In Aurelius, we introduced the Gateway Dungeons. We take a look at the concept, the ideas behind them and where we will go with them.

The classic dungeon design was one of the oldest parts in Albion and was created in pretty early stages of development. The outside world evolved over time – a lot, actually, but the dungeons still pretty much stayed the same. And while the outside world became more polished with every iteration, the dungeons felt, well, a bit dated and not up to par with the rest of the quality of the game. Racing other players for mobs or entering a recently cleared dungeon thats devoid of mobs is just no fun.

Hence, before the launch of our Closed Beta, we took a good look at how we could improve the dungeon experience – and ideally give us more possibilities to make good dungeon design. We had introduced Hellgates a while before that and they have instantly become a favorite activity for many players. It made sense to investigate how we could take this idea and adapt it to a PvE setting without completely giving up the idea of open dungeons.

Open World Dungeons

We have created new Open World Dungeons that replace, slowly but surely, existing old dungeons in the world. They don't have a beginning and an endpoint but instead, they have usually multiple entrances from the upper world  – allowing groups to enter and leave at different points rather than all being limited to the same one. The dungeon itself consists of a smaller ring, on which solo players can farm mobs. In addition, there are so-called pockets. In those pockets, veteran mobs await you – challenging content for group play. The pockets have also a chance that there is a Gatekeeper. This Gatekeeper opens, when killed, a portal which allows up to five players to enter a Gateway Dungeon.

Gateway Dungeons

Due to the popularity of the Hellgate concept, we have transferred this idea over to our PvE and the Gateway Dungeons were created for our Aurelius Update. If you bested the Gatekeeper, you can take a group up to five players into this Gateway, to fight your way through hefty mobs and mini-bosses. At the end of the dungeon, a main boss of the faction you are fighting in the Gateway awaits.

The Gateway system gives us way more options in terms of dungeon design – one of the goals we originally hoped to accomplish. Since there is always a group of (maximum) five players in a Gateway, we can directly balance our content to accomodate that number. These set parameters allow us to create well-balanced, increasingly challenging, and rewarding, dungeon content.

Evaluation so far

We are extremely happy with the feedback we receive and the player count we see in our new Open World Dungeons and Gateways so far. Thus, our old dungeons will, step by step, be replaced by the new design. Of course we are always looking at possibilities to further fine-tune the new Open World and Gateway Dungeons to create an even better experience.