Recently, The Elder Scrolls Online Lead Encounter Designer Mike Finnigan and Senior Content Designer Shane Slama team up for a behind-the-scenes look at how the entire team designs boss encounters. Part two of the Deep Dive is now live and this one is all about the boss fights themselves, the mechanics and the design taking into account the lore and player roles.
Boss abilities and mechanics come from trying to figure out what that boss is about, again between the lore and the story, and what kind of monster it is. Essentially, they base the design on several principles and then go from there. They also use the catalog of what has already been done in both The Elder Scrolls Online and The Elder Scrolls In total. You want to keep the past depictions of some of these creatures in mind while adding something unique. Eventually, once they have a boss concept in mind, it’s all about how that creature is going to move in the environment so they can determine what kind of mechanics it’s going to have.
When it comes to challenges, it might be too tempting to just focus on the mechanics rather than making enough use of the story, or too hung up on doing something exciting or cool without making it satisfying enough. Even over-reliance on a particular mechanic at the expense of others is something they want to avoid.
One question is how they design dungeon bosses according to the roles of the player characters. This is a fundamental design situation for MMOs, but it’s right because roles and interdependence create connections and build teamwork. Things you need for effective dungeon wins.
Another issue they address is boss design when that content is of varying difficulty. They’re trying to figure out what mechanics will be present across all difficulties first so the skills will be tailored to that experience and hopefully prepare players to level up later when they see the same mechanics they’ve already been exposed to. Consistency is important. And when it comes to designing hard modes, it can’t just be about numbers, like giving the boss more HP or sheer damage output.
For the full blog see Elder Scrolls Online.
https://www.mmorpg.com/news/elder-scrolls-online-dev-interview-goes-behind-the-scenes-of-boss-mechanics-adjusting-for-difficulty-levels-2000124704 Elder Scrolls Online dev interview looks behind the scenes at boss mechanics and adapts to difficulty levels