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Maelodic
09-22-2013, 10:39 PM
Here's an idea for casual and hardcore players alike, that's most likely been suggested before but as DDO has so few employees this may be something that the team may want to configure, and may be something to breathe new life into the game and draw a lot of people: a random dungeon generator.

Critique, workshopping, etc would be great.

Concept
A dungeon or instance with an excessive amount of stages, each harder than the last. The stages start -5 levels from your current character, and go up a level each time. Each stage or level won't be horribly large- maybe the size of the Garrison's Missing Pack quest- and each will scale upward at 1-2 levels per stage. Every three or five stages, you are able to rest in a city/forest clearing/rest shrine- with a bartender, rest shrine, vendors, etc, though in the final levels to be brutal, these city may just serve as logout points. You can logout in these cities and your progress through the dungeon will be saved based on the level you are on. To make it lore friendly, this could be a demonic tower or going further underground, or something along those lines. A story could be progressing through the cities or a quest that advances as you climb deeper into the stages. I know the sewers have a fairly easy to manipulate template, as well as some other dungeons and caves, so it could be all sewers, or stages 1-20 can be sewers and the next would be a different template. The big thing here is making it randomly generated- loot, monsters, map, everything- so that each run through is different and cannot be memorized. Some named loot may randomly appear on certain levels- but there would be no easy way to teleport between levels.
Clearing this dungeon should be incredibly difficult. As you receive loot the entire way through, there are reasons to keep coming back in even if and when you wipe. The final stages should be considered impossible or near-impossible by the developers, and the players should have to outsmart the programming to get past the stages and survive. A truly balanced party would be absolutely required to even attempt. The reward should not be gear that can be sold on the shard exchange- maybe it's a free full reincarnation life, or something along those lines, but what you receive should not be accessible by any other player, but it also should not give you a huge advantage. A full reincarnation life I feel would be appropriate as a reward, as clearing the dungeon should take a long time and it cannot be shared even between toons- however this is naturally not set in stone.
Think of this as the final dungeon in an RPG, or that one epic quest you must complete to save the world. We as players need to band together to complete this. This would be a full DnD campaign wrapped into one for high level characters, and would also give that feel, something which this game has been attempting to do.
The dungeon will be reset upon release of your soul in any shape or form. You may leave and teleport back to the level which you are on, but if you die and your party cannot revive you via rest shrine or resurrection because they are dead, you will have to start over. This gives the "permadeath" feel of PnP without deleting your character and allowing you to keep your character. This gives a more consequence oriented feel to dying, encouraging players to take it slow and classes and roles to be fulfilled in fear of dying. At the moment, when you die, you just release out and restart the quest. As this is not permadeath, it does make you start the quest over so the higher up you get, the more careful you become.
As the stages are relatively small, the only rest shrines available will be after a stage is completed.
As per the regular PnP DnD, this concept also heavily encourages role playing, as all the content is always new.

Effect on the Game
This dungeon provides an endgame and something to work for. As DDO does not (for the most part) have a PvP system, there is no reason to max out your characters and perfection is the only real thing you have to work for. This dungeon would provide an infinite endgame with literally endless possibilities for players to grind through and would separate DDO from already being an incredibly unique MMO to an MMO with a huge draw that is the very challenging random dungeon generator. As the end rewards would not be tradable in any way, this should not kill the economy. This would also encourage parties and collaboration at a higher level than this game has seen in the past, giving a greater sense of community. Stories will be told (around the table) and tales of valor and barely making it out will be plentiful. Teams will need to be resourceful and work together and communicate. Trust between the community will be a must.
Overall, I feel as though this would draw a massive amount of players, will feel like you're playing a brand new DnD campaign every time, and will work to bond the community closer and create a better in-game environment.

Potential Problems and Resolutions
-Party System (finding a party deep in the instance)
Say you get through the first 10 levels by yourself but can't really move on without a party. The sub-city that you land in should be the same for each 10 or so levels, which will enable you to find a group of people working on around the same level that you are. When a party is formed or LFM is put up, the level of which you are on is displayed, and when one is put together, all players in the party start on the lowest level in the party. So if you're on the 38th stage, and the lowest level a person in the party is on is 35, that's where you'll start with your party. If your party leaves you will go back to the 38th stage if you didn't make it there with your party.

-Development
Randomly generated maps have been around for a while. Creating a reproducible template out of the same map pieces that have already been developed should not be difficult depending on how the game's engine is coded. Room "types" can be created, where a pattern is followed, such as passageways with one large room, 6-8 smaller rooms, long twisting corridors, etc which each stage can follow- which also makes the generator easier to handle. Processing can even be done by the player's client following a simple code that it sends to the server, though this may be opening the game up to hack attempts. This should not be a difficult thing to create however, and will allow the developers quite a bit of time to create more content and fix bugs, as this will be incredibly difficult to pass and even more difficult to get tired of.

-Economy
The effect on the economy should be fairly minimal. Players looking for a specific piece of equipment will go run the content required to get it- and players looking for a challenge and randomized loot as well as a huge character-based boost when completed will complete the dungeon.

From a Business Standpoint
This change would encourage players to play a lot. They'll both want to grind out gear to get as far as possible in this dungeon, and will spend a long time completing the dungeon, especially since players will not know what to expect and will die often due to human error. This dungeon can be continuously played without getting old and the development hours required to make it happen are minimal compared to the money you can make from this and the life expectancy of the content. As said previously, the time the community spends on an update like this will be so monumental that it will buy your minimal staff time to fix previous content and bugs and make a considerably more polished game, so that when new players do join up the server or come to the game they don't find a slew of bugs that have yet to be fixed.
Cakes and SP pots obviously will give an advantage here, and incentive to buying these boosters will go up considerably, as well as gold hirelings and other goodies from the shop. Content will be bought more as well as people grind out the gear to make their characters more powerful to survive in the dungeon longer. Astral shards for loot, etc. All the reason to purchase TP to stay alive in a quest got a whole lot more valuable to purchase (you could even increase the cost of these items and players will still buy them *evil face*)
Casual players will want to get stronger to keep pushing through the dungeon and play more.
Veteran and heavily geared characters will want to complete the dungeon, and hence play more.
You'll draw a lot more population, especially if this is advertised and spread around. People have been asking for this in a good MMO for a while, and the combat in DDO is immersive enough to make this a truly new experience for all players.

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I hope to get some good feedback from you all, and your thoughts and ideas on this concept.

HunterjWizzard
09-23-2013, 11:40 AM
With the changes to XP repeat penalties this is now much less necessary. The main draw to something like that was "I've already maxed out all the fun dungeons at my level... let's go try a random!"

With that problem sorted, deve time is probably better spent elsewhere.

Ralmeth
09-23-2013, 03:08 PM
With the changes to XP repeat penalties this is now much less necessary. The main draw to something like that was "I've already maxed out all the fun dungeons at my level... let's go try a random!"

With that problem sorted, deve time is probably better spent elsewhere.

I agree with this (not to rain the OPs parade). Even if the random dungeons as described were in the game, it only seems interesting enough to play once in a while just to see how far you could get, but it doesn't sound interesting enough to want to keep coming back to it, and as such probably isn't worth spending the resources on it.

Instead, I'd rather just see them make more custom quests, lots of new quests! If they want to throw some random elements into those quests, that would be cool.