Today, as promised, we’re going to broach the subject of “boss fights”, as they’re known in-house. It’s a really important subject because you’ll see later that it’s linked, in its concept of game rules, to other future modes I’ll tell you about. In short, if you fully understand how BOSS FIGHTS work, you’ll understand the next posts I’ll be publishing here.
1. What Are Boss Fights?
Let’s start with this fundamental question. BOSS FIGHTS are a game mode in which you, the players, can join forces to go beat up some big monsters. For now, we’ll concentrate on the four-player format. That means: you four versus the BOSS. Some may find that lopsided, but in your defense, BOSSES are very big. It’s kind of like if we decided to beat up an elephant bare-handed with three of our friends… There’s no guarantee we’d get very far. Therefore, in this first version, you’ll be four allies versus the BOSS. But for what’s coming next, we’ll work on other modes such as “survival mode” and another with far more than four players.
Regarding the BOSS itself, you have to understand that you’ll never do damage directly to it. Think of the BOSS as a doorway, a breach, a portal, a source of magic that will unleash waves of monsters on you. Most of the time, the BOSS will be alive, but in a SHUSTUFT CRUST setting, it will be a simple opening in the ground. But be careful: Don’t immediately start crying that you’re being cheated and they’re not real bosses… Further on, I’ll explain how it works in practice and you’ll see that you’ll get your share of background, adventure, and encounters (unfortunate ones, mostly).
The final point I want to explain concerns game rounds. In WAVEN, we’ve wanted quick multiplayer fights right from the start. In fact, we’ve been building the game on this very idea. Any other idea can be sacrificed in favor of this goal. So yes, you’re going to say, “There goes Tot, sacrificing things like that…”. Well, yes, but it’s so you’ll understand how important this is. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved so far, but in launching a new game, the aim was, first and foremost, to reinvent ourselves. And to reinvent ourselves, we had to analyze our previous games, listen to your feedback, and try to offer something without making any concessions. Those of you who have a good memory will remember seeing me hanging around on the forums over the last few years, asking questions of all kinds… Basically, we all have less time to devote to the game. Essentially, less game time. In reality, I think we all have time, but that we spend it on many other things. In any case, the principal aim has therefore been to offer you quick gaming sessions that are easy to get into. There was no problem with 1v1 fights, which will take 10 minutes maximum. However, we started pulling our hair out when it came to multiplayer gaming, both PvP and PvM. How can we make it so players don’t have to wait for their allies to take their turns? If there are eight players and each player has one minute, do I really have to wait eight minutes per round before taking my turn? Impossible to start with that again. IMPOSSIBLE.
The final idea is therefore especially simple. But when I say it’s simple, let’s say it’s simple on paper but producing it is a whole different story. The idea is for everyone to play at the same time. Each on their own board, we live our separate lives and repel waves of monsters. Obviously, this decision has its shortcomings. The main one is that you won’t be on the same board as your friends. But, with a little brainpower, we worked on ideas to allow everyone to cooperate and help one another nevertheless. I’ll unveil all that in detail further on.
2. Building the Scenery
The first step is to build the scenery. Not having pushed things to the point of giving you animations, you’re going to have to dive into my words and imagine the results.
First of all, the first BOSS offered is the PUTRID OSSUARY. It will send hordes of Chafers at you.
The entire scenery is built in a “well of souls” style. The fight will start on this kind of purplish liquid from which the game board will emerge. Epic music, children’s cries, appearance of the OSSUARY… Within a few seconds, the game board has been placed.
And have a little imagination, for heaven’s sake! You won’t have an immobile OSSUARY in front of you, but something almost alive, whose limbs move… and that has a living energy sphere full of souls… Brrrr, I’ll stop here, I’m scaring myself.
But that’s not all. When it shows its ugly mug, the OSSUARY displays the spawn cells for the first wave of monsters.
The monster spawn cells: Pro tip: Don’t walk on them when a monster appears. It seems that this instantly kills any poor bloke who thought they’d go mushroom picking there. Then again, the advantage is that if they kill you, they must also kill any monster you push onto them. Well, I’m just saying… Not saying anything… anything at all…
3. Arrival of Players and Monsters
This is where you, the players, come in. You’d planned on going bowling with friends when a purplish portal opened up right in front of you. The next thing you know, you jumped right in. Well, it’s mainly the IOPS who jumped right in, accidentally dragging a XELOR along with them…
You all end up at the same spot on your board. Just like the monster spawn cells, everything is always balanced so you all suffer the same assault. And as soon as you appear, you play. No fuss. At first, you’re going to move around mostly, because you’ll have nobody to hit (and don’t forget you can’t hit the BOSS).
During the player phase, don’t forget that you’ll always ALL play at the same time! This is real-time turn-by-turn combat… That sounds like nothing, but we’re on the verge of inventing time travel.
4. Round Sequence
From this moment on, the round sequence will stay exactly the same. For each BOSS, we’re going to create a series of different events, but which will have the decency of playing out in precise order.
- Monsters’ Turn
Action 1: Monsters appear on their spawn cells.
Action 2: Monsters attack (whether they’re already on the board or whether they’ve just arrived).
- Boss’s Turn
Action 1: The slowest player (or the one with the most HP, etc.) is identified and punished.
Action 2: The BOSS’s spell is cast (a spell that applies to ALL players).
Action 3: New spawn cells are indicated/placed. (Optional)
- Players’ Turn
Characters attack and move/cast spells.
Companions are placed or given.
5. How the Boss Works
Waves of monsters: Waves of monsters don’t necessarily appear every round. Actually, we are creating a table to define when new spawn cells appear. It isn’t systematic. At the start, you’ll see them appear every round, then maybe every three rounds… It depends on how difficult the BOSS in question is. The waves will be made up of new monsters most of the time.
The BOSS will have two types of attacks. The BOSS, depending on its style, will always go for one of the four players. It could be the player with the most HP, the slowest player, the player who killed the most of its goons… Therefore, the attack may vary for each of the boss’s turns.
It will then have a special attack, not necessarily a more powerful one, but one that will apply to all players. This could involve direct damage, placing traps, or boosting the goons present on the players’ boards.
The BOSS’s AP reserve is another of the BOSS’s mechanics. Players will be able to steal AP from it and, most of all, be wary of its evolution. Indeed, the boss doesn’t use any AP. Its spells don’t need any, and the major damage is inflicted by its goons. The reserve is actually a gauge that increases with the number of deaths on the board. Each time a monster or another character dies, the reserve increases… Beyond a certain score, the OSSUARY sends you a big surprise.
So then, how do you kill the BOSS if you can’t hit it? The BOSS has its own health bar, and you’ll be able to make it drop by simply killing off its goons. Each monster is part of the OSSUARY, and as such, each monster represents part of its health. Every time a monster dies, the BOSS loses health. Obviously, if you choose to kill only small beasts, it could take a long time. On the other hand, some bosses and semi-bosses that arrive in future waves will let you seriously hurt your BOSS.
6. Cooperation Between Players
So, how can players cooperate if we’re not on the same board? Well, that can be done by giving each other companions. When one of your allies is in difficulty, you’ll be able to help them by sending them a companion. Using companions, you’ll be able to give them specific spells or effects on arrival. Stingy players need not worry: Some companions will have effects when they are transferred.
Excerpt from Tot’s blog, September 28, 2018.
Read the original post (in French) in its entirety.