Oh, what might have been...
12th April 2012 marked the second anniversary of the Dungeoneering skill — the mini-game-like skill that, for all intents and purposes, dramatically changed the way we play RuneScape forever. The introduction of new items and weapons, the upgrades in terms of additional gear and equipment for use in game, and the first-time addition of genuine “team play” have caused ripples throughout the game. However, one cannot help get the feeling that the Dungeoneering skill was a missed opportunity of massive proportions.
Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you are probably already aware of the story of this skill’s development. It was originally meant as a stand-alone game of instanced dungeons, to be played under Jagex’s FunOrb domain using RuneScape’s re-designed game-engine, and was tabbed to be trash-canned, but later it was determined that both the game and other aspects of the FunOrb project could be integrated into RuneScape’s then current game engine, with nominal fuss and bother.
The end result was huge. Here was an opportunity for players to do the group dungeons they always wanted — and to obtain new, useful and better gear and items in the bargain. The problem is that, despite its integration into the RuneScape domain, too many aspects of Dungeoneering remain far too removed from the game itself and, in my opinion, RuneScape is none the better as a result.
The Dungeoneering landscape included an entirely new batch of mineral deposits, weapons, monsters, herbs, fish — resources of every kind and description! Here was an opportunity to improve upon virtually every skill in-game in one fell swoop — by integrating the new content from Dungeoneering into the current game environment, through the mysterious realm of Daemonheim and (over time) by adding numerous additional satellite dungeons with new bosses and new equipment. The opportunity was within our grasp!
Imagine what Smithing and Mining, or even Herblore, would have been like if we could have brought the materials within Daemonheim, or some other far-flung dungeon realm, out into the daylight of regular game play. Access to such other dungeons could have had requirements, including Dungeoneering and other skill levels, and at the end of each dungeon there could be a boss waiting to battle players and hopefully provide them with drops of new and exciting equipment, items and armour — not to mention resources of new ores, herbs and food to be found and harvested along the way — and ultimately brought back to the surface.
For whatever reason, these possibilities weren’t realised and, it seems, Dungeoneering was merely parachuted into the current game environment, enclosed in one singular location, and left that way.
With the exception of the Frost Dragon lair, all of the other resource dungeons currently available contain only old game content and none of the new Dungeoneering related materials. But why? If you can integrate Frost Dragon bones into the game, why not Promethium ore, weapons and equipment? We’ve even seen through glitches where players were able to bring (albeit temporarily) Dungeoneering armour to the surface. So why not allow a wholesale inclusion of the gear and items into the gaming environment?
Arguably, the opportunity still remains, of course, for Jagex to integrate the subsidiary skill set into the mainstream game, but it does not appear that they have any intention to do so, and more is the pity for it.
Why has the Dungeoneering database of raw materials and equipment NOT been integrated into the mainstream game already? Why does there appear to be absolutely no plans whatsoever to do so in the foreseeable future? Why not branch out the Dungeoneering skill into separate, distant, instanced dungeons for individual and/or team-play OUTSIDE of the Daemonheim environment?
Wouldn’t the Queen Black Dragon have been a much better environment if it had been an instanced dungeon, in which a team of players could have entered, faced challenges, gathered resources, and sallied forth against the legendary boss? Couldn’t the same have been said for Nex or for any of the other God Wars monsters? Can you imagine what the Tzhaar upgrade would have been like had it been a Dungeoneering adventure?
For that matter, why make players repeat the same floors over and over again? Why not create off-shoot satellite dungeons of various levels and floors and have players, alone or in groups, venture through same and fight the boss at the end? Access to Promethium and other ores — and other resources too — could be limited to those who have the skills and abilities to venture into only the deepest darkest corners of these dungeons. Eliminate the silly token system and, instead, make chaotic weapons and other materials boss-specific monster drops to be obtained upon completion of specific dungeons.
Why has it apparently never even occurred to anyone within Jagex to ask any of these questions?
We’re missing out on a great opportunity here.