Top End Dungeons

DodoBot

Dalayan Elder
LONG POST – FAIR WARNING. I did add headings for readability. I think it is a great idea to re-examine dungeons. Not only will it allow balancing of things like experience and loot, it offers a chance to explore a variety of play styles in a more comprehensive way than doing it one zone at a time. I want to talk specific zones off the top of my head and then do a second post with more detailed ideas on my dungeon philosophy.

Specific Zone Thoughts​

Top End Dungeons
  • Kaesora – Great exp. Used to be a good cash with tomes, but loot is very lackluster now. Mass pulls and totally mindless.
  • Bloodied Quarry – I’m a fan of this zone and it’s sad that despite good experience to be had, there is no incentive to go here anymore outside of refuge quests. Cash loot is awful and needs to be greatly improved. Named could be rust coded. I think there should be crossover with Yclistinite and LOIO. Ofgats frequently mentions Korl. Could get some extra love from this angle.
  • Citadel of the Claw – Almost perfect in terms of difficulty, experience, flow, and mob diversity. All I would tweak might be to improve cash loot (now that tomes are gone).
  • First Ruins – With a good group, this is top tier cash and near top tier experience. The deity thing is interesting in that there aren’t more Tarhyl / Sivyana quests with these guys. I love this zone, but I also would not mind some shortcuts past the early sections as it is an annoying but trivial clear for people who go deep. Cash value of BoEs might need to be toned down.
  • Emberflow – Great zone, but much easier than it used to be. Also very bag heavy. I might increase the mob difficulty in the MB / MK / MT wings, but lower the mob density. Compensate with higher exp values and a bump to the cash loot vendor prices. Make Emberflow feel epic again. Entry level wings need to have no-drop loot buffed to be competitive with comparable gear for that tier.
  • Windstone – So much potential for a great zone is lost here. First half of the zone needs an overhaul or a way to skip to the bridge. Loot is cool thematically, but it’s under-stated for its difficulty. The back encounters are a lot of fun. It has flair, but the zone is too hard for the loot, cash poor, and still feels kind of “beta-version”. Would like to see the final bosses finished and quests added to here like what emberflow has (“Dungeon Delvers” anyone?).
  • The Rust – I actually enjoy both the outer part and the factory, but it’s been awhile since I’ve seen a good factory group. IIRC, it’s lots of mobs with a few themes. Good places for waves of mobs. Add some tinkering materials to this place to give more reasons to come back.
  • Sunken Cathedral – Great exp for the difficulty of mobs. Very bag heavy for looting. Haven’t finished the quest yet, but it’s a fun, very old-school feeling zone.
Middle Tier Dungeons
  • Catacombs – Exp is OK, but loot (both cash and no drop) could probably be improved to keep pace with Ikisith BoEs. This is a good zone to experiment with a linearly increasing difficulty curve at each node. Potentially make some no-drops here tradable.
  • Cyrtho Malath – Probably my favorite place to exp at fresh 65. Exp is still good, and at one point tomes dropped here… Like Cata, the loot could probably be improved a bit at the lower end (especially no drops), and the difficulty / cash of wing 2 and 3 could probably be increased. Perhaps change some of the no-drop items to tradable. Would also love more quests in here.
  • Everchill Caverns – Used to like this zone. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to remember tomes dropping here once. I remember two styles of play – either killing ice giants deep or just mass pulling 20 orcs at a time. Neither is particularly good platinum these days, but the exp is OK. Maybe increase difficulty of orcs and reduce density. Add a few BoEs.
  • Highkeep – Not looking forward to going back here for a 2nd vah. It just feels incredibly dated. Exp and pp per hour are really slow. I’d like the idea of adding some unique encounters here, maybe a gambling theme and bring in the coyote. Also didn’t this place drop tomes once?
  • Haegra Malath – The tentacles are really boring and the outside is completely unutilized. Plat is a joke here, but exp and items from the tunnels are OK – maybe the mobs could be toned down a bit to make it easier. I’d like a refresher for this zone and some quests from the outside added / finished to tie the faction here in with the lore from the lands of magic…
  • Deepshade – Kind of OK exp, but bad everything else. I feel like this used to drop tomes, but now it has very little cash incentive with them out. Did they ever add back in the six man content here, or is it gone for good? Underutilized in general. Lot of potential for building out cool stuff…
  • Mielech’s Laboratory – Wish I could get a group to go here sometime. Don’t have a ton of experience…
Entry Level 65 Dungeons
  • Eldenal's Mansion – Much better with the rust code changes. I like where this one has gone.
  • Kedge Keep – Kind of hard on tier. Annoying mobs and not a lot of plat. Can we upgrade some of the no drop loot, improve plat, and add tangleweed to this zone? Maybe dawnfish as well?
  • Sorcerer’s Labyrinth – Easy mobs, but lower exp than it could be. Plat is probably OK. Why can’t you get crystalline blood here? There should be some more quests added that use this place. Perhaps also buff to the BOEs dropped in here.
  • Fire Grotto – Great zone that needs some love. Would love to see goblin quests and buffs to the loot in general. Can we add some rust coding to this zone as well?
  • Mielech’s Lair – While the zone could probably be tuned a bit on plat, exp is decent for the difficulty. I think the biggest reason few people come here is the long run to get inside. Can we make some sort of quest to flag you for a shortcut or a gate neck that skips MieA/B?
Other

