Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Raid Encounter: The Gate Keeper(s)

This will be the entrance fight to my dungeon. Like, you zone in... and are staring down this guy. I like the idea that if you can't kill this boss, then you come back when you can. With Razorgore, the first pull in MC, High King Mulgaur etc, there's no "let's go in the back door and kill that one easy boss this week". You gotta be able to handle this or you're locked out of the whole place. There's no silly attunment chain to enter the place. Feel free to waltz on in, but you're getting nowhere without the gear to walk past this encounter. That said, it's a pretty straightforward fight, just a gear check really. There's nothing wrong with that...

...or is there?

The gatekeepers (there's two of them) are twins who had a Priest for a Daddy and a Warlock Mommy, and let's just say they were raised amidst conflict. One is like the spirit of redemption, all white and flowy, and casting holy spells... and her brother is the grim fucking reaper incarnate with a huge scythe carved out of a blackened dragon's spine.

This one is a work in progress. I'm going to just kinda ramble something out here and see where it goes. Imagine blue lights shining overhead in a run down bar, and ol Ixo smoking a cigarette slowly while a Jazz trio rifs in the background. Fuck, now I want a cigarette; I quit a month or so back. On a totally unrelated side topic, quitting smoking is really not that hard, there's a trick to it: stop putting cigarettes in your mouth. Problem solved!

Anyway, I do have one mechanic already decided on, but the rest is going to be pretty free form.

The main idea is that there are these two crystal structures to either side of her, and she draws power from them. They pulse at a regular interval (say, every 20 seconds), and are either connected to her by some beam, or their pulse itself is just some sort of arcane explosion style animation.

Her number one annoying overpowered-boss-talent-that-looks-kinda-like-yours-but-works-WAY-better is her bubble. Her Power Word: Shield doesn't have a 'wear off timer' on it, and absorbs retarded amounts of damage. While it leaves her with a Weakened Soul debuff just like yours, the debuff only lasts for 5 seconds, then she throws a brand new one up there and you're back to square one.

p.s. I got wowmodelviewer working again, mockups ftw!

The point here is that she's fully capable of throwing a new one up at pretty much any time, and that there's no way the little pew pew pewing of your raid is ever going to wear it down, and get to where you can actually hit the boss with anything. Like, ANYTHING. It's a huge mystery, until someone realizes that you can shoot one of the targetable crystals behind her; but that doesn't appear to do much either... in fact, it just absorbs the damage thrown at it. Then the crystal pulses, and she gets hit for the stored up amount of damage all at once. Huh... Wait! I got an idea, guys...!

The fight basically works like this: Tank goes in, and soaks up a bunch of damage while trying to hold aggro. Perhaps this doesn't work at all, and instead she's totally untankable. She's in a freaking bubble, who cares about this little bear or warrior plinking away on her shin caps. Fuck y'all... here, eat some Smites to the face of random raid members. Oh, you want more? Holy Fire, Penance, whatever. She's a priest, but one of the white flowy ones... she's not casting Mind Sear or anything overtly Shadowy.

The DPS ignores the boss, gets in position, and waits for a crystal to pulse. After it does, they rip fucking tear into it with DPS, balls to the wall, healers are even spamming smites or wraths. After 20 seconds, it pulses again, and ALL that damage that was stored in the crystal blows outward and hits the boss. While the plink plink plinking is enough to be ignored as a constant stream, stored up like this, it can't be out regenned, and it removes the shield (plus inflicts a good chunk of collateral damage). The boss is left with a 5 second window of opportunity for the raid to chuck up dots (or just nuke), and then another shield is cast.

This is the basic mechanic. There are a few loose ends that need to be nailed down, though.

Mainly, does the outward blast hurt us as well? If she's attached to the crystal by a beam, then I could see the surge traveling down the beam and affecting only her. If it's some sort of arcane explosion type animation, then it would make sense that it affects us, too, though. That would be a pretty big problem, but not totally unavoidable. It would be pretty annoying for rogues to need to sprint away every twenty seconds then sprint back in, but meh... it would add a dynamic to tanking her, though, to make sure she's near the thing before it goes off, but the tank isn't. For shits, we could make her prone to Conc Blow or Bash or any other kind of stun, then we pop her in the cooch and run off while the thing blows up. Or a maybe the tank can just suck it up? 20 seconds of balls to the wall DPS isn't going to be able to be "last stand"-ed though, I imagine.

So there's that.

