Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Raid Encounter: The Library

Another thought exercise in the Design a Raid Encounter thing I did before. I've already got a few more fully fleshed out, and will be submitting them here to stimulate feedback and changes to core mechanics. It's always good to have an outsider look in on the thought process, and give feedback you're too close to see. I'm also trying to build a few around the other one I did before, and am going to try and come up with a floor plan that links them all together in one cohesive dungeon to present to Blizzard. Feel free to poke fun, but this is my honest to god plan of action... to show that I can design a frikkin raid dungeon, dammit. So far the place is shaping up to be a Karazhan / SFK of sorts; a kind of spooky old castle theme. With that said, I present: The Library.


A large library, bookshelves as far as the eye can see. They line the walls, and go up the walls to the ceilings. There’s large chandeliers overhead, and cobwebs stretching off them to the ceiling and walls. The chandeliers don’t function at full capacity. It’s overly dark, in fact. There are 'reading sections' set up from time to time featuring long heavy tables scattered with open books, paper notes, and quills. These serve to break up the otherwise claustrophobic surroundings, and cramped corridors.

Notes on Setting: It would be interesting to enter the room at ‘mezzanine height’, but would ultimately defeat one of the key points of the encounter of not knowing which way to go. The encounter itself is a maze of sorts, and if you could just stop before the entrance and plot out your path, it would defeat the point. Optimally, an element of randomness to the structure itself of the room would be awesome... if the maze through the bookshelves could be dynamically generated, or at the very least, have a static structure intact, with mob packs having dynamic spawn points. More on this later.

The Encounter:

You walk into room, and are confronted by an ethereal boss hovering out of range (maybe blindfolded, or with the crisscross wraps some undead have?). I have a mental image in my head of the Anguished Highborn from Winterspring (in fact, ta-dow!, there's my awesome Photoshop mockup to the right). She tells the party they “must choose one of their own to serve as their eyes". This person steps onto a platform, and the raid channels an altar to encase 'the chosen' in some sort of binding device (chains, or they can be trapped in a crystal… whatever, right?). The chosen raid member releases a spirit version of themselves that the rest of the party can't see (PHASING, ZOMG!), and has the 'Frodo while invisible' effect applied to their screen. This ghost has the ability to fly high above the room and look down on the rest of the party as they work their way through a maze of bookshelves. There are constant swarms of mobs charging thru the corridors at any given time, as well as dead ends with switch levers. Behind the dead ends are either more packs of mobs, or "the correct way" to pass thru the maze (perhaps some are both... the correct way, but also mobs to fight thru). Having these packs given dynamic spawn points would add to the variation each time the encounter is done. It wouldn’t always be “straight, right, right, left, straight, whatever”. They would need to actually have the ghost scout ahead.

The person in ghost form guides the group through vent or chat, telling them "the door to your right" or "straight ahead, the blue shelf", etc. The ghost could have a few unique abilities, too, so they don't feel completely useless during the encounter. Perhaps some relatively overpowered abilities with longish cooldowns. The ability to drop void zones, one shot single mobs, or daze mob packs? There's also a timer involved; the ghost is losing X% of their health every Z seconds, so the raid has to hurry or the group will lose their 'eyes'. Another thing should be that for every raid member that dies, the ghost loses 1/25 (or 1/10) of their health as well, so that you never end up with a situation where the group wipes, and they're all waiting for the ghost to trickle out.

Once finally through the gauntlet portion of the library, they reach a channeling stone that will "summon" the ghost player from their cage back at the beginning of the encounter. Should the team take too long, or suffer deaths, this will be the way for them to recover players from the beginning of the encounter that have to run back (or perhaps after the maze event is finished, a teleporter can become activated, similar to the ones in Tanaris, but short range).

The Boss:

The gauntlet itself is just the warm up to the main event, in which the spirit comes forth again to actually do battle. The end room is a large library, and the boss has the ability to rip out and throw bookshelves down on the raid, or summon tornadoes of books and loose pages. Anyone caught in a tornado takes massive damage, and gets stuck in a cyclone type CC for a few seconds (similar to cyclone, they can't be healed, or pot, or whatever). A cool effect would be to have a few loose pages just begin swirling in mid air where a cyclone is about to form, a visual indication that you should move before it goes off. She also has a small ‘cloud’ of books hovering behind her, which she pulls from to throw individual books at casters to interrupt their casts and stun them momentarily. Other more basic attacks include a kind of spirit bolt, and perhaps a mana burn or drain. Other than that, it’s a basic tank and spank, though, while avoiding the cyclones, falling bookshelves, and having healers deal with the single book stuns.

Overall Notes: Variations on the ‘ghost scout’ theme could have the person in the phase be the only one able to activate the bookshelf switches. For all intents and purposes, the person chosen could become completely isolated from the group (can’t chat, although vent would be an issue). They would move silently thru the maze with the group, but able to pass thru the walls to peek ahead, and the switches are only available in the ghost phase… the group just sees bookshelves opening, and a pathway being formed, but they don’t do the lever flipping themselves. I could see this being an issue for someone who doesn’t want to be stuck being the ghost every week, so that’s why I mentioned the special ghost abilities available to them. Plus I think the ability to drop a void zone would be more impressive from 'up above looking down' than just chucking one over to the side at normal player level.

Also, in what appears to be a common theme I'm forming here with my werewolf tanks from the Baron fight, it would give a chance for undergeared players to remove themselves from the encounter, while still providing a valuable role in the gauntlet. If that's lame, you could make the ticking health a flat value (instead of a percentage), and have an offtank fill that role, with their increased health pool.

