Daggerfall Random Dungeons: Yep, They Suck Again

(Originally on Google Plus)

Wee bit of a followup to that last Skyrim/Daggerfall thing I just posted. The NEXT random dungeon I did in Daggerfall after that one was tremendously frustrating; in order to get to the (randomized!) target point, I needed to open a trapdoor using a switch. The (not-so-funny) funny part was that the switch was in a different part of the maze entirely, and it was a wall-mounted decoration that just looked like any other bit of Daggerfall maze decoration. Worse yet, it was suspended over a pit: trying to get at it was honestly quite dangerous.

So, yeah, I’m right back to thinking that the random dungeons in Daggerfall were a terrible idea. Sure, the dungeons in Skyrim aren’t really that compelling. There’s some fun encounters in there, some nice decoration, but they clearly aren’t as much of a focal point as they were in the first two Elder Scrolls games. I think Daggerfall very clearly illustrates why they went in that direction, though. I’m finding myself deliberately choosing whatever options keep me OUT of the things, and finding myself fully prepared to use whatever tricks are available to go through the things quickly when I do.

It isn’t even a case of either my character’s  capabilities or my own. I’m more savvy, and my character gets around much, much quicker and is a much better fighter. It’s just crap design, where you expect things of players that you never bothered to train them to do.

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3 thoughts on “Daggerfall Random Dungeons: Yep, They Suck Again

  1. Bloodshot says:

    Daggerfall’s bigger dungeons may have been very confusing, but I played the game after I played Morrowind and Oblivion, and I find them way more compelling then anything I’ve ever come across in skyrim. If you just use your head, you can get through a lot of them. And also, more often then not, going in a deep dungeon in Daggerfall holds way more valuable rewards then it usually does in skyrim

    They are set up more akin to how older MMOs did dungeons. That’s what I like about them, large dungeons are scary places to go to, and you have to be prepared.

    It’s perfectly possible to just stick to the small graveyards and medium sized dungeons if you really can’t stand them though.

  2. Daggerfall’s random Dungeons & random quests can be illogical and frustrating but I love the fact that the randomness means you can just keep it coming… forever! None of the Morrowind onwards “You’ve reached the top of your guild, there’s nothing else to do” scenario.

    I admit that I do get very annoyed when I spend an hour searching a Dungeon, finding great items and then reloading from my pre-quest save cos the werecreature/fugitive/item just doesn’t seem to be anywhere.

    But it’s epic, open-ended and almost more real that way – you win some, you lose some! 🙂

    • craigbamford says:

      Good point. It was a part of Daggerfall’s status as a kinda-sorta Glorious Failure: it had a lot of truly amazing ideas, and when it worked it was fantastic, but it just never quite…worked.

      Those gigantic baroque dungeons really were a great idea, but they needed a proper mapping system to go with them, and needed rigorous playtesting to ensure that players could always get to the goal items. Neither really happened, probably because they just didn’t have the time and resources, and so we end up where we are now.

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