I rather enjoyed doing a top x list yesterday, so I’m doing another one today! It keeps me writing, which is good. I mean, this is my third post in 3 days! Normally it takes me three weeks to do that.
This post is about boss fight archetypes that I, personally, dislike.
4: Add Fights
e.g. Galakras, Hellfire Assault
A boss encounter that often doesn’t feature an actual boss, the add fight is one of those long, annoying fights against constantly-spawning enemies. While most normal boss fights get easier and faster as you gear up, in an add fight you are restricted by spawn timers. In Hellfire Assault for example, a vehicle spawns every so often; defeating the vehicle makes it drop ammo for a cannon, and you need to fire the cannon a certain number of times. Sadly, you can’t speed up the spawning of the vehicles, meaning the time you’ll complete the encounter with an average item level of 660 will also be the amount of time you complete it at 720+.
3: Duel Boss
e.g. Kanrethad (WoW), Wiegraf (Final Fantasy Tactics)
Most RPGs that feature some sort of party system tend to also feature a boss (or bosses!) that eschews normal party-based mechanics, forcing you to engage in a one-on-one fight. Kanrethad Ebonlocke is the final boss of the Warlock green fire quest, and you have to face him solo. Back at level 90 he was one of the hardest encounters in the game, though he became trivialised first by gear, then by the fact he’s a level 90 boss in a level 100 world.
While Kanny-baby is an optional encounter for 1 class in the game, Wiegraf is an encounter you HAVE to face as part of the story, and man-oh-man is he a bastard to an unprepared player. While I’ve gone in-depth on this encounter before (here) I will summarise the Wiegraf encounter as thus: if you have developed your main character in the “wrong” way (i.e. as a fragile magic-user) then Wiegraf will probably kill you in one or two hits every time, and it’d be easier to just restart the damn game from the start.
2: WTF Boss
e.g. Prince Malchezaar (WoW), Necron (Final Fantasy IX)
A boss with little plot relevance that just… comes out of nowhere.
Karazhan was Medivh’s house, and as such features ghosts and magical constructs (including the ghost of Medivh himself, who challenges you to a chess match, because of course he does), but at the top, the final boss is Prince Malchezaar, a big ol’ eredar lord of the Burning Legion. While every previous encounter was explained by the context of the raid itself, Ol’ Malchy is just kind of THERE, with no real reason. More odd than that is the fact he has Gorehowl on his loot table. You know, Garrosh and Grommash’s weapon? Which Garrosh had up until he left it in Pandaria, and Grommash still has?
Necron is the final boss of FFIX (spoiler alert? Though it’s a 15 year-old game so get over it) who appears with literally no build-up whatsoever. You fight Kuja, he throws a tantrum and uses Ultima, and then you’re fighting whatever the frig this is:
You beat him, and he’s never mentioned again. Cool.
1: Council Boss(es)
e.g. Illidari Council, Blood Prince Council, Ascendant Council, Council of Elders, Hellfire Council (WoW)
And that’s just the ones from World of Warcraft with council in their name! WoW features over 30 council fights. Sometimes the bosses share health (Stone Guard, Twin Emperors), sometimes they don’t and have a specific kill order (Hellfire Council, Spirit Kings), or maybe you need to kill all of them within a certain amount of time from each-other (Fallen Protectors, Conclave of Wind) otherwise they resurrect.
These fights are generally chaotic, especially on the pull, and tend to require a lot of co-ordination, which makes LFR versions of these encounters absolutely dreadful. They also need to come up with a new way of doing this style of fight because dammit we’ve seen it all before. The Klaxxi Paragons encounter just turns it up to 11, with 9 bosses to slog through, each with varied, dangerous attacks. Kill one, the others heal and power up and a new paragon flies in.
Okay, the Klaxxi encounter was my favourite in Siege of Orgrimmar, but still I’m sure there’s some sort of new take they can do with this encounter style.
What encounter styles do YOU dislike? Let me know!