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The Mega Dungeon and consequence

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So according to the latest info from Mr Brennecke the dungeon is optional and won't have (m)any quests in it. How very unfortunate a decision; can you say Watcher's Keep?. I'm p. sure it's going to sit there on the world map like a turd, beckoning you on the one hand for completion's sake, OTOH filling you with dread with its mindless grinding.

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Colour me controversial, but I'd have been more than happy to have never had a mega dungeon as a stretch goal. The trouble is a mega dungeon is almost certainly never going to enjoyable enough for me to want to play through it again and again on repeat playthroughs. Now here's the dilemma: either the devs offer some sort of tangible reward to get to the end of the dungeon which is good enough to motivate a player to take it on, or they don't really offer anything and so all their hard work is bypassed. On the one hand you have a situation where you are obligated to play through an enormous dungeon again and again because the reward is too good to pass up even though it has become a chore, on the other no one bothers to play the dungeon and so its existence in the game is pointless. There isn't really any balance between these points, if you give a middling to good reward but the dungeon is really purty people still won't be incentivised enough to want to go through it again on a repeat playthrough.

 

I really hope I'll be proven wrong, that the dungeon will be a show stopper and I'll gladly sink an hour or so into getting through it every time, but I have a strong feeling that this won't be the case and to me it'll always be an enormous waste of a stretch goal. I would have pretty much enjoyed almost anything else as a stretch goal than this.

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I agree with your points, though I do like the general idea of a megadungeon. I just wanted it to be part of the plot (as in, not optional) and really bound into the surrounding countryside, as an organic structure with quests from top to bottom. Like the Temple of Elemental Evil, a game in a game. Could have been p. cool.

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Jojobobo: it's a game. Why is it vital that the dungeon have a purpose for you to "sink some time into"? It's all a complete waste of time anyway, like watching football or a stage drama.

Edited by rjshae

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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Yes, but I don't finance football or stage dramas. No it doesn't necessarily have to have a purpose, but it should be compelling; by drawing something out by such an extent you dull its impact after the first time and so it becomes far less so. It's like having a Lord of the Rings film marathon - might seem like a good idea at first but by the end of the day you'll be ready to claw your eyes out.

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There could be a compromise too: make the first 5 levels of the dungeon mandatory for plot advancement, and level 6-15 optional. If you implement a mechanic by which you get less XP for monsters of a lower level, you could balance the game for both people who do the dungeon and those who do other side quests/ outdoors grinding.

 

Now if there also was a time limit or something you could even impose a choice and consequence (do I do the dungeon or rather go elsewhere). Everyone could be happy! :D

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So basically you're whining because it has no main quest relevance to the main quest? thats what like 85%+ of the game?

Everything the player does in the game is part of the story. It's just a matter of how interesing and meaningful or retarded and uneven the story turns out to be. If you're going to do incredible feats and get legendary gear, it damn well better appear all over the story.

 

There could be a compromise too: make the first 5 levels of the dungeon mandatory for plot advancement, and level 6-15 optional. If you implement a mechanic by which you get less XP for monsters of a lower level, you could balance the game for both people who do the dungeon and those who do other side quests/ outdoors grinding.

 

Now if there also was a time limit or something you could even impose a choice and consequence (do I do the dungeon or rather go elsewhere). Everyone could be happy! :D

Making the first 5 levels mandatory is a neat idea, but it's less a matter of being mandatory or optional, and more a matter of not making a story that stinks. And a timer should be involved, of course! The mega dungeon should be challenging and risky.

Edited by Game_Exile

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it shouldn't be mandatory, it should be interesting enough that it doesn't have to be mandatory for me to want to play it.

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it should remain optional, not be required to have any impact on main plot or story. The only thing it needs is it be atmospheric, interesting and have it's own history or story of the place or what was there. Bascially must be an interesting place. It does not need to have some mega-reward in it like gear etc. You wouldn't be going on holiday to say pyramids or century old castle because contains "phat loot", you go because it is atmospheric and has interesting history. Thats not to say can't have some legendary or even just an interesting item of some sort but that item needs to keep the balance of the game intact and for me shouldn't be the only reason to go there. Timers however would need to be careful about, maybe a timer to escape but not one to get to bottom. Forced timers for sake of urgency can be done very badly if added only for the sake of difficulty. As a completionist I have to explore every single corner of a place out of curiosity and desire to explore so do not add a timer for travelling down into the place, only add one to escape would be my solution if did add timers to it.

