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Dungeoneering Report Card: One Year Later



One year ago, I wrote this overview of the things that bug me about Dungeoneering. Well, it's been a year, so let's look back at the issues that annoyed me at my first impression and see how I feel about them a year later. Here we go!


[hide=Click to begin.]

Fix the price of the rewards and possibly scrap the token system altogether.

There are all kinds of reasons why it doesn't make sense. I want to say it's like Mobilizing Armies because of how slow it is without much return in between, but the truth is, MA actually has a better rewards system--with MA, once you reach the requirement to buy a reward, you generally have more than enough points to buy the item you want. Sure, you might not be able to buy all the rewards, but at least you can imbue your archer ring once you make it to 300 rank. It's good that we can bet more to get greater point rewards and then spend those points with our limited budgets. But with Dungeoneering, that whole dynamic is upside-down. When I get to level 21, I'm not excited that I can now use a bonecrusher. I'm angry/sad/annoyed/disappointed because I should be able to, but I can't.

The prices have been lowered like I wanted, which is great. There are still some that I think are way overpriced, though. The bonecrusher and herbicide are too expensive for their marginal effects; I'd like to see them reduced in price so that they can be more useful to the low/mid-level demographic to whom they're most useful. I feel similarly about Rapid Renewal--the people who would get the best use out of it can't afford the token cost. It would be nice to see a price reduction for some of the black sheep as well: Mercenary's gloves, spirit cape, law staff, nature staff, and possibly the anti-poison totem are weak enough that they could easily be reduced in price so that the few players who appreciate their niche appeal can have easier access to them.


As for the token system as a whole, the addition of resource dungeons as fixed-level rewards has placated me on that issue. More on that later (or I guess you could go back and read my original blog post about them).


Make the rewards tradable.

There's no reason for them not to be. Really, there isn't--they all have Dungeoneering requirements anyway. Why aren't they tradable? Tied to the previous point. This is part of why people are saying it feels so much more like a minigame than a skill. You don't need to make a skill product untradable if it has a level requirement to use.

After some consideration, I'd actually take the reverse stance on this issue. Keep the stuff untradable, but drop the redundant dungeoneering requirement. Seriously, why do we even need it? If you got the tokens for it, you've clearly done enough dungeoneering to earn it, so the level requirement is pointless. And there's hardly any items where it comes up at all--like, the arcane stream necklace, I guess? Is that it? I guess the Demonhorn necklace and the sneakerpeeper as well. But the vast majority of rewards are impossible to afford until you've already trained past their level requirements, so I honestly can't see the need to single out these three rewards. If people want to pay good tokens for this stuff, just let them. Yeesh.


Content that lets you utilize the skill outside of Daemonheim.

I was about to say "other dungeons," but then I realized we kind of have those already, don't we? (This might be something to release as separate future updates rather than as part of a Dungeoneering 2.0 patch.) This is another big part of why people are saying it feels more like a minigame than a skill. I'm sure there are plenty of ideas out there amongst the player base. A few off the top of my head: maybe alternate entrances to Daemonheim, maybe the ability to use special underground passages as portals for transportation (like the mine cart in the GE--which, while I have your attention, could really use a right-click option), maybe additional lower levels to existing dungeons that are too dangerous for inexperienced spelunkers, etc. There just needs to be something to keep it from being so self-contained.



The resource dungeons are an excellent solution to this issue. They feel like natural extensions of the skill and, for the most part, they're balanced fairly well. Some of them are a little underpowered (the Varrock sewer one is pretty crappy, for example), but on the whole, I'm satisfied. Again, my original blog post about them goes into more detail on the specific ones.


Having every item be new is way more confusing than it needs to be.

It's an unnecessary barrier to entry to have to learn whether Fractite is better than Argonite or which items you need to make a Prayer Potion or how much HP you heal by eating a Blue Crab or whether you have a high enough summoning level to make a pouch from the Stegomastyx bag you just picked up. Look, flavor is nice, but function has to come first--just put the level in the name like with Stealing Creation.

I stand by this complaint. I really want to see a (t#) tag appended onto the item names. Yes, it's in the examine, but examining everything is really annoying and stupid.


I know a lot of people, including myself to some extent, have successfully gotten used to the new items, but that doesn't mean the problem is fixed. This is going to hang over the head of every new player who decides to try out dungeoneering. It's still an unnecessary barrier to entry that could be easily fixed.


Gathering locations can be hard to pick out of the scenery.

This is made worse by the fact that most rooms have lots of inactive versions of hotspots that might be used for a skill--ponds that have no fish, obelisks you can't click on, etc. This should be easy to fix by adding icons to the minimap and dungeon map just as they would be in the overworld.

I still would like to see this. It's not a big issue for fishing spots and runecrafting altars and stuff like that, but some of the spots are still annoying to pick out of the scenery. Woodcutting spots especially. It's not a dealbreaker, but it would make me a lot happier with the skilling situation.


We need to be able to bind more items.

