So I was talking to a former Everquest player and he mentioned how Rift sounded really cool and we talked about how the classes work and all the content in the game. But one thing the game didn't' have that surprised me were what he referred to as dungeons.

I come from WoW and so the Rift system of instance dungeoning wasn't even questioned. Now the reason why many mmorpgs moved away from the old non-instanced dungeons is because of looting issues, zone lag, kill stealing/camping, etc.

But I started thinking how cool it would be to have a non-instanced "dungeon" that works for our needs today.

The reason I'm putting dungeon in quotes is because these non-instanced dungeons will work differently than our instanced ones. Their function may be different than the purpose of instanced ones which are essentially to get gear to raid (although of course you could be doing it for fun, notoriety, crafting recipes, scenery or any number of reasons).

These non-instanced dungeons could be giant caverns, temples, labyrinths, you name it. They could be the size of a small zone but instead of stretching across one level, they would be multiple levels. Inside these dungeons can be sections with elites and random bosses that require groups to kill. These bosses would be on a random respawn timer 4-12 hours and have an enormous loot table possibly equaling the combined loots tables of 7 bosses in an expert dungeon.

Most of the dungeon should be soloable or duoable and should have random treasures chests containing gold, greens, planar essences, rare chance at blues - and uber rare chance for epics, pets, costumes, crafting recipes.

What is the purpose of these dungeons? Wouldn't it be the same as instanced dungeons? The answer is - not quite because they have more variety and flexibility.

Non-instanced dungeons would be much larger in size and are more customizable to each player's needs. Instanced dungeons are the same thing over and over - usually you're grouped with strangers especially with cross shard you'll never see them again, drop the same loot, and require 5 specific players and roles and ultimately have a deadline. You finish the dungeon and out you go!

New non-instanced dungeons can feel very epic, like the world is a place you can explore again and you can get loot that isn't just gear. Trion can always add and change items to loot tables and treasure chests. It can also be a great place to add new artifact collections as well and maybe even some cool quests inside these large zones. Kill the rare lizard and bring back it's scale! Find the mermaid in the secret pond and pass her test!

Feel like exploring and getting lost for a few hours by yourself without pressure and rushing to finish an instance? Real life has you going AFK a lot so you can't do an instance with a group who needs you to commit for 45 minutes straight? Looking for something to do that gives you gold, artifacts, and chance at rare recipes, costumes and gear? Wanna go sightseeing and exploring without being rushed? Non instanced dungeons meet all those needs.

Don't get me wrong, I love instanced dungeons and want more of them. But I would also like to see new types of content as well to give everyone more ways to play this game. How epic would it be to have a 9 level cavernous maze or 14 story ziggurat to explore! Right now most of the zones have gotten very bland and it's the same rifts over and over, same rushing to farm swift murdantix, mossy turtle or whichever flavor of the month rare it is, and riding around hunting for artifacts. That seems to be the definition of getting out there in the world and exploring.

Give us another dimension, give us multilevel enormous zones with puzzles, secret passages, and diverse "loot" that hearken back to the days of old fantasy rpgs, but updated in Rift style