Dev Discussion #25 - Boss Difficulty



  • George BlackGeorge Black Member, Intrepid Pack
    Marcet wrote: »
    The dificulty of the bosses shouldn't be made based on the PvP fights. If not, the boss will be too easy when done without PvP threat, and boring.

    This is very important, bosses should be VERY HARD by themselves, and if a PvP fight for the boss breaks out, both parties should be wiped the majority of times.

    Says some1 that has never experienced open world PvP during raid.

  • Says some1 that has never experienced open world PvP during raid.

    I won't lose time debating with an internet dweller that tries to discredit other people personal opinion. But you don't begin to understand how in the wrong you are.

  • George BlackGeorge Black Member, Intrepid Pack
    edited December 2020
    Marcet wrote: »

    Says some1 that has never experienced open world PvP during raid.

    I won't lose time debating with an internet dweller that tries to discredit other people personal opinion. But you don't begin to understand how in the wrong you are.

    Do you deny that you haven't raided in the open world where PvP might occur? Anyway this is an official topic, dont wanna go off the rails.

    You can't have the same hard mechanics of instanced protected content out in the open. That's all.
  • I think it depends on the "restart" scenario. If it is a hard restart from the beginning, a linear model works best. If you give "checkpoints" after each boss, I think all of them could be hard and it wouldn't matter because you would just fight that new boss again.
  • I don't care as long as the final boss is always the most difficult and interesting.
  • AnvilAnvil Member
    edited December 2020
    Boss Difficulty Should be By the Difficulty of The Area, Dungeon, or Node it is in. I Don't really care as long as when I'm in the Fight, attacking the Boss, I Don't Have to worry about some E-peen Stroking PvP'er sneaking up and Killing Me While I'm Fighting a World, Area, Field or Dungeon Boss, My Friends and I have quit games altogether over situations just like That. .......... Woof, Just saw the previous Posts... Still Stands.
    The Truth has 3 sides, Your Point of View, Their point of View, and The Actual Truth, so, Be careful How you wield the Sword of Truth, It Cuts 3 ways!
  • RovinRovin Member, Leader of Men
    I’m more of a fan of the idea of reactive bosses. and reactive fights, I dislike the simple linear dungeons where each boss has a move set that can be learned and memorized, i would much rather have bosses that after a few rotations will adapt to the party or raid team and make it much harder for them to progress. especially at the beginning of the dungeon.

    One idea i really like was even the idea of these random dungeons could appear throughout the world and have amazing loot within, but before you can even gain access to the dungeon you had the kill a boss outside of it to get the key to entry. once the key was obtained by one party and opened the door would be unlocked for any group to enter, these specialized dungeons are PvP zones throughout the dungeon except in boss rooms.

    once the boss is defeated by a team, they gain the loot and the dungeon collapses, since PvP is enabled within the dungeon the loot would be exceptional, and the boss difficulty would also be exceptionally hard. While PvP would not be allowed in the boss room, the boss could be instanced so that multiple teams could fight the same boss in different instances in which it becomes a race to kill it first.

    But I’ve kind of gone off on a tangent, The harder and more unpredictable a boss is the happier I am, The one thing that has killed wow for me is that raids and dungeons after a few runs, you have it memorized know exactly what to do and when to do it, and it becomes a cakewalk. I feel that if it was hard and unpredictable and we wiped 20 times before beating it, as long as the loot and other rewards were comparable to its difficulty, I would feel like I had accomplished something. And that should be what it’s all about.

    Being able to say “Man that was really hard but we did it, we got some great loot and we achieved an important step in our journey through the game”.
  • boss_difficulty.gif?h=250

    Glorious Ashes community - it's time for another Dev Discussion! Dev Discussion topics are kind of like a "reverse Q&A" - rather than you asking us questions about Ashes of Creation, we want to ask YOU what your thoughts are.

    Our design team has compiled a list of burning questions we'd love to get your feedback on regarding gameplay, your past MMO experiences, and more. Join in on the Dev Discussion and share what makes gaming special to you!

    Dev Discussion #25 - Boss Difficulty
    Do you enjoy "gatekeeper" bosses - a boss that is very difficult right at the start of a dungeon, followed by a few easier bosses? Or do you prefer linear difficulty in boss difficulty?

