BOSS MONSTARS

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Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9159
What makes a good (or great) boss in a video game, specifically an RPG?
Conversely, what makes a boss battle obnoxious to play?

I could list a bunch of different options, but why limit your thinking to a finite set of replies, especially since we don't have the option to do polls anyway?

So, yeah, that's it, that's the topic. As someone likes to say:
GO GO GO GO GO GO!
Boss fight in my current project: Goneril and Oxyones.

Goneril has superior defense and casts powerful all-target and single-target magic attacks.

Oxyones annoys you by debuffing your ATK/AGI and absorbing your MP. Has high magic resistance (though Ice hurts him) and evasion.

Basic strategy that works: Have the character with the MP absorb ability steal Oxyones's MP so that the character can 'gift' that MP to the party. You WILL run out of MP otherwise thanks to Oxyones and his sap ability.

It's also better to switch the role of healer to the protagonist so your priest chick can focus on the enemies weaknesses. Yes, the healer does most of the damage in this fight.

Also, if you have the optional character, this fight is somewhat easier. Besides having another character around to absorb hits, you can nullify Oxyones's evasion with her.


I think boss fights should reward adaptability and good strategy. I enforce this idea in my fights pretty much from the get go so my players won't be shocked when a fight is suddenly really difficult. Keep in mind that the above boss fight is the second. The first is a more traditional hackfest, though undoubtedly a challenging one.
Ocean
Resident foodmonster
11991
A battle that isn't necessarily hard, but has a certain way of beating it that isn't just typical spam their weakness. The boss could be very easy once you figure it out, but may not be obvious to you at first.

I don't like excessively cruel bosses, especially since it makes me think that it's a "You're supposed to lose this battle" type of thing and end up just dying.

Otherwise, I could enjoy a boss that doesn't just spam the same attacks over, and that has a good song to go with it. BlackTyrano from Chrono Trigger is a nice one, not only is it a huge dinosaur, but the boss music is one of my favorites, and had the countdown thing you had to worry about.

Maybe not multi-form, but it could be nice if the boss changes strategies or something after the battle has past so you know that you're wearing down the boss. I liked the God of War bosses, especially the 1st boss (either GoW1 or 2), so I'd like to see if I could transfer some of those ideas into an RPG.
NoblemanNick
I'm bringing this world back for you and for me.
1390
Hm I like one with multiple forms, like Nyx from Persona 3. I also like bosses with innovations such as a boos fight in my game where you fight a boos known as "Black Joker". He basically "Plays" with you, taking it to a whole new level. He rolls a dice which randomly decides effects that happen. 3 or higher bad, lower than 3 good for you. These range from simple attacks to one-target one hit KOs. Also he plays BlackJack making you guess whether your card value is higher or lower. If your correct he won't attack you and are healed a little bit, guess wrong and that backfires on you. After winning his games and getting him down to about 25%, he'll retreat into a card form where he's virtually invincible, he'll then try to transform your party members into cards also. The way to beat this is to drain his Mp down to 0. This effect will eventually drain his MP on his own. After doing this you can finish him off.
I really like the way WoW does bosses, the idea that each boss is a puzzle that needs solved. The puzzle pieces are all of the abilities and game mechanics your characters have access to (and perhaps some unique to that encounter). I kinda tire of enemy weaknesses portrayed only as elemental or physical. That's the model I will hope to capture in my game.
Craze
why would i heal when i could equip a morningstar
15170
My bosses:
+HP, +ATK, usually ---DEF. Give it attacks that hit multiple times if it's alone.




I'm so imaginative. ^_^




Bosses that I like: all. I just like killing things. If it has voiceovers unique to that battle, ++++pointz.
Craze
why would i heal when i could equip a morningstar
15170
author=Karsuman link=topic=1985.msg32578#msg32578 date=1221765951
I think boss fights should reward adaptability and good strategy. I enforce this idea in my fights pretty much from the get go so my players won't be shocked when a fight is suddenly really difficult. Keep in mind that the above boss fight is the second. The first is a more traditional hackfest, though undoubtedly a challenging one.

NOT A JOKE
Do you want to know what makes a good boss?

Variety. That's it. He has to be different than enemies.
Not more hp, not stronger attacks.. Just something that makes you think. "Holy shit, yeah.. this person is a boss."
Craze
why would i heal when i could equip a morningstar
15170
author=RoseSkye link=topic=1985.msg32704#msg32704 date=1221837136
Do you want to know what makes a good boss?

Variety. That's it. He has to be different than enemies.
Not more hp, not stronger attacks.. Just something that makes you think. "Holy shit, yeah.. this person is a boss."


Why do people make bosses such a PHILOSOPHICAL aspect. I mean

holy poop.


I play RPGs to kill things with my Bastard Sword +5 (if game.version = "4e"; return 6), not think WHAT THE HECK DOES "uLtImOrGaSm" DO... oh it MAKES THE GAME CRASH


HOW ORIGINAL
author=Craze link=topic=1985.msg32709#msg32709 date=1221838258
I play RPGs to kill things with my Bastard Sword +5 (if game.version = "4e"; return 6), not think WHAT THE HECK DOES "uLtImOrGaSm" DO... oh it MAKES THE GAME CRASH

You forget your meds today, Craze? We told you that the bad people would eat you if you forgot, didn't we?

