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View Full Version : Challenge Suggestion - Reverse Dungeon



Worldcrafter
09-28-2012, 04:43 AM
When someone thinks about a dungeon, the most common thing that comes to mind is going in somewhere at the behest of a random person, smashing everything in sight, killing everything that moves, and killing the boss/saving the innocent/getting the item before looting to your heart's content. So, logically, the reverse is going through and resurrecting all the monsters, giving them some stuff, and gluing their broken vases back together.

That's not what I mean, though. The Reverse Dungeon challenge reverses the roles - instead of being the pillaging and killing invaders, you're the ones in the dungeon who are being invaded. The players fulfill the role of the orange names, important-yet-expendable, and are doing what they can to keep the "red name" boss alive, important item safe, or the prisoner locked away, whatever. Unlike your normal protect quests, there are not hordes of mobs that come after you, but rather a pack of big, nasty beasties that all roll around together and are given a ridiculous amount of HP and damage output that should discourage people to keep from going toe-to-toe. And it doesn't help that the boss generates periodic bouts of threat that keep them focused on coming back to the boss.

Since fighting a bunch of bulldozers that ignore you periodically isn't that fun, you're going to need help. Fortunately for you, this is where the Reverse Dungeon's uniqueness comes into play. Because, with the exception of the key NPC/item, you get to set up the dungeon.

Each room (beyond the starting room and the possible entrances) has a "spawn circle." Here, you can bust out a mob item, trap item, treasure item, or breakables item, and these things spawn in the room. These are used for delay and damage. Breakables are cheap, acting as a brief decoy while they're smashed. Treasure creates illusionary treasure piles that decoys invaders and stuns them for a while. Traps do a lot of damage, but can be disabled if the invaders have a rogue type with them. Mobs spawn 4-8 mobs that wait around until the invaders come close, and then do some damage. How much damage depends on the mob type and the NPC types. In addition, there are some door spawn points, that let you block off passages with locked doors, barricades, secret passages, and door traps.

To get these items, there is a special vendor in the "boss" room where you spend resources. Resources are gained periodically from a generator item, which can be upgraded to increase output. Resource Pouches are also scattered through the dungeon, spawning and disappearing periodically; by picking them up, you get more resources quicker.

Additionally, from time to time a Reinforcement NPC will pop up for a short while in certain areas. If you go up and interact with them, they may give you a random spawn item and a small amount of resources, a large amount of resources, or will spawn a few mobs and attack you. These are more appropriate for the level, however, and gives spawn items on death.

The invading NPCs won't be static each time. The group consists of 4 NPCs that have various roles. Some of these roles will definitely be seen, such as at least one tank type. Others are not guaranteed, such as a rogue type. If an NPC is taken down, there is a reprieve for a while, and then respawns at the starting point (or maybe a different one rolls up). If all of the invading party is wiped, it causes a forced spawn at the starting point.

Scoring is based on resources gathered and mobs killed (when your mobs die to the invaders, it counts to your total).

Star objectives:
- Keep X alive/safe/imprisoned until time up - Primary Objective
- Beat 1 "adventurer"
- Beat 2 "adventurers"
- Beat 3 "adventurers"
- Beat 4 "adventurers"

Archangel666
09-28-2012, 04:59 AM
Something similar already exists.

Its called: Hold For Reinforcements and it's the most hated quest in the game bar none.

Jsbeer
09-28-2012, 05:05 AM
Actually this idea sounds great to me but I really should add that i haven't player the 'Hold for Reinforcements Quest' mentioned above...

Worldcrafter
09-28-2012, 05:20 AM
I respectfully disagree; Hold for Reinforcements is more like every new challenge except the arena ones. Stay near the goal, defend a lot, fight wave after wave after wave. It is most hated because the NPC that requires protection is horribly weak and likes to run headlong at all threats. Even when knocked out and buffed, he still can be easily killed as collateral damage from enemy AoE effects.

