Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Raid Encounter: The Armorsmith

This is one of the last bosses for my dungeon. I basically need like... this, and maybe one more event for The Garden. This idea is really loose; I've got a lot of refining to do on this one. I've also started another (private, for now) blog where I'm copying all of my encounters, and nailing mechanics down solid. Over there, there's no more "and maybe he does this or this". It's all "and then this happens, followed by this, at which point he emotes this exact sentence". It's important to be flexible during the brainstorming phase of encounters, but I think there's a certain value also to be gained from not being too flexible. Have a vision, refine it, and then spell it out explicitly. Obviously that won't be the exact version that ships, but it gives the team an anchor to lean on during the initial implementation. This one is still in the very loose stage, and I welcome ideas or suggestions.

The armorsmith. The fight takes place in a forge. Well, not IN a forge, but it's an armor shop, so there's a forge in the room. The overall lighting and color palette I have in mind for the dungeon itself is basically cool blues and greys. Every time I picture it in my mind I see it as night time, with a full moon overhead, and it actually occured to me that that may be the case because I rarely play WoW at all during the 'day'. My timezone is shifted, and I'm usually in game at what ends up being 2 or 3 am server time. I'm not sure I've ever seen Kara in the sunlight? Anyway... there are a lot of hallways and towers to climb, and when you round the corner to this room, orange heat is spilling out of the doorway. The room itself is circular, and is basically divided into four sections depicting the four armor classes (imagine the map of the undercity).

There are waist high little partitions diving the areas from one another, and each section is appropriately littered with items associated with that tradeskill. The leatherworking area has hides curing, and dead animals strung up waiting to be skinned. The plate area has anvils and tongs next to the forge... It's an armorsmith. Work with me, here. Use your imagination.

The overall idea here is that the fight is basically a big FUCK YOU to classes that roll on gear outside of their spec range (warriors with leather, etc). I know that won't sit well with resto shamans or fury warriors, but that's kind of the point. Blizzard has also stated on various occasions that they have very little sorrow in their hearts for plate wearing classes complaining about survivability while they choose to neglect the benefit that they can wear plate. So this fight is basically telling you "if you wear mail AND plate AND leather, get comfy, because your superstar mix of gear is about to earn you a superstar timeout in the corner". It's the same for healers. No priest likes getting outrolled on cloth gear by a resto druid, etc etc etc. This thread is not the place for that argument. GIVEN this fight's mechanic, how do you work with it?

The hard part here is figuring out how to enforce it in the first place. I'm basically thinking phase shifts that target specific armor classes (effectively making them sit out that phase), and anyone wearing more that one 'type' of armor get shafted and have to sit out more than one phase. Once combat begins, you can't swap armor, so gear shifting macros or addons are useless. If it was based on weapon proficiencies that would just be trivial to get around (but still require you HAVE a mace and dagger in the first place to juggle between).

I imagine the fight to begin, and for the first minute or so, everyone just does their thing. Then he pulls a Mr.Smite, and basically 'equips' some set of armor that's sitting on the anvil. This is a serious nod to an oldschool WoW boss that many should get... hell, it could even be Mrs. Smite. How awesome would that be? Let's go with that for now ;)

So she starts the fight, and you engage her. Her phase shifts go for percentages of health. She does the patented Mr. Smite Warstomp which stuns the raid while she switches around her gear.

100% - begin the fight
80% - dons a robe, and clothies are silenced

60% - puts on some leather and leather wearers can't hit for shit
40% dons mail - and? uhh... mail wearers rust? they can't move? that souldn't really stop ele shams or hunters, tho... perhaps taking any action infests you with tetanus, lol? Help me out on mail...
20% straps on plate - plate wearers armor contsricts, slowing movement and causing major damage (or perhaps lightning courses thru your armor?)

