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Harder Main Story Bosses

Iccotak
Iccotak
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ESO harder story bosses

NOTES:
1. This is NOT about “veteran overland mode“ nor is it saying, in any way whatsoever, that there is a lack of difficult content in the game.
This is purely about how the gameplay of a main story boss impacts the story.
2. This is an old proposal that has gone through drastic review.
3. Please read the whole thing before you give questions or critiques.
4. NEW section added on how "Achievements" would work (due to a 'debate' taking up more pages than was necessary)

Post
The Story does not have to purely cater to new or casual players.
Many Longtime Endgame Players, including myself, are tired of Story Bosses that are designed for casual players which can be easily dispatched. It’s hard to care about the story when the final antagonist can be beaten in 2 seconds.
It can seriously undercut the story.

We want the Main Antagonists to be memorable experiences that live up the how the storyline and marketing build them up. We want the story and the gameplay to match up.
We want to look forward to fighting them.

In order to balance this out with new or casual players, this would require the separate veteran instance to have different mechanics.
Because story bosses like the Dragons in Elweyr we’re just pure time gates.
They were seriously extremely anti-climatic.

That issue would not be resolved by “self nerfing“.
Speaking as somebody that was using less than ideal gear & stats, it was still a boring fight - in fact even more so because it just took longer.
Mechanics are what makes or breaks a good boss fight. End of story.
EDIT: In my opinion; If your campaign big bad isn’t remotely end game content, even as an option, then they’re a wasted main villain that are ultimately forgotten about because no one will take them seriously. Period.

So - only for Main Story Bosses - have two separate instances for them.
- Normal
- Veteran

Up to four people can load into your instance, but you do not require four people to participate.
In either instance, bosses would still be designed to be beaten by a single player, but your friends can still tagalong.

The difference being that boss in veteran mode would have more challenging mechanics than they do in normal mode.
Normal Mode is left the way it is in- game right now.

With Mechanics being reviewed here are the story bosses that would be getting a Veteran Mode

Solo Story Dungeons - Full Breakdown
(NOTE: reminder that friends can still tag along but the bosses can still be beaten solo)
NEW group activities
Planemeld
The King of worms - Defeat Mannimarco
The God of Schemes - Make your way to Molag Bal and defeat the God of Schemes
877c96c5818c76b93dd8d2a5448cd821.jpg

Orsinium
Scarp Keep - Stop King Kurog from killing the Orc Clan Chiefs
600px-ON-npc-King_Kurog.jpg

Daedric War
The Clockwork Vault - Defeat Barbas in the Clockwork City to restore Vivec
ON-quest-Divine_Restoration_04.jpg

Cogitum Centralis - Find the Shadow of Sotha Sil and stop him before the Clockwork city is lost forever
800px-ON-quest-Where_Shadows_Lie.jpg

The Crystal Tower - stop Nocturnal before she uses the tower to remake reality.
IOXaFDk.jpg

Murkmire
Vakka-Bok Xanmeer - Prevent Kassandra from acquiring the Remnant of Argon
ON-quest-The_Remnant_of_Argon_04.jpg

Season of the Dragon
Jode's Core - Defend Jode's core and defeat Mulaamnir to save Northern Elsweyr
ON-quest-Jode%27s_Core_11.jpg

Doomstone Keep - Assist Nahfahlar end his feud with Laatvulon to save Southern Elsweyr
8de58c83cbcee0154e40f081cff82e2b_dragons-overshadow-the-ruins-of-pellitine_wallpaper-1920x1080.jpg

Dragonhold - Journey to Dragonhold and Defeat Kaalgrontiid to save Tamriel
525b059bc747f1102d9c82c7c6067c61_final-stand-against-kaalgrontiid_wallpaper-1920x1080.jpg

This of course would translate over to main bosses in the “Dark Heart of Skyrim” story arc

Reward
Since this has separate modes and therefore would become a repeatable activity -
It would not hurt to throw in some cosmetic rewards for certain achievements in veteran mode.

Why does it have to become repeatable?
The major reason that the idea is to make it repeatable content, is because it is only repeatable content that has any actual challenge.

If it is non-repeatable content, then the devs do not invest any resources into actually making it challenging. Because if the player can only do it once then there is no point in going out of your way to make it a challenge.

And because it is repeatable the Devs attach extra incentive.
Repeatable, Challenging, & some form of Reward are the three key things they use to make an activity garner long-term player engagement.
This is how all content is designed. There is no exception.