    Keep an eye out for all-new Dev Discussion topics in 2021!

    It really depends what type of PvE scenario you you are attempting to create. Strong gatekeeper mechanics will lower peoples guards in open world PvP, but offer some forms of padded farming.

    The driving force in a PvP game is always going to be the flow of resources and PvE viewed by a majority of the active subs is going to be viewed as grind or tedium.

    Every player in the game should have dozens of "tasks" or repeating side jobs that effect the node and personal character growth. Defeating bosses should never be one of these tasks.

    The act of defeating a boss should have a visible impact on the game world. For instance killing a Mushroom Overlord may stop the spawn of poisons' gas at the entrance of a dudgeon and may reward crafting material to create poison traps.

    The stronger the boss the greater the change
  • I prefer a more linear level of difficulty if choosing between the two options. Not only would it make more sense logically that stronger monsters would be able to survive deeper in a dangerous dungeon, but it also makes it more fun. When a tough boss is at the beginning and then it gets easier later, I usually get disappointed. If the toughest challenge is at the beginning, then you lose all sense of challenge as you progress knowing that you’ve already overcome the toughest obstacle.

    Not to mention it’s almost like a benchmark of your progress. If you die on the second boss one day, but manage to get to the third boss another day you can clearly see your progression vs ability. While if the toughest boss is in the beginning if you don’t pass those checks you won’t even get to see the rest of the dungeon.

    I think the only time having the toughest boss in the beginning would work is if it’s a small dungeon with only a few bosses, like a Cheetah mother is at the front guarding everyone so you all have to beat her to enter and in various rooms you might find like Cheetah…teens that are tough and guarding a room, but obviously not the main boss.

    But overall I prefer linear.
  • I would personally prefer to have a dynamic difficulty. That way we never get comfortable or go in with the expectation of guaranteed success.
  • I don't think I'd agree to have the hardest boss first, however I don't mind them being the *second* hardest boss. The hardest boss doesn't have to be the last one either especially if there's a reason for it. For example let's say the raid or dungeon is on a Lich's lair. If the Lich wants to send out some kind of bone drake to stop them, that might be the single strongest unit or boss he has. In which case I think it's perfectly fine even if it ends up being the "gatekeeper" strongest boss. That would be the main exception. However, generally I think it's just more satisfying to have more and more challenging foes.

    After thinking about how I would implement a "gatekeeper boss" I think I would do something like this. Make that first boss THE gatekeeper (not literally), as in make them nigh impossible. Only a handful of the best guilds should be able to beat them, maybe even make them a single boss fight raid. Something like a Smaug. He's just sat in a mountain with a secret entrance and there's tons of loot, but the only reasons Smaug doesn't just breath fire and kill them all is... well plot armor.

    I'm sort of reminded of Wrath of the Lich King from WoW as well with Lord Marrowgar. I don't remember that being bad, but I don't want to coast through the rest of the raid or dungeon knowing that the worst is behind.
  • I prefer Linear difficulty, but there is no reason why you can't have a gate keeper boss be the start of the linear difficulty chain. I don't really like it when I advance to a new boss, and it is easier than the previous boss.
    It makes me feel cheated. I should never have the thought "Well once we get passed this guy, the rest are gonna be easier.". The down side here is that it makes it harder to design a dungeon where the bosses could be done in any order. In cases where multiple bosses are available at the same time, they should be on par but challenge the party in different ways. Harder to tank,heal,dps, or maybe some mechanic that is really difficult to execute.
  • floormatfloormat Member, Braver of Worlds
    For me, I like both. If you keep it mixed up/varied for each raid/dungeon/encounter, it keeps the discovery aspect fresh for people. It doesn't have to be always linear difficulty or always the gatekeeper first boss.
  • LemonyLemony Member, Braver of Worlds
    The last boss should always be the most difficult, but throwing in very challenging ones at any point in the dungeon is welcome, and adds some spice to things.
  • TyranthraxusTyranthraxus Member
    edited December 2020
    Why can't there just be both?

    Sometimes the "gatekeeper" approach serves as a great gear-check - and gives boss progressions a certain reputation, to let those whom are less-experienced know to stay away.... for now.

