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Minecraft Mod Examination: Roguelike Dungeons

Updated on April 19, 2015

Minecraft might be famous for the structures that people make, but dungeon-crawling is a pretty large, and sometimes forgotten, part of the experience. For those who are willing to search there are enormous abandoned mine-shafts and strongholds hidden throughout the world, and even the most casual players will likely wander around some of the game's procedurally generated cave systems looking for ores. But while those locations are quite neat, they are generally quite easy, and there are only four types of dungeon systems in all of Minecraft. Fortunately, a modder by the name of Greymerk has had this problem covered for quite a while with Roguelike Dungeons, a mod that generates a large number of new and highly dangerous ruins throughout the world.

The new dungeons are easy to spot, and seem to spawn more around villages and shorelines.
The new dungeons are easy to spot, and seem to spawn more around villages and shorelines.

Unlike the dungeons from normal Minecraft, you will have no problem spotting a Roguelike Dungeon. Each of these dungeons has a building on top, such as a small tower, jungle temple, or a large witch's house, and each of those buildings has a staircase within them that extends down into the first floor of the dungeon. The top building also signals the types of materials that the dungeons is made out of, with much more moss spread throughout jungle-temples, water and clay blocks in swamp dungeons, etc. While these do not significantly change the overall layouts of dungeons, and all of them will be a series of hallways with small-to-medium sized rooms at the connecting points, they do make each dungeon feel a little different.

While each dungeon type looks a bit different, the partially submerged swamp-dungeons are the only ones that introduce new gameplay concerns.
While each dungeon type looks a bit different, the partially submerged swamp-dungeons are the only ones that introduce new gameplay concerns.

As do the rooms within them. Each dungeon has a fair number of special rooms, the types of which are determined by the floor they are generated on and dungeon's type. In an exploration of a normal dungeon you might find a music-room, already decorated with redstone lamps, carpets, and even a jukebox in the middle. You might also find a smithy, fully equipped with an anvil and several furnaces. Perhaps you will come across a mausoleum full of hundreds of skeletal heads, a few of which might even be from Wither Skeletons. There are also kitchens, burial chambers, alchemy laboratories, enchantment rooms, greenhouses, and a lot more, and even though these ruins can be massive, you will need to visit more than one ruin to see them all.

While they are not the most complex areas you will encounter, little music rooms such as this are a nice and comforting touch in other-wise dangerous dungeons.
While they are not the most complex areas you will encounter, little music rooms such as this are a nice and comforting touch in other-wise dangerous dungeons.

Whatever ruin you enter you should come prepared for a fight. These dungeons are full of monster generators, and seeing several armored zombies or skeletons swarm attempt to swarm you soon after entering is not uncommon. Most of the floors have traps of some sort, such as pressure plates that spawn creepers or launch whoever triggered them into a pit, and there are also rare silverfish blocks hidden throughout most of the dungeons, so digging through the walls can end quite badly. Some dungeons might only have one floor, but there can be up to five stretching from the surface all the way to near-bedrock, and each level is more dangerous than the one above. The first floor will generally being possible to handle for an unarmored player with a stone sword, but most players will want buckets of water and fully-enchanted diamond armor and weaponry before they attempt the deeper levels.

Make sure you are well-prepared before you try to tackle the lower levels of a dungeon.
Make sure you are well-prepared before you try to tackle the lower levels of a dungeon.

As challenging as these ruins are, they are usually worth clearing thanks to all of the treasure hidden within. The exact type of treasure is dependent on the dungeon theme, the room you are in, and the floor you are on, but most rooms and a few hallways will have one or two chests in them. These often contain between ten and twenty items, and while sometime you will find just sticks, coal, rotten flesh, and torches, you can also find emeralds, gold ingots, blaze rods, and more. There are also a number of custom or randomly generated items within dungeon chests, such as new potions, special items for enchanting, books, and many already enchanted weapons. And even if that does not interest you, the loot found in chests can also come from any other installed mods, so you should not be surprised to see infinity orbs or alchemical catalysts within them.

This is a collection of most of the loot collected from five of the six wings of a two-level swamp dungeon.
This is a collection of most of the loot collected from five of the six wings of a two-level swamp dungeon.

But while there is a lot of good to Roguelike Dungeons, it is not flawless. The monster's armor and weaponry increases based on how deep into a dungeon you are, and while in a smaller complex or the upper levels of a large one the difficulty feels fine, on lower levels skill can seem less important than good equipment and the exploitation of Minecraft's stupid artificial intelligence. While it can use new items, the mod does not use creatures from other mods, so monsters like those added by Lycanite's Mobs will not be able to pop out of Roguelike's generators. The equipment received from such dungeons might be considered game-breaking in a way, as depending on luck, the dungeon type, and the level explored a player can leave the dungeon with some truly ridiculous loot, such as entire stacks of emeralds or diamonds. And the dungeons can also cause a very small amount of lag upon world-generation thanks to their sheer size, which while tiny, might discourage some from using it in already resource-intensive packs.

I am unsure what is more hilarious, that this bridge is made of waterfalls, or that you can swim across it with minimal effort.
I am unsure what is more hilarious, that this bridge is made of waterfalls, or that you can swim across it with minimal effort.

But the greatest flaws in this mod are all related to the terrain generation. Ravines and cave systems can cross dungeons, leaving huge holes in hallways or rooms. Sometimes when this happens most of the dungeon's floor will remain, other times just a handful of stone blocks will be floating in midair, and if you are very unlucky there might be nothing left, forcing you to either turn back or build a bridge in the middle of the dungeon. Swampy dungeons suffer from an especially ridiculous problem, as the large amount of water sources in such ruins may not be removed even if the stone is, causing absurd "water bridges" to occur. And there are sometimes problems even above-ground, as when near the shoreline entire rooms and hallways can be seen poking out into the open ocean, unsupported by pillars or anything similar. Similarly, the top-structures for jungle temples and pyramids often appear to float on top or or slightly below the water if placed on a shore. While they are not always and issue, and none of these problems are likely to prevent someone from enjoying the mod, when they do appear they can instantly kill any sense of immersion.

Despite its issues, if you are looking for a bit more variety and challenge in Minecraft, you should consider Roguelike Dungeons. It adds several interesting and often massive complexes to the game that will give quite a challenge to most players. The gear is worth the challenge, the monsters are tough, but surmountable, and the dungeons are often worthy of turning into your new home. While there are other mods that add new dungeons, and of a similar size, none have as strong of a balance between variety, quality, and scale as Roguelike Dungeons.

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