The other loose end is her brother, the Grim Reaper warlock guy. I have a vision in my head that he's pretty disinterested in the fight for the first part. Mostly just a nuisance, and letting his sister do her part first. If, however, at any time there's three people standing in a line within like 3 feet of one another, he pops out of the nether so fast you think that shit's bugged, and slashes you all with his scythe. Like you're walking past two other people, and suddenly all three of you are hit and stunned, and his apparition is already fading out from in front of you. Like the whole animation of the actual slice is about .25 seconds long, and the fadeout takes a second or two, and then you aren't stunned anymore and can spread out. Staying spread out in the first place totally negates this effect. It's completely avoidable if you know not to trigger it. This forces melee to be aware of each other and not step on toes for the crystal DPSing, but isn't 'random' at all. You LEARN to avoid it, and then it becomes a non-issue.

As you fight the girl, and wear her down, the brother realizes she may be in danger and actually makes an appearance in earnest (this is like at 25% of her HP). At this point, he needs to be picked up and kept from interfering with the crystal DPS. I guess when his sister dies, they both do, or he just enrages and needs to be put down as well? Maybe it would be good to have a Romeo and Juliet timing thing going so that you can kill him and his sister at the same time (time a pulse to go off while she's at like 5%). They're both clothies, so from the time he appears (with 100% HP) while his sister is at 25%, you need to whittle them both down. He just takes damage, no PW:S or anything, but you still need to do the crystal thing with his sis. If one dies before the other, the other enrages, so it'd be hard to coordinate... but from a tactical standpoint, you just nuke up the crystal for one last good wallop to her, then stun lock her and finish off her brother. She enrages (stunlocked), and the crystal pulse finishes her off. Hooray, it's Miller time.

One thing I want is more mechanics of the two siblings interacting. I like the Grim Strike move, but there needs to be more moves where doing one thing to her affects him, etc etc. I'll give it a bit more thought, and try and hammer out a few more mechanics. He should be popping out now and again to cast DoTs around the raid (dispellablem or maybe throw a UA in there once in a while to mix it up). I like that they're two classes we're familiar with, so you don't need to LEARN the moves. You're fighting a warlock and a priest. When a spell is being cast, you know what it does.

As a side note, I had originally planned this to be a single guy who was half death knight and half paladin, and use the paladin bubble mechanic. The problem is that paladin bubbles completely ignore damage altogether, while priest bubbles wear off after enough damage is taken. That, and I really have no idea how DKs work at all : /, so I went with two classes I'm more familiar with, and split them into two entities.

The one awesome fucking idea I had for the Paladin in his bubble was going to be a 20 second channel of "Hearthstone". At first the raid would be like ... wtf? LOL HE'S HEARTHING! But if they didn't get the bubble down and kick the cast, it would go off, and he whole raid would find themselves at their OWN hearth locations instead. LOL PWNT! Can you imagine raid chat after that hit the very first guild that attempted him? You all zone in and buff up, get your consumables set up, then he fucking hearths the entire raid to wherever the fuck their hearths are set to. Eventually, newbie guilds trying to learn the fight would need to all set their hearth to the nearest town in case they couldn't get the bubble down in time to minimize runback downtime. omg that would RULE.


Anonymous said...

Cloak and Dagger - I remember them so well!
Yes I was a sad person who bought every comic book I could afford back in the 80s, and that was one of them.
A bit off-topic, but I hope you don't mind too much.

Rich said...

was looking for a sufficiently 'reaper-y' pic on google images when I came across a C&D pic, then it went off on a whole new tangent just digging around on them ;) good times.

Kyir said...

Looks pretty solid for an entry boss, hard enough to keep pugs and terrible raiders out for a bit, but not so bad that people give up.

Cronoo said...

An idea for if one dies before the other.
If the Priest dies first, the Warlock goes into Metamorphosis-Mode, and gets all the bonuses and spells a warlock would have as one.
Not really sure what the priest one would be, I was thinking maybe an ethereal form of the Warlock would rise up from his body and work like a Guardian Spirit, but there is no mention of her casting any healing spells. Instead of increasing healing taken, it could decrease damage taken. Iunno about the second part...the whole dying while the spirit is up restores 50% of total hp seems kind of OP.
Blarg..I don't know.

Rich said...

ahh... i like that, though... him popping META if she does (and lol palys owning him just like they do now :/), but if he dies first she goes shadow mode. she stays "holy/disc" the whole encounter unless she sees her brother die, then she ges hulk mode (you won't like me when I'm angry), and Mind Sears the raid for uber duber damages.

Cronoo said...

That sounds great! I was debating whether or not to suggest something involving Shadow considering you wanted them to be so distinctly opposite...but the way you explain it definitely fits.

Brian W. Smith said...

I like the idea, especially the wearing down of the crystal, and big brother coming in to fuck people's shit up if they line up, especially the melee. I just wonder if it'd be too easy to negate that all together by just stacking ranged DPS over melee.

I guess you could counter this by adding more of a need for the stuns, such as she'll use a Greater Heal when bubbled if you don't interrupt and stun her often enough when bubbled.

