Introduction :

The difficulty of forming a team of 8 available characters remains one of the most detrimental factors to the accessibility of dungeons. It also makes them generally too tiresome (fights with 8 real players tend to drag on and lack synergy) and motivates players to resort to using multiple accounts to avoid these problems.

So we decided to offer a solution in the 2.7.0 update by introducing a system of scaling dungeon difficulty that allows the mobs inside a dungeon to adapt to the size of the team attacking them. As a result, it will allow smaller teams to access the majority of dungeons.

The dungeon difficulty will adapt to teams of 4 to 8 characters. It will still be possible to do dungeons with less than 4 characters, but the lowest difficulty possible will be based on a group of 4 characters.

How it works :

The system is entirely dynamic (to allow groups to who need to shift their composition mid-run for any reason to continue without interference) and involves almost all the game’s dungeons (only the Lord Crow Dungeon will not yet benefit from this new system in version 2.7.0). Players could, for example, begin a dungeon with 4 characters, continue a part of the dungeon with 6 and then finish it with 5, and the difficulty would adjust each time the size of the character group changes.

When a group starts a dungeon fight, an identical number of monsters will be dynamically added on the opposite team. A monster will be added each time a character joins the fight and removed each time a character leaves, with a minimum of 4 monsters per fight.

The level of the monsters in all dungeon mobs will now be fixed. As long as the group stays the same size, they will always face the same number of monsters per dungeon room.

On mouse-over, the mobs in a dungeon will allow players to see the monsters they’ll face (depending on the size of their group) as well as the monsters they would face if their group were bigger.

Difficulty :

We devised this system so the difficulty would basically be identical regardless of the size of a team of characters (between 4 and 8).
That’s why the number of monsters present in a fight depends on the number of characters attacking them.
We’re also reducing the health points and characteristics of dungeon bosses when they’re faced by less than 8 characters so they can be defeated even with these smaller teams.
We will use the feedback during the Beta phase and stay alert after the release of the 2.7.0 update to make sure that the difficulty of dungeons is properly adjusted for groups of less than 8 characters.

Placement :

Smaller teams will encounter fewer monsters in a fight than bigger teams. As a result, the way the monsters are spread out in the beginning of the fight risks becoming too important (as the number of starting spots will remain unchanged) and the placement of the monsters and the boss may become too random.

Therefore, we changed the way in which monsters position themselves at the start of a fight. Most monsters will now try to stay together at the start of the fight in order to avoid scattering, which favours the players too much. This modification is not limited to dungeons, it will apply to all the monsters in the game.

Structure and length of dungeons :

We took the introduction of this new system as an opportunity to review all of the game’s old dungeons and let them benefit from a reduced number of rooms following the example of the Frigost dungeons (4 rooms and 1 boss room), in order to speed up the progression through dungeons and to allow players to spend less time in fights of little interest.

Additionally, each dungeon room will now contain a number of monsters equal to the number of characters facing them (with a minimum of 4 monsters). The 4 rooms prior to the boss will thus provide fights that are more challenging but also more interesting and profitable.
However, we’re preserving the concept of having the difficulty increase progressively by using more and more powerful monsters throughout the stages of the dungeon.

To use this structure properly we had to revise certain dungeons (the Tofu and Royal Tofu Dungeon are now separated, as are the Tree Dungeon and Soft Oak Dungeon, the Jellith Dimension’s structure is simplified etc.) and change the level of certain monsters or create new monsters to provide the necessary level of difficulty.

Profitability (of drops and XP gains) :

We decided that this adaptable difficulty dungeon system had to offer roughly similar rewards regardless of the size of the team chosen. We did not want a team of 4 characters to be penalised too greatly in comparison to a team of 8 characters, since our goal is to encourage players who have difficulties with creating big teams to participate in dungeons with a comparable level of efficiency.

The game’s prospecting locks now have a maximum value of 400 points in order to grant any team of 4 characters the ability to get all possible drops from monsters.

The probability to obtain drops from the boss will be identical regardless of the size of the team confronting it. However, groups of reduced size will face fewer monsters than larger groups and will therefore get fewer resources from the generic monsters at the end of the fight.

On the contrary, experience rewards will vary according to the size of the team (lower for groups of smaller size), and a group of 4 characters, for example, will benefit from a lower group bonus than a group of 8 characters.
On the other hand, dungeons runs with a small group should be faster to complete (fewer monsters to face and fewer players to take their turns).

We will most likely gradually adjust and balance the experience gains for different group sizes. We don’t want the size of the group of characters to be a deciding factor of the profitability of a dungeon.

Soul stones :
We had to introduce new restrictions to Dungeon Keeper Soul Stones so as to not encourage players to capture boss monsters with 4 characters and then benefit from opening them with a much higher number of characters in the arena.

Each soul stone created in a dungeon will now have an additional parameter which is displayed among its effects and shows the available number of drop shares. If a boss is captured with 4 characters, the soul stone will provide 4 shares of drops in the arena.

For example, if 6 characters attack the group of monsters contained in a soul stone (captured with 4 characters) in the arena, they will suffer from a drop limit and the 6 will be required to share the same amount of drops that would normally be distributed between 4 players. In practice, for each dropped object unlocked at the end of a fight, a test will be conducted to determine if the object will be distributed to a player or not. In our example, for each object that is dropped, there will only be a 4 out of 6 chance that the object will be kept.
Of course this penalty does not turn into a bonus in case the number of characters used to capture the mob is higher than the the number of characters fighting the mob in the arena.

However, we did not want to make the use of soul stones too restrictive and searching the sellrooms unnecessarily cumbersome.
Therefore, for teams of identical size, the composition of mobs in dungeons will be fixed, which will significantly reduce the number of different soul stones of the same boss monster (a boss captured by 4 characters will always create the same soul stone, for example) and thus improve the use of the sellrooms.
In the soul sellroom, a new column will appear and allow to easily search soul stones by the number of drop shares available for each stone.
In the future, only 5 variations of soul stones will exist for each boss.


To infinity and beyond:

While these developments are planned for the 2.7.0 update, other important projects need to be addressed in the following updates to complete the dungeon improvements.

The dungeon perceptor system will not be changed in version 2.7.0, which means that a group of 4 characters deciding to attack a dungeon perceptor risks facing a team of 7 characters and 1 perceptor as a defense. We’re studying the possibility of restricting the number of perceptor defenders in dungeons to the number of attackers minus 1 (with a minimum of 3 defenders allowed). This change would facilitate attacking perceptors for teams of a smaller size.

Version 2.7.0 will continue to have disparities between the levels of boss monsters. The older ones generally have a level much higher than the characters facing them to compensate for the lower level of the monsters accompanying them. Over the following updates, we plan to review the boss levels (and the levels of the accompanying monsters) as well as their experience in order to be more consistent and better balanced.

The structure of the Lord Crow’s Library requires deeper modifications for it to be compatible with the new system. We plan to modify it in the next updates so that all the dungeons can without exceptions benefit from these improvements.

In conclusion :

This new system should provide the following benefits:
  • Reduce the gap between players with one account and those with multiple accounts.
  • Improve access to dungeons by making the creation of teams faster.
  • Reduce the average length of dungeons.
  • Refresh the game experience by allowing different team compositions to tackle dungeons.
  • Allow changing one’s team during the dungeon. If a team member has to leave, the difficulty of the following fights is reduced.

We will closely follow your feedback during the 2.7.0 Beta to ensure that the adaptable dungeon difficulty system ADDS to your gaming experience.