Dark or Light

Give Me Dungeons!

David North Posted:
Columns 0

There are many parts of the MMO experience, but perhaps one of the most important is the dungeon.  Guild Wars 2 launched with some dungeons that not only helped tell a story, but also offered another reason for players to unite for a single cause.  Dungeons were also exciting parts of the Living World story, taking dungeon design to a whole new level.  Even with these great achievements, ArenaNet has decided to pull focus away from dungeons, and we're not sure why.

It’s very rare that an MMO is developed without some form of a dungeon, and Guild Wars 2 is no exception.  When you look at the original dungeons the game launched with, you can see the result of a lot of work.  Each dungeon not only played a role in telling the story, but afterwards players could replay the dungeon through 3 different paths, each offering unique challenges you couldn’t find anywhere else in the game. 

Finding dungeons is a staple experience in the RPG genre.

Once the Living World started, it just offered some small bits of content here and there, until one update added a limited time dungeon where players took the fight to the deadly Molten Alliance.  This dungeon took things to a whole new level.  Each member of the mobs all complimented each other, making even the smallest encounters challenging.  The bosses also utilized unique mechanics that felt more like a boss from a console game, giving a sense of epic action to the game. 

Another Living World dungeon would be released, yet again using new mechanics to make the experience feel unique.  The fractal dungeons were also added to the game, further experimenting with design which makes these dungeons the hardest thing to conquer in the entire game. 

Dungeons are only a part of what makes Guild Wars 2 so great, but like everything else, it needs to be expanded upon.  I could see giving up on dungeons if the players were vocally negative towards them, but that’s the exact opposite of reality.  A lot of players really enjoyed the dungeons.  There are even groups dedicated to playing through the fractals constantly!   As for the other dungeons, players have already played through them, and gotten all the rewards they have to offer.  Simply put, we’re waiting on new content.

One of the main reasons dungeons exist in MMOs is to offer players a chance at better loot, making them a cog running the loot treadmill scam.  The dungeons in Guild Wars 2only reward players with armor skins that don’t improve performance beyond any other exotic.  You’re basically just completing dungeons for a cosmetic change, and for good old fashioned fun.  Perhaps the way gear and loot works in Guild Wars 2 prevents the developers from rewarding players properly for completing these dungeons.  Still, that doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to just stop making dungeons.  They could easily just offer more unique skins, or even use dungeon as a way to unlock new traits as they have with some of the more complex open world bosses. 

In most MMOs players replay a dungeon for a chance at better loot, not for the fun and well thought out mechanics.

If you look at the Living World updates you’ll notice that up until season 2, they mainly focused on open world content.  That’s changed as we’re now playing through closed off instances with our friends to help advance through the story.  Some of these instances could even be perceived as mini dungeons.  They have mobs, puzzles, mini bosses, and then a final boss all packed into a nice small package.  To me it would seem that we now know where some of the dungeon designers may have been placed, but how does ArenaNet plan to really cure the thirst for dungeoneering?  It may be a long time until we know the real answer.

Most of Living World season 1 required large groups of players to play together in order to complete new content.

It’s sad that new dungeons aren’t in the works (at least to our knowledge), but of course this could all be info given to us because ArenaNet, can’t, and or won’t communicate with us about the actual future of this game.  The only thing we’ve been told is that Living World updates will happen.  Until we have a better view of the future, these little mini dungeons will just have to do.  

Would you like to see more dungeons developed for Guild Wars 2?  What is your favorite dungeon in the game?  Tell us in the comments below. 


David North