Dungeons Revisited


Hey everyone, we've gone into Season V where there have been many overhauls, especially the Character Separation which brought us some headaches no doubt. The revamping of dungeon mechanics streamlined almost all the dungeons and brought about the ranking system, as well as improving on animations and enemy attack telegraphy as a side.

Speaking of telegraphy-

Two types of attack telegraphy - attacks that hit anything from a certain axis (marked by red lines) and warning zones indicating impending attacks, varying by design.
And of course, who can forget the treachery of the Heras? Notorious for their sudden beam-type attacks that could strike you from beyond visual range. Now also marked with red lines of their intended strike zones.

As was just mentioned, sprite animations are now improved and clearer, indicating the types of attacks they will perform and also for flashiness sake :D. It's nothing major but it makes the visual experience much better anyway. Most dungeons have also been restructured, streamlined and "compressed", such that they are generally smaller in size on every stage of a dungeon so that monster hunting on each stage is no longer a mountain climbing expedition or sprint marathon before meeting them. Some stages remain the same however, especially those troublesome jump stages. But that's ok, traversing them is still part of the fun.



Allow me to also mention how Dodging benefits players not just for combat purposes. Since Dodging can be activated anytime out of combat, it becomes an extra action available for use in mid-air especially on jump stages. This could mean a big difference for some characters (not all) where the Dodge could bridge a distance gap that could not be normally closed by their default maneuvers. I say "some", because indeed, not all of their Dodges work that effectively. Particular mention goes to those using "Aerial Maneuvers" and "Ground Rolls", not so fortunate for the "Teleports" and "Dash-Throughs" - for the lack of official terms and named by myself as such. Sorry if they sound bad (  ̄っ ̄)

Aerial Maneuver users gain not only additional horizontal distance but also vertically, it is essentially an upward diagonal movement and thus allows characters to otherwise reach platforms that were previously only a little out of reach and above them.

Users of this type of Dodge include: Lire, Ronan, Amy, Asin and Edel

Ground Roll, despite the name can be used in mid-air and is simply a tumble roll similar to Jin's style. While Jin himself is better off using his own roll because it carries his speed and inertia, others like Rufus benefit from this movement.

Users of this type of Dodge include: Elesis, Ryan, Jin, Sieghart, Zero, Rufus and Lime

Teleport users aren't so lucky because of the delay caused by blinking to their projected location. The action reduces them to normal jump speed and thus not only loses distance but requires the player to dash again out of the Dodge move, which by then is usually too late.

Users of this type of Dodge include: Arme, Lass, Mari, Dio and Ley

*I listed Arme as a Teleport user, but her movement type is a actually that of a Ground Roll, as it provides her moving inertia when she Dodges.

Dash-Throughs are a slowed down type of dash which unfortunately do not provide enough inertia to carry them across the air like the others could. The only two users of this move are Rin and Veigas, but Rin has the dominant advantage at Lv56 to use one of her techniques for high speed upward movement, so Dodge is a moot point for her in this case.

To obtain the Dodge skill for all characters, they must individually enter Gorgos' Dungeon and complete the assigned mission (one run will suffice). A scroll will then be earned for you to learn Dodge.


Ranking System

The primary role of the system to the player is additional experience that is decided by the final rank achieved at the end of the dungeon until the "Complete" message is displayed. This condition means that any attacks that may potentially drop your rank even after the boss is slain will take effect, so due diligence on the player's part should be taken until all remaining enemy attacks have fully subsided. This is especially so for missions that demand a certain rank achievement.

Its secondary purpose is the assessment of teammates, and of yourself. While it serves no real purpose from the game's point-of-view, it acts as an assessing instrument for who you are playing with.

The assumptions that follow each rank are just generalised concepts and observations I've made with players in my rooms, but please don't take them too offensively as I refer to no particular person. The rankings are as follows from good to worst. All bonuses are claimed only when a dungeon is completed.

SS - 15% exp bonus
Tough, yet not so tough to achieve. It depends pretty much on the player's skill to maintain as little damage taken as possible, although some characters will have it harder than others by virtue of their offensive capabilities and limitations. Most luxuriously equipped characters will easily obtain this rank, but gross negligence on their part will easily strip them of this rank.

S - 10% exp bonus
The most common rank for any and most veteran players. Give and take, some hits have been taken that keeps you away from SS.

A - 6% exp bonus
The most common rank for players climbing to veterancy. Usually true for players whom don't have the luxury of owning extravagantly powerful equipment, yet; As prolonged combat due to lacking offensive strength puts them at viable risk of taking damage.

B - 3% exp bonus
Common rank for inexperienced players. One step above the default level, these players have the basic idea of combat tactics but are still prone to taking too many hits that reduce their ranks too often.

C - No exp bonus
Default starting rank. Also players who don't perform too well in general. Normally, not something you would get end game though.

D - No exp bonus

E - No exp bonus

F - No e- How could you possibly expect any bonus!?
You have to completely suck to get this rank. But this is the rank you get for failing a dungeon completely and otherwise.

