Dethdlr’s Dungeon – Fun and Challenging Encounters

Written by Dethdlr on . Posted in Commentary, Dethdlr's Dungeon, Grouping, Raiding

Dethdlr's Dungeon

Tank and Spank vs. Complex Scripting vs. Fun

In recent years, I’ve seen numerous posts from people complaining about how the different group/raid encounters work.  A lot of the complaints say that they don’t want simple “Tank and Spank” encounters. But they also don’t want encounters with complex scripting, fail conditions, cure fests, etc. They want encounters that are fun and challenging without any of those things.

So it got me wondering, how do you do that? How do you make an encounter without complex scripting, fail conditions, cure fests, etc. without turning it into a tank and spank in the process?

Then I thought, maybe SOE managed to pull this off in the past. If so, those past encounters could be used as examples of what fun encounters can be like.

Challenge

So here’s the challenge: In the comments below, tell me about some of the encounters in EQ2 that you feel meet these requirements: Fun encounters that aren’t tank and spank, and don’t contain complex scripting, fail conditions, cure fests, etc.

For example:

Zone: Charasis: Maiden’s Chamber
Encounter: Drusella Sathir
Description: When she emotes and the skeletal hands start coming up from the ground, everybody has to stop DPSing or the mob heals back up.
Why It’s Fun: Because everybody likes watching for emotes and skeletal hands.

Now, I personally would disagree with the above example since I think it leans towards complex scripting (when it launched, you had to clear DoTs yourself) and fail conditions (having to start over with the mob at 100%, I would consider a fail condition). But that should at least give an idea of what I’m asking for.

So, do such encounters exist in EQ2? Let me know in the comments. Please limit this to EQ2 encounters so we can potentially go check out the ones that sound fun.

(Note: I personally don’t mind the complex scripting as long as it doesn’t get TOO complex.)

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Comments (18)

  • Xalmat

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    Several of my favorite encounters were from Rise of Kunark raids:

    Zone: The Temple of Kor’Sha
    Encounter: Selrach Di’Zok
    Description: Starts as a named encounter with named adds. Periodically through the fight waves of adds will pop that require DPSing down. At about the 55% mark he will emote, and if someone in the fight doesn’t counter the emote, it’s a wipe (it’s easy to counter, but you have to pay attention). After the emote, a second series of adds will pop. If these adds are ignored, then you wipe; you are required to intercept them before they reach the Overking.
    Why It’s Fun: It has a lot of stuff going on that you need to pay attention to. No one person is responsible for failure, rather the responsibility falls on the entire raid.

    Zone: Veeshan’s Peak
    Encounter: Elder Ekron
    Description: At 70, 60, 50, 40, and 30% an add will pop, where once this add is defeated a second wave of smaller adds will immediately pop. It requires your raid force to focus on the adds for a bit, and if you are lesser geared to control your damage output on the named while the mobs are live.
    Why it’s Fun: A lot of stuff to pay attention to, without any individual person being responsible for a failure.

    Zone: Veeshan’s Peak
    Encounter: Hoshkar
    Description: Tank and spank but with a twist! You must keep Hoshkar on his central island to keep bad things from happening, however only fighters are permitted to stand on the central island. All other players must stand on a constantly moving island that circles the central island.
    Why it’s Fun: It takes the MMO cliche tactic “Stick the mob in a corner and park it” and turns it on its head, forcing the main tank to constantly move around or he will be out of heal range.

    Zone: Veeshan’s Peak
    Encounter: Xygoz
    Description: At like 80% the dragon falls asleep, and one of two things happens: You have to collect a doppleganger of yourself to wake the dragon, or Xygoz dreams of all of the other Veeshan’s Peak dragons making fun of him for not wearing pants (then these dragons subsequently attack you).
    Why it’s Fun: It’s not often that raid encounters break the fourth wall.

    Reply

  • Twisted_Mentat

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    I have found that the most fun/memorable fights have tended to be the ones more heavily scripted.