    Not something I'd want for every encounter - but it's got it's uses. Why not a mix of both?

  • Marcet wrote: »

    Says some1 that has never experienced open world PvP during raid.

    I won't lose time debating with an internet dweller that tries to discredit other people personal opinion. But you don't begin to understand how in the wrong you are.

    Do you deny that you haven't raided in the open world where PvP might occur? Anyway this is an official topic, dont wanna go off the rails.

    You can't have the same hard mechanics of instanced protected content out in the open. That's all.

    I'm pretty sure the denial of your statement was in the:
    "But you don't begin to understand how in the wrong you are."

    Just because someone has a different opinion to yours doesn't mean they don't know what they're talking about. Just saying...
  • Imo the best way is a pretty linear system when it comes to difficulty. For example some bosses gonna have more HP and less dmg and others might have more dmg but less HP and they all need different mechanics like different types of AoEs, random Aggro, invulnerability for an amount of time, shapeshifting players into sandals.... idk. A final Boss COULD ofc be a bit more difficult than the others before but doesnt have to be.

    The most important of all for me is under absolutely no circumstances it should be possible for a player with endgame gear to solo dungeons in beginner/midgame level.

    And hi Toast
  • RintaRinta Member
    edited December 2020
    According to the wiki, Ashes are going to have both Instanced and Open World dungeons, and I think these should be approached differently.

    For Instanced dungeon, there are certain expectations:
    We expect a party to walk in and complete it to the end, or at least as far as they can manage - it is their personal little co-op adventure, and cutting it short whould not be incentivised. Monsters don't respawn, so that there's no incentive for the party to sit in there forever farming same area and ignoring outside world. There's probably also a time restriction on how often they can try the same Instanced dungeon - again, to avoid this group repeatedly entering the instance and ignoring outside world. We are making an MMORPG here, after all, not a Co-Op RPG.

    Considering the above, it would make sense to have either increasing or equalized difficulty throughout the area for Instanced dungeons. After all, if the main big bad boss is at the entry and the rest is significantly easier content (which would imply lesser rewards) - the party can clear this boss and leave, ignoring the rest of the area entirely. That is, unless the boss loot is somehow gated behind clearing the whole dungeon, which is just simply mean, please don't do it this way.

    This doesn't mean however that a somewhat strong boss can't be encountered early on at all - for example, an Instanced dungeon could consist of a few subsequent areas with equally strong boss in each. It could also be fun if the boss from one area of the dungeon can wander into the other if the players take too long there or use specific skills, thus increasing the difficulty of the earlier area based on conditions. Alternatively, if the areas of the Instanced dungeon can be skipped somehow (via stealth, puzzles, crafty use of specific skills or simply by running past it) - then the difficulty can change throughout the dungeon in any way, and the party can pick its own battles as they please, which could be a fun mechanics too.

    For Open World dungeons, the expectations are different:
    We expect multiple parties/players to be there at the same time. These dungeon will have respawning monsters in some form (naturally or via player actions). There is no need to limit time spent in the area, since it is part of the Open World already.

    This means that some areas of the dungeon can be used for farm by players who are uninterested in boss fight / smaller parties, while bigger parties might come to hunt the boss in another or even in the very same area of it (if an area is big enough to accomodate them all, which would make sense for Open World dungeons anyway). This means that for Open World dungeons, putting a very strong boss (who don't let anyone sneak past) on entrance makes no sense most of the times, as it only lets very strong boss-targeting parties get inside, defeating the Open World status of the dungeon.

    It could probably work for few dungeons specifically targeted at such parties, so that they need to "prove their worth" to come in and farm away some elite non-boss enemies along other similarly strong parties, but I'd imagine there won't be many of these.
  • Couldn't agree more with Rinta.

    In case of instanced dungeons (Which, I hope, will be exceptionnal and only for particular reasons), having a gatekeeper boss can be interesting.

    But in case of open world dungeons, I don't rly get the point.

    Imagine a dungeon like Antharas Lair (Lineage 2) which have an aggressive Antharas as a gatekeeper. It would be nonsense.
  • I guess a first boss that acts like a gearcheck is fine but in general I think having non-linear boss mechanics and variability in the fights is great. I like the idea that some party/raid compositions will find one boss more challenging and others will find another more challenging.

