How to make good Boss stats?

watermark

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How do you go about calculating stats for a good, satisfying boss fight?


Do you make the boss like 5 times stronger than the average monster? With 10x the HP? Or give it higher levels? (If using enemy leveler plugin.) Or do you base it on a multiple of hero stats? Or same stats but just give it better skills?
 
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InBlast

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A boss shouldn't be like a boosted trash mob. 


Before thinking about stats, try to think about the skill it will have. Create them, and do some testing fights. if it's too easy, up him. If it's too hard, nerf him. 
 

Psykofreac

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Yeah, I like my bosses with unique skills to stand out from normal enemies in addition to the whole being far stronger thing. Try to brainstorm some strategies and base boss fights around some really good ones and it usually turns out better than you think. As for tweaking their stats, test play with your party at the estimated level of your player at that stage. Make sure you are unable to lose with perfect play and only at near perfect(if you make one mistake) or less, is it possible to lose would be a good rule.
 
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BigToastie

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Obviously the stats are going to be higher to make the boss less than a 2 shot dead fight, but bosses need to be more about unique skills and interactions.


Do they change form when they get to lower hp


Do they enrage of cast a wipe spell if it takes too long to kill them


Thereare tons of options to do, I personally make all sub bosses spells custom and unique to the boss.
 

Milennin

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Obviously, it needs more HP than a regular monster, but a lot of his ability to pose a threat should come from the unique challenge he provides rather than just having high stats. Something that always works well is for a boss to be a more complex and more dangerous version of monsters you've fought in that area, so it kind of serves as a final test to see if the player learned anything at all from the trash encounters.


In the end, it always comes down to playtesting and adjusting numbers accordingly. When designing the boss, you should always ask yourself how the boss plans on being a threat to the party. Like, does it come in the occasional devastating hit, or slowly building up damage over time, or continues to summon allies to fight at its side etc. Is the boss meant to rush the party into kiling it off quickly, or is it going to be a test of endurance? Does the boss have ways to defend itself, like being able to heal or gain defence boosts at certain points. Is the boss going to have multiple stages, or does he stay the same throughout the entire fight?
 
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bgillisp

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What I do depends on if the boss fights you solo or with others. If the boss attacks you solo, I give them higher stats and higher level skills. So for instance, my boss might use Fire 2 occasionally when the party is still at Fire 1.


If the boss attacks you in a group, then what I do is via troop events set up some really interesting combos. I've set it up so that in one fight, the boss resurrects all the minions once they are all defeated the first time. In another, I set up a combo where one enemy dispels all states for everyone, then another hits the party with a multi-target skill. No making that guy blind so he misses often, you'll have to come up with a new plan. You can add onto this. Set it up so that one enemy revives the other on turn 7 (if the fight is still going that long). Or, how about a deadly buff combo that if the party doesn't do something about it, they will be dead or in really bad shape after a couple turns of it?  
 

primeless

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Well. As a classic RPG player (i meant, pen and paper), i tryed to do all my bosses with the players in mind, asking questions like "how will my players defeat the boss?" or "wich powers or combos will give the player the upper hand?"


But recenty i've played with a game master (we all are advanced pen and paper players) how didn't do that. Instead, he makes these boss according with his history and the reassons why he is in the world, and just throw the players at him. 


The first time he did that, once we end the encounter, we all ask (because the damn encounter was so difficult, and we didn't even be sure if we do the right thing) how we where supposed to finish the encounter. He just addmit he didn't thought about that but he was confident that we will find a way. And we did. In some way.


Of course, I understand the diferences between RPG Maker's limitations and the limitations of a Pen&papper classig RPG (in wich you can think out of the box more easily), but since that, im thinking in doing just that: think about a boss and what he should have (powers, summons, hp pool etc) and just let the player figure it out.


To overcome the RPG Maker limitations, i'm thinking about add some skills via common events, so the player can try things depending on who is in the party: for example, if there is a rogue in the party, maybe he can steal the "summon book" of the Necro-wizzard, limmiting the number of skills the boss can use. If there is a "Hero" on the party, maybe he can use a leadership hability to convince some of the guards adds to not to fight, and so on.


That road continues when thinking in the place where the battle take place. Making common events (just for that battle) allowing using the "enviroment" against the boss (or the players) can be difficult (the artistic part is what im scared of) bat rewarding. ¿is the boss in the top of a bridge? how about destroying the bridge?


just my 2 cents, as im sensible with this theme.
 

Lord Semaj

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I typically aim for high defense bosses, to the point they might even take 0 dmg if the player hasn't upgraded his gear.  Yet I try to keep boss stats purely based on gear level requirements because I don't want to penalize speed runs.  Anyway, the boss tends to be immune to a lot of things and there's usually one specific method that results in its destruction that the player has to figure out.  The boss is going to seem overpowered as hell until this method is discerned, and you could avoid headaches by exploring and finding lore about the boss's weakness ahead of time.  The answers to puzzles exist in the game to be found.  So the stats of the boss are based on what will outright kill the players unless they do X, Y, and Z in order.


