Design Your Own Dungeon in EverQuest 2

Greg Tito

PR for Dungeons & Dragons
Sep 29, 2005
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Design Your Own Dungeon in EverQuest 2



User-generated content invades one of the oldest MMO properties.

EverQuest 2 launched in November 2004 and SOE has been steadily added 10 adventure packs and boxed expansions since then, but until now everything you can do in the game was made by the developers. Sure, players love the features that allow them to build their own guild halls and player housing, something that EQ2's biggest competitor has yet to implement. But with the expansion SOE announced at Fan Faire 2011, Age of Discovery, the designers are going even further by giving the players the chance to make their own content with Design Your Own Dungeon (DYOD). This huge feature, as well as more than 10 new zones in a brand new continent, the beastlord class and mercenary NPCs, will drop in November of this year.

"[DYOD] is kinda like housing," explained Dave Georgeson, the creative director of EQ2. "We have an improved interface that we've created so that people can do, very easily, the things they could do in housing but were kind of laborious."

An easy-to-use way to build the dungeons was paramount for Georgeson, who didn't want it to feel as complicated as similar features in games like Neverwinter Nights, for example. Georgeson is keeping DYOD simple, at first glance at least. When the feature launches with Age of Discovery, there will only be one type of dungeon to make: kill everything in your path to the boss. Georgeson believes the complexity will come not from a scripting language but from something he calls object interactivity.

"Where the real fun will come for builders is the object interactivity with the spawners," he said, referring to the dungeon addition that will spawn monsters for players to fight. "If I put an orc spawner down and I put a campfire next to it, now when the orcs spawn they have fire-based weapons. If I put an orc spawner down, and an orc spawner there, and another one there and put an alarm bell next to this group. Then when I attack that group, they will call for help from the other groups."

All of these dungeon building parts - the orc spawners, the campfire or the alarm bell - are loot drops from the dungeons currently in EQ2. "In order to get the really cool stuff for the dungeons, you need to go out into the world to collect them," he said. That way the DYOD feature won't impact the core game activities at all, and it might even draw players to dungeon content that might not get a lot of traffic right now.

An interesting facet to implementing a complicated feature like this is that it has led to advancement in all kinds of systems in EQ2. "Housing gets an improved interface, battlegrounds is going to get better leaderboards. We're going to have a housing rating system because we wanted to be able to rate the dungeons," said Georgeson. "And a lot of that stuff is coming out in August [in a free patch] so people will get the benefits right away even though DYOD isn't coming out until November."

Perhaps the most helpful addition due to DYOD is a dungeon finder tool, which will be available in August for all players. With the flood of new user-generated content, having a good way to search and sort for well-rated dungeons in different categories is invaluable, but the dungeon finder will also help you queue up to find groups to run the instanced dungeons already in the game.

"When people have rated your dungeon, or it's a new dungeon, it will show up on the appropriate lists. Then they can sort those lists, and there's a screenshot of your dungeon with the blurb that you wrote when you published it, as well as the star ratings from the users," he said. "When you see something interesting, you're like that's really cool, double click on it and you're in the dungeon. Or if you're in a group, double click on it and your whole group is in with you."

Georgeson has built DYOD to scale with the amount of players and their levels so you don't have to worry about content being too tough or too easy. There are also safeguards in place to make sure the loot you get from the dungeon is not exploitable - all drops from DYOD will be tokens that you can use to purchase gear from new merchants in the game.

Design Your Own Dungeon seems like a great way to breathe life into an aging property and tide EQ fans over until EverQuest Next. [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/111555-EverQuest-Next-and-Planetside-2-To-Use-New-Forge-Light-Engine]


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The Rogue Wolf

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This has got to be one of the most interesting developments I've seen in the MMO realm in a very long time. I'd like to see how it evolves as the players get experience with using it, and maybe see Blizzard feel pressured into coming up with the same sort of thing. Because lemme tell ya, I've had a couple of ideas for WoW dungeons bouncing around in my head for years....
 

spectrenihlus

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Wow this is an ingenious idea. I hope other mmos get some ideas from this.

Also I sense a lot of penis shaped dungeons in the future.
 

deathyepl

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I'd really like to see this gain some depth... I WANT to be able to script a story into the thing.
 

Rad Party God

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You know?, this is what Dungeons & Dragons Online needs, a dungeon editor. I mean, it has a quite beefy amount of content, but people always seem to breeze through the game, then, why not give them the reins over how much content the game would have?.

I'm liking this idea, although I've never played Everquest 2 and I'm pretty busy with Guild Wars and Age of Conan (awesome game).
 

Red Albatross

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This is actually one of the best ideas to hit MMOs in a long time. Sure, there will be plenty of penis shaped dungeons, but the possibilities are astounding. The lack of complexity probably won't be much of an issue, at least not for a while. The big guilds with players dedicated enough to spend a lot of time making dungeons will be the ones with the fun items and will probably wind up making the best dungeons, while the immature bear-wolf-spider penis places will fade into obscurity quickly.

I'm interested to see how this plays out - if it's done right, this might be the next must have feature for today's MMOs. Unfortunately, given that this is SoE, even they could find a way to cock up something with so much potential.
 

Caffeine Rage

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This isn't the first time we have seen user created content done in an MMO. City of Heroes has its Mission Architect. I remember there was a big to do about it when it was announced and launched. But, since then there really hasn't been much said about it. It makes me wonder how well it worked. Maybe something to test out when CoH goes free to play.

However, this is the first time we have seen a system for user created content in one of the more main stream MMOs, to my knowledge at least. It is an interesting idea and could combine well with free to play model EQ2 is shifting to soon.

While this isn't likely to be the mythical "WoW Killer"-- although it seems that Blizzard has been taking that task themselves-- it can prove to give Everquest 2 a second lease on life and it makes me want to go check it out.
 

Lt. Vinciti

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I can see this spiraling towards mediocre and fail...

Copypaste X games dungeon

Hell if you want...just make the same dungeon 5x or so and call them "The Age of Dragons II"
 

Greg Tito

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