Your thoughts on secret/super/postgame bosses?

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by TheGamedawg, Dec 8, 2015.

  1. AMGLime

    AMGLime Veteran Veteran

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    I enjoy Super Bosses, to the point that I have a few of them in my game.

    One of them is around Level 40, and you have a small window to get to him, you go through the side dungeon, and you find him at the top. He's not "LOL I'm hitting you for 5k" when you only have around 1100 HP annoying, but he does hit really hard to the point that I like to believe he isn't beatable unless you have a designated tank and healer in your group.

    One thing I never liked about Superbosses, was that they just had a lot of HP and hit hard. So with this boss, he has above average Defence, so you can kill him with just physical attacks, but it'll take awhile. He has two big things with him, one is when you hit him with an Elemental Attack, he'll now absorb that elemental attack so you have to hit him with another of the elements, and he keeps that state until he gets a total of four states, and then he'll drop them and start over. The other big thing is that as his health gets lower, he'll unlock a new ability at 70% and 40%. He won't use them often outside of when he first uses them, but they're there to throw you off a pattern.

    So yeah, I'm fine with Super and Secret bosses. I find Postgame bosses a little odd, unless they serve a purpose like, a Hidden Dungeon unlocked after the game is finished, that when the boss at the end is beaten it increases the strength of the Final Boss and alters the ending a bit.
     
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  2. Lowell

    Lowell The Walking Atelier Veteran

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    I enjoy how Romancing SaGa handled it. In addition to all the super bosses, you also had the choice of making the final boss harder depending on you giving up certain accessories (these literally gave immunity to one element and no other equipment in game did this). Having the choice to ramp up the difficulty against the final boss  without being forced to do it for the story is a design that's rarely used.

    On another note, games like Etrian Odyssey have those roaming monstrosities we call FOES, that are, for the most part, completely optional and avoidable. Most people would obviously kill it for the exp or drops, but there are a handful of players that completely ignore them and work with regular enemy drops. Depending on your level at certain points in the game, the FOES seem like super bosses and are sometimes even stronger than the stratum boss.
     
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  3. Valkyriet

    Valkyriet Pocket Panda Veteran

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    Nothing immediately comes to mind as an example, but I think a super secret boss is a nice idea as long as you don't add "leader/king of all monsters". I mean, the boss can be super powerful but to make it seem like a fair yet challenging battle, he needs to have some kind of weakness. As long as he has some kind of weakness, he's not fit to be a king, and if he's fit to be a king then I don't think a group of pesky heroes should be able to defeat him. I mean, think about it : if he's super and secret, that means that despite being super, he hasn't tried taking over the world yet. So he might be a good guy, or he might have other priorities (like, eating cake).

    I'll give an example. In Aveyond 4, there's this boss called Kubaba. Once the fight starts, there's 3 of him (2 clones and the original) and every time one turn is finished (party + boss), Kubaba and clones shift position. You can do only 1 damage on the clones. There is a small trick to figuring out which one is the real one so you can deal damage, but sometimes you just have to use area of effect spells. Similarly, if such a weakness existed in your super secret boss, it would make for a fair fight I think. Also, don't make it seem like the party vanquished the boss (he could be a good guy). Instead, they could receive super powerful weapons from him if they manage to defeat him. They may even get a limit, like 3 chances only to defeat him.
     
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  4. Reavenator

    Reavenator Member Veteran

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    I never understood the point of superbosses. It usually boils down to: grind forever (or for 5 minutes using some weird exploit), or else the boss will one shot you, and then spend 3 hours fighting a boss with a ridiculous amount of hit points. It just sounds like a waste of time to me.

    I also think you shouldn't make a boss that's stronger than your final boss accessible before the final boss fight itself, because it kinda makes your final boss look like a wimp.

    That said, I don't have a problem with secret or post game bosses in general, as long as they don't fit the criteria above.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2015
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  5. jonthefox

    jonthefox Veteran Veteran

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    Well they're usually optional, it's mostly just a way to give additional content and challenge for people in the endgame or when they've amassed all the best items/spells and achieved max level.   
     
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  6. cybrim

    cybrim Tinker of the Nether Veteran

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    Pok'e'mon! *(BLEEP)* YES! LOVE IT! This is mandatory if you want that drawing in feeling, the world doesn't end because the story is "over".
     
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  7. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    Whenever I run across these optional superbosses...  I always wonder, "why isn't the actual boss of the game this hard?  Why is it some side boss that's so super hard?"  And then I think, "oh yeah, devs think players suck at video games, so they make actual endgame bosses easy and hide these challenges for players who actually care about being good at the game.".

    Basically...  Not a big fan.  Especially since the super secret boss really doesn't give you anything worthwhile.  Sweet, an Infinity +1 Sword I can't use 'cause I already beat the boss of the game without it!  TOTALLY WORTH IT!  I beat the super secret boss for an achievement!  Value zero.  I beat the super secret boss to feel good about myself!  Whooo!!!

