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Why Dungeons should return

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This post has three sections:
1. Why they should return and what new dungeons could offer

2. What should they look like and important desgin aspects

3. How to (easily/cheaply) create these, with me giving an example


Before I start, I want to mention that while I talk about "dungeons", as it is the most fitting term, I mean 3-5 player content/adventures and do not draw a connection to the older ones already in game. There will be similarities, but we don't have 2012 anymore, and dungeons can and should encompose more, then what the old ones have.


Oh, and obviously this is all "my opinion", so no need to be offended. or offensive.



1. Why they should return and what new dungeons could offer


The reason why pretty much every MMO since the beginning has 5 player dungeons is rather simple IMO: You can easily get 4 friends and do this content.

You don't need to be in a guild, don't need to organize anything crazy and can just go in.

In other words this kind of content promotes playing with friends,making new ones, while also  beeing very accesable. Obviously this is "theory".

But still, most games have something like this. And there are often some of those "dungeons" that take a bit of time, and hence  poush along the idea of "play with your friends, experience your adventure".

And those things are important. MMOs are social games, they fall and rise with their communities. And to feel truly invested in a MMO you need people to play with it.

But this is exactly where GW2 (IMO) is lacking.

Lately my brother came back to the game. He has lvl 80 characters, though every one with crap gear. And he asked my: "What can we do? What can we paly together?"

And I realised that an answer wasn't easy.

Sure, I could cary him through a raid, or some strike missions. But the later are done in less then a hour, while raids... well I could already hear others screaming, that my brother wouldn't do enough damage and so on...

What was left? The old dungeons? Would work, but most of them lost any bite they had and they aged terrible. But a good start.

Fractals? Well.. maybe I could do the first 10 T1 with him, as long as they don't repeat, but after that the agony would kill him....


And this brings me to my point: We don't have a good 5 player adventure content, that people can acess.

Our Dungeons are badly aged and while fractals are awesome, if you just want to hop in, do your dailys and be gone an hour later, they aren't very accessable to new players and aren't that great if you want to spend "an evening" playing with your friends.


Now, just to have them mentioned: Dragon Response Missions.

While they have some desgins that I'd love to see in the "Dungeons 2.0", they are IMO badly executed and not really good content.
And I have yet to find someone how thinks differently ^^"


Aside from offering interessting 5 player content with easy acess for new players, dungeons can also do something else very good:
Telling a story! What I'd love about our old dungeons, is the story telling, giving background informations and so on.

This could and should be utilised in a "Dungeon 2.0" system.
Answering questions like "what happened to Orr after Zaithan died?" would be a great storyline for dungeons and telling/showing about background, that the LS might miss out on.



2. What should they look like and important desgin aspects


I will preface this with saying that the new dugeon shouldn't be there to be beaten, but to be experienced.


Every content needs to be created and supported. That means "Dungeons 2.0" should work smarter, not harder.

Concrete this means that the new Dungeons should salvage and recicle as much exsisting assets as possible.

Because here is the thing: New content does not need to have new assets. A "new storyline" with some bosses in there is more then enough.

We have so many forgotten maps or parts of them and so many forgotten bosses in the personal story, the LS and the open world, there is enough material for some pretty awesome dungeons.

So yes, kind of doing what the Dragon Response Missions did. But better.


The second important part is accessibility. No agony, no "infusion stuff". If you hit lvl 80, you should be able to do these new dungeon.

Better gear or certain builds shouldn't be gate keeping, but instead reward those that have them, with different play styles.

This "accessibility" should also be taken into account with the rewards. Like Raids, Fractals and Strikes Missions, these new Dungeons should allow access to ascendend gear.

Not only will this give newer players a "sense of progressions", but also allows them to  go over to do fractals, if they should want to, hence opening up every 5 player content to them.


Let's talk about "length". IMO these new dungeons should take on average 1 to 2 hours for smaller ones and maybe 3 to 4 hours for the larger ones to complete. Before you go crazy, let me finish.
GW2 raids (and strike missions for that matter) are awesome the way they are desgined. Simply due to them not talking a lot of time, they are rather easy to get in and find a group. They are perfect to get some random 10 ppl in, and keep them hook, 'cause the raid does only take a hour at most.

Fractals are awesome as well. They are short, quick content, so you can easily fit your daily fracs between dinner and whatching a Disney movie with your children or going to the club.

BUT, as a lot of raid groups go and tackle multiple raids end to end, as well as people willing to spend more then "just an hour" daily on GW2, there should be content that takes longer.

