The latest challenge, a huge player raid, adds a splash of Nier Automata and might be the best yet. These raids have included original stories about magical towers and air pirates, but they sometimes involve guest writers. It just does. The story so far involves a pair of enterprising dwarfs who discover a factory underground.
When it comes to MMOs, one of the most exciting elements for the team is creating something that truly challenges your players—and a raid is a perfect example of that. Providing tough-as-nails encounters and new mechanics, these battles are not just a test of skill, but a test of teamwork.
We wanted to give you a first-hand look at how the development team creates a raid boss from start to finish, and with four all-new bosses in the recent 4.
How did the creation of this boss fight begin? Did it start with gameplay concepts, fitting the boss to the story or something else entirely? Our team took this base and considered how Omega might behave in an encounter with the Warriors of Light, who continued to triumph in each of the tournaments bouts.
How did your team decide on the battle mechanics attacks, AOE patterns, etc.
With this basic idea in mind, we started to think about the battle mechanics. Unfortunately, including these kinds of mechanics have never been my strong suit, but I challenged myself to do it for this fight!
That was my way to tie-in my own Encircle into the fight. It gets pretty hectic since the other players in the raid not only have to deal with avoiding this beam, but also pay mind to other mechanics at the same time.
Now with Pantokrator, the idea was to have a weakened Omega retaliating against players by unleashing a barrage of its strongest attacks one after the other. We wanted the eight Warriors of Light fighting Omega to band together as one to conquer this challenge.
Move in Sync or Else! Pantokrator is a slew of different laser attacks brought out one after the other, and all party members need to know the characteristics and patterns for each.
These are just a few examples, but in both cases, we thought of the overall goal for the mechanic, and then fit it into the parameters of the specific boss. What is the overall flow in working with these teams to create the boss model, the battlefield, the animations, and everything else that is needed to bring the fight to life?
Typically, the first thing to happen is the story and setting of the raid get hammered out, and then the art team works on the initial design.
We work together during the design process, letting the art team know our vision for the battle so they can incorporate those elements into the design.
Omega Design Sketches Omega was unique though, since it had been around since Patch 3. It was a rare case where the design was finalized well before we began designing the fight. Omega, as revealed in Patch 3.
This stage of planning is where most of the battle mechanics are decided upon: the shape of the battlefield, the flow of battle phases, and other key features. The next step is a team review of the content that includes the battle and monster teams. If we receive feedback or revision requests, we go back to the drawing board here to make those adjustments.
We also need to make sure our plan is actually going to work in game. As you can see, every step of the creation process is a group effort.
The pieces start to come together as we put the puzzle pieces from each team together to build the fight for the first time. With his approval, we move on to QA to hammer out all of the bugs, and then all of you get to enjoy the fight! Reworking the Fight I took that feedback to heart, and went to work on a revised plan right away.
I worked with some of our raid design veterans, and went through the entire process again talking to all of our teams. It was somewhat of a miracle, but the revised plan was approved by Yoshida.
The new plan required changes from all sides. We were adding new mechanics, changing existing mechanics, adding animations, graphical effects, and sound effects. It was another huge team effort that went all the way to our QA team again—I was the one who had to bear the bad news of needing to retest the fight because of the new mechanics… So what did we actually change?
This image is clipped from the design document, and shows the different positions players would need to be in and move to in order to succeed. As you can see, Omega was born out of very tough labor, and I probably caused more than a bit of trouble to many of the teams. They might not have the best memories coming out of all of this, but their willingness to go back to the drawing board is why this battle turned out as well as it did.
Lead character artist Yuji Mitsuishi jumping in here to talk a bit about creating the Omega model! Omega is comprised of an extremely large number of parts, so getting each of those elements in order and putting them together to create the model was a very time consuming task.
My team did not want to deviate from the envisioned design we were given, so we would make even the slightest adjustments to the position of each part of Omega to fit the design. I think this is a very important element that makes Omega a memorable foe, but it was important to not lose the sense of three-dimensionality in the design or create a frail-looking Omega in the process.
Omega looks like a pretty tough fight to me! Sometimes we do have those moments where something just clicks and you end up with a great idea that might change the fight entirely, but again Omega was a unique case.
If the boss is inspired from a past Final Fantasy boss, how do you and the teams balance keeping true to the original, but also providing a special flair for Final Fantasy XIV. Encircle was an ability used by Omega in Final Fantasy V that would remove a target from the battle—no questions asked.
If you happen to encounter this in FFXIV, you can see your raid party get exiled to another dimension! What part of this new raid are you most excited for players to experience? Which gameplay moments or lore should players should keep an eye out for?
You can only see this in Savage mode, but the visuals and animations of Omega filling the screen up with its onslaught of attacks are truly amazing. This might sound a bit weird, but if you do get a chance to do Savage, make sure you hit that Enrage timer and see the full Loop effect!