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CarribeanThunder 07-24-2013 08:33 AM

Boss Battle... "Boss" Battle...
I'm sure some of you have read a few of my other rant threads. This is another of those.
This time, I just have to say...

Why is the Boss Battle so easy?

In the old days, there was challenge in that Boss Battle. It was difficult to get through, even with a good group.
And that was when the Notoriety level cap was 40 and the weapon caps were 25.
Let's analyze the sections of the Boss Battle, shall we?

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Opening Cutscene
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~
It's a nice cutscene. I like it.
But can't they make the Goliath in the cutscene have her broadside cannons visible? Is it that difficult?
And the Goliath is in motion, too. Why are her sails up?

Another thing that sometimes occurs is that the audio isn't in proper synch with the actual cinematic itself.

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Navy Officers
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Not much to say here.

Huh. Four officers?
Come on, is that all that's there guarding the Pearl on board?
Yeah yeah, I know what you're saying - "gotta keep it moderate for the players."
But no. That won't slide with me. If they removed servers TWICE for the sole purpose of bringing us "together," then they've got to expect that people are going to group up for the Boss Battle. So four Officers just won't cut it.

That's already one point of easy difficulty there.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~
Navy Panthers
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Really? Panthers? Not even at least a Centurion? I know two pairs of Dreadnoughts or Man-O-Wars just wouldn't fit side-by-side through the channel, but seriously, why just Panthers?

It's always been Panthers though, so I'll let that slide. For the most part. But it's always bugged me anyway.

Also, there's apparently a bug where if you shoot the forts during this stage of the Boss Battle, once the Panthers are defeated, the game will not move on to the next stage. If this is true, then...
Seriously? How does something like this go awry? Although it wouldn't be the first bug with the most insane trigger possible.

Still, I know it's a bug, and bugs will always crawl their way into anything. But you'd think that they'd make sure that shooting the forts during this stage wouldn't mess anything up.

But nope, they messed that up.

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The Forts
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Now this is probably the hardest part of the entire boss battle.

But that isn't saying much. It's still easy. Just flying right by the Firebrand forts adds a bit more difficulty, basically allowing them to fire on you from behind as you work on the final pair of forts. But I still don't think it's as difficult as it used to be. With a full group, by this point, you'll probably only have lost a sliver of health, if even that.

In comparison, in the old days, maybe that would have gotten you down to yellow health, or even less.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~
The Goliath
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~
Or... Just Goliath, as she's titled in game.

Seriously? In the cutscene, she's clearly addressed as *THE* Goliath, and in the old days, her name was The Goliath. Was it that big a demand to change it to simply Goliath? I mean, she's an official ship guarding the Black Pearl, and now she sounds a bit more like a generic enemy ship. Why'd they rename her? That just ruins the feel for me. The Goliath makes me feel like I'm up against something important. But just seeing Goliath kills that. Although seeing Lv40 The Goliath down below slightly makes up for it.
But if she's gonna be named Goliath, why not add a second Navy Goliath that appears from the right of the Pearl as well?

In the old days, she used to be a massive War Frigate, about the size of today's Ship of the Line. And believe me, she was no push over. And she was a beauty. She was marvelous.
But then she evolved to a Ship of the Line. Oh goodness, no...
A Ship of the Line? Not a War Frigate, but a Ship of the Line? Man, no wonder why the rest of the Boss Battle was easy. This is what it's all been building up to.
No. Not by a long shot. Despite being upgraded to a Ship of the Line, she's easier to sink than the Queen Anne's Revenge. She's easier to sink than her War Frigate counterpart who now sails the seas in limbo in another POTCO dimension unknown to us. Thankfully, she does pump out a little more damage than the Queen Anne's Revenge.
But still, what happened to the high durability that Ships of the Line are supposed to have? I know her ship type isn't officially a Ship of the Line, but she sure looks like one, so why can't she feel like one? I think I've once sunk her within two seconds of the fight starting.
Two second final boss. Yeah.
And that's all that's guarding the Black Pearl. There may as well be a second Goliath hanging around.

Oh, but then they'd need to edit the opening cutscene. And the Goliath Intro cutscene. And we all know how that would probably go.

Speaking of the Goliath Intro cutscene, that's probably the finest cutscene in the game, if you ask me.
That is, if it weren't for the fact that shooting during the cutscene caused the game to lag.
(Although if that's been fixed, please tell me - I've not gotten the chance to try it though, and I don't know if it referred to broadsides or cannons)

What's probably more disappointing is that you're forced to do this with a group. You can't just enter it on your own. Why is this necessary? This just makes it even easier to complete.

Even worse, there are other ships that are more difficult than her. By a lot.
First is of course, the Queen Anne's Revenge. She has much more durability. Although I don't think she deals as much damage. But she has two attributes that the Goliath lacks, and I don't see why.
She can fire for great distances. Not only that, but each cannon fires two shots instead of one. Not including Broadsides.
You'd think that in order to guard the Black Pearl, the Navy would hire spectacular gunners for the Goliath. But of course not.
And what's worse? You can fight the QAR alone. At any level. You don't need a crew to get to her and start shooting her. Sure, if you want to completely deal with her, you absolutely need to be a bit high level and perhaps have a crew. But still. It's a difficult ship that's easy to reach.
The Goliath is easy and requires a crew. Where's the sense?

