Weekly Dev Blog: Design Doc / Dungeons and Instancing

We're still hard at work on the game behind the scenes. This week we got the player grouping system up and running and started the implementation of the PvP mechanics.

As we approach Alpha, one of the things that I'd like to do is a series of posts that talk about the specific mechanics of the game. That is, aside from things like lore, the fact that the game is in virtual reality, how the game looks -- how will it play?

We do want there to be secrets, hidden features, and not have everything in the whole game dissected down to a science right away by the player base (if that's even possible in the age of sites like Wowhead), so these posts will largely be big-picture. But it should give you an idea of what our design goals are as we approach each piece of the game, and the type of experience that we're striving to give to you, the players.

Without further ado, let's talk about Dungeons and Instancing in the game.

A Focus on Small Group Content

Nearly everything that we do in OrbusVR is done with a focus on small group content (with an eye toward supporting things like raids as well). While you can certainly do things in the game as a solo player, such as leveling your character and crafting, the whole point of an MMORPG is to exist in a world with other people who all affect each other in unique and interesting ways that other games can't provide.

A case in point of this type of thinking is the dungeons in the game. A "dungeon" as we're using the term is a general type of content that involves gathering a group and entering a specific, pre-designed challenge. Some of them might be literal dungeons, others might be caves, and others still might simply be an open field. But these are places where we've placed groups of enemies and bosses that can only be conquered through coordinated, skilled group play.

A Hybrid Instance Model

One of the things that we're doing in a new, unique way in OrbusVR is attempting to blend both the instanced and open-world style of dungeons together. We like instancing because it allows us to very specifically design a set of challenges and fine tune them for a specific group size, without worrying about masses of players zerging the content or a group hogging it all to themselves. Likewise, we appreciate that an MMO is inherently a massive experience, and so the less time you spend cut off from the rest of the world, the better the experience is.

To blend these two styles together, the dungeons in OrbusVR are open-world, massive locations, that then have small "wings" which are instanced. So when you first enter a dungeon, you might find yourself and your group in a large, open area with hundreds of enemies formed into groups, and 20 or 30 other players all fighting with those enemies (and perhaps even with each other). As you progress further into the dungeon, you will eventually reach a point where you enter a "wing" of the dungeon. This is where you will enter a private instance, that is only for your specific group.

Challenge Waiting in the Wings

The wings of a dungeon are designed to be 20-30 minute experiences, and the typical dungeon will have 3 or 4 wings (so running a whole dungeon in one sitting might take 2-3 hours, but you can easily just do a single wing if that's what you have time for). They feature a few groups of enemies and a large boss fight, or they might be a special encounter where you need to dig deep down to attack something underground...any type of challenge that makes sense for a small group of players to tackle. Clearing the wing and defeating the boss will reward you with loot for your group, as well as a special item for the overall dungeon you're in. Internally right now we're calling these "Dungeon Tokens" but the name will likely change.

A Central Boss

The cool part about the dungeon is that there is a central, large boss area in the open-world, non instanced part of the dungeon. The boss of this area can only be summoned when enough tokens are gathered and used to unlock it. It's impossible for a single group to gather enough tokens to summon the boss themselves, so you actually want 3 or 4 other groups running the dungeon at the same time as you so you can all pool your resources to summon and fight the boss together. These central boss fights will be epic, challenging encounters designed for 15-20 players to take part in. Once the boss is defeated, you might get some great loot as well.


Although the game will likely not launch with raids, we do plan to add more organized larger group content (in addition to the central bosses in the dungeons) in the first expansion. There will also be hidden World Bosses to discover in the Wilds, that you can tackle with a larger group of players -- if you can figure out how to summon them.

Well that's it for today! In the next post I'll be discussing our plans for the Wilds, our max-level open-world zones. Valuable crafting resources and gear enhancements can be found there, but it's also an area where you can be waylaid by other Players who have chosen to become Bandits, so proceed with care...

You can discuss this post on our forums here: https://community.orbusvr.com/t/dev-blog-design-doc-dungeons-and-instancing-pvp-and-the-wilds/617

Riley Dutton

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