Enough with the overcomplicated boss fights

I’m getting really tired of convoluted boss fights.  We just came out of the Bastion of Twilight wiping on the first boss several times tonight and I all I can think about is how absolutely overly convoluted Blizzard has made that encounter.  You have three drakes giving the boss three buffs who each remove a buff or debuff the boss based upon release or death status who must be tanked and the boss is mortal striking which requires a tank swap and you have aoe raid damage going on… all of this on top of having a random selection of drakes each time — some harder than others — which means a random element has played into the hectic nature.  *takes a breath* Did I mention you have to interrupt a 1.5s cast time AoE dmg/knockback?

Seriously, watch this video and let me know if I’m crazy.

I enjoy tank and spank more than overly-complex fights, I really do.  There’s something simple and sweet about a fight where the boss holds still.  More complex =/= more fun!  Stop with the insanity, Blizzard!  I -loved- Gunship from ICC.  That was a really simple fight but it was interesting and felt like a lot was going on.  I loved Saurfang — kite some adds, dps the boss.  That is a fun fight.  Some tank swapping is fine too, but when the whole raid has to orchestrate a ballet in order to not wipe in 10 seconds it crosses the line.  The more you focus on making the fight complex, the more you diminish the fun and the more interesting you make a fight (gunship) the less people focus on complexities and can just enjoy the content.

  • Wow just that whole first paragraph was confusing.

    Good thing I stopped playing WoW before I started raiding. Seems like they made everything overly complicated. I mean it should be hard, but that just sounds all discombobulated!

  • Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

    After about the 3rd or 4th time on Gunship, I was bored with it. No challenge, and even on heroic there wasn’t ever a real threat of death. Eventually it became a “lets just get this over with” boss.

    I enjoyed Halfus a lot more. Each week is different, its not like going into ICC and napping through Marrowgar (at least it isn’t yet). The Mortal Strike attack is only there if the Slate Dragon is one of that weeks three, and when he’s up the tanks are swapping with about the same frequency they had to on Saurfang (which was a fight that on heroic was pretty tightly tuned and 10 second wipes were possible). When the Storm Rider is activated/dead, its possible to solo interrupt the Shadow Nova that Halfus casts.

    Anyway, Halfus is a good intro boss, I think. Depending on the drake comp, it requires different things from different people and when the Time Warden is one of the three, it really stresses personal responsibility, which is key for a first boss in the first tier, I think.

    Were you doing this on 10 or 25? And what order were you releasing/killing the drakes? From your description, it sounds like you had the Slate Dragon and the Storm Rider, and I’m guessing the Time Warden. Is that right?

  • That’s the only way they can make things challenging these days. People have been raiding for so long now, tank and spanks are terribly boring. For the most part, people are so experienced with raiding they’ve sort of been driven to this.

  • Yup, the gimmicky fights are really silly these days. I don’t see how it makes it anymore interesting either. Someone said the tank and spank get boring… the gimmicky fights do as well… the fact you have to kill the same boss 20+ times to get some drop you need does that…

    Less complex, more interesting, smart drops (only drop items that the group makeup can wear).

  • lol, wait until you hit the Twilight Ascendant Council. They only have a few abilities that you’ll need to master, just Glaciate, Heart of Ice, Hydro Lance, Water Bomb, Aegis of Flame, Burning Blood, Flame Torrent, Rising Flames, Call Winds, Disperse, Elemental Stasis, Lightning Blast, Lightning Rod, Thundershock, Eruption, Gravity Well, Harden Skin, Quake, Cryogenic Aura, Gravity Crush, Lava Seed and Electric Instability.

  • This is why I never get to the level cap in MMORPGs. Just the thought of the end game content makes me want to throw up. This is the kind of thing that passes for “fun” in the MMORPG genre nowadays? Sounds like going to work to me, and I enjoy a good challenege in my games.

  • It’s not that bad once you get used to it a little. Yes, there is a learning curve, and yes until the drakes go down it is as hectic as anything, but it isn’t that complex. It’s just very busy.

    Also, Carson is misleading a little with the Ascendant Council description, you only have to worry about a small subset of abilities at any one time. The main part of the fight is really DPS control to get the pairs down to equalish hp before pushing under the magic threshold of about 25% while paying respect to maybe 3-4 mechanics for the first pair, about 3 for the second, and 3 for the last (one of which is non avoidable, just needs to be healed through).

    But yeah, if you’re new to raiding, or new back to raiding after an extended break, I could see the learning curve on this being pretty ridiculous, I suppose.

    Thankfully that’s what you have Magmaw and the Conclave in TotFW for! 🙂

  • TBH from all bosses i have fought halfrus and captain planet boss (ascendant council) aren’t that bad compared to atramedes. Blizz made the whole fight really easy unless somone makes a single mistake… then it’s a wipe and it’s easy to be in the wrong place in the wrong time with all aoes flying around. It only means content frustrating when group is wiping over and over again becouse you couldn’t avoid 4 aoes flying towards you while healing the raid up from absurd amounts of dmg. And it’s not like gear will fix it like on earlier bosses. It makes me miss naxx where on heigan or thaddius even if somone failed you still could take down the boss.

  • Hard at the beginning of the Expansion release and then nerfed into oblivion so that people who don’t play 24/7(or even just have a job of all things) can actually have a chance at getting the gear.Oh then you get the 1% of leet players whining that its too easy again.

    Same old Blizzard.

  • With many things there has to be a happy medium. A tank and spank with no AoEs or anything gets boring and the fights that have to be choreographed like a dance before hand are just silly

  • I like the bosses in HCs the most at the moment. They require strategy but it’s usually not too over the top. There’s definitely a nice middle ground between having something more thought provoking than tank ‘n spank but less intensive than what you’ve just described!