Edited by Dragoonlordz
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I don't understand the argument for the extreme precision balancing of the rewards of the megadungeon. If the rest of your game experience remains completely unchanged regardless of whether or not the megadungeon is implemented (if you choose not to partake in it), then I don't understand why it even matters whether the reward for the dungeon is inconsequential or phenomenal. To the people who actually want to do that, it matters.

 

Obviously, if loot rewards are more important to you than gameplay, then you're not even choosing what to do and what not to do based on its gameplay value to you anymore, so there's no point in complaining about it being a grind just to get to the loot you happen to want. Even if completing the megadungeon gives you the Sword Of You Instantly Win The Game, would it suddenly become mandatory to get that sword?

 

Also, I partially understand the "I'm funding this thing, so I should have a say in what the stretch goals were." However, this game is Obsidian's baby, and they presented their ideas to us and asked us to please help fund it. While they probably want to take into account our thoughts and ideas, they never said "Hey, we want to make a game. Give us money, and then we'll decide what game to make."

 

By funding the game, you're supporting their game idea. You're not claiming some guaranteed stake in the game's development, and they never guaranteed they wouldn't spend resources on something that every single person didn't love and want in the game. So, I just don't see a reason to act like they're doing something wrong, or wasting resources.

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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You guys must be lots of fun at parties. :p

 

If you don't like the idea of a non-essential mega-dungeon, don't play it. Or save it for the replay so you'll have something different to try.


"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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My only significant grievence with Watcher's Keep was the discontinuity between the floors. The building was supposed to be a prison built by Helm himself to cage powers of the planes. So why not throw in a library, laboratory, portal maze, and some open auditoriums? I felt like the first three and final floor(s) of the dungeon worked well individually, but did not feel cohesive in the same building. The two floors between the final and the portal maze were just filler and could have been left out.

 

It wasn't a bad dungeon, and I did enjoy the different elements of it--they were mostly well done. I just wish it had been more consistent in terms of being a singular prison, rather than a schizophrenic amalgum of enitrely different dungeons.

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By funding the game, you're supporting their game idea. You're not claiming some guaranteed stake in the game's development, and they never guaranteed they wouldn't spend resources on something that every single person didn't love and want in the game.

 

Uhm no. By helping the game to reach a specific stretch goal you are exactly acquiring the right to claim it.

 

It's like putting up a stretch goal saying "dwarves and elves at 2m!", then after hitting that goal you say "lol, there'll be no dwarves and elves actually. We thought about it and it's just too damn cliché!"

 

 

You guys must be lots of fun at parties. :p

 

If you don't like the idea of a non-essential mega-dungeon, don't play it. Or save it for the replay so you'll have something different to try.

 

As far as I can see people just don't want a crappy location. Seems legit to me.

 

My motivation for making at least part of the mega dungeon mandatory is basically twofold:

 

1) It's easier to implement into the narrative, increasing the coherence of the world and immershun. You have some sprawling, legendary structure somewhere in the world, it better be tied into the environment.

 

2) it increases the chances of interesting quests leading up to and inside the dungeon. Inevitably the dungeon will get more designer love if it's a necessary part of the game.

 

There's no point in the "if you care about rewards and XP u r bad roleplayer!!1" argument, and it's certainly not a good argument against those who want balance in all (most) things. I want this game to both make sense and be of a tactical depth, not one with endless optional content that doesn't test your skill as a player and screws more things up than it fixes.

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Uhm no. By helping the game to reach a specific stretch goal you are exactly acquiring the right to claim it.

 

It's like putting up a stretch goal saying "dwarves and elves at 2m!", then after hitting that goal you say "lol, there'll be no dwarves and elves actually. We thought about it and it's just too damn cliché!"

 

Correct. I'm merely saying that if someone says "Hey, if we raise $100 more, everyone gets a free lollipop!", and you decide to give them money towards that end, you can't THEN say "But wait, I actually wanted an M&M. I like those better than lollipops."

