ELEMENTS AND FINAL BOSSES

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Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
14360
Note that this applies to RPGs only, as I'm pretty sure they it's the only genre that has elemental attacks.

Many RPGs have elemental spells, weapons, etc. that deal fire/ice/wind/volt/dark/light/earth/water/etc. damage. You all know how that works and how it can manifest, so I won't bother going into detail here.

How do you incorporate elements fairly into the final boss(es)? If you have a final boss that has a single elemental weakness, characters without the ability to deal that kind of damage are suddenly dropped a tier (or more). If you don't play with weaknesses at all, the traditional black mage has no use for her fifty different elemental spells and becomes a spambot.

What are your ideas on how to fairly utilize elements in the abosolute endgame of an RPG? This can include penultimate bosses as well (maybe one deals with elements and another is SPAMBEST).
LouisCyphre
can't make a bad game if you don't finish any games
4523
I'd say Hari-Hara is a good example:



SPOILERS ABOVE

In that battle, the main boss repels all elements, including physical. You heard me - she returns all damage to the aggressor. Those Cores you see each generate the repel effect of their element - the Earth core causes Harihara to repel Earth damage as long as it exists, for example. Each core also repels its own element, of course.

The battle mostly consists of smiting the core pertaining to your favored element, and then smiting Harihara with it. However, if you've been paying attention, you'll notice that walking into this battle with a single element is insta-fail. Suppose you bring only Ice spells. You can't kill the ice core because it repels ice, and you can't get all frosty on Harihara because the Ice Core exists.

Also note that the cores cast their favored element. Add in PCs' innate weaknesses and that can get really messy.

So yeah, a boss that eat/breathes/craps elements.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
14360
Not only is that an awesome final boss, I love that skill that has the human character run in to sing a song. Good work, chaos.
LouisCyphre
can't make a bad game if you don't finish any games
4523
That song the only cure available for the best status effect ever - Hunger, which causes your teammates to ATTEMPT TO DEVOUR EACH OTHER.

I always thought that was great.
Hm, a cure for hunger. I'm going to break out in song every time I'm hungry from now on. Should save me some money at the grocery.
kentona
Your mom is a hero
20844
Hari-Hara is a great idea!

I always opted for the lazy way and copied Diablo II's idea: just have the final boss be resistant to all attacks (or have really high HP) and immune to none.

That android boss in FFVI was pretty cool with his shifting immunity. Also, I think there was a boss in Chrono Trigger that would switch immunity based on the last spell cast on him (ie- if you cast a water spell on him he became resistant to water attacks but weak vs. lightning (as far as I can remember)). Or maybe he just started absorbing that element and if he got enough he'd unleash a wicked elemental attack of that element. My mind is hazy on this. Both ideas are pretty cool, though.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
14360
I've always been a fan of the early-FF element-shifting bosses. Persona 4 and Xenosaga III also utilize that to great effect.

Actually, yeah, XS3's final boss! It has three stages: Normal, Law and, finally, Chaos. Each stage has different elemental weaknesses/openings (including physical attacks) as well as different attacks. It's a set order and, I believe, the same elements every game (as opposed to randomizing the next set of elements).
LouisCyphre
can't make a bad game if you don't finish any games
4523


Watch big jefe's elemental affinities to physical, fire, elec, ice, force, and mystic. They vary between resistance levels in a very unfair fashion.
post=106059
Actually, yeah, XS3's final boss! It has three stages: Normal, Law and, finally, Chaos.


It does? I just beat its ass.
halibabica
RMN's Official Reviewmonger
15258
Phantasy Star Online had an interesting approach to this. Each final boss had a different relationship with the elements. Characters that cast spells to do damage couldn't ignore them, because no spells are neutral and their physical attacks are too flimsy. Anyway...

Dark Falz, the first of the two, had three different forms and a different elemental weakness for each. The game only has three normal elements, so each one has to be used to win the fight anytime soon.

Olga Flow, the second final boss, would start off with a totally random weakness. You'd have to try each attack to find out which worked best, and then stick with it. But, if you cast a lot of spells on him, he'll eventually shift his weakness to something else. Some of his attacks also changed depending on his current weakness.
arcan
Having a signature is too mainstream. I'm not part of your system!
1866
A long time ago I played a really shitty MMORPG that had a unique elemental system. I think it had an element wheel comprised of 6 elements and you could specifically train only one element at a time. When you train an element the 2 elements next to it on the element wheel would also get stronger but to a lesser extent. However the opposite elements would get weaker and if you maxed one element it would prevent you from ever maxing its opposite.
Well In my game there is only one character who can cast any elemental spells at all. (and he has access to all of the elements.)

So in my case this becomes a non-issue. I can make the final boss weak to any 1 of the elements I want to with none of the ill effects described..
Isn't that a little unbalanced, though?
Not really. All 4 of the characrters are basically one trick ponies when it comes to skills. The character I described is the only one with offensive magic, another has all the buffs, another has all the debuffs and status afflicting skills, and the fourth is the only one with healing skills. So basically you need to keep them all alive or lose the ability to heal/increase stats/weaken enemies/use offensive magic completely if the character who has all these skills goes down.

Most RPGs spread out the basic skills in these skill types to all characters, This one works a bit differently.

As for the final boss battle. The character in question has pretty poor hp/offense/defense, and he also happens to be weak to the element that the final boss loves to dish out.



LouisCyphre
can't make a bad game if you don't finish any games
4523
Yoshio, if the healer dies you lose. If there are items, you don't need a healer.

If the main character is weak to the final boss's favored element, he's automatically less useful than the others.

I hope it works a lot better than it sounds like it does. : |
That Hari-Hara idea is a pretty good one.
Yeah, I know what I'm doing.

Its not my intention to try and make the game hard to beat anyway. Revive items will probably be pretty common.

and I don't really use the far extremes of element strengths/weaknesses. basically in the standard range of 1 to 5...I just use 2, 3, and 4.
Meta-elemental effects, for my part - although technically, that's merely taking the elemental count up by an order of magnitude or so.

Example: Boss is described as being weak against fire - but, and this is the key, what kind of fire? I've got three options here - Technical Fire (Flame), such as from a mechanical flamethrower; Natural Fire (Blaze or Radiance, depending on source), derived from allied animals (every natural skill is effectively a variant summoning skill, but with normal animals rather than 'Aeons/Eidolons/Espers/Whatever-else-they're-called'), and traditional 'Magical' fire. Even if the boss is weak against 'fire', what happens if it is, for example, immune to magic? Magical fire just became worthless, but the other two are still in play.

Alternately, I also work with elemental meta-effects: I might throw out a boss (or for that matter a normal creature) that takes extra damage from Lightning in all meta-variants, but also gains some kind of a powerful buff if hit by any lightning effect - or does the reverse, absorbing the lightning but getting a serious downgrade in the process. Both options change the 'optimum' course of action relative to a normal "smack-'em till they die" battle.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
14360
I really like the idea of element-caused effects. Use lightning on a machine and they are paralyzed.
Solitayre
Circumstance penalty for being the bard.
18257
post=106298
Yoshio, if the healer dies you lose. If there are items, you don't need a healer.

This just isn't true at all.
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