They could earn titles, colors, emotes, costumes, pets, mounts, decorations, single signature motif item, etc.
The quality of the item would be dependent on the achievement accomplished.
Edit: To be clear I am talking about hypothetical rewards that don’t currently exist. The idea does NOT take away any rewards that already come from completing a Main Story Boss

Overall the point being is that this is a story boss and not a dungeon or trial, also the focus of this post is on the challenge and not monetary reward.
(EDIT#2: But maybe a mythic item tied to a specific Story Boss would be cool)

How would this affect Achievements?
Let's take Elsweyr for example. (Northern & Southern)
Right now there are
- General
- Exploration
- Quests
- Trial (Sunspire)

My proposal would add one more section called "Lairs". This way players can still complete General, Exploration, and Quests and would not rob any of them of the progress they have already made so far.

- General
- Exploration
- Quests
- Trial (Sunspire)
- Lair (Jode's Core, Doomstone Keep, & Dragonhold) NEW

Image to illustrate
Va8k3hi.png

Conclusion
This is the basic idea and I think it works. It would work for both casual and endgame players.
It’d make the story Bosses more exciting for many of us.
It doesn’t drastically split the player base and there’s something for everyone.
Edited by ZOS_Icy on December 30, 2023 7:59PM
  • idk
    idk
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    Can we have some context to this post. First off, any boss will become much easier when you fight them enough. Anyone who has played MMORPGs for any length of time knows that. Second, it seems intended that the older dungeons are easier than the current ones.

    As stated, OP provides no setting at all in what they are discussing outside of dungeon bosses. Do they say Earthgore and other DLC bosses are too easy, respecting that they will obviously be easier once you have them on-farm? It is far too generalized as it is currently stated, IMHO.
    Edited by idk on October 17, 2020 5:01PM
  • Iccotak
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    Katahdin wrote: »
    Im fine with making a veteran version so that we can stop hearing all the moaning about it being too easy for vet players.

    Since story modes are only done once per character, I am against having special rewards for them that people on the normal version dont get. A new player wont be able to get those simply because they are new and they will be forever locked out of them if they dont want to make a new character.

    The only "greater reward" I could see is additional gold and higher quailty gear like purple gear instead of blue and green.

    If all you are after is "greater challenge" this should be fine.

    If this really is just a grab for more rewards that other people cant get.....then it should never happen for a story mode.
    We already have that with dungeons and trials but those dont go away when you do it once on the normal version so you still can get it later as you level up and get better at the game..

    .

    @Katahdin
    To address your concerns about rewards. This change would make story final boss is a repeatable activity. Which is what I said in the OP
    Since this has separate modes and therefore would become a repeatable activity

    And no this is not just a grab for rewards. I just understand that there is literally no in-game activity, made by the developers, with zero reward.

    This is why I focused on cosmetic rewards, and not on gear. It is the final boss of a main story, so the rewards are more aimed at achievement and accomplishment.
    Edited by Iccotak on October 18, 2020 7:54AM
  • idk
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    ArchMikem wrote: »
    idk wrote: »
    Iccotak wrote: »
    idk wrote: »
    Can we have some context to this post. First off, any boss will become much easier when you fight them enough. Anyone who has played MMORPGs for any length of time knows that. Second, it seems intended that the older dungeons are easier than the current ones.

    As stated, OP provides no setting at all in what they are discussing outside of dungeon bosses. Do they say Earthgore and other DLC bosses are too easy, respecting that they will obviously be easier once you have them on-farm? It is far too generalized as it is currently stated, IMHO.

    Uhh.....it is VERY obvious they are talking about Main Quest Story bosses. they literally state that in their post?

    Did you even read the thread, @idk?

    It literally says within the first few lines: "This is purely about how the gameplay of a main story boss impacts the story."

    Agreed
    @idk I literally said this is about the Bosses we encounter in the main story quests

    In the spoiler tab “breakdown” I list out the story bosses like Mannimarco, Molag Bal, and Kaalgrontiid that these changes would be applied to.

    Please read the whole thing first before questions or critiques

    Oops, my bad. In the OP it is talking about end game players. Since regular quests that can pretty much be done at any level are not end-game it makes no sense to talk about the end-game players.

    Regardless, it does not look like many end-game players are very concerned about this.

    I consider myself in the End Game but I still look forward to the story questing the most. Therefore I'm concerned.

