"Oh my god...tell me you just failed to see that trap?" Said Ternaslee as she proceeded to cast the spell that would bring her companion back to life. A barrage of shadow arrows rained down the hall they had entered and her companion had caught the brunt of them in his upper torso killing him instantly. Ternaslee looked toward the thief of their party in dismay. "I thought you said you were the best?"
"I am...well...kinda, sorta...finding traps is not exactly my strong point...unlocking doors and such...you'll find no better."
"Well you better be on your toes from now on thief because it only gets worse from here." She replied as she finished casting her spell. "This dungeon is notorious for traps and such and if we expect to make it through this and get out again with the riches it promises to deliver you cannot be making mistakes."
And so it begins....deeper into the bowels of Dangor' Moor Keep and the Catacombs of the Elders that lie beneath it.
::sigh:: So what ever happened to good old dungeon crawling? What became of the thief class? Are MMORPG's destined to loose the one thing that drove us to gaming to begin with? Where is the adventure and the sense of danger that once filled our minds with heart pounding excitement as we cautiously made our way from chamber to chamber making sure nothing was left to chance and that we wouldn't fall victim to some well hidden trap - or maybe encounter a puzzle that would gain us entry into that final room that contained the treasures of long dead kings from ages ago?
In games like World of Warcraft and their ilk the one thing that I have noticed over the years is that certain things we loved about the pen and paper RPG are just not present in your mainstream MMORPG's and that is good old dungeon crawling - with traps, tricks, puzzles and riddles. They just do not exist on the level we found in our pen and paper adventures. Plus it relegated the thief class to become more of an assassin rather than a thief. Sure thief's can unlock "boxes" but is that really what a thief is all about? That is not the class I remember. I remember a class that was skilled at finding traps and figuring out puzzles, could hide well in shadows when needed and could perform great feats of acrobatics and climb better than anyone. Again...::sigh:::
Many classes are, as the thief, in that they have been bastardized and recreated to fit into the realm of an online game and this in turn has literally taken the over all game design and mechanics of the old pen and paper games and thrown them out the door in order to simplify and make game play faster.
Yes...look at the so called dungeons and raids in games like WoW and LoTR's and such. There are not real puzzles to figure out and no real need for a class that has the skill sets of a thief because the games are not designed for such a class as we once knew. There are no locked doors, there are no traps, there are no puzzles or riddles. Nope...in most it is all about MOBS and how you pull them to clear a room to move to the next room. I am not writing this to slam WoW either, though it is one of the games that has taken dungeon crawling and basically (sorry to use this term) "dumbed it down" so people can run a 5 man pug through them in less than 15 minutes. Gone are the days of challenging a group of players to overcome obstacles and work as a team to achieve a task. Now it is all about tank/dps/heal and that is about it and in most dungeons just AoE's. Sad I know, but that is what it has come to.
When will a game come out where a group of players will play classes with given skill sets that will be needed to crawl through the catacombs that lie beneath Dangor' Moor Keep? When will a game company develop the necessary game mechanics to generate such places randomly so that what we find is not the same as the other group that proceeded us so that we cannot do the easy thing and go to thottbot.game.com and see how to get through the raid.
Things these games need to start adding as skills are climbing, hiding, picking up objects and moving them, puzzles, tricks, traps, hidden passages, hidden chambers, and all the things we use to expect to encounter in great dungeon crawls of yesteryear.
There is a place for dungeons where all you are concerned with is tank/dps/heals and clearing MOBS, but there is also a place in game for some serious dungeon crawling where players need to take their time and figure out what to do next or which direction to go or to make sure they thoroughly check a place over to make sure they are not missing a secret door or something. I so miss that kind of game play and would love to see it return to mainstream MMORPG's.
So the question to developers and game designers...old school dungeon crawling - when will it return?