With my suggestion, the NPC you protect (if it ends up "protect the NPC") would be in the room furthest from where the enemies spawn. You're not inclined to hang around the NPC, but rather moving around to gather resource, meeting up with Reinforcements, and setting up things to slow the path of the incoming enemies. And I'd imagine this NPC, while not someone who goes toe-to-toe with the big beasties, could weather a few more hits then the hated Coyle.

Dunklerlindwurm
09-28-2012, 05:40 AM
I respectfully disagree; Hold for Reinforcements is more like every new challenge except the arena ones. Stay near the goal, defend a lot, fight wave after wave after wave. It is most hated because the NPC that requires protection is horribly weak and likes to run headlong at all threats. Even when knocked out and buffed, he still can be easily killed as collateral damage from enemy AoE effects.

With my suggestion, the NPC you protect (if it ends up "protect the NPC") would be in the room furthest from where the enemies spawn. You're not inclined to hang around the NPC, but rather moving around to gather resource, meeting up with Reinforcements, and setting up things to slow the path of the incoming enemies. And I'd imagine this NPC, while not someone who goes toe-to-toe with the big beasties, could weather a few more hits then the hated Coyle.

This idea would fit great into a challenge too.

The last room contains the red "boss" you have to protect and will fail the challenge.

But you protect several more Orange named Bosses who protect the red named one at differrent locations...

The enemy "Hero group" will have to get through each of those locations....and for each of those orange named bosses who survive at the end you gain 1 star.

goodoldxelos
09-28-2012, 05:53 AM
I feel that "protecting" NPCs makes for terrible gameplay

fco-karatekid
09-28-2012, 08:16 AM
I feel that "protecting" NPCs makes for terrible gameplay

Correct - not fun at all.

Therrias
09-28-2012, 08:41 AM
Sounds like The Great Tree challenge. Dryad NPC defenders, turret trees, plant monster spawns. Just add some purchasable traps in there.

Or Sunset Ritual. If the Ballistae were useful (like turrets) and there were some purchasable traps and NPC defenders spawns in there. Imagine laying down rows of barbed wire on those spawn paths and surrounding the main objective with spiked pit traps...

I like the general idea, but I think you're overcomplicating it. Cool idea for fighting against an enemy adventure party though. I think that's what they were going for in the Rushmoore's Mansion challenges.

Worldcrafter
09-28-2012, 12:14 PM
This idea would fit great into a challenge too.

The last room contains the red "boss" you have to protect and will fail the challenge.

But you protect several more Orange named Bosses who protect the red named one at differrent locations...

The enemy "Hero group" will have to get through each of those locations....and for each of those orange named bosses who survive at the end you gain 1 star.

I could easily see that being one of the "variant" challenges; I like it.


I feel that "protecting" NPCs makes for terrible gameplay


Correct - not fun at all.

This is because the NPC is either being guided and runs around with terrible AI, or there are swarm after swarm of mobs that rush over and makes you sit there and babysit. I've never been a fan of it myself, especially since they should be moot at 9th level and higher - Coyle died? Bam, raise dead. Problem solved. Now, if they provided a legit storyline reason why if they die they can't be raised, I could begrudgingly understand it, but that's food for another thought.

This challenge, you're not sitting there, babysitting. You're taking an active role and being out in the field, gathering resources, setting up the defenses, speaking to Reinforcements, and getting some whacks in on the "adventurers" while trying to slow them long enough for the quest to tend, and maybe even kill them for starts (pending on the challenge).


Sounds like The Great Tree challenge. Dryad NPC defenders, turret trees, plant monster spawns. Just add some purchasable traps in there.

Or Sunset Ritual. If the Ballistae were useful (like turrets) and there were some purchasable traps and NPC defenders spawns in there. Imagine laying down rows of barbed wire on those spawn paths and surrounding the main objective with spiked pit traps...

I like the general idea, but I think you're overcomplicating it. Cool idea for fighting against an enemy adventure party though. I think that's what they were going for in the Rushmoore's Mansion challenges.

That was the idea behind Rushmoore's, if I remember correctly - an "evil" adventuring party retreated for some reason and another, and you're heading in to get a little good ol' head bustin' retribution. Their separation makes them feel less-party like, though. Though that could be highly amusing, making the bosses be some of the random enemies for the Reverse Dungeon.

