It has been some time since Dungeoneering was released. If it happened that in its infancy someone criticized it, one could simply reply that we didn’t have a complete picture of all that Dungeoneering is meant to be, and therefore there was some room left for interpretation and further debate on the true value of the skill.
Well, now that the release of the last batch of floors is a few months behinds us, both critics and fans alike have had a chance to take a full swing at everything that Dungeoneering stands for; and what has come out of this?
Well, for one, the old points being brought up by those who contest it have never gone away. One of the most well-known comments is that some perceive it more as a minigame rather than a skill in its own right. Another equally disparaging claim is that it is too team oriented and the discrepancy between solo and team mode is far too great, in terms of experience. Those are equally valid points, and perhaps they are what really drags Dungeoneering as a skill downwards, however, what about its positive sides?
Having a brief look at it shows that it may just be one of very few skills that unlock new aspects at almost every level, including all the way up to the maximum one possible. Of course, one could argue that within a theme the floors repeat themselves, thus even though there are floors all the way up to 119, the new content pretty much stops at 113.
Another thing is, as mentioned above, is the varied themes it offers - five of them actually. Frozen, Abandoned, Furnished, Occult and Warped all try to spice it up a bit, by offering different environments in which to pursue the skill. That’s actually well thought out, but reality sneaks in once more: all of those who seriously train Dungeoneering sweep past 3 of those 5 themes, doing them in perhaps just one hour. What does this imply? They still spend the vast majority of their time stuck within only 2 themes (warped and occult). In fact, at one time in the skill's infancy, people would go as far as to do the highest floor that was available at the time (35). This was because despite the experience being halved, it was still a very good way to gain it.
That’s perhaps an example of how a good intention goes wrong. Maybe it is no one’s fault, and the player’s own choice for deciding to take that particular approach towards the skill; it may not even be such a wrong thing. But I do get the feeling some floors are going to waste and not serving their purpose, hence the creativity put into those floors is lost
The next aspect I would like to analyse is how fast you can achieve its maximum level. Like any skill, it starts you off slow, perhaps a bit too slow, mainly because of the above-mentioned aspect – team play gives the best experience. Considering you are in your 20’s, 30’s or even 40’s, there isn’t really a high probability you will manage to find a team.
Moving on, say you’re around level 70 by now. The nature of the problem changes a bit – it’s not whether you will find a team, more so if you manage to find a good team. This is problematic, and will stick with you right up until you are level 120. There is really no guarantee that the team you pick is capable, nor is there even a guarantee that it will be a fun team, or even a team that at least won’t be annoying.
It is true that as you get a higher level you tend to find better teams, with more experienced players, but even in the 90’s of this skill it can still be a degree annoying because of the team issue. Now for a skill to put you through quite a bit of annoyance, even in its higher levels, and right from the beginning, does not do it justice.
It is true again that, as you gain access to the warped floors, the rate at which you gain experience grows exponentially. Once you are level 110 or within that region, the experience rates may reach even 4 million per day for someone who trains it very seriously.
This brings me to my next point – once you already have about 100 million experience, getting the other 100 million for the big 200 isn’t really an issue. This could perhaps be done in 3 weeks, which would really make it one of the fastest to skills in gain experience in after a certain level, so much so that, perhaps getting that extra 100 million experience is faster than you got the initial 13 million experience for your 99. It’s a given that you trained hard for that level and to reach those experience gains, but it still doesn’t sound quite right, does it?
One of the few truly positive aspects, in my personal view, is that unlike any other skill it gives you unique challenges each and every floor. This is done through different layouts in the dungeons themselves, and it is highly unlikely that two floors will ever be completely alike.
Despite this and the fact that it has been awhile since the skill has been ‘complete’, I still have that feeling I had before we had a clear picture of it. My views on it are still mixed, the same as before all the batches came out. This just doesn’t sound as exciting and thrilling as it was being made out to be back in the Q&A’s from 2009.
Whatever the case may be, as with any skill, Dungeoneering has both supporters and critics. Beauty is, after all, in the eye of the beholder, and perhaps this is the only true part where the skill flunks – in not being the skill that would appeal to all, but I suppose that is just wishful thinking.