  • Eh, the fights aren’t overcomplicated as much as going in and making sure all your heads are thinking on the same line. We are talking about 1-/25 man fights, not 5-man dungeons. Blizzard has to increase the complexity somehow and due to the Risk/Reward factor, the fights need to punish idiots. If you actually pay attention and watch fights, you should not make the same mistake on that boss twice in the same raid night.

    It’s simply, learn the fight and master it, or get pissed off that people just cannot follow a couple of simple rules to take down a boss.

  • @ Chris : Simple Rules? Did you not just read the first paragraph of Keens blog.That hardly sounds “Simple”

  • I disagree. I’m happy the raids aren’t simple loot dispensers that anyone can simply roll through.

    There is definitely an element of ‘do or die’ in most of the heroic or raid content. I wouldn’t mind seeing them loosen up on the enrage timers a little but I guess they’re in place for DPS checks.

    Just wait until you try Conclave of Winds. That’s good fun too.

  • @Joy-Energizer:
    “Hard at the beginning of the Expansion release and then nerfed into oblivion so that people who don’t play 24/7(or even just have a job of all things) can actually have a chance at getting the gear.”

    I’ve got a full time job, wife and family. I raid for 5 hours a week (two nights from 9:30-midnight) and have downed Magmaw, Omnitron, Maloriak, Conclave of Winds and the PVP raid boss (who is easy). We’re debating between Atramedes or moving into BoT next session.

    You don’t need to be hardcore to do this stuff, you just need to be organized, understand your class and surround yourself with like-minded people.

    “Simple Rules? Did you not just read the first paragraph of Keens blog.That hardly sounds “Simple””

    Just because the entire encounter mechanics sound complicated, doesn’t mean the fight is as bad as it seems.

    Each portion of a large and complicated fight has simple things for each person to do. They’re all doable if you know your class and have beaten the heroics. A lot of the mechanics you face, you’ll have already faced in the heroics.

    For the most part. hehe

    For Maloriak, if I were to describe the three vial differences, the need to let him summon 9 adds but not more so you have to interrupt, the interrupts on Arcane Storm, the debuffs, ice blocks, fire spouts and bubbles – it sounds like a lot. But in all that crap all I needed to do as main tank was:
    1. hold agro
    2. interrupt Arcane Storm
    3. burn cooldown if I got a fire debuff during red vial phase
    4. side step fire spouts

    Item 1 was easy enough.
    Item 2 was simple as well, my 10 second CD on Mind Freeze was sufficient to handle this (especially after I adjusted my hit rating some more hehe) and not required for phase 2.
    Item 3 didn’t come into play all that much (he mostly debuffed others)
    Item 4 was trivial to do and was only required during phase 2.

    For off tank:
    1. pick up adds when they spawn
    2. keep them away from the boss

    For DPS:
    1. stack up during red vial, move out of stack if you get the debuff
    2. burn adds on green vial
    3. spread out on blue vial, break ice blocks ASAP
    4. DPS

    Some of the DPS might have been responsible for interrupting the add summoning or Arcane Storm or Remedy, but it only adds one extra thing to do of some pretty trivial (and already common) mechanics.

    Don’t get overwhelmed with the whole of the encounter, just know what you have to do and how you can do it.

  • Agreed w/ Smaken…

    keen is really making it sound waaaaay worse than it is… the first night on halfus we had trouble because we had a very rough combo and weren’t using the right strategy… a week later with a different combo we 1 shotted him.

    just yesterday we ran up against the same combo we had trouble with earlier, and were still having trouble until we changed our strategy and released 2 drakes at the same time instead of 1 at a time… got him on the first try w/ this new strat.

    he really is an incredibly simple intro boss… it sounds to me like you just weren’t using the correct strategy.

    and like Smaken said… each person only has to concentrate on 2 maybe 3 things… even tanks who usually have it pretty rough just have to concentrate on holding aggro, taunting off each other, and interrupting the shadow nova.

    i know you’re probably a pretty good player keen… but when you say stuff like this… it makes me wonder…

    also we only raid twice a week, about 2.5 hours each night… so 5 total hours of raiding per week and we’ve dropped the first 4 bosses in BWD and the first 2 in BoT…. so if we can do it, anyone can do it.

  • I know that there are obvious differences in what people consider complex or simple. To some people Ragnaros was simple but to the rest of the world it took an additional 3-4 weeks to bring him down.

    Regardless of whether or not you think this particular fight is easy, my point is that the bosses are becoming increasingly complex. I think Onyxia is a great example of a boss: 2-3 mechanics with an idiot check (deep breath, at least in her original version).

    Complexity is not always the route to difficulty. Difficulty can be achieved in other ways, as evidenced by many past bosses in WoW (and even before that, previous MMO’s). I like a challenge too, but not the overcomplicated for the sake of being complicated to feign difficulty type.

  • It probably won’t be long before you look back and wonder why the fight seemed so complex. Pugs will be whipping through it.

  • I’m not going to lie, I don’t currently raid but my guild does. I started leveling an alt which is now my main when Cata launched so I’m a bit behind my guild. However the core raid group in my guild, talking 10 mans, so aprox 8, all work 40-60 hours a week. Our guild covers all US time zones. We’re about as far as Smaken and our guild is level 13 or 14 now. I honestly don’t think our guild is that good either as very few ever raided in elite guilds.

