Dev Discussion #19 - Dungeon Scaling

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  • Should open world dungeons scale up in difficulty significantly as you go deeper (ex. level 30-50), or should the difficulty band of a given dungeon be more narrow from top to bottom (ex. level 45-50)?

    Honestly I think both. They would be called different names (ex. field raid vs dungeon). But fundamentally I see them both having a place in an MMO.

    On a a slightly more tangent note I do have some thoughts on "scaling" regarding dungeons (that I think this topic has an underlying premise in regards). This is a bit more fleshed out due to my guild and I, having a similar discussion recently.

    In regards to dungeon scaling you can't discusses it without touching upon two fundamental aspects of MMOs. Power Creep and level (dungeon) design. Content (regarding raiding) normally can't keep up with the most elite dungeon groups (i.e power creep). So dungeon scaling is introduced to one, account for such inevitable power scaling, and two, create a sense of challenge for community. Now traditionally speaking we have 2 major paths that most developers take when designing dungeon scaling, add more mobs and/or higher levels to said mobs. While this does make the dungeons "harder", it's quite boring, in my opinion. I think a better approach of a dungeon is to instead design it around the hardest level possible (max scaling) and then block off paths/mechanics/bosses/ect... as you scale it down to the lowest denominator (whatever that dungeons base requirements are). This way it's more rewarding to get to the "max scaling" of a dungeon because that's when you truly face it's challenge.

    Thanks for the question!
    Hope you have a good one.
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  • WreynaWreyna Member, Braver of Worlds
    I definitely love Dungeon Scaling as you go deeper. The best times I ever had was in Guk and Estate of Unrest in Everquest. The Estate was a perfect example...easier mobs on the outside of the courtyard, tougher mobs in the first rooms of the house, even nastier ones higher up, and the worst ones in the dark depths of its basement.

    These type of dungeons also lead to great community bonding as those who are deeper in, can rescue those who need help up above and sometimes vice versa.
  • GimlogGimlog Member
    I'm for both of them.
    Some scaling one that will be influenced by the stats of the world ( like the higher lvl economic node determines how deep a mining dungeon will be) and you'll have to fine a way that suits you to make high players not past by the same way has low players.

    And having some temporary that only spawn at lvl X of a node.
  • EleyEley Member
    I think, dungeons should scale because it will create different situations when more high-level party will help other party with smaller level. Or they can resurrect if someone has died.
  • MarzzoMarzzo Member, Leader of Men
    dungeon_scaling.gif?h=250

    Glorious Ashes community - it's time for another Dev Discussion! Dev Discussion topics are kind of like a "reverse Q&A" - rather than you asking us questions about Ashes of Creation, we want to ask YOU what your thoughts are.

    Our design team has compiled a list of burning questions we'd love to get your feedback on regarding gameplay, your past MMO experiences, and more. Join in on the Dev Discussion and share what makes gaming special to you!


    Dev Discussion #19 - Dungeon Scaling
    Should open world dungeons scale up in difficulty significantly as you go deeper (ex. level 30-50), or should the difficulty band of a given dungeon be more narrow from top to bottom (ex. level 45-50)?

    Keep an eye out for our next Dev Discussion topic regarding NPC behavior!

    "I finaly reach level 40, and am now viable for groups to play a certain dungeon, togheter with my party, everyone leveled between 40-45 we progress, suddenly none of us can hit the mobs or clear basic thrash groups, we disband the group and go back to questing"

    This is not really fun. It is important to make the dungeon in a way that there is a sense of accomplishent and purpose to play the dungeon once it becomes avaible. If you open up the dungeon at lvl 40, and you need lvl 48 to have a chance to actually killing a boss, nobody will use this dungeon except for thrash runs and this makes the dungeon a boring farming spot.

    Instead, divide the dungeon in sections (Maybe look into Black Rock Depths from wow?)
    First section is 40-45, then the dungeon splits up into more difficult section as tied togher with quests etc. Maybe you unlock teleports etc depending on how far you progressed in the quest chain etc
  • CaerylCaeryl Member
    Marzzo wrote: »
    dungeon_scaling.gif?h=250

    Glorious Ashes community - it's time for another Dev Discussion! Dev Discussion topics are kind of like a "reverse Q&A" - rather than you asking us questions about Ashes of Creation, we want to ask YOU what your thoughts are.