I will not delve into algorithmical research on how the ranking system calculates it's values because there's just no real point in doing so.

1) SS ranks can be achieved by anyone and anywhere, even if you're just curb-stomping Trial Forest with a Lv85 character.

2) You retain your last rank earned if you get KO'ed in a dungeon that gets completed by your teammates eventually.

3) The amount of rank gauge increase/decrease is somewhat proportional to the damage you deal or receive. Fact: A rare case where you can simply achieve SS rank just from the 1st stage in Nightmare Circus. We don't know why but there's no purpose in finding out why either.

4) The gauge in any rank category will slowly decrease if you decide to idle when enemies are still present on the battlefield. Once a stage is cleared however, the gradual decrease stops.

5) Your rank will still decrease while staying dead in a team run, as long as enemies are still alive.


Mission Streamlining

Missions are now given as a complete string from the beginning, with different but similar criteria in most dungeons. Missions strings are indicated by X-Y, where "X" is the total number in the string while "Y" is the current mission you are at within the string.

To this effect of streamlining, Dungeon difficulties now only consist of a Normal and Hell Mode, in which the latter is never used for missions. Each mission no longer requires you to run them multiple times and the individual criteria are often completed within one run, unless you flunk it.

On the player's part, whenever they step foot into a new dungeon, they have to click a button to "Acquire Mission" for their runs. From Alcubra onwards to Archimedia, Special "Epic" level missions will automatically register themselves in your list, requiring you to complete that mission first before being able to acquire the main string of missions. The "Epic" missions grant you "Epic" level equipment that are relative to the dungeon/continent.

The types of mission categories you have to perform in general are as follows. Take note that not all continents/dungeons feature the same kind of missions. Again, remember - They can be completed in one run. (remind me if I miss any)

1) Complete "X" Dungeon.
2) Kill "X" no. of specific monster.
3) Kill "X" no. of monsters that are within +- 2/5 of your level.*/**
4) Achieve "X" no. of back-attacks.
5) Achieve "X" no. of combos.***
6) Defeat "Sub-boss" / "Boss" (of the current dungeon you are in).
7) Use "X" skill no. of times.
8) Complete dungeon within "X" minutes.
9) Complete dungeon with "X" grade (or above).
10) Avoid being hit "X" no. of times.
11) Use less than "X" no. of potions.

* These mission types are not restricted to the current dungeon and can be brought over to another dungeon for completion as long as the levels are within its conditions.

** Monsters killed in Dimension Door are not accountable.

*** Only requires you to reach that number, not sustain it till end game. Once reached, getting hit doesn't matter anymore.


New Dungeoning Experience

The new elements of dungeoning are now quite synergistic with one another if you think about it.

1) You have one life - It also means if you dick around too much, you're put out of action, and those scarce bonuses of yours won't be enough to carry you through if you keep wasting them. (The item separation has also made this inconvenient)

2) Enemy response increased - The enemy isn't idling around anymore, and they will quickly counterattack against you if you aren't paying attention. Those attacks will hurt quite substantially as well.

3) Enemy attack increased - With increased enemy response, so has their attack power. Not paying attention is one thing, complacency will only incapacitate you faster.

4) Mob HP increased - Such a convenient formula; It just means these swift, hard hitting enemies now get to live a little longer so they can crowd around you and moles- I mean, smack you to bits.
Also, do take note that having more players adds to total enemy HP %.

5) Skills aren't all as powerful as they used to be - Because of the HP increment, some of these skills that used to deal serious damage to mobs now only do as much as half or no longer OHKO them.

6) Player ability is now everything - With enemies being reinforced so many ways, especially with their new aggressive AI, trying to maintain/increase your rank while being chased by 4-6 monsters everywhere isn't as easy as before.

7) Your rank matters to your ego - That's right, your ability counts. Nothing speaks of useless like a Lv85 getting anything below A ranks, for general measure. Could be worse if you're running around with lower level players, since players can view each others ranks.

8) Playing with your A-game ;) - Because now the rank system reminds/mocks you about how little or how bad you suck. That's our egos talking to us.

And of course, that's my sarcastic tongue at work.

The main draw here is how the regular mobs have become annoyingly persistent than bosses are. But it eliminates the old time-wasting strategies of pulling monsters in for an AoE skill. Now, they come running towards you willingly, some begging to die almost immediately.

Bosses though, have become much easier to kill, albeit some of them remain dangerous if you aren't too careful because their attacks have become increasingly lethal instead (S rank equipment sometimes doesn't cut it)


To Conclude

The new system is quite the motivating game factor. Not only do I get to self-assess my performances, it also provides the difficulty I had desired long ago. Although the bosses have become easier in a strangely inverse situation compared to regular mobs, it has allowed my other characters to progress further because they were previously hindered by bosses that took to long to kill, and my characters don't have the gear to cut it - Also because I like solo-ing a lot more than teamplay, but can you blame me for such a selfish desire? ┐( ̄ヘ ̄)┌   

Cypherix for one, definitely welcomes this new change.


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