Tell us about the player created dungeons.
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
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?
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.
of, yes. The interface will definitely be different and we’ll put more
effort into making their play distinctive.
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
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.
There’s one more thing and I’m really fired up about this. I think it’s
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
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.