We can't make plate wearers totally immobilized, but we can make their lives miserable. The problem here is that 3 of the 4 tanking classes wear plate. While I'd love to just say "you need to bring a druid to tank this phase", that's going against the basic design principles Blizzard is trying to put in their encounters. They want to actively move away from 25 man Razuvious, where you NEED two priests.

Now, that said, this encounter could be pretty fucked if you only have priest healers. For that reason alone, I don't think this encounter will work. In most situations, it's not that bad. Perhaps the debuffs could be tuned to work out... for example, instead of a straight silence on clothies (which prevents them from healing as well), Mrs. Smite's robe could just reflect clothie spells back on them. This would still allow healers to heal, but DPS would need to just relax for that phase.

Leather's debuff has then unable to do anything but whiff attacks, and even boomkin spells are totally missing. Perhaps that could be changed to (again) only affect offensive spells. Any attacks are absorbed (instead of miss), but leather healers aren't screwed (in case you only have resto trees in the house). Maybe her leather getup is a juiced up set of old school Green Whelp Armor, and hitting her with ranged or melee puts you to sleep (unrelated side note: that armor was HAX during the Panther boss in Zul'Gurub before the nerf!).

Mail armor could rust? Performing any action causes you considerable pain, so you just need to freeze where you are a la Flame Wreath? Mail wearers are who...? Hunters, Shamans, and... yeah... level 39 warriors. : / Shamans could be healers, so we run into the same problem. I mean, it's the same for every type of armor. Cloth priests, leather druids, mail shamans, and plate paladins... we need to be able to allow them to heal if they're the only class that gets brought. We also need to allow leather or plate be mobile enough to tank, in case any of the one classes is the one that is inside our run.

I feel the need to point out that I agree with this mentality... I don't want to be like "well you brought a fucking druid tank, better luck next time. Maybe by next week you'll have a plate tank and not suck". I think this is a good thing to plan into encounters, and adds a challenge to the designer as well as those tackling your content.

So yeah. Help me out in the comments. What are some good debuffs that would allow healers to still heal, tanks to still tank, but basically disable that armor type otherwise? I have no issue with "plate wearers have lightning coursing through their armor, inflicting constant damage unless they remain still" because it rewards you for having a spare druid tank, but doesn't make it a necessity. The problem I see there is DKs just being like "well I'm gonna keep DPSing, anyway! Keep me healed, fuckers!" There needs to be a way to stop the DKs and ret palys, but still allow the plate warrior to do his job.

The only thing I can think of is a basic spell reflect mechanic. Incoming damage spells from each armor class are reflected back. This means a tank would need to not be spamming heroic strike as well, but the plate phase is the last phase, and by then the tank should have had a chance to get a lead in threat to coast that last phase out. Misdirects, vanishes, etc all come into play for that last phase as well.

Anyway! That's the debuff section. (phew)

The other parts of the fight have adds spawning as well, and I imagine a scenario where for 'the cloth phase' it's little gnome mage clothies that are helping Mrs. Smite craft the robes etc, and they have intial threat on any cloth wearers in the house. They share the reflective properties of Mrs. Smite, so clothies can't just nuke them down and save themselves, it requires the other classes to step up and handle those, then get around to DPSing the boss to the next phase.

As the phase shifts are happening, she's running to each different section of the room, if that wasn't already obvious. You fight the plate phase near the forge, and the cloth phase next to the looms.

As I said: very loose idea here. I like the idea, but it really needs to be ironed out. The Mr. Smite / Mrs. Smite thing is awesome, and that she mimics her husband's style of stopping the fight, emoting something, and then switching up her loadout is classy. I just need to hammer out the debuffs, write up her emotes, figure out vanilla abilities, and give more thought to the abilities and number of adds spawned each shift.


Krunchy said...

I kind of like the idea of "calls" based on what you're wearing. On the one hand, you can't tailor them to a specific class, but on the other hand, it gives a kick in the balls to elemental shamen that roll on cloth caster gear. Not that I'm bitter or anythin.