As far as its similarities to the Great Tree or Sunset Ritual, the diversity in what you can do makes the Reverse Dungeon different and unique, as well as the dungeon layout. Unlike those other dungeons, the focus isn't sitting around the NPC and fending off foes, but it's to go out, run around, balance collecting and slowing the "adventurers," and possibly killing them for chests and large point jumps. I feel the ideas for different traps, mobs, and other things to make it stand out a bit more from other challenges.

The ultimate goal isn't to make it feel like another babysitting quest, but rather, you're the ones running the dungeon, and you got to get rid of these pesky adventurers.

salmag
09-28-2012, 12:45 PM
Sounds vaguely similar to all the threnal quests.

Urist
09-28-2012, 12:45 PM
I had an idea along similar lines:

The party has been transformed into CR0.5 Kobolds, and must find, acquire, and escape with "the shiny" before another party of marauding adventurers can get to it. Along the way, there are optionals to warn other groups of Kobolds about the adventurers; guards to waylay the adventurers, warlocks to open a short-cut (for another party member elsewhere, perhaps), or hatchlings so they can flee...

Worldcrafter
09-28-2012, 05:00 PM
Sounds vaguely similar to all the threnal quests.

Really? It sounds like all of the Threnal quests? That was most certainly not my intention; I mean, I suppose I could understand a really vague comparison of 3 of the 9 main Threnal quests, loosely claiming they're similar because there's someone/something you have to protect, but even then I got a completely different vibe between those three and the idea I proposed for the challenge. I'm afraid I don't see the correlation between the other six main quests (go through and kill everything) in regards to this challenge.

Perhaps I have simply worded my intent wrong. Imagine "Protect Baudry's Interests," the first of the Baudry arc, where there's a box you protect and kobolds that spawn to attack it. Now, instead of being confined to a single room, imagine you used the entire dungeon from "Hiding in Plain Sight," the Lv 10 quest that uses the entire Stormreach sewers, and imagine the kobolds spawn at the far end, and head toward the box room. Now, instead of a swarm of kobolds, imagine 4 big NPCs, that are super tough, and something most people won't want to go toe-to-toe with on their own and they're making a beeline for that box. And so, to help you keep the box alive for X minutes, you can set down things to slow them down (friendly mobs), decoy them for a bit (breakables, treasures), and do damage and possibly temporarily weaken them (traps).

Now, I wouldn't imagine the dungeon would be that long or linear; I could see maybe 3 major paths, with some connecting junctions along the way to keep you guessing. But perhaps this gives a better mental visualization for people who are doubting. You are not escorting your ally or item, but instead, you're trying to keep the enemy from reaching it.



I had an idea along similar lines:

The party has been transformed into CR0.5 Kobolds, and must find, acquire, and escape with "the shiny" before another party of marauding adventurers can get to it. Along the way, there are optionals to warn other groups of Kobolds about the adventurers; guards to waylay the adventurers, warlocks to open a short-cut (for another party member elsewhere, perhaps), or hatchlings so they can flee...

I would really love to see this idea flushed out and see some of the things you had in mind. This could be one of those "similar-yet-different" challenges to go along with this one, like they have with the various kobold mining challenges, or like the Great Tree/The Sunset Ritual.

Lonnbeimnech
09-28-2012, 05:32 PM
I respectfully disagree; Hold for Reinforcements is more like every new challenge except the arena ones. Stay near the goal, defend a lot, fight wave after wave after wave. It is most hated because the NPC that requires protection is horribly weak and likes to run headlong at all threats. Even when knocked out and buffed, he still can be easily killed as collateral damage from enemy AoE effects.

With my suggestion, the NPC you protect (if it ends up "protect the NPC") would be in the room furthest from where the enemies spawn. You're not inclined to hang around the NPC, but rather moving around to gather resource, meeting up with Reinforcements, and setting up things to slow the path of the incoming enemies. And I'd imagine this NPC, while not someone who goes toe-to-toe with the big beasties, could weather a few more hits then the hated Coyle.

