Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pretty Much Just...



No, because no.

Wrath of the Lich King, as an expansion, offered a lot of "familiarity" - encounters that we could easily describe as "Like (x) but with (y mechanic) added."

Even moreso if you play other video games.

But, it's a good piece of game design to "train" your players to do simple things first, then introduce them to more complex versions - variations on a theme, if you will.

A good analogy would be Portal, though I'll skip cake jokes for everyone's benefit. The game's start has you as a "test dummy" for a new device, the Portal Gun. Using it allows your player character to move from one place to another - if the fastest distance between two points is a straight line, then making it so the destination point and the starting point are exactly the same is even faster.

The game starts by having you do simple movement puzzles, training - introducing new physics quirks ("Speedy thing goes in - speedy thing comes out") and ideals of motion. The twist of the game has you using all of the tricks you've learned in the first half, in the second half, where the game is not about "testing" but rather, "escape."

So, how does this relate to World of Warcraft? Well, there are easy encounters and there are hard encounters. There are hard bosses that have "easy mode" versions to get an idea of HOW the encounter will work; even if it doesn't tell you the entire story, you are not caught unaware by familiar tricks.

The first such boss we can talk about, in terms of having a similar "easy mode" to the raid boss, is Kel'Thuzad from Naxxramas.

Kel'Thuzad is the final boss of Naxxramas, a three phase fight. Phase One is technically not really a phase - but for about four minutes, additional enemies will spawn, of varying difficulties and strengths, some are more dangerous than others - so your ten man raid group will have to focus on different enemies for different reasons.

Smile pretty for the camera, Mr. Thuzad!

Phase Two and Three are where the real boss fight are, but, if only there was somewhere... some place...

Where you could get an idea of the flow of the fight...

Of the additional enemies spawning upon- CHELLO, what have we here then?!

I can be cool too, right guys?

This is Novos the Summoner, a mid boss of the Drak'Tharon Keep instance.

He is a two phase fight, the first consisting of waves of additional enemies spawning and running at your party from three different possible directions - a consistent flow from a staircase he stares up, as well as an additional "Crystal Handler" that must be killed to remove the shield and start phase two.

Novos and Kel'Thuzad have similar abilities - both cast ice magic at single targets and in an Area of Effect. KT, however, has the Bigger Badder versions of the spells, including instant cast volleys and Void Zones that you should not, under any circumstance, continue to stand in.

But, a guild that was having problems on Kel'Thuzad could look to Novos as a "Tutorial Mode" for the fight and have an idea for how Phases One and Two would go. While it's not perfectly EQUIVALENT, you still can help relate a fight to someone by saying "It's pretty much just Novos..."

Or, perhaps you play other video games besides World of Warcraft?

Kologarn, without Projected Textures turned on


Who the hell is tha-

No. No way. Did they seriously?

Giga Gaia, with Blast Processing


Kologarn and Giga Gaia are both bosses with multiple targets. Either arm is a boss in it's own right; and killing the "head" finishes the encounter, allowing the party to move on.

If all three pieces are allowed to stay active, they have access to bigger moves that do damage to the entire party/raid. Ideally, you'd kill an arm to weaken his ability to do massive damage to your group, then you'd keep weakening one arm exponentially during the fight, so that you can keep a rotation going - if one arm is down, the other arm is using weaker attacks. If both arms die at the same time, both arms will be ressurected at the same time - in addition to the boss getting bigger, heavier attacks to use.

Kologarn, pretty much just Chrono Trigger's Giga Gaia; right down to the mechanics.


Trial of the Crusader offered a pair of Valkyr that have a very peculiar mechanic. One is a dark Valkyr, the other is a light Valkyr - their magic is that of shifting orbs... Your party takes on an aura of either light or dark, and collects the orbs of the same color to increase your damage done, to decrease the damage you take from the magic of a certain type.

You change your "aura" to change to match the abilities - to absorb the worst of it, to prepare to battle back against the brunt of the damage, you switch and change back and forth, sometimes multiple times.

If this sounds familiar...

Ikaruga hates you and wants you to die. probably played this. Ikaruga is a top down shooter, where your space ship can change polarities, from light to dark. Doing so negates the damage you'll take from the dark/light orbs and charge your ship to do incredible amounts of damage to everything on screen.

Sounding familiar?

Repeating ideas in a video game has never been anything new. In fact, it's a training tool. From the first time Super Mario ran straight into his first goomba, from the first time the ghosts ran away from Pac-Man after eating the big power pellet, every thing in a video game teaches you how to play... if you look at it that way.

moar liek "Reeducation of the Learned King" amirite

1 comment:

  1. One of the things I really liked about the Sindragosa fight was how heavily it drew from Pit of Saron mechanics. Hiding out of LOS to clear bad stacks? Just like Garfrost! Moving away from others when you're targeted by a big frost spell from a dragon, so you don't hit them too? Just like Tyrannus!

    Now if only they had had a "warm up" lesson about Defile...