Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Raid Encounter: The Alchemist

The Alchemist is (yet) another encounter in my raid. The alchemy lab will be one of the 'late bosses' in a wing, perhaps second or last for that wing itself. The boss himself is a little (leper?) gnome fucker, riding around on a mechanized abomination, a la 'MASTER BLASTER' in Mad Max, Beyond Thunderdome. It's a fight that gets the work floor messy as it wears on, and deals with some fairly intricate buffs and debuffs being thrown around. This is not a decurse heavy fight, however, but there will be some light decursing required to avoid certain situations (or to recover from player mistakes).


The Alchemy Lab layout itself has very little influence on the fight mechanics. I just need a large (generally) flat surface to work with. I like the idea of approaching the boss while he's hunched over some workbench, and his subsequent running up a stepladder to mount his contraption. When we first engage him, the door slams shut behind us, and a robotic voice drones overhead about a security breach in the Alchemy Lab, and that quarantine will commence in 5 minutes. This is our "wipe timer". He's a crazy little fucker, and mumbles to himself about being annoyed by the intrusion. He refers to his robot as Lucy or Sally or something along those lines: "I don't have time for such nonsense; that's why I need you to leave! I'm very busy trying to discover a new science! Lucy, let's tend to this nuisance quickly so we can resume with our work..." etc etc

The Mech itself is overly large, with the gnome riding him perched on the back of his neck, like a man giving his child a ride on his shoulders. In addition to having a basic set of steering controls (which he doesn't really use, the robot has a mind of it's own), there are all sorts of tubes and vials arranged around the head area as well. The gnome uses this robot in his research and it's more of a traveling workbench than an actual combat mech, but that isn't to say it can't hit like a stack of bricks.

The Encounter:

The quarantine countdown begins (and is constantly droning on in the background), and the gnome runs up the stepladder to mount the Mech. A single tank encounter, the tank grabs him and DPS begins. Every 10 seconds or so, the gnome throws a flask down upon the raid, and it breaks on the ground.

There are 6 different kinds of potions, and they offer various buffs/debuffs. Pay attention, this is the fight's gimmick. I've color coded the potions to "make sense" for the most part (red = HP, blue = mana/frost), just look:

Red - doubles your HP pool, but inflicts an MS debuff.

Blue - Doubles mana regen, but reduces movement speed.

Yellow - doubles energy/rage regen (runic whatever regen, too? I honestly don't know how DKs work yet), but reduces your chance to hit by 20%

Green - Poison DoT. Makes you barf, and spreads to others when you barf (also incapacitated while barfing). No positive side effect. If you die while under the effects of poison, you leave a large poison cloud on your corpse. Cleansing this is in the raid's best interest.

Orange - Disease that slowly builds up over time (+X%/sec) slowing walking/casting/swing speed. If you die under the effects of the disease, your corpse explodes, and spreads the disease. No positive side effect. Cleansing this is in the raid's best interest.

Purple - Curse. Need to think of a significant debuff for this... perhaps flat percentage of stats. Maybe something like mechanical toy debuff that MCs or stuns/disorients (like a conflag). No positive side effect. If you die while cursed, you spawn a shade add to be dealt with. Cleansing this is in the raid's best interest.

I'd be happy, too, if the affected players actually turned red and green and yellow. Like, gave off an aura, so you'd know without having to look at your buff icons to know if you got it or not. This wouldn't be anything new to implement in the engine, I get a green debuff taking out my Disgusting Oozeling, and hunters turn red when they pop Bestial Wrath or whatever.

Decursing is a touchy subject, because people hate doing it, but it's an integral part of the game. The spells obviously exist to be used. I brought up (I think on Hatch's blog?) an idea I had where Druids just have a passive "abolish poison" aura around them, and if you get poisoned you should run to a druid and cleanse your own fucking poison. This concept is worthy of a post unto itself, and will probably be explored later. For this fight itself, though, the decursing is reduced to only a few raid members at a time, and only those that weren't able to avoid the crap on the floor. It's not like Lucifron or whatever where every raid member gets popped and needs to be cleansed or anything ridiculous.

