Design A Dungeon Boss Live BlizzCon 2017
04/11/2017 em 19:16
Raid bosses take months of hard work to design—but they are giving this panel only got 60 minutes! The WoW encounter team invites the community to peek behind the scenes at a roundtable, where they'll brainstorm and design a new dungeon boss from scratch.
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BlizzCon 2017 Coverage
This Article is part of our
BlizzCon 2017 Coverage
If you are interested in knowing more about World of Warcraft Panels, check one of the articles below
The Art of World of Warcraft Panel
Battle for Lordaeron Diorama
Classic Servers: What We Know So Far
Upcoming Backpack Changes
Before the Storm Cover Art Reveal
You can also see our full coverage in our
So what exactly does a designer do? We've got Ken Huang, Morgan Day, Scott Gordon, John Hight, Candace Thomas, Johnny Cash, and Ted Bacinschi aka Slootbag.
Ken Huang wore a special shirt in honor of the Eye of Azshara seagull:
We start with a pre-production meeting, which goes over things like: Setting (interior or exterior), Story (why are we doing this dungeon), and what is the boss list (we usually know the end boss after the pre-production meeting.) This leads to a 2D mock up.
Next up is the Art Kickoff - bit of a brain storm and brain dump of things like what is the purpose of each room or area. After this we have a 3D mock up.
Next is the production meeting: This is Encounter Designs.
So why would we have a quest designer on a dungeon design team? The quest designer of a zone is involved in the creation of the story of the zone, and since the instance is in that zone, so that those dungeon decisions are informed.
Stormsong Valley - this is the setting for the dungeon being designed today. Lots of ships are made here, it's a beautiful zone. But why is the Alliance interested in the Kul Tiran navy? Why are these ships different? Stormsong is a dominant military power in the valley with a secret group of Sea Priests. They control water, storms, and wind. These sea priests bless every single ship created. Their stronghold is the Shrine of the Storm - and this is our dungeon for today.
The armor the Sea Priests wear in the panel screenshot looks very similar to the datamined Kul Tiras armor:
While Stormsong Valley is idyllic, it has dark secrets. This will lead us to the dungeon. Our boss is an enormous water elemental!
For dungeons, we draw a layout to help us navigate. Once we figure this out, we give the blueprint to the designers. We were very inspired by the art from the concept artists to create the layout where you walk along sea bluffs and cliffs, underneath a stone Kraken.
We'll be designing the first of 3 bosses of this dungeon. We only have 1 rule in a brain storm, there are no bad ideas.
Started discussing ideas - do we want to see the elemental come out of something? Yes.
Does that mean we want water in the room?
Maybe we should summon him out of the existing water?
What if when he submerges or is invisible, the water fills, and when he's in elemental form, the room is dry?
What if he can shape shift - maybe he turns into a wave, or duplicates?
Since he's the first boss, is he protecting the temple? Maybe he's trying to literally wash you off the platform.
So do we want him mobile or not? Maybe we want a mobile boss for early boss so the last boss feels more epic. Don't want him too big.
Do we want it to be this one elemental? Do we want splits?
Decisions on phase structure - do we want A/B phases, or A then B then C?
Combining phases and fantasy - imagining how working next to the ocean works.
What about those tentacles? I think he physically punches the tank instead of casting.
What about the shadow kit if he's old god or voidy? Water and Shadow?
Are we actually just killing the corruption? Hack through elementals to see if they are actually corrupted or not?
What about the bracers - are those why he's corrupted? We could work on breaking the bracers maybe to finish the fight?
If we did want to do a C phase, maybe once you identify the void phase, you have a burst execute phase?
Maybe also something like a phase where you are buffed, with water bubbles or something?
So have we decided about spawns? Maybe one with the bracers is hidden among other adds, and he keeps getting voided-out and gets the chinticles? Maybe gradually getting more purple?
How do we relate the "good" water of the river next to it?
Or maybe he makes the water rise and shoots bubbles out from his hands?
What about good and bad water that either makes you clean or corrupt?
Sea Priests are definitely nautical themed but maybe it's storm and water, cleansing yourself to get rid of your shadow - but in some way that feels nautical.
What about pools of clean and dirty water?
What about boats? Cannonballs shooting at you?
A/B phase, elemental with the bracers, have to find the real one with the bracers, dispersing and reforming. Every time he reforms he gets worse and more shadowy. If we use a boat it might be heroic mode, also we don't want to dilute the idea.
We don't want to overload dungeon bosses - usually 2 phases, and maybe 3 mechanics at once.
Once we flesh out ideas, then we talk about what the specific roles do.
We want to keep the same health bar. Submerging and making him immune doesn't feel great, maybe the adds do his abilities as well.
Does this guy talk? Does he trash talk or is he just a monster? We like a raw powerful vibe - not writing a novel but it's cool to have him talk. Maybe as he gets more void, revealing his true form, we could have his voice modulate.
