Last weeks’s dev blogs featured the new skirmishes of the upcoming Underdark expansion, Prophecy of Madness and Throne of the Dwarven Gods, and with it also shared information about the new replayable feature.
The attached pictures suggest that both Skirmishes will use the known Gauntlgrym theme and probably even parts of the existing maps and group environment. But the old Fardelver’s and Dwarf King Crypt, albeit being used as solo dungeons, were more or less idle and it makes sense to reintroduce them at some point anyway. On paper the design of the fights look promising. Apart from the “Incursion” version of the PoM skirmish, which looks to be a mindless DPS race, all variants seem to feature at least a minor skill-based component, which should add to the excitement. It’s also a neat idea to use the same mechanics in the PoM skirmish as in the Demogorgon fight to give players a separate training ground.
One major drawback however is the so called “replayability”, which simply looks to be two variants of each skirmish plus randomness in mob spawn locations. A good implementation would require players to react and adjust to various random variables throughout a dungeon run or fight, like different boss attacks, no clear patterns or random encounters that require special tactics. In its current design players have to adjust only once to figure out in which of the two variants they currently are and then the muscle memory takes over and makes the content repeatable again. I’ve already expressed my doubts about the feature and it indeed looks like players simply have to learn four skirmishes instead of two.
In the end it might be a battle of perception, but I’d be hesitant to sell this as a full-sized feature. Otherwise there’s much to like about the new skirmishes.