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Dungeon Analysis Conclusion

So I wrap up my dungeon analysis today, and you’re probably going ‘Ok Eka, we read a week of posts about PvE and dungeons we’ve been doing for over a year or two… what’s your point?’ I assure you there is a point! Before you jump at my throat and wonder if I’m going to theory-craft about the Skaven dungeon, I’m not. Today I shall briefly do an overarching analysis of the seven different dishes I discussed for each dungeon: Time Commitment, Layout, Design, Boss Mechanics, Loot Mechanics, Lockouts, and Lore.

Time Commitment – The popular dungeons are ones with a shorter time commitment. WAR is a game based around RvR and purple numbers, players don’t want to be locked up in a dungeon and dream of the purple numbers slipping away. This slightly breaks off into two different components as well: 1)Dungeons that allow you to achieve your goal in a short amount of time (more on this next) and 2)Dungeons that don’t require pre-existing conditions to be met (i.e. zone domination/resource farming). Point 2 already seems to be going down the crapper for the new Skaven dungeon as Carrie said it would ‘randomly become available’. Wow that certainly is a great mechanic – ‘OMG guys the skaven hole is available lets go!’ ‘I can’t I got a date in 30m’ ‘Yeah I’ve got to get to work early tomorrow’ ‘But the Colbert Report is on in 12 minutes…’ ‘What if my water breaks in the next hour?!’. If you can’t fit a dungeon in your schedule… random unlocking smells stinky. So what I would vote is a good dungeon Time Commitment is a dungeon that doesn’t depend on random events in the RvR scheme of things to unlock, and one that is broken up enough so you can do a chunk in the time window that works best for you. In my mind a dungeon should take no more than 6 hours, 4 hours would be just right.

Layout – I’ll say it loud and clear – Linear dungeons blow. If I want just one thing, I do not want to have to kill 5 million mobs before hand just to get there. Winged dungeons are clearly preferred because they allow you to access the content you want to do. A linear dungeon is a mandatory crawl through content you’ve already explored and have no desire to do. By dividing up a dungeon you offer players outlets to do a ‘quick’ chunk of PvE. Additionally too many trash mobs also kill a dungeon. Dungeon difficulty is not based on its trash mobs, but rather on its boss mechanics. Tons of trash is just a time sink and no fun.

Design – Warband/Realm-Instanced dungeons do not work. Warhammer (at least on my server) does not support the population for long hours to field a warband interested in doing PvE. Six-mans allow for tight knit guild/alliance groups to go in and do their own thing. I know this takes away from the realm spirit which I am a proponent of, but at the same time I dread the idea of depending on 18 other people for the success of the mission. Imagine doing buggy ass VL with 24 people, and the mobs were scaled accordingly up to be on par for 24 players beating on them. There is a lot more room for error when you have more variables in the equation. In RvR, sure more people makes it a blast, but in PvE where the coding is already out of whack and prone to bug out and holding a 6-man together is hard enough, I would really prefer to keep it to a smaller scale.

Boss Mechanics – This is clearly a very wide window of discussion. There are dozens of different bosses in Warhammer Online with different mechanics. From personal experience the only ones which I find truly stupid are bosses whose mechanic involves randomly breaking and resetting aggro (I’m looking at you Kaarn), and multiple bosses with multiple buffs that need juggling (Scorpion Brothers in VL). Some of the more fun bosses in Warhammer are the ones with different phases requiring a shift of momentum, fights that keep you on your toes. On the other end of the spectrum are bosses that are ‘simple tank and spanks’ with no real interesting mechanic – these get dry and dull really fast, and as easy as banging on a boss for 6 minutes is, it’s not something I want to do.

Loot Mechanics – Repairable gear is fantastic. Multiple drops of class specific gear is ok. One piece of class specific gear is horrible. Gunbad, Bastion Stair, and the two city dungeons in cities with less than five stars (That’s all the dungeons from T2-RR45) fail for the latter reason because you only get one piece, making the gear farming ever more daunting and unappealing. The ideal situation would be repairable gear with a higher drop rate, higher than the 0/8 Tyrant pieces in Vulture Lord at any rate.