    By creating one HUGE run on sentence you made that encounter SOUND more complicated. More periods = easier to read. 🙂

    You have three drakes giving the boss three buffs. Each remove a buff or debuff from the boss based upon release or death status, these must be tanked.

    The boss is mortal striking which requires a tank swap.You also have aoe raid damage going on… all of this on top of having a random selection of drakes each time — some harder than others — which means a random element has played into the hectic nature.

  • I’m quite enjoying the complexity of some of the new bosses. I had gotten really bored with tank and spank fights in Wrath. As a healer most of the time I got to stand in one place, occasionally moving for a single bad effect I needed to watch out for.

    I like that Cataclysm bosses show some variety. You have to pay attention, you have to be prepared and it’s really put an emphasis on everyone being on the ball. You can’t really carry a weak player through most fights (for now).

  • The raid fights in Cata only differ slightly from the ones in (late-ICC) Wrath in that melee actually have something to worry about (by virtue of making tanks need to do more than just hold agro or swap agro) and it forces more people to tunnel less.

    Please give examples of fights that were difficult without being complex in previous expansions, because I don’t see them.

  • Tank and spanks, just those, are boring.

    This encounter design is also the result of the continuous “lol teh raiding is too ez” crowd; well, they got what they wanted. But at least they’re different, rather than just rehashes of old mechanics with a new skin.

  • I was hoping more people could see past their bias and talk about the real subject here which is not Halfus but the idea that fights are becoming increasingly complicated to mask their inability to provide new and fun mechanics.

    Instead of saying “how can we make this more fun and difficult at the same time”, they’re saying “how many mechanics can we squeeze into a single encounter to artificially extend the content’s life?”.

    Learning curves are not any more fun than tank and spank. My guild will take down Halfus and finish the content, if that’s our goal. The point isn’t whether or not it can be done. Please, get that through your heads before posting about how your casual guilds have done XYZ. I don’t care because that’s not the point.

    You can have a cookie for your accomplishments, but you can have two if you actually form an opinion about the subject at hand.

  • @Keen

    Wow, don’t see you get so upset very often. You presented two ideas in your original post based on one thing.

    Fights are complicated therefore they are;
    A. Hard
    B. Not fun

    We were refuting A and more or less agree with B. However given a few times most encounters become not fun, making B moot. In all honesty the only raid I’ve loved after months of farming it was Kara.

  • Wish I could run this stuff and compare to LOTRO, but my warrior is only 64 and I really am not sure when I’ll finally get to 85 and get geared and all that.. But in LOTRO, this sounds pretty par for the course. Tank swapping, dealing with individual random debuffs, dropping puddles, splitting groups, move move move.. Yes, it sometimes feels like the choreography is way too much, but the feeling of doing it and getting it down IS pretty rewarding.

    I am fine with there being a few complicated bosses in raids- I want game content that you have to play well and work together with people on to survive. Usually this passes and everyone that wants to gets good enough to do it- my kinship, for example, took down the Lieutenant of Dol Guldur for the first time 2 weeks ago, and that fight has been out for well over a year. Due to gating and other issues, yes, it took us that long. We never thought it would happen, but certain people buckled down and improved gear, worked strat, and a core group finally did it.. Rewards worth it? No, not a bit. Just the sense of accomplishment. So be glad (I hope) that at least this raid has rewards you want. Could be worse!

  • Keen, I like your blog generally, but this post comes across as “we wiped a lot and I really just needed to let off some steam about it.” You’ll learn the fight in short order and stop worrying about it so much I’m sure. Complexity is fine in general. The fights that require raid perfection have always been the most frustrating, but far and away the most satisfying to beat, I think its a fair trade.

  • The problem isn’t that the bosses are overly complicated, the problem is that you’re expecting a 5 year old game to be anything but predictable and stale. I seriously think the creative team sits in a conference room and throws darts at a wall, the wall has stickies on it and whatever ability the darts land on, those are the abilities that make their way into boss fights. This game stopped being fun right around the launch of the Burning Crusade. Hearing the complaints about the game today make me so happy that I decided to leave the game. Its great to have a life again and not spend 40 hours a week with a bunch of imaginary friends, killing imaginary pixel monsters for imaginary pixel loot. Thank you.

  • I suppose this is a case of “to each, his own”. I understand your stance on complexity mucking up what you would otherwise consider a good boss fight, and I agree that it can be frustrating to be confronted with a fight that is absolutely overwhelming at first. And that’s fine.

    But to me, complex boss fights are what raiding is all about. Despite the fact that my guild is heavily focused on progression, and is consistently shooting for top20 US kills, what I love about raiding is the process of discovery that accompanies complex encounters not the speed at which we can churn through them. If the boss can be summed up in a couple sentences, then I don’t enjoy it. I appreciate it when I need to stay engaged an entire encounter because the decisions I make matter as much at 95% as they do at 5%. Ian’s point about personal responsibility rings true here–tank and spanks (eg: Gunship, Patchwerk, Kologarn, etc.) were notoriously hard to wipe on because their margin for error was so big.

    More so, what I appreciate about fights like Halfus and Tron Council is that the variable nature of the encounter means that I won’t be walking into the same fight every week we go in. Especially when you get to Tron Council HM, the combination of golems that are up significantly impacts how your raid must respond to the mechanics. That’s exciting to me, to know that the decay of the fight from challenging to boring farm status will be slower.

    In the end, I think it’s about how you define, and assign value to, the varying qualities (mechanics, phasing, sequencing, assignments, special tactics) of complexity. But, especially in Cata, it’s also important to remember that complexity can be introduced by a bad strat or uncoordinated raid team. So sometimes the perception of how convoluted the fight is, or how dependant you are on one person, is a function of your team’s decisions and not the inhenernt characteristics of the encounter. And personally, I find that fact reassuring, because it means the more comfortable something feels, the closer we are to an easy kill.