    In general, if I am dying a bunch (especially in raid) trying to figure out a boss I'm happy. I think having bosses that you can one shot lowers the PvE drive for me in game. I want goals and things to work towards. To this end, linear access to bosses (as long it's not exclusively as such) is great. Force me to beat one before I can get to another.

    Not sure if all I said can/should apply to an open world raiding/dungeon environment but these are my thoughts based on my experiences. Cheers!
  • I like there be varying types of bosses... gear check bosses (gear check, resistance check, dmg check, etc.), long attrition fights where MP management is important, etc.. One thing to think about is how things play out once you have a raid or dungeon on farm status. If you make subsequent bosses faceroll easy then that content is going to be a snoozefest and its enjoyability takes a significant hit.

    My favorite raid TYPE is like Naxxramas in WoW - more specifically in that it has multiple wings to it where if you get stuck in one wing you can go work on trying to progress in the others. Content having multiple wings to it like that can be a great way to add variety, especially when clearing all wings unlocks the remainder of the content. Something like that can also be nice for open-world to allow for more players to inhabit it.
  • I like variety, but withen reason. If a dungeon your making is meant to be grinded then I prefer a linear progression so I can get some loot without having to clear the whole thing. If it's a story or quest dungeon it might be cool if the first encounter is really hard to spice it up. It also hypes up the dungeon.
  • ViBunja wrote: »
    I'd say I'm tired of these two methods at this point. I prefer a system dynamic system that drops are determined by spawn monster/boss. As in add multiple bosses and mobs but only one of them appears during any encounter, and guaranteed drops, but the drops depend on the method of killing the mobs and bosses.

    Giving this flexibility to a player is more fun and rewarding as one learns how to fight the monster to get what they need and also ensures parties discuss strategies on how to fight the boss so they can get what they need. I feel more rewarded killing a monster and getting what I wanted, than having to kill it the same way over and over again until it drops. Make some spawn tables to be rare as well, I feel less tedious when fighting and getting what I want than the other two systems. This also adds a system, where the player can make the content easy or hard, depending on what they need.

    It also adds more repeat content without becoming dull to the dungeon.

    I agree with what you are saying here. Raids are raids. Yes, some mechanics change but it is a matter of days (sometimes hours) after a new dungeon drops that some guild has it on-farm and the youtube videos are out showing exactly how to beat each encounter.

    As Vibunjac said, a dungeon should draw from a pool of bosses that spawn each time in random order. With random bosses should come a random dungeon layout. Instead of just worrying about enrage timers the party should have to worry about another boss coming to check on the current boss, obviously Pvp is already a point of consideration, but what if you cannot kill the boss within a certain time limit and another boss shows up to help out the first boss?

    No idea if these are good ideas or not, or if there is even tech out there to support them, but the same linear cookie cutter dungeons are old and tired and something new would be a breath of fresh air.

    So yeah, Random bosses in random order with a random dungeon layout. imo, of course.
  • I think it makes sense to have a gatekeeper boss in every dungeon in AOC. That said, the encounters behind the gatekeeper shouldn't necessarily be easier. Rather the gatekeeper should be difficult enough to keep the rabble out of the dungeon while serious delvers are doing their thing.

    The corruption system is nice, but it won't stop people, especially rival groups, from causing a problem. Alt accounts will be created just to grief and stop another group from killing a boss that they want to kill. Absent instancing, some mechanics need to be in place to stop dungeons and bosses from becoming a shit show waste of time.

    Logging out in a dungeon should automatically put you at the start of the dungeon for that reason alone. Otherwise groups will just have alts camping bosses, and that won't lead to healthy gameplay.

    If nothing else, please remember that people can and will find ways to be the worst possible assholes in this game. They do in every game, and they find ways around every system to prevent their behavior in every game.
  • i think that a "gatekeeper" could be the the start of a harder area and by area like traps, sepecal powers of mosters and so on. i thing that the dungeons should be so hard that it whould take long time to clear them if your on the same level as the mosters/dungeon. But could get materials/(Items) form the start of the dungeon to make the dungen easier fx you could need Poison resistance,slow resistance ,trap Detection or what ever you have at your Disposal. I think it makes the game more eveolving for Trading and crafting and could make dungeons more tactical
  • Placing the "big encounter" at the end is very....predictable. It might make for a nice movie but how realistic is it that the monsters would stack in a particular locale in difficulty. Do they get together and hold some meeting to determine who is the toughest and hence gets the big room at the end?

