Mar. 20th, 2017

cashew: Picture of Zack looking up at the sky (FFVII // zack)
The problem with GW2 PvE scene - I'm referring to the cooperative play aspect - is that it doesn't give a place for the many tools like boon strip, boon corrupt, and retaliation punishment. Most PvE Bosses are usually just a few big attacks, HP sponge, and...possibly a DPS check by having a timer. This is boring boss design. Here are ways that bosses could be much more interesting.

1. Damage retaliation: Give bosses a strippable/corruptable buff that retaliates damage. And unless removed, will render DPS dead in any attempts at hitting it. Lich boss in the Halloween Labyrinth was a great design that really pushed for the need of a boon strip/corruption class, giving Necros a place in PvE cooperative play.

2. Damage absorption when exceeding damage limit: if the received DPS is over a certain number, say, 20k, then have any excess damage heal the boss rather than continue damage it further. The only way to get around this is if the boss is stunned/dazed/knocked down/float (in other words, hard cc'd), thereby requiring the team to build for more than just DPS.

3. High attack speed, low attack damage: Build a boss that hits with unblockable, undodgeable AoEs that hit at like 600 damage per hit, but hits everyone 30 times per second. This forces the need for damage reduction, plus makes retaliation a useful trait to have for a boss. Confusion will actually do reasonable damage due to the high attack speed of the boss thus making the boss kill himself and the party needs to build highly defensively to simply survive.

4. Enforced battles of attrition: Give bosses regeneration that scales inversely with how many stacks of poison it has. If unpoisoned, bosses will simply heal back up. Other sources of damage merely heals the boss. The only way to defeat the boss is stay alive and attrition it to death. Give bosses healing skills, that if not interrupted/cc'd in time, would heal the boss back up to full, rendering previous work useless. Such a boss renders DPS useless and forces the players to build with sustain in mind instead.

5. Multiple bosses instead of one: Instead of making a single big boss to fight, make the "boss fight" the result of having to fight wave after wave of minions charging at you. Meanwhile, apply a health degeneration buff in the room that can be mitigated by toughness. Again, this forces the final fight into a battle of attrition, rather than focused on a spike of damage to deplete the boss' health. It also places emphasis on sustained damage rather than spike damage, as large damage spikes aren't going to make things go any faster.

6. Scale the boss to player stats, not level/numbers: Give the boss the corresponding stats which counters the team stat make up. High DPS? Exponentially grow the boss HP according to the power/condition damage stats and reduce the time allotted for the encounter. High defense? Exponentially grow the boss armor rating and attack damage. Make it such that building for an extreme will result in less efficiency as opposed to building for a middle of the road make up. There, now all your stats are useful, because the player now tunes the boss according to their armor choice.

There are plenty of more ideas that can be used to make a boss encounter difficult without resorting to scaling up more HP and require more damage. In fact, an encounter where high player damage works against the player is actually the fastest way to break the DPS-tunnel vision meta.

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