Lockouts – Too long is not good because it makes the gear grind that much longer, too short also isn’t good. I think ToVL got this one right with the three day lockout. You have just enough time to beat the dungeon if you split it up into two days, a day of rest and if you want you’re ready to go back in. Anything less than three days and you’re being forced to do that dungeon as fast as possible or your lockout might reset. Anything longer and you’re stuck tapping your fingers on your desk waiting for the timer to click down.

Lore – Obviously a dungeon that works with the lore of Warhammer is preferred. There are dozens of locations left in the world of Warhammer that would make epic dungeons, truly epic dungeons. My only caution with this direction is if you’re choosing a new exotic location, make sure you do not eliminate all hope of that army becoming playable in Warhammer because when LoTD came out a good chunk of the playerbase left when they learned all they were getting was PvE content and the Tomb Kings would never become a playable army.

So you wonder what this is all leading to you ask? Well the master plan has been laid out. Naturally analysis of dungeons on a blog that relates to the hypothetical possibilities of Warhammer can only lead to one thing, a dungeon! Rather to be more exact a series of dungeons. What I intend to do is propose dungeons which try to obey my rules and visions for a dungeon (hopefully satisfying the different 7 aspects I have outlined).

The goal:

  • A dungeon requiring Excelsior wards strictly, and I mean strictly. I am tired of hearing people brag about their sorcerer which has 5 piece Tyrant and is renown rank 28, and they don’t lie, I look them up. In its current state an underwarded/nonwarded player can by carried through a dungeon with guard and properly geared tanks and healers. I am proposing a new ward mechanic: for every ward missing you generate 100% unmitigated aggro and you suffer a uncleansable debuff of 10% armor loss; so a person with 0/5 wards generates 500% aggro and is effectively running at 50% armor. You’re probably thinking – so if a tank guards this person they don’t need menace since they’ll have 250% aggro, well no, guard would only take 50% of the first 100%, and no additional amount of aggro. This way a player isn’t penalized for being 4/5 wards but any more and they’re a group liability.
  • A dungeon offering a PvE equivalent of Sovereign gear
  • A dungeon that does not take away from RvR but rather promotes it without having mechanics that require farming of resources or PvP in the dungeon.
  • A dungeon that does not feel like a grind. I don’t want thousands of trash mobs to kill or loot that takes ages to acquire. I want a dungeon that you want to go to, hell even if you’re done with your set.
  • A dungeon that is alive (sound weird? More on this tomorrow =P) This may sound likes its going against the point above but hopefully what I produce works with both points.
  • A dungeon that is engaging and has a fun dynamic – this is indeed my hardest task. Warhammer being my first and only MMO, I have no knowledge of other games PvE instances so I’m working solely on what WAR has provided. Working with the classes/archtypes and mechanics of the game and what is achievable and within our means, I aim to try and add ‘fun’ twists to my dungeons. I fear it is here that I shall fail, but try I will, and I know if I do fail people will not hesitate to tell me =P
  • A dungeon that utilizes the forgotten and neglected renown abilities.
  • Challenging boss mechanics, but not overbearing or bland. I don’t want a tank and spank, but I also don’t want a Mario jumping on pillars around three scorpions.
  • And finally, to present a possibility so vividly that you see what I see, and that you see how achievable it is. I’m not sending you to the moon to steal Khaine’s teeth. This is doable by Mythic.

I only apologize in advance for my low-tech approach. I am by no means a computer savvy person. I use whats on hand, but hopefully this will not detract from my vision. As always any feedback, comments and offers to help are always appreciated. As to where I take you for the next month… drool on my friend. Tomorrow is a new day =D

Categories: Dungeons
  1. October 8, 2010 at 1:49 PM

    I like your dungeon ideas in the goal.

    And if The Colbert Report is on, I will leave the dungeon IMMEDIATLY 😛

  2. October 15, 2010 at 3:42 AM

    I’ve gotten around to reading all of the dungeon posts only now, and I have to say that your guidelines fit a WAR dungeon perfectly.

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