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How Should Dungeons Be Fixed In the Sequel?

The Bread Pirate

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I'm sure people have brought up BotW2 dungeons before, but I wanted to share my two cents worth.

I made a video for this subject, but the summary is this; BotW2 should make dungeons feel like a more natural part of the world by using overworld elements in dungeons and by using dungeon elements in the overworld. (Ex. The ability to buy dungeon keys from merchants / Finding NPC's in Dungeons)

I wanted to hear what you guys think!

It's a subject I don't hear a lot about, but I believe is really important.

 
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Really all they need to do is go the opposite direction BotW took; dungeons should be unique from one another and hold challenges that make you stop for a moment and think about what you're supposed to do. Atmoshpere is also important, since that's what ultimately leaves an impression on the player, whether it's a spooky, mysterious or any other kind of vibe.

So it seems to me that dungeon quality boils down to three keys: distinction, difficulty, and presentation. Getting lazy on any of these means a forgettable dungeon.

In short, they need to put some effort into the dungeons and not waste their resources on B.S. like the shrines.
 

The Bread Pirate

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In short, they need to put some effort into the dungeons and not waste their resources on the shrines.

Yah, Shrines were lackluster, but I would still want Mini-Dungeons in the sequel. Stuff like caves, mines, enemy infested ravines, areas similar to the lost woods in Twilight Princess, and the such. As long as dungeons get the attention they deserve.


Atmosphere is needed....
If they add loftwings in the sequel then we'll get more than enough "atmosphere!" (Hee hee, see what I did there?)
 

MW7

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I like your ideas. You used Legend of Zelda as your example primarily, but I think A Link to the Past did the best incorporating the overworld environment into dungeons. Skull Woods is the obvious example, but there were other dungeons that had some additional exits like Turtle Rock and the Desert Palace. There's a lot of potential to bring the overworld concepts into dungeons. City in the Sky from Twilight Princess had a shop, and all the Eldin dungeons in Skyward Sword had NPCs incorporated into the dungeons.

As far as keys go, I think your ideas would work well but would require different designs of dungeons. Dungeons in 3D Zelda games seem more scripted, not necessarily linear, but you have to do a specific set of actions to progress past a certain point. There are very few examples of skippable keys (without glitches) in 3d Zelda games, but there are tons of examples in the first 3 games of the series. Letting keys be obtained outside of dungeons and/or be used between dungeons could lead to some creative dungeon ideas. There could be a whole dungeon that requires quests outside of the dungeon be completed in order to obtain its keys - like a Yiga hideout that can be completed by tracking down captains of the clan outside of the dungeon.

As far as the other dungeon ideas not emphasized in your video, I really would like to see traditional dungeons return. Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess had things I didn't like, but their dungeons were far superior to the Divine Beasts. I would like to see traditional items come back as well, but I think it can be done without sacrificing the nonlinearity of Breath of the Wild. A Link Between Worlds made dungeon items optional bonuses which is a possibility, or dungeons could be designed such that you aren't limited by which items you collected before.

Another possibility is staggering sets of dungeons like A Link to the Past or Ocarina of Time. In other words give us basic puzzle solving tools in the first few dungeons, and then set the player free to tackle the rest however they want (more true of A Link to the Past). Letting players figure things out by trial and error to see what's possible is fine too - with a very strict definition of glitchless, you can almost beat the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time before Forest and Fire but you can get the longshot. The longshot then opens up the path to Spirit and you are stuck in Spirit until you can go back in time which isn't possible until you beat Forest. A Link to the Past has my preferred approach to dungeon progression as it's a more open version of Ocarina of Time. If you imagine Ocarina of Time with some arbitrary limitations removed (remove the rocks by Zora's River for child Link, let adult Link use the slingshot so the bow is only a power increase and enables magical arrow use, let adult Link go back in time immediately, and let the Shadow Temple open up the first time you go to Kakariko as adult), you have a very open game.
 

The Bread Pirate

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I like your ideas. You used Legend of Zelda as your example primarily... ...you have a very open game.
Wow, I never imagined someone would give such a great analysis of my video! Thank you so much.

I haven't played A Link to the Past in years, but your comments about it being the best at connecting the world/dungeons makes me excited to try it again this week.

I also am a big fan of your ideas for making games like Ocarina of Time more open. The original Legend of Zelda was the same way since you could collect items from later dungeons before you completed earlier dungeons. One of my favorite examples involves the raft and ladder.

The raft is found in dungeon 3, and the ladder is found in dungeon 4 (which requires the raft to access).

When I play through the game, I don't finish the dungeons 3 or 4 right away. Instead, I snag those two items and then use them to get the two Heart Containers on the East Coast which makes the dungeon bosses WAY easier to defeat.

It's this type of open-world gameplay I wish Nintendo would add to BotW.
 

