Improvement on boss encounter design - some thoughts about the new bosses

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    CaligoIllioneus
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    Improvement on boss encounter design - some thoughts about the new bosses

    Post by CaligoIllioneus on Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:50 pm

    Introduction

    That "least favorite boss" thread made me reflect about the boss encounters in the game, and how an aspect of them was improved on the AotA content... that is, that too many bosses in this game had this "trick" to them, and that from the moment you discover it the difficulty of the fight decreases greatly. Quelaag and Seath are the prime examples of what I think was a flaw, and Ornstein and Smough an example of the "original" game avoiding this mistake for great success.

    Examples of the flaw

    Take Quelaag for a moment. You stay on her right side (that is, to your left), and her melee attacks sail over your head, and the only danger left is her AoE attack, and backstepping into lava. I'm not saying that you can't die again after you discover this, but your experience with the boss will never mirror the first time you faced her, where you had to deal with all her attacks...

    I'm not talking about developing effective strategies, which is awesome (that would be "X attack has X tell" "dodge when the boss does Y" "block Z attack and it gives you an opening") but about a simple strategy being too effective, "Stay on this place and attacks won't hit you", which makes the fights drastically less challenging after you discover them.

    I already mentioned Quelaag, but on Seath it's even more noticeable. Stay on the tip of his tentacle, and nothing will hit you. The boss is not really weak or unfun, but this "trick" greatly reduces his danger, causing you to attack with impunity. You won't see the boss the same way again, unless you intend on cutting the tail.

    In conclusion, unless you are doing any self-imposed challenge, these fights play as a puzzle of sorts, where you have to find the boss weak point -in this case not your typical spot you can hit for massive damage, but a simple strategy that is just too effective-

    Examples of encounters avoiding this

    What about the Gargoyles, and O&S, for example? A completely different story. The Gargoyles are not too hard, but the fact that there's two of them and how their attacks can synchronize or not means that you always have to be paying attention and blocking and dodging their attacks. This boss is tough the first times (usually) and yes, you will have an easier time dealing with them in your next playthroughs, but that will be because you are more skilled, not because (hypothetically) you learned to stay on X side of the monster causing it to miss 95% of the attacks.

    It's the same with O&S, you can develop your preferred strategy (be it trying to destroy one of them the fastest as possible as soon as you go through the fog gate, or turtling and fishing for openings, or whatever), but the fight will remain challenging through all your playthroughs, because of how dynamic it is, and because of the lack of these "tricks".

    New content bosses:

    Here From Software did a great job with the new content...all the new bosses avoid this...the increased number of moves they have (much more than those of older bosses) and their aggressive and crafty AI causes the fights to be more dynamic and challenging, forcing you to learn their moves and how to deal with them...you need to know when to dodge their attacks, or if you want to block them you need to be careful with the stamina management, etc.

    I think this is the greatest triumph of the AotA content, and it makes me hopeful towards the next Souls game happy
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    Rynn
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    Re: Improvement on boss encounter design - some thoughts about the new bosses

    Post by Rynn on Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:04 am

    I didn't know either of those aspects of the spider or seath... i've always fought them "normally".
    To me, the best example is the Gaping Dragon... which after your first time fighting, you're likely never hit again.

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    Re: Improvement on boss encounter design - some thoughts about the new bosses

    Post by Xardas on Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:54 am

    Just because you didn’t learn new bosses weaknesses doesn’t mean there are none.

    Manus is nice but if you summon Sif this fight is a joke. And off course you can kill him through the gate with a bow. There is a video.

    Ben and Jerry were much easier with wood ring <50. Now it is a bit more challenging because medium roll is not good for the second part and light armor can make first part difficult for new player. I had to kill fat one with bow. Could not roll fast enough to avoid his lightning AOE .
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    CaligoIllioneus
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    Re: Improvement on boss encounter design - some thoughts about the new bosses

    Post by CaligoIllioneus on Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:12 pm

    I was not saying that the new bosses have no weakness, I am saying that they require you to learn their moves and how to deal with them. There isn't one strategy that is too effective, like standing on the tip of Seath's tentacle, or to the left of Quelaag's spider head. Killing Manus with a bow from outside is a glitch, so I don't count it. I was talking about the new bosses being more like O&S, where you have to develop your own strategy, and less like other bosses where you just have to discover one strategy that is too effective.
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    Jansports
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    Re: Improvement on boss encounter design - some thoughts about the new bosses

    Post by Jansports on Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:55 am

    Strafing to your right (his left) against manus avoids all but one of the dark magics, or at least it seemed so from the stream I was watching.

