Dev Discussion #25 - Boss Difficulty

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  • subssubs Member, Braver of Worlds
    I think the linear method is good, you don't want the hardest boss for the 1st fight then wimpy after. 1st bosses should allow you to gear up to face tougher last bosses. I guess we are talking raids? or just regular 5 man dungeons. the last boss to me should always be the toughest. in Raids you could have thrown in some gear check bosses.
  • NixalNixal Member, Braver of Worlds
    Does our preference really matter? You will have to implement some variaty or the dungeons will feel very boring very quickly.
  • akabearakabear Member, Pioneer
    L2 had a couple of areas that were "gated".
    From memory, the mob dynamics in EQ2 were going to have mobs spawn at lesser used choke points between places.

    I wouldn`t mind seeing some gatekeeper mobs to create challenges to area access even if only a boss or mobs. or even clan pet or nodal that could be set in place.
  • Linear progression, harder as you go deeper into the dungeon.
  • The first boss of a raid tier dungeon should have its difficulty displayed in numbers. It should have high health and high damage but be otherwise mechanically relatively easy. The difficulty progressing through the dungeon should come from harder and harder boss mechanics.

    The first boss should be gatekeeper by numbers only and should be used as a baseline of what numbers (healing, damage, mitigation) a group should have to meet to be successful in the dungeon.
  • IMO it should be based according to the rewards they give and the tier of their drops.

    In my experience most players had issues doing mechanics than achieving DPS meters. Everyone seemed able to get better at rotation and such, but during raid most of the time failure was due to not DPSing the right boss, DPS too much or too little, red areas, etc.

    I'd rather have DPS always matter and keep adding mechanic that aren't red lines on the ground. Something that forces you to look at the boss you're hitting and what it's actually doing.

    I mean, most of the time as a healer your entire encounter is:

    - watch HP bars
    - watch boss
    - watch HP bars

  • kiluviankiluvian Member
    edited December 2020
    First of all, there should be anti-zerg mechanics with every boss, such as spawning additional mini-bosses and/or trash based on the population within an area. There can be customized anti-zerg mechanics on different bosses, such as making it stronger, etc. This prevents zerging bosses to death as well as forces the raiders to either abandon the boss or at least focus on handling any PvP issues before continuing with the boss. Loot should also drop directly on the ground, possibly even rain from the sky from above the corpse, so that loot can be PvP'd over.

    Secondly, raids should be more opportunistic and genuine AI should be prioritized over linearly scripted boss phases. Why on earth would a boss sit around and let a team of adventurers constantly throw themselves at it and get better and better until they finally are able to defeat it just one time? That's boring after the first time you kill that boss and then you find yourself begrudgingly farming it every week just for loot drops. Bosses should fight for their survival, growing more berserk, irrational and unpredictable the closer to death they get. Some bosses may even try to flee. They may start chaining spells or skills. They may decide to ignore threat and rampage through the raid.

    I could go on and on about raids, but in the end, this will just be another game with instanced raid dungeons containing linear progression and scripted boss phases that players will farm weekly. The only difference is that the community decides which instances are available based on the server's node-scape.

    If opportunities need to be grasped rather than handed out, if there are consequences for death, and risk versus reward needs to be carefully considered, then difficulty becomes dynamic.
  • For me personally I don't think the boss difficulty matters as long as the game mechanics are up to par.

    General thoughts about it:
    For example if there is a boss where you need to time dodges perfectly or move behind him or there is some hook like that to the boss. If I die because I didn't do it correctly, I'm completely fine with that.
    However if there is weird hit boxes or boss lag that causes me too die, that's a bit annoying as its out of my control.

    Some game examples would be Gw2. While it does have the red markers on the ground to see where an attack is going to land, you can still roughly see by which way the boss is facing. However in Archeage some of the hit boxes for some of the end level content, the hitboxes are all over the place!

