Jan 12, 2012

Posted by in Blue Milk & Cereal | 3 Comments

Blue Milk & Cereal: How Long Is Your Ideal Boss Fight?

No day would be complete without the breakfast of Jedi: Blue Milk & Cereal.  Every morning, the team at Ask A Jedi will get Force-induced thoughts coursing through your head with delicious issues from around the galaxy! Join in the discussion below to make your voice heard!

Over the years, raiding has generally taken center stage in the world of MMO gaming. The big, epic boss fight is something groups of players have aspired to from Lady Vox to Ragnaros and beyond. I won’t lie – the reason these were so popular with players is, of course, the loot. But beyond that, they also represented the pinnacle of PvE gameplay. Large groups of players needed to come together with enough knowledge, preparation and coordination and work to overcome the obstacle between players and their new shinies.

These raid encounters began life as simple “tank and spank” fights, where they offered only basic mechanics and your strength came through the numbers you brought with you. Over time, the evolution of raid boss fights became more complex. Soon, we were all dancing around in a Rube Goldberg-style contraption with each player requiring the individual precision of a sharpshooter and the group synchronization of a well-trained army. For me, the peak of encounter design was the original C’thun fight in World of Warcraft. That was where I believe Blizzard really turned a corner in encounter design… tons of fun.

One of the key components of these ended up simply being endurance. While there was all kinds of coordination going on with different phases of the fight requiring different tactics and usually different team members, in the end having to repeat it all and keep it up for 5, 10, 20 minutes or more was sometimes the real challenge. I can’t tell you how many frustrating wipes we had near the very end of The Illidari Council fight, in what was a 20 minute long fight while you were learning it.

Soa, the end baddie in The Eternity Vault, the first raid in Star Wars: The Old Republic is about  a 10 minute fight. It has some awesome visuals and mechanics, and if you don’t mind spoilers you should check out a kill video. This feels like sufficient time to make the fight epic, but not so long that you start punching kittens if you lose and have to start over.

Anyway, it got me to thinking. What’s the right length for a raid boss fight? It needs to feel epic, and needs to be a climax of something you’ve been working toward, but it also can’t be too frustrating. Let us know your thoughts below!

What is the ideal length for a raid boss encounter?

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  1. I think it depends on where the boss is located relative to progression. The first bosses of the operation should be quicker to take down then the later bosses. Here’s my ideal:

    Gear Check bosses: 6-7 minutes
    Next level of bosses: 8-9 minutes
    Operation ending bosses: 10-13 minutes
    Expansion ending (or Nightmare-only) bosses: 15 minutes+

  2. I really liked the original 4 Horsemen fight in Naxx 40-man. It was a long fight that required coordination (though the 8-tank strat was, admittedly, cumbersome). I really enjoyed bosses for the most part, in hindsight, even the annoying ones (see: Loatheb and Shadow Protection Potions).

    I like variety in fights, which I feel is not terribly hard to ask for. The thing I currently am not a fan of is the single-tank fights that are quite prevalent in this tier of raiding. This is a very tank-friendly game (and they make a huge difference in PVP); why, in a 16-man, is BioWare simply requiring one tank?

  3. izikavazo says:

    I don’t know about the length of the battle, I usually don’t notice how long it takes, but I like it when the end is hectic. As a healer, I know that boss battles are good when I’m red-lining with my force and I have to let someone die and switch from healing to attacking.

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