Designing boss battles

TheoAllen

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Speaking of multiple bosses, I can not tell much as most of the bosses I know only have one you should focus on. Maybe, the boss has multiple parts but most of the time I encountered such type of bosses in real-time games like a top-down shooter or action RPG, rarely I've seen in turn-based battle.

But here is my experience of actually making them.
It. sucks.

The main problem with having multiple bosses is, when one of them dies, another one becomes a slog. You're already winning the battle, the DPS value of the boss is already dropped significantly if the boss is not doing anything different. Now one could argue that if you kill one of the two, three, or more bosses. The others get buff. While that could do, in my opinion, it's too cheap.

Even with that, I still want to have multiple enemies/bosses in a boss battle, here is how I attempt to fix the issues.
  • Main target & assisted minions = How to defeat the boss is to just beat the main boss. The minions serve as an annoyance. It is easy to kill, but the boss could summon more of them under certain circumstances.
  • Main target & stand/persona = Persona/stand is immortal. Or at least, near-immortal. If you're attacking this target, you're wasting your time. However, the persona is not immune to state and other effects. So you can technically stun them or debuff to reduce the DPS done by the boss. This could serve a strategic choice to debuff/attack the persona under a certain circumstance for your survival.
  • Main target & guarded by minions = This is essentially multiple phases boss. Before you get access to the actual boss, you should kill the minion guarding it.
  • Main target & boosted by minions = This is essentially the same as "assisted by minions", however, the boss could get bonus depends on the summoned minions. If you're ignoring these minions. You're in real danger. So, preparing AoE once per turn could be your viable tactic.
  • Main target & separate instance of its body = If you're doing damage to the extra target and it dies, you get bonus either the boss gets damaged, you gain damage boss, or the boss would waste their time resurrecting them. You could still win by focusing on the main target with no problem. But AoE could be used to gain more bonus
  • Kill them at the same time = This one is untested and I do plan to test it sometime later. Basically, if you're unable to do this, it will just resurrect, preferably with already at low HP so you're not wasting your time reducing its HP.
 
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YoraeRasante

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@TheoAllen
Yes, as soon as you focus fire one the others kinda get weaker and lose the challenge. Kinda makes some sense, as they are like a reflection of you having a party and you losing a member is also weakened a lot, but still.

A buff when one falls is not good enough.

My suggestion is to give them an evolution on their pattern.
After one falls the others not only become stronger in stats like a buff, but change their battle tactics, as if a new phase in the boss battle.
So you'll have to think "is it worth it to focus fire, or would it be better to spread out the damage, suffering more per turn but less after they start falling?"

Basically instead of just diving phases per damage or time, also adding the living of enemy members to the mix.

And about the "Main Target and Persona/Stand", in the Persona 4 fighting games a Persona can be damaged. Damage them enough and they break, taking some time to return. Similar to the final phase on the Lavos fight in CT, where each of the other two parts is there mostly to protect and boost the main one but return if destroyed after some time, not saying more because spoilers, it is a surprise figuring it out when you first meet it and is a game very worthy of playing.
 

TheoAllen

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My suggestion is to give them an evolution on their pattern.
After one falls the others not only become stronger in stats like a buff, but change their battle tactics, as if a new phase in the boss battle.
So you'll have to think "is it worth it to focus fire, or would it be better to spread out the damage, suffering more per turn but less after they start falling?"
If you're not too lazy to do this then sure do it. This doesn't sound bad.
But as a dev, personally, thinking that the player would only experience one of the possible outcomes (the boss A boosted if B died, or the boss B boosted if A died, or both die together) would just waste of time.

Similar to the final phase on the Lavos fight in CT, where each of the other two parts is there mostly to protect and boost the main one but return if destroyed after some time,
I don't play CT so this sounds like a good idea. Let me write it in my possible boss pattern to try and thank you for mentioning this.
 

YoraeRasante

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it's not that big a work if you make the phase change just be when there are only 3 instead of 4 enemies for example, and if x one was dead at that point then y can use z now but not if x is still alive
 

TheoAllen

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It's not a big work, probably, but still a "waste of time".
I crafted my enemy so it does look good and as good as the actor and I spend a fair amount of time on it to make sure it looks good. I use sideview battle after all. The thought of some players may not encounter the same experience or at least see my craft just bothers me. At this point, it goes personal and off-topic. So I'll just stop.
 

YoraeRasante

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Ah, personal taste then as a developer and not as a player. Fair enough.
 

PauloHPBender

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I like to make each boss Battle as memorable as possible by using one single and simple rule:

each boss is a gimmick

There are, of course statwise elements that should be considered to make the battle as fair and challenging as possible, but the jest is to create unusual scenarios that require some thinking to be surpassed.

There's a boss in my game that has only 100 hit points, which is a very low value in my game, specially midgame. The jest is; every hit it takes is reduced to 1.

"Does it means that 100 hits are needed to beat it?" Not exactly.
This boss uses special abilities that consume it's own hit points to be used. These abilities are very strong and dangerous, but usually cost 3,5 or even 7 hit points. And each of it's abilities are used in certain conditions, like "Retribution", that applies to all the group each of the states (negative AND positive) it has been taken. Have you poisoned this boss? He's gonna poison all your party in the next turn. The good thing is, this ability costs 5 hit points, and this boss is FORCED to use it as soon as it takes a negative state.
 

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