Random in Boss fights?

A good find about how good or bad it is for encounters in PvE to be heavily or lightly scripted, which is interesting given how much the degree of “random” affects fun.

Tobold wrote:

In my opinion there is too little randomization in MMORPGs. They are nearly totally deterministic. Before combat even starts you know what the monster will do, and what keys to press in which order to optimally defeat it. Thus combat involves no thinking, only execution.

As Craig Stern says, the solution is not making the result of button presses unpredictable, but to make the opponent unpredictable, or the starting situation. That is why card games work: The cards you draw are random, but what you can do with them is not. And in a MMORPG the monsters could be made more unpredictable as well. Why do people need to know in advance what the boss mob is going to do after X minutes to beat him?

posted by Tobold Stoutfoot at 8:54 AM on Nov 18, 2012

To be fair, its better to read the entire post and linked articles.

Would introducing more randomness be good?

I think it would be terrible – consider that if you really want to make the bosses challenging then you make them more intelligent…..say they don’t have a threat table anymore, they just crush anyone who tries casts a heal.

Same issue in pen and paper – for some reason (story) the big bad orc (high CR monster) wails on the fighter, not the cleric.

I can see the point about execution and predetermined strategies removing “creative” aspects, but really the 4th wall is so present in an MMO that it is just differing personal perspectives for how far the slider between real and scripted the entire game is. I also think that some random is ok, but too much will be very disruptive to the players, as their outcome for victory is too much outside their control.

The card game in Tobold’s example is not a good match to the game style events in an MMO, given how different the perspective is, but does help my point: who likes playing solitaire when the game cannot be won?

Trial of the Champion had the pvp based fight which was excellent, but it still came down to a set of abilities, and a priority based kill order. It was also hated by a few raiders.

Another random fight was Lord Ryolyth in Firelands – who was basically impossible if the randomness didn’t go your way. That is a shitty way to spend an evening.

Go have a read as the discussion on both Tobolds and Craig’s blog are good stuff. Happy Killing.

In the nick of time

The raiders in Insidious were fighting bosses down to the wire before MoP and a space appeared so I nabbed it. It meant that I got to see the Heroic Ragnaros kill and Heroic Deathwing kills while the content was current – just in the nick of time.

I thought some pictures might be good too. Thank you to Insidious.

I should have screenshotted his legs

Insidious has defeated Ragnaros

At last, after fighting him tooth and nail, the Insidious raid team have defeated Ragnaros – giving them 7 of 7 and completing the normal mode fights in Firelands. Well done guys, you earnt that victory.

Typically it was the last attempt for the night, just after the raid was supposed to end. Perhaps you guys should raid from 11pm to 11:15pm?


ps – we’re looking for a few good players too. If you’re a good player, mature, and love playing in the Ausssie time zone then look us up. Insidious on Nagrand-US Alliance‘s website. Currently recruiting healers.

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Patch 4.2 for WoW inbound

Well its about to land, and none too soon. WowInsider has a post with the full notes, and its nothing overly different from the previous 3-4 weeks of patch notes. If you have not read the patch, this summary is useful and short enough to be scanned over while you are pretending to be doing work, study, or listening to a family member.

Frankly this patch is all about the content. Content is king for Warcraft now, and will keep the players engaged or frustrate them enough to bail altogether. I am looking forward to it and hoping that they’ve nailed something interesting. With the Star Wars chatter, a Warhammer 40k game in development, and many other distractions in real life – World of Warcraft is looking to revitalise the player base in a setting of increased expectation and limited tolerance for bugs.

Now some random thoughts…

  • How interesting and maintainable will the daily quests be? Like Sons of Hodir (grinding), or the Isle quests (ok, if a little chaotic). Given the quest rewards are buffs for regular raiders, and some are even nice for folks who have done hard modes, I expect the effort to be directly proportional to the reward. Yes, I’ll see you there regularly as we grind. Pity the mongrels with many toons.
  • Will we be jumping straight in and raiding, or grunting through content and trash. In fact considering that its already been said that the trash is plentiful and hard – should we be pushing strategies for trash? Hopefully the zones are structured enough that we’re not clearing for hours.
  • Will we see players return, and if so (as I expect a few), will they bring drama? Anyone in my guild would be well warned to avoid making demands in the new days, especially if they’ve only just returned from hiatus. If you’re a returning play then consider the folks who played through – your seat may not be there waiting for you, but be patient. Raid leads will be wanting to see options, not complaints.
  • Will I even be able to lay without all my add-ons? Nope, I’m a cripple without a threat-meter, custom bars, and some useful nameplates.

Happy patching, modding, … sampling, looping, something*, and eating (PWEI reference).