I love playing in the world of Dragon Quest Builders, I don’t have to worry about being attacked by random battle screens.
BUT WHERE THE **** DID THAT BOSS BATTLE COME FROM?
Seriously, I make up a giant town that makes me feel proud and prepared to protect the town for the boss battle.
I triggered the boss and… me and the town are teleported to the middle of an arena and I’m fighting a standard boss fight where you have to block some missiles, block an aggressive boss and then blow him up… something about it just feels… off.
The question is, for a game like this is there a better way to do it; is there a better form of boss battle for a new type of RPG.
Note this is speculative design and not purely based on the game Dragon Quest Builders.
The key to defeating any boss comes from proving that you have mastered the skills you have already learned.
However the skills we have learned are not pure combat; resource gathering, tool construction and building are also vital in the completion of game up until this point.
The bosses in the current form only consist of 1/4 of the total mechanics, even less considering how combat is only required for resource gathering and not experience.
The problem is construction and combat are polar opposites; one is about creation, the other is destruction. How do you balance the two?
Option 1 – 4 Spires
What about constructing to defeat the boss? The boss will attack the town first until you construct the first spire and will then proceed to attack you.
You can also have enemies appear to attack you but each spire, once up attack enemies getting closer.
Once all 4 Spires are up, the town is shielded and the boss is weakened enough to be attacked.
Option 2 – Battlefield
An epic final battle where you have to repair and create defences mid-battle; resources will need to be stockpiled in advanced that can be used to produce healing items and gear.
At the same time enemies leave components behind that you have to combine together to create the final construction that will destroy the final boss.
Option 3 – Construction Focused
Something happens that forces the players to construct items and buildings under pressure and enemies swarming you.
The goal is to make a single item under pressure not defeat a boss.
Option 4 – No Boss
Do we really need a boss?
Before the Ender Dragon, there wasn’t a boss and Minecraft was brilliant under it’s own steam. This was an explorer’s paradise and you were constantly testing your abilities every step of the way.
It’s fun to do some speculative design, especially when the concept you love does exist and works and just needs that fine tuning.
The weakest point in this game is the boss and it feels like it’s the opposite of the games construct over destroy concept. However I believe that we are not far off.
With a new style of RPG will come new ways of testing your skills during it while creating a crescendo that is both satisfying and follows the rules of the game.