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The dungeon dance

This has been in the back of my mind for quite some time now. 
From my experience in MMO's doing dungeons becomes quite stale pretty quickly. I think the term was being used around here and somewhere else, that running dungeons is like a dance. 
if you don't know the steps it can be extremely difficult and/or frustrating however if learn the steps it becomes a grindable situation. 

I don't if this is a gripe for more people, for me though this became noticeable back when I was playing Elder Scrolls Online and Guild Wars 2. After that I just started watching videos of dungeons in other MMO's (final fantasy, never winter, Wow etc.). And the set formula of dungeons of : "go into room, fight, walk to next room, fight" is pretty much the same. 
And the dungeon mechanics which are supposed to switch up the fights and make things more interesting usually feel really gimicky and boil down to : 

- Use item X in some way to deal damage.  
- Or the usual burn down the boss fast enough

It seems that dungeons seem to end up in a DPS race, or using some gimmicky item. And failure in these ends up in some form of one shot mechanic from enemies/boss. 

Now this might be a personal gripe, that is not shared among others. However I was thinking isn't there a better way to do this? something that is more dynamic and requires players to adapt? 

personally I was thinking of some akin to the 'director mode'  like in Left4Dead, where depending on how well players are doing and in what situation they are more enemies would be thrown at them, or they could be ambushed. 

Furthermore I would like to see different approaches in dungeons instead of the fight or wipe scenario. I would love to see moments where running away is a viable strategy where you actually bring classes/skills with you because they might help you get out it tight situations alive when the poop hits the fan. 
Or where sometimes a stealth character can sneak by open up a path for the party where a fight can be avoided. Where some fights are so though that winning isn't an option but rather surviving and finding a path to escape to the next area is an objective. 

Anyway these are just some examples, to summarize I would like to see dungeons that require a party to think quick on their feet and will be facing the unknown for a part. 

That being said, I think there are a lot of challenges and problems involved, 

- Production cost 
- Balancing (to avoid certain strategies being too dominating)
- Memorability (you still want dungeons to be memorable, if they are too randomized they won't stand out) 
- Difficulty (with more variables involved difficulty will be much harder to balance) 

Now I am wondering do you see this a problem? If no why not? if you do what would you like to see implemented?
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Comments

  • ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited July 2018
    Dungeons that I have run in were all overseen by a Dungeon Master lurking behind the screen. I remember one where in order to get behind a door you had to push the right levers on a magical device set up by the DM. Pushing the wrong levers in the wrong combinations would summon monsters that get more difficult every time you fail. Then there was a dungeon where you just fight the same creatures and hit a boss at the end repetitively over and over and they would spam that dungeon for 10 consecutive levels before moving on (the game housing this dungeon shall remain nameless). So in short I think Roleplay is the key element in making dungeon runs more immersive and meaningful. Even if there is no DM, a group of roleplayers would make that dungeon run much more alive and symbolic.
  • I think balancing each dungeon for all 8 classes is where the mix-up is going to happen. If the dungeon was build to be easier with a Bard/X but the group brought along an X/Bard there could be a higher level of difficulty to that dungeon for that group. Hopefully those Specific/Any (Ex. Bard/X) challenges feel unique a majority of the time and are plentiful.

    I thought IS mentioned something along the lines of Dungeons requiring Skills in addition to combat, so even if this balance was 80/20 Combat/Skills there is still lots of opportunity for things besides "burn down boss" and "use item X." If you have all the skills said challenges require that dungeon might be easier, if you are missing some of the designed for skills the dungeon could be harder.

    This for me would be the best case scenario for dungeons with groups. Dungeons that can be ran solo would be a lot harder to balance for. For me that would be fine, I like challenges, I'm okay with not always being able to succeed, and I can role-play reasons why that dungeon is 'off-limits' to my character.

    ...that might not work so well for Solo players that are dead set on being able to do everything in Ashes solo, knowing IS is not aiming for that being a goal at all.
  • Zartas said:
    - Production cost 
    - Balancing (to avoid certain strategies being too dominating)
    - Memorability (you still want dungeons to be memorable, if they are too randomized they won't stand out) 
    - Difficulty (with more variables involved difficulty will be much harder to balance) 


    - Production cost; (The next four all add up to this so I'll skip this point for now.)

    - Balancing (to avoid certain strategies being too dominating)
    Here is where an adaptable AI would help through way that might appear cheap but still lore friendly - If party is melee heavy the boss suddenly learns a lot of range skills and vice versa. This could be lore friendly by having the boss know all about the party through their fame and fortune (gear inventory and skill sets). but...

    - Memorability (you still want dungeons to be memorable, if they are too randomized they won't stand out) 
    With an adaptable AI each dungeon layout would stay the same but mob placement and attack styles would vary. Would stay the same for very similarly geared groups but the variance would grow as the gear and skills do.

    - Difficulty (with more variables involved difficulty will be much harder to balance)
    As per your idea an adaptable AI would use the gear inventory and skill set as a baseline for the difficulty of the fight (ex. should the party have a large number of skills to handle adds then the boss invites all his rowdy friends to the party).