Boats - If players get washed off maybe they get tossed back on by the boats, or maybe they shoot you in a cannon back onto the platform?
I like the idea of him leaning forward and picking you up with his Chintacles - maybe slamming you back into his stomach or something and you have to rescue that person. Maybe when he slams his hands down to pick you up you could dps the bracers more efficiently?
Maybe the chinticles spiral around you, or down onto you if you're in water or something?
I was thinking chin-tornadoes that bundle you up out of the water.
What about the shadow phase?
What about shadow stuff on the ground that snares you so you don't get pushed off?
What about dodging waves?
Maybe a shadowy version of Chinticles that grabs you? You want to get grabbed so you don't get knocked off? Is it one big wave or several waves you have to frogger through? Maybe splitting those abilities - wave that does damage, but also a water jet that pushes you.
When he splits, lots of people getting pushed off instead of just one.
We'd like to make killing the adds a bonus for sure. Maybe we want the adds dying to take health away from him.
What if the water is generally considered pure but when the adds die and he's voided the holy water damages him.
Does the tank have to pick up adds and bring them to the boss? Or maybe the adds aren't mobile and the boss moves around? Or he's dangerous but not being tanked? Or maybe they are just channeling on random people!
Class specifics - we all play different things so we're pretty good at representing their own classes to make sure everything is good for every class. Also those things can be evened out, or scrapped and started over.
Finale decisions - A/B phase, 3 abilities in A phase, for B phase he's split into 2 or more depending on difficulty, they share his abilities and damaging them damages him. He'll reform and we bring him down to zero and win!
We think of a dungeon as a whole, in the same way as we think of an individual raid boss. We answer more class concerns by spreading out abilities on dungeon bosses. If you don't shine on one, you might shine on another. Or if one is really hard for me, the next is a little easier on you.
Trying also to think of healing mechanics - maybe a random target water bolt, or party wide water damage when he slams down, etc. Shadow could also be a part of this - maybe a dot that gets worse over the fight.
The things like speed of being pushed off is a tuning knob - we do want mechanics to compliment your class. Court of Stars is a good example of how we played with class, etc, on that. We used CoS as a reference for a lot of Battle For Azeroth dungeons.
We are focused on the idea that it is a roleplaying game so environments matter, for sure. Indoor and outdoor world. It takes the whole team to sell those fantasies. We like to think about the cool stuff people are looking at. We really care about the setting because we want it so you can't help but care about your environment and story.
What happens next?
So we have a couple meetings after an indiviual boss. We hand it off to Ken for a paper design to work out all the details and what each player does. He then sends out an email, we send feedback, then we start implementing and putting it in the game. Then we playtest it and get it out!
Battle for Azeroth at BlizzCon 2017
Here's a roundup to all of Wowhead's Battle for Azeroth BlizzCon coverage, for easy navigation!
Battle for Azeroth,
World of Warcraft's next expansion was revealed
are being added in the expansion with custom appearances and special Heritage Armor sets.
previewed the Lightforged Draenei and Highmountain Tauren
races on the show floor.
can be druids!
Two dungeons were available and their
Dungeon Journal was available
in the demo.
Design a Dungeon Boss
panel also highlighted the Shrine of the Storm Dungeon.
The demo contained
from every class, but specifically tanks.
We also found that
are returning in the expansion, with one for every class (except Shamans).
We also looked at all the large
and some classes got Artifact Traits available as Talents.
Blizzard discussed these topics in
with Patrick Dawson and Chris Robinson.
Several updates are coming to gear systems:
item level and stat squish
update is coming in Battle for Azeroth.
Legendaries and Titanforging
info was revealed, including no Titanforging on Azerite armor.
The Heart of Azeroth is empowered by Azerite
and can empower latent energies in pieces of gear.
are a new 3 person co-op experience.
Kul Tiras and Zandalar
are the new continents, focusing on the maritime empire for the Alliance and trolls for the Horde.
Check out more expansion art in the
Art of WoW Panel
Stormwind and Orgrimmar
also received updates!
are heavily inspired by RTS games, and players will fight for control of Stromgarde as they expand their faction's base.
Some major quality of live changes were announced at the
such as increased character slots and upright orcs.
increased default bagpack slots
are on the way if you use an authenticator.
At the end of the Q&A we also learned that the
Battle for Azeroth Beta Opt-In
is now open.
Several announced features are
coming in Patch 7.3.5
Zone Scaling and Leveling Improvements
- all pre-Legion zones will now scale up to certain levels.
will be the second Timewalking raid, as part of the Wrath of the Lich King Timewalking Event.
The Battle for Azeroth Intro Cinematic was
previewed at the Opening Ceremony
The events of the cinematic were transformed into a
for the Battle of Lordaeron.
Before the Storm
covers the events leading up to the cinematic. The
book cover was revealed
and convention-goers received a
copy of the Prologue
We speculated on the
Burning of Teldrassil
which directly leads to the Battle for Lordaeron.
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