Personally, I’d love to see some love for Halls of Misery, Ethereal Dojo, Storm’s Eye, and Dragonhorn Keep, but these aren’t really regular dungeons… so they probably need their own thread. See next post for Part 2...
 
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DodoBot

Dalayan Elder

Part 2: Dungeon Philosophy

While the above post talked about individual zones, with this one, I want to talk broader dungeon philosophy from the perspective of someone who has played a lot of RPGs over the years. Broken down into 1) Clear Style, 2) Layout, 3) Themes, 4) Loot, 5) Monster Diversity, and 6) Experience.

Clearing Method​

I think it’s important to reflect on the number of zones with each kind of clear method. In an effort to promote a diversity of play, we should try to balance the number of each style.
  • LinearDungeon Crawler type clears involve advancement toward a specific objective in a straight line. The classic example of this would be Catacombs, but the various wings of Emberflow also fit this bill. In general, respawn times for this kind of zone should be longer, and monsters should feel harder. I like the idea of challenging pulls on these types of dungeons that require splits or crowd control. They offer a chance to highlight monsters with unique abilities and potentially provide timed challenges like in Hate’s Fury. I believe that these types of zones should be more difficult than open dungeons, but offer more experience and loot compared to them. Playtime should be considered in terms of completed runs toward a boss or objective – in my mind 60-150 minutes.
  • CircuitsMass Pulls in zones like kaesora or the rust with relatively fast respawn times and easy mobs offer a clear style where players can run loops around a particular area and clear as long as they like. This tends to be the preferred current method for experience at present due to its ease, efficiency, and scalability. Historically, it’s also used been used for farming, but I think now most people try to quick-clear named rather than mass pull because looting is a pain in the butt. While I do think big pulls and open clear plans have a place in SOD, I do not think they should really be the primary style. It lacks character, doesn’t feel like there is much stake for the players, and gets boring really quickly. I also prefer this type of experience to be outside, not in a dungeon.
  • WavesMonsters come to you while the player doesn’t move much. Rust Factory, Overgrowth Tunnel Event. Plumber Event. Barrel Event. I know I’m missing a few here. There should be a few areas where events will pull monsters towards the player’s group automatically. This gives players some ease of not having to move, and allows developers to really dial in encounters. I like the idea of setting up proper parties of enemies – with tanks, healers, and dps mobs. I also like the idea that monsters could be coming from multiple sides (you hit a room and there is an ambush event). One of my favorite events on live like this (outside) was the 7th Coldain Prayer Shawl event in grade divide. This style of encounter offers more excitement than static clears, but it doesn’t require moving around. Best used in select areas that take advantage of local layout / geometry.