  • I remember when my guild finally downed Van Cleef in the deadmines. Took us several tries to get it right, had to remember to taunt off the parrots and fear the cook, but when we downed him we all felt a since of accomplishment.

  • I wholehartedly disagree. However with the caveat overly complex is too much. There is a Goldilocks area.

    Based on what your saying you’d like a nice and easy tank and spank. However thats a serious yawn fest. There should be intricate boss fights, but not to the point of you need to read a 4 page primer on each boss fight on how to do it. I think Lost Vale, and Vulture Lord from War has some great boss mechanics. I also LOVE rift boss mechanics so far. They should be varied and detailed and have some interesting mechanics like order of kill, special auras, special placement, run from aoe and run back.. etc.

    Overly complicated – NO
    All Tank and Spank – NO

  • Any day now Blizzard will make an boss encounter that can only be solved by unplugging your mouse a’la Metal Gear Solid’s Pyscho Mantis encounter. 🙂

  • I gotta say though, I agree that increasing complexity isn’t the only way or the best way to provide a challenge; but I’ll take it any day over an annoying dance-check like scrambling up onto the pillars for phase 2 of Nefarian. In five years of WoW raiding I’ve never seen a mechanic more likely to see half the group leaving in frustrated tears, while their former friends shouted “good riddance!” behind them.

  • i think the problem with this post is that the people who have experience w/ halfus know for a fact that you are completely over exaggerating. hyperbole is in the realm of the troll.. and we expect more from you Keen!!!

    to your main point though…

    keep in mind that onyxia was considered a very complex and difficult fight when it was first introduced… it very much had a choreographed feel to it… but now it seems incredibly simple and, quite frankly, boring to most people.

    the same thing will be said about halfus in a few short weeks when even PuGs are dropping him without trouble.

    believe me… if at the end of that night of wipes you finally got him down… you would be here praising blizz for the design of the encounter and how it was complex, required good strategy and tactics, but was still doable even for casual players with a little bit of practice.

    heck, next time you might 1 shot him and wonder how in the world you ever thought it was so complicated.

    also, with WoW’s combat system there are only so many ways you can challenge players.. and all of these ways have pretty much been exhausted.. unless blizz radically changes their style of combat, bosses are going to continue to be re-hashes and slight modifications of other bosses… that’s the nature of the beast…

  • I also couldn’t disagree more. None of the encounters, including Cho’gall, Nef, Al’akir, etc have more than a few mechanics that each role have to deal with at any given time.

    There are also x number of mechanics available to use, kind of like story lines. Yes, you can change the how of the mechanic – but at the end of the day they generally boil down to do these 3 things, don’t do these 3 – with the occasional ‘do something special now’ moments.

    What makes them so challenging is gear, individual learning curves, and room for error. Look at Patchwerk in Naxx (Vanilla or Wrath – either way). You had a very simple fight – tank B and C need to have the highest max HP, tank A needs to have higher than the DPS. Melee DPS need to make sure that they never have a max HP pool greater than the tanks – so you click off buffs and get the slime debuff (oh look – a gimmick!). Healers work like mad to keep the tanks alive, DPS has a hard enrage timer.

    Now many guilds struggled with this, and I still raided with players who never grasped the Hateful Strike mechanic. Was this a fun boss? It made for a good gear check, but beyond that it was pretty boring.

    I’d like to hear your thoughts on what an interesting boss mechanic/fight would be. I know that I’m not creative enough to design andn balance a boss fight for four different levels of raiding.

  • My thoughts are that as an opening Boss Halfus is too much and the random element is far too divisive: on my first visit we 2-shot him because we got an “Easy Combo” while the week before they had spend the whole night beating the “Hardest Combo”. I’d be annoyed if I was in a guild that raced for kills too.

  • You guys need to stop reading what you want to read. Take the whole post, plus comments, into proper context. Don’t pick one thing I say and focus in on it as though it were the topic of discussion.

    This post is not about:
    1) Halfus
    2) Tank and Spank being better
    3) My guild or any guild not being able to down content
    4) Wiping
    5) Your opinion about my opinion of Halfus

    This post is about:
    1) A general movement towards complex mechanics, random mechanics, and quantity of mechanics (leading to a complex compilation of said mechanics).
    2) Your opinion on whether or not you agree or disagree with that point.

    To clarify and enlighten, as well are correct those who have mistakenly thought this post was about something else, let me answer some of you.

    @Logan: It’s not exaggeration or hyperbole. The Halfus fight I described is 100% the Halfus fight anyone who gets the three drakes we got (Slate, Storm, Nether Scion) gets. My negative opinion of it does not make it any less true.

    @Mala: You missed the point. Look past any reference made to my guild or myself.

    @Alchemda: No, I said I like tank and spank more than overly complex. That does not mean I prefer tank and spank to anything else. I like hard fights. I don’t like overly COMPLEX fights.

    @Trimethicon: They managed Gunship last year. I thought that was a fairly innovative way to present a boss fight. While it’s probably fair to say that the game is old and not worthy of exceedingly high expectations in the content department, when they prove they can do it I tend to expect consistency.

    @JayP: The Vancleef fight is not overly complex. I enjoyed it too.

    @Carson: I remember Vaelastrasz in BWL. Took us two months of solid attempts to finally down her. It wasn’t complex, but it was HARD. I thought that was fine. Nef wasn’t too complex either, and certainly not as random as some of these fights today.

