An extended idea for Dungeons in Boundless

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So I’ve been thinking about some core aspects of Boundless, and it came to me that dungeons would work very well with Boundless’ portal/warp system. So, I decided I’d do a bit of a writeup with some ideas and suggestions for how I think this would best work.

Knowing that Wonderstruck is an indie developer with a small team, I’m going to focus on this idea with a minimal amount of additional mechanics to make it as actionable and easy to implement as possible.

The Boundless Dungeon:

The Core Gameplay

  1. When a player (or players) want to enter a dungeon, they must craft portal conduits and the Dungeon Key. This is a new item that is required to open dungeon portals, and has bunch of types that can be made, which we will get into in a minute.
  2. Once these items are prepped, the player must open the dungeon portal from an appropriate location. These locations can be discovered by adding a portal conduit to the atlas, and they respawn regularly similarly to surface resources.
  3. The world that you decide to open a portal on is important. The tier and type of world that you open the portal on are what determine what type of resources you will acquire from succeeding at the dungeon and collecting your phat lootz. A tier 3 metal world will provide ore-type resources, and will be much easier than a tier 6 metal world.
  4. When the players enter the dungeon, they are portaled to a unique location that can be generated procedurally, similarly to how planets are generated. However, these locations are only temporary and the players cannot stay on them indefinitely. Eventually players will be forced out of the dungeon by a possible variety of mechanics:
  5. Dying will remove players from the dungeon. When a player has to return to the sanctuary, they are then returned to the location where the portal was initially created and must try again. Groups of players have an advantage here, where players can resurrect each other. I would add an additional layer here where deaths reduce the stability of the planet, so a certain number of player deaths would eventually result in players being kicked out entirely.
  6. Time is a factor. Over time, the stability of the planet falls and the corruption increases. At first, players will need atmospheric protection to survive based on the planet they created the portal on, but as time goes on, the required protection to survive will increase. Eventually, players will need the protection pies to survive at all, and finally the planet will be too unstable to survive on at all.
  7. The goals of the dungeon can also vary procedurally and be a few different types:
  • Scavenger hunt dungeons would scatter loot chests across the map. These would be surrounded by powerful enemies and portals similar to meteors, and players would chase them down and loot as many as they can while trying to survive.
  • Horde mode dungeons would create a single defensive point that players are to protect. Waves of enemies that become harder and harder come to attack, and if the core totem is destroyed, all is lost and players are kicked out of the dungeon. After every X waves, players can choose to unleash the totem to look the accumulated spoils.
  • Stronghold dungeons create a single point that the players are attempting to attack and destroy the core of the stronghold to receive loot.
  • Stealth dungeons have monsters that are incredibly strong, and the goal is to sneak around them and avoid their notice while collecting loot.
  1. Once the objective of a dungeon is complete, or the players die and return to the sanctum (or return to the sanctum via the menu), the dungeon is completed and players are able to return home. Objective-type dungeons can provide portals home for players, and players could use warp conduits to warp back to the exit point (but probably not anywhere else?).

The Dungeon Key
The key to entering a dungeon could be crafted in a variety of ways to provide players with a bunch of ways to play. Important to this is the scaling mechanic that exists currently for meteors; it could be co-opted to give players some important options.

  • Personal keys would provide a single player a portal to the dungeon. These are the cheapest, and provide the lowest reward, but are scaled to allow a single player a chance at the loot. Requires 2 vertically placed portal conduits, as well as the key resources.
  • Party Keys would provide a small portal, maybe 2x2 or 3x3 portal conduits and would allow 2-5 players to enter the dungeon.
  • Guild Keys are even larger, probably 4x4-5x5 or so, but would allow 5-15 people into the portal to complete the dungeon.
  • If rather than having the portals be planet-based, there could also be “tiers” and “types” of keys that determine the challenge and reward level of the dungeon.

I feel it’s important to separate the keys into tiers because a solo player won’t have the resources of a guild leader (Looking at you Aridhol) and it’s important to allow those players to be able to experience the dungeon content as well. I personally love doing solo stuff and don’t want a dungeon to be off limits for me if no one else is around who I play with.

Dungeon Cooldowns
Depending on the reward of the dungeons, spamming them could become an issue. As we saw with the Forgemasters mining op, players working together can create a huge strain on the system, but with dungeons there isn’t this limiting factor because they’re generated on-demand. These could work in a few different ways as well, but the one that makes the most sense to me is a per-planet lockout that will rate-limit players to keep them from just spamming dungeons all day every day.

This isn’t necessarily necessary, but might be important for balancing the economy of the game and would be an easy stopgap measure for first implementation.

Dungeon Balance
Resources from dungeons shouldn’t be overwhelming or it defeats the purpose of beng a new way to play. If they are the absolute best way to get something, then they are all that people will do to get that item. We saw this with bomb mining, where it was SO much better to do that than any other way, no one mined using hammers.

The Role of Dungeons
It’s important to discuss the role of dungeons in the game. In many games, dungeons are the endless grindfest to get the top tier gear and whatnot, but that doesn’t fit into the way that boundless is set up. Rather than having it be a gear grind or have any actually unique content, I think the dungeons in Boundless should serve a different purpose: to provide players with an alternate way to play the game.

The are many ways to play in Boundless: You can be a builder, a miner, a forger, a gatherer, a hunter, or even a trader. Most players are a combination of these things, with a focus on some and a preference against another.

Dungeons can expand this system to provide players who don’t prefer one type of play with a way to get those resources and tools that they otherwise might have trouble attaining without resorting to one of their disliked forms of play.

And Much Much More
Dungeons could be used for so much more and add so many aspects of the game, this just scratches the surface.