I'd suggest also that when you pop her bubble, that big brother comes out and smacks you in the pee-pee for being so discourteous to lil'sister. Where when she takes that damage, she has that 5 seconds time to recast her bubble, because it puts some sort of Curse of Tongues type effect that prevents her instant casting. That'd be where the tanks would have to show their ability to move fast, get snap aggro and lure big brother away.

I know my idea kind of changes where you were going with it, but I do see a way of handling this fight where you negate the need for melee.

Keep up the good work, hopefully you'll get some industry recognition for this blog soon.

Rich said...

as far as being overtly melee unfriendly, I see what you're saying, but don't think it's a huge deal, and melee wouldn't have a hard time being useful. Like Maiden in Kara, if the melee stands ON TOP of each other, they're punished, but if they're situationally aware of one another, they can have 4 or 5 wailing on a single crystal with no real issues.

At first, I had imagined that the raid would pick a crystal and all focus on ONE, but if needs be, we could do it so the total damage from BOTH crystals blows outward on a pulse. that would open up another 4-5 melee slots on the other crystal. I haven't researched the statistics, but is 10+ melee in a 25 man raid common?

I really like the idea of the brother showing up a split second after the pulse, too. the main chunk of damage is done from the blast (removing the shield, and providing collateral damage), but you still have a few seconds to put some hurt (or DoTs) on her until she puts another one back up.

The 5 second window was a specific mechanic, but reading back over, i neer explicitly laid it out... she's refreshing the shield every chance she gets... and the weakened soul debuff is only 5 seconds for her (instead of 15 for a normal player). the crystal pulses every 20 second, so between pulses, she's refreshing it 4 times. It basically boils down to her refreshing the shield RIGHT before the blast, which means the blast is going against a full shield... you can't DPS the crystal AND her shield (although why would you want to, the damage is all added up anyways). she refreshes, it blasts, and then she's suffering the 5 second debuff before she can recast it anyway.

PW:S is an instant cast, so that was my way of giving an open window (rather than a curse of tongues type thing, which doesn't affect instant casts anyway).

I like Goshon's idea of a Greater Heal being thrown in there too, but it could only be cast "while the window is open" to make interrupting it a possibility.

Anonymous said...

In addition to shadow slashing or whatever when he pops out, make him spawn a couple voids that have high HP but hit like wimps. The point: It's fucking annoying. If he chucked a dot or two on your MT or main healers it'd be pretty awesome too.

At her 5%, make her do something most priests in game do before they die: panic (IE, holy nova spam / jump around alot). Comedy is long forgotten in boss encounters and much appreciated.

For his phase, make him entirely seperate from her. No "twin emps, romulo/julianne" type encounter. Make the fight difficult: You killed the priest, now you're fighting a fucking warlock with a scythe.

I'd say expand on it. Give him some abilities, random death coils, fears, dots, siphon life, whatever. Challenge the people. Then at his 5%, have him spam hellfire.

The point to the Nova / Hellfire is to ensure DPS isn't lacking. If you don't have enough to burn through it you won't last with the massive AOE.

Make the "lockout" encounter difficult for even experienced raids. Hell, add even more diversity and abilities that aren't on a timer (Holy shit, random silences that can't be prevented?)

Anonymous said...

Damn, I almost forgot. How about when he pops out from the shadows (and at random intervals) his help is in the form of Empowered Seed of Corruption?

It forces people to move, thus increasingly the likelihood of not being spread out, forcing him to pop out/stun/seed again.

Just a thought.

Rich said...

i like chucking seeds around for a few reasons... one is that the seed doesn't hurt the person it's cast on (well, the dot ticks down, but the explosion is outward). That would force the person seeded to run out of the raid, living bomb geddon style. I liek that.

random silences... you said yourself a billion times on vent that you hate random shit. fights like prince where it's (well, WAS) totally out of your hands how the fight will play out. You have no control over the infernals, and back when it was an actual challenge, that fight either totally fucked you or it was retardedly easy. Not a huge fan of the random, unless it's something like the seed, where the target is random, but the outcome --this person will take 3k damage over 5 sec and then blow the fuck up, so they best get moving-- is manageable.

Anonymous said...

It's the cock block fight though. Some element of random is needed. Vael, for example, killed our 8 healers in sequence on a few attempts (when BWL was actually end game). It only took us two nights to down him, but it was a welcome sigh of relief when we did.

The end fight of the instance, while it should be the hardest, should be the most technical with less random things. The first/second fights, designed to prevent people without the gear/skill/intelligence to progress further, should have some bit of random to it. It seems like developers create boss fights for an instance and then roll dice to see which boss comes first.

How about when he comes out in addition to a seed he silences anyone currently casting? Make him a blood elf model and he can torrent. Quick silence, just interrupts / fucks up rotations.

Anything to make him being present more of a hassle so people focus on situational awareness.