Friday Dev Update: Bosses

2:28 PM John Gamble 12 Comments

I have a motto that I believe, if followed, makes for an awesome game: 

"Chock it full of secrets and bosses."

In the earliest stage of Salt development -- in fact, even before the idea of Salt existed and all we knew was that we were making a game -- we had this motto. I remember writing those words down on the corner of the brainstorm paper. In this post, I will discuss the importance of bosses in Salt.

Why have bosses in Salt?

A game without any bosses is like a movie without an antagonist -- it's just not as epic. Bosses are catalysts for adventure because they spark emotion. Before they are defeated, they cause fear, excitement, and a sense of scale. After being defeated, they provide a feeling of accomplishment and power.

Some of my most memorable game moments involved boss fights. In Everquest, there was an icy dungeon called Permafrost. Deep within its mazy depths, past tons of incredibly strong enemies and deadly traps, lived an unbelievably powerful dragon. I remember the feeling this dungeon gave me when fighting there early in the game. It was a feeling that emanated from the knowledge that deep down those twisty corridors, too close for comfort, lies a beast that could kill me in seconds -- a beast that would take tens of the highest level, best equipped, and most highly coordinated adventurers to defeat. It made me feel small in a huge world.

Feeling small in a huge world may sound like a bad thing at first, but it is absolutely necessary in a game designed to give you an adventure that you will never forget. If the sky is no higher than your head, what room is there to rise up into the clouds and enjoy a view that, before, you could only imagine?

Salt is often described as relaxing and gentle. However, in its darkest corners, I want there to lie danger and challenge of incredible proportions. There are already a number of bosses in the game that can be found or unlocked. There will be many more to come, each with reward to match the challenge they present. 

Later in my Everquest days, when I had worked long to level up to the maximum level and equip myself with hard-earned gear, I teamed up with a group of similarly battle-hardened adventures to challenge the dragon at the heart of Permafrost. As we fought our way to the back, we passed other young adventurers, much like I once was. We made our way to the dragon's lair, and after a long and tough battle, we defeated her. It is a moment in a game that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

I want Salt players to feel small in a world that is so much greater than themselves. Then I want them to rise up and defeat the challenges in the world that they once thought impossible, and to etch that feeling of great accomplishment into their very being so that it will stick with them for the rest of their lives.


- John Gamble (Lead Developer)

12 comments:

  1. Another great idea. I hope their is an aura of mystery around the new bosses. Like maybe hints dropped by pirates, or in chests. But, no clear info just clues to put together.

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    1. Yes! Lore books, journals, and other writings would work well to build up the mystery surrounding bosses. Rumors, sightings, and legends.

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  2. I love your work so far and can't wait to find my own secrets and adventures!

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    1. Thanks so much! I wish you all the best in your adventures, my friend.

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  3. Bosses are good, but if I don't want to devote my life to defeating them, I hope there are parallel quests that don't involve them. BTW. I have clocked in over 200 hours in the game. Love it!

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    1. That's a very good point. There are multiple play-styles within Salt. Some like combat while others enjoy the more relaxing aspects like just sailing around, fishing, etc. I don't want to force one particular play-style on anyone. There are other things that could be thought of as bosses that are not necessarily combat related. A special fish that you have to learn about and be really strategic in order to catch could be considered a fishing boss. A hard-to-find island that you read rumors about in journals could be considered an exploration boss. I want to make a lot of bosses like this as well so that there are many ways of completing epic tasks and feeling awesome about yourself. That is a ton of hours! I'm so glad you're enjoying it so much!

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  4. Bosses are good, but if I don't want to devote my life to defeating them, I hope there are parallel quests that don't involve them. BTW. I have clocked in over 200 hours in the game. Love it!

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  5. I cant find the words to describe how EPIC was my encounter with the red-eyes-oh my god that's huge- golem boss. I got the same feelings and shivers I used to have long time ago in the old good games.
    It was exciting from the moment I placed the heart on the altar to the last arrow I shooted on him. I held back the post-achievement loud shout only because it was late at night.
    You got the point: Uniqueness, danger, mystery and sense of discovery.

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