Layout and Encounter Distribution​

Just off the top of my head I could think of the following distributions. Feel free to add any layouts that you see I missed.
  • Linear – Gradually increasing difficulty in a straight path. Key encounters and rewards at nodes like stations on a railroad line. Good format for timed events.
  • Wings – Branching paths come from a central passageway. Key encounters at the ends of wings. Gives good opportunities to themes.
  • Open Plan – Less organized layout with clusters of monsters at each area. Good for mass pulls.

Themes​

I like the idea that dungeons are based around a theme. That theme should obviously encompass monster types and geography. I really like the idea of incorporating tradeskills, factions, or a quest hub into the mix. Couple ideas of mine below.

New Idea: Expeditions – I like the idea of an event where a dungeon is randomly taken over by a faction that will despawn the regular monsters temporarily and set up new events. The obvious two choices would be the Seekers on one hand, offering quests and unique events related to their goals / MQ, and Kaezulians – doing some sort of mysterious research, but with new (and potentially traveling) named to kill should you elect to clear their forces out. In order to keep these from being farmed, the expedition should only be able to be cleared once each time it’s up. The event then despawns and may move somewhere else or respawn at a later date. A wild idea might be the consumerist coyote and a big money bomb if you could collect items that suit his eclectic (and possibly interdimensional) taste. I think there should even be some sort of separate reward track for players who want to search out and do expeditions on the regular (maybe like bounty hunting, I’m up for ideas here).

Tradeskills and Dungeon Themes
  • Just as Lake of Ill Omen has bits with unique rewards, why can’t Bloodied Quarry have monsters drop them as well – since that’s where they get the Yclistinite?
  • Why not build out Mielech’s Laboratory to have an alchemy / brewing theme? Add some unique thematic recipes here and see what’s cooking.
  • Since Windstone Caverns has a great number of gem/earth elementals, why not have them drop a few rare ores on occasion or items for unique jewelcrafting recipies (nothing to replace mining or JC in general, but an added unique incentive).
  • For that matter – the rust is full of machines – it should be a tinkering hotspot!
  • I also like the idea of perhaps events that can be tied to tradeskills – say a few no-rent items may randomly drop in the zone that can be combined in a forge or brew barrel (also located in the zone) by someone of sufficient skill. These items could then be used to spawn an event – (some bubbling goop in MieD or some crazy fire spirit in First Ruins or Fire Grotto).
Updating Existing Factions and Quest Themes
  • Since we have an existing faction and many goblins living about the area, why not add some new quests to Red Sun Mines, Fire Grotto, and Emberflow that incorporate the goblin faction? Spruce up RSM. Add a bind spot and a couple of merchants (it’s a great spot in the 50s, but out of the way).
  • For this matter, why are there not more quests involving the various factions of the north in their respective zones. The giants, dragons, and shadow dwarves should have a wealth of things to do in zones around their homes, and it would be great to see a little more depth added (EG: Heritage in Doubt was a favorite back in the day)
  • The Dungeon Delvers quest line – and Grand Library Quests in general - should absolutely be expanded to cover new zones. They should be modernized to allow players more choice in the rewards and have existing items improved.

