complete there doesn't automatically send the player to the Celsius, thus never triggering the scene where the Gullwings acquire the Mascot), the player can still get the dressphere if they complete Den of Woe, as it will automatically transfer the party to Celsius, thus triggering the Mascot scene.
Random encounters within the cave are only random in terms of where they occur; they always consist of:
After reaching the center, the following bosses are fought without a break in between:
In the original release, the first two battles are fought by Yuna alone, with Rikku and Paine joining her for the next three. In the International and HD Remaster versions, the player can replace characters with hired fiends. As such, when Yuna is not in the party, the game removes Rikku and Paine and the first of whoever is left fights two duels. In the next three battles, Rikku and Paine will only join if the size of the party member in the slot 1 allows it.
For example, if a party consisting of an Arast in slot 1 (S-sized) and an Aeshma in slot 2 (M-sized) start the boss fight, the first two duels are fought by Arast and the next three by Arast, Rikku, and Paine. But if a party consisting of Aeshma in slot 1 and Arast in slot 2 start the boss fight, Aeshma fights the first two alone, and in the next three, only Rikku is added. Using an L-sized fiend (e.g. Omega Weapon) results in only said fiend fighting all five battles.
Completing the events in the Den of Woe without skipping any cutscenes unlocks Baralai, Gippal, and Nooj for capture with Trap pod SPs in Bevelle, Djose Temple, and Mushroom Rock Road, respectively. However, this also results in Elma and Yaibal becoming unavailable for capture.
"The Crimson Squad", also known as "Party", plays whenever recording from Crimson Spheres are watched and acts as the location theme for the Den of Woe. It includes vocals and drums.
The theme that plays during Shuyin's vision is called "Nightmare in the Den". A piano arrangement is included on the Final Fantasy X-2 Piano Collection album. "Yuna's Ballad" plays while she is fighting Rikku and Paine.
- Final Fantasy X-2 Ultimania Omega p080