Boss Battles

Description

Boss battles are typically encounters against a single, significantly stronger enemy. The rewards for completing a boss battle are usually much greater than those for clearing out generic cannon fodder enemies, and during boss battles, designers may add in modifications to the normal combat mechanics.

These modifications to the normal combat mechanics vary greatly, from negating the usefulness of one play-style to force players to adapt, to adding in extra game play elements that the player previously didn't have, or had very lightly touched on earlier in the game.

Boss encounters are rarely dropped on players midfight, or by surprise, like ambush encounters. They usually are the culmination of a long quest chain or strenuous dungeon, and as such have a certain “calm before the storm”. Players may be warned by NPCs of the coming battle (unless the battle is at the end of a dungeon the players traversed specifically to hunt down the boss) and given time to save their progress, heal up, buy better equipment, and prepare to take on the boss.

Typical signs of a coming boss battle include:

  • A save/heal point after a long period of time in a dungeon
  • A vastly larger room in an otherwise cramped dungeon
  • NPCs asking if the player has anything left to do before proceeding
  • A sudden, unusually gracious influx of healing items in an otherwise unforgiving dungeon
  • The completion of an Arrowhead Quest Chain

Variables and Affordances

  • Boss Monster: the NPC used as a boss. This may be an advanced version of a normal enemy, or a unique NPC.
  • Boss Abilities: the boss's abilities and attacks, which determine player strategy. These may be standard attacks that simply deal more damage, or unique behaviors that require the player to identify a new strategy.
  • Boss Life : how tough the boss is. Some boss monsters have hit points similar to other creatures in the world, while others can absorb a certain number of special attacks before being defeated.
  • Battle Conditions: certain player abilities may be disabled, or other conditions such as continuous damage may be present.
  • Encounter Trigger: what causes the fight to start, which may be a physical trigger

Examples

  • Dragon Age: Origins. Broken Circle. The Sloth Demon in this quest is a boss monster who the player first encounters in the Circle Tower. The sloth demon puts all the player characters to sleep, and the player must go through a series of small fights in the Fade before again encountering, and defeating, the Sloth Demon boss.
  • Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. Murderworld. Arcade is the boss at the end of this level, but players cannot defeat him by normal combat means. Instead the player must use trapdoors that lead to cannons to propel themselves to Arcade's head, and then perform a series of quicktime events (boss life: special attack) to deal damage. This must be done four times before Arcade is defeated.

In Worked Examples

Quest-Level Relationships

  • Kill Quest. Often, the goal of a quest is to slay a huge monster in order to save a city or retrieve an item.
  • Arrowhead Questing. Arrowhead Questing often leads up to a climactic boss battle.
patterns/boss_battle.txt · Last modified: 2011/06/15 19:30 by Gillian Smith
www.chimeric.de Valid CSS Driven by DokuWiki do yourself a favour and use a real browser - get firefox!! Recent changes RSS feed Valid XHTML 1.0