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Ancient Cave - A procedural generated 'hardcore' dungeon

Discussion in 'Gaias Retaliation ORPG' started by Zwiebelchen, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. Zwiebelchen

    Zwiebelchen

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    This had been discussed several years ago, but it is now that thanks to Leandrop, I have the technical means available to make this a reality: fully generated randomized creeps with dynamically adjustable levels & stats.

    This opens the door to an amazing new possibility:
    Combined with a procedural dungeon generation algorithm based on destructables, I can create dynamically created, random dungeons & matching encounters for a special dungeon inspired by the rogue-like genre.


    I was thinking of replicating the famous Ancient Cave of the SNES classic Lufia II - Rise of the Sinistrals with gameplay mechanics that make full use of randomness and special rewards that can be gained from it:
    • When you enter the cave, your character will be reset to level 1; and you lose all items, abilities for your stay in the dungeon
    • You can not save while inside the dungeon
    • Encounters will have no reset range inside the dungeon; if you enter combat, you either win or you die
    • 'Ressurection' will not work inside the cave
    • Instead, you can ressurect other players via rods with limited charges that you can find in the dungeon
    • You gain XP at a higher rate than outside
    • Any consumables and gear you want to use inside the dungeon HAVE to be acquired inside the dungeon from random drops
    • As you progress deeper, the battles get progressively harder (compared to the relative hero power)
    • You will also find treasure boxes inside the dungeon. The loot inside these treasure boxes will contain special items that are the only items that you will be able to take 'outside'
    • There will also be randomized boss encounters inside that guard treasure chests
    • Once you reach a certain level of the dungeon, you have a progressively higher chance to find a magic bell that allows you to leave the dungeon and take any items you acquired from treasure boxes with you
    • If you leave the dungeon by other means than the magical bell (like on a group wipe), you will lose even the treasure box items you acquired in this run
    • After leaving the dungeon, your level, abilities and equipment will be restored to what you had before entering the dungeon (and all non-treasure box loot will be removed) and you are able to save the game again normally


    Since this thing will require a lot of art assets to look good, obviously, this will take some time and will not come before 1.2C; however, I'm writing this to collect feedback on this before I get into this idea too hard.
    I'm a huge fan of the Ancient Cave in Lufia II and if this feature turns out to have even a tiny fraction of the addictiveness of the original, you guys are in for a RIDE.
     
  2. Risk.frishers

    Risk.frishers

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    OH. MY. F***KING. GOD! This is AMAZING

    Holy fkk when this get implemented I can finally shelf all games but WC3, oh man this is amazing. Can't wait, although I suppose that's the only option.


    Nothing but pure awesome in that feature, I love every single part about it!
     
  3. Darklycan51

    Darklycan51

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    Holy shit this sounds awesome i might even return playing
     
  4. BoxOfFaith

    BoxOfFaith

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    This sounds amazing and like my favorite kind of gameplay!

    I also think something like this should become and be the main source of gold income for use outside of the cave.
     
  5. Zwiebelchen

    Zwiebelchen

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    I'm not quite sure about the rewards yet.
    Having rare items that you can take outside makes sense, but if we want to add more incentives beyond that, there are two things that should be considered here:

    1) obviously, this must not make the rest of the game redundant; in other words: you probably won't get best in slot gear there... but as recipes can upgrade items, it would be great to get base items there that you can upgrade by doing the normal content

    2) I don't want to force it down the player's throats for those that don't like RNG based gameplay. Static content will *always* be superior in design in the way that it can be super hard, but never unfair (it's impossible to make balanced randomized content, hence why you might encounter "roadblocks" throughout your game that force you to quit the dungeon or at least bypass that encounter)
     
  6. Jumbo

    Jumbo

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    I think considering a combination approach is a good idea:

    Wha tyou said Zwieb PLUS a few items that are BiS. So for instance the RNG provides recipes which can in turn be improved in regular content (as you suggested). But also the RNG provides the BiS accessory item/offhand or whatever for certain classes or builds for certain classes.
     
  7. BoxOfFaith

    BoxOfFaith

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    Hmm. Well as it pertains to gold income at least, I figured randomly generated content should be more exciting and fun to do than simply grinding out static content to reach however much gold one needs. Especially with the enchanting system giving extra purpose to items in the future, acquiring gold is probably going to become even more difficult, especially if we have 5 people rolling on the items. So having something like a randomly generated cave being used as a good source of gold income would be a pretty positive thing. It helps remove a bit of the grind feeling of repeating static content.

    I agree about your first point. The reverse could also happen, receiving recipes to upgrade certain outside items as well. Ultimately though I think something worthwhile almost HAS to come from something as deep and complex like this. Otherwise players would likely check it out, but in the end, end up skipping it altogether if it doesn't provide some sort of longterm benefit.

    "Fun" only lasts so long within a player base so small. The only game I've really spent any time investment into is Runescape. Back when they had a larger player base (relative to today anyway) a lot of "fun" content was played for, well fun. However now that the player base is a third of the size, theres not enough players to play the "for fun" content, and it all goes unplayed as players are more interested in beneficial for character building content.

