Mar 03

Things Dungeon Monkey Eternal can learn from GearHead 1


Continuing from yesterday’s post, there are also a lot of things that DME could take from GH1.

Goals require meaningful choices

One of the great things about GearHead is that there are a lot of paths for the player to take, each with their own risks and rewards. Many of these paths require particular skill sets; if you want to recover the Argoseyer, you had better be really good at personal scale combat. The player will make different choices depending on whether they want money, experience, reputation, gear, or to practice a particular skill. This allows long term planning and anticipation.

In Dungeon Monkey Eternal, on the other hand, every adventure is pretty much like the adventure before it. Due to random generation some might offer more experience, others more gold, but that is beyond the player’s ability to control.

Fairness is overrated

The first time Xiap walked into Snake Lake, he was attacked by an assassin that he had no chance of defeating. During the fight he ran into a mall and bought a gun. With the help of some nearby guardians, the assassin was defeated. It was awesome.

At the moment, DME scales adventures to exactly match the level of the party. This can feel uncomfortably safe.

NPCs should matter

One of the most important things the PC should do in GearHead is to make connections with NPCs. You need people to ask for rumours, people to give you missions, and lancemates to join your party. The act of making alliances with certain NPCs is likely to make enemies of other NPCs. Every NPC is potentially important.

In DME, on the other hand, most NPCs are just scenery. The few NPCs that are important are usually only important once, and once their part in the quest is over you will never need to see them again. I think adding dynamic plots and a GH style chatting system would help out here.

Another advantage that GH1 NPCs have over DME NPCs is portraits. Having a recognizable face, even if it’s a face shared by dozens of NPCs in the game world, gives the GH1 NPCs a sense of personality that the DME NPCs lack.

There will be consequences

Finally, choices in GH1 can have lasting repercussions. Fight the Bone Devil Gang for the Federation Defense Force and you’ll get trouble the next time you try to enter Kist. Steal one little antique vase and the Guardians will never let you forget about it.

Actions in DME should change things in the persistent world. Of course this would be easier if there was a real campaign world, as opposed to just a Moria-esque between-mission village. It would also be easier with dynamic plots.


  1. Michael Horvath

    Are there any plans to further develop GH1’s “tactics mode”? I.e. the mode with Action Points that you could spend on movement or combat. (Or was it “arena mode”? I don’t recall exactly.)

    1. Joseph Hewitt

      No plans to develop tactics mode further in GH1.

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