5 player content has two advantages for that. First you can usually just go in and play with your friends, which in return makes it easier to "stop" and "pick up" later, if neccessary.  The second advantage is, that you only need 5 people. And this means that you can easily fill your group with people you want. Going "hey, full run" or "only first boss" is as possible as saying "high tollerance for wipes".

Obviously not everyone can spend 4, 5 hours to non stop battle a dungeon. Hence they should have an ID, just like raids. This ID remembers your dungeon and your progress.

So just like with raids, you can go in, do a couple of steps and "save" for a later day. This would also mean, that there is the need for a reset mechanic.

Personally I'd like to see a "manualley once per day reset button" or something like this, as a daily reset makes the "saving ID" useless and weekly is IMO to long.

So giving the player the option to reset how they want (within limits) seems the best way.

Obviously this means that rewards need to "change" and should be given after each "boss" like in the raids instead of the end like in fractals or the old dungeons.


As for the gameflow, it should mirror the meta events of the open world. An event chain, that will end at an epic and boss. Though for the larger dungeons, I'd like to see the "return of paths" in the meaning that there might be multiple event chains you can trigger at the end, and which will be a complete story on there own, but if you complete all of them, there will be a "hidden story".

Obviously this "multi path" will not work for every dungeon, but as I said, for the larger ones it might be a nice way to add content .


Another important point is "replayability". While tokens and rewards will bring players back to replay content, there are a few things that could be done to make each run "unique".

The first thing is to shake up the events. There could be a system in place, that will change up the events a bit. Maybe it just changes where you have to look for something. But maybe the event to "escort an important NPC with the key" might become "kill the champion to retrieve the key" instead.

A second way to increase the replayability would be, to change the normal mobs ever so slightly. Maybe this time it is not the hunter who is elite, but the mage? Maybe the area with the skritts is larger/smaller this time and  so on.

While such a system is not in place right now, once it is, the radnomaziation will make each run "different", which can go a long way, even is the overall story stays the same.


Now for a very spicy topic: Difficulty. Without doubt the biggest problem in GW2 right now for its PvE content is difficulty settings. And with those new dungeons, these should come.

And it isn't even that hard to realise ever since Anet announced the new way Veteran, Elites and Champions going to work, by gaining new abilitys while ranking up. I will add that I make one assumption here: While they gain abbilities, they still gain stat boost (mainly health and damage), but less massive then it is right now.

Otherwise what I will suggest as a difficulty setting will be more of a grind and just focused on may DPS, instead of making the player planing ahead think before taking action, like I intend it to be.

As you might have guessed, the diffifculty setting would simply "upgrade" the exsisting mobs, making normal ones into veterans, verterans into elites and elites into champions.

While there should be done something more for boss fights, changing the mobs alone will already change the difficulty of a dungeon greatly.

But how could this look like? I give you a small example for the three difficulty settings I see as a "minimum necessity", with a group of 6 mobs: 1 Mage, 2 Greatsword Fighters, 2 Mace&Shield Fighters, 1 Hammer Leutnant:


Story-mode, easier then normal for people that find usualy content to challanging or are just there for the lore and story

The mage, greatsword and mace&shield are normal mobs, and while the mage does some healing, nothing major happens. The veteran hammer leutnant does some knockbacks/downs. Just go in, full dmg on the veteran and cleave the rest.


Normal-mode, a balanced chalange to experience the dungeon, without getting too frustrated

Now all the normal mobs become veterans and the leutnant become an elite, this give more abilites to the enemies and changes the encounter.

The mage will now providde 25 stacks of might an fury to all its allies if not interupted, while the greatswords use bullcharge and hundred blades to let you feel the pain.  Mace&shields give some stun and weakness, while the leutnant not only knockbacks/down more often an in an AOE, he also provides some quickness.

All of a sudden your main priority changes, because if you go in, you just get shredded by the buffed hundred blades.


Challange-mode, for those that want to feel some pain

Once more the mobs rank up. The elite mage does not only buff might and furry, but also heals, rpvides protect and regeneration. The greatswords use in addition to hundred blades and bullstrike kick, bola, stomp and some more CC to ruin your day. The Mace&Shields give you a couple of condis, but also hvae large scale boon corrupt as a present for you. Lastly the Leutnant gains to his quickness provide and knockbacks/downs some strong heals for the whole group, giving out stbility,  and some projectile reflect bubble.

