Dungeoneering interview with Mod Mark

Following the release of the new Dungeoneering skill, Jagex has offered Gold Fansites the opportunity to submit some questions to the developers. Jagex has taken a few questions from each fansite and compiled them into one big interview which has been answered by Mod Mark. We've kept the names of the fansites that asked the different questions. In addition, we've included some new Dungeoneering artwork that Jagex has shared with us!

Questions by Global RuneScape

All Dungeoneering rewards that have a level requirement lower than 70 are impossible to obtain at those levels. For example, longbow sights require level 30, but cannot be obtained before level 50. What is the reasoning behind this?
The token cost reflects the efforts we want the user to go through to get the object, while the wield requirement reflects the minimum skill level we want the account to have. We set skill requirements to make sure items weren’t used too early, when they might be too powerful, and we set token costs that we felt valued the item correctly in terms of how much effort it would take to earn the item.

What do you think the outcome of PK'ing will be with the new reward items?
New PK equipment is always carefully tested and balanced, but we are never 100% sure how the PK community will react to it or indeed how it will be used. I personally am looking forward to equipping my PKer with one of the lvl 80 damage-soaking shields.

"Kitting up" is a very fun aspect of a dungeon, however in a small map, this aspect is severely limited. What is the rationale behind not allowing solo players into medium and large format dungeons?
It’s a technical restriction linked to the amount of instanced map squares that any one account can run at any one time. We have an amount of virtual space that’s given over to instances, and if we built more dungeons than we had space for, it would just grind to a halt. We are looking into ways of reducing those restrictions as we research the issues with persistent single player dungeons.


What was the original motivation or concept behind the development of this skill?

  1. To add the spirit of adventure back into RuneScape
  2. To give players a simple answer to the question “what shall I do for the next hour?”
  3. To add a new style of gameplay to RuneScape – gameplay we felt had been missing for a while

Does this new, relatively intricate, interactive, and unique skill mark the beginning of a new type of skills that go beyond the average level of user participation in the game?
If you look at the history of skill launches, we have gotten more complex with each launch. We have plenty of less engaging skills in the game already. I do believe that every game needs both though, so will continue to produce a range of intricacies for skill content :-)


How much more creative 'space' was given by isolating Daemonheim content from the rest of the game?
Isolating Daemonheim meant that we could basically start from scratch, balancing all the weapons, monsters, challenges and puzzles to each other and not to the rest of the game. That was done for gameplay and balancing reasons, rather than anything story-based.

Are you considering allowing some of the items to be smuggled out of Daemonheim (like the items without clipping problems); smugglers usually go both ways right?
No, for the above reasons – if we want any items to be smuggled out, they will be balanced for the surface world, not Daemonheim.

What part of the development gave the biggest problems?
Testing the dungeons was really difficult and actually I think the QA team behind the dungeons project deserve a far bigger pile of thanks than I do, and I do try to pass on the praise we receive. QA is usually given a harsh time by our community (bugs are high profile), but I can honestly say that this project benefitted massively from the talents of our QA team. To be able to give the quality of feedback they did AND to test the project to the degree we did was a huge challenge.

RSCave.se (Swedish)

Why did you choose to have a maximum level of 120 instead of 99?
We wanted to introduce a new “end game” to RuneScape. Something beyond the norm. It’s important to note that we still consider lvl 99 to be the level you’d need to enter things like our max forums, but we just felt it was the right time to turn up the dial. We’re not about to do it with the other skills, but it is possible. 99 is just a number.

What about other skills, will they too be increased to have 120 as the maximum level or will they remain at 99?
See above. :-)

Why did you design another combat-related skill/minigame?
It is combat related, but it does not demand combat levels. We (my adventuring party and I) have a skill pure who waits patiently for the warriors to clear out the dungeon while she makes gear for us and solves the ferret puzzles (she does like the ferret puzzles). We designed a skill that uses ALL of the other RuneScape skills, not just combat.

Runescape.pc.pl (Polish)

Did this update introduce big changes to the current game engine? How will Dungeoneering feature in future skills/quests?
All big updates introduce big changes to the game engine. This was no different. The code that builds the dungeons is incredibly complex and we needed a lot of engine support to make it run.

Dungeoneering is “The understanding of the Magics of Daemonheim”. Any further links to that magic will incorporate Dungeoneering requirements. That could be activities, rewards, quests, etc.

Will there be any updates for this skill in this year?
Yes. We have 2 new themes planned (warped and occult), a whole host of new boss monsters, rewards to be bought for use in the dungeon and rewards to use outside of the dungeon.

There are many ruins and empty spaces in the dungeons; are there any plans to include shops or other things in future?
The surface area actually was supposed to provide spaces for groups of adventurers to meet, and rooms to act as lobby rooms. I don’t think we got it right (especially if you’re asking what it’s supposed to do) and we are planning to remap a lot of the surface area.

Runepoli (Finnish)

Will we get new Dungeoneering training areas outside Daemonheim in the future?
Possibly. ;)

Why is dungeoneering more like a minigame than a skill?

Dungeoneering does share similarities with activities in the game. But, that’s not a bad thing. We’ve consistently released skills that differ from existing skills; there’s no strict rule set that describes exactly how a skill or mini game should work.

Again, I don’t think it’s a bad thing that Dungeoneering is compared to minigames. Ultimately semantics aren’t important – what’s important is how much you enjoy the update.

Why are there no direct benefits to be gained from Dungeoneering outside of Daemonheim?
There are benefits from Dungeoneering outside of Daemonheim; Tokens, for example, can be traded directly for equipment and items to be used outside of Daemonheim.

RSNL (Dutch)

This is the first skill you can train with other players. What are your feelings about this and are there any future plans to focus even more on multiplayer?
You have always been able to train with other players. We also have had quest content in the game since the early Classic days that ask you to adventure with others, so actually I don’t think this is a new idea for RuneScape. We’re committed to continue to create single AND multiplayer content.

When it is decided to release a new skill, what are the steps between the decision being taken and the eventual release of the skill?
The process of designing and creating a piece of content is very long-winded and to list every step here would take forever. Creating any piece of content takes time, and an update as big as Dungeoneering can take years. We spent 14 months just designing various different concepts; the Dungeoneering skill you know now was in fact the 3rd incarnation of the skill. Have a look at Mod John A’s ‘New Dwarf Quest’ blog series, as that’ll give you a good idea of how the development process works.

Has work started on another new skill already? Can you give any information on it? Is it sailing (:P)?
No and no. ;)

Dungeoneering Concept Art

Click the images to view them. You can also click the download link to download the full versions, which are about 1 MB each.

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Last update: 27-May-2010
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