 

Also, if they've simply said "Here're all the details we've got so far, but there's definitely more to the game," and you decide to fund them (i.e. without any specific mention of any stretch goals, etc.), then you've already agreed to fund their idea based purely on what they've said so far. If they decide to put in Apache helicopters, they still haven't broken any kind funding agreement. They've just broken your soul at that point. :) Of course, if they said "Just kidding... that Megadungeon stretch goal money is going to go towards the implementation of Apache helicopters in the game," then there's at least be a reasonable right to complain. There might not be any establishment-backed action you can take there, but that would just plain be an untrustworthy move on their part.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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The backdoor for them is that they didn't promise anything besides a mega dungeon of 15 levels, not that it will have quests. Or even be fun. I'll still be mad if I find the dungeon to be lacking in quality though, not just because they didn't adopt my ideas.

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I am completly uninterested in the dungeon as it stands.

I would be very interested if it had its own sub story. DreamDancer already mentioned some good ideas.

I would thoroughly enjoy some faction based conflict in some of the levels.

I would also enjoy it if progress in the dungeon had a visible effect:

the tribe of cavekitten scavengers you displaced through your exploration building a small camp in caves in a mountain range somewhere on the world map.

the magic seal you broke to gain access to level 11 also allowing the undead from that level access to the upper level and the surface until you shatter the magic orb in level 12.

And so on.

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And i thought Dragon's Eye (in Icewind Dale) was big with it's 5 levels. Imagine Dragons Eye times three. :yes:

 

The mega-dungeon will be my first destination :biggrin:


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Sometimes dungeon should be just a dungeon. It is good to be unshakled from the narrative to test your group not as a family of troubled NPCs demanding to care about their every need and issue but as a true battle unit.

Also, dungeons like that are usually the only way to test player's knowledge of the system and intelligence, because, let's face it, main campaigns in CRPGs today are always downgraded for underleveled, limped PCs, and rarely require any brain exercise by the lack of puzzles, because designers are afraid not everyone can finish their game.

Edited by Shadenuat
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Sometimes dungeon should be just a dungeon. It is good to be unshakled from the narrative to test your group not as a family of troubled NPCs demanding to care about their every need and issue but as a true battle unit.

Also, dungeons like that are usually the only way to test player's knowledge of the system and intelligence, because, let's face it, main campaigns in CRPGs today are always downgraded for underleveled, limped PCs, and rarely require any brain exercise by the lack of puzzles, because designers are afraid not everyone can finish their game.

 

It's safe to assume that you won't need a mega dungeon to do that though. You will encounter enough combat no matter where you go.

 

The least I expect them to do is to make use of the fact that this is a totally unique, legendary, 15 level structure. Do something with that. I don't want to catch myself thinking along the lines of "this could just as well be 3 seperate dungeons with 5 levels each". A giant puzzle that connects all levels and has some variation (player choice) in it would be a start.

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Sometimes dungeon should be just a dungeon. It is good to be unshakled from the narrative to test your group not as a family of troubled NPCs demanding to care about their every need and issue but as a true battle unit.

Also, dungeons like that are usually the only way to test player's knowledge of the system and intelligence, because, let's face it, main campaigns in CRPGs today are always downgraded for underleveled, limped PCs, and rarely require any brain exercise by the lack of puzzles, because designers are afraid not everyone can finish their game.

 

So having story = "troubled NPCs demanding to care about their every need and issue"

 

Such a limited view.

 

And mechanicaly going through the motions of combat through 15 levels of a mega dungeon is hardly a test of one's inteligence. Or do you seriously believe that every single corridor and room, every encounter will be crafted to provide a unique and challenging experience, that will challenge you to find new, innovative ways of using the system to overcome them?

 

Also be carefull when you throw around the "dumbed down" games argument. It can come back to bite you. Because let's face it, stories in games (and other media) have been dumbed down so every uncouth gamer can blast through it with the singular thought of proclaiming it as "epic" in the end ;)


Unobtrusively informing you about my new ebook (which you should feel free to read and shower with praise).

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be carefull when you throw around the "dumbed down" games argument

 

Years of CRPGs decline made me immune to fear.

