"If you were a developer being asked to design a boss for Cataclysm, what boss would you create? Would it be a vicious warrior, a crazy shaman, a cheating rogue, an overpowered mage, or a mix of all of these? What would his more lethal skill be? What type of lair would he have?"
Boss fights: no matter what we do in World of Warcraft, most of the gaming population has experienced a boss fight on some level. Whether it's defeating Deathwing, taking on some lesser known dungeon boss, or simply attempting to down Hogger, we've all have come across some foe that was bigger, badder, stronger, and supposedly smarter...it usually takes five or more folks to down a boss after all.
Now, if I were to design a boss, how would I go about it? What could I give this boss that would sincerely mess my day up, but not be completely impossible to beat? What kind of creature could I concoct to make me salivate at the thought of having to get to that fight...the fight of the night?
I could make some kind of plant abomination (for a model, think Princess Theradras but more plant like than a four-armed pig) that pooped out beds of flowers...flowers that resembled roses, but quickly grew out in vines, entangling players, causing thorn damage and incapacitating the player until damage was done to the vines.
Maybe I'd make some kind of water spout boss (think Ichoron, but more epic and less obnoxious). His big moves could be Hydro Pump-which would toss people randomly into the air, and Bubble Beam-which would blast people in the face with...well, bubbles.
Sure, I could rehash a ton of the numerous other bosses that already exist in WoW and just give them new skins, new abilities that have already been used somehow but have different names, and new loot. That's not quite what I have in mind though.
By this point you're more than likely thinking about the image that's posted up near the begging of this entry. My dear reader, you are on to part of my plan. Please don't get ahead of me quite yet though!
Picture, if you will, an Emerald Dream raid. Now, I could easily begin to design a whole raid around the Emerald Dream (or more precisely, the Emerald Nightmare), and it would be horribly fun, but that is sadly not the focus of this post. No, I am here to lay out for you but one fight in this raid. This encounter would be the prequel to the actual end boss to this raid...think of it as the fight against Sara just before you get into the main part of the Yogg-Saron fight in Ulduar, but better. Much better.
To begin this encounter, you and your team simply walk into a room and someone speaks with an NPC. From a story perspective, the player(s) are expressing the need to slip into the realm of the Emerald Nightmare of their own mind to defeat the nightmares that have been driving the player mad. In order to ready themselves for the actual end boss they must first defeat their inner demons, for if they don't, they'll surely go insane and never manage to save the world from the terrors of the Nightmare.
Once the encounter has begin, each player will be phased out from the rest of the group. Yes, this encounter is on an individual basis at first. They leave the brighter, hazy green of the encounter room and slip into a much more sinister, darker area.
Once the player has slipped into his or her own "mind" they will be pitted against none other than themselves, albeit the other "self" will be shown as either a member of the opposing faction or perhaps simply a more sinister rendition of the player. The NPC will have identical stats/gear/specs to the player, and will likewise utilize any and all abilities the player would/could use. Essentially, this fight would be a PvS (Player vs Self) type of deal.
"This idea sucks, it sounds almost like that crappy ToC encounter..."
I hated the Faction Champion encounter too. Believe me, I'd be happy never to see that encounter again. RNG was horrible, and even though they had the disadvantage in numbers, they were OP as all get out maneuver wise (I'm looking at you, Mr. Rogue). Never, ever again do I want to deal with that again. To help combat the issues of making this too much like the Fact Champs fight, the NPCs will always be on par with your character. They won't have a more powerful advantage stat wise, they will follow any PvP rules (such as those exist for CC...likewise your character will follow the same rules), but they will have the advantage of computer calculation. You are fighting an AI version of yourself after all.
For this fight players must rely on the knowledge of their class and quick reflexes. Now, this event would have some sort of time cap on it, for if there wasn't Malcolm the Mage may be done in under a minute, while Sandy the Resto Druid may be trying to out do herself with Insect Swarm but is stuck in an endless battle thanks to HoTs, and half the raid would be sitting there impatiently. I'm thinking maybe of a 7-10 minute cap (perhaps lower) for phase one. All players must defeat their corrupted selves in this time limit. If they do not, they will become mind controlled, enter an extreme rage state, and wipe the raid.
The specs/roles required for this particular encounter would not have a requirement. What this means is that just because the rest of the raid requires (for a ten man instance) 2 tanks, 3 healers, and 7 dps, this fight will allow players to play in any spec they desire. You could have 9 healers and a DPS if you so chose. Whatever people feel most comfortable with spec wise, they may play as.
Once all of the players in the raid have defeated each of their individual demons, phase two can be engaged.