    Perhaps I should amend my initial post to include: “Overcomplicated and RANDOM encounters”. The random part wasn’t emphasized enough. A random tank gib, a random spawn, a random proc, a random placement, a random anything that will cause failure because it happens without the raid being able to adapt and overcome does not belong in a boss fight.

  • It’s most certainly hyperbole… and a writer like yourself should know that… you’ll get a lot more respect if you just admit that you were a little upset and ranty, and tone back your assertions to a more reasonable level.

    on to your point…

    yes, there is a movement toward more complex mechanics… but that’s the way it is in every game, not just MMOs… the further you progress in a game (any game) the more complex it becomes… there is a reason you don’t see games that are the same lvl of complexity at the beginning and end… if you want less complexity, go back to the lower levels where things were simple, then once you’ve mastered the simple things maybe you’ll be ready to tackle the more complicated stuff…

    i think the main issue here is that you don’t necessarily acquire all the skills needed to be a successful raider on your way to the level cap… this leads to things seeming overly complex once you finally reach the end-game content… i agree that this is an important issue, but it’s not an issue with complexity, it’s an issue with pacing and gating and overall game design.

    Randomness is a necessary evil… without it, things are incredibly bland.. especially with a combat system like WoW… now in FPS and action games randomness is much less of an issue because there is so much more variety in things that can go on… while in WoW (and most MMOs) the combat is so simplistic that it’s impossible to make it interesting without a certain amount of randomness… remove these random elements from WoW and the game becomes incredibly stale.

  • I didn’t read all of the comments but I’ll try to express how I see it in an analogy.

    Lets say I design a level in a game whos main obstacle is random floor spikes. After a while everyone has mastered the level and it no longer presents a challange. Now I need to design a new level and up the challange. Instead of designing a new more engaging game mechanic, my solution is to just add more and faster floor spikes. It’s not really more fun, it’s just like playing tetris where the pieces fall faster and faster.

  • @MMORefugee: Thank you! Someone gets it. Throw in some of the spikes being invisible and spikes coming from the ceiling at alternate intervals from the floor spikes and you have what they’re doing in WoW and other games. Complicating already stale mechanics by adding more of them, combined with random elements (maybe some of those spikes are invisible or not even there each time you do it) that are out of the players’ control isn’t how I would design content.

  • Randomness to a certain point is very very good. It keeps things interesting and each fight against the same opponent might be a little different. As long as it doesn’t make the encounter impossible a boss should be able to use their abilities more randomly. If he wants to use move A 3 times in a row that’s great if you hardly saw Move B being used that’s fine too. The abilities would just have to be balanced so 3 “Move A”s in a row isn’t an instant wipe

    Randomness where you have no hope of combating the moves is bad (It was still fun in a way, but that Prince in kara, those infernals always seemed to be out to get you)

  • While I agree overly complicated game mechanics aren’t necessarily good, I’m very much for randomness. If I go into a fight I’ve done ten times… or hell even 3 times it is just about repeating steps. There are no real decisions to make, as I already know what to expect. I’m just repeating the steps I’ve been told or already learned. It’s like playing Dance Dance Revolution with my keyboard. Now throw in some randomness, and I have to actually think.

  • @ Logan

    I am forced yet again to “mis”-quote Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (the 2005 movie) and say, “This is obviously some strange usage of the word “hyperbole” that I hadn’t previously been aware of.”

    In fact, let me help you out a bit:



    Definition: an obvious exaggeration, not meant to be taken seriously

    Synonyms: exaggeration, embellishment, distortion, overstatement

    Antonyms: understatement

    Tips: A hyperbole denotes a clear and intended exaggeration. Note the word hype in hyperbole. Hype refers to greatly exaggerated publicity. Hyperbole is used more to denote statements that are gross exaggeration used to deceive people. Politicians often use hyperbole and accuse other politicians of using hyperbole (exaggerated statements).

    Pasted from: http://vocabulary-vocabulary.com/dictionary/hyperbole.php .

    First, I see nothing in Keen’s entry that would constitute hyperbole. And after reading that definition and then re-reading what Keen posted I would challenge you to still describe it is hyperbole. Keen simply described the encounter mechanics as they are presented in the fight and gave his opinion that it was overly convoluted.

    Second, exactly what in anything Keen said could be construed as unreasonable and therefore be in need of toning down?

    Logan, are you sure it’s not you that is the one exaggerating?

  • I think what Keen wants to say, is partially what MMORefugee said, and also one other point.

    Nobody wants to have to read an encyclopedia or small novel in order to complete an encounter. Most people don’t have the time in order to trial and error their way on their own, so they’ll look up a guide and hold themselves to the “schedule” of the raid.

    And knowing most of these raids, tensions run high in these long drawn out adventures, and one mistake and suddenly people start going beserk, ragequit, cursing, swearing and generally carrying on unpleasant.

    Now, pure tank and spank isn’t the answer either, but I’ve had my fair share of fun encounters based on tank and spank. Generally where the tank has to handle aggro on the boss, which should be a challenge beyond “spam taunt”, with an eye open for helping the off-tank, the off-tank has his hands full with adds, the mages are both CC (mez) and DPS, and the healer(s) are biting their fingernails off from borderline insanity due to multitasking.

    Having played all 3 roles before (loved loved loved healer role in almost any “good” raid, and tank in some with lots of aggro challenges).

  • Halfus is not really random beyond the planning stage, there might be some variability in his abilities timings (stuns pushing things back etc) however he is a pretty predictable fight.