Lessee. I thought I'd throw a couple of thoughts into the basket. First of all, as far as the mail quadrant, it'd still have a forge like the plate area, but it'd also have a workbench for intricate work like chainmail and ring mail. Second, about the calls. Silencing clothies is a bit too extreme, like you said. What about a very drastic increase in casting time? Remember the debuff that one green world dragon had where it increased the casting time on everything including instant spells and even increased the GCD based on how many times it stacked? What about something like that except it tacks a set number of seconds onto all cast times including instants and the GCD. It wouldn't make casters worthless, but they'd definitely have to think more carefully about what spells to cast or the priests would have to "save" their cast for a PW:S. Just a thought on that one. Leather, drop their hit rating a ton, I agree with you on that one. Plate, movement impairing could work, or you could just drop their haste rating a bunch. For tanks, that means less rage generation from damage dealt and less threat generated and for pallies it means their casts take longer. Mail's the toughie since I'm assuming you don't want to copy one of the ones you've already used. The lightning thing you said gave me an idea. What if the lightning "magnetized" the mail wearers and they all got pulled to a certain spot in the room? It could be a plate on the wall, or a plate on the bosses' back, or if you want to annoy people, the nearest plate wearer who would promptly incur movement penalties.

I think I had something else to add, but I lost it. If I remember I'll add it later. Methinks I enjoy brainstorming your bosses a bit too much.

Ixobelle said...

haha, i love the magnet one! That actually sounds awesome! The problem with it is that it wouldn't really impede ranged attacks... HMM... maybe on one side of the room is the anvils, and the boss stands far enough away from the anvils that it's "too far" to shoot him or whatever.

Pets would still be free to attack for hunters, but that would work just fine.

I'm picturing the anvils in the room 'death gripping' all mail wearers to them, and having them rooted to the anvils for the duration of the phase. Healing mail wearers would be fine, because the raid is standing halfway between the anvils and the boss... so heals still reach, it's just DPS attacks (chain lightning, steady shot) that don't.

There would need to be a reason why the tank couldn't just drag the boss into range of the anvils, maybe they give off an aura that would screw up everyone else, but as long as they stay out of range they're fine, and only mail gets death gripped into place.

awesome idea krunch, keep em coming, don't be shy ;)

Tragedyx said...

How about for mail you have "Constriction: Each spell or attack reduces all damage and healing done by 1%", basically saying you only have X attacks/heals before you're SOL. Chain mail constricts, eh?

Make the plate the magnet one. Have the tank and all plate wearers get tossed to the anvil. The boss will then run to the tank and now he'll be doing any frontal damage to the tank and the other plate, as well as parrying the frontal attacks. Which is nifty.

For leather, he can get them wet and cause "Shrinkage" which increases their casting / attack speed by 2% per cast/attack.

For cloth, he can cast "The emperor's new clothes" and make clothies naked, giving them no bonus spell damage from gear or equipped items.

Of course, save the plate one for last as it is pretty much the best way for the tank to die due to parries, if melee doesn't stop.

I say make the last one a medley of things. Name it "Wardrobe Malfunction" and combine it all. This adds difficulty, as spells are taking longer to cast and etc etc. For adds, i'm thinking fantasia style inanimate objects. Totally baller.

Tragedyx said...

I vote krunchy and I for your brainstorm and ideas team. Then when you're a big shot you can be like "So, I know these guys..."

Ixobelle said...

a lot of those restrictions won't really *stop* anyone though.

for a 3 second cast, you can get off 20 casts in a minute with no limitations, 100 casts is a 5 minute stretch of time. with a 1% penalty... i can't do the math off the top of my head, but that wouldn't really make anyone *not* cast spells.

