my top ten dungeons #1 (Estate of Unrest)

post 30 of blaugust.

So here we are with my number 1 favourite dungeon ever… The Estate of Unrest.  Yes it’s from EQ2 😛  After the chat about The Estate of Unrest, there’s a quick summary of why these dungeons were my favourite – what elements they all shared, and why dungeons from other MMOs haven’t made it on there.

OK so, this is another huge zone.  There are the open air ground, the maze of the mansion itself and under the mansion, an ever larger dungeon / cave network.  At release we used to easily spend 3-4 hours getting to the final boss, our eyes all scratchy and reaction times down to a crawl – clearly the perfect conditions to take on the final boss 😛  That fight was a saga all in itself… fighting up and down an add-riddled cavern to collect bones so that you could actually spawn him…  The zone is full of puzzles, mobs galore, mobs which can be pulled through walls (a very special um… feature :P) and a story.  The story itself is pretty bleak, with the original inhabitants having been murdered.  Their ghosts help you collect the pieces you need to traverse through the zone.  The zone is far too long to describe in any detail, so I’ll just talk about a few of my favourite encounters:

  • at the bar, when you are fighting the undead bar patrons you have to be careful not to aggro the cat… It turns into a massive psycho cat, which if you’ve ever owned a cat you know actually happens, well without the massive part /currently sporting scratches from our kitten being under the impression it’s a pitbull…
  • the doppelganger fight.  In the basement, a doppelganger of one of your group appears and in /say says things like ‘lfg invite pls’ ‘someow I dropped from group’.  You then have to fight them.  We loved this part, it was very funny.
  • Shinies… some are actually shinies… some spawn a monster
  • Before you reach the final boss, your screen suddenly has static noise and a skull appears and says to you (not your char): I see now where you hide your soul, trespasser… You sit there all smug thinking you are safe behind your pane of glass. Well you are no longer safe from me! 

Ok, so the list was heavily dominated by EQ2.  That is partly because I have only seriously grouped in 2 MMOs (eq2 & lotro).  I have also run dungeons in some other MMOs, however these were either open dungeons (Vanguard, EQ) and I am not really a fan of non-instanced dungeons or I have run so few of them I have yet to form a full opinion (notably ESO).

So, looking at this list, a good dungeon for me has to have two or more of the following features:

  • large sprawling zone
  • fun tactics (obviously my definition of ‘fun’ :P)
  • challenging

OK, the obelisk of azkhul doesn’t quite fit that as it’s short and fun 😛 Lotro seems to generally go for shorter, tidier instances, and the dungeons which might have appeared here for their sprawling nature (e.g. Fornost, Great Barrow) have since been split into different instances.  The other thing I find about Lotro, is that their dungeons, although generally well-crafted, just seem to be just that bit more serious in mood, which is entirely appropriate given the IP, but the two zones that did make it onto this list had features which were very fun to play through.

I do miss the dungeon running I did in EQ2.  There is a huge list of dungeons (many of which can be scaled) which you can still run and it is still a great MMO, even if I’m no longer playing it 🙂

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4 Comments

  1. Unrest was one of those very memorable zones from EverQuest. It was definitely one of the places we had to visit when they put up the retro-progression server. But I have never been to the EQII version of it. It showed up after I had stopped playing EQII seriously.

  2. EQ2 Unrest is one of the tightest revamps of an EQ dungeon in the younger game, I think. The layout is instantly recognizable and quite a few of the NPCs are there. I think it feels more like Unrest than, say, Sebilis or Chardok feel like their analogs.

    It’s interesting that you prefer instanced dungeons over non-instanced. Although I have great affection for a large number of instanced dungeons in various MMOS, on balance I’d rather play even a really bland non-instanced dungeon to a fantastically well-designed instance. The way non-instanced dungeons change according to who you have to share them with makes every single run unique in a way that instances just can’t match.

    If I was going to do my top ten dungeons (and I might one day) I suspect all ten would be non-instanced. All ten might be from EQ1 too!

  3. thanks both for your comments 🙂 My friend who was an avid EQ player also really likes the way they developed Estates of Unrest for EQ2 and I think he said that he’d rate it as one of his top dungeons too.

    I think I prefer instanced over non-instanced because the lack of competition means you can just relax and have fun with your mates, knowing that if you do or don’t get a named, it’s down to your own skill and not down to someone having got there first / camping for I don’t know how many respawns (I remember a particularly epic camp session in solusek ro – eq2 :P) / or other people just being annoying and leapfrogging etc etc.

    I did enjoy the open dungeons when I was in the mood – but then that’s always been one of the strengths of EQ2 – having a good choice of how to spend your gaming time and I’m glad that they did (and do) cater to different types of playstyle 🙂

    would love to read your top 10 🙂 In fact, if anyone else does a top ten, please let me know!

  4. Unrest is definitely one of my favorites too. The first time I did it I was tagging along with some guildies who had done it a dozen of times. So it was a bit confusing to know what was going on. They did explain the fights as we got to those but the other stuff like the chess pieces, the hammer and so on was not explained so it took me quite a while to figure those out and there were some mistakes along the way. 🙂

    The doppelganger part is definitely my favorite part. Since in guild chat we would go “Oh, no, I killed !”. Then people in the guild who didn’t know the dungeon would try to figure out what the joke was.

    I think my definition of what makes a dungeon fun is similar to yours. Although I don’t mind short and quick dungeons. Some times those are good when everybody are just tired or stressed because of something else but still want to do something as a group just to relax.

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