Dungeon Delving with
Interview by Zinn
Vanguard Ten Ton
Hammer is excited about Vanguard Saga of Heroes’
dungeons. Many of us here miss the atmosphere, challenge, and
just plain scariness of EverQuest’s dungeons. We
are quite excited to talk with Bill Fisher
, Senior Game Designer for Sigil Games Online, to find out even more about Vanguard’s
Many people hope that Vanguard Saga of Heroes can bring back the magic
and sheer excitement of EverQuest’s dungeons.
People’s expectations are quite high. What is Sigil doing to
put the fun, challenge, and scare-factor back into dungeon design?
To put the fun, challenge, and scare-factor back in, we are making our
NPCs a bit harder than some people today may be used to.
Areas that cause you to bite it if you do not control your situation
will be more common in Vanguard.
We will continue to tweak the power of certain types of epic NPC spells
that require you to counter or suffer horribly, melee stances that maim
and debilitate the players that must be reacted to, the frequency of
runners, early runners, and other situations that the players will
actually need to pay attention to in the group settings. It
is not where we want it yet, but as we continue to dial this in,
I’m confident it will reach our intended goal.
We feel that a level of challenge is required for an area to actually
be fun long term – both from an actual combat standpoint and
from an overall achievement standpoint.
[VTTH]: Do you have plans
for traps and ambushes in dungeons? Will they be random or
static traps? How will players be able to detect these traps?
Will there be hidden areas, secret passageways, cave-ins or locked
doors that need lock picking or keys? Could you please give us an
example of how a particular trap, ambush, or encounter might play out?
not have extensive plans for traps prior to release but there are
several areas that do have ambushes, and other trap like
features. There is currently no “trap”
There are locked doors, though they are not extremely common.
These do require keys at the moment, and likely will until after
[VTTH]: In many of the
newer games the margin of error is often so large that groups can make
all sorts of mistakes in dungeons and still survive with little effort.
In a game that promises to bring back the challenge how does Sigil
plan, in the context of dungeon combat, to reduce this margin of error
and encourage synergistic group play?
included the answer to this question in the next one, since they are
kind of linked.
has spoken a great deal about the importance of player and sphere
interdependence. What is the role of crafters, diplomats and harvesters
general, the other spheres fill in specialized roles in very specific
dungeons. Don’t expect to need to bring a diplomat
to every dungeon – their game play is primarily in the
cities. That said, there will be those special areas where
having a diplomat might allow you to achieve an objective or unlock
The harvesters of course will be on the lookout for various rare
resources that the crafters will desire.
A number of crafting stations are rumored to exist in the depths of
some of Telon’s far off dungeons… Who
knows what you might make at those…
[VTTH]: Sigil has said
that the premier dungeons in Vanguard will be huge, and that it may
take a group weeks to fully explore one. Brad McQuaid stated that there
will be transportation systems, possibly teleporters, set up throughout
dungeons to move people around. How many premier dungeons are planned
for release? How will the teleportation system
work? Will dungeons have multiple exits and entrances?
Our premier dungeons do vary in size, based on level range and the
intent for the area. Some places are utterly massive at the
moment, like Stiirhad and Vol Tuniel; others are smaller.
There will not be a “standard” dungeon
teleportation system. Specific areas may have a teleport
Tuniel, for example has a large section beneath the main ruined Elven
temple. If you have visited the bottom area and completed a
quest, you will be granted an item that may be used at an altar in the
swamp to teleport directly to the entrance of this area.
Some dungeons do have multiple entrances, it really depends on the area.
As for the number of premiers planned for release, I’m going
to hold that one close to my chest. I’d rather not
promise anything and have people be pleasantly surprised.
[VTTH]: Sigil has
mentioned plans for solo/casual mini dungeons. Are there plans for any
special or premier solo/casual dungeons? How do you
plan on limiting access to these dungeons for only solo/casual players?
The first dungeons you encounter in Vanguard are typically casual
dungeons. You can solo a vast majority of the content found
within, though you would still be well served to add a friend.
We currently do not keep people out of these casual areas –
however if your group trivializes the area by being to large, your
experience rewards are greatly diminished.
Soloable Overland adventure areas are much more common than casual
[VTTH]: Many of us who
have been patiently waiting for our beta invitations (excuse me, I need
to check my email!) live our Vanguard dream vicariously through every
word and story you developers tell us. I know they say one
should not feed the animals at the zoo, especially the ones who are
foaming at the mouth, but this one time could you give us a treat by
walking us through a segment of one of your favorite dungeons or
Its hard to pick a favorite area in the game right now for me
– there are so many different areas. Some I like
from a purely “that’s cool” design
perspective, others I like from a player perspective.
I’m intrigued by the mysterious Kronus Infinium Cult found in
Qalia and can’t wait to explore its compound. The
Gnomish Accelerator tunnels found throughout Qalia that increase your
movement speed dramatically still make me chuckle. The
Ulabenian Deadeye – that snipes players that dare walk
brazenly through the lair of General Irinas Ulaben is also nifty.
Ready to go dungeon
diving in Telon?
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