    Our design team has compiled a list of burning questions we'd love to get your feedback on regarding gameplay, your past MMO experiences, and more. Join in on the Dev Discussion and share what makes gaming special to you!


    Dev Discussion #19 - Dungeon Scaling
    Should open world dungeons scale up in difficulty significantly as you go deeper (ex. level 30-50), or should the difficulty band of a given dungeon be more narrow from top to bottom (ex. level 45-50)?

    Keep an eye out for our next Dev Discussion topic regarding NPC behavior!

    "I finaly reach level 40, and am now viable for groups to play a certain dungeon, togheter with my party, everyone leveled between 40-45 we progress, suddenly none of us can hit the mobs or clear basic thrash groups, we disband the group and go back to questing"

    This is not really fun. It is important to make the dungeon in a way that there is a sense of accomplishent and purpose to play the dungeon once it becomes avaible. If you open up the dungeon at lvl 40, and you need lvl 48 to have a chance to actually killing a boss, nobody will use this dungeon except for thrash runs and this makes the dungeon a boring farming spot.

    Instead, divide the dungeon in sections (Maybe look into Black Rock Depths from wow?)
    First section is 40-45, then the dungeon splits up into more difficult section as tied togher with quests etc. Maybe you unlock teleports etc depending on how far you progressed in the quest chain etc

    Splitting it into chunks is how it would work in the first place, certain areas would have more difficult mobs that others. They shouldn’t be door’d off everywhere though, that’d feel disjointed and awkward to maneuver through.

    Your group of level ~45 characters would not end up strictly deadlocked once you travel into the area that has level 50 mobs, but it would get significantly harder, and eventually at a point your group will have to be the next coming of god, or you’ll need to leave and return when you’ve gotten stronger. I don’t really see a problem with having to return to a dungeon to clear the next boss.

    Perhaps there will be teleporting to cleated sections, but so far I don’t believe we’ve gotten any info on that topic.
  • Undead CanuckUndead Canuck Member, Braver of Worlds
    What dungeon gives 5 levels of experience at near max level in one go? There would be a serious game balance issue if you got that much experience in one session (unless you don't sleep).
  • SeloSelo Member
    edited June 23
    One of the best open world dungeons ive played was Darkness falls in Dark age of Camelot.
    That one became harder and harder the further down your went.
    It created quite a fun inviroment all from new players to veterans where you could walk up to a group fighting some surtain mobs and ask if you could join at any level, which created that "get to know new people and social mmorpg" that you are looking for.
    A dungeon like that can become a vibrant world on its own.

    For instanced dungeons the LAST thing i want is "hard mode, nightmare mode" etc.
    With same mobs, same loot items, but just with new levels.
    Thats just so lazy and repetativly boring that you want to claw your eyes out.
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  • SoDakDrifterSoDakDrifter Member
    edited June 24
    If coordination with other teams and groups is manageable and easy to do and the dungeons mechanics support it. Then I think that significant scaling is probably a good thing. Especially if it is a large dungeon and respawns are frequent.

    Say you have five teams of eight. Each consisting of teammates of similar level. As you start the dungeon everyone is of sufficient power/level to take on the mobs. After a short bit they reach a transition point. Past this point enemies scale up(example:30 to 40). Team1 is 30ish so they stay behind and man the transition point. The rest battle on till they reach transition point 2. Team2 is 40ish so they man this point while the other three teams push through level 50 enemies to the boss/bosses. While they do battle with the high level part of the dungeon, the two lower level teams hold the line at their transition points(where spawns are increased to consistently flow in). If no one is at the transition point to hold off the enemies there then it give a buff to the creatures further in the dungeon. Making it significantly more difficult for those fighting the boss.

