Although the reliable ol’ dungeon remains a good standard unit of adventuring throughout Desktop Dungeons, we’ve recently been putting some more work into other classifications such as puzzles, subdungeons and regions.
Puzzles have been discussed recently, and subdungeons have been mentioned here and there (one or two simple ones were included with the E3 demo), but I don’t think we’ve mentioned regions yet. So here’s a little bit about ’em.
Regions are organisational units for larger groups of dungeons. They determine a couple of unique characteristics such as active quests, tilesets and what sort of subdungeons spawn in any given area. Thus, while something like the Tundra region may consist of five or six member levels, all of these dungeons will occasionally spawn unique (SPOILER ALERT) subdungeons, altars dedicated to the lost god of (SPOILER ALERT), or even random instances of the special (SPOILER ALERT) discovery quest. These traits are unique to any level classified as Tundra, and allows us to establish all sorts of characteristic similarities, up to and including their own list of hidden (SPOILER ALERT).
Every region in the game has its own loose story, and players will frequently come across specialised “lore” subdungeons which can give valuable information about other subdungeons in the region. These can be hints on where to look for cool artifacts (a tome inside the Swamp region can tell players which dungeons spawn the legendary Corrosive Whip subdungeon, for example) or just warnings about what can be encountered in similar areas (if you find yourself inside a subdungeon filled with innocent-looking plants, BACK OUT SLOWLY AND NEVER RETURN).
In a nutshell, regions help us determine the placement and spawn rate of “set pieces” like subdungeons, and help a loose collection of game levels feel far more like a coherent world for players to travel through and explore.