    The question if you dislike complex becomes how do you make fights HARD. If it is simply a DPS race you simply cut off guilds below a certain threshold, similar for other mechanics. If it is a mix of tactics, or you can brute force it with sufficient gear or skill then it becomes interesting to me. I haven’t tanked the heroic version yet of Halfus, however on 10 Normal I can say that myself and my co-tanks can handle the taunts, interrupts, 2 drakes and whelps at once (we typically only pull up 2 at once to ease healing with slate coming last since his stuns are not important for our plan). The fight is not overly complex… if it had the Lich King defiles / valkyrs as well (random target swap, high movement), or a secondary taunt mechanic (Chimaeron’s double attack?) it would likely start to get too complex for most guilds however the complexity is limited by a lack of controlled movement and timing… it is simply a rotational issue.

  • two words, Rathe Council.

    Trying to get them down to low HP without killing.

    I agree that overly complex boss fights != fun

  • @balthazar

    “Hyperbole is used more to denote statements that are gross exaggeration used to deceive people. Politicians often use hyperbole and accuse other politicians of using hyperbole.”

    this is exactly what keen did… notice how keen uses a run-on sentence, low level grammar, and repeats a lot of the same words to make the encounter seem way more complicated than it is… by manipulating the english language you can make anything seem complicated. (or in the case of politics make something sound like socialism, or facisim, or racism when really it isn’t, or vice versa).. i could write a run-on sentence that made the process of making easy mac sound incredibly difficult and confusing…

    this set of instructions could be perfectly accurate, but by making it sound complicated and confusing i am intentionally exaggerating to deceive people. (maybe i have a grudge against easy mac?)

    You’re right that by the dictionary definition keen wasn’t exactly using hyperbole… but in every day language, as described by what you posted from vocabulary.com, what keen said would definitely be classified as hyperbole.

    it’s not just the actual words you say, but how you say them that can create hyperbole…

    i also find it interesting that it seems most of the people who agree with keen haven’t actually experienced this encounter… and those that have first hand experience seem to disagree…

  • @targy

    you’re right.. the rathe council is not a fun encounter… but it’s not fun because it’s overly complicated.. it’s not fun because the mechanic of simultaneously getting 2 target’s HP to as close to 25% as possible without going over is incredibly tedious and unfun… there’s nothing complex about it.. it’s simple, get both mobs to 25%… simple… but the process of doing it simply isn’t fun… this isn’t an issue w/ complexity so much as it’s an issue with unfun mechanics.

  • @Logan

    Yes, he used a run-on sentence, but he was merely describing the mechanics of the encounter. It certainly does not constitute any “gross exaggeration” by any means nor even any exaggeration at all in my opinion. The mechanics were simply described and the run-on sentence merely emphasized or exemplified his point, it did not exaggerate the mechanics or make them seem any more complicated than they indeed are.

    Using language in a persuasive manner does not constitute hyperbole or exaggeration.

    I also find it interesting that people, possibly you included, on the one hand can go on and on about how boring tank and spank is and how only the complex, intricate fights are challenging or rewarding for you. Then on the other hand go and criticize Keen and claim he is using “hyperbole” to make it sound more complex and intricate than it really is. So, which is it?

    By the way, I would never claim to be some raiding guru, but I am a Kingslayer, so I’ve seen my fair share. My guild gave this boss a try about 3 weeks in a row before we went on to Magmaw instead, but I think some of us were a bit under-geared for raiding at that point. Not that gear helps a whole lot if someone flubs it up during that fight though.

  • The fact that Halfus can either be a cakewalk or a major challenge at the whim of weekly RNG makes this encounter worse than it should be. A little RNG helps spice things up but this is over the top imo.

  • @balthazar

    my description of how to cook easy mac: (the kind that comes in a bowl)

    open package, remove sauce packet, fill container with water up to the line, microwave for x minutes, add sauce and mix well.

    keen’s description of how to cook easy mac:

    making easy mac is so pointlessly complicated… first you have to open the package and then remove the sauce package before you can even fill the package with water and you have to fill it to the line or else it doesn’t work and then you microwave for x minutes but that might not be the right number of minutes depending on the microwave you use to microwave the package – and finally after all that you have to get the sauce package and open it up and add it to the package with the macaroni but you have to make sure there is enough water still in the package that the sauce doesn’t get thick and clumpy and if there’s too much water you have to remove water so that the easy mac isn’t runny and gross.


    both of these sentences accurately describe the process of making easy mac…. if you don’t think the second sentence is intentionally exaggerated for the purpose of deceiving readers into thinking easy mac is complicated… then i really don’t know what else to say.


    to the main issue… complexity is only a symptom of more subtle problems… the real problem keen is having is that his expectations were different from the reality… he wasn’t prepared to handle what blizzard threw at him so he immediately assumed it was too complex… this is because the game did a poor job of preparing him for the complexity, not because of the level of complexity itself.

    secondly, i’m fairly certain that the fights keen would describe as un-fun are not un-fun because they are too complex, they are unfun because they use unfun mechanics… having to bring 2 targets to a certain health threshold simultaneously is not a fun mechanic, it wasn’t fun in MC w/ the core hound packs, it wasn’t fun in ZG, and it’s not fun now… it’s just an un-fun mechanic… adding this mechanic to a fight doesn’t make it complex, it makes it un-fun…

    however, like i said before, there are only so many ways that blizzard can challenge players.. and if they only used the most fun ways then all the bosses would look almost exactly alike… so to add some variety they sometimes have to include mechanics that aren’t a lot of fun… yes it make these encounters seem tedious.. but it’s not because they are too complex, it’s because they use mechanics that just aren’t much fun.

    basically keen and really anyone’s issues with complexity are just symptoms of deeper problems… i know keen wants to be a game designer… but if you want to be a game designer you have to be able to see through the symptoms and get to the real problems… something a LOT of people (including must current designers) have trouble with.

    if you really want to be a designer… take some DESIGN classes… i studied industrial design in one of the top 5 programs in the nation, it has helped my ability to analyze design and make design decisions by leaps and bounds… the problem is that most designers are just programmers with some creative ideas, they don’t actually have DESIGN training or experience.. and this is brutally obvious to real designers.

    i do however agree that weekly RNG can be problematic… i’d prefer RNG within an actual encounter rather than RNG that makes you research a different strat while you’re sitting there starting at a boss.