  • Creating the keys could be an “enchanting” mechanic akin to forging
  • Would be an awesome way to introduce new worlds
  • Could have interesting story implications
  • All sorts of new item possibilities

My favorite suggestion poll
A Proper Endgame

Dang, you go bro, love it, you got my thumbs up


I love the thought process behind this. Besides the stealth one, I could get behind all these different dungeon types.


YES PLEASE!! Devs, take notes!


Bump bump bump!


Thats why I’m in favor of separating the dungeon types by key type. They could require different materials to make and some people will prefer some dungeon types over others. If they are properly balanced reward-wise, people will choose the ones they like and can complete.


holy moly… thats just super!


This is actually a really inventive way to it. One thing that isn’t really explained to me however is how you would, in your proposed system, actually obtain the dungeon keys to begin with?

Perhaps the limiting factor for Dungeons could relate to how the keys are obtained rather than an arbitrary cooldown?


Well, my original idea was that they would be crafted, perhaps with their own bench or with another bench (maybe the centraforge). You could have it so that you forge a basic key and then use the centraforge to ehance it with the type of dungeon and the group type.

Personally, I think it would be cool if it was its own bench with its own mechanics, but that would potentially increase the difficulty of implementing it so putting it on an existing bench makes some sense.


I like the idea of making the keys a bit like forging. Different dungeon traits instead of boons. Maybe rewards instead of boons and more difficulty instead of defects (and then have quirks that’d be fun. Have a bouncy dungeon or something) and make it more balanced so no matter what you’ll get both defects and boons (quirks maybe optional to boost boon and defect bonuses). So there’s a sense of controllable randomness like with forging but a bit less controlled.

So... bored

brilliant idea


A cooldown is definitely necessary but maybe something like other MMOs. The first completion each day gives the best reward. Subsequent completes will still give rewards but at a lesser amount. That one completion per day could also apply to each tier. So 1 max reward per day for a T6, one max reward per day for a T5, etc

To stay on track with this being a community oriented game lets avoid the dungeon finder tool. But we definitely would need some type of in game guild or community chat system to make things easier to organize. We have discord for now i guess but as a ps4 player i never really keep that open while i play.

Great thought out idea btw


Ok so forging a dungeon instance sounds cool as hell! But the problem is im sure the balance in that would be difficult.
So maybe even just having monsters have a chance to drop them like trophies, and whichever type you get specifies dungeon difficulty


Another idea for dungeon keys

Portal conduits spawn randomly in the worlds. Break these to loot them. Similar to surface world resources but more rare. These random spawns have better loot than craftable dungeon tokens and would encourage and reward exploring the worlds. Possibly leading to more footfall for those random builds out in the wilderness in the process.


This is solid too, maybe also make them a rare drop from high tier meteorites too?


The only issue I have with this idea, is that it’s too MMORPG, and not Sandbox Creative.

Instead of A, using Portals, and B, having the Devs make it random. How about the PLAYERS build the Dungeon Areas?

Not just Dungeons, but other Challenages too. Puzzles, Jumping/Platforming, Finding Secrets, Mazes. Not just have it be Combat Focus, but CREAVTIVE Focus based on many designs. And have the Creators of the Dungeons fund the rewards, or have the rewards based off different factors.

City of Heroes, for example, allowed players to build their own quests and levels for the players. Allowing them to pick the look, how it’s shaped and design, how complicatedly long or simple and short it was, what enemies spawned, how high or low level the enemies were, even what skills and abilities the mid bosses and final bosses had. And at the end, had the reward based on all those factors. How long it was, how many enemies, their level compared to yours, and so on.


@Jirodyne This idea is good don’t get me wrong here. But neverwinter, a game I used to play has this exact thing and sure there are a handfull of players that did this very well. But that whole system of player made quests/dungeons got flooded with poorly made, exploitive, vulgar or offensive ones that even the devs of that game quit trying to sort and sift through them all.
Its a good idea on paper it just doesn’t work when put to the test with real people.
Edit Idk why it put your name mid sentence


That is true, with only 2 exceptions. The first, the idea to have players create it, mean that the players have to literally BUILD the areas themselves, including where the thing actually will be situation in the world, using Plots like every other plot in the game, just with special abilities. So if the game is ‘Flooded’ with them, then most of those will be in locations people arely visit, and there is the in game report tool which would get the place looked at and the creator punished.

Secondly, is that Neverwinter Online is a Free to Play. If someone trolls and gets banned, they can literally generate a hundred more free emails to create a hundred more free accounts within minutes and redo it forever. But Boundless costs $40, not many trolls that get banned are going to be able to fork over $40 again and again and again. Especially for such an obscoure game that Russian Hackers probably haven’t cracked and stolen any accounts to sell to hackers and trolls.


We are also looking at cryptic studios owned by perfect world. They have 200 plus devs just devoted to neverwinter, compared to WS (not sure exactly how many) with much less then that. They are already having a hard enough time with just the reports they get since the report option being put into effect. I just don’t think it would be possible for WS to keep up.
Also with having to add another object (plot with special attributes) would be just another strain on the servers, and other resources.
These things can get out of hand so I just want to state I’m not arguing or saying it CANT happen. Just my opinion on why I think the devs would shy from this.
I really do like the idea though @Jirodyne


I should hire you to write my GDD kek
my problem with instanced dungeons is that people will just grind 24/7 on those isolated instances and the main cities/portals in the main worlds will feel empty.

this happened in Albion Online and it’s sad to see empty cities in a mmo while everyone is in their own mini-world.

maybe they can just make the modular blocks/items for dungeons and let the players make their own dungeons with a sort of ‘spawn creeps portal’.

that will bring unlimited creativity potential to the players and i’m sure even some mods will born from that.