    I think something like that would make it possible for lower level and max level teams to work together in a meaningful way. Sure team1 can’t fight the main boss but they can still contribute in a significant way. Plus if you are max level and have a great team or sets of teams you can try the boss fight at full buffed status and not leave anyone at transitions.
  • SoolchegSoolcheg Member
    Dungeons must be challenging. And system "deeper = harder" really fits for this task. However, to this, space in the open-world dungeons must be wide, maybe even have multiple levels (??like a burger??), shortcuts, etc. Every player must feel the adventure even low-level party and high-level likewise. For solo players, it will be scary travel where every step must be calculated. Maybe I didn't completely understand concept of open-world dungeons but this is my fantasy
  • lunarskylunarsky Member, Braver of Worlds
    I'd definitely prefer it if the deeper you go in the more they scale up. You can have a large range of levels available that way thus keeping the content relevant for a longer period of time. My one concern would be if the dungeon scaled up to say LV50 that all of the best content would only be at LV50 which would make the dungeon not as useful or fun for a LV35 character. So as long as there is fun and relevant content for each band of maybe 10 levels or so with it culminating in a raid or something at its core then I'm all for it.
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  • nyanikanyanika Member
    I think, in order to correctly answer this question we need to define our understanding of the terms "open world", "dungeon", and "scaling" as there might be different interpretations.

    In my mind, "open world" means that you can simply wander into it at any level. So, a level 1 character could possibly wander into an open world area designed for level 40 characters.
    Similarly, "dungeon" indicates an area enclosed with limited access points. A castle, or underground zone for example.
    "Scaling" would seem to indicate that the enemies you face might change depending on the foe they are facing, however it seems that most people have taken the understanding that the enemies in the "dungeon" described here would not change based on the characters but rather the zone itself would contain a varying collection of mobs from low level to high level depending on where you encounter them.

    From my experience with other MMO's in the past I have played in, zones that are designed for group content ( which is seems is the group understanding of what you are asking here ) are a lot of fun. These area's are truly open world in that you can wander into them at any level. You won't survive if you are too low level, but you can go in there. They do promote social interaction, provided the mobs don't alter their power based on the level of the pc's they are facing, in that people do tend to group up more readily when there is a common enemy they are trying to defeat. For an example, classic WOW. Social interaction was almost a mechanic of the open world in that game as everything was that much more difficult to defeat. Having an open world zone designed purely for groups of high level characters would be highly appealing to me. Working towards getting to a point where I could reasonably contribute to a group going in there would be a goal to leveling a character, somewhat similar to the experience of gearing up to enter a raid or end game instanced dungeon.

    To make the zone ( read "Dungeon" ) truly open world would open up the question of "How much would a low level character gain by "helping" to kill a high level mob? And the idea of "boosting" then comes into the conversation. I'm not saying boosting is a bad thing, in fact the opposite. Some of my friends who play the games I play enjoy the idea of boosting others, even strangers. But there would probably have to be some ceiling on how much a character can gain by being "boosted".
  • HarconHarcon Member
    edited July 8
    CM Patriot wrote: »
    I think having the dungeons get harder the deeper you go. Aslong as the lower level areas still have some reason to kill. Otherwise clearly way to the higher areas would be annoying and tedious

    This. It would mean interaction within the dungeon as well (assuming they are open dungeons). Lower levels in the easier section and as you get deeper in it gets harder and you start seeing higher level characters. It would make the dungeons more alive too.

    I would perhaps like the scale to be a little bigger, say 30-50.
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  • TacualeonTacualeon Member
    Scaling level and mechanics would be nice.

    For dungeon distribution I like the shape of a trapezium. Allowing variety while making sure there is a healthy conflux of people at the high end.

    Difficulty layers within the dungeons sounds attractive. There is something rewarding about coming back and being shown your progress.

    Also, can you make an rogue-like infinite instanced level for masoquist that wants to try how deep they can get into the cave. Maybe an instanced cave deep down the dungeon.
    To the simplest execution: tweak numbers, put the stage a number and let masoquism make replayability.
  • WizbaneWizbane Member
    edited July 11
    Your opportunity:

    claim is there will be many systems allowing for vertical and horizontal character progressions, so why just level requirements?

    Adopt a metroidvania style to deal with access to any zones/dungeons/deeper areas and such, checking more variables than just level and allowing more ways to gain entrance to avoid cutting off the content for some players. Entrance will be something to work for, areas will be revisited, etc.

    So I guess my answer leans towards a narrow range of possibilities to enter a given section of a dungeon, a broader range when different sections/areas are considered. But it’s not strictly level scaling I’m talking about here.

    There’s the difficulty of the dungeon also to consider. This could be dealt separately from variables allowing the entrance. Let the players discover if they are up to it, even they have managed to enter they may still be too weak to succeed.

    Eventually a player will gain access and will be powerful enough to advance.

