Hello, everyone! For this week’s Guild Wars 2 topic I wanted to talk about dungeons as it’s been a hot issue in the past. Just taking a quick glance at the “Dungeons, Fractals & Raids” section of the forums shows that players are actually still talking about how dungeons can be improved.
ArenaNet released a blog post a week or so before Heart of Thorns came out discussing economy changes. In one section it was stated that the liquid—see Gold—rewards from dungeons will be culled and shifted into other parts of the game. It was also stated that their development time would be dedicated to Fractals and Raids over dungeons because that is the content they wish to progress on for Guild Wars 2. In fact, they stopped any new development on dungeons.
In a nutshell, ArenaNet wanted players to focus on raids and fractals over dungeons. This resulted in a 2/3 cut to the liquid rewards from dungeons by making the monetary reward per daily path run a gold and in some cases even less. So you can run Arah Path 4—a really hard dungeon path—but will get only a gold. The combination of the reduced gold reward with no additional rewards added and the reward shift into other parts of the game resulted in dungeons to have a significantly low player population. With Ascalonian Catacombs being the possible exception, dungeons do not get as much traffic as they use to.
There are a few reasons why I think dungeons need a bit of new life and should still be viable content in Guild Wars 2.
Number 1: Achievements. Not everyone has these dungeon achievements done just yet and there are people that still want to complete them. Sure, you can have a guild night where you run dungeons, ask some friends to join you or you could even pay for a dungeon run. All of these are viable solutions. However, there are times where you have some free time and no one in your guild or friends list is around and free to run a dungeon. There are people that don’t want to pay for a run and even then not every path will be available for buying. These are the moments where you use the Looking For Group tool to find a group to run it with. With LFG being utterly sparse with maybe one or two posts per dungeon, it’s harder to get all of those achievements done.
Number 2: Content for new and play-for-free players. Dungeons are one of core Tyria’s main content. If we look back a little over three years ago, dungeons were one of the main features to look forward to in Guild Wars 2. The dungeons not only provide different explorable paths but optional side story that ties in with your personal story. With new players coming in, I’m sure quite a few of them would want to view this story as well as try out the explorable paths. When I periodically take a look at the dungeon LFG, story seems to be the majority of the postings. If story isn’t the issue, then it’d be challenging content. Dungeons act as a preview to GW2 challenging content. Arguably easy content mind you but then fractals and raids come into play for the harder stuff.
Number 3: Dungeon Tokens. This one is pretty significant. The only reason to run dungeons now is to obtain dungeon tokens for dungeon specific rewards such as armor, weapons, runes and so on. People may want the look of a dungeon armor piece, some may want to complete collections & some may want a specific rune set for raiding. However, with LFG showing very few people running explorable versions of dungeons it makes it much harder to obtain these things.
Now a counter argument could be to do the PvP Dungeon Reward Tracks to obtain tokens. My response is that yes, that’s a good alternative, but dungeon tracks kind of adds onto the problem for lack of doing dungeons. First off, not everyone likes to PvP. Secondly, you have to complete the story mode of the dungeon first to permanently unlock it’s track. Arah is the exception where completing personal story (Victory or Death) or an explorable path will unlock it. If you wanted a specific track to level in PvP and you don’t have it you’d have to wait till it turns up in the rotation—a rotation which only opens one dungeon reward track for a full 2 weeks.
Lastly, dungeon tracks are essentially better than doing the dungeons themselves if you like to PvP and want every dungeon specific reward. It can even be doubly rewarding if ranked season is running due to being able to progress the PvP legendary backpiece at the same time. While I was originally running both dungeons and PvP, nowadays I will always just PvP over doing a dungeon.
Let’s take Asalonian Catacombs for example. If you manage to run all 3 paths a day that’s a 40 daily bonus for each path, 20 for the first run per path, then 15 and 10 if you ran it a 2nd or 3rd time. In total that’s 255 tokens plus some extra tokens that you can get here or there from loot bags from 9 runs a day.
If you did the Asalonian Catacombs dungeon track, it takes around 40 matches to complete where each win grants you about 3.5% for the track and each loss grants you about 1.7%—this example of completion in 40 matches is assuming 20 wins & 20 losses for a 50% win ratio. Once completed that’s a solid 240 tokens but you also get to choose a weapon every 2 tiers—for 3 total dungeon weapons—and an armor piece at the end of the reward track. Weapons range from 210 to 390 tokens each from the dungeon vendor depending on the weapon. Armor ranges from 180 to 330 tokens depending on the piece. So in one dungeon track completion you get 240 tokens and at least 1020 tokens worth in weapons and an armor piece. Note these tracks are repeatable so essentially you don’t ever have to set foot in a dungeon for the rewards.
If you wanted to get items that aren’t specifically featured in the dungeon track such as runes, then it’d be probably more efficient to run each dungeon path daily until you had enough tokens for a complete set than to play PvP.
To conclude, if you don’t have a guild or a few friends to run dungeons with, you’ll have to resort to playing PvP for the rewards. That however, doesn’t help with the dungeon clearing achievements or if you don’t play PvP. It also is odd that PvP dungeon tracks overall will reward you better than running the dungeon. New players will have a hard time trying said content or completing the achievements via LFG with very few players doing explorable mode. There were even veterans of the game that really enjoyed doing dungeons as their main content but now there’s no incentive for the time spent doing them.
Now I know ArenaNet specifically culled the gold rewards from dungeons, but it was a legitimate way some players made their income. Even if ArenaNet wanted players to run more fractals and raids, some players would still add their daily dungeons into the mix. I understand that fractals are the new version of dungeons that ArenaNet wants players to focus on, but I don’t see why crippling a part of your game where people liked doing it on a daily basis to promote another mode is a good thing. There are people who like running fractals already and it was pretty much guaranteed raids would be a hit if done right—and I think the current raid is excellent. If people don’t like fractals or raiding over dungeons, then they get punished as it’s just one less incentive for them to play GW2.
So how does ArenaNet make dungeons a little more viable? Increase the account based rewards. Throw in more dungeon tokens. A chance to get dungeon weapon boxes and dungeon armor boxes at the end of each daily path run perhaps? Maybe add more material rewards. This gives more incentive to run dungeons even if the monetary rewards don’t change. It won’t necessarily discourage fractals and raids since you still get more rewards out of those. I doubt we’ll see any changes to dungeons for the foreseeable future but I feel it is worth ArenaNet’s time to take a glance at the dungeon loot tables because dungeons need a bit of love, even if they’re old content.