View Full Version : Random Quests: a proposal.

07-23-2013, 08:42 AM
I mentioned something like this in the General Discussion area, however, I’m going to re-post something similar here because…well…because I have a personality disorder that makes me irritating. I accept that, and own it.

There has been a lot of talk about creating a random dungeon adventure. While there is a consensus that this would be difficult due to the hand-crafted nature of each quest (something I dispute), and the QA issues involved, I think creating a randomized adventure is not as difficult as some may think.

Right now, at present, DDO has about 75% of what they need to make a randomized adventure possible. In fact, I think they may have more than that at its disposal. All that need is to be done is to take what exists, repackage it, and test.

Let’s define what constitutes a “random dungeon”
1) A map that changes per-instance or per-entry. In short, when the first person in the party steps in, that map / quest a new “maze” is generated and populated.
2) Randomly appearing mobs. Mobs that are randomly placed as the adventure is generated, with random loot to go with them.
3) Random story lines. This is a bit of an optional component, but any decent quest has a specific story line – an arc that exists from entering the dungeon, to the boss fight.
4) Boss fight – maybe random, maybe not. Any and every quest needs to have a climax. For most, it usually comes down to a boss fight.
5) Scalable to player level. Say a group of players level 2 – 5 enters a random dungeon, the mobs / traps / loot should scale accordingly.
The reality is, with adding stuff like King’s Forest, the High Road, and epic Gianthold – most notably The High Road and King’s Forest – you have many of the essentials of a random quest system.

Here is my suggestion:
1) Make a random dungeon system for three different levels: one for epic (say 20), one for mid-level (say 12), and another for low-level (say 3). That would be your “scaling”.
2) Use a static outdoor adventure map. The only hitch here is that needs to be big. This is because it needs to have specific terrain features for some of the encounters, and the number of encounters, the varying types, and potential “false” encounters require some space to make it all work.
3) Fix a number for story elements. Make it 4. So each random quest has 4 key encounters that need to occur, whether it be a mini-boss fight, finding an item that will help someone (like the one random in King’s forest with you need to have Dryad Tree Sap to cure someone who is ailing). Once solved, resolved, or won the party gets a token. They need to collect at least 4 tokens before they can get to fight the boss. Maybe the seals used in quests like Servants of the Overlord, or in the maze of The Crucible would be appropriate.
4) Each key encounter can have up to 10 different variations. They don’t completely have to make sense or even relate to one another. All the party knows is that in order to get to the boss fight, they need to get up to 4 seals / tokens. And to get these seals, they have to get them from key people. So they have to roam the countryside finding these key encounters and doing what needs to be done.
5) Random mobs spawn at traditional spawn points. Maybe a party can select whether mobs respawn for a possible conquest bonus?
6) Likewise, maybe a mini-boss or two, whose existence has NOTHING to do with getting seals, can be placed on a map for additional XP and as a distraction or diversion from getting the seals.
7) Once they have the seals, they go to a specific location – let’s say a sealed cave. They use the four seals to unlock the cave entrance, enter in, and fight one of four possible bosses.
8) Add a couple or rare side-quests for a chance at unique loot, an extra end-chest, or both. This will be one of the draws to running the random quests.

So, let’s run the numbers:
4 possible bosses * (4 quest encounters + 2 non-quest encounters) * 10 variations each type of quest / non-quest encounter = 240 variations.

Add in your standard random-encounter mini-bosses like you do in most of your wilderness zones, and the number of variations increases.

Really, the hard part of this is more about planning than it is actual development – most of what I’ve suggested you already have in one form or another. The only thing you really need to do is to make the map (and I think that might be the hardest part of all), plot the different randomized encounters in a tree, and then implement it like a wilderness quest. You already do a lot of this with King’s Forest and High Road.

Poof! A random dungeon / quest.

07-24-2013, 08:39 PM
I like this idea.

I think the rewards could be like Challenge Mats or something, say, as opposed to laying torches for Kobolds you could opt to run a random dungeon for the same mats, behold, happy players!

07-26-2013, 03:02 PM
Another possibility is to take the area map that I defined in the OP, and divide it up into 8 - 10 zones. Each zone has a different group of monsters, only 4 of them have an encounter point, and the potential for 2 optional encounter points / side quests per instance. Each encounter point has a group of monsters that occupy the zone as random encounters. This way, you can define patrol paths with some of the trash mobs.

The only problem I’ve discovered with the idea is how to calculate XP. In fact, this is the one MAIN problem with any random dungeon scenario because you’re left with one or a few options: having no XP loss for running a random dungeon multiple times, lowering the XP received so that it averages out over several runs, or not awarding XP at all. None of them, either from a game management perspective or from the player’s perspective, looks good. However, the solution to this is, you gain XP based on each encounter point. So, if you have 4 encounters, with ten different types of encounters each, that means if you complete one encounter of that set, you get full XP. Complete it a second time when you enter the random encounter again, you get less, and so on. So, people will re-run the random quests looking to get all of the different types of encounters, much like they do when they farm rares in wilderness areas.

The bosses would work be the same way. Then you’d get XP for completing the quest with all 4 objectives and boss fight completed that would follow the same formula.

Again, it fits with a lot of stuff that is already in DDO.