    But then they may still be lacking companions for specific mechanics, and perhaps these companions could enter only through other routes based on their specific character progressions and will require help to allow your progression through the dungeon... (2+ characters mechanics are an hot topic even in an MMO as you know: some dungeons should be soloable in open world, some should require help to unlock entrance, some should require help to complete).
  • BreakeRBreakeR Member
    Personally, I would like a variety. I like how Ragnarok Online approached open world dungeons back in the day. Payon Cave was particularly cool in that it had 5 floors, starting out at level 10 and then gradually scaling to 50+ with a boss on the bottom floor. The best thing was that it gave opportunities for lower level players to interact with higher level players gathering at the entrance. It also felt inspiring to be able to see higher level groups walk past you, knowing they were going deeper into the dungeon. In terms of gameplay, the thing it did best was break up the monotony and linearity of farming things, giving reason to go back to familiar places for something more than a fetch quest, and then getting to see a whole new side of it.
  • HarconHarcon Member
    BreakeR wrote: »
    Personally, I would like a variety. I like how Ragnarok Online approached open world dungeons back in the day. Payon Cave was particularly cool in that it had 5 floors, starting out at level 10 and then gradually scaling to 50+ with a boss on the bottom floor. The best thing was that it gave opportunities for lower level players to interact with higher level players gathering at the entrance. It also felt inspiring to be able to see higher level groups walk past you, knowing they were going deeper into the dungeon. In terms of gameplay, the thing it did best was break up the monotony and linearity of farming things, giving reason to go back to familiar places for something more than a fetch quest, and then getting to see a whole new side of it.

    This. <3
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    For every dream that is left behind me, I take a bow
  • Harcon wrote: »
    BreakeR wrote: »
    Personally, I would like a variety. I like how Ragnarok Online approached open world dungeons back in the day. Payon Cave was particularly cool in that it had 5 floors, starting out at level 10 and then gradually scaling to 50+ with a boss on the bottom floor. The best thing was that it gave opportunities for lower level players to interact with higher level players gathering at the entrance. It also felt inspiring to be able to see higher level groups walk past you, knowing they were going deeper into the dungeon. In terms of gameplay, the thing it did best was break up the monotony and linearity of farming things, giving reason to go back to familiar places for something more than a fetch quest, and then getting to see a whole new side of it.

    This. <3

    Same.
    BreakeR wrote: »
    It also felt inspiring to be able to see higher level groups walk past you, knowing they were going deeper into the dungeon.
  • MichaelMichael Member
    I sort of agree with Damokles. High scalability for Dungeons can be fun. Most games have your typical "Normal", "Hard", "Legendary" difficulties. But why stop it there? It can be so much more dynamic than that.
  • BreakeRBreakeR Member
    edited 6:41AM
    Another thing I'd like to bring attention to about Ragnarok's open world dungeons is how monsters respawned. For example, if a dungeon floor had 70 of a certain monster, as soon as you killed one of those monsters, another one would instantly respawn somewhere else to replenish back to 70. This made it so there was never a shortage of monsters. The maps were literally *always* populated with monsters, and because of that, both low level players and high level players could farm on the same map at the same time without having to worry about camping. Ultimately, I believe this is what open world dungeons should strive for: accessibility to all players, at all times, and without shortage. (Except rare monsters)

    The ubiquitous availability of low level monsters also meant that they could serve a second purpose as loot piñatas. Despite being low level monsters, they could still contain rare items, harvestable resources, or both. As a result, every single monster was still relevant in the end-game for what it dropped. It made the game feel populated with monsters that were actually important, rather than just a sea of trash mobs you would never look at a second time. Most importantly, it made farming and grinding actually fun because of the variety.

    One more benefit of random instant respawning was that it made the maps feel more dynamic. Monsters were never in the same spot. Some maps, for example, were split up into multiple sections. If you spent time killing monsters repeatedly in one section, eventually monsters would pile up in the other sections, giving you a reason to go clear out those sections instead. You would constantly have to seek out the nooks and crannies of maps to clear out monsters that had clumped up, making the whole experience of farming much more active and exploratory. In some cases, this made it actually *good* to have more players farming the same dungeon because they would clear out hotspots you weren't getting to. It's a system that doesn't punish a server for being more populated.

    It would be nice to AoC adopt a similar approach to open world farming of monsters.
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