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Dungeon Philosophy: New 5 Man on PTS

By on Oct 28, 2011 at 1:00 pm, in Article, Editorial, RIFT, SideBarArticleList  |  Comments: 12 comments

5 Man Dungeons

One of RIFT’s best features is its large array of small group content. A small group of friends and guildmates can go rift and zone event stampeding, crack open their own expert/raid/PvP/crafting rifts, or group up for warfronts, 10-man raids, chronicles, or dungeons. The varying difficulties of rift content and dungeon content make grouping up with players of different gear levels easy as well. Groups seeking a challenge can try out a master mode dungeon, for instance.

Dungeons are an important part of most current MMORPGs. Instanced dungeons provide a closed environment for groups to enjoy a bit of organized fighting, a bit of story, and a bit of hack n’ slash combat all in a social, proceed-at-your-own-risk pace. One way to help a smaller guild with a plan to raid build teamwork and raider skills is to organize dungeon runs. Players learn the ropes of raiding during dungeon-diving, and get to know their fellow players. Dungeon finder groups, although not always perfect, are sometimes very useful for encouraging community building.

One other great purpose dungeons serve is that they help immerse players into the world the game sets up for them by letting them be a part of the environment and storyline straight from the game’s lore. RIFT does a pretty damn good job at the immersion part. As most of us leveled our first characters, we found ourselves amazed by some of the beautiful environments and details inside the dungeons.

Darkening Deeps blew me away the first time I saw it, and I’m still a fan of the first room and the fights leading toward the first boss. Realm of the Fae is also one of my favorites, simply because players take a journey that encompasses all seasons throughout the dungeon. My other favorite is Deepstrike Mines. The overall design of that dungeon, particularly the first cavern, is rather cool.

Speaking of rather cool, we’re getting a new T2 Expert dungeon with Ember Isle. It’s called Caduceus Rise, and it’s located on the eastern side of Ember Isle. There isn’t an actual instance up yet on the PTS, but you can see where the entrance for it will be. The green dungeon icon even appears on the map. It actually seems like there may be two entrances or two ways to go once inside the dungeon, but that’s pure speculation on my part. The atmosphere of the outer area looks rather interesting.

Caduceus Rise

It’s exciting to finally have a brand new 5-man dungeon. As interesting as RIFT’s current dungeons are, we really do need another. The idea behind master modes is a very good one, but I find myself wondering why it couldn’t have been introduced in a totally new dungeon instead of rehashed in current content. Repeating the same dungeons over and over again with very few unique rewards can get a little repetitious, to say the least. Sure, master modes toss in a couple new bosses, and that’s a good start– but at the end of the day, it’s the same place.

With any luck, Caduceus Rise will have some new challenges in store for us, and hopefully a master mode that we don’t have to wait around forever for. I’d love to be able to dive into a challenging dungeon that I have no previous experience with. It’ll be like experiencing T2s for the very first time again, when they were still fairly difficult and my group was still undergeared. My first run through Deepstrike Mines was quite long, but fantastically fun.

On that same note, I find myself wishing that Caduceus Rise isn’t as linear as most of RIFT’s dungeons tend to be. Linear dungeons are kind of like those quest chains you get where you go have to kill 10 boars at every checkpoint. If you have to do the quest more than a couple times, chances are, you’ll get pretty sick of killing boars. I can’t help but think that if RIFT’s dungeons contained more optional pathing, more areas to get lost in, and more ways for players who wanted to spend a little more time in there gain a few rewards, I might find myself more eager to complete them these days.

Caduceus Rise

However, due to time constraints that many players have, developers can’t make a game’s dungeons too complex or take too much time. Instead, they have to find a solid middle ground. Many MMOs have struggled to find that balance. Everquest and Everquest II, for example, had some very difficult dungeons that were sometimes ignored by the player base.

World of Warcraft’s early dungeons were sometimes extremely difficult and long if you chose to do the entire thing, but if you did, you’d come away with some pretty fantastic rewards. Some of my best dungeon experiences took place in the pre-expansion versions of BRD, Dire Maul, Scholo, and Strat. Since then, Blizzard has made every single dungeon extremely linear.