    But generally speaking I'd agree. Kalameet looks like the kind of fight I can't wait to get my hands on.

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    Re: Improvement on boss encounter design - some thoughts about the new bosses

    Post by IV_Mark_VI on Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:48 am

    Yeah. These tricks have really made my enjoyment go down... so I don't use them.

    I fight Ceaseless Discharge hand to hand, point blank.
    I don't warp or use a bow with the Bed of Chaos. (I still use Flash Sweat)
    Gaping... I have to admit I always chop off his tail. One of these days I should try him without cutting it off.
    Sif I'll still roll under.
    Gwyn... depending how I feel I may parry him.
    Seath I've never had trouble with, unless I get trapped by his slapping tails. I never tried fighting him point blank, but I've seen others do it. I've also seen someone go "under" seath and was completely protected from his attacks it seemed like.

    Exploiting bosses really cuts down on my fun, so I don't do it.


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    Re: Improvement on boss encounter design - some thoughts about the new bosses

    Post by Gazoinks on Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:57 pm

    IV_Mark_VI wrote:Yeah. These tricks have really made my enjoyment go down... so I don't use them.

    I fight Ceaseless Discharge hand to hand, point blank.
    I don't warp or use a bow with the Bed of Chaos. (I still use Flash Sweat)
    Gaping... I have to admit I always chop off his tail. One of these days I should try him without cutting it off.
    Sif I'll still roll under.
    Gwyn... depending how I feel I may parry him.
    Seath I've never had trouble with, unless I get trapped by his slapping tails. I never tried fighting him point blank, but I've seen others do it. I've also seen someone go "under" seath and was completely protected from his attacks it seemed like.

    Exploiting bosses really cuts down on my fun, so I don't do it.
    Yeah, it's definitely something I try to avoid unless it's a boss battle I really hate. I'm somewhat ashamed to admit it, but I used the bow trick on Maneater in DeS at least twice. ;_;
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    Re: Improvement on boss encounter design - some thoughts about the new bosses

    Post by Pesth on Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:51 pm

    Jansports wrote:But generally speaking I'd agree. Kalameet looks like the kind of fight I can't wait to get my hands on.

    From the DLC i think kalameet is the only boss you can "cheese" sad , after i died a few times trying to cut his tail,
    Spoiler:
    I've learned that he's a little like siff, if you stay under him, you can hit a lot of times without any of his attacks hitting you

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    Re: Improvement on boss encounter design - some thoughts about the new bosses

    Post by kettpower on Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:56 am

    completely agree with you.

    the boss battles are my true highlight of the additional content. they now remind me more of the good old demon souls days. i think that the artorias battle is very similar to the false king and manus reminds me of flamelurker. both are very aggressive and you have a hard time even trying to heal yourself.

    what also increases the difficulty of pve and especially the boss fights is the nerf of the dwgr. now u can't just put on some heavy armor with high poise and still be flipping around while having spend a lot of stat points in vitality.
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    Re: Improvement on boss encounter design - some thoughts about the new bosses

    Post by Gazoinks on Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:06 pm

    I finally got to the DLC yesterday, and I am getting absolutely murdered by the Sanctuary Guardian. I should probably go level up my Vit a bit, but I don't really want to. >.> Definitely an improvement over most of the main game's bosses, though. He really feels tough, fast, and dangerous.


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    Re: Improvement on boss encounter design - some thoughts about the new bosses

    Post by Anonymous Proxy on Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:29 pm

    Spoiler:

    Kalameet likes to ***-slam me. So... Yeah. I don't like staying under him. Since his slam counts as a plunging attack to the game's damage standards. I'll pass on that.


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    CaligoIllioneus
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    Re: Improvement on boss encounter design - some thoughts about the new bosses

    Post by CaligoIllioneus on Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:52 am

    I am finally back! I didn't have internet connection for quite a long while (because ISP's customer service is worse than doing O&S naked, using only a shield as a weapon, cursed, with egghead infection,wearing the dusk crown ring and calamity ring)

    @Anonymous Proxy

    Spoiler:
    Sometimes you can block the slamming attack depending on which direction your shield is facing.. it should face towards the feet that is currently slamming the ground (this is easier to do if you don't lock on)

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