The Baron fight also involved some pretty intricate mechanics. Getting bit, turning the crank, phase shifts for Day and Night. I intentionally tried to keep this boss fight simple (tank and spank while avoiding various obstacles), but make the gauntlet leading up to it unique. I think, looking back at these two, and a few more I haven't posted yet (but have lined up for later), that I really enjoy fights with lots of mobility. Patchwerk is a neat little DPS race, and a chance to shine in the meters if you have your rotations tuned, but overall it's not a very "fun" fight. Even the fel reaver in TK had the interesting element of avoiding the orbs thrown in.

Anyway, any feedback is appreciated. Look forward to the Hall of Arms and my various experiments on basic dragon encounters coming up soon ;)


Anonymous said...

After everytime she whirls pages around, have a random chance to cause other books to fall off the shelves, to keep players from the edges of the room. Use the "shelf books" to do some kind of stun and magic effect (CC, Silence, DOT, w/e). Also, have random buff books drop that players can click that give class specific buffs. Maybe have her do a damage pulse to push people out and have her slowly move during it, but if they get too close to shelves they get stunned/etc?

Tal said...

Sounds like a very nice dungeon.
A couple of notes about the "ghost" player:
* If s/he's the only one who can open shelves, it's going to be a problem if s/he dies. The group would basically have to reset the instance, which might provide the needed "challenge" but would be annoying to players if it's too hard.
* I would also include some mechanic that doesn't let the ghost go too far from the rest of the group. Wouldn't want them to run through the entire maze opening everything up and then sitting there twiddling their thumbs.

Anonymous said...

I like both of those. The buff books from Kara could make a triumphant return (with very limited timers on the buffs, but then it would lead to scrambling around opening trade during the fight, bleh), but the shaking of the walls causing shit to drop off the shelves is actually pretty cool. I'd need to hammer down the actual shape of the room though, or everyone would just now to avoid the outer wall by 5 feet... which isn't very dynamic.

As for the ghost health, they're impervious to damage at all, except for the ticking of a certain percentage of HP every 3 seconds or whatever, to keep the raid moving quickly.

A simple "switch flipped" debuff would prevent them straying too far from the group... they can only flip a switch every 30 seconds. the stream of mobs from the gauntlet would keep the group busy enough that they aren't twiddling thumbs waiting for the cooldown to be up, or perhaps when one door opens, the previous one closes, to keep the group clumped up.

p.s. trag... 3.0.8? you gonna be on later? I wanna see my warlock summoning stone... did we even get those this patch? I've been on the priest. I had some massive ticket handled by blizz (they called my celphone in japan!) over the dumb recruit a friend zebra. it was crazy.

I haven't seen anyone on for the last week or so i've been on leveling tailoring and alch on the priest, figured the guild died for good. I've apped to "Bleeding" or "Bleed" or something ridiculous... they pug Kael kills every week with the whole run on grouploot trying to get phoenix mounts on the server. Seems like a good vibe on vent.

where the fuck *is* everyone?

Anonymous said...

Lol I do want to hear about the call of Bliz. Also your application to a yet another guild was very funny. I remember like "state your reason why you should be in our guild" and your most funny reply "I'm not AIDS and I'm not retarded" Maybe you can link it again. I lost the link.

Rich said...

lol http://www.ixobelle.com/2008/05/please-find-resumepdf-attached.html

Cronoo said...

Another interesting fight Iso =]
I have an idea for an attack from the boss. While a player is trapped in the book cyclone, a book flys out (the player's abilities book) of the entrapped player and the boss grabs it. She becomes un-attackable for a second or two while she reads it there would be a voice-over or something where she would talk in a funky elf language..w/e not important. Anyway, after the voice-over plays it would select a random attack or spell from the class of what book she has. For example, if she has a Death Knight's book, it could do Death And Decay, or summon a zombie or any other spell...for a mage she could cast a pyroblast or a blastwave...you get the picture.

Anonymous said...

The guild did pretty much die. What alts are you playing and do you need gold? I have an abundance I won't be using anytime soon. If you have any spare game cards i'll kick you a fuckton (I have about 50k idling) for a couple. If you don't, i'll just throw you some for good measure. I won't be using it. I'm probably gonna throw my account to my nephews and wait for D3 to hit or something worthwhile. I got so sick of easy mode everything. I really await the next hardcore MMO to suck my life from me.

And if you need any ideas for raid encounters, i'd love to help. I seriously have a gratuitous amount of them stockpiled in my brain. Also, try to keep some kind of personal blog or w/e with the really cool ones. No sense in putting ideas in public view with no patent on them. The best inventions were stolen.

Krunchy said...

Well shit.

I have the better part of 2 months of game time left, no internet, and the guild died again? Sounds like worlds of fun since I last logged on.

On a pertinent note, I'm liking the encounters you've come up with so far. The maze gauntlet with the player in spirit mode is probably the one that's stuck with me the most. I think it's a unique and interesting gameplay twist and I particularly like the fact I don't think anyone would be able to describe it using the phrase "it's like xxx, but..."

The bosses are cool, but I'm a bit more interested in the stuff leading up to them and the area. I'm one of those weirdos who thinks the setting and the sense of immersion the player feels is just as, if not moreso, important than what color of fireballs Demon B fires out of his rectum.

Until next time, don't spit into the wind.