    Many of the fights in Veeshans Peak were very well made.

    Nexona was a nightmare of organising and co-ordination (especially with the maximum dps limit), easily one of the most memorable encounters I ever had.

    Emperors anthema (I think) had a named fight where you had to gain the aproval of the jeering crowds by performing emotes mid-fight in order to steal the bosses buffs.

    several of the TSO instances had some fun fights, the commonlands instances had lazer death dodging on a bridge (burning on both ende) while fighting a name, void instances where you took over the bodies of prisoners in order to kill their jailer

    Sentinels fate had Dartains Bastion which had several interesting encounters (the last boss running away to heal and having to throw wrenches at his robot to make it run away was an interesting fight).

    For those who saw it, fighting Roehn Theer on a chessboard/discotech where each square would randomly change buff/colour , explode and fell, strip your buffs, or collected the corpses of your fallen all while trying to fight a boss (plus some swarm adds, plus a clone, depending on how difficult you made it), casting on the run
    All this while fighting off the urge to hum terrible 80′s music over the raid-voice. :p

    Reply

  • Xalmat

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    There’s also my other favorite raid boss, Roehn Theer.

    Description: At 90% you’re forced to pick what buff packages you want to give Roehn Theer. The more buff packages the more (and the more better) the loot, but the harder the fight. You also get to pick which buff packages. At the same time the entire floor turns into a game of Dance Dance Revolution, where you have to constantly avoid either the platform falling out from under you, or avoiding the “bad” tile. To counter this, all casters can freely cast on the move.
    Why It’s Fun: It completely turns the “stand still to cast” mechanic on its head, forcing casters to constantly move around to avoid impending death.

    Reply

  • Twisted_Mentat

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    sundered splitpaw.
    one instance you worked to imbued yourself with super-powers of a long dead gnoll hero in order to fight of intruders in his tomb.

    The arena fight where every wave brought a more dangerous enemy.

    Reply

  • Xalmat

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    An interesting encounter, one of the most challenging (at the time) one group bosses:

    Zone: Emperor’s Athenaeum
    Encounter: Four Warriors
    Description: Four iksar warriors, each with brutal AoEs and hit like a truck. At any given time using the four pillars in the room, you can petrify them (rendering them immune to damage and preventing them from acting), however the petrification wears off after 30 seconds with a 1 minute recharge. They are also susceptible to crowd control spells like Mesmerize.
    Why it’s Fun: It’s one of the few encounters where being able to use crowd control like mesmerize, stun, or even the petrify pillars was almost a requirement to win for all but the most well geared groups. It was also an extremely brutal, but well rewarding encounter.

    Reply

  • Daalilama

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    I have to agree best hybrid script/challenging mob without the standard soe practice of hyper cures was def Reohn Theer…cant tell you how fun it was to watch someones misstep and go falling off when the tile dropped. It basicly was no tank and spank and too some timing and planing on the fly(the tiles changing or dropping) some strats (depending on how many runes you decided to pull)and decently designed loot unlike the bland crap in DoV now.

    Reply

  • Onodi

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    The x2 fight (High Shaman Vohan) at the end of Runneye: The Gathering (RE2)… been a while since I’ve done it but there are 4 guys to fight had to burn them down a certain way based on the amount of DPS they did to the group. Can recall the tank taking one mob everyone burning down a second mob, someone kiting the 3rd then after we all survive the perspective targets we turned our attention to the poor final one (the “healer”). Not everyone could do it, and the rewards were killer at the time for a heroic encounter (end of RoK expansion it was released).

    Don’t recall scripts or fail conditions for this fight… many of the fights in this zone were entertaining. The Chieftain Kanar (“gassy” guy) was a pretty good fight too.

    Overall though there isn’t much in between… either fights are T&S or have some sort of fail condition finding that median is difficult without being unoriginal. Even now we tend to relate new fights to previous tactics.

