Random Dungeons in MMOs
Random content is a common theme during a Keen and Graev game design gab session. We’ve been tossing around the idea of randomly generated one-time boss spawns for quite some time. I think Onyxia is a great example. There’s this dragon with a really rich story, but she’s farmed over and over. Logistically and story-wise it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have a boss like Onyxia be a one-time-kill. We then thought about having random one-off boss lairs spawn up around the world, and while that would be awesome to have a new boss come crashing in unannounced to a capital city or a zone, or suddenly a cave appears in a mountain housing a new dragon, it again becomes a logistics issue.
So we went back to the drawing board and came up with a new idea: Random dungeons. What if dungeons could be randomly generated and introduced to the game at regular intervals? I’m thinking of open dungeons like Guk with lots of tunnels — something a developer doesn’t have to spend a ton of hours fine-tuning because the dungeon will be available one week then gone the next. Instanced dungeons are technically a lot harder because the entire experience is scripted, but a traditional dungeon that players share might be much easier. Maybe once a month a new dungeon comes out and randomly rotates old ones out so you never know when a dungeon will disappear.
This is all part of this ‘dynamic content’ and ‘group content’ kick we’re on lately. There needs to be a way for content to be fresh. I’m itching to play something unscripted and unfamiliar, but that’s an experience I can’t seem to find readily available in modern MMOs. What are your thoughts? Can randomly generated, temporary content be a thing?