TIG/INVEN interview on EP4 raid battles
This… was a lot of work due to all the information being spread out between the two interviews. But I think I got all the juicy bits down.
There won’t be any normal battles for EP4 but four raids instead.
Now that a large portion of the players have gear fit for running S2 raids and since this is the finale of the season, the devs wanted to make the raid combat difficult.
The most obvious way to do this would be to make the bosses hit harder and faster but this resulted in patterns that players can’t properly react to thus leaving gear-stacking as the only viable solution. Not wanting to go this route the bosses for EP4 have clear warning signs before attacking. So with this factor in addition to the fact that they have similar stats with other S2 raid bosses, the devs expect the bosses themselves to be somewhat easier to handle. The difficulty will instead come with special patterns for each boss.
Each boss will now have patterns that party member must learn and coordinate with each other in order to defeat. They expect the usual tactic of running head straight in to battle and beating up the boss will only work up to the first boss, Ulchas.
Yet, they didn’t want to repeat the same situation with Kraken where every single party member must know what he/she is doing so while knowing and handling each pattern is essential, one or two party members screwing up won’t result in a wipe.
The devs hope that this design will help lowering stat restriction for public boats since basic attack patterns will be more obvious and because combat difficulty is designed around proper execution of strategy.
The first boss for EP4 focuses on the basics of Vindictus, learning a boss’ attack pattern and beating it up. Just like Keaghan, Ulchas is a 6man raid and will be staged in Malina. [the other raids are 8man]
The Pontiff’s Court revived the late hero of Ainle through use of foul sorcery and uses him to invade Malina. He wields his holy blade Akirot and has three kinds of auras; defensive, explosion, drain.
Akirot will be used to attack in various styles, for example, Ulchas will create a clone of himself with Akirot and send it to the player who is farthest away from him. So it should be expected that Chainblade Vellas and Kais will be primary targets for this attack.
During drain mode he will use vampiric attacks on players which will heal him if it hits a target. If a player dies during drain mode Ulchas will instantly recover 3% of his health. He will also use heal skills during this mode which will heal one bar of his health each time. This must be interrupted by knocking him down with skills. Failure to do so will result in Ulchas being fully healed.
Ulchas’ model is much larger than characters [in par with Ikrium] despite being a human in answer to concerns of the boss being covered up by character models. The devs also mention that his ornate golden armor should also further help in distinguishing him from players. They’re more concerned about the visual effects of his skills obscuring sight.
A gigantic beast with two horns and molten hide, players will have to go through this armor-like hide in order to attack its flesh.
The most important pattern for Lavasat is when it charges towards a pool of lava on one side of the map. If not stopped, Lavasat will recover its molten hide and the party will have to break it off again. Lavasat’s charge can be stopped by chainhooking its head and turning its charge direction towards a wall. This will result in its horn getting stuck in a wall thus leaving Lavasat defenseless for a moment. One thing to note is that simply connecting the chain hook is not enough. You need to pull his head’s direction towards the wall. Two players from opposite sides connecting their chainhooks will not tilt Lavasat’s direction.
The chainhooks mentioned here are provided in-combat like Havan, thus making it possible to restock during combat and doesn’t have any class restriction.
Cromcruach’s Loyal Servant (Elahan)
The druid who is the loyal servant of Cromcruach has various elements to his battle and how players handle these will change the combat progression.
Players will find the druid in a temple where he has transformed in to a beast and will find a new ‘heat gauge’ added for this battle. This gauge will rise as players attack the boss. Players with a full heat gauge will become targets for the boss’ breath attack. So it goes without saying that players must be mindful in managing their heat gauge.
The breath itself is a problem but the bigger threat lies in the chance that a breath could hit one of the pillars of the temple. Every time a pillar breaks, lavabombs will pour down on the battleground. So if a player is to die from a breath, he/she should avoid getting hit close to a pillar. Breaking too many of these pillars will cause the ceiling to collapse and expose the battleground to the volcanic environment around it. This will allow a monster, Gigantic Lavabomb, to enter the fray which must be dealt with quickly.
So the key elements for this battle are heat gauge management, avoiding being targeted by breaths close to pillars, and taking out Gigantic Lavabombs ASAP.
As expected from the second to last boss of the season, the druid gave the internal testers a really hard time.
God of life and death, Cromcruach
A staff-wielding god who uses magic and fierce melee attacks to match his muscular form. Though Cromcruach may be a god, he is in a greatly weakened due to lack of worshipers.
His patterns can be divided in to his basic magic/melee attack patterns, summoning statues, summoning clones, and a final evasion mode.
The summoned statues especially require cooperation between party members. Cromcruach will summon four statues each positioned at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o clock. These statues will use various attacks that will be disastrous to the party if there is no player nearby. So there must be at least one player assigned to each statue and they must be dealt with quickly or it will become difficult to handle the boss’ other patterns. Destroying a statue alone may be difficult but is designed to be much easier if dealt with as a group.
Cromcruach will temporarily back off during his clone phase. Two clones will be summoned and if the clones aren’t destroyed in time they will return to Cromcruach and damage the players for 50% of their remaining health. So failing to destroy both clones in time will result in a wipe.
It is possible for Cromcrauch to use both statue and clone phases at the same time so each player must be prepared to handle their designated role when this happens.
The final stage begins when Cromcrauch has 10% of his health left. His body will ignite as he rises up in the air. At this point, the players will be barraged with various AoE attacks including ones they’ve already seen in EP2 raids. One important thing to note is that if the party wipes during this phase it will automatically fail the battle. So if you’re going to use a grace you need to do it while there’s a party member standing.
No one in the development team was able to survive through this phase without dying once but they have confidence that players will be able to fare better.
There will be lv 70 and 80 gear for EP4 as usual but since there aren’t any normal battles, mats for lv 70 gear will also be obtained from raids.
Lv 80 gear will resemble the volcanic environment and monsters of EP4
Lv 70 gear on the other hand will resemble the armor of Ulchas
New gear for EP4 will have strong DEF but lack in other stats. Weapons will be centered around ATK and balance.
The mats for each gear will be dispersed evenly throughout all four raidbattles so you’ll need to run all four to gather the required mats.
While there aren’t any cloth armor set, the lightest set added being light, the sets are designed so that the players won’t need a cloth set.
They’re working on frame issues and currently finishing work with Cromcrauch battle which was causing the most problems with frame drops. They wanted the last battle for S2 to be special and designed the battle to be staged above a magma river.
Although not planned for EP4 update, they’re working on a maximization patch for hosts and currently succeeded in test running a multi-core PC to work with 60 frames which usually performed at 20 frames. Though it will not be included in the patch for this month, it is expected to be ready for the patch after.
Personal memories from the developers while creating EP4 include;
-Testing the druid battle with a Karok and getting killed by a lavabomb in the middle of a boss clash.
-Since the force of the directional pull with the chainhooks in the Lavaset battle depend on the number of players positioned on the same side of the boss, the dev team experienced an instant where the number of chainhooks connected to each opposing side was equal and the whole party was dragged along with Lavasat’s direction not hindered at all.
-The lv80 gear was originally planned to have the same design fitted to each character but the illustrator couldn’t think of anything for female armor sets with the same concept and thus worked on a design which would resemble a dark knight.
PvP balance is still a work-in-progress but it was mentioned that they’ve moved away from balancing around a team concept and started to attempt balancing out each character with each other. Implementing the juggling system in PvP is also being considered since the current PvP pattern is basically confronation-attack-down-getting up and repeat.
The new director personally designated a developer to finally fix… this…..
But no ETA is available yet.
TIG Interview article
INVEN Interview article