    Reply

  • devincean

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    one of the best scripted zones I believe is estate of unrest even with its vague how to get through the house its prolly still too this day my most favorite instance. really wish Soe would pull off this instance for raids and dungeons, I like instances that take some thought but I also believe they shouldn’t be near as vague as estate of unrest was about what you needed to do.

    Also i would like more scripted combat but rather then no insta death moves I believe soe needs to put emote or prior animations on bosses.

    Example Kunark Protectors Realm great instance tons of raid bosses. Biggest problem none emote or animated for insta death moves. Meaning unless you have someone with a raid parser calling out when the spell comes across the lox.txt you loose half your raid to a BS move that could have been avoided. Emote and animations are a cheat they are a way of informing the player that their is something they should be paying attention too.

    Reply

  • Yuan

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    Roehn Theer was a super fun encounter. Not too tough and not a tank and spank. My favorite hands down from SF.
    God King Anuk was a neat change back in DoF, having to kill his minions enough until it angered him to engage you on his own.
    The D’Morte encounter in EoF was rather amusing, setting him on fire and all, and having to destroy the coffins during the battle. Though there was a lot of curing.

    The coolest thing had to be the boat ride to Lavastorm. Your ship catches on fire and you have to kill goblins and loot buckets of water to help control the flames. If you failed, the ship burnt down and your group wiped, but it wasn’t due to a single person.

    Reply

  • Xalmat

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    High Shaman Vohan wasn’t scripted like you think. Each of the four adds had some debilitating debuffs or other nasty tricks up their sleeves that made the fight very difficult until they were killed. The mage add put a massive resist debuff that would cause the other adds to one shot you, the priest would reduce damage, the fighter would just be a nuisance, and the scout would assassinate.

    Reply

  • Marvis

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    Rhoen Theer was hands down the most original fight ever IMO.

    Of course, they let the designer go. Go figure.

    Reply

  • San

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    Scripting should have hyperbolic progression, not infinite.

    If a mob is really good at something, but you are really good at dealing with it, mob should be able to win. right?

    i get that for current content, NOT old world. max levels toons should be able to overpower scripts for lowbie content.

    many old scripts are too black and white and not flexible to powerful players creative solutions.

    it drives me crazy chronomentoring and being unable to kill djinn master, not cuz he is uber, but because of a black and white script. by lore, i should obliterate him just by looking at him. making it impossible because of a technicality is garbage.

    Reply

  • Rhajiid

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    Why MUST someone be able to overcome a script just by level? There’s absolutely no reason or need for that.

    SF had some pretty nice scripts, not only the RT fight… The first two dragons in Toxx’ Lair (one with the pool, one with the need to right-click the mob. Something, that you’ll never do alone even if you’re level 300). Some of the encounters in Perah’s Lab. Lot of nice work there.

    (btw, just for the record: you CAN solo Djinn Master. Just think out of the box.)

    Reply

  • camelotcrusade

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    I don’t raid, but I’ve always liked the end encounter in Abandoned Labs in Sentinel’s Fate. Where you choose which buffs the end boss will have by deciding which minions to kill (and the uses the ones you don’t kill in battle – to fight and to empower him). A script I did not like in that expansion was Queen Gwarthlea in Vesitial Cella. I was our guild’s only active CC at the time so I played it probably 40 times or more, and even after we had it down pat it was still very unforgiving of mistakes.

    San raises an excellent point as well about how sometimes these scripts don’t age well and become problems to those replaying (or more often than not, at least in my case, first-time experiencing) the content at higher levels. Most frustrating to me were fights that needed a certain number of roles filled, never mind that any of us could have soloed it. Too often I could only round up 1 or 2 folks for the old content.

    Reply

  • Jrel

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    Roehn Theer hands-down most fun fight ever. The single and double runes aren’t too bad.

    Iilsaad’s Barrier; once you figure it out and have the crit mit to survive. Brutal, at first.

    I really don’t mind single-joust bosses that aren’t a cure-fest. Someone will die if they’re not paying attention and I think that’s funny.

    Some of the porting fights in the Vigilant zones, but not a fan of the bosses that can kill you almost instantly.

