O3 design contradictions result in breakdown of cooperative aspect of Rotmg


This is gonna be kind of a long one y’all, get some tea and get cozy.

O3 is full of contradictory design choices that hurt the cooperative aspect of this game.tldr at bottom.

O3 was rumored and talked about for a long time. It was the clear direction the game was heading after the Exalt client was released. The hype was huge, so many people were hoping it would be the best thing ever, and to some people it is. To me there’s what it could have been, and what it became instead.

The presentation: Oryx 3 is going to be an epic endgame dungeon that encourages large group play, everyone in the realm will have to fight their hardest to see who makes it to the end of the most challenging boss fight yet.

Inherently public with semi-rare unlocker, basically a slightly more complex wine cellar incantation.
Original dungeon with adaptive hp scaling
Engaging challenging gameplay
New Tip top tier loot: exclusive source of t14/t7/t15 gear
Random one of four mini bosses
Introduces new mechanic: Stagger and Counter
Introduced Exaltations

It sounded really fun but each one of these “features” ends up being a problem in reality.

Inherently Public, Requires Three Runes
This is one of the best things about O3. It gets a large number of players involved when they make it past O2, which is pretty common to do. Incs are common enough that it feels like over 90% of O1 leads into O2. Runes however are so rare that it feels like fewer than 10% of O2s become and O3. It’s not something people expect for granted like O2, so it feels special when either a random player or Oryx himself places the Runes. When everyone goes in you get to watch the numbers decline as the battles unfold and it’s really thrilling to make it farther than you did previously up to your first complete.
The downside to this is that the rarity of the dungeon combined with its difficulty frustrates some players so they wish to have a controlled experience in the dungeon where they feel they are guaranteed to complete it. This is fair, since people actually can pay money for equipment and consumables for their character. When this happens it is undesirable to have random people who don’t know what they are doing and desirable to have third party organization and coaching. This is normally not a big deal for conventional dungeons, but for O3 this requires control over an entire realm. Players will attempt to obscure their O3 runs and keep casual players out. This counters the inherently public feature: the exclusivity and rarity of the Runes. Unlike Incantations, Runes are soulbound, making them feed power items for people without interest in doing O3. Shield runes are the tastiest, if you were wondering. I believe enabling Rune trading will improve the O3 situation if it can be assured Rune duping does not happen. It would still be better to preserve the magic of a random O3 than making Runes a little easier to acquire for players that want to run the dungeon.

Adaptive HP Scaling
This is something that is was really needed, as it makes small group and guild play much more fun and rewarding without negatively impacting public play at all. I haven’t personally felt what O3 is like with small groups vs. large groups in terms of hp scaling. I’m sure it feels really nice when there’s small numbers, but that’s kind of the issue: Oryx is designed to be the one dungeon that brings everyone together. O3 feels very much like the one place where the scaling should be unique due to the uniquely high dungeon cap of 85. The staggering amount of HP these bosses have in O3 with large groups is insane, and it takes a while to clear without the deadliest equipment. Therefore people wish to control their O3 raids desire players with high DPS to chunk away that HP which grows higher and faster with each additional member. There comes a point where it becomes harder with more people, which is the opposite experience expects from a massively cooperative game. I state again, this scaling doesn’t hurt public gameplay anywhere - EXCEPT O3, where this type of scaling was introduced. The dungeon was designed to be inherently public and potentially inclusive to massive amounts of players, then punishes them for being too numerous. Yikes.

Engaging Challenging Gameplay
This is another thing O3 does pretty well from what I’ve been able to experience. I’ve seen so much discussion about how to complete the various phases, a majority of which are very well designed. I and my guild mates have felt tons of accomplishment the first time I beat a mini, completed celestial, got our first completes, got whites, etc. (Getting 0 after beating a mini up got old immediately though when more accessible creatures like MBC always drop a guaranteed atk and defense but I can look past some things). It’s really cool that you have to clear all the minions before you can proceed in the dungeon as well.
The other hand though is that minion clearing itself isn’t really that engaging, like there isn’t much nuance other than drag 1, kill, repeat. There isn’t anything special among them that gets players to utilize various skills or tactics. The challenge and engagement ratio is heavily in bosses favor. The challenge is real though, which is great but creates a negative spiral when paired with the previous problems. Challenge + rarity makes people want control -> keeps inexperienced players out unless they bring rare gear for DPS to compensate for extreme scaling-> risk deters players from joining -> forfeit opportunities to improve, etc. It’s harder to get your foot in the door without tools like O3 practice games and test servers.

