The 12th of April is an important date. Not for the fact that over 45 years ago Yuri Gagarin became the first human to go out into space but for a different reason. On the 12th April, 2010, the players of RuneScape were finally treated to the miracle of a new skill – Dungeoneering.
Dungeoneering, or Spelunking as it was originally going to be called, was stated, by Jagex, that it would be an entirely new unique skill and that ‘no other MMO has done it before’. They also said in a news post in 2004 that they were working on instanced areas where you and your friends could go on adventures. That is exactly what Dungeoneering is.
Dungeoneering is a ‘skill’ that revolves around all other skills. It combines every skill, to date, and throws them and the player into a dungeon ‘raid’ in which the player may form a kinship with 4 other members or fly solo. The player (and his team, if chosen) is met by non-stop hordes of creatures at every room, ranging from level 2 to level 300 plus. At the end of each raid, the team (or the player) is given a boss level which is dependent on a number of things: the combat level of your team, the number of people the boss was designed for and the complexity of the dungeon. After completing each dungeon, one of the player(s) is given a random item, occasionally a journal of Daemonheim, and the ability to finish the dungeon and earn experience points.
Jagex also mentioned in the news post that, with the Dungeoneering update, they had released more content than ever before in any update. They did just that. With Dungeoneering came a fansite’s worst nightmare: a horde of new items: Bows, Arrows, Staves, Swords and the works. New potions, new familiars – even new seeds and prayers! Then to top that all off – a bunch of new (or re-worked) monsters including the unique bosses! But that isn’t where it ends – Jagex even mentioned a new land; ten times the size of Falador – which is the dungeon itself. So why, then, with all this content did the players of RuneScape blatantly reject this new ‘skill’?
There were a number of reasons. Firstly, the players of RuneScape argued over the fact that Dungeoneering is not a skill, but rather a mini-game. A combination of Stealing Creation and Barbarian Assault, if you will. This was because instead of being an independent skill, it – as aforementioned, revolves around every single existing skill to gain levels. For example, you have to fight bosses with your combat levels whereas skills like Hunter are independent – in the sense that you don’t need other skill levels to gain experience points. Secondly, players also argued that this skill was not unique and did not deserve the hype it received. Their reasoning for this was that many other MMORPGs (most popularly World of Warcraft) have this exact feature – but instead is not a skill. It is a thing called ‘raids’. Raids are when you go to ‘raid’ a dungeon, with a party, to gain experience points and unique armoury and weaponry. Infact, one player was so bold as to compare Dungeoneering to the Valve game: Left 4 Dead (stating that the requirement for a party, the hordes of enemies, the special bosses and the rewards you earn etc).
The final point for the despise players show Dungeoneering – besides the fact that it is infact a new skill, is its Skill Mastery requirement level. With Dungeoneering came a new level cap – instead of 99 being the level cap for ‘Skill Mastery’, it was moved up to 120. This was known as ‘True Skill Mastery’. Players became confused and outraged at this, and many threatened to quit the game due to the fact that their achievements had been ruined. The main argument for this was: “Why should we work even harder for the skills that we worked so hard for? We do have lives you know.”
But has Dungeoneering done more bad then good? A large percentage of the RuneScapian population hate the skill – this could mean people quitting, and a loss in money. There was a HUGE bug with the RuneCrafting experience gained in the dungeons of Daemonheim in which – by some idiocy, the person who made the update suspiciously missed out 4 ‘zeroes’ in the experience gained and instead of ‘1 exp’ gained, players gained ’10,000’ exp. Levels took seconds - the dreaded ’99 RuneCrafting’ took a mere matter of around 5 minutes. However, Jagex swiftly shut down the log in servers, booted everyone off the game, and performed a rollback (I was actually pretty excited because in the three years of my playing, this was the first rollback I was in) which they stated would take around thirty minutes. Instead, it took an hour and thirty minutes and in this time – the players grew more and more angry. About 10 pages in the main thread, the entire community showed their evil side and trolled the thread – hard. ASCII images were spammed, rude messages left in Finnish and players left comments on the failure of Jagex. By the time one page loaded, another 10 pages of spam had been posted.
However, all it not lost in this sea of hatred. There is the small amount of players who instantaneously fell in love with Dungeoneering. I, personally, fall in between. I like Dungeoneering, but find it repetitive. I just want to mention that maybe you shouldn’t lose heart in a skill upon the first few weeks of release. Who knows – Dungeoneering II could be released, and do what Summoning II did for the first Summoning pack.