I get a level 11 pair of boots from the boss. Okay, great...except they disappear as soon as I leave the dungeon that I just completed. When we need to remake everything from scratch besides one or two weapons, it just isn't worth the trouble to make much of anything. Why not give us an extra bound item every 20 levels? That lets players gradually work their way up to eventually being able to bind a full set of weapon, shield, helm, plate, legs, boots, and gloves. Seems fair, right? Remember, the more items you can bind, the greater flexibility you have in customization--with only one, you'll take a weapon every time, but when you get more, you need to choose how to distribute your choices between the combat classes. So you get more depth, see? It's an improvement all-around.

After a year, I think I've adjusted my position here. Giving players a flat extra bind every twenty levels is too much. I don't think we need to add extra binds through the level-up system.


But I do still think that the "Primal boots are worthless" thing is a real issue. Giving players an extra bind that's restricted to a specific inventory slot such as feet, hands, or head would be an excellent quest reward or token-based reward something, and I'd definitely like to see it.


Spread rewards more evenly through the levels.

It is quite literally impossible to get any reward from the skill before level 53. Impossible. There is no reward available. What the hell? What's going on with that? And the reward you can get at that level is a gem bag, which, unless you love killing Goraks for some reason, is more or less completely useless. Add to this the way that experience scales with levels (xp comes at a snail's pace at low levels), and for the vast majority of casual players who don't get past 50 in Cooking let alone Dungeoneering, the skill offers literally nothing to the rest of the game. This is clearly not okay.


Solo players need to be able to get back into a dungeon if they log out or lose connection.

This is probably the way it is now because of game engine issues, so the difficulty of fixing it may seem disproportionate compared to the benefit, but trust me--it's incredibly important. This is not a little thing. If I lose connection at the end of a long dungeon and I can't go back in and come back to where I left off, I'm not going to want to log in at all. I'm going to want to shut off my computer in frustration. And if I know that I won't be able to leave a long and complex dungeon without losing my progress until I finish it completely, there's a good chance I just won't do it. The ability to pick up where you left off is vital to the solo gameplay.

The first has been handily repaired with resource dungeons, which provide tangible bonuses, and strong ones, at as low as level 10, 15, and 20. The second has been fixed as well. Well-done! I can fully retract both of these grievances. :thumbup:


The bosses need drops.

As I mentioned, these are awesome bosses even only having seen the lowest-level ones. The designs are creative, the tactics are interesting, the dynamics change with a team, etc. But there needs to be something to attract teams here in the first place. Can we get some boss drops that we can take out of Daemonheim or something? Because right now, the bosses pretty much drop nothing...maybe some backstory, maybe an item you maybe want to bind, but otherwise nothing. Why create these awesome bosses and then go and make them irrelevant to the rest of the game? Give us a reason to kill them. Maybe give them each a unique drop that we can use in Runescape proper, even if it's just cosmetic--a little ice spider egg that can hatch into a pet at the pet shop's incubator from the lady who summons ice spiders, for example, could be one of the lesser rewards, while a higher-level boss might drop things like the bonecrusher. (And if you already had one, it would presumably be tradable so you could sell it, and thus preserve the incentive to come back again later.)

I'll retract this one as well--the decreased token costs, increased xp rates, and additional rewards since the skill's original release are good enough incentives for me.


They even added a dungeoneering pet. :thumbup:


Resources deplete too quickly.

If skilling is supposed to play a relevant role in the team gameplay, the skiller needs to be able to cook enough fish and smith enough armor for the whole team. When the resources run out the way they do, it becomes very difficult. I realize that this feature probably exists to keep the xp balanced, so I imagine it could be easily replaced with a decrease in xp the more you use the resource, or something like that. Sound fair?

This probably wasn't as big a deal as I thought it was for larger dungeons, but regardless, the Ring of Kinship updates included a skiller ability to increase resource yield, and just last month apparently skilling spots were made more common, so this is definitely not a concern. :thumbup:


Most importantly, when in doubt, pump up the power level.

Guys, it's okay. It's a new skill--it's supposed to be a big part of the game. You don't need to worry about breaking anything. Make the rewards plentiful, make them powerful, and make them useful at all points in the level spectrum. It worked for Summoning, didn't it? You were too conservative with the power level at first, and it was poorly-received. When you made training easier and made everything stronger (except fishing familiars), the skill only got better. Be conservative with minigames; don't be conservative with skills. If you can do for Dungeoneering what you did for Summoning, and I know you can, it could easily become one of my favorite skills in the game.

ZOMG FROST DRAGONS. Also, more reasonably-priced chaotic weapons, Ring of Kinship class bonuses inside the dungeons, and the other resource dungeons. There's still plenty of room for new and better rewards and incentives that I hope to see trickle in over time, but the power level issue is no longer a major concern for me.


[hide=Conclusion]So, what's my final grade?


We've seen significant improvements to the skill, and I've warmed up to it a lot after a year to get used to it. There's still room for more improvement, but overall, I guess I approve.


The verdict: :thumbup: [/hide]



Wow, my formatting looks pretty crappy, huh? Sorry about that.

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