The Good and The Bad of Player Made Dungeons #EQ2 #EverQuest2
Even though there has been a significant decrease in the number of EQ2 posts I make, I do still find myself logging in once or twice a week like some poor addict. It’s hard to go cold turkey when you’ve spent practically every day for the last 7 years playing. So it was that I found myself staring at the dungeon maker tool that came out with Age of Discovery. I had yet to explore my way through any dungeons at all, and a friend suggested that I take a peek at theirs, so I did. Here are some very basic opinions about the new tool, starting with the bad points. Keep in mind these are personal to me and my experiences, and you may not have these issues.
- If you crash and are in a dungeon alone, you get kicked out and have to start over, without any rewards, no matter how far into the dungeon you were.
- There’s no indication at all whether a dungeon is made for solo play or group play unless the publisher mentions it in the title
- Some classes are significantly ‘better’ than other classes if you choose to solo. I was unable to complete this group dungeon as a level 50 guardian, but I did manage to solo it as a level 50 healer (remember, you do these in a pre-created character template, not your own character for now)
- If you’re a defiler there’s a very annoying bug with your crystallized essence spell. Your inventory will be absolutely full of the items unless you remove the spell before you use the character template
- What you actually DO with the dungeon marks you receive at the end is confusing. I would like to see vendors set up some place for everything you can purchase instead of the confusing maze of station cash sections. I saw gear you can purchase but it’s in no order at all and very annoying to search for in the station marketplace. You can also purchase dungeon bits, this was a little less difficult to figure out.
- Pathing and pulling. Unless you’re in a group and are able to handle large encounters, or you are VERY careful about pulling, you’ll probably always end up with entire room pulls. The pathing and agro radius of mobs in dungeons is very poorly done.
Those were my major issues. Had I done the dungeon with a group I may have felt a little different, but I feel that there should be a way for dungeon creators to ‘rank’ them as either solo play or group play. As an adventurer you should assume all dungeons are made for groups unless it is specified in the title by the creator. The mobs are not technically meant to be solo friendly. I suppose this makes sense, as dungeons have been group content in the past, but AoD needs to add solo content as well as group content. Now for the good points.
- Creativity. This specific dungeon I chose to do was great, they had a large selection of player-written books filled with their own stories scattered throughout. I took the time to read them all, and it was just amazing to see the amount of thought put into a creation like this. The dungeon maker decides what mobs will say, and can develop a theme accordingly. I loved it. Of course anyone who reads this site will already know that I’ve been a long time advocate of user generated content.
- Fun. It was a lot of fun because I had no idea what I was going to be up against. In one section of this specific dungeon the encounter I reached consisted of enchanters who mesmerized and stunned me. I had been making my way along easily enough but this encounter was not friendly for a priest template at all. I died after defeating a few of them. I love not knowing what is going to happen next.
- I think the idea behind the dungeon marks is a great idea. I love that you can not only purchase gear with them, but purchase other bits for your own dungeons.
- Promoting group play. I think if you’re playing with a steady group of friends player made dungeons are fantastic. It’s an evening of doing something new, in a zone none of you have been to before. It’s a new dungeon every day, which is nice because you (the developer) help stave off the “we’ve been there before” feeling that players get after they’ve run the same dungeon a million times.
Overall I feel that the player made dungeons are an amazing concept but still have a lot of glitches and bugs that need to be worked out. A lot of how you may ‘feel’ about them also depends on the creator, I saw a lot of dungeons simply titled “solo token grind” which doesn’t leave me feeling that they’ve invested any creativity into them at all. BUT. You do always have the choice to simply not go there.
I’d love to see a LFG tool that also involved the player-made dungeons (to my knowledge EQ2 doesn’t employ a feature like this yet). It would pick a random dungeon, and since you’re using a template it doesn’t matter who gets put together for a group. I think it would be a great way to promote the dungeons randomly without players selecting one, and a fantastic way to promote a grouping feature since it technically does not matter what anyone has for gear or what they play as a class. They can simply select one of the templates.
Have you been using the dungeon maker at all? What are your thoughts about it? What would you like to see changed/added/fixed in the future? Let me know in comments! As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself.
I’ve made a few dungeons on the Oasis server. I try to run them with a fighter avatar solo to test them. For soloing, the fighter and healer avatars are the best choice. I prefer fighter because I can kill things faster.
I prefer grouping mobs in groups of two for easy dungeons and groups of 3 for more challenging solo dungeons. Some avatars can deal with groups of 4 or 5 so long as they don’t have any Effect Objects enhancing them. Effect objects can increase the token value of mobs so I think it is better to have 2 mobs buffed by Effect Objects versus 3 or 4 without. It makes the dungeon less grindy.
I’ve found that it helps to label your dungeons in () with whether it is easy or hard. The most popular ones seem to be those that are easy to run solo or easy to farm a lot of tokens.
If they aren’t scaling properly, that’s a bug. I’ll give it a bit of testing this weekend if I can but so far I haven’t come across one that I can’t solo with the Drolvarg, which is the one I always use. Of course he dies a lot in some but since there is no penalty for dying I just keep coming back!
@Bhagpuss – I don’t think dungeons are always solo if you go in alone. There’s no way a guardian could defeat the mobs, and I’d hate to see a scout doing it. Or a mage. The only class that was able to defeat what was in there, was a healer. I blame this on mechanics, not the designer, as they’re using mobs that were given to them from their little tool kit. In order for a dungeon to be ‘solo’ I would expect that ANY class can take down the mobs.
I’ll be doing a blog post on Dungeon Maker dungeons this weekend. Yes, there are some annoying bugs, but given that the expansion launched just before everyone took off for the holidays I think it’s already playing remarkably robustly.
There IS no “solo” or “group” element to Dungeon Maker dungeons. Designers who are flagging them as such are more talking about how fast you can get through them I think. They all scale to the number of players who do them, so if you do one alone it will always be a “solo” dungeon. Obviously, inept or vindictive designers can make that a poor-quality experience but it has nothing to do with the mechanics.