So you would need to form a meatwall at a doorway and have the caster pull agro with a firewall. Hmm, sounds 'fun'.

Worldcrafter
09-28-2012, 05:46 PM
So you would need to form a meatwall at a doorway and have the caster pull agro with a firewall. Hmm, sounds 'fun'.

Blast, I didn't think about this. I guess the special challenge mechanic of the protected NPC/Item generating periodic pulses of large amount of hate to rip aggro from the characters wouldn't prevent that from happening. And there's no way to give NPCs ways to move or bypass characters, like giants, minotaurs, air eles, or wraiths can. I suppose this idea is completely hopeless.

...waitaminute!

No, no... lost it, never mind.

Wait, I think it's back again - yes! Yes, make it so that the big NPCs have abilities that can let them circumvent the meatwall! Lonnbeimnech, you're a genius! That's the kind of creative criticism that I love to see in these forums, thoughts and ideas to get around potential problems and abuses.

Brennie
09-28-2012, 06:15 PM
I rather like this idea! I don't feel like it sounds all too much like threnal quests (Though i did have flashes of Coyle in my mind when you lead with the "Protect the NPC" in your description... that abated when you got to the traps and treasure and stuff). Honestly, what this make me think of most are the Kobold challenges. Replace teleporters and torches with traps/treasure/breakables, and replace crystals with resource bags... and you end up trying to keep the enemies from getting to your kobold foreman! But most of all, this reminds me of Orcs Must Die, a TD-style trap-based game found on Steam. OP, if you haven't tried it, download the demo for Orcs must die 1 and/or 2 - i think it would give you whole new insights on how your suggestions might look.

I have a couple questions, concerns and suggestions though:

- What purpose do treasure and breakables serve? How does slowing down the enemies help you in any way? (I may have missed something in there, but if enemies aren't currently taking damage, slowing them down doesn't seem to increase the likelyhood of them dying before reaching their objective)

- What incentive do players have to group up for this quest? Seems like a "one character does everything" kind of quest (A-la Tomb of the Tormented)

- What are characters fighting? Seems like the majority of this quest is spent running around, picking up resources, planting traps etc. Kinda of like being the Torcher in a kobold quest. However, DDO is a very combat-centric game, and I think having some kind of combat would greatly increase the appeal of this quest (Either in killing enemies for resources, or to clearing passages in order to place items, or whathaveyou). Otherwise you get, as said earlier, Tomb of the Tormented.

- Picking up resources could be difficult to maintain. A steady source of income via extractors/lifetrees/kobold workers or some similar mechanic may make it easier for players to concentrate on setting up the dungeon rather than searching out resources (Making the players more active versus reactive - Have a goal, make a plan, execute that plan rather than running around and just seeing what you can find and then going from there). It also might tickle some of the management/tycoon parts of our gamer brains that some people seem to enjoy.

- This suggestion reminds me of some of my favorite games ever, including TDs and Trap-Based genres which never really caught on (Anyone ever play Evil Genius or Orcs Must Die?). Things i would "borrow" from these genres are: 1) Pathing. If your map started as essentially a house with randomized walls, perhaps you could purchase walls/secret doors/etc to force the Monsters into talking longer paths to reach their objective, 2) Trap Combos. An air trap that pushes enemies into wall spikes, or a freeze trap which keeps enemies in the acid floor a bit longer, or a grease trap underneath the fireball trap, etc.

- As an adventuring party, fighting enemies is a key part of dungeon exploration. As such, I feel like being able to purchase "Enemy encounters" would be a good addition to the breakable/treasure/trap options. This would also help to accumulate damage to the Monster party.

- If our Monsters are meant to be uncombatable, they should be honestly uncombatable. Perhaps players exist on the astral plane for this challenge, or perhaps they are separated from the actual dungeon via glass walls, and end up placing their items remotely. Otherwise you run the risk of either some classes being MUCH better than other classes (I think casters and ranged characters woudl have a tremendous advantage over melee), or super uber characters ignoring the main method of playing this challenge and simply killing the Monsters outright.

