MRPG End Boss

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I would like to take a moment, if I could, to wax philosophical on the subject of boss encounters. This is a very complex and nuanced science, and one to which most games miss entirely. The real key, the true essence of the battle, lies in variety. There is no one right answer, and the best possible solution is to use a different answer every time, to mix and match and combine. A good battle should involve teamwork, planning, and ingenuity.

Here's a few different types of battles:

  • The Giant Bag of Hit Points - this is a favorite throughout MMOs everywhere, with a few especially notable offenders *cough* *cough*. Maybe they throw in some annoying special attacks, but the heart of the battle is effectively "DPS the guy until he has no more HP". Silly and boring. Every so often, it's fun, but if your end-game is nothing but variations on it, it gets old fast.
  • The Lead Up - one of my favorites. it's the journey that counts, not the destination. The Lead Up happens when the entire dungeon is hugely challenging, but the end boss himself is kind of a pushover. Getting to him was your entire challenge, and that's the point. It loses some of its luster if he turns out to be just a giant bag of hit points.
  • The Effect Kill - another favorite: the boss is either a giant bag of hit points or actually unkillable, but the goal isn't to DPS him. The entire point is to knock him off a cliff and onto a spike, or drop a giant boulder on him. Or make an NPC cast a spell, or whatever. The Effect Kill works especially well when combined with the Lead Up and can work with giant bags of his points.
  • The Puzzle Kill - kind of Effect meets Bag: this one usually involves some kind of puzzle you have to complete while fighting the boss, usually to make him vulnerable. Or, solving the puzzle is your end fight and the boss is just there to try to stop you.

I'm sure I'll come up with more.

See Also