Next are the Bountyhunters. They're easy to run into given a long enough sailing run. And they hurt more than the Queen Anne's Revenge. And they'll never stop coming until you land your ship.
And they'll start to spawn when... Oh, I forget if it's a specific Sailing level or a specific Notoriety level. But if it's a Sailing level, it's Lv5, I do believe.
But again, no crew required to reach them.

And finally, we have the Navy and EITC Treasure Fleets. The strongest enemy ships in the entire game. And they have probably the best ship AI in the game as well, in my opinion.
They are high level. They are powerful. They're in a nice group. The Navy can do that to protect cargo, but not a supposedly dangerous ship known as the Black Pearl? They must not have cared much then...
Anyway, the Fleets have a few deadly attributes. First, they share the same long-range cannonfire as the QAR (although they were the first to have that sort of range as an enemy ship). But they too have that double-shot, where each cannon fires two cannonballs instead of one.
Add that to their high levels (Lv69-71 for the escort War Frigates and Lv79-81 for the Ship of the Line herself) and you've got a true boss fight going on. It's very difficult to solo one of these, too.
Not like the Goliath.
But the Fleets have one final attribute that the QAR does not have - taking down their sails is near worthless and a waste of ammo. Why?
They can sail without them. Sure, the Bountyhunters can do that too. But not in the same way.
First, taking down a Fleet ship's sails DOES slow them down as it normally would. But what happens when there are no more sails to take down?
The ship will remain immobilized. But not for long, as given a few seconds, they'll begin to move on like nothing ever happened to their pretty colors. The Bountyhunters, like I said, can move without their sails, but they don't move at normal pace. They actually are affected by the loss of their sails. Fleet ships just forget about it after a short while.

So why do I mention this?
Because I honestly don't see why the Goliath doesn't have any of the main three attributes of the special ships. The fight occurs in a massive ocean with nothing in sight. It's not hard to just sail far away, take down her sails and just leave her to rot.
Personally, I would make it so she has ability to fire for long distances, ability to fire two shots per cannon, and ability to move without her sails.
And some explosives. She never had explosives in the history of the game. I don't know why some people think she does. But I honestly think she should have some Explosives, if just for her broadsides. You'd have more than enough health to withstand it anyway.
And besides, with as large an ocean as it is, why does she not have any of those abilities in the first place? It helps the Fleets very well in defending whatever treasure they possess.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~
Boss Battle is a joke. Needs to be easier. Goliath is pathetic. Non-boss ships are more difficult. Has several flaws.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~
And that's it for this little rant. Yes, I realized I nitpicked on a lot of small bits and pieces here and there. But to me, those little bits are a huge nuisance. I know coding is a difficult thing (especially with such a minute team of devs... err-hem...), but seriously, I question how some of these things are missed. And there are lots of other bugs I can think of that I should question, whether it's currently still a bug, or was a bug in the game's history. But uh, maybe I'll save that for another time...

And yes, I realize this is a massive post. I applaud you if you actually read the whole thing.

Platinum Pirate 07-24-2013 12:04 PM

That was a mouthful or word-full to read. But insightful nonetheless.

There's no question that doing the Boss Battle is nothing like the way it was back in the day. Somehow, with all the new stuff they added into the game, you would think this important feature would truly be in sync with the new stuff.

Most notably is the hull panel on the Black Pearl. If I followed it right, they only work at the very beginning when the Light Frigates show up. But as soon as those Panthers are sunk, the hull panels are disabled and those towers damage the ship's health like in the good old days.

That's wacky. I agree with you that Centurions should be there since they would have more firepower while the hull panels are doing their fair share of protecting the Pearl. Would seem more balanced to me. Or better yet, like they've done with enemy crews on flagships, based on the Notoriety of the pirates, the Navy would spawn the appropriate levels and types of the Navy frigate class. Not hard to show the appropriate cut scene leading up to the battle either.

Then, the hull panel should remain enabled and the towers should function much like those Navy ships. Their strength is based on the makeup of the crew's notoriety. This pattern should continue when meeting the mighty Goliath whose own strength is determined by the makeup of the crew's notoriety. Her broadsides and cannoneers would rival any ship known in the game. That's for sure.

And thus, making it a real Boss Battle worth doing again.

CarribeanThunder 07-24-2013 11:07 PM

I agree with all of that. Although in my opinion, I'd think they'd have to do a bit of editing with the island's geometry to make it look possible for a pair of War Frigates to be able to sail through the channel side-by-side without scraping the edges of the rocks anyway. 'Cause then that'd be a waste of four Dreadnoughts.

But then, they seemingly have enough wood to rebuild them anyway.

Having the entire thing's difficulty-per-section be determined by the average notoriety level of the crew on the Pearl would probably be one of the best, if not the best, solution indeed.