    So I understand not wanting to force it down players throats, as coming to something unpassable super deep in the dungeon would really suck and make the thing feel like an utter waste of time... But if it doesn't provide something worthwhile we run the risk of it being completely unplayed. We've already seen this in D3, players just skip it since its not worth their time to bother with it before moving onto the foothills :p.
     
  8. S0ulseeker

    S0ulseeker

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    I think this is an absolutely wonderful idea, coupled with heroics for end game content, this can really give gaias a substantial reply value once the game is "completed "
     
  9. Jumbo

    Jumbo

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    I agree with your points Box. However, I don't agree with the conclusion that this will become redundant like D3:

    1. The Ancient Cave is based on what the more or less final game is - it takes that foundation and adds something new. D3 was added at a time looooong time ago when the direction of the game wasn't clear as it will be after the snow area is released.

    2. D3 is not entirely redundant. The upgrade of phoenix etc. will make it useful. Also lieutenaunt and his waves have provided good xp since their first implemention.

    3. Again we return to my often stated point of view that everyone being able to try something, but not everyone being able to succeed at everything --> good balance.
     
  10. BoxOfFaith

    BoxOfFaith

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    Well, to an extent at first yes.. Howeverrr if it ends up not providing something relevant, won't most of us say when we're trying to help new people something like "Eh, don't bother with the cave, its kinda fun but you don't really get anything from it so lets just do dungeons"?

    I'm just trying to point out that really no matter how fun something is, if it doesn't give something rewarding, I think people will mostly skip it. Gold and/or unique craftables are really perfect type rewards.
     
  11. Zwiebelchen

    Zwiebelchen

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    Hmm, I think a mixture of recipes and base items for upgrades could be the way to go here. I could also add a couple of "sidegrades" to it that aren't better or worse than the regular endgame content items.
    Then also prestige.

    When thinking about the Ancient Cave in Lufia II, it wasn't only about the take-away loot. I played it mostly because it was an insane achievement to get and survive in the lowest levels. Especially since a full run through the ancient cave could take up to 12 hours *without saving*. Emulators made it easy with save states, but on the real SNES, it was an *insane* task to even reach level 70-80. And it felt so rewarding when you finally used Providence to get out of it after multiple almost-wipes and all resources depleted.
     
  12. Jumbo

    Jumbo

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    Yes. This is exactly what I think the rewards should be.
     
  13. BoxOfFaith

    BoxOfFaith

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    I absolutely agree.

    I mean I'd play the cave with or without rewards, I love those dungeon crawl games. But I also think it speaks to the difference between single player and MMO type games.

    For this dungeon, im curious how you'll tier rewards. Are the first levels of the dungeons going to provide lower level outside rewards, while deeper in we find the end game stuff. And if so, if we'll reach level 50 gear at say, floor 50, and then going past floor 50 we could receive increased chances of the good rewards, rather than continuing to receive different rewards as continuing in deeper. Or if there will simply actually be an end to the cave at some point?
     
  14. SaikoDeMoN

    SaikoDeMoN

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    Oh god no, I remember playing Lufia on GBA (hadnt heard of it before) and just got stuck playing ancient cave, totally forgetting about the rest of the game. That place is made of bats and addiction.
     
  15. Zwiebelchen

    Zwiebelchen

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    I haven't planned it out the details until now. But yes, the idea is that the reward gear will basicly increase in drop chance exponentially the farther you get. So the spawn chance for treasure boxes and bosses is very low on the first floors, but much higher on the lower floors.
    I also plan on making the better stuff only available after reaching a certain floor, to make sure that it makes sense for the players to try to get as far as possible, taking the increasing risks of a group wipe that would make all your rewards disappear.

    Risk vs. Reward is basicly the core idea of any rogue-like games. If you could achieve the same results with grinding, there would be no point in taking these risks.

    A "perfect" design (and a sign of exceptional balancing, which is something that will take A LOT of tuning over the months) would basicly result in players starting discussions ingame about "you know, we just barely made it this time... I think we should teleport out now, I don't want to lose my shiny new item!" - "Aww, come on, just one more floor! I know we can do it!" - "But I'm out of charges... if someone messes this up, there is no way we can ressurect now!" - "I'm sure we can do it" - etc.
    If I can pull that off, that would be amazing.
     
  16. Zwiebelchen

    Zwiebelchen

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    This feature is currently on hold in my planning procedure due to the upcoming 1.27 patch.

    I've figured that this thing would require a lot of hacking in 1.26 to realize...
    And don't get me wrong: I definitely have the tools to make this a reality right now; In fact, I have a working proof of concept chilling on my hard drive...
    But it doesn't make sense to invest a lot of time on hardcore workarounds now if blizzard is working on a new patch that might or might not give us brand new tools that could make this a lot easier to ímplement in the future.
     
  17. Zwiebelchen

    Zwiebelchen

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  18. Hawajska

    Hawajska

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    Owww.... yea!


    BTW,, in cave there will be elites and bosses.. also normal units, so psion can enslave, or there will be other talents?
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2016