It’s possible that the days of non-linear, expansive dungeons are long gone, and I’m willing to accept that, but it doesn’t stop me from hoping. Caduceus Rise wouldn’t have to be 5-hour-long difficult, but a few twists and turns, optional corridors, and creative boss fights might go a long way toward making dungeon-exploring more fun.

All I really want are reasons to go back to a dungeon more than a couple times. Going back for plaques or gear isn’t nearly as exciting as going back just because the place is freakin’ awesome.

  • Stane Zupančič

    Pretty well said. I do agree on the topic about complexity of the dungeons, “getting lost in”, but at the same time, that factor alone left many groups on cold, which were unable or were unwilling to participate in this social experience… And so many years down this road, I pretty much think that Trion must be mad if they even consider such a thing…

    But ohw boy, I wish they would be…

    • Melissa Owsley

      RoTF when you have certain quests can surprise you when you thought you were taking low level guildies through.  Just sayin’.

  • Anonymous

    I cant wait!!!

  • Alatar

    The problem with dungeons is that nothing ever changes within them. I realize players want linear dungeons they can complete in 45 minutes or less, but I also think it would be nice to have options that a group could engage when they started a dungeon. And it would also be good if the SAME PATROLS didn’t patrol the SAME AREAS and the SAME MOBS didn’t stand around in the SAME SPOTS. If you had to actually pay attention during a 5-man, or if there was the chance that some ultra-tough roaming gank-o-matic mob might roll up your backside, that would heighten the suspense quite a bit. What’s at issue here is what you expect from a dungeon? If you’re there for the marks and a chance at some random drops (in other words, if you’re there for the gear and not the fun), then you want a few ripples as possible. Get me in, get me out, give me my stuff. Oddly, those are the same players who often complain that they’re bored with dungeon content. Anyway…Blizzard is describing a new Challenge Mode coming for dungeons in their next expansion where pre-made groups could dial up certain optional components to change the ruleset for their instance of the dungeon. I like that idea. I hope Trio adapts it for Rift. Making 5-man dungeons more dynamic, or at least have more user-selectable options, would extend the life of dungeons for quite some time, meaning less effort is needed to keep designing new ones.

    • Laura Hardgrave

      Yeah I’d love to see dynamic dungeon content of some sort. Back when I was an MMO nub, I remember reading about dungeons, and thinking they were exactly that– instanced dynamic areas, where mob groups and patrols were never in the same spots every time, and the various boss fights even varied. Not so much, haha, but I’d love to see that someday be the norm.

  • Nghtrider1962

    I Like Alatar thoughts and would love to see that happen, And may I say if you add several AH points in varies Capitols would also be greatly appreciated.

  • Immortaldragoon

    To Alatar’s comment, Blizzard’s Challenge Mode for their upcoming expansion is actually just a time-trial run of dungeons with stats equalized across the board when you go inside to even the challenge. I haven’t read anything saying they were adding dialing options for dungeons – however, this is a fantastic idea. 

  • Iwitchfinder

    The problem with non linear dungeons is that they too end up having accepted and established methods and/or paths of completion. I think a really good example of this is the old BRD instance in WoW. You could choose to wander around using differnt paths and getting lost for a while but eventually everyone knew the most time efficient path to completion. The reality of the matter is the bulk of the MMO community is aging and along with that comes other responsibilities beyond the keyboard and mouse. I’m of the opinion that the majority of players want time efficient content, not the opposite.

  • Charlie

    He must be playing a different WoW than me because the new dungeons are anything but linear.

    • Iwitchfinder

      If by new dungeons you mean the Zul instances those are just old raids re-tuned for 5 players. If you mean the Cataclysm dungeons, they all go around a track like a roller coaster. Other than those, which new dungeons would you be referring to?


    Back in my early days of MMO playing, Anarchy Online was my drug of choice. I think one of the greatest things that they did should be reintroduced: Dynamic Dungeons. Choose about 10 different bosses for each element, 10 different dungeon layouts for each element, and you have 600 varying dungeons. They could be small, they too would eventually get old, but I think it’s a simple way to fix the problem. I loved turning a corner in the “dungeon” in AO to find a mess full of mobs. It made for twitchy fingers and good times.

  • Olovolo

    you should use terrible idea’s caduceus rise videos