The Daily Grind: What are your favorite MMO dungeons?

    
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If a theme has emerged in my 2016 gaming habits so far, it has to be my renewed love of running dungeons in MMORPGs. Between Final Fantasy XIV, Lord of the Rings Online, and World of Warcraft, I’ve been chowing down on old-fashioned small group content — and enjoying it immensely. I’m not even doing it for the epic loot but for the fun of the run itself.

I think there’s something neat about well-designed dungeons in these games. They tell a story, both narratively and through the environment. They give a chance to be on a team that pulls together to overcome an obstacle. And there are some pretty creative mechanics and set pieces to check out along the way.

What are your favorite dungeons in MMOs and why? What makes for a really well-designed and enjoyable instance that you don’t mind repeating?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Defector1980
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Defector1980

I used to spent a lot of time in Deceit back in the UO days. Lich Lords were pretty lucrative. You just had to watch out for thieves and murderers. Also, quite a lot of Destard with my bard/mage.

schmidtcapela
Guest
schmidtcapela

It depends.

If I have a whole day, and a group made only of friends that enjoy the same kinds of dungeons I do and don’t care for rushing, and I will never need to do the dungeons more than perhaps two or three times in order to get everything I could ever want from it, then something like the old school WoW dungeons is great. Long, non-linear, feels like an extended adventure; it’s something I usually don’t find in multiplayer games, much less MMOs.

Those conditions are hard to come by, though. Particularly the free time; those last few years I, for the most time, haven’t been able to set aside for gaming a predictable block of time larger than about half an hour (I might be able to stay longer, but I can’t tell beforehand, so I absolutely can’t commit to any longer content). And the fact I wouldn’t be willing to repeat the dungeon more than a couple times make content longevity, well, just not great at all.

When those conditions aren’t present I prefer something more on the quick and easy side. Pick a group of players, without the need for any fancy coordination (or, better yet, make coordination influence the time to get through the dungeon instead of the success chance), and get through the whole dungeon in 15-25 minutes, like the WoW dungeons by the time the LFD was added. It’s not exactly an adventure; instead, it’s a quick thrill not unlike playing a bit of Mario Kart or Street Fighter online.

Or, TL DR: I used to like content like old BRD in the past, now I like content more akin to Utgarde Keep or even The Violet Hold.

schmidtcapela
Guest
schmidtcapela

Tatwi 
I’m kinda on the same boat. I liked every WotLK dungeon (yeah, even Nexus and CoT), but what came after… meh.

It’s part of why I left in Cataclysm. I liked doing chain LFD heroics with total strangers, liked jumping into old content to work on the few things I had skipped, and liked leveling new alts through the old world; Cataclysm made LFD heroics with total strangers a huge pain, removed the portals that allowed me to do bits of old content without getting bored with all the dreadful travel WoW has, and replaced the old world leveling content with something so linear I couldn’t bring myself to do it even twice (and I did it the first time with my main before Cataclysm even launched, so I couldn’t bear to work on even a single alt).

schmidtcapela
Guest
schmidtcapela

annoyedbadger Oleg Chebeneev SorriorDragneel 
I liked both of those… when I had the free time for it and lucked in getting a nice group that wanted to play it like an extended adventure.

They would also make for terrific single-player scenarios.

When you don’t have enough time for it, or when you get a group where even a single person wants to rush through it, though, those two instances are a veritable pain in the behind, to the point I nowadays would prefer for something like them to either not exist in a new MMO or for it to have a solo mode.

EpicViking 
The Water Temple wasn’t my favorite, but it was still enjoyable. But then, there is very little Zelda-related that I don’t enjoy (apart from the CDi games).

EpicViking
Guest
EpicViking

SorriorDragneel I bet you loved every second of the Water Temple in OoT aswell, you bastard you.

EpicViking
Guest
EpicViking

Anything in Vanguard. The non instanced dungeons made it awesome to explore, you could find this giant castle “area” fight your way through its guards, and eventually find a random party of other players that got in there some other way, and join up for whatever dangers lied inside the castle itself. Things like that just dont happen in a “just for you!” instanced dungeon.

EO_Lonegun
Guest
EO_Lonegun

I really like the dungeons (strikes) in Destiny. They are organically a part of the open game worlds which is refreshing. The small dungeons in ESO are a close second in that I am an explorer and when I come across a strange door, you know I am going to have to check it out.

malrats
Guest
malrats

I’ll always have a spot in my heart for EQ and EQ2 dungeons (literally everyone one I’ve ever visited) because they not only had the EverQuest feel that’s so special to me, but I could actually run into other people! Which for me, it may single-handedly be the most important aspect of an MMO: chance meetings. The more places for that to happen, the better.
After that, all of the really long vanilla WoW dungeons during leveling were a blast and felt a whole lot more social than the rinse and repeat grinds of present day (where you’re lucky to get a “hello” from someone, let alone conversation).
I’m sure there are dungeons like these in other MMOs (DAoC and AC, I bet), but I never did get far enough in them to experience any of it.

Koshelkin
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Koshelkin

ZenDadaist Koshelkin At one point in time I knew his complete final speech by heart.

ZenDadaist
Guest
ZenDadaist

Polyanna Temple of Train Wrecks <3