This is part of a series in which I try to write a post every day on silly video game topics. For the list of topics, click here.
Please allow me to state for the record: I hate raids. I have rarely enjoyed myself on raids in any game, so my answer for this will not be a “favorite raid.” However, allow me to speak some about raid mechanics and “boss fights” within raids.
My experience with raids in MMOs is thus; Everquest’s Planes of Hate & Fear and some Velious stuff. Dark Age of Camelot‘s Realm vs. Realm keep raids. World of Warcraft‘s Molten Core & Wrath of the Lich King. That’s. About. It. So I am very much a raiding newbie. My experience with raids from the outset was one of idle frustration and boredom, especially with Everquest. Haters need not even reply – raiding in Everquest was one of the most inane and poorly designed systems ever. The mere concept of them, waiting for a spawn, hoping that other groups would respect your raid, having no instancing what so ever has always struck me as one of the most shit-tacular ways of wasting everyone’s time. Coupled with the punitive penalties for failure, I simply vowed never to spend that much time with them.
DAOC’s PvP based raid system was much more enjoyable when it focused on siege warfare, otherwise it was Zerg v. Zerg, or small group combat which was not “raiding”. WOW’s Molten Core wasn’t much better than Everquest – trading instances and on-demand raids for insane amounts of trash. But, WOW did something, and expanded on it well; it added mechanics. Tricks, strategies, things you had to do – whatever you want to call them – boss fights felt more like, well boss fights. You had to be adaptive. You had to, essentially, fail a few times, figure out the trick to beating the boss, and then you had to execute.
That’s what’s always fun about boss fights. On TFG’s site, I answered Ganondorf/Ganon as my favorite boss fight. That was a great fight, and a fitting end to one of the best games ever. Some cinematic action, a curveball in the game mechanics coupled with a new fight mechanic (tennis, anyone?), with some cutscenes and mid-fight break back to traditional gameplay before going all-in with another handicap and a bigger, harder boss.
Ocarina of Time had a pretty good boss fight in Ganon, but the more I think about the idea of adaptability, another game stands out for requiring inventiveness and a lot of trial and error.
That’s right, my vote has changed and is going to Mega Man.