Now you need to think how you engage. Just buffing your self isn't working, so AOE weakness to mittigate damage might be important, same for AOE pioson to reduce the enemy heal. And that is only the beginning.


While these examples are pulled out of thin air without any regards to balance or challanges, they should show how you can make content more difficult with very little effort. And that in theory you could scale it heven crazier, going with legends and champions, adding invisiblity detection to the mobs and so on...



3. How to (easily/cheaply) create these, with me giving an example


As "promised" I will now an example how to create such a dungeon and how it could look like primarily using events and enemies already in the game.

To be more exact I'll give the beginning of one large scale more "usual" dungeon and a smaller, more "inovative" one.

I will also skip doing multiple event lines and such, as this is an example.


"Revisiting the City of Gods", Large Scale Dungeon.

- Map: Arah and part of the Cursed Shore (those interessted: Compass Plaza, Azabe Quabar, Promenade of the Gods, The Narthex, Desmina's Hallows, The Shipyard)

- Story:

The players arrive wondering what happened to Orr and Arah after Zaithans defeat and the surges of magic.

They discover a camp of the Durmand Priory and learn that the reaserchers had to flee the city. Yes, undead become less and less of a threat, but something chased them out.

The players get tasked with finding XYZ, who has the keys for the city gate and need to find him.

Once "found" there can be mutliple vents, escort, defense, killing a champion, depending on the NPC and if it is dead or alive, and so on...

Maybe the search will continue for the key, but in the end the players arrive once more at the gate of Arah.

First Boss entering the stage, a giant spectral weapon lord.

Now the players learn that spectral weapons do not dissapear like the undead, but are grwoing stronger instead.

The players choose to look for the source of the spectral weapons strength to destroy it.

The players escort the NPC through Arah to the source...



- Events: it is pretty much a mix between "kill champion", "kill wave", "escort", "defend", and so on. And everything is already in the game. Even puzzle mechanics are exsiting and could get reused.

- Enemies: Spectral weapons, some undead, some wild life for now. Everything exsiting, though maybe in need of a balance update. Oh yeah: And the skritt queen could also reapear 😉

- Gameflow: It is pretty much a giant meta event, nothing special, nothing Anet hasn't done a dozen times already.


While the encounters abviously need to be placed and some backend need to be done, asset wise pretty much most is in the game.



"The assasination", Small Scale Dungeon

- Map: Grothmar

- Story:

Malcie send you a letter to meet her in the Ashen camp.

She tells you that all  4 Imperators are going to meet to discuss the end of the civil war and its consequences.

But someone want to assasinate one of the Imperators. Normaly she'd check on it herself, but she has to attend.

So you have to do it.

She gives you a timetable which shows when the Imperators will be at a place and ask you to check those places for traps.

She also remindes you to keep a low profile and prevent provblems from happaning, so that the strained meeting goes smoothly.

So you go and try to prevent the assasination, as well as finding the mastermind...


- Events: This one is a bit "different". Less of an Escort, more like the WvW Dolyaks, as the Imperators will continue there path according to the timetable and you have to clear their path, while not arrousing to much suspition. You also have "interference events" like with the "Metal Legion meta", and Events where you have to look for clues and traps before the time limit is reached. Oh and some fight where youhave to prevent fights from happening (Ashford bar fight event for those that remember)

- Eneimes: Charr and Wild life, again everything is in the game.

- Gameflow: You are on the clock. It is less about fighting enemies and more about finding clues and solving problems before a fight can even happen. The higher the difficult, the faster you need to be and the more things you need to find. Most interesstingly: This dungeon can "fail", if an Imperator dies. And you aren't done, once the Imperators go to their talk, 'cause then youneed to find the mastermind...


This is a bit more complex to implement, because while a lot of those events are in the game (defusing mines, etc), this is a new conzept for GW2 so it might requier more work.
On the otherside. It is a dungeon people might do, even if they don't like the "normal" dungeon, due to it beeing so different.







This would be all. Thansk to everyone that has read until here. I'd be happy for more suggestions and Anet: Please consider ideas going into this direction.


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I will argue against strikemissions and fractals.
Whileit might work for strike missions, they areintended for 10 players, not 5.

Fractals on the other hand are "their own thing" and it wouldn't fit with the style.


As for "dragon respons missions", I do consider them "dungeon", though badly executed.


And as I have said: Everything is already in the game, it just needs to be put together.
As for how to call it, frankly I couldn't care less.

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