- If monsters are unattackable, then it seems clear that your objective should be to make sure they are dead before they reach their objective. Placing traps and monsters and the like would probably be the best way to do this.

- An alternative to this plan is to have multiple waves of enemies, in an every increasing difficulty (Similar to ring of fire) run through your "maze" you've created, through traps and enemy spawns and treasure and breakables, in a blatant Tower Defense type challenge.

Rereading my suggestions, i think I may have completely misunderstood your original suggestion, as i have obviously created some Tower Defense type idea in my head XD However a Tower Defense challenge would be totally sweet, as long as characters also were able to participate in some combative kind of way (Say fighting enemies on the astral plane in order to harvest energy, which could be turned into objects on the prime material plane to slow down, reroute and damage invading monster forces!)

redspecter23
09-28-2012, 06:43 PM
You had me interested until I got to the "protect the boss" part. Go back and take out the most horribly hated mechanic in the history of gaming (only slight hyperbole) and all the other things you mentioned sound great.

Proposing a "protect" or "escort" mechanic in this game is the second most flame worthy thing you can say here besides mentioning pvp in any sort of way.

Worldcrafter
09-28-2012, 06:58 PM
First, I would like to apologize for the sarcasm in my previous post directed at Lonnbeimnech. It was not appropriate of me, despite whatever reasons or excuses I may wish to offer. Whatever injustice or slight I felt does not excuse me from replying in kind, and for doing so, I am sorry Lonnbeimnech.

Brennie, I like the description you give for the challenge; that is a good proximity of how it works. I have not tried Orcs Must Die, though now I want to check it out; thank you for the suggestion!

Okay! The idea of the challenge is to last for X minutes, I apologize for not clarifying that initially. 15-20 minutes, maybe more, maybe less. I think the 15 or 20 range gives players time to set up things and follow through, and possibly take down some of the HP bloated beasties coming in.

1. What do Treasures and Breakables do?
I think their effectiveness is cleared up by clarifying the survival time matter, but I'd still like to elaborate on them. Treasures have a high aggro and has a fairly good range, capable of drawing the NPCs from an adjacent connected room, and stuns them for a short period of time, and possibly offers a window where they take more damage. Breakables are a short-term distraction, but are cheap. They could buy you a few seconds in order to set up a trap in the next room, ready some mobs, or get enough resources to purchase a good defense - or it could be the last few seconds before the challenge ends!

2. What incentives do players have to team up?
By grouping together, players will be able to scatter and gather initial resources faster, have more firepower to whittle away at the bosses, and one or two members can break off to go to buy more spawn items or to talk to Reinforcements while the other party members continue to support mobs/takes advantage of treasure stun.

3. What are the Characters Fighting?
The challenge does offer combat, but not in the most conventional way. The four big NPCs are the primary enemies, and are picked from a random list of like, 12 or 16 possibilities. Some types are guaranteed, like one "tank" type, while other types might not, like "rogue" types. You can still fight them, you just don't want to hold their aggro or get within the blast range too often. Friendly mobs holds aggro better (until they die), so let them trigger the NPCs and hop in to help smash! Preferably from the side, or behind.

In addition, sometimes the Reinforcement NPCs decide to betray you or want to test your mettle before giving you their prize. They spawn a small crowd of mobs that are unaffected by the periodic intimidation pulses.

4. Resources
I was thinking of this too, and so suggest there is a single generator item in the room with the boss/item/prisoner you protect. It produces resources every so often, and can be upgraded. There is only one though, so finding deposits of resources is crucial for setting up early defenses. In addition, you get resources from Reinforcement NPCs, either a small amount with a random freebie spawn item or power up, or only resources, in a large chunk.

5. Tower Defense, Pathing, and Trap Combos
Honestly, I was not thinking of a tower defense dungeon, but now I can see it since you mentioned it. This does amuse me. My goal was simply to let the players know what it's like to play the monster's role in a dungeon.