  • You still didn’t answer my question which is directly related to what you’re saying. How can you make tank and spank more difficult, and yet fun, without simply raising the numbers – which really isn’t fun.

    You have to add some complexity. Blizzard did that and made the raids sound intimidating, but really all they did was ensure each role had something to do – days where you could tunnel while playing whack-a-mole are gone (for now).

    I’m not bias, I don’t believe WoW is the best game out there. There are a lot of things I don’t like about WoW, but WoW suits what I need (or can commit to) from a MMO right now.

    Again – it’s more complex as a whole, but only minor adjustments to melee and tank roles. Heaven forbid you cannot tunnel anymore.

    That’s my opinion, it disagrees with yours. /shrug

  • Logan is choosing to base his entire argument on my presentation rather than focusing on the content. Thus, his argument is flawed.

    @SmakenDahed: I’ll once again name a few boss fights that are tank and spank with added mechanics to spice them up and a couple that are not tank and spank but “event-like”

    Onyxia (Oldschool)
    Vaelestasz (Way hard, way tank and spank)
    Lord Marrowgar
    Lady Deathwhisper
    Gunship Battle
    Deathbringer Saurfang

    Those are all examples of fights that I thought were not convluted or overly-complex. There are plenty more examples.

    A couple that I think are complex for the sake of being complex, and thus reduced the fun:

    Rathe Council
    Lich King
    Several BWL bosses whose names I can no longer recall
    Several AQ40 bosses whose names I can no longer recall

    Extract from those examples whatever conclusion you need.

  • actually if you read my posts you’ll see that the first section of each post concentrates more on the whole hyperbole issue and the second part of each post does indeed address your issues…

    but i disagree with you so therefor my attempts to actually address the issues you raise seem to fall on deaf ears…

    also i find it interesting that you’re allowed to use an example like halfus to try and make your point yet when others use the same example to try and make a counterpoint, now they’re all of a sudden talking about something completely different that has nothing to do with your original point…

    here are some points i’ve made that you have yet to acknowledge.

    1. the reason you feel some encounters are too complex is because the game has not adequately prepared you for the complexities to be found at the lvl cap… do you agree or disagree?

    2. the reason you dislike encounters like the rathe council are not because they are complex (they are actually quite simple) but because the mechanics used in them are simply not very fun…. agree or disagree?

    – i realize we’d have to look at each encounter individually do find out what mechanics are used and actually examine the specifics of what makes each encounter unfun… the rathe council is just the best example but i’m sure we can find a more precise reason that you don’t like other encounters than because they are too “complex”

    3. all games increase in complexity as you progress through them… if they didn’t increase in complexity the game would get very stale and tedious very quickly…. agree or disagree?

    4. there are only so many ways blizzard can design an encounter given the simplistic combat system in WoW… therefor in order to not make all the bosses seem too similar (keep in mind there are probably 100+ bosses in the game and only so many variations on; don’t stand in the fire, group up or spread out, interrupt this, click that, switch targets, and dispel this.)… so given the limited number of options blizzard has at their disposal it is necessary to use some mechanics that aren’t fun… agree or disagree?

    5. all the bosses you list as good examples of simple encounters were once considered complex by a majority of the WoW population… agree or disagree?

    6. the majority of people here that agree that this fight is too complex haven’t actually experienced the fight themselves and are only judging by what they have heard from you… the majority of players who disagree and think the fight is actually quite simple are the players who have actual experience in game with this encounter… agree or disagree?

    maybe spelling it out differently will make it easier to understand the points i was trying to make… sorry if i wasn’t clear before… my writing style tends to be a bit rambling and difficult to understand at times. sorry for that.

  • I watched like 3 minutes of that video and then my head was blowing up. I was thinking who is this chick? She’s doing a great job of explaining an incredibly complex lot of mumbo jumbo. What motivates her to do this?

  • @Targy

    ahh Rathe Council and all those other fun EQ raids. Yeah I blame EQ. I’ll never forget that one underwater nightmare raid. Hrmm well I forgot its name. But my god that was horrible until we figured it out. Still…I think the video Keen linked is way beyond any rathe council. They seem to have taken it up like 97 notches.

  • I agree. I think complexity is happening to disguise the fact that no real advancement has been made in PvE since the EQ era. Rather than take the hard route and innovate in character abilities or gameplay, they just slap on more checkboxes to tick off on a standard raid.

    This is nothing though. From FFXI:


    To even get to him, you need to get pop items from four whole tiers of notorious monsters before him. Here’s the link to that:


    He then changes into 10 different forms, copying most of the HNM in the game. Each form needs to be defeated before he changed back to his final form, and each one has a different strategy. Each time he changes forms, he also spawns eight pets.

    This is essentially the end boss of the game. But it’s also the end of complexity in MMO design. This fight is absurd: each of the forms he takes are equal to a high end raid boss needing 6-36 players to defeat, and each are completely different in abilities.

