You're so predictable, bad guy

| Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Tobold recently did some more of his constant whining about EVE, making me wonder why he even plays, if he hates it so much. Actually he just raised a good point: Why do we have so many scripted bosses and as a result, so much specific preparation?

One moron argued that unpredictable fights would be too hard and would drive away most players. On the other hand, Iapetes has argued that unpredictable fights would have to have most mechanics toned down a lot, so they would be trivialized. If I had to pick an extreme, I'd go with the elitist over the sociopath. But I disagree with both because they're clearly wrong, based on the fact that I disagree with them; flawless logic, I know.

WoW would need to be slowed down.
The many one-shot mechanics would need to go or be made more obvious and easy to react to. For example, KT iceblocks would last slightly longer, but are they the damaging iceblocks or the Sapph iceblocks that we hide behind? Or both? Time to live would have to go up significantly in order to give people time to figure out what to do. Of course most mechanics are "don't stand in this" and "kill thing with red name", so these isn't too much to learn. Something like a charge (Thaddius) would need a longer activation time as the raid hastily picks sides.

This will be more possible in Cataclysm, as it sounds like they're finally going to slow down the speed of death. But I've thought that before. I remember the health pool change in BC. Somehow 50% more health didn't make us live any longer. WotLK didn't help either, and we still ended up with Frostwell Coldness.

No fight would be perfectly random. That would just make them all indistinguishable and possibly impossible. Instead bosses would have a certain flavor, tendencies towards certain spell types. Kel'thuzad would use a lost of frost attacks, but we wouldn't know which, so there might be iceblocks, frostbolts, cone of cold, frost nova and run to range, frost reflect/absorb.

From a pool of 20 or so possible abilities, a boss would randomly use 5 or 6 for a given raid lockout. This will allow for some planning and organizing, but there won't be a strat to just look up and execute. I don't mean to suggest that following a strat trivializes bosses, but it does take away some of the fun when you leave the thinking to someone else. Next week, start over again.

There would be some 'killer' combinations which would be blocked; so no iceblock + mind freeze or void zone + root. The goal is to have bosses which won't randomly make you die. This does mean difficulty will vary. I think we can agree that the KT who mostly does cone of cold and frostbolts won't be much of a challenge, whereas the one who keeps rooting the tank and interrupting healers will be harder. This is going to make it harder to have competitive PvE racing, which isn't good. Maybe Blizzard could have every boss use one ability pool for the first week it is out, so the racing guilds all have the same fight.

The inconsistency could be compensated for somewhat by averages: If we had more than one boss, then their abilities over a fight would even out. I am of course referring to ninjas. See it tomorrow!


Nefernet said...

They have already put some random in a "boss" : Faction Champions.
People didn't like this fight mostly because of the changes in aggro mechanics and randomness of the encounter... Sad.

Ama said...

If we're talking about randomness in encounters, my favorite has to be from Hex Lord Malacrass in ZA. Randomly taking some of one classes abilities for a period of time is genius and made the encounter different every time. I for one, would love to see more of this.

Unknown said...

We could also look back to some bosses in Vanilla WoW. I remember Chromaggus the Two-Headed Dog, who would have a different mechanic each lockout out of a possible 5(?), and Nefarion who summoned 2 types of Dragonkin colors, which would also be random each raid lockout. Neffy also had the ability where he "breaks" a class, but it was random in which order, and when he would do it. (mages sheeping everyone so you had a full zoo walking/crwaling/hopping around, hunter's bows getting broken, rogues stuck in front of the boss, warriors stuck in berserker stance, good times!)

Iapetes said...

I dont remember saying that, but I can't disagree with myself. the amount of randomness you're talking about requires a fight to be easy. Otherwise you just get people winning encounters because they got lucky with the mechanics, and wiping for no other reason than because they got unlucky. That's not really good design.

It's one thing to have a few random abilities on predictable timers, like Twins. Quite another to have a table of random abilities that get used at completely random times throughout the boss fight.

Klepsacovic said...

@Nefernet: The fight threw out the concept of aggro, which I'll talk about tomorrow, but it's the foundation of current WoW PvE design: without aggro there are no tanks, healers, or DPS, because no one can safely specialize as fully as we currently do. In PvP we still talk of healers and DPS and CC, but they go for resilience and health and attempt to still control who is under fire.

@Ama: That might be the ideal of what I'm thinking of: 'random', but not so totally unpredictable, or so powerful, that the raid will be killed by luck.

@Angelique: It is fortunate the blessing of protection can be dispelled!

@Iapetes: That's more or less what you said before. As I said now, and before, abilities wouldn't be perfectly random either in timing or choice, certain abilities might trigger CDs on others or certain excessively easy or harmful combinations would be blocked.

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