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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Runescape Dungeoneering - Skill or Minigame? Either way it's FUN!

Dungeoneering has been out for over a year now.  I've had far too many other things on my mind, like getting 99's, or going for my Taskmaster Emote.  Maxing my Player Owned House... Geez, that gets expensive.
Well, I've achieved the Taskmaster.  Got some 99's, and done a lot to my house.  Could keep at it, but it felt like a good time to try Dungeoneering.
One of my early fights - a rare Frost Dragon
 I've never looked into it, beyond when it first came out, and thinking, "This looks complicated!"  Started studying up on it, learning what I could.  Monique's always telling me, she just dives right in, live or die, I study, and research, and make short trial runs, to find the way I like best.  At pretty much anything, but especially Runescape.  It's how we play, and what makes it fun for each of us. 
Whether it was for better or for worse, in the past year, our Tears of Guthix rewards have always gone to Dungeoneering.  Hands down, it's my lowest skill.  So by now, I'm level 64 without ever having played it.  My first run through, Monique came with me.  We played duo all the way to floor 32, at which point I hit reset, and prepared to go again.  Monique didn't have quite as much fun.  She sort of liked it, but my constantly stopping to compare things, look them up, plan and theorize, sort of drove her nuts. 
Since then, I've been soloing.  I enjoy duoing with her, it's a great convenience sitting side by side and being able to communicate immediately rather than type.  But I also enjoy soloing.  Let's face it, I'm really a solo player at heart.  I hate team sports, and games where I must interact with others.  That's why I excel at skills in Runescape, but stink at team games.  Clans, too.  If there was a clan that hated to play with other players, I might join it, but that seems kind of oxymoronic (yes, you can take that with or without the pun.)

Enough prep.  Let's talk about Dungeoneering.  Is it a skill or a Minigame?  Personally, I think it's more of a minigame.  As far as skilling goes, it's a hard skill to solo.  But as far as fun goes, I've been hooked ever since I started getting the hang of it.  The graphics are beautiful, the feel of the dungeons is very moody.  Monsters are all fun and diverse, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.  Boss monsters are amazing.  Some you can just power through, some need a bit of strategy.  I'm still learning.

If you're old enough, you might remember a game on the original Playstation called Azure Dreams.  One of my all-time favorite games, and I still own it.  One of the best parts was a tower that generated brand new floors every level, 40 levels.  Like most dungeon games, you spend a lot of time fighting your way to the final floor.  But unlike most games, there was an element of monster-summoning.  It was simple, but a ton of fun.  Dungeoneering reminds me a lot of that game.  Not perfectly, but a lot. 

The idea is really great when you think about it.  Go into a dungeon with nothing more than your Ring of Kinship.  You can't lose money or items, because you can't bring anything from the normal Runescape world in with you.  In the same fashion, you can't bring anything out with you, except experience and tokens.  Tokens can eventually buy you some pretty cool things from the trader, but the items cost a lot. 
Basically, you go in with nothing, and come out with nothing.  But while you're there, you get to kill monsters all you want, progress further into the dungeon, find cool drops to improve your trip, and even keep your top favorite item or 2 (or 3 or 4 if you're really high level) for every time you come back.  You can set the complexity to be basic monster-slaying, or to incorporate many Runescape skills.

I totally love the concept, and even though the experience is pretty slow, it's so fun, I keep going back in.  I recently found a player to come with me on one trip.  He's a Master Smith, and for a modest sum, he created a Promethium Chestplate, and Promethium 2-Handed Sword for me.  I can only bind 2 items, so that was all I asked for.  Now I have them at the beginning of every dungeon.  It's massively helped me.  I was really used to the Katagon stuff, and all of a sudden I'm using Promethium.  Way cool.  And NOT CHEATING.  Jagex themselves recommend having someone make better gear for you. 
Funny thing is, the same day I got the Promethium gear, a boss monster dropped Primal Plateskirt.  Twice!  I really wanted to keep it, but for how I play, the Promethium Chestplate was actually a better choice.  Still, really really hated leaving that behind.

I have no intention of writing a guide, so I'm going to stop here.  Yes, Dungeoneering is fun.  For me, anyway.  You'll have to make up your own mind.

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