Dev Talk: Randomized Dungeons, Part One
Randomized Dungeons will be introduced to Albion Online with the Oberon update on March 20. In the first of two videos on the subject, Game Director Robin Henkys discusses the key components of this feature. This first video gives an overview of what the Randomized Dungeon system is and how it works, the next will focus on answering player questions and going further into the design decisions behind the feature.
No time to watch the video? Read on for a written summary.
How do I find a randomized dungeon?
Entrances to randomized dungeons will spawn via the so-called “Hidden Entrance” system. Hidden entrances appear all over the open world, from safe zones to the deepest Outlands. In general, the more dangerous the area you’re in, the more dangerous and rewarding the dungeons will be. The entrances themselves can be used by anyone who finds them, but as they will not appear on world or cluster maps, this feature rewards those who go out and explore.
In addition to scouting for dungeons, you can also use a dungeon map to guide you to a dungeon entrance. Maps only work if used in proximity to an area which contains dungeons of the same tier of the map, but if used correctly they reliably lead the way to a dungeon, making them a comfortable alternative to scouting the world manually.
The final way to find a random dungeon entrance is to look for them in the existing fixed dungeon locations in the open world. Within these dungeons themselves, you will find an increased amount of valuable randomized dungeon entrances, allowing players who enjoy these fixed spots to benefit from the new content as well.
What can I expect to find inside?
What you’ll find inside a randomized dungeon will depend on the entrance itself. The entrance will signify the faction you’ll find beneath the dungeon, although some entrances are portals which will lead you to a random faction, and may also lead to non-underground type dungeons.
The layout of the dungeon is built from a large variety of modular tiles which are dynamically assembled when the dungeon is generated. This means no two dungeons will play the same. To create this content, we’ve completely reworked all the known faction mobs to work within the context of these randomized dungeons, and we’ve added many new mobs and bosses for you to discover as well.
In addition, there are two new features which will be making their appearance in the randomized dungeons for the first time:
- Proper treasure chests, which can only be opened once the guarding mobs have been defeated. and which you don’t have to smash to open, and
- Shrines, which can be used to receive a temporary bonus (e.g. a fame gain bonus) which encourages players to make the best of the next few minutes of mob slaying.
How do they play?
The dungeons the system generates are mostly linear, with a few side pockets with short backtracks. This means they offer the fast-paced action you’ve come to expect from expeditions, but in an open-world context. To keep things interesting, the system alternates so-called "normal" and "highlight" sections, where highlights are things like bosses, chests, shrines, and special rooms.
We’ve also classified these highlights into different grades of rarity: the rarer a highlight, the more rewarding and special (and challenging) it will be. The reward range of these highlights is huge – if you get lucky, you may find a legendary chest with hundreds of thousands, or even millions, worth of loot.
Finally, the mobs and rewards inside randomized dungeons do not respawn, so clearing a particular dungeon is a truly unique experience, and the dungeon entrance itself will despawn some time after the last player leaves.
What difficulty levels exist? What rewards can I expect?
These dungeons are balanced with groups of 4-6 appropriately equipped players in mind, but you can play lower-tier dungeons in smaller groups, or bring more players to difficult dungeons. Of course, you’ll have to share rewards as usual.
The dungeons in the Oberon update will be T4-8, roughly corresponding to their open-world counterparts. However, there are also “enchanted” dungeons available through maps. These have an increased difficulty level, fame, and loot rewards, making them competitive with open-world power grinding and hardcore expeditions.
Why do randomized dungeons represent a major milestone for Albion Online?
We’re really excited about randomized dungeons for several reasons:
- First, they make new open-world group PvE content accessible to all players. The amount of entrances we’re planning to spawn should ensure everyone who looks for a dungeon should be able to find one. This gets more players into the open world and offers a serious alternative to regular and hardcore expeditions.
- In addition, we can use the same system to introduce rare and exciting content that will make exploration significantly more rewarding. Imagine an ore mine guarded by mobs that you clear with your guildmates to get to the valuable resources, or a rare raid dungeon location that one of your scouts discovers in the open world.
- Finally, a lot of you will be as excited as us about this: we’ve already begun developing Solo PvE Dungeons using the randomized dungeon system introduced in this video.
That's all for today - stay tuned for our next video, where we'll take a closer look at the mechanics of this feature and answer player questions.
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