New Tip Top Tiered Gear
This is a very cool thing about O3. The advertised generous drop rates sounded really good, especially when paired with the rarity of the dungeon, it seemed to make sense at first that you’d feel properly rewarded for being so patient and overcoming risk and challenge. The reality is that these items are guaranteed drops for 1 player so players will start thinking: less people = more loot for me. The result is that players have additional reason to play with smaller groups, making the exclusivity problem above even worse. Not only do players not want the inexperienced and underprepared in their runs, they also don’t want them exploiting their runes and effort by taking their loot.

Random Miniboss out of Four
This is also a very cool feature. The minibosses are charming and fun, each offering unique sets of UTs is huge. Though there may have some differences in difficulty between the four, they each feel fitting. My main issues with these are actually technical. Oryx Sanctuary is a massive map divided into four wings with massive 3d walls. Instead of having 4 separate maps, one for each miniboss, the spawn point is randomly selected. Due to the scale of the minimap, I’m going to assume the rest of the map still exists undiscovered, out of reach. At best this is just a criticism of the minimap, at worse this is an optimization issue of unnecessary loading with potential stability implications as a result. It makes my toaster chug pretty hard.

Then there’s Dammah. I literally cannot complete him because he lags me. There’s ways to control the space on the sides of the arena without adding 100s of projectiles. A super laggy phase in a super dangerous, hyped up, rare, exclusive, endgame dungeon. I don’t pop runes because it’s a 25% chance the dungeon is technically impossible for me to complete. It would be like if the game crashed for everyone playing on Mac if someone shot Void in the first 10 seconds or if the floor shrank too many times.
I leach runes because I won’t feel bad about nexusing when it’s not the other 3. I feel like a total clown the moment I get to Dammah and cannot play the game anymore. I know this doesn’t affect everyone, but it surely affects a large number of the people who wish to be included in O3 as they felt was promised to them.

Stagger and Counter
I saved the best for last. Stagger is a very cool mechanic and I think there’s a lot of potential with this in dungeon design. Shout out to Davy Jones the OG stagger boss. Shout out to Calamity Crab who takes massive damage when his weak point is targeted. The only immediate downside I can think of is that combined with exclusivity and scaling it causes rune poppers to only pop for players with high dps gear and stats. Otherwise it’s a very friendly mechanic that rewards cooperative and skilled play.

Counters on the other hand are a mixed bag. Some counterattacks help the gameplay with appropriate challenge, while others create opportunity for players to hurt each other. The direction of fame bonuses a while back going from “do not” to “do it” was a liberating change that helps players feel good. Beisa and Leucoryx counters seem arguably fair, and both create “do it” situations. Gemsbock’s counter is a shell game which gives a ton of positive identity to the fight. Shout out to Killer Queen Bee boss fight contains the OG counters, the two notable windows where the boss can be stunned to avoid a lot of danger, mainly the first stun which prevents her from attacking with an unavoidable Armor Break. That moment with the Queen Bee is a “do it” moment, a meaningful one that gives that stunning knight an opportunity to feel like a hero for saving their comrades from great danger. Certain other Counters create the exact opposite situation. Players gain opportunity to feel like villains and harm the chances of other players completing the dungeon by shooting Dammah upon meeting him or shooting Oryx when he shields. These “do not” Counters provide conditions that potentially enable heinous behavior, which has hurt my already limited ability to enjoy a Dammah experience a majority of the time. Understandable this mechanic causes players to prefer doing O3 with other experienced players and friends instead of including random people. Counters can allow the few to punish the many. The initial Dammah counter especially is the antithesis to O3 and rotmg, in my opinion, doing the most to keep people out.

Told you I saved the best for last. This is the only thing that was delivered as promised in a form that I cannot imagine anyone having much to complain about other than how much time it takes or requiring 8/8 or whatever. That’s the point, it contradicts nothing. Well done.

Okay so tldr time

runes - encourages exclusivity
Scaling - discourages publicity
Challenge - encourages exclusivity
Guaranteed o3 tops - discourages publicity
Four Minis - causes some technical issues due to optimization status (chiefly Dammah projectile count during bloodshed)
Stagger Counter - encourages exclusivity and discourages publicity
Exaltations - good


really unengaging plus you can die at ina moment is annoying, the stupid beisa minions can disappear pls.