If I'm feeling like being nice on a boss, like it's not a plot fight, then the boss will give the players several rounds of experimentation time and teach them what they're doing wrong.  But if it's a major boss fight along the course of the main story, it's probably statted to wipe the floor with you.
 

omen613

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A Boss to me should always be a test for the current "Dungeon"


As you venture through the dungeon fighting regular enemies each should be presented to the player as a lesson for the final test.


Lesson one: Enemy that puts the party to sleep first turn. 2nd turn he attacks a random sleeping member and wakes them up. Lessoned learned was damage wakes up sleeping units.


Lesson two: Enemy that when it dies it explodes and poisons all the party members. Dealing damage to them each turn. 


Test: Big boss that is accompanied by the exploding poison enemy. but the exploding poison enemy is asleep at the start of the battle.


Big boss is a larger version of the first enemy you encountered that puts everyone to sleep. (he must of put the exploding monster to sleep lol)


So if the party attacks and kills the exploding monster they will all be poisoned.


which damages them each turn. (you can just make the poison stat resist sleep in the database)


which will prevent them from being put to sleep every other turn and then easily defeat the Big Boss.


a super simplified version of a boss fight but explains the point of lessons and tests
 
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Wavelength

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All of the above are true, but I do think it's also reasonable to ask about "how high should the boss' stats be" - however, my answer would be "however high they need to be to assure a challenging but winnable fight".  If the boss battle isn't winnable by most players, it is going to be really consternating and halt progress (unless you're doing something really cool where you can lose fights and still progress - very rare in RPGs for this to be the norm throughout a game).  If the boss isn't powerful enough to be challenging, players will not be as engaged as they could be.


It's very hard to give an answer like "2x the stats of a normal enemy" or "10x the stats of a normal enemy" because random encounters are used for a lot of different purposes in a lot of different games - REs in some games are going to be much more challenging than others.  The boss stats shouldn't be relative to regular encounters, but should be a target zone (challenging, not unwinnable) of their own that you need to aim for.
 

Dr. Delibird

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Make the boss have something that is interesting in terms of mechanics. Maybe the boss is super dooper powerful buuuuut can only attack (or use a skill or whatever) every second turn and on the turns it cannot attack the boss is immune to most forms of damage (like maybe all elements except for physical). This is just an example and I recommend you take the time to brainstorm some of your own ideas for interesting boss fight mechanics.

If a boss fight can be defeated by spamming heal (items and/or skills) plus spamming your strongest attacks, it is no better than a game where spamming attack to win is prevalent. Maybe the boss has an aura that makes healing skills/items less effective at the start of the battle but they regain their normal ability to heal as the boss looses health. This adds another dimension of battle as you will need to click the "defend" option with your characters who can't do anything that turn vs normally you would just click attack anyways and get that 12 HP damage that is probably not helping anyway but who cares because you can just heal up next turn, right?

A rule of thumb I am using in my games balancing of bosses is:
1. Is the boss mechanically interesting to fight? If not is there a reason for this? (think joke bosses or story specific fights that are either "rigged" or heavily in the players favour for a reason)
2. Which stats does the boss NEED? If the boss needs the Attack stat because all of their skills are based off of it then this is a needed stat. Needed stats are the ones I focus all of my initial play testing on, all of the other stats I play test at a later point when I am testing the entire boss fight and not just figuring out how much damage it should be doing/taking.
3. Is the boss a "bullet sponge"? If yes then try to do something else to make the boss difficuilt. Yes more HP means longer fight which does make it more difficuilt in some aspects but really it is one of if not the most laziest ways to scale difficuilty.
 
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I've always preferred bosses with crazy super powers, like a move that puts your whole part to sleep or drains MP or give it healing lackeys or something.  Then you can just make the stats around the same as the players with a lot of extra HP and the challenge is getting around the super power.  (Oh I guess that what Dr. Delibird is saying too)  
 

Matseb2611

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A good boss fight should ideally have some kind of interesting strategy to beating it, something that gets players to use those skills they don't use as often, and preferably making it somewhat situational, so that they can't just spam their strongest attack the entire time and beat it. For example, the boss could keep changing his/her resistances throughout the fight, making the player resort to skills of different elemental capabilities, or the boss could end up gaining some other advantages once their HP drops to a certain amount, such as a reflective shield that can reflect magic attacks, forcing the player to reconsider what attacks to use.


Not to promote myself or anything, but I just remembered I did a topic on different boss fight mechanics some time ago. Maybe you'll find it a useful read. Here is the topic:
 

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