Behind the green portal...

    Behind the green portal…

    Several interesting posts by Wyatt Cheng on Set Dungeons, debating with fans about how the new pre-designed challenge levels work and how they should work during the ongoing PTR testing.

    I really do not think set dungeons should punish you for having too much damage or survivability.

    I’m working on the firebirds one right now. Too much damage to get 45 enemies burning at once and too much survivability to die and proc meteor. Both of these are quests in the dungeon. It feels more like I’m fighting the game than fighting the monsters or trying to play well.
    Wyatt Cheng: We totally agree but we don’t have a lot of awesome solutions at this time.

    I know that’s not a very satisfying answer, but it’s the truth. We have had the same feedback come up internally. We looked at scaling the dungeon based on gear but that ran into other problems too (such as min/maxing the types of gear that you wore to “fool” the autoscaler, which given the variety of legendary items in the game, the auto-scaler was very, very easy to fool).

    During development we were juggling lots of conflicting design challenges and we found that in order to make Set Dungeons work as a feature at all we had to pick one of the following:

    1. not making the dungeons require much execution on the part of the player
    2. making the set dungeons more gear dependent to succeed
    3. implement auto-scaling and accept that there will be some weird gearing strategies that you could use to overcome the logic of the auto-scaler because auto-scaling 24 dungeons given the depth of our legendary pool and the rate at which power scales is pretty much impossible.
    4. Only design dungeon objectives that would never degrade when you overgeared them.
    5. Have some dungeons that were actually harder with good gear that you’d have to deliberate gear down for.

    We opted for a mix of all, but mostly #4 and #5. We want the Set Dungeons to be accessible to a wide audience, but we don’t want them to be trivialized by gear. We do #4 quite often, but every so often we had a quest objective that was particularly flavorful for the set and we opted to accept #5 as a consequence. The Firebirds dungeon is an example of this.

    This was the main point of debate about Set Dungeons on our recent podcasts. How do the devs balance pre-made dungeon encounters without endless scaling, given how much characters vary in gear and power levels? It’s made more complicated by sets + legs that require a lot of wind up or that boost power depending on how many monsters are in the area, or under some proc effect, etc. As Wyatt says, in some testing they found that the highest quality equipment didn’t work well with the dungeon (e.g. killing enemies too quickly to get proper proc effects built up) and testers would actually do better with less power.

    Obviously the Set Dungeons are getting a lot of tweaking on the PTR, and player feedback is essential to the process.

    Click through for several more Wyatt replies/explanations about Set Dungeon design and implementation.

    Wyatt Cheng on Set Dungeons:

    Why not make set dungeons be like separate instances? You meet the requirement for the set dungeon, and youre like sent in some kind of ancient flashback where youre playing a prebuilt character that is the same for everyone for a given set? But have the cube legs still be useable for some customizability.
    Wyatt Cheng: Yes, this would have been a valid way to go as well and was actually prototyped in this exact way for a long time. There were multiple problems.

    One was the character not feeling like your character felt weird. A second was that there are some sets with multiple different ways for it to be configured and you might be quite successful with a set but not be familiar with the loadout the game picked for you. A third reason is that many of the sets don’t feel like “the set” to people without specific other legendaries. Like Lut Socks with the Might of the Earth set. But we don’t want to include these supporting legendaries in the pre-made set in case somebody hasn’t acquired them yet for real, or they’ve just never heard of the combo. Believe it or not, lots of people play without looking at guides on the internet and we try to avoid spoiling potential item combos so that people can experience the excitement of discovering those combos themselves – it’s a great feeling as a player to figure out a combo without having read about it on the Internet first (it’s one of the reasons I suspect many people like figuring stuff out on PTR).

    Again I want to reiterate I think your proposed solution is a good one, it has pros, and it has cons. If we had gone that way it would have allowed us to make the set objectives more interesting and tuned to the razors edge. It was a tough decision.

    No I can understand that it’s difficult. I was thinking about it myself and all my solutions ended up just being really boring. Things like “hit/kill X units with X ability”.

    Maybe it would be good to keep the gear-down type objectives to one per dungeon, or at least either survivability or damage related rather than both. It’s just kind of a pain to deliberately tone down damage and survivability at the same time. If it were one or the other I could maybe switch from an offensive gear setup (ex. focus/restraint) to defensive (ex. unity). Same with passives and some skills.

    For example in the firebirds dungeon you could keep the kill units with death-meteor, which would incentivize players to go more glass cannon because they need to have enough damage to get kills with the ability and little enough toughness for it to proc.

    Thanks for the reply!
    Wyatt Cheng: Firebirds requiring you to gear down in 2 different ways is a good point. We’ll have to revisit the objectives we had explored. It’s just tough when the set is about Burning Things and using the resurrection meteor as a slightly-gimmicky mechanic seemed too cool to pass up given you don’t really get to use the meteor that way anywhere else in the game – so no promises. 🙁

    How about rather than scaling the dungeon, scale the gear, would that be possible?

    Temporarily adjust the values of the characters gear and from there you could possibly tune the dungeons easier and make them more accessible because no matter how good geared you are, you will still have the same baseline gear as others doing the dungeon.
    Wyatt Cheng: Scaling the gear is pretty much similar issues to scaling the dungeon – unless we also disable all the legendary effects on all of you gear – which we considered. I should have listed that as Option #6: Turn off all legendary properties on all gear you’re wearing. But we tossed that one out – deciding that it was important that you were able to use the supporting legendary items you had chosen for yourself.

    Did you guys get some testing time (perhaps over the US holiday weekend) to try out some of the Set Dungeons on the PTR? Any thoughts on the process?

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