We were lucky enough to snag some time with one of ArenaNet’s Dungeon Content Designers, Robert Hrouda. 

How do you feel about the current state of dungeons? Do you think that they are in a good spot in terms of what they provide for PvE players? Or do you think that they could provide a bit more?

We’re working on dungeons, and coming out with new stuff for them that we hope will be entertaining and challenging. There’s a lot that goes into what we are doing, but suffice to say we are looking at encounters and such and modifying them.

What are your thoughts on the current dungeon token system? Is it too burdensome, or are you guys pretty okay with how it has played out?

The token system is something we are looking into. It serves its purpose, but we feel there is more we can do. As always we are modifying and adjusting our reward scheme for dungeons to try and hit the sweet spot.

At the moment, the person that enters a group into the dungeon is in complete control of the whole party. They can attempt to kick others without fear of retaliation simply because if they are kicked, the whole group loses their progress. Can we as players expect a fix on this soon?

We’re looking into the dungeon instance owner problems, and developing solutions. It will take time to get right, and I can’t answer anything about dates and tech for that – it goes a bit above my head.

Have you reviewed and considered any of the suggestions from the “Community’s Voice: Dungeons” thread from a few months ago? 

We read the thread. I won’t point out the suggestions we took, but we did take some from it. One of my jobs is to look at that feedback and figure out what the actual desire of the player is. Reducing mob HP for instance, isn’t just a call for lower HP… it’s for a quicker less grindy Mob experience. It’s my duty to take that feedback and do something with it.

Also you have to realize that forums can’t dictate what we do. The people who go to forums are a very small percentage, and usually they are going there to discuss a problem. Otherwise the 50 people who post in a popular thread would dictate the direction of the game, and we can’t have that.

Have you guys thought about maybe adding some kind of side-bonuses to dungeons before? Something similar to the extra things you could do in GW1 in Missions to get bonuses. It could be something very simple, like perform X amount of combos on bosses, or trying to survive the dungeon without dying once. This could be used to reward players for better gameplay, and you could give them things such as more tokens, or even specific rewards for that dungeon.

I would LOVE to add more content to dungeons. Random events, bonus events, awesome puzzles – you name it, I want more in it. There’s only so many hours in a day that two people can devote though, and right now we’re doing some pretty substantial work that our next content patch will have. When we get time though, you bet I want to add more.

Have you guys considered perhaps that not every dungeon needs to be based around killing bosses? It could be fun to have a dungeon that’s chock full of puzzles. And I mean actual puzzles, not mini-laser hop “puzzles”. Something to the effect of Zelda dungeon puzzles?

Whats wrong with mini-laser hop puzzles? :3
Yes, I would love to do a dungeon that is just puzzles. It wasn’t in the scope for our launch, but it is surely on my mind.

Have you thought about maybe adding Lodestones as a reward for Dungeon Tokens? It would help bring their prices more in line and obtainable for Legendaries, as well as get more people running Dungeons they’ve already completed before.

We’re always looking at rewards for dungeons and trying to improve them. Trust me I know how you feel about the lodestone issue, but my hands are tied a bit on the matter. It is something I routinely bring up to the people who have the responsibility, but you have to understand that they have an entire game’s balance and economy on their hands.

Thanks a ton to Robert Hrouda for sharing his time with us to answer a few questions!