    Having a random approach, with more difficult bosses in the beginning / middle, seems a bit more realistic (if we can even apply that term here)
  • Don’t matter. Small detail in the grander things.
  • Gatekeeper sounds good.
    I would make it into stages.
    No gatekeeper at the Dungeon entrence.
    Then some weaker bosses.
    Followed by a Gatekeeper bossfight to the second floor.
    Folloewd by bosses weaker then the gatekeeper but stronger then the first stage bosses.
    Repeat until end floor with super strong boss.
  • CypherCypher Member, Braver of Worlds
    Do it the least predictable way possible. I can’t stress this enough, I hate “meta” with a burning passion. I don’t want dungeon clear guides online. I want to walk into a dungeon with no idea how big of a horde will be there each time and no idea how many bosses or what exact bosses will be there. You can maybe throw down some clues during the dungeon that could hint at what bosses might be there. Clues like big foot prints or claw marks or burned bodies or frozen bodies. And this should be able to change, it shouldn’t be the same dungeon with the same bosses and the same clues every time. At least not for more than a day, make it change.
  • Greetings Intrepid!

    Thanks for asking this extremely important question!

    I'd like to take this chance to sneak in why I think boss difficulty is such an important feature to get right and then finish by providing a few ideas on how to sauce up the entire boss experience! Sorry if it's not a direct answer but it is in the same realm methinks.

    It's a really cool feeling knowing that you are a small fish in a vast sea of treacherous waters. One of the downfalls of the entire MMORPG genre in recent years has been catering to casuals. In reality, casuals like to feel like casuals. They know there's stuff out there they can't handle and that keeps them coming back for more, inching ever closer to being able to encounter some of the baddest of bads. It's a journey!

    In my long experience with MMORPGs, if you allow Joe Schmoe who has only a few hours and noob gear under his belt to experience the world's most difficult challenges and get away with it, the adventure and memory generating aspect of your game will greatly suffer. Bosses should not be gear farms. They should be feared (grr, rawr) and spoken of in whispers at the inn. They should be intense challenges that you strategize for and somehow...just somehow overcome with your party. You'll remember their names and heroics too. The experience of the pre-battle and actual battle should always outweigh the nice little gift at the end. That gift should stir a memory of a hard-fought, hard-won battle.

    Bonus round! Here are just a few types of encounters I brewed up because the word linear was used. (yikes!)

    1. Tactically retreating boss
    You encounter the boss early, do x amount of damage, and meet it deeper and deeper as it consolidates its power eventually meeting its 'final form'.

    2. Scardey boss
    You encounter the boss at the end and he tries to escape out the front. Along the way, there are things you must interact with in the environment to slow him down as he claws his way out with the help of his minions.

    3. Defender boss
    Boss is defending something of utmost importance. Perhaps he is transferring gold or is trying to ensure a fuse ignites a bomb under the city :O. This is a timed event.

    4. Tricksy Boss
    The boss is something or someone you did not expect. Perhaps the boss is the quest NPC that leads you into the depths where he and his minions will steal your shinies.

    5. Who's the boss?
    Two bosses are fighting and you have to choose a side. Try to kill both and they'll team up. The one you save rewards you with sparkling goodies.

    6. Boss safety deposit cave
    No boss here. Just a really hard puzzle dungeon that punishes you unjustifiably. There are pitfalls, creeping constricting vines that push you forward, nearly invisible spike traps, poison darts, runaway boulders -- you get the point. (FYI all of these things should be attackable)

    7. Slave keeper boss
    The player is taken captive and must escape! You break your chains and creep and battle your way to freedom only to encounter the almighty gatekeeper standing between you and fresh air.

    8. Yay, free loot, NOT
    Indiana Jones style! As soon as you touch that shiny sparkling chest a wild boss appears and all hell breaks loose! Makes you think twice about opening any chest at all, doesn't it?

    9. Any combination of the above!

    Hope this helps!
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