EverQuest 2: The Next Generation - A Q&A with David Georgeson - Page 3

Updated Wed, Jul 20, 2011 by B. de la Durantaye

TTH: Tell us about the player created dungeons.

David: I think I’d like to come up with a better name than Design Your Own Dungeon, but I don’t know what it is yet. DYOD?

We call them Builders right now. We have builders and players, and we wanted to make sure that both ways to interact with the dungeons are fun. So with the collectable mentality, everything you need to build a dungeon is out there in the world. It can be crafted, it can be gained as loot in special quests, maybe there is some high-end raid stuff to collect... But basically to get a map layout to customize you have to go and defeat that area. So if you want the Crushbone Keep map, go beat Crushbone Keep. That sort of thing, but we’re still working out the mechanics on that.

Design Your Own Dungeon in EverQuest 2

Design Your Own Dungeon in EverQuest 2

You go out and collect the map layouts, the spawners, the traps, the different kinds of decorations and things that you want for the dungeon, and then when you have all the pieces that you want, you push a button and…bam! You’re inside the dungeon and now you’re basically at the level of laying stuff out like in your house. We’re vastly improving the housing interface, too.

Lots of things that we’re building for that are helping the rest of the game. We’re getting dungeon finder, improved housing interface, better leader boards. There are all these features coming out in GU 61 in August that are useful for the game already that are being constructed so we can do Design Your Own Dungeon.

You build your dungeon. If you want to test it ahead of time, you can run a party of invaders through your dungeon and watch them get slaughtered. For bonus points, I want you to be able to name them will all of your friends’ names so you can watch your friends get murdered.

So you run through those tests and when you’re ready, you just publish it. Once you publish it, you take a screen shot and it asks you for a little blurb, and all that goes automatically into these dungeon leaderboards. Your dungeon will show up on the most recently created list. Once people start playing it, they can actually rate your dungeon after they’ve played it. When you go to the leader board pages as a player, you can sort by the different ways that people can rate and find a dungeon that’s cool for you. You click it and you’re in! If you’re with a group, then you double-click it and you’re in right away. If you really want to wait for a pick-up group, then you can register for a queue, and bam! When the dungeon finder fills your group, you go into that dungeon.

TTH: That’s cool. How do you limit that, though? Don’t you think that inevitably there’ll be a billion crappy dungeons and just a few good ones?

David: The rating boards do that for us. As the players rate them, they basically self-police that. The highest rated ones are obviously going to be the most visited ones. The leader boards ages out votes after 24 hours, so your vote only counts on the leaderboard for 24 hours, and then it falls off. The leaderboards are a great indicator of what’s hot right now. If you stay on the leaderboard, at midnight we parse it and everybody who’s on the leader board gets a gold star, or some other kind of mark. It’s an award. When you accumulate enough gold stars, it turns into a loving cup kind of thing. When you have enough loving cups, your dungeon automatically goes to the Hall of Fame, and it’s there forever. So your name can be up in lights and there’s perpetual ratings and things like that, so eventually we’ll accumulate this list of just kick-ass dungeons that players are making.

When you play in one of these dungeons, you don’t play as yourself. You play as what we call an adventurer. The adventurers are, again, collectables out there in the world. They can range anywhere from a gnome to a dragon and any kind of monster in-between. What we do is isolate those different adventurers and we give them three or four skills that they can use. Each adventurer has a unique personality; they don’t play the same.

TTH: Kind of like the champions for the older PvP Arena.

David: Kind of, yes. The interface will definitely be different and we’ll put more effort into making their play distinctive.

The DYOD Builder Once you have these adventurers and you go into these dungeons to play, your group list has pictures of which adventurers are being played by each person. You have a list of available adventurers that you’ve collected. Whatever you want to play as, you just drag it over. Once your group leaves that starting room in the dungeon, you’re locked in and you play through the dungeon.

The number one reason why other games don’t do this is because of the exploit potential: making a super-easy dungeon with high loot. Our monsters in Design Your Own Dungeons don’t drop loot; you don’t get XP for killing each individual monster. The objective is to finish the dungeon, and the dungeons are built for 20-30 minutes of play.

Well, because we know that the objective is to get to the end and kill the boss at the end, we can prevent exploits from doing some really easy stuff. Every spawn, every trap, every object of interactivity thing all add up points, so that room will have a certain number of points in it called a challenge rating. We then measure every possible path to get from A to B and we find the easiest path. Whatever the easiest path challenge rating is becomes the challenge rating for the dungeon.

When a group finishes that dungeon and get to the end, they’re going to get DYOD tokens that reward them for their play and that’s scaled up or down based on the challenge rating. So a super-easy dungeon, you don’t get much for it. Super-challenging, you might get your ass handed to you a few times, but the payoff will be really good.

There are the shopping areas where you use your tokens to buy items for your real characters. There’s a special shop for builders too as builders get tokens based upon how often players play their dungeon, what their quality ratings are, that sort of thing. They have a different sort of metrics. They can get these special builder-only things like rare spawns or cool monsters or even really epic loot for themselves. Kind of like the tradeskill epic loot.

TTH: That’s a really a cool way to go about it.

David: Wait! There’s one more thing and I’m really fired up about this. I think it’s cool.

What we do is when we’re laying down spawners, people are always like, “Can we script the spawners?” We really don’t want to set up a scripting language. That’s Neverwinter Nights and I don’t want to go there.

What we’re going to do instead is that when you throw down a spawner, it’ll watch around itself for objects that can interact with it. For instance, if you threw down an orc spawner and put down a campfire next to it, when the orcs spawn, they’ll have fire weapons. Or if you put several groups of orcs in several areas, normally, you’d be able to pull each camp separately, but if you put an alarm bell near one of them, when you pull that camp it’ll ring the bell and all of them are going to come. So there’s this object interactivity that the builders can play with.  As they collect these different things and put them next to spawners, they’ll be like, “Holy crap! I didn’t expect that!” That will provide variety and eventually they’ll learn what works well and they’ll be able to make really customized content without having to learn a single thing about scripting.


This announcement is so full of win we could hardly wait to tell you about it. Today EQHammer announced its User-generated Content System. In the spirit of EverQuest Next Landmark, where players are the superstars creating cool things, we’ve decided to give you - the players, the dreamers of dreams and the makers of guides - a platform.

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