One thing I forgot to bring up about the Goliath though - does she really have 18 guns? I would assume the Navy Officers in the opening cutscene mean per-side, which would make more sense than overall. But it doesn't seem right to me.

Despite what the cutscene may suggest, she doesn't have 18 guns, but instead 16. 9 broadside cannons and 7 Deck cannons. Real shame that they messed that one up, too.

I think even in the old days, though, the Goliath may have been two cannons short. Odd, that. But oh well.

Platinum Pirate 07-25-2013 12:24 AM

Wouldn't it make more sense to show them 18 guns on a ship that authentically looks like an English Man-O-War? The Goliath needs and deserves to look as one beauty of a ship much like the QAR itself.

Tiberius Fireskull 07-25-2013 06:49 AM

Well stated points, CT, as always!

As far as I know, the cutscene's dialogue has been out of sync for years. And aye, I agree. They should make (The) Goliath a lot more intimidating in the cutscene. A few closeup shots to emphasize her 18 guns and tall masts would be quite intimidating...

In my opinion, the most effective way to deal with the difficulty problems is by allowing players to choose the level of difficulty that they play at. For instance, there could be four difficulty levels: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Insane (or perhaps with more piratey names: Swabby, Buccaneer, Captain, and Admiral). The differences in difficulty could look something like this:

Swabby: About four to six navy officers, all are around or slightly lower than the average level of the crew. Navy Panthers surround the ship in the next phase, which do damage as they do now. The forts only fire round shots. The Goliath has strength somewhere between a Man-O-War and a Dreadnought. Overall, this difficulty would be soloable by someone of a reasonable level.

Buccaneer: About five to seven navy officers appear, with their levels varying within one or two levels of the average of the crew. The ship is surrounded by Navy Centurions, which do slightly more damage than the Navy Panthers. The forts shoot round shots and cannons as they do now (but pack slightly more punch). The Goliath's strength is about that of a Dreadnought with heavier armor and more cannon range. More or less, this difficulty level is designed for a good soloist or a small crew.

Captain: About six to eight navy officers appear, with their levels being one to four levels higher than the players'. The ship is surrounded by Man-O-Wars (strength being increased accordingly). The forts all shoot firebrand shots. The Goliath's strength matches that of a Navy Elite. This difficulty is designed for moderately sized crews, and would be very difficult to solo.

Admiral: Eight to ten navy officers appear, with their levels up to six higher than the players'. The ship is surrounded by Navy Dreadnoughts. The forts shoot either firebrand or explosive shots. The Goliath has the strength of a Fleet Ship of the Line. This difficulty is designed to require a skilled and sizable crew. Almost impossible to solo.

If you are doing the Boss Battle for completion (i.e., the story quest), you must do it on normal difficulty. Thus, the boss battle is challenging enough to possibly take more than one try, and you can challenge yourself to do it again. It could be made so that even the best crew would struggle with Admiral difficulty (and maybe a special reward for clearing it). Perhaps there could even be a higher difficulty reserved only for level 50s that brings the challenge to a new level.

Anywho, that's my suggestion... I've always felt that that would improve the boss battle ten-fold.

CarribeanThunder 07-25-2013 10:15 AM


Originally Posted by Platinum Pirate (Post 379766)
Wouldn't it make more sense to show them 18 guns on a ship that authentically looks like an English Man-O-War? The Goliath needs and deserves to look as one beauty of a ship much like the QAR itself.

Perhaps. But in all honesty, I just want them to get it right and not be two cannons short.
And yeah, I really think the hull design shouldn't look just like any of the other Navy Ships of the Line. It actually does have minor differences, but that's about it. It needs more beauty though, more uniqueness. Something to make it shine.


Originally Posted by Tiberius Fireskull (Post 379767)

Yep, this would work as well. Being able to choose difficulty levels would be cool as well. Although since Flagships in the game actually work with the system that Platinum Pirate had (where the enemy levels take into consideration player levels [sometimes]), I'd think that would work more.

It's not like this game has any other places where you choose your difficulty, anyway. The game has its ways of choosing it for you. And for the most part, it's fair.

Your suggestion, I have to say, reminds me a lot of Payday: The Heist's difficulty system. You've got the main four difficulties, Easy, Normal, Hard and Overkill, and then for those who are level 145 and above, you get the hardest difficulty, Overkill 145+.

Platinum Pirate 07-25-2013 01:45 PM

lol I'd like to see more than 18 guns on such a ship to tell you the truth. POTCO did a good job with the way they designed the EITC and Navy Fleets. It would be fitting to see a new Goliath leading the charge to stop us pirates from escaping with the Pearl. The Fleet can be comprised of Dreadnoughts and Kingfishers no matter what the makeup of the crew is. Only their firepower will be determined by it which I forgot to mention also includes their level of experience. That's how they have it running anyway. Color code is obvious to the player but for the NPC, it is programmed to attack the pirate based on the Notoriety and Experience altogether. We can see that happening for BB as well from beginning to end. I honestly want to see more enemies. Too little for me... ;)

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