    Back to Production costs; All that would drive up the cost as well as add additional play testing for a very wide selection of gear and skills.

    As not every combination could be tested there would be those instance where a clever group cheeses their way through a dungeon. This shouldn't be seen as cheating but more as just catching the boss with its pants down as well as a chance for the devs to learn, adapt, and add a few new tricks to the boss' repertoire.
  • They did say dungeons were going to have several different kits for bosses and that there would be some different things in the same dungeon so its not 100% the same all the time.  

    That being said there is still only so much they can do, eventually all the combinations are going to be known.

    However dungeons are also going to be seasonal, so some dungeons will be locked or open and others not depending on the in game season which will also add some diversity as you can't run certain dungeons all the time.

    That and with nodes also changing what is available in the world if a node falls or grows it will also change things up.  

    And without fast travel and everyone bouncing to the next big thing if you get tired of the grind in whatever area you have put down roots, move far enough away and you get an entire different set of dungeons/raids.
  • Don't mind me.
    I just think when you click on a thread with this title, you should see something like this:


    *Ahem*
    Okay, carry on.
  • Don't mind me.
    I just think when you click on a thread with this title, you should see something like this:


    *Ahem*
    Okay, carry on.

  • ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited July 2018
    It is good to hear that the devs have mentioned that they want to mix up the dungeon encounters. 

    @Morashtak 

    The adaptive AI would help a lot here, if it works as intended of course. The thing that I am worried about is that the adaptive AI can be baited/abused in certain ways. 

    Now this is highly speculative, however let's say the adaptive AI for some reason just doesn't work and they would have to replace it with something else. What would you like to see? 

    Additionally I think what also would be interesting to see in some dungeons, would be some form of detection in the lines of : 

    - make a lot of noise and you wake the hornet nest   
    - stay quiet and you'll you have less trouble 

    anyway like I said this highly speculative, but it might be interesting to theorize about it.

    @nagash
    shouldn't you be saying something like : "Dance for me puppets, dance!" :p
  • ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited July 2018
    the only dance there is the danse macabre 
  • "They will sing. They will dance. They will die!" -Jhin


  • Zartas said:

    It seems that dungeons seem to end up in a DPS race, or using some gimmicky item. And failure in these ends up in some form of one shot mechanic from enemies/boss. 
    Purely a curiosity based question.

    Scroll down on this page. You'll see a list of games the developers of Ashes have worked on.

    Of the 7 there that are MMO's (though only 6 that were released), how many of them had the issue quoted above?

    To me, the answer is "none of them".

    People seem to be forgetting that this development team is already made up of veteran developers that have solved or worked around many of the issues other games - games with less experienced development teams - run in to.

    The single game most of the Intrepid team seem to have worked on - EQ2 - is by far the game with the most varied group content I have ever seen or heard of in regards to an MMO.

    To me, looking at the team at Intrepid and then asking them to not make mistakes from games like ESO, WoW or GW is like talking about going to the latest Christopher Nolen film, hoping he doesn't make it like a Micheal Bay film.

    This development team have a pedigree, one they openly disclose on their website because they are quite proud of it. Rather than looking at what OTHERS have done, why not look at what THEY have done?

    I mean, they are FAR more likely to build on their existing body of work than they are to rip off someone else's body of work.
  • ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited July 2018
    @Noaani

    I get your point, but this wasn't aimed the devs. I Was curious about how other players saw this this, and what their ideas were on tackling it. 

    I just  like discussing mechanics like these, to gain new insights. How do other players see it? Why? How would they like to see it implemented and why ? 
    Maybe they don't even see it as an issue ? 


  • Zartas said:
    @Noaani

    I get your point, but this wasn't aimed the devs. I Was curious about how other players saw this this, and what their ideas were on tackling it. 

    I just  like discussing mechanics like these, to gain new insights. How do other players see it? Why? How would they like to see it implemented and why ? 
    Maybe they don't even see it as an issue ? 


    That's all good, but when you post on a games forum about a specific issue relative to the games genre, and people come browsing that forum to see what the game is about, they could take a thread like this as being something that the game in question has as an issue.

    The OP of this thread is the kind of thing someone browsing new MMO's could see, and leave thinking Ashes will just be another generic dungeon delving MMO.
  • ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited July 2018
    I thought i made it quite clear, that i was talking about a specific aspect in the genre, since i never related to or mentioned Ashes And the addition of the last paragraph : 

    "Now I am wondering do you see this a problem? If no why not? if you do what would you like to see implemented?"

    But i could add an extra paragraph at the beginning to make it more clear. 

    Additionally discussions like these, if they get going, might provide some cool insights.


  • ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited July 2018
    Noaani said:
    Zartas said:
    @Noaani

    I get your point, but this wasn't aimed the devs. I Was curious about how other players saw this this, and what their ideas were on tackling it. 

    I just  like discussing mechanics like these, to gain new insights. How do other players see it? Why? How would they like to see it implemented and why ? 
    Maybe they don't even see it as an issue ? 