    Difficulty:
    I kind of prefer linear difficulty because you sort of knowing what you are getting into.
    I also like how GW2 do fractals. You can have different difficulty levels where the higher you go, the better rewards you can get.
  • Personally I prefer a little bit of both?

    I thoroughly enjoy a gear check boss, that has a certain DPS or maybe even HPS point needed to break through. Should it be a gatekeeper boss? Maybe. Maybe not. Depends on how the dungeon is designed.
    If the dungeon is linear, I would put a boss like this towards the end to ward off the last 2-3 bosses.
    If it is a non linear dungeon and you can pick and choose the order in which you tackle bosses it can be put in earlier.

    I generally enjoy WoW's raid design where you can tackle different wings in any order and after you cleared all wings the final few bosses get unlocked with a "skip ahead" quest for repeatedly clearing the "Gatekeeper" boss.

    I don't mind difficult bosses or gear check bosses at all as long as the fights don't feel absolutely hopeless and I can see what mechanic I am failing at.
  • I don't mind hard bosses.
    However, i hate it if I need to first look up every bosses mecanics online just to do some dmg. like it is in the game Warframe.
    If you want to make more complexe bosses, make shure to give the players some hints in game its self on how to beat them, because puzzling is interesting and a lot of fun while guessing is just anoying...
  • Personally I like a mixture of both scenarios.
    What has already been said, to have mixed difficulties along the raid / dungeon (not like 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 ...) but maintaining a feeling of difficulty progression along the way.
    This can be achieved using new and inventive mechanics that alternate each time you run the encounter (like a set of abilities for each boss phase that can be random from a set of abilities that exist specifically for that phase and boss), but assuring there are more complex fights along the way.
    Some interesting mechanics could be aggro reset every X seconds; casually debuff or CC just healer classes; drop everyone to 5% HP every X seconds; massive CC on half the raid with the possibility for dispelling; avoidance and environment interaction; CC adds; enrage timer; etc.etc..

    Honestly, raid wise, I feel that there should be some kind of Gate boss to test the group, but I agree that people should feel that they are finally in a raid and that they can clear some content before getting smashed with a badass boss (that is not necessarily the last one nor one of the last ones) and, therefore, I prefer the mixed difficulty scaling rather than having a gate boss at the start and having the rest of the raid smoother.

    Really hyped for the game ;)
  • SentSent Member
    edited December 2020
    Linear, easier to harder.
    Difficulty will need to mixed at endgame.
  • I do appreciate the idea of a gatekeeper hard boss at the beginning, it makes things more interesting and straight up you can see if you're up for the challenge or not.

    I also would love to see some extremely hardcore, legendary boss or dungeon that only less than 1% of the server would be able to clear, even tho it's not content for everyone and probably only the most hardcore guild will achieve, it's awesome to always have something to look for and feel that One day, ull get there, I think content like that gives a whole new feeling to the game
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  • Wanted to add a few additional comments. Some may not apply to AOC's design, but these are frustrations I have experienced in other games.
    1. As both a PvPer and a PvEer, please make the content and rewards worth actually fighting over. Those fights were fun.
    2. Supporting cheesy tactics are terrible for competition. Characters logging out or hiding in some safe space until a boss mob is pulled, then logging in or attacking from safety. I am sure there are more examples from many games. These cheese abuse tactics can ruin contested content.
    3. If two teams are fighting over content, when team A defeats team B in a fight over the encounter, the time it takes for team B to get back and re-contest should be somewhat proportionate to the time it takes for a single shot to defeat the encounter and difficult of the encounter. Zerging to block content is frustrating for all involved during super hard fights. Having been on both ends of this, some involved eventually hope you lose or the mob despawns.
  • ashrahmashrahm Member, Intrepid Pack
    I would like to see a possible Mix.
    Gate keepers work good at gear / skill checks. I also liked roaming boss ideas.
    If you think of "immersion" there really is no way that linear works. I believe this could easily vary depending on dungeons and group configuration.
  • NoaaniNoaani Member, Intrepid Pack
    Debase wrote: »
    Wanted to add a few additional comments. Some may not apply to AOC's design, but these are frustrations I have experienced in other games.
    1. As both a PvPer and a PvEer, please make the content and rewards worth actually fighting over. Those fights were fun.
    2. Supporting cheesy tactics are terrible for competition. Characters logging out or hiding in some safe space until a boss mob is pulled, then logging in or attacking from safety. I am sure there are more examples from many games. These cheese abuse tactics can ruin contested content.
    3. If two teams are fighting over content, when team A defeats team B in a fight over the encounter, the time it takes for team B to get back and re-contest should be somewhat proportionate to the time it takes for a single shot to defeat the encounter and difficult of the encounter. Zerging to block content is frustrating for all involved during super hard fights. Having been on both ends of this, some involved eventually hope you lose or the mob despawns.

