Every adventure has a being, or monster whose power is so great that it requires heroes from all over to band together in order to defeat it. This staple in storytelling has crossed over to video games, and in Guild Wars 2, we see it take the form of a world boss. The zones of Guild Wars 2 offer many challenges, but the world boss is suppose to be the big one. These monsters are suppose to bring the hurt, and when we first encountered them they did!
It’s been a few years now, and we all know how these bosses act. It’s crazy that we just plow through them now, but what can you expect after all this time? Even Tequatl was once feared, but now is just another sure way at getting some spoons, I mean loot. I wonder how new players today feel when they see these world bosses. I remember the first one I experienced. I was with a fairly decent sized group, so we didn’t think we would be in trouble. Then our health bars just kind of emptied out, and we were afraid to go back into the fight. Now new players are blanketed by the safety of us veterans who know the fights inside and out. We practically do all the work for them. They don’t know true fear like we once did when the strategies weren't just on auto-run.
How can you fix this? How can you make a world boss seem powerful again? ArenaNet has shown what they are doing with the champions of HoT, but a world boss is far above any champion. Well, ArenaNet has done something, and it’s as simple as just giving them more HP. A ton of HP. More HP than you thought possible. They're now like Destiny's bullet-sponge bosses. In a sense, yes the boss is more “powerful” but it still does the same thing, so now it just takes longer to kill.
We got so good at killing these monsters, that we forgot the deaths we had to experience to get to this point. We also got stronger, which made it even easier. But we got greedy and demanded a challenge. But really, did we know what we were asking for? Sure Tequatl got a complete makeover, and it was awesome. We got a true challenge from a world boss for the first time in a while. But what we don’t realize is how much time and effort it took to rework that encounter. Asking simply for a challenge from the other world bosses was a mistake. What we got wasn't the sort of rework we envisioned, and perhaps we would have been better off with leaving the old bosses alone.
So is this more of a challenge? It gives us more time to mess up, but for most world bosses that I’ve had a chance to try out, I didn’t see more players biting the dust than usual. The problem is that this update sucked the fun out of the world bosses. They still have the same behaviors, so now you’re just doing the same thing, but for a longer period of time. The same even goes for the mighty Tequatl. It’s slightly more difficult to take him down since he has more health, but it’s really just a challenge of doing as much damage in the fastest way possible. The groups that are failing aren’t doing so because the mighty dragon ate them, or stomped on them, but simply because they ran out of time.
This shouldn’t be a huge deal though. This sort of change happens in an MMO's lifespan, which means it can always be changed again. Look at all the changes with conditions, and crit boxes being added. If the HP amounts weren’t increased, these bosses would melt down faster than ever, and that's really what this change is all about. You can think of this is just a very large test so that they can recalibrate things. Just don’t expect boss HP values to drop back to where they were, at least I'd not bet on it.
For the stronger world bosses, these changes bring a greater need for coordination between players, which is something I think ArenaNet has been trying to accomplish for awhile now. Just look at dynamic events, which are all based on players coming together to reach the same goal. This idea is taken a step further in the Silverwaste map, with players having to coordinate and hold defensive positions, and then prepare for the world boss. It’s all been leading up to this, and this health HP is just another small step in that direction. I think we need to wait for Heart of Thorns and see where it all goes.