So, what are dungeons traditionally in MMOs and what is Ashes of Creation doing differently, if anything at all?
Discussing everything dungeon related in this piece. Dungeons have taken different forms over the years and earned themselves quite the slew of names whilst they were parading themselves across the MMO scene. Strikes, fractals, scenarios, delves, if it’s somehow vaguely dungeon related, some MMO out there has probably named their small group content after it.
What matters though is the fundamental thing that ties this content together is the group aspect of it all. These challenges tell an interesting story throughout, giving the group various puzzles to solve and bosses to overcome which tests the group’s individual skill and coordination between each other.
LOOKING FOR GROUP SYSTEM
An element within the UI that you click, wait in a queue, and get teleported to a dungeon wherever you are in the world. This system tends to make dungeons be a very lonely experience because there is no communication required at all. No predefined arrangement is made, nobody knows each other’s play style, and nobody is motivated to succeed. It all just becomes a bunch of rails where it feels like you’re playing with a bunch of bots. The whole point of the MMO goes out the window.
Ashes of Creation will NOT be featuring a “looking for group” system as their UI team is busy making sure the cosmetic store interface is functional above all else. Having zero UI for a LFG system isn’t good for the game either as spamming the map chat for groups isn’t quite ideal especially when we’re going to be playing in an open world.
Instead, what Intrepid’s implementing is something more localized. Something like a bulletin board. This object will be interactable within nodes and at player taverns within their freeholds. These bulletin boards are going to display various group quest related content. These boards are probably just going to function as a place to find information about the surrounding area. Such as the localization of dungeons and quest huts.
HOW ARE DUNGEONS IN ASHES OF CREATION ACTUALLY GOING TO WORK?
As a node develops, dungeons near the node reveal themselves with quests from the bulletin board accompanying them. The higher the node progresses, the more of the dungeon will be unlocked which eventually creates a large sprawling area full of cannons and open areas filled with elite mobs patrolling it.
Intrepid has also stated as an extra layer of depth and individuality to these dungeons, as various buildings are built within the node, it would unlock various routes through the dungeon that weren’t available before. For example, say they build a mason guild, the dwarfs may unlock an alternate route through the dungeon by mining through a cavern wall that wasn’t normally there.
Intrepid also stated that there will be an 80/20 split between open world and instanced dungeons. This means that the dungeons in AoC are going to be contested between groups. Now, it may not favor everyone but that’s how the game’s gonna work. But bear in mind though that it will not be kill on sight as there are consequences to murdering other players that hinder the actual point of being in a dungeon.
Communication and cooperation between groups are going to be very likely especially when players get deeper into the dungeons. Another factor to take in mind is that running into another group in the dungeons will be rare as Intrepid is going to make their dungeons large enough to house three or more full groups to make their way through.
The deeper the dungeon, the more deadly the mobs. But more importantly, the better the loot, right? These mobs will be dropping trash loot which is sellable to a vendor for a set amount of gold, silver, or whatever the currency Ashes of Creations will have.
What happens when the dungeon goes deeper? The mobs down there will drop higher tier trash loot that is worth more money. Meaning that actually going deeper and fighting the harder mobs will yield more money per hour and the obvious increased drop rate for rare items too.
When the node reaches the metropolis stage and the final chamber is unlocked, how will the boss of the dungeon function? Apart from the obvious aspect of PvP, so when the boss is about to spawn say 15 minutes in, everyone gets a notification saying that a powerful presence is about to make itself known. After a time, everyone is forced out of a dungeon, saved by a magical explosion that bursts through the corridors from the boss spawn. Then taking all the groups to a random location outside the entrance, meaning that it’s going to be a race to the boss room and defeat it before the other groups!
This could happen a few times within the day keeping it a relevant piece of repeatable competitive content. Giving the players who are looking for that kind of competitive group content that is satisfying competition to participate in throughout the day.