    I agree on all three points - especially the last point.
  • I prefer linear progression for bosses. It feels better seeing how far you can go and getting over the hump than being entirely blocked out of content. It gives you something to strive for and also allows you to gain a certain level of understanding of your power level.
  • akabearakabear Member, Pioneer
    edited December 2020
    I thoroughly enjoyed some of the literally "gated" bosses in L2.
    • The doors were on a timer to open and close again at a set time, for a short duration at a long distance apart.
    • Nobody could enter when they were shut.
    • Only those that got in before the door locked again could continue playing.
    • And the entrance to the gated bosses was highly contested.
    • Multiple groups would try to get in.
    • Large Pvp fights timed to such that only one group would be standing the moment the doors opened!
    • Once in, they would guard the door until it closed again.
    That is an experience I would like replicated one day i the spirit of perhaps not gatekeeper bosses but gated bosses.
  • akabear wrote: »
    I thoroughly enjoyed some of the literally "gated" bosses in L2.
    • The doors were on a timer to open and close again at a set time, for a short duration at a long distance apart.
    • Nobody could enter when they were shut.
    • Only those that got in before the door locked again could continue playing.
    • And the entrance to the gated bosses was highly contested.
    • Multiple groups would try to get in.
    • Large Pvp fights timed to such that only one group would be standing the moment the doors opened!
    • Once in, they would guard the door until it closed again.
    That is an experience I would like replicated one day i the spirit of perhaps not gatekeeper bosses but gated bosses.

    That actually sounds kinda cool.
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  • runestonerunestone Member
    edited December 2020
    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?

    IMHO..
    Bosses whose size, shape or other physical marker, has some relationship to their threat level.
    As for location/sequence...random, with the proviso there are alternate pathways that enable you to possibly evade the problem. Or simply take you out of the frying pan and into the fire.
    Surprise me...everytime with every path ;)
    That after all is what an adventure is.
    The not knowing your fate before you set out, nor even on the journey.
    [The only variable which is known, is your own capability, when focused and not making mistakes]

    All depends if killing the boss is the main objective, jusk for the sake of killing something, or if they are simply an obstacle in the way, on a journey to complete an objective.
  • 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?

    I would say, of the two options, my preference is for linear boss difficulty. That being said I think other people made great points that the type of dungeon setting matters. Steven and the IS crew have said that dungeon bosses will have adaptive difficulty based on previous performance, be open world 80% of the time, and that areas will evolve over time along with nodes. So I would say in the majority of cases a "gatekeeper" does not make sense. If I want to go into mushroom cave to harvest materials I shouldn't need a top tier raid group to clear a mandatory gear-check just because 10 levels down is the "big bad." However, I will say for the 20% instanced material or final end dungeon areas, it sounds perfectly acceptable to have a strong monster guarding the gate. I also really want to promote the idea others have mentioned of a random boss table, and different bosses can appear at different points within an open dungeon and actively move throughout. I think that would go a long way to prevent the monotony of dungeon grinds we all lament.
  • How about a wandering boss?