Loot​

  • Loot Balanced around Tomes. Ikisith dungeons were formerly balanced around tomes being a large portion of cash loot. Old world zones later had them added in a lot of areas. See the old tomes article. Things really need to be adjusted here. Kaesora and Citadel having a reduced platinum incentive compared to past years has already been mentioned, and BQ is even worse. There is very little reason to ever go to BQ at the moment.
  • “Bag Intensive Looting” Zones like Emberflow and Sunken Cathedral require a lot of bag space and a dedicated looters. I don’t think zones like that are bad per-se, but not everyone has a Coyote or a ton of bag space. Some of these zones could potentially have a midway merchant added to them to ease the pain of looting.
  • BoEs and the player economy. This is going to be a controversial opinion, but I think vendor prices on a lot of BoE items are too high. The server does not have a great player economy, but the amount of raw plat that can be farmed from high cash BoEs with T14 toons is really too much. Certain zones in particular (FR, LOIO) are really egregious here. In response to lowering the vendor value of BOEs, I think most named mobs could have their raw plat drops increased proportional to difficulty.
  • No Drop Items at the low end: I think we really just need a pass at smoothing out progression curve for no-drop items in the dungeon game the same way we had for the raid game. Older dungeons have no drops that are totally outclassed by items from newer areas that are similar difficulty. For the lower-end items in places like CMal and Cata, I’d make some tradeable.
  • Dungeon Quest Items While I don’t think every zone has to be like Emberflow and have a million quest items drop in it, adding a few more (say just updates to dungeon delvers to start with) brings a lot more incentive to go to places. There is great potential for this in places like cmal or any meilech zone.
  • Charm Credits These filled a gap for a lot of people who did not want to specifically farm cash. Great idea… Big QOL difference for people. However, they should stack though. And while I don’t think they should be able to be sold, perhaps we could allow them to be exchanged for experience or faction in lieu of store credit.

Monster Diversity​

Like a few of the previous posters have mentioned, Citadel of the Claw is probably the gold standard for monster diversity. Every monster has a theme, and especially on tier, the zone will punish players for not paying attention. But nothing feels cheap in the zone. Most of this zone is also low density, which I really prefer. Fewer monsters, but harder monsters with some stake. What I really hate is seeing, as Grinkles put it, “a dog pile of PCs on top of 30 mobs that all look the same and clip into each other like a glitch in the matrix”. Monsters should be spaced appropriately, look and feel unique, and be challenging!

Experience​

Some people like relatively flat exp per hour, and I think many zones should have that as an option, but for my part, I think there should be a clear bonus at the end of wings or dungeon crawls to incentivize a playstyle that is a little more goal-oriented. Maybe a large exp boost to boss mobs or a scripted event? Other options for both experience and potentially cash could simply come from repeatable quests for kills or item collections within a zone of the day (or week).
 
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Moghjubar

Dalayan Beginner
  • Bloodied Quarry – I’m a fan of this zone and it’s sad that despite good experience to be had, there is no incentive to go here anymore outside of refuge quests. Cash loot is awful and needs to be greatly improved. Named could be rust coded. I think there should be crossover with Yclistinite and LOIO. Ofgats frequently mentions Korl. Could get some extra love from this angle.
Definitely could use yclistinite bit farming in blood quarry somehow, especially with certain key tomes now bit-gated (and likely more soon). And actual farming, not "Get raw yclistinite chunk, turn it in for.... 2 bits aka the time it takes to fart on a turtle". I tried a few items from there... the reward is laughably small.
 

Otcho

Dalayan Pious Diety
In the sense that you will encounter many more mobs and named mobs, yes. I do have another idea that I will be adding also.

Having played around with this for about 2 hours now I can only applaud. It is a significantly better experience now, especially for a weak garbo duo like mine.
I genuinely could not tell when the zone actually respawned.
 

Swight

Dalayan Elder
My biggest issue with cmal is the respawn time on trash is a bit on the long side. many groups I have been with there cleared cmal 1-3 before any respawns so it is kinda one run and done.
 

lynnettell

Dalayan Elder
Sorc Lab: It's not a top tier dungeon, but one that used to be farmed, now is not. You go there for three reasons: Thurg Bounty Quest, CoI, or you're a tradeskiller.

Fur droprate seems horrible now. Not saying this because I buy them and no one is selling, I have attempted to farm, but it sucks.

Get rid of the stupid plate drops. They annoy everyone with the fact you have to destroy them. No one uses them, no one wants to cart them around to vendor for the few gold they bring, they are just a waste of a drop. Period.