    Nortlav the Scalekeeper in Spirit’s Resonance when it’s not buggy and before the books got sped up.

    The right-click dragon in Toxx (not a fan of the first or anything that robs a player of the ability to see).

    Nayt the Grate Keeper in DB.

    Kraytocx4 is fun with the ports and avoiding the whirling blades; not too thrilled about the pillars though.

    The guy at the docks with the turtles in EM Kraytocx4 isn’t too bad, except the turtles have too many hp (gets boring).

    All I can think of at the moment.

    Reply

  • Kruzzen

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    I honestly don’t think it is that we don’t want scripted encounters. I love encounters that are scripted. What I don’t like is encounters that don’t take into effect things like lag. When you have a fail condition that leaves no room for even the tiniest variation in time, it is a poorly written script. A script should be fun to figure out, not frustrating because you can’t get it done due to a half a second lag. :(

    Reply

  • Catharz

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    +1 Kruzzen

    I don’t mind scripted encounters, and totally loved the VP stuff when we got our heads around it. But I absolutely hated the (pre-nerf) Venril Sathir fight. Being an Aussie guild, our response times are 200ms (at best). Your whole raid could wipe due to one person going LD on that fight.

    Zone: Tomb of the Mad Crusader
    Encounter: Thet Em Au
    Description: Naga with adds that could only be killed by people with a particular detrimental.
    Why it’s fun: It includes everyone and required coordination.

    Zone: The Chamber of Destiny
    Encounter: Leviathan
    Description: Big snot mob with tentacles.
    Why it’s fun: There is so much going on in this fight, not to mention the preparation. Farming the fish suits, to get inside Levi, then going inside to farm the liquids, use the liquids to blow up the mob and then make sure you get somebody to flick the switch at the right time. All while making sure you had druids hit him with Serene Symbol so the raid DPS didn’t take out the MT. It had just the right amount of chaos.

    Zone: Temple of Rallos Zek: Foundations of Stone
    Encounter: Proto-Exarc Finnrdag
    Description: Mob with a LoS AoE that will 1-shot you
    Why it’s fun: I like mobs where you need to joust out of sight or it 1-shots you. It makes jousting a little more urgent and keeps people on their toes.

    Zone: Kraytoc’s Fortress
    Encounter: Taaltak the Mighty
    Description: 3 phase ring event with jousting and adds.
    Why it’s fun: Each ring builds slightly on the other, which makes it fun while learning the encounter. The 3rd round makes it interesting with the knock-back, adds that you need to keep alive and jousting.

    This tier, I think all of the fights in Kraytoc’s are decent. The power drain in the Eireen fight sucks on those nights when you only have one chanter though. The Arch Magistor Modrfrost fight in Hall of Legends can be similarly annoying. Whether you succeed or fail can totally depend on who gets stunned.

    Rhoen Theer (as everyone else has said).

    I hate fights that are too unforgiving. A lot of the SF fights made you feel like you either had to farm gear forever before the next fight, or you had to have a raid of 24 twitch players who knew every encounter backwards. That’d be fine if we were a hard core guild, but we’re not and don’t even have a set raid force. Some raids, we’re lucky if we get more than 4 healers turn up (let alone utility). Other raids, we’ll have 10 healers.

    I like things to be scripted to keep it interesting, but not to the point where 1 person can wipe the raid due to a “fail” condition. I also don’t like it when a raid can wipe based on random chance (eg. MT healers getting incurable stuns), or when dying is part of the script (eg. Vethilot in ToFS x2) making it hard to get flawless. It should be possible to get flawless on encounters you have the minimum gear for if you have the coordination and skill.

    Reply

  • Delerius

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    simple scripting with less trivial fail conditions conditions.

    Mob does max 3 scripts one curse, if not cured adds spawn.
    If adds are not burned down the curse spreads to one more for each curse spreading more adds come.
    adds will reduce dmg to the mob but when each mob dies the mobs taken will then increase.

    Reply

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