This would be the actual "boss" fight. I'm thinking something along the lines of the end boss being N'Zoth (or is it N'Zath?), the old god that is possibly behind the Emerald Nightmare itself. He'd be a tentically pile of soup, much like how Yogg and C'Thun are, but he'd have a bit more of a Shadow Priest look/feel to him.
Mind Control - N'Zoth has gained control of your mind. Just like Yogg, you have a certain "sanity" thresh hold. If you fail to keep your sanity above a certain level, you will become mind controlled and will begin attacking your raid mates.
Wither - causes all vegetation to wither at a x% rate (the vegetation is part of the mechanic that leads to his defeat).
Day Terror - creates a small nightmare portal beneath the player's feet. If the player fails to move out of the portal in x seconds, he/she will be ported into the "nightmare realm." If this happens, the player must defeat three apparitions that resemble themselves and their class. These apparitions are relatively weak. Must defeat all three apparitions before reaching the "insane" thresh hold (similar to Yogg's insanity mechanic).
Mind Freak - temporarily causes everything to seem as it is not; friends become foes, plants seem to attack. Must find a Seed of Sanity (looks like an acorn on the ground) and consume it before losing too much sanity.
Fear Lash - a raid wide fear effect. During this time N'Zoth will lash out with his tenticles, randomly grabbing and squeezing various members of the raid.
Okay, so how do we defeat this baddie?
As I said, the vegetation is the true key to ending this fight. Around you in your raid setting there will be various trees, vines, and flowers. These need to receive healing effects in order to "grow." Once fully grown they will imprison N'Zoth, digest him, and ultimately destroy him. So...if your raid set up doesn't have any healers thanks to phase one, how are you going to heal the plants?
Ah hah! This is were class mechanics come into play, as well as using your surroundings. Yes, healers may directly heal the flora around them, but other classes have splash healing effects as well. If a Enhancement Shaman brings out her Spirit Wolves, not only will they heal her, but they'll help heal the plant life around them. Likewise with a Shadow Priest's Vampiric Touch, a Feral Druid's Leader of the Pack, etc. Essentially, if you're not specced as a healer, any abilities that heal you will also help to heal the vegetation.
While your team is busy trying to heal up plants, you must also be aware of a few other things. The big problems will be Day Terror (for those who are void zone impaired. The void zones also tend to spawn a bit fast, so players must always be on their toes) and possibly Mind Freak (you lose the ability to control your own abilities, but you still can move your character and click on a Sanity Seed...you may still end up throwing a spell or two at a raid member if you happen to be facing them). Fear Lash could also cause some issues if the tenticles are not DPS'd down fast enough after the initial fear wears off.
Added onto all of this, N'Zoth must be at a certain weakness level for the flora to be able to properly encapsulate him. Tanks are not needed for him, but if one of your raid members happens to take on this encounter as a Tank, and there's concern about how much damage he/she puts out, there are other means for them to apply a bit of damage pressure to the old god. Perhaps some kind of giant vine sling-shot can be made available so that Tank-types can hurl large bolder at one of N'Zoth's many eyes.
N'Zoth would have an eventual enrage timer. If he's not defeated in x number of minutes (maybe like 15 or so), he will get royally miffed at the raid, become huge and red, sprout a bunch of extra tentacles that shoot out at the raid, and squeezes everyone to death.
Image "borrowed" from wow-europe.com, thiefed from Google Search.
Essentially the fight break down is this:
- Fight with yourself, win
- Weaken N'Zoth
- Heal the plants so they can capture and eat N'Zoth
- Watch out for void zones
- Eat acorns
- Don't lose your sanity
- Kill off N'Zoth's tenticles
- Don't lose your sanity
- Moar healing!
- Pew Pew
- Watch plants eat N'Zoth
- Profit with shiny epics.
Not necessarily in that order, but I think you understand what I'm finally getting at ^_^
All in all, this would be an epic (pain in the ass) fight in my book...as it should be. You'd be fighting a bloody old god, one that's caused all kind of havoc for thousands of years! It would be a long and tedious fight, but I think it would be pretty awesome. I'm also a huge fan of the mechanic that would allow you to be able to fight a boss as your chosen spec. I know it always bums me out a bit when I can't DPS like I want to, so the off kilter mechanic of this fight allowing anyone to more or less do anything would kind of be really, really neat.
Anyways, that's my idea!
If you accidentally read "testicles" anywhere in this entry instead of "tentacles," I'm very sorry. I had been running a spell check and uh, accidentally used the wrong word replacement for my horrible attempt at spelling tentacles. Anything dealing with an old god's testicles would be awkward, to say the least...