Get rid of the rec level requirement on the items. Most of the gear from Highkeep is now no rec/req level. Let's take a look:


[LORE] [BIND ON EQUIP] [PRISTINE]
Slot: NECK
Focus Effect: Range Increment IV
INT: +11 (12) CHA: +11 (12) MANA: +60 (66)
SV MAGIC: +15 (16)
Spell Ward: +1%
Recommended level of 35.
WT: 6.9 Size: SMALL
Class: NEC WIZ MAG ENC
Race: ALL
Slot 1 type 3: empty

Why? It's great for level 20, but you can get this from Highkeep:


[MAGIC] [LORE] [BIND ON EQUIP] [PRISTINE]
Slot: NECK
AC: 2 (3)
HP: +70 (77) MANA: +70 (77)
SV MAGIC: +15 (16) SV FIRE: +8 (9) SV COLD: +8 (9)
WT: 0.1 Size: TINY
Class: ALL
Race: ALL
Slot 1 type 5: empty

I'd go into the weapons and other drops, but there are so many. The entire zone needs an update to get people visiting it again.
 

Otcho

Dalayan Pious Diety
I think sorcs would be another one of the cool zones for the newfound elds implementation.

It would also be very cool if the mana drain could be removed or possibly made (easily) resistable , the same for first ruins bloodfires, and perhaps the fae too.
 

Daffie

Dalayan Pious Diety
I think sorcs would be another one of the cool zones for the newfound elds implementation.

It would also be very cool if the mana drain could be removed or possibly made (easily) resistable , the same for first ruins bloodfires, and perhaps the fae too.
Mana drain should really be renamed to fun sap
 

fuwok

Developer
Staff member
Some minor bugfixes today concerning the new visitor. Thank you again to those testing it: Eyate, Marthog, Goge, Shuks, and anybody I forgot.
 

Paxit

Dalayan Elder
Some dungeon flavor that might be easy to add is more mobs that spawn upon the death of mundane mobs like in citedal ( Squiff , Old Veteran ) I recall on live a few expansions that delved into this and it was fun for the unexpected event that you and groupmates have been thrust into a named fight.
 

iBluNT

Dalayan Elder
Spent about 5-6 hours in Citadel today after noticing a Master Isy and Phoenix Master up to snipe. Ended up staying and doing a route with a group, including anywhere from 10 placeholders at a minimum to 13 at a maximum in one clear. After 5 full clears we only had one High Myrmidon named spawn. That's roughly 50-60 placeholders, with 1 named. I understand that this sample size isn't massive by any means but I think two things can be done here without much more investigation:
  1. Increase named spawn chance altogether. It's kinda noticeable Citadel has one of the lowest named chances of any dungeon. I'm not sure if any are better than others, but it doesn't feel it. You need a pretty decent group to get through any major clearing in this zone, so the cash earned from this increased rate is far warranted.
  2. If we're going on the rust code route, I'd rather prefer rust coding only allowing named to spawn and not their placeholders again. If rust code chance has to be lowered for this to take place, it's probably worth it. Even with a tracker in your group, you sometimes have no idea what you've rust coded since any single mob can spawn any single named. It could be halfway across the zone with repops in your way, etc.


Edit: Also charm credits don't drop here.
 
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iBluNT

Dalayan Elder
Charm credits were a step in the right direction, however a lot of people will still turn to raw platinum farming for their charm because it’s much faster, group comp doesn’t allow you to play a credit looter, and population doesn’t allow full groups to pop out of no where at any hour. Perhaps look at making credits tradeable with a pristine tag. If the looter cashes in a pristine credit, they get a full amount. If they loot it and trade it, its value decreases. People could then go and turn and sell these for a lesser face value to make it worth looting, and sort of a win-win for both parties. Example being, I buy a credit with a 500 plat value for 300 plat. Makes the seller happy because he didn’t let a ton of these rot instead, and even though the buyer shelled out platinum, you’re still getting a solid investment towards your charm for less. Also strongly urge to make these stackable. Bag space is, and always will be, a premium as you’re constantly juggling bane items, gate clickies, potions, loot, etc.
I was thinking completely by my lonesome this afternoon, with no help from any other individual, especially not Gtoo, that if these aren't able to be made stackable due to worn item slots and the charm credit system, could they be reclaimable through the alternative currency tab? And then individually taken out to turn into the merchant?
 
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