Bowsette Plus-Ultra

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Fixed? That seems like a poor way to put it. I'd suggest that dungeons as they were before BotW were broken. They were repetitive affairs that would fairy you along a very strict path with little room for deviation. You'd find a dungeon map, then a compass (but sometimes that order is mixed up. Woo) and then a dungeon item. Usually, the dungeon item is useful only in very particular circumstances and then never again.

Afterwards you would fight a boss. You'd hit it once with the dungeon item and then smack it a couple times with your sword, usually in patterns of three. Most bosses in modern 3D Zelda are so non-aggressive that you have to stand in one place just to be dealt the tiny shred of damage they do to you. Heck, your interaction with them is so limited that they can barely be called bosses. They're more like slightly dynamic puzzles.

So no, dungeons don't necessarily need to be fixed. I think they could be changed up in terms of aesthetic. Make them more visually appealing, but keep the more dynamic nature that the Divine Beasts introduced. The same goes for the Blights. While I think they should be changed up aesthetically, I want a boss. I don't want an angry puzzle that just kind of wiggles it around and then I smack it three times.
 

MW7

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Wow, I never imagined someone would give such a great analysis of my video! Thank you so much.

I haven't played A Link to the Past in years, but your comments about it being the best at connecting the world/dungeons makes me excited to try it again this week.

I also am a big fan of your ideas for making games like Ocarina of Time more open. The original Legend of Zelda was the same way since you could collect items from later dungeons before you completed earlier dungeons. One of my favorite examples involves the raft and ladder.

The raft is found in dungeon 3, and the ladder is found in dungeon 4 (which requires the raft to access).

When I play through the game, I don't finish the dungeons 3 or 4 right away. Instead, I snag those two items and then use them to get the two Heart Containers on the East Coast which makes the dungeon bosses WAY easier to defeat.

It's this type of open-world gameplay I wish Nintendo would add to BotW.
You're welcome! A Link to the Past is missing some of the elements that you discussed such as NPCs in dungeons (I can only think of one example) but excels in terms of interactivity with the outside world. Skull Woods (dark world #3) is the best example but Turtle Rock (dark world #7) has a cool moment when you exit the dungeon on a side of Death Mountain and can reach fairies by warping to the light world and going into a cave. There's a lot of neat ideas from various Zelda games that could come together to make really interesting dungeons that connect to the outside world. I don't know why some of the really good ideas from early Zelda games went away.

I tend to play A Link to the Past like you're describing Legend of Zelda. Dark world 4 has the item that unlocks the upgraded sword, and all you need to access that is the item from dark world 1. The item that allows access to the final sword upgrade is unlocked after beating numbers 5 and 6. I usually prioritize getting those upgrades and come back to finish off bosses that are left. Majora's Mask is another game that progresses off of dungeon items, and you can beat 90% of the game before even fighting the first boss.

Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword were the games where the order of dungeons once the game reached the second half "Collect X amount of these special things" portion of the game started being dictated for no particular reason. For example, there's no reason Earth Temple needs to be before Wind Temple in Wind Waker. In Twilight Princess there's no reason the order needs to be Arbiter's Grounds, Snowpeak Ruins, Temple of Time, and City in the Sky when the only important story element occurs before City in the Sky. In Skyward Sword there are a couple of uses of dungeon items in the order Ancient Cistern, Sand Ship, and Fire Sanctuary that would need tweaking but that order also had little reason to be rigid. Breath of the Wild removed these constraints but threw out a lot of cool things in the process.
 

The Bread Pirate

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So no, dungeons don't necessarily need to be fixed. I think they could be changed up in terms of aesthetic. Make them more visually appealing, but keep the more dynamic nature that the Divine Beasts introduced. The same goes for the Blights. While I think they should be changed up aesthetically, I want a boss. I don't want an angry puzzle that just kind of wiggles it around and then I smack it three times.
That's a stance I haven't heard before. I see your point though. I wouldn't want BotW2 to make predictable dungeons either. Exploration is based upon unpredictability after all!

Still, if exploration is made better with unpredictability, then couldn't we argue that BotW's dungeons were also predictable?

The aesthetic is always the same, the rewards are identical (champion's ability + heart), you always have to find terminals, and the plot surrounding dungeons is a copy-paste (Divine Beast Terrorizes People, Link Finds Champion Descendant, Champion Helps Enter Link Dungeon, Dungeon is Defeated, Peace is Restored).

In terms of combat, there is little challenge outside of the boss. Plus, there are only two enemy types in each dungeon! (Cursed Skulls, Guardian Scouts, and Glowing Eye Balls if you are super generous.)

You said that "dungeons as they were before BotW were broken", but that doesn't mean that BotW's dungeons weren't also broken.

Aesthetic was something which you said should be improved, but I'm curious what else you think should be improved?