Some of the debuffs have positive side effects, as well. With the energy regen one, you can spam instant attacks, but your chance to hit is affected. This isn't a huge deal, since the yellow swings will still be hitting, just your white damage ones will miss. Wowwiki says: A "soft" cap is the point at which your yellow attacks will always hit and more hit rating has no affect on them. A "hard" cap is the point at which your autoattacks will always hit and more hit rating does absolutely nothing for you. The yellow debuff, then, just needs to find that middle ground... enough to screw up white attacks, but since your energy regen is thru the roof it doesn't matter, since your spam spam spamming instant yellow attacks anyway. Mana regen from the blue pots is doubled, but your walking speed is reduced. For casters, this isn't really a huge problem anyway, but if a rogue runs through it on accident it's an annoyance. The red buff specifically plays a vital role...

After a certain amount of time (and we guarantee the red buff has been dropped somewhere in the room; it's up to the tank to grab it, though) the boss grabs the tank and immobilizes him, then begins to wind up a huge flurry of hits. Since the tank has a double health pool, he can survive this flurry, but the MS debuff makes it hard to refill the damage (but casters have huge mana incoming, so mana isn't an issue). The reason it isn't a single hit is so priests can't just pop Guardian Spirit and trivialize this porton of the encounter.

Anyway, he channels this power punch for like 3 sec, then slams the tank in the face a few times for 50k, or whatever a realistic "even with double HP pool it's still gonna fucking hurt" value would be. The windup is the healer's chance to spam the fuck out of heals to top him off. He gets plowed, then there's a quick 2 sec pause (to bring him back from 5% or whatever) before resuming regular attacks.

The fight itself is confusing since the gnome is flinging pots around, and the area is becoming pretty covered in crap all over the ground... but even with the enrage timer, everyone feels pretty ridiculously OP with huge health pools on the tank (maybe the red pot adds threat generation too, if needed), tons of mana/energy/rage regen... a bit like Vael or something where everyone just goes balls out, but not tunnel-vision Patchwerk style where DPS can just focus on their GCDs, you still need to be aware of the post being flung around.

For the most part, there are no phase shifts... just a flat out burn race, with the occasional hiccup for the tank getting his teeth kicked in.


Anonymous said...

I gotta say, I never really liked fights like this. It made me glad that Netherspite was optional. It's not that I don't like encounters that require co-ordination, but it always feels like there are too many pure luck wipes to be enjoyable.

Rich said...

When I think of this, I think more along the lines of Vael than Neherspite... except that you need to grab your own buff instead of having it handed to you. I guess Netherspite's beams and potions on the floor are kind of similar, but with netherspite, if you screwed up the beams the boss himself would get a buff. For the Alch, only the players get the buffs, and the only real coordination involved is a) getting your buff (which doesn't really coordinate with anyone but yourself) and b) making sure the tank is sitting on a full health pool when the pummel begins. Other than that, it's mostly just a race against the quarantine clock.

Rich said...

I ws sitting here trying to think of *WHY* the boss wouldn't get said buffs, when I realized... the organic portion of the boss (the gnome) is riding around on the shoulders of a robot! problem solved ;)

Anonymous said...

dose the boss get 2 drink hiz own potions???

Anonymous said...

I should really stop posting as Anonymous.

Anyway, the fact that you're pretty much requiring the tank to be in the red potion reminds me of Netherspite, though I guess it isn't as similar as I originally though.

Also, I'm not sure double life is worth the MS if there's as much damage going out as it seems there will be.

Rich said...

yeah... it's got a heavy penalty, but you NEED it to survive the pummeling. that's the point.

Having gimped heals is really nothing new, if i recall Kurinaxx in AQ20 did a stacking debuff where heals would becme less and less effective as the fight went on (you'd need to juggle to an OT until the debuff wore off after 10 stacks).

I don't think it would be impossible, it would just take more than one tank healer, which isn't very uncommon in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I normally post a book, however I only have a few ideas:

Make the mechanostrider kick people across the room at random. Go go gadget legs or some shit. One person, clear across the fucking room.

Maybe at 20% he dismounts / enrages and the tank can kite him into debuffs, meanwhile a second tank grabs the strider. When he dies, strider goes passive/friendly and runs off into the instance (you can use it as backstory for a later encounter).