I basically want it to be like 'leather, sit the fuck down, you do NOTHING this round', but healers need to not be penalized, since if all you have is two resto druids (and no shamans or palys or priests can can chuck out heals), there's no way to survive that phase. this is a limitation that needs to be accounted for, but barring heals (and to a lesser extent tanks), there needs to be a way to effectively cancel out an armor class.

for anyone wearing leather AND cloth, they're double fucked... but the problem then goes to 'well if it doesn't affect healers, then leather healers wearing cloth don't get penalized' which defeats the fight's hook.

Krunchy said...

Ooh, having the clothies go naked, eh? It's not a huge cockblock, but it definitely weakens all cloth-wearing classes. On the other hand, if the boss has a damage aura or AOE attack, then the clothies had better be extra careful during that phase.

Oh, and here's a thought along the magnet route: since mail and plate are so similar (at least as far as room layout as you mentioned) you could have mail and plate both be magnetized at the same time. In that case maybe it could be that if you get within X yards of either another mail/plate wearer or one of the magnetic plates in the room, the parties involved get pulled into each other and can't move very well. If we give the boss a chaining cleave, this could lead to hours of fun and vent drama. Leather-wise, having something that gets worse the more you act would be consistent with shrinkage (maybe he drops the temperature in the room a bunch or something and the leather gets hard). I still think loss of hit rating until the player can't hit anymore would add more strategy (and a minor gear check for healers) to the encounter.

I'm really liking the overall idea for this encounter because there's so much that can be done with it. Maybe the boss's attacks would change depending on which room they're in so they're more effective in that situation? ie: 2H axe in plate w/ chain cleave, dual wield w/ sweeping strike and a bow in leather, magic staff in cloth, etc.

Tragedyx said...

For leather, make every spell cast or special attack add a 1 second GCD that stacks until the phase ends.

Trust me, they'll do nothing very quickly. Also maybe make it affect hit.

HolyGhost said...

Or everyone steps in and it strips everyone of all their gear except weapons.

As you beat a phase, those poeple wearing that type of gear get theirs back.

Raitin said...

You could always give the boss a "Bane" type aura that changes it's focus between phases:

"Cloth Bane: Damaging spells and abilities by Cloth wearers have an X% change to reflect back on the caster. This ability stacks 1,000,000 times."

"Leather Bane: Damaging spells and abilities by Leather wearers have an X% change to increase global cooldown on all spells and abilities by 1 second. Leather wearers cannot Auto-Attack during this Bane. This ability stacks 1,000,000 times."

"Mail Bane: Damaging spells and abilities by Mail wearers have an X% change to reduce haste by X% and deal X damage. This ability stacks 1,000,000 times."

"Plate Bane: All Plate wearers are Rooted to the Anvil!."

You can make it so none of the Bane's affect the person who is highest on threat, so Druid tanks aren't SOL on the Leather Bane. This also doesn't affect Healers, as they don't do Damaging spells. But then again, there are the adds to take care of.... Mwuhahaha!

Ixobelle said...

highest on threat is actually a perfect way to solve the tanking dilemma.

simple solution ftw!

make it a buff that gets given to highest on threat:

I'M TEH TANK: negates all of Mrs. Smite's crippling effects for the duration of this phase.

And while we're all "in on it" here, the idea is that nobody knows what the fuck is going on when they first attempt the fight... the debuffs are just called strange things like:

plate - "I HEART ANVILS: I just wanna be close to you..."

cloth - "KARMA CHAMELEON: do you really wanna hurt me?"

etc etc.. eventually people start to narrow it down, but they would probably intitally think it affected certain classes, then the fury warrior would be like WHY THE FUCK AM I GETTING THE ROGUE DEBUFF? WAY TO GO BLIZZ, BUGGY FUCKING ENCOUNTER...

dun dun dunnn!

Tragedyx said...

Please keep cloth at "The Emperor's New Clothes" though and make them naked. I'd love you for that.

Just to hear people say "WTF? You're naked on my screen. What, you're naked on your screen too?" over vent would be worth the fight.