    I have always been an end game raider. Well, since I got my very first character in an MMO up to end game. I still enjoy the stories but I look for my challenge where the challenge is designed and intended to be. I know a lot of competitive raiders that feel the same way as they enjoy their raiding and look forward to the stories and I have never heard them complain about this.
  • Sendirra
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    You can always remove the CP from your character (aka not use the points you earned). That should increase the overall difficulty a bit...
    PC-EU
  • heaven13
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    Sendirra wrote: »
    You can always remove the CP from your character (aka not use the points you earned). That should increase the overall difficulty a bit...

    It doesn't, or not exactly. I never assign champion points to any of my characters until they get to champion level. So any of my under-50s running around do so without CP. I also don't craft them gear so they wear what they find as they quest. While it can make the fights drag, particularly due to lack of sustain, they're tedious. Not difficult.

    I like the suggestion, but agree that just having the option would be good enough for me. Maybe a little more gold and next tier quality in gear rewards but no special cosmetics or anything like that. I'd actually like to see it expanded to the main villain of each zone as well. Nothing worse than chasing some big bad through an entire zone and then they're dead before they've even gotten through the second half of their first sentence. (And I don't even quest with food active or use pots)
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  • Iccotak
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    @stefan.gustavsonb16_ESO

    Exactly.
    To be honest to be honest, I have no care in an attainable reward.
    I only put that in the proposal because I know from past experience with bringing up this idea that one of the immediate concerns or questions is the reward.

    So I tried to make sure there was something for everyone. Challenge for those seeking it and some form of reward that would encourage others to try it.

    And one of my big concerns definitely is player retention. It just doesn’t seem to make any sense to have the new story focus on accessibility for new players but not also being engaging for long-term players.

    In fact I had almost zero interest in this new chapter, despite all the awesome features that were added, because I could not be invested in a story with a lackluster ending.
  • Iccotak
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    In my opinion; If your campaign "Big Bad Villain" isn’t even remotely end game content, then they’re a wasted main villain who's ultimately forgotten about because no one will take them seriously. Period.

    EDIT: it kills immersion in the story when the "big bad" isn't really a threat in gameplay (in response to comment below)

    Let players match the gameplay to the lore and hype
    Edited by Iccotak on November 13, 2020 10:01AM
  • spartaxoxo
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    No, story bosses shouldn't be repeatable. Kills the immersion. They can offer a greater challenge but it shouldn't be rewarded as it's a one off thing. Just a boredom buster. Not everything needs a dye or a title that casuals cannot get
  • pihlaja
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    I would love if at least the solo instanced quests could be done either in normal or veteran mode. :)

    Edit. But I wouldn’t make them repeatable either. Giving purple gear instead of blue would be sufficient enough, in my opinion. I mean, if the change was made for the sake of making the content itself more interesting, that would also be a reward and motivation in itself.
    Edited by pihlaja on November 13, 2020 11:40AM
  • MaleAmazon
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    The problem is not that my characters are too strong. The problem is that I have learned a lot about how to play the game over the years, and for that I feel punished when it comes to enjoying the story of new chapters. I don't expect a reward, but providing experienced players with a less enjoyable ride than beginners seems bad for player retention.

    This is really kind of funny, too. Now, the 'tutorial dungeons' have gotten better (slightly), but it is still the case that you do not learn a lot of the game, and dont have to use a lot of the controls or skills, when playing the solo story.

    The whole thing has a bit of an identity crisis, really. ESO is written (for the most part) as one long story: You have the Prophet MQ and the Alliance questlines (now separated so you don´t have to do the Alliance one to complete the MQ, iirc that wasn´t the case at launch, but I could be wrong).

    Those alone get you to lvl 50, even without sidequests.

    But yet, even with Morrowind -> Clockwork -> Summerset being sequential and tying into the MQ (and reintroducing old characters), and this keeps going with other DLC, for some reason the whole game is scaled for the utter newbie.

    Who, unless they actually skipped story content, would be a high CP character by this point, just by playing.

    Edited by MaleAmazon on November 13, 2020 3:25PM
  • Iccotak
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    MaleAmazon wrote: »
    The problem is not that my characters are too strong. The problem is that I have learned a lot about how to play the game over the years, and for that I feel punished when it comes to enjoying the story of new chapters. I don't expect a reward, but providing experienced players with a less enjoyable ride than beginners seems bad for player retention.

    This is really kind of funny, too. Now, the 'tutorial dungeons' have gotten better (slightly), but it is still the case that you do not learn a lot of the game, and dont have to use a lot of the controls or skills, when playing the solo story.