Bosses can add a great atmosphere to your game. Like Rose said, it doesn't have to be just about high HP or crazy attacks. I particularly like playing those games where you see something monstrous on screen and are like, "there's no way I can fight that thing, right?" *battle transition* "you gotta be !#*&%in' kidding me!" When you beat a boss like that, it's a good feeling (unless they were an obvious wuss).

Also, I love when a different battle theme sets the tone for a boss; when you can tell just by the song that you're in for a crazy fight.
author=S. F. LaValle link=topic=1985.msg32783#msg32783 date=1221861516
author=Craze link=topic=1985.msg32709#msg32709 date=1221838258
I play RPGs to kill things with my Bastard Sword +5 (if game.version = "4e"; return 6), not think WHAT THE HECK DOES "uLtImOrGaSm" DO... oh it MAKES THE GAME CRASH

You forget your meds today, Craze? We told you that the bad people would eat you if you forgot, didn't we?

Bosses can add a great atmosphere to your game. Like Rose said, it doesn't have to be just about high HP or crazy attacks. I particularly like playing those games where you see something monstrous on screen and are like, "there's no way I can fight that thing, right?" *battle transition* "you gotta be !#*&%in' kidding me!" When you beat a boss like that, it's a good feeling (unless they were an obvious wuss).

Also, I love when a different battle theme sets the tone for a boss; when you can tell just by the song that you're in for a crazy fight.

Just for that, I'll play/review that game of yours you have uploaded when you release it.
NoblemanNick
I'm bringing this world back for you and for me.
1390
I love how joke bosses basically I would put saying it's charging for it's ultimate attack and when it dones it basicallly self-destruct making it a joke boss tehn you fight the real boss. Like it get's killed as soon as it's about to attack you like Letz Shake in No More Heroes.
author=NoblemanNick link=topic=1985.msg32795#msg32795 date=1221863746
I love how joke bosses basically I would put saying it's charging for it's ultimate attack and when it dones it basicallly self-destruct making it a joke boss tehn you fight the real boss. Like it get's killed as soon as it's about to attack you like Letz Shake in No More Heroes.

I dont know why.. but I lol'd. Okay.. I'm going to bed.
What makes a good boss battle: Suspense and Strategy. Sure not every boss battle has to possess an epic theme, a drastic evil, a Characters possessing Special abilities mid way through battle, but what I like to do is make sure that a Boss is actually and enemy that will give player a sense of accomplishment upon defeat. In order to do this Bosses in The Last Bible are few and far between, and when you do meet them each on possess a unique strategy that can be mastered in order to defeat them (A tatic I picked up from MGS: Snake Eater.

There is one boss named Crank, because I am a sucker for Elemental Affinities, Crank possess a strong affinity to the Electro Essence, and utilizes a device that allows him to draw this Electricity out of his body. During the fight players fight Crank in a sewer and have to deal with Crank's Electro Transfiguration which allows him to create a shield of electricity around his body. Basically all physical attacks done to him while in this state will injure the player, Electro attacks are only absorbed and Increase his HP/EP/Strength/Defense Capabilities. So how do you beat him, borrowing from FFX players can always use their environment to defeat enemies. By shooting pipes in the sewer you can soak Crank in water, causing him to electrocute himself as well as prevent him from using Electro attacks without harm to himself. Suspense comes in with the low HP everything possesses in TLB, bosses and party members may possess the same amount of HP, meaning every turn obtained and every Status Effect Counts.
I like boss battles that provide challenges and don't get defeated in a couple of hits. Also, bosses that have different forms are pretty cool as well.
Well I don´t personally like the monster and boss themes as they are used in gamming generally. I prefer enemy instead of monster, even for dragons (they are animals, mythological ones, but still seen as animals. Monster feels too generic).

As for the true subject: bosses. I personally don´t like the setup in most games where bosses are the only fun battles. Sure this makes boss battles special but what about the rest of the battles? just boring normal attacks or Hit all spells...

Surely that there are times you may have to fight a stronger, more menacing enemy even if each regular battle is a crazy fight to stay alive, but boss battles don´t need to be all that.

Another thing is: bosses having too much hp... it just drags the fight for too long to the point that it gets boring, the best way to extend a boss fight is to put the player on defensive.

As for multiple forms: most of the time, it feels forced to me, I prefer when you fight several different bosses in a row (or together in the same battle) than just one who keeps evolving or mutating...
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
9159
By the way, I found an excellent article on this topic completely by accident while trying to figure out how exactly HP Regen works in RMVX:

http://www.rpgrevolution.com/tutorial/designing-boss-encounters_76.html
Craze
why would i heal when i could equip a morningstar
15170
That's a pretty nifty article, Max. Thanks for sharing!
Max: You haven't been online in a while.

Where's my critique we spoke about? :P Let me know.

I'll be on AIM later today. Peace.
Maaaaaaaan when I fight a boss I like my particle effects maxed out with a fast-paced techno or rock song.

I don't know. I don't care if it's tough or not. I guess presentation, make it a big deal instead of just a tough enemy.
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