I agree with this whole post o3
Its really annoying that when you are doing a public or private run one or 2 people can make it much harder (if this didnt happen public runs would happen alot more because runes would feel like it was worth it to pop public rather than in a discord). i really like that tops are guaranteed but i do see the problem with it although if the rest were fixed this could stay. i also like runes (a small amount of exclusivity is a good thing but there is way to much atm) but i think there should be a way for the realm to work together to open the sanctuary rather than having to organise it outside of realm or have one or 2 people just host it themselves (i had an idea of runes like vials that drop at a fixed rate to one person but disappear if they leave the o2)


Yep! This is exactly what I mean. Lost Halls used to have a similar issue but a few tweaks and the change in scaling have completely healed this. People can still grief but I haven’t seen it in over a year, when it used to be constant.

Exactly. It all comes down to who finishes. If the O3 pops in a random realm it’s cool because the players who can beat it know they’ll be one of the few left over. However were a discord group to expand their entry level and allow mass amounts of people in their runs… say goodbye to loot.

I also agree with this, like I said, it’s part of what makes it feel magical for most players. We thought it would be a little rare, but it’s pretty evident there are people running multiple per day.

Yep, but when other issues are fixed then I think this would matter less.

Yeah I could see something like that. It’s a tough balance because it is good for runes if they have value but not when that sense of value keeps people from using them at all so we end up hoarding like 6 of them.
I think a more cooperation intensive formula would be each realm having one guaranteed drop of each rune but randomly from each of their sources, runes disappear when player returns to Nexus, Runes tradable in case some wants to vault. So in one realm Runes would drop from Malus, Miner, Cube God: pretty easy. Or in another realm they drop from Void, Archmage, Lotl (very difficult). In another the Shield could be in the Court (impossible) but then there’s still the chance Oryx mounts the Shield Rune for you. Imagine the pogging.


Yeah, my first thought when comparing to vial was that maybe there could be one guaranteed rune from Janus, because in the current meta 90% of the time, you have to choose between Janus or Oryx. But the court would be better, because I just realized you can do Janus and O2.

I learned a few things from your post today too! (The Dammah/Oryx one is because I haven’t done O3 since returning to the game a month ago, besides starting a miniboss fight twice and nexusing later)


Yeah the Dammah one is especially cancer because it’s literally like the immediate beginning of the fight “okay everyone turn off your auto aim and your auto fire or everyone has to dodge lag simulator while sickened”

If you let him progress the fight goes normally for a few phases and he’ll do the attack anyways but without the sicken.

I just wish it could have less going on to process. Like, fill the edges and top half of the room with miasma from LoD and just make it kill whoever goes in with like 200 per tick and sicken or something. Instead of hundreds and hundreds of knives going to the far edges of the area in no man’s land.


And I’m only assuming LoD miasma is less laggy.


dammah is the best boss in the game :), really fun dodging bits big green portal phase and pvp are the only bits i dont like


a. you can just aim away from boss
b. more reason to ban cheaters
c. knife walls isnt that hard just tap s


A. No one can control other people’s behavior.
B. Cheating is not required to perform this trick.
C. My game runs at 1 fps because there are extreme amounts of redundant projectiles.


I also lag every time there are 1 thousand projectiles in my screen


Ngl I’m more interested what he has to say about the shatters if he has this much to say about O3


The only things I really have to say about the shatters are:
•I wish DECA had slightly tweaked old shatters a million years ago to make it more playable and less free (first switches in different/random places, overspawn bug fix, slightly lower mob chase speeds, quick guardian activation, slightly smaller guardian arena to remove safe spot, make Forgotten King’s arena slightly smaller to remove safespots). Basically the design of the dungeon led to players griefing or cheesing it the way they did.
•I do not like the instapop potential of the New Guardian, New Archmage’s sicken+bleed phase, or pretty much anything that anyone could argue makes the dungeon more difficult than O3.
•Escort missions are pretty boring imo (super subjective opinion)
•Griefable puzzles lol
I actually don’t know much about the 3rd boss of New Shatters, I haven’t actually seen much of it as I generally am only interested in deeply understanding content I can access on my own. I just know stuff from the previews and watching a friend play.

I think the difference between old and new shatters is so great that the dungeon barely resembles its former self game-play wise (aside from rushing down switches). DECA missed an opportunity to see how contemporary players would have experienced Shatters 1 and base their designs of Shatters 2 from our habits. Now that their design ideas are out it’s difficult to cut them again and rerelease them in a totally different dungeon; it wouldn’t be fair to the identity of new content to reuse previously seen ideas, and it’s a waste to remove them entirely.


oh and I heard everything has too much HP but idk clearing minions is fun to me and I could honestly spend all day in first area chilling and farming for UT armors.


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