You're welcome! A Link to the Past is missing some of the elements that you discussed such as NPCs in dungeons (I can only think of one example) but excels in terms of interactivity with the outside world. Skull Woods (dark world #3) is the best example but Turtle Rock (dark world #7) has a cool moment when you exit the dungeon on a side of Death Mountain and can reach fairies by warping to the light world and going into a cave. There's a lot of neat ideas from various Zelda games that could come together to make really interesting dungeons that connect to the outside world. I don't know why some of the really good ideas from early Zelda games went away.

I tend to play A Link to the Past like you're describing Legend of Zelda. Dark world 4 has the item that unlocks the upgraded sword, and all you need to access that is the item from dark world 1. The item that allows access to the final sword upgrade is unlocked after beating numbers 5 and 6. I usually prioritize getting those upgrades and come back to finish off bosses that are left. Majora's Mask is another game that progresses off of dungeon items, and you can beat 90% of the game before even fighting the first boss.

Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword were the games where the order of dungeons once the game reached the second half "Collect X amount of these special things" portion of the game started being dictated for no particular reason. For example, there's no reason Earth Temple needs to be before Wind Temple in Wind Waker. In Twilight Princess there's no reason the order needs to be Arbiter's Grounds, Snowpeak Ruins, Temple of Time, and City in the Sky when the only important story element occurs before City in the Sky. In Skyward Sword there are a couple of uses of dungeon items in the order Ancient Cistern, Sand Ship, and Fire Sanctuary that would need tweaking but that order also had little reason to be rigid. Breath of the Wild removed these constraints but threw out a lot of cool things in the process.
Yah, exactly! Nintendo basically shot itself in the foot by making those games unnecessarily linear. The only reason I can see for them sticking to such restrictions would be in order to incorporate multi-item puzzles (Ex. Items from previous dungeons being used with current dungeon items to make the puzzle more interesting).

Anywho, I've been looking for a game to use as a let's play on my channel while we're waiting for BotW, and I think A Link to the Past is a great fit. I'll probably be recording it after I finish my current series. Thanks again for the idea!
 
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Bowsette Plus-Ultra

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That's a stance I haven't heard before. I see your point though. I wouldn't want BotW2 to make predictable dungeons either. Exploration is based upon unpredictability after all!

Still, if exploration is made better with unpredictability, then couldn't we argue that BotW's dungeons were also predictable?

The aesthetic is always the same, the rewards are identical (champion's ability + heart), you always have to find terminals, and the plot surrounding dungeons is a copy-paste (Divine Beast Terrorizes People, Link Finds Champion Descendant, Champion Helps Enter Link Dungeon, Dungeon is Defeated, Peace is Restored).

In terms of combat, there is little challenge outside of the boss. Plus, there are only two enemy types in each dungeon! (Cursed Skulls, Guardian Scouts, and Glowing Eye Balls if you are super generous.)

You said that "dungeons as they were before BotW were broken", but that doesn't mean that BotW's dungeons weren't also broken.

Aesthetic was something which you said should be improved, but I'm curious what else you think should be improved?
Dungeons in BotW definitely have a problem with routine. Honestly, it's an issue that persists throughout all of BotW. Instead of lots of smaller, unique locations of interest, we're left with more than a hundred shrines that look nearly identical. All four dungeons share the exact same aesthetic and all the bosses (barring Ganon himself) are nearly identical.

I do think it works better in BotW, because movement throughout the dungeons is a lot less restrictive. Whereas as you're confined mostly to straight lines in previous Zelda dungeons, BotW gives you the options to jump about, manipulate the dungeon, and glide to a higher level. It definitely needs to be mixed up and I'll be sorely disappointed if BotW doesn't do just that, but they're more fun to navigate.

Looking just at the shrines and Divine Beasts as they currently are, I'd add some aesthetic changes based on biome. Vah Ruta could be covered in moss and plant life after having been beneath water for hundreds of years. Vah Rudania could be scorched and deformed from so much time spent near Death Mountain. Perhaps Vah Naboris has been worn away by the desert wind.
 

The Bread Pirate

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I would have preferred actual dungeons in BotW, but shrines are fun too, so it would be nice to have both
Elaborating on that, I think a variety of shrine and dungeon types would vastly improve the game.

I believe it was Boss Keys (The youtube channel) which identified three types of Zelda dungeons.
1. Puzzle boxes
2. Exploration
3. Combat

BotW's shrines and dungeons made for good puzzle boxes but stank at combat and exploration.

Combat shrines are repetitive and exploration was non-existent practically!

I think the sequel should incorporate a better balance of the three.
 

Bowsette Plus-Ultra

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I would have preferred actual dungeons in BotW, but shrines are fun too, so it would be nice to have both
But what would you consider to be dungeons? What makes the Divine Beasts not dungeons?

BotW's shrines and dungeons made for good puzzle boxes but stank at combat and exploration.
But were dungeons from previous 3D games really more open? They usually had rigid paths you followed with little deviation. You'd find the dungeon item, then unlock a couple doors you couldn't find before, then fight the boss.
 

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