    That's all good, but when you post on a games forum about a specific issue relative to the games genre, and people come browsing that forum to see what the game is about, they could take a thread like this as being something that the game in question has as an issue.

    The OP of this thread is the kind of thing someone browsing new MMO's could see, and leave thinking Ashes will just be another generic dungeon delving MMO.
    I think you're being unnecessarily combative. The forums are a place to express concerns, gauge community opinions, and celebrate various elements of the development. There is absolutely nothing wrong with making a thread with the intention of seeking out community opinion. 

    On the topic, I'd love to see problem solving be a big part of the game. Traps, levers, possible routes, puzzles etc. could really add variety and engagement to an area of gameplay that, as you rightly notice, can become very stale. I trust the developers have a range of excellent ideas for PvE content - I look forward to seeing it in action!
  • Zartas said:
    I thought i made it quite clear, that i was talking about a specific aspect in the genre, since i never related to or mentioned Ashes And the addition of the last paragraph : 

    "Now I am wondering do you see this a problem? If no why not? if you do what would you like to see implemented?"

    But i could add an extra paragraph at the beginning to make it more clear. 

    Additionally discussions like these, if they get going, might provide some cool insights.


    A paragraph at the start to make it clear you are not talking specifically about this game would have been good (always assume anyone other than the 20 - 30 or so regular posters on these forums skim read).

    What would have been better though, is spending a few minutes looking in to the topic in relation to games the development team at Intrepid have worked on in the past. I mean, you mentioned five MMO's and one non-MMO game in the OP - none of which are games the development team here have worked on.
  • @Oiraeket

    On the topic of 'possible routes'. What I personally would like to see is where failure in certain battles/events within the dungeon might not mean a certain wipe, if you manage to haul ass that is :p,
    But failure might lock a certain path forcing a party to take a more dangerous path. Or on the other hand succes might open new paths.
  • All constructive opinions and ideas are welcome here. No need for disclaimers :)
  • lexmax said:
    All constructive opinions and ideas are welcome here. No need for disclaimers :)
    And all kinds of dungeon dancing are welcome here, no matter how awkward!


  • for proper dancing, the dungeons will need a lot of tables to dance upon

  • LiquidSky said:
    for proper dancing, the dungeons will need a lot of tables to dance upon

    Or corpses. Nothing like dancing on the bodies of your victims. The only problem will be if @nagash is around...
  • Zastro said:
    LiquidSky said:
    for proper dancing, the dungeons will need a lot of tables to dance upon

    Or corpses. Nothing like dancing on the bodies of your victims. The only problem will be if @nagash is around...
    Oh I don't mind as long as we can dance on your courpes as well ^^
  • ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited July 2018
    Personally I'd like to see the devs implement dungeons in a dynamic manner rather than as static.  Where as every time the player group enters a particular dungeon the layout and the boss npcs change (including the dynamics to defeat them) from a predetermined list, and with a certain amount of RNG chance for spawning totally new npcs in some portions of it. 

    While it may still get stale after a few years once everyone has learned every variable of it, it would still greatly increase player interaction for quite some time, if not indefinitely. 



  • nagash said:
    Zastro said:
    LiquidSky said:
    for proper dancing, the dungeons will need a lot of tables to dance upon

    Or corpses. Nothing like dancing on the bodies of your victims. The only problem will be if @nagash is around...
    Oh I don't mind as long as we can dance on your courpes as well ^^
    I find that to be acceptable. Just don't make me undead until after you are done.

    On topic, though, I do think dungeons should be more than DPS races or checks. That is just lazy content creation. There should be puzzles and traps, need for CC and utility abilities, and perhaps even encounters where you cannot beat the enemy and just have to hold out for a certain amount of time and survive or run away while being chased. There are so many interesting ways a dungeon and its denizens can be constructed; I don't understand why DPS has become the norm nowadays.
  • Creative developers are usually on deadlines dictated by publishers. In addition to that publishers dictate that you have to do things that are popular or have proven to work, new ideas can lose millions of dollars. Some of that can be said about parts of this community that constantly rally for the same-old same-old dynamics and content because "it has worked."

    Thank the almighty lords of Ashes that IS doesn't have a publisher breathing down their necks.
  • Azathoth said:
    Thank the almighty lords of Ashes that IS doesn't have a publisher breathing down their necks.
    Amen!
  • Just off the wall type of dungeon.  An harvest fair type dungeon where you have to get falling down drunk and dance all the way through it as you fight the monsters?
  • Kratz said:
    Azathoth said:
    Thank the almighty lords of Ashes that IS doesn't have a publisher breathing down their necks.
    Amen!
    How horrible would it be if someone like EA stepped in and bought them out.  :( 
  • Warkov said:
    Kratz said:
    Azathoth said:
    Thank the almighty lords of Ashes that IS doesn't have a publisher breathing down their necks.
    Amen!
    How horrible would it be if someone like EA stepped in and bought them out.  :( 
    *shudders* 
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