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The Ultimate Dungeon Crawler


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#1 tonemgub   Members   -  Reputation: 1146

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 10:07 AM

Hey guys I've had this idea about a multiplayer game for a while although I am not sure if can really be called an MMORPG.
Basically it would be a mix between old-school Bioware rpgs (Baldur's gate, Icewind dale) and hack & slash games such as Diablo. The game will be based on complete randomisation (terrain, dungeons, towns, monsters, NPCs, quests, loot and even spells and abilities) offering a party of players (4-6) a unique experience in every play. I was highly dissapointed by Diablo III's promise of an endless dungeon crawling experience and I want the game to encompass the tactical approach of Biaware Rpgs (traps, weaknesses to elements, buffs etc...) while keeping the dynamic action of a hack n slash game (real time play, click to hit, use of the environment, importance of movement). Dungeons will not be based on killing monsters only but also on solving randomised puzzles which will be specific to the visited areas and unlock for instance other parts of the dungeon. Players will need to be smart to succeed and the difficulty of both puzzles and monsters will vary within a predefined range according to each player's level.

As mentioned, I expect spells and abilities to be randomised as well in order to achieve complete character customisation. Whether or not a player will be able to use a spell will depend on his experience in the concerned field (for instance summoning or necromancy) which will also affect his ability to correctly identify the spell. This will also work with items, which can be equipped even if not correctly identified but whose exact effects will be unknown until proper identification (which can in turn be detrimental to the player if for example he equips an elemental weapon and fights monsters of the same element). Players can visit temples/schools which can have their items/spells identified for them and where they can buy new ones. I expect the drop rate of loot (including gold) to be very low but every drop to be a significant. I believe there is no use in having 20 drops per fight where each one will be sold for a very small amount. In that way, weight will be placed on every loot, especially for dungeon chests and boss drops.

Although I have not really though about how the world can be designed nor its setting I believe it's best that a party (max 4-6) can only play in one world in order to focus on its story alone without interfering with other parties. Communication will be essential and the game will have a build in voice system as well as an easy to use party finder. The purpose of the game will be to pursue the story of your party in a world where each play will offer truly new adventures and opportunities and a limitless evolution of your character.

I am aware of the huge difficulty in designing such a game but I believe it goes in line with the recent demand for sandbox-type and randomised games. Although I have not really thought about graphics, I have a 2D isometric type of game in mind with simple yet fluid graphics that will allow for dynamic fights and an easy randomisation of the environment. I have a lot of other ideas on the customisation of the characters (class, attributes...) as well as an advanced crafting system that will use a huge amount of in game resources to craft items, spells etc...

Well that's about it, I've had the desire to play a truly randomised rpg a experience for a long time, so let me know what you guys think about this idea.

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#2 NaturalNines   Members   -  Reputation: 334

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 02:27 PM

If you're going to include difficulty levels I would advise severable difficulties for puzzles and combat. Allow the player to tailor their desired experience.
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#3 Bluefirehawk   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1232

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 05:50 AM

If you're going to include difficulty levels I would advise severable difficulties for puzzles and combat. Allow the player to tailor their desired experience.

Thinking back to the opening of Faust :)
I am against the user tailored experience. If people want a sword fight game, they shouldn't play zelda, even without the puzzles.

The hardest goal to reach is this one

The purpose of the game will be to pursue the story of your party in a world where each play will offer truly new adventures and opportunities and a limitless evolution of your character.

Yes, this is awesome, but how do you want to do it? Up to this day, no one has found an "MakeAwesomeRandomStory()" algorithm that I know of.
Randomisation is a frequent tool to add replayability, but only by randomizing the events that might occur.
Also the limitless itself is a sword with two edges: If it is limitless, you don't have a goal, whatever you do you will never be finished. This can be demotivating, because you take away the purpose.
New Opportunities is shady too, how do you want to give the player always new opportunities?
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#4 bvanevery   Members   -  Reputation: 174

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 08:05 AM

Yes my first question is also what does "limitless evolution" mean in the real world. A "dungeon crawler" is actually a rather limited concept. Are your characters going to experience Existential angst, get married and have children, achieve clinical immortality so they can keep evolving forever...? Or are they just going to slay monsters, solve puzzles, and collect treasures? Why hanker after the limitless, if the limited is actually what you like about this genre?
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#5 Jaap85   Members   -  Reputation: 242

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 03:12 PM

i have played dwarf fortress quite a lot, but only in fortress mode. isn't this limitless exploration a bit like the adventurer mode in dwarf fortress?

#6 aattss   Members   -  Reputation: 387

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 07:03 PM

This sounds interesting to balance the progression. If your characters get meteors, what skills could the get next? However, evolution is only noticeable if the skills and whatnot get noticeable better.

#7 LorenzoGatti   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2762

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 02:39 AM

A multiplayer, cooperative game like this needs to be short: no more than about half an hour to enter the dungeon, explore, kill, loot, finish the mission and leave.
Characters could be persistent, but dungeon runs need to be rather short and tight like a FPS level.

Short games mean that the world can be "limitless" only in the very narrow sense of allowing half an hour of aberrant play: running away from the dungeon; remaining in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike, until a player has to quit; hacking corpses to bits; and so on. Most of these possibilities add only an opportunity for unpleasant frustration to the game, without representing interesting ways to make mistakes and solve challenges
Produci, consuma, crepa

#8 bvanevery   Members   -  Reputation: 174

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 07:05 AM

Or could the "limitless" multiplayer gameplay be more like those soap opera comic strips, like Mary Worth, that only dole out a teeny tiny quantity of plot intrigue in 3 panels in a given day's paper? You'd have more time to get players to do "limitless" things if you can get them to come back and play again the next day. I'm not sure what's going to capture their interest enough to keep them coming back for more, but you'd need some kind of content serialization and "cliffhanger" endings. The players discover a bizarre artifact / sculpture of unknown capabilities, and don't have time to figure it all out in their allotted half hour? Now honestly, I've never understood the attraction to comics like Mary Worth and I've never cared one whit what was going to happen the next day, nor what happened previously. But maybe some people have more of a "soap opera mentality" than I do, and stress themselves about the relational drama being portrayed, blah blah blah...
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