    One that isn’t statically locked into a single predictable spot. Having perhaps one wandering boss would add an extra level of danger and strategy to exploring a dungeon.
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  • IksurdIksurd Member, Braver of Worlds
    Either linear or non-linear dungeons it doesn't matter, the general problem with both of these designs is that they all revolve around a flawed tank & spank system where a monster is going to ignore the real threat which is dps/healers.

    Threat mechanics should vary based on mob types, Lower IQ (Beasts, Goblins) monsters should be easily controlled by a tank, thats fine. But as you advance up and come accross different types of monsters (Humanoid, Mythical) whatever it may be to the point a tank can no longer hold threat, and the role they serve switches to either dps and u have no tank in the fight or they become active mitigation purely defensive for the group, moving to the monsters target to actively block or absorb the damage instead and the group has to actively take refuge instead of just dodging a mechanic then resume dps.

    You can argue this is what a tank already does, but the difference is you can no longer control the fight, it creates a unique encounter for every group that attempts the fight. Groups should also be able to overcome certain dungeons without the use of a dedicated tank, should be no reason you can't use your groups strengths and weaknesses to overcome almost all the same content.


  • It doesn't matter really. The main problem with player interest retention is variety. There needs to be 25-30 possible variations on each boss encounter, which randomly occur each time, keeping the group on it's feet, so they don't just go to A and do B and wait for C etc. This stops PVE min/maxing because everyone will need to build a high level of survivability in their character, which therefore allows more diverse builds and also accommodates a lower skill person being able to contribute - which is fairly key, you don't want to drive your player base away because they can't stand in one spot and parse 1000000 dps on a dummy. It also keeps people subscribed for a lot longer - as an ocd / completionist, I can assure you I won't be happy until I've seen every possible boss encounter variation.
  • I would love "gatekeeper" type bosses for all dungeons and instances. I want a powerful challenge before we can even being to delve down into the dungeon and fight for the big loot. Bosses in dungeons in this world should be a true and hard encounter not unlike some FF14 bosses that could take a long time to kill and massive planning. I would greatly enjoy a serious challenge. Id also like the first time a world boss or raid boss killed to drop some very good loot as a reward to the first killers. But that being said Legendary items i will always say should be a rare rare rare x10 more rare drop items. But i want a challenge so i forsee gatekeeper and the bosses after scaling up based on the gatekeeper takedown. Id also like to see the gatekeeper respawn not super fast but within a time limit so as to make it a challenge for the next group to try to enter and work their way down to the bosses. Instanced it doesnt apply to since your a group alone in a place more then likely unless youd make it where multiple groups all go in and fight to get to center and claim boss and loot etc.

    Summary. Yep im for both sytems but gatekeeper sounds fun.
  • boris99 wrote: »
    you don't want to drive your player base away because they can't stand in one spot and parse 1000000 dps on a dummy.

    While this is true, it is equally true that content shouldn't be trivial for the raid of highly skilled players either. Appealing to all types as you said.

    Some encounters should be achievable, some not, for the lower skilled players. Some content should be trivial (boring), some not, for the highly skilled players. Its about keeping both types of player interested in the game.

  • Hiya everyone - thanks all for stopping by to share your thoughts on boss difficulty! I'll be compiling your feedback for our team now, but please feel free to keep chiming in on this thread! <3

    We'll see ya for a whole new slew of Dev Discussion topics in 2021 - hope you all have a healthy and safe end to your year!
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  • ribenjiribenji Member, Braver of Worlds
    I would say a mix between different types would be nice. Some dungeons with a gatekeeper and some might have at its an the BBEG

    So from an DM perspective you would also add „secret bosses“ like possible bosses if you do certain actions
    Or bosses that change eg. A pirate captain which would increase theirs damage if you kill a lot minions aka pirates.

    That could be a lot of fun and show some sort of diversity in boss fights.
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    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!

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