As far as pathing, I was thinking of including those very things as well. Locked Doors, Secret Doors, Barricades, and Trapped Doors. My idea was that the party only gets a set amount of "door spawn" items each dungeon, kind of like a set amount of kobold teleporters, or power ups you can have at one time. Certain kinds of "adventurers" can bypass the doors - NPC rogues and some NPC arcanes can bypass locked doors, for example.

With Trap Combos, I'm not quite certain how to set that up; perhaps they are more "expensive" versions of the traps? Alternately, we could treat traps like the turrets in the Kobold Island challenges - when you spawn one, you can spend resources to upgrade it. Perhaps there could even be upgrade options, to change the traps a little depending on what the invading NPCs are.

6. Monster Encounters
Yup, I was thinking the players get items to spawn friendly mobs of different types, in groups of 4-8 mobs. Stuff like Orcish Barbarians, Elven Archers, House D. Soldiers (fighters), Members of the Twelve, etc. These friendly mobs each have certain types of enemies they're good against, taking less damage and dealing more to the target, and each mob has certain types that they get crushed by.

7. Characters vs. The Invaders
I don't want the party to just go toe-to-toe with the NPCs and hold them in one place. I still want players to engage the enemies, but on the player's terms, with back-up from mobs and taking advantage of periods of weakness. That's one of the reasons the NPC/Item you protect generates waves of aggro, to keep drawing the invaders to continue pursuing it unless something else distracts them.

However, I love the idea of an ethereal version, or looking from afar; perhaps that could be one of the variants of this challenge?

8. Alternate Enemies
This would definitely give the challenge a more "tower defense" feel, but that's not quite what I was going for. I was trying to aim for a role reversal, where you're playing the monsters and defending your lair against the mean adventurers questing for loot and EXP. I would even love for the invaders to have random lines while fighting, like, "Ah, ****! My SP Pots broke!" If some (or all) of the Rushmoore challenge bosses come in as possible options, I could see Dr. Rushmoore sometimes claiming, "How do YOU like someone breaking into YOUR home!?"

Though, a more TD challenge could be interesting, and might be developed as a "similar-yet-different" challenge released along with this, similar to the kobold idea above.

Brennie
09-28-2012, 07:02 PM
You had me interested until I got to the "protect the boss" part. Go back and take out the most horribly hated mechanic in the history of gaming (only slight hyperbole) and all the other things you mentioned sound great.

Proposing a "protect" or "escort" mechanic in this game is the second most flame worthy thing you can say here besides mentioning pvp in any sort of way.

Would it change your mind if the boss being protected was akin to the kobold foreman, and enemies aren't ever supposed to actually be able to REACH the boss? Rather than being like Last Stand or Hold for Reinforcements, your objective is to cut off the Monsters long before they reach the boss, and whiddle them down to nothing. If they get to the end of the dungeon (Aka the Boss room) you've pretty much lost anyway.

that is my interpretation of the OP, although he never really specifies whether the fight would take place near the "boss" or not.

Worldcrafter
09-28-2012, 07:08 PM
You had me interested until I got to the "protect the boss" part. Go back and take out the most horribly hated mechanic in the history of gaming (only slight hyperbole) and all the other things you mentioned sound great.

Proposing a "protect" or "escort" mechanic in this game is the second most flame worthy thing you can say here besides mentioning pvp in any sort of way.

Sorry for not addressing this, I had not seen it when I made my post. I'm not a big fan of protection quests either, especially since none offer any real logic as to why an NPC death is auto-fail past level 9. I think any guard quest that is level 9+ should have a small window of revival for the NPC unless there is a viable reason that death will mess up everything. If someone doesn't get at least a Raise Dead on 'em within... 1 minute of death? 30 seconds? ... then the quest fails.

However, I think a "protect" mechanic is necessary to make the challenge work. Otherwise, the players are just trying to go and kill the invading enemies. Spawn trap, spawn mob, spawn trap, spawn mob, arcane DPS kites around the dungeon giggling until one of the bosses die. It needs something to keep the big bad guys moving along and not focusing on the players.

But, by all means, I am more then willing to discuss this. Please do not think I am dead set on a protection mechanic. I would love to hear what other players can come up with to make the idea work.