    ​If you're going to have bosses after the main boss (or more powerful than the main boss), then their existence needs to be tied to the main boss in some way.  Otherwise, I just look at it and go, "this exists because devs think people suck at video games and it's thrown in there for the handful of people they know will go out and beat it anyway, despite the reward sucking".

    I dunno, if I want a challenge in a video game, I'll go run 4 White Wizards in Final Fantasy 1 for the NES.  I don't need a super secret uber boss to challenge myself.  I can impose my own challenges if I really crave an actual challenge.  I don't need devs to program in extra challenges for me after the game is done.
     
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  8. littleyuri

    littleyuri Veteran Veteran

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    (Glares at the secret boss of Brave Story. One of the hardest bosses I've encountered in my gaming life.)

    I don't mind them... In some cases you have to scale some monsters' exp though, to make it easier for your characters to level up. The thing in Brave Story was, the monsters' exp didn't scale, end-game wise. So it's very hard to level up and beat the optional secret boss.

    This could be true in some more games out there and that could pose as a problem...
     
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  9. NichG

    NichG Villager Member

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    I tend to like secret bosses because they're a good canvas for the devs to really cut loose with the game system. For things along the main line of play, there always must be the consideration that the game is going to be played by a variety of different kinds of players. Once you make something optional, you can specialize it to a subset of potential players. There's also the consideration that the final boss aligns with the conclusion of the game. That means that a final boss fight has to serve the purpose of constructing an emotionally satisfying conclusion to the story. That means that you probably should aim to have the final boss feel difficult and taxing, yet not force the player to try multiple times (because the more often you re-tread the buildup to the conclusion, the less impact and continuity it will have). So a final boss should aim to serve the emotional arc of the player's experience, not serve to be the most challenging experience the game provides.

    A secret boss then provides an opportunity to engage that desire for challenge with the understanding that it may involve a bit more scouting, planning, and re-tries than a final boss should. It's also an opportunity to have a sort of gradual relaxation of engagement if the player didn't feel done with the game - they want to keep playing, but the main plot is done, so you can't reward continued engagement with the game with too much additional content. So instead, you place a goal a good distance from where the player is likely to be, and allow the player to justify their continued play as bringing them progress towards that goal.
     
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  10. cybrim

    cybrim Tinker of the Nether Veteran

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    I believe there are good points to the "players aren't that great" and the "Optionally provided challenge" opinions, which are both true.

    I love Dragon Warrior! I've played and beaten this game so many times, I know there is NOTHING NEW HERE, but I love it and wish there were. Now if I came upon this game at the same age and I could beat it and there were a hidden boss, I'd be playing it right now just to appreciate the design & choices I couldn't as a younger CRAPPIER player. Lets face it, we get older and wiser, some games are really hard at first but when you can go back and own it and (get an achievement/trophy) proving that you did that! It is a new reward and hopefully this will boost your confidence to find harder games, hopefully with rewarding options not just optional rewards... BIG DIFFERENCE. I guess the original persona had a "white queen" optional quest rather early on that actually changed the story and much of the game compared to if you didn't do it, that is awesome.
     
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  11. KoldBlood

    KoldBlood Make It Better Veteran

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    I don't know if they would be considered super bosses (since the time you fight them can affect their power) but in my game I'm planning on having special "Crest" items not available in any stores or chests that you get from fight super bosses.

    To quickly summarize the appeal of these items for the player: Crests are powerful, trump card-like items that are equipped to a character's bracelet (early game you can only have one at a time but I'm planning for at least three at a time in late game). They give the the character some stat boosts or other benefits but the main attraction is that they give the character access to 1-2 unique special abilities that can be used to turn the tide of battle or give them an advantage of some sort. There's more to it but I realize this is not the place to do that
    SO moving on...

    Crests are only found in hidden dungeons throughout the game. These dungeons are designed to be much more challenging than the story dungeons (in that area/point of the game) with tougher enemies and a boss that is a "super" type boss ranging anywhere from 1.5 to 2x as powerful as what you've face in that area of the game so far. With the reward for completing the dungeon being one of these powerful Crest items.

    My reasoning for this design relates to what a few others have said before; I've never been completely satisfied when I've beaten a super boss and gained say, a super powerful weapon AFTER I've played through the whole game. Yeah, sure, it's fun to use and stuff but its usefulness is ultimately limited to a gimmick (which I know is pretty much the point). With my Crests idea I aimed to give the player these secret, powerful items to seek out during the game IF they wish to. None of the hidden Crests are required to beat the game at any point. In fact, you can beat the game without ever using a single Crest skill. However, it is my hope that once the player gets a taste of their power and usefulness (from the first couple you get in the story) they will be motivated to search out and obtain as many as they can promoting exploration.

    Since you can seek out these items throughout the adventure and then use them IN said adventure I feel like its a better reward and incentive for the player to even want to fight a super boss in the first place than "Oh cool, you beat the final, most powerful enemy in the game! Here's a sword you could've really used 80hrs ago! Good job!". Then of course there's also the completetionist type players who I think would love the "collect 'em all" aspect of the Crests.

    Anyway, that's my take on the whole secret/super boss mechanic.
     
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