    The whole thing has a bit of an identity crisis, really. ESO is written (for the most part) as one long story: You have the Prophet MQ and the Alliance questlines (now separated so you don´t have to do the Alliance one to complete the MQ, iirc that wasn´t the case at launch, but I could be wrong).

    Those alone get you to lvl 50, even without sidequests.

    But yet, even with Morrowind -> Clockwork -> Summerset being sequential and tying into the MQ (and reintroducing old characters), and this keeps going with other DLC, for some reason the whole game is scaled for the utter newbie.

    Who, unless they actually skipped story content, would be a high CP character by this point, just by playing.

    I agree and I think an optional mechanical difficulty option for the main story boss would mostly solve this.
    Let's be honest mobs don't matter, nobody wants to waste too much time fighting them - even in harder content players will often skip them.
    It's the Bosses that make the experience memorable. If they revamped the bosses and went forward with optional difficulty for the Main Villain then I'd be more excited getting into a storyline.
    Sure I like the writing but again if the Villain is not a threat in gameplay then it undercuts the story.
    As if I have to gimp myself to make the BIG BAD EVIL guy of the entire year hard, then doesn't that mean there is a design flaw somewhere?
    @Vayln_Ninetails Exactly
    Edited by Iccotak on November 20, 2020 1:33PM
  • stefan.gustavsonb16_ESO
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    MaleAmazon wrote: »
    You have the Prophet MQ and the Alliance questlines (now separated so you don´t have to do the Alliance one to complete the MQ, iirc that wasn´t the case at launch, but I could be wrong).

    You could level up through PvP only even at launch, after reaching level 10 in your first faction zone, and do the main quest by visiting the Harborage a few times as you leveled up. However, the suggested way to level up before One Tamriel (OT) was to meticulously do all the zone quests for your faction, in order, because the enemies in the zones were hard leveled to match a certain level for your character. The main quest was designed to kick in once per zone for five zones and leave you just above level 50 at the end. The Fighters' and Mages' Guild questlines were designed to be done in parallel to that as well, with the same idea of giving you one part of the quest per zone as you progressed through them.

    If you took the time to find all side quests, you ended up being overleveled, and then you stopped getting any XP for the quests and kills. If you skipped some quests, you were underleveled for the zone quests. That rewarded you with more XP to catch up, but the game became a lot more difficult, in particular above level 50 in the "VR zones".

    Most overland gear drops were locked to weird intermediate levels that were inappropriate for endgame builds. The post-50 zones for Cadwell's Silver and Gold were empty with everyone grinding XP in Craglorn to reach level cap. It was weird, and annoying, and I really think the OT update saved the game.

    Having said that, the quest bosses were a fun challenge back then. Some even required me to give up and level up some more before being being able to clear them. I remember pre-OT Doshia for the Fighter's Guild being a temporary block to quest progress for most of my characters, and Gutsripper for the Mage's Guild was utterly humiliating, and fun, to face unprepared at low levels.
  • JKorr
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    Few things to consider....

    Every new chapter dumps new players in that chapter. Brand new, clueless, gearless new players. Making story bosses harder might not be the best idea, maybe? Back in the beginning, the devs got to hear a LOT about how players had to be at least 5 levels over that the story thought was needed to beat some of the bosses. Original Doshia, Doppleganger Abnur and Doppleganger Lyris were nightmares for new players. The devs took note, and the bosses were nerfed. Maybe a little too much, but what they were at the start was a little too much.

    Some players do want incredibly hard content. There is a market for Dark Souls, Bloodborne and Demon Souls, after all. But that isn't the usual target audience for Elder Scrolls.

    The devs have access to information about how much content is played/completed. How many have completed Maelstrom? The other harder content? Would they get enough interest from the majority or only a niche minority? What would keep the most current players and attract new ones?
  • Athan1
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    I agree, it's ironic how quest bosses are built up to be super OP over hours of quests/arcs and then die within a few seconds, while trial bosses or overworld bosses get mininal to no build up and then are the hardest to kill. It should be the other way around, no?
    Athan Atticus Imperial Templar of Shezarr
  • Iccotak
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    @JKorr

    to address your points

    1. the OP is about Optional Difficulty. Allowing players to choose and Not forcing everyone to the same experience.
    2. This is about how the gameplay affects the story experience and it is Not about any perceived lack of difficult content - of which there is plenty available.

    The main story boss should not have to only be a mediocre encounter for new or very casual players. There should be an option for a more mechanically challenging and engaging fight
    Edited by Iccotak on November 20, 2020 8:20PM
This discussion has been closed.