Would it change your mind if the boss being protected was akin to the kobold foreman, and enemies aren't ever supposed to actually be able to REACH the boss? Rather than being like Last Stand or Hold for Reinforcements, your objective is to cut off the Monsters long before they reach the boss, and whiddle them down to nothing. If they get to the end of the dungeon (Aka the Boss room) you've pretty much lost anyway.

that is my interpretation of the OP, although he never really specifies whether the fight would take place near the "boss" or not.

I am sorry, you are quite right, I have not specified where the fight takes place. My idea is much as Brennie thought - you're taking the fight to the invaders, not standing around your boss and making a camp. You're heading to where the invaders enter, and throwing as many hurdles as you can to keep them away and possibly kill them off.

Brennie
09-28-2012, 07:21 PM
(Big Response thread)

Very cool! Seems like a very thought out plan. I'm really keen on the whole pathing thing, letting you build your own maze and have the monsters roll through it.

Also, after rereading yrou OP, i noticed that i missed the bit where you mentioned mob spawns and resource generator. Must've read to fast the first time XD

My big concerns still relate to the PCs engaging and fighting the NPCs. The NPCs would obviously need some blanket immunities, or else some effects (Instakills and CC specifically) would severely imbalance this quest. However, locking out CC and instakills would also really punish specific characters (CC/caster bards have a tough enough time as it is!). Likewise, it sounds like getting into melee with this Monster group would be a bad idea, which would marginalize melees as well.

Honestly, the only way i see the quest being balanced is to separate the PCs and Monster Party by some kind of barrier, either planar (So PCs and NPCs could occupy the same space, but woudln't be able to interact directly), or perhaps some kind of invisible floor, so that the PCs are always one level up from the Monster Party, and can arrange the dungeon that way! And, of course, PCs could have enemies to fight (Astral Dretches and phase spiders and stuff, or roof rats and attic spiders or some such), which may also be a source of resources.

DEFINITELY try the Orcs Must Die and/or Orce Must Die II (free!) demos. It deviates a lot from your plan, but the trap placing thing is solid. It also gives some insight into the trap combo idea (Which already has precedence in DDO. There are a few grease/fire traps, and a couple air trap + spike traps too). It does use waves of enemies rather than singular big enemies, and it does have you constantly range-fighting the enemies in addition to using traps, and lack any of the other elements you proposed (Monsters/decoys/pathing), but I still think it'd be a good inspiration.

Even if Turbine only takes a single kernal from this thread, and decides to try their hand at a TD-like challenge, I would be a happy camper.

Worldcrafter
09-28-2012, 07:39 PM
My first post was a bit big and clunky, and didn't delve into a lot of details. I'll definitely download the free demos of the games tonight. But the idea wasn't really all that thought-out, just an initial concept with a few key points to try and make it unique compared to other challenges.

To help alleviate your fears of Players vs. The Big Four, I see most of their attacks are strong single target effects, and most of the AoE's doing only moderate damage. This allows melees to get in and fight if you have mobs taking the aggro, and as long as you play sensibly, you probably won't get wiped by AoE's.

I see all of the Big Four being red names, so no insta-kill or CC. To make the game a little more friendly to insta-kill and CC builds, a Reinforcement NPC that decides to attack and their mobs can be affected. Likewise, I plan the Big Four to come from a random list each time - maybe some of them are summoners, that conjure a small group of mobs right off the bat or periodically. For example, Dr. Rushmoore could call his elementals; just make it so that they do not have that rapid respawn like in the mansion quests. He can only summon the pack every X minutes or so. There could be other summoners that produce hostile, CC'd mobs (either when they first are spawned, or periodic, like Rushmoore). To keep it from getting too bad, these spawned mobs do not respond to the goal NPC/Item's mass aggro, and just trail around near their creator unless the players or friendly mobs engage them.

So, it's a little random as to if your build will cut it or not, which I think makes the game more dynamic and interesting. Get lucky spawns, and they fall right into your hands. Get some unlucky spawns, and you'll have to figure a way around it.