 

do you seriously believe that every single corridor and room, every encounter will be crafted to provide a unique and challenging experience, that will challenge you to find new, innovative ways of using the system to overcome them?

I believe it is my gamer's right to demand it.

 

There are times for narrative and times for gamist needs. I would rather not have anyone in my party when I pillage 15's level dungeon who suddenly feels there is no reason to fight anymore because I seem do despise that companion 'cause of ugly scars on the back being left by wings being cut after months in a cage in a circus... ect.

Choices and consequences are good, but for all I care, time may as well stop when I roam and loot my mega-dungeon. The existance and purpose of that multi-leveled, unrealistic construct are based around that.

Edited by Shadenuat

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Sorry there wasn't any hot dwarf on dwarf action to Emotionally Engage™ you. Might I recommend the Mass Effect series?

 

And mechanicaly going through the motions of combat through 15 levels of a mega dungeon is hardly a test of one's inteligence. Or do you seriously believe that every single corridor and room, every encounter will be crafted to provide a unique and challenging experience, that will challenge you to find new, innovative ways of using the system to overcome them?

 

I hear whispered in dark places that some people actually like game mechanics. Yes, sadly, some actually play games in order to experience and enjoy those mechanics. Shocking! And some of those crazy, deluded individuals... why, they even think that the biggest loss in modern RPGs compared to the old ones has been how game design has gradually morphed from an approach favoring large systems-driven interactions within universal rulesets, to highly scripted, story-driven gameplay. Heretics, burn them alive!

Edited by sea
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Obviously, if loot rewards are more important to you than gameplay, then you're not even choosing what to do and what not to do based on its gameplay value to you anymore, so there's no point in complaining about it being a grind just to get to the loot you happen to want. Even if completing the megadungeon gives you the Sword Of You Instantly Win The Game, would it suddenly become mandatory to get that sword?

You're making these things a bit more black and white than they are, i.e. all players who care about loot aren't bothered about gameplay. If I think a certain piece of equipment would enhance my gameplay (i.e. synergise with my character build or character's personality, give them unusual options) then to me it does pretty much become mandatory as I feel like the character would be lacking without it. The two things aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. Plus I'm completionist, and I can't see any reason why one of my characters - unless I was playing them as cowardly or overly cautious - wouldn't explore the dungeon when presented with it. Most people when presented with something intriguing wouldn't just go "Meh, can't be bothered"; and so to roleplay those characters properly I would go through the dungeon again even if I had long passed the stage where I enjoy it.

 

Hopefully it will be adaptive in someway, for example offering different opportunities based on player character class when you're down there or reacting to side quests you've done that deal with ancient lore (i.e. when the ruins were built). That would be one way to keep it a bit more engaging, as with so many classes you'd have to have a fair few playthroughs to experience all of what it had to offer.

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Making it optional meaning not tied into the main plot I mentioned earlier was for a very logical and reasonable reason. That not everyone enjoys dungeon crawling, optional means those who do not can simply avoid it if so desired. Making it mandatory would force those who do not enjoy such to have to go there and be annoyed at doing something they do not like. I happen to love dungeon crawling, but I do know not every is. I see no harm in making this an optional interesting place to visit.

 

Secondly reason I said the only thing it is required to be is atmospheric and have and interesting history is because that is the only carrot and stick that is at most basic level needed. Anything more than that is sugar coating, instead of carrot and stick it would be two carrots on a stick which I have no problem with having as mentioned some good or interesting loot as a secondary reason to go there but it cannot be the only reason or the most important one.

 

The last part I mentioned about timers is a big deal to me personally as said I am a completionist, a kind of gamer who has to visit every area, look in every corner, read every ingame lore, find all the items possible or do every quest etc so if put timers on the dungeon then do not put them in on the way down please as that does not make it better, more interesting or enjoyable to my personal preferences and play style. But having one on the way out like place collapsing because removed something or woke some beast up that chasing you then that is fine by me, would be enjoyable as did not interfere with my initial exploration and desire to look everywhere on the way down and find everything could. I have to be able to explore the entire place and get to bottom and not be stopped by some silly time ran out situation as that annoys me. This is just my preference though.

 

I like jojo's idea of adaptive or reactive to player class. Certain things can be done in different ways inside however.

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