    I think there’s a strong case for just scrapping the diku mud mode of combat, simplifying the pve, and just making a new mode of player character. Cause I know we can’t keep adding complexity.

  • Yeah, WoW was just the easy example at my fingertips. FF games have been doing convoluted for a long time. Other games are following.

  • To be honest? If it isn’t complex, it isn’t worth doing. There’s only so many times I could hop on a motorcycle and spam two buttons on Flame Leviathan before it got old. If it doesn’t take doing, then where’s the accomplishment? Simple =/= better, either. Simple just means that it becomes mundane. An endless cycle of “Oh this guy again” until you’re finished with the instance.

  • I’m okay with the fact that encounters in Cataclysm will get rid of a lot of the players who cannot adapt. These encounters go through a lot of internal as well as external testing and after all of that the encounter is still apart of the game.

    The fight really isn’t that hard…

  • You guys really need to improve your reading comprehension skills.

    Complexity =/= difficulty.

    I have nothing against difficulty. I did the 40-man content that would bring most of you to your knees in tears. I raided in EQ where the looming threat of losing your corpse for weeks was ever-present.

    Complexity is an entirely different subject from difficulty.

  • so you’d rather do an EQ raid where you might lose your corpse for a week than do a fairly simple encounter like halfus?

    you’re not making any sense…

    you want difficulty but you don’t want that difficulty to come from more complexity?… so you want it to come from forcing quicker reaction times?… or you want it to come from ridiculously punishing death mechanics?…

    so instead of so instead of having falling spikes + an aoe breath (adding complexity)… you just want spikes that fall really really fast so that you have to have ridiculous reaction times to stay alive?… or do you want to have to run from ironforge all the way to your corpse each time you die?

    the first option adds complexity, the other 2 add difficulty but no complexity… is this really what you want?

  • @Logan: Did I -EVER- say that I would rather do an EQ raid where I might lose my corpse?

    This entire topic has nothing to do with difficulty. I never once used the word difficult or any incarnation of the word in the original entry. Due to the lack of reading comprehension or fallacious arguments introduced by the comments, people are now thinking this is about “difficulty” or “WoW”. It’s not.

    What I really want is for you to read and comprehend. Boss fights are becoming too complex instead of the mechanics being innovated upon. This is a case where innovation would be a good thing. We need them to feel new to us but still fun and perhaps even difficult. I’ll once again use an easy example: WoW’s Gunship battle. That was a fun way to introduce a boss battle. Complicating by simply piling on more mechanics onto an already stale model is not the right way to go.

  • i feel like every post you make Keen has just been more confusing than the last…

    i’m fairly certain my reading comprehension isn’t at fault here… i think the fault lies with how you’re constantly changing your “point” so that it becomes impossible to argue with you…

    i’m probably the only person still checking this post occasionally, but i’m sure if there were others here that i wouldn’t be the only one confused…

    i thought i laid it out pretty clearly a few posts back with the 6 points i made… and they asked for a clear response from you, “do you agree or disagree?”… could you maybe answer those questions then maybe it’d be easier to understand what the heck you’re trying to say.

    or could you at least sum up your point in a few sentences that isn’t vague and ambiguous and refers to your actual point instead of saying that you’re point isn’t anything that anyone else thinks it is.

    if you’re point is simply “Boss fights are becoming too complex instead of the mechanics being innovated upon.” … then i have many answers for that… but i need a clear point from you so that you can’t just change the “point” when it suits you.

  • @Logan: Seriously…any specific reason that you are using some D- to A+ level trolling techniques to make your points? It’s not like you’re going to get a post count cookie from this farce of a discussion that the back and forth that you keep spurring on with barbed and emotionally hooked statements is shaping up to be.

    “Fail Troll, is Troll.”

  • re:
    1) A general movement towards complex mechanics, random mechanics, and quantity of mechanics (leading to a complex compilation of said mechanics).
    2) Your opinion on whether or not you agree or disagree with that point.

    Indeed there appears to be a move to make bosses more complex and require more things from the members of the raid, however, I disagree that this is a bad thing.
    Most problems come from people not knowing the fights, im sure once the fights are learnt either through heavy research or trial and error, then these bosses will become more enjoyable for you, and eventually fairly trivial

  • I think one of the things I’ve come to realize is that the gaming community seems to really like repetition, much more than I have the attention span for anyway. I agree with you Keen, but I know I’m in the minority. I think MMO makers and game developers understand that a large portion of their audience finds comfort in re-hashed development tactics, which is convenient considering it takes much less effort and creativity to develop original content.

    So from that point of view it is win/win – players are rewarded for knowing how to game the system (of which a whole regiment of website/ videos/tutorials are devoted to raiding) and developers don’t have to wipe the slate clean. Of course it’s actually lose/lose. Players don’t get fresh content and developers don’t get inspiring projects.

    Essentially everyone is punching a clock if you will. Their are gems out there of course, but it takes a lot of patience and a certain amount of gamer “romance” (for lack of a better word) to be able to cut through the mountainous load of re-hash to find them.

  • Inclined to agree with Keen here, to be honest. The issue is that developers are unable to make new mechanics so they instead have to shove a bunch of old mechanics into a single fight.

    What I consider to be fights at the “right” complexity: Stuff like the Four Horsemen or C’thun from Vanilla WoW. The fights were ridiculously complex and required a lot of foot work, but they were based on REALLY simple concepts.

    Four Horsemen = Debuffs stacked on players.

    C’thun = Shit tonnes of insta-killing if you messed up.