SC2 Boss Fights Beat Diablo 3 Boss Fights?

A fan posted his love of the StarCraft2:HotS boss battles and wondered why Diablo III boss fights didn’t take the same approach. Quote:

Just finished a mission called ‘Supreme’. In the game, on Hard mode, I’ve had 5 epic boss fights (no spoilers) against awesome, varied and mechanical bosses that really made me appreciate just how good this sort of stuff could be. And it made me think of Diablo…in a bad way. One of the things that I disliked about the game was just how samey and unoriginal the bosses were mechanically.

Blizzard – why didn’t you get *these* guys to work on D3?
Grimiku: We love some of our boss fights (like Belial, Butcher, and Diablo), but agree that some of them could be better. We’re certainly interested in hearing feedback about what you think could make a boss fight more fun, and would like to hear any examples you may have. The more specific, the better. The examples can come from any game, but if you’re referencing HOTS, then please try to avoid sharing any spoilers, if you can.

It’s worth noting that opinions are probably going to vary quite a bit on this. Some players may like the idea of needing to tether a charging boss to a heavy object to slow him down, (even if the strength of those tethers scaled with a hero’s power) while other players may find the mechanic a frustrating chore after a few times.

Something else to consider while offering suggestions is that different games are going to have different limitations when it comes to bosses. For example in Diablo III, the encounters have to work with heroes that have different skills and power levels. I bring this up because not every game has to consider this, and designers can tune a boss knowing exactly what a player’s damage output, skill selection, and health pool is going to be.

Happily, you need not actually buy or play SC2:HotS to see said boss fights, as there are playthroughs galore on YouTube, showing the entire game. All the visual action; 100% less clicking!

Belial: the best designed boss fight in Diablo 3?

Belial: the best designed boss fight in Diablo 3?

I watched a few vids and saw some boss fights and honestly… not that impressed. The bosses do have some abilities that require changes in playing tactics, but the don’t seem exactly chess-like, in terms of the skill and precision required to counter them, and others in the forum thread agree with that observation.

The “boss battles” in “Supreme” mission are just watered down versions of boss battles in D3. So to say “this is how they should do it in D3” is bizarre.

One battle consists of a dude who puts red circles on the ground that you don’t want to stand in, and then he lays eggs which spawn adds if they’re not killed quickly. Rinse, repeat. Sometimes he does a diablo-esque beam attack that kills you quickly if you stand in it.

Next guy has a charge attack that knocks units back/up, and which summons adds. He also spits acid.

Next guy lumbers around and summons dozens of adds which act like very slow acting, slow moving land mines. Imagine the act 3 banelings, if they moved very slowly and stopped for several seconds before blowing up.

Last guy is basically a watered down version of belial– giant, stationary, and he makes portions of his platform red, several secords before an AoE attack hits those spots. occasionally he does a very wide, very damaging lightning breath that you need to stay out of.

For an RTS, these are very well crafted, but they’re primitive even compared to D3. I mean they’re literally watered down versions of already existing encounters like Belial and Skeleton King. More likely than not, these encounters were lifted from D3 and/or World of Warcraft.

All that said… there are some great and some not so great boss battles in Diablo 3… let’s hope the devs learned from what worked and what didn’t as they create the boss fights in D3X, and beyond.

Tagged As: | Categories: Blue Posts, Bosses, Ex-Blizzard, Starcraft 2


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  1. I guess élite packs give you more trouble than some bosses. Take for instance Cydaea, Azmodan, etc. All you have to do is to stay put and fire away. Luckily in seconds the bugger is dead. End of. Sadly enough, the challenge is as disappointing as the reward. Diablo II was much better in that respect.

    I do hope they work on the game, it needs changes.

    • “All you have to do is to stay put and fire away. Luckily in seconds the bugger is dead.”

      That is true for d2 as well. I agree that the rewards are much greater in d2( In fact so rewarding that doing anything else was a waste of time) But do you really want good rewards for something that is utterly boring?

      If Blizzard increases the rewards for completing random quest and events, fix monster density in act 1,2,4 (already planed), and maybe tune up drop rate for bosses by a few steps, you can practically do anything in the game and get roughly the same reward.

      At least that is better than skipping 95% of the content, spam your skills for 5 seconds, and collect your reward. Only to repeat the same procedure for 10 games in a row.

      • Well, they could also add bonus experience points, increase the drop rate, etc. if you were, for instance, to kill of the monsters per level, or resurrect your team mates and so forth. That would prevent people from just wanting to kill the bosses. There are so many things that can be done to spice the game up. What are they waiting for, the expansion? Let’s hope they overhaul the game before that.

  2. Oh yes, Flux brown-nosing. What else is new?

    Outside of Belial and, perhaps, the butcher, D3’s boss mechanics are years behind its time. I cannot begin to proper impress upon you my disappointment when I first downed Diablo.

    SC2’s boss mechanic, especially being a RTS, far surpasses D3’s, with Belial being the only marked exception. If you cannot see this, you probably got a bit of that fanboy glare in your eyes.


      I haven’t had this reaction to comments here as often of late, but this one…

      I’m curious though. Who am I brown-nosing to? I said the SC2 boss fights weren’t very impressive and quoted someone else who agreed, and I said the d3 boss fights had pros and cons and hoped the devs would improve them in d3x. I can’t see anyone but the most ardent hater or fanboy disagreeing with any of that?

      If anything, I’d criticize this post for being bland and not really expressing an opinion or making an argument either way.

      • Actually, every single one of your “news feeds” are contrary to public opinion. Always some poorly formulated reasoning to excuse Blizzard for there shortcoming.

        Favoring one poster who considers SC2 mechanic inadequate to D3s, whereas thousands of others believe otherwise, is surely an unbiased presentation on your part. Yes?

        The fact that you are seeking to redeem D3’s failure with a supposed inadequacy on a RTS boss fight, of an entirely different nature, shows your blind fanboy-ism.

        Now run along. It’s not your first biased article and won’t be your last.

  3. Whilst playing brutal difficulty…

    I’m sorry, but \the last guy\ makes Belial look like a bitch, not the other way around. It’s very similar in mechanics but there’s much less space to execute attacks and dodge AOE, and most notably, you have to deal with 2 varieties of mob packs through a majority of the fight (1 of which has mobs that can deal massive damage if you make even a slight mistake.)

    Impressions based on 1 play-through? Yep. Way more intensity and fun than most D3’s bosses on their first play-through? Yep. Hell, even TL2 has champions that put the D3 act bosses to shame (e.g. Grom the Murderer is like the Skeleton King on crack.)

    D3 needs more epic.

  4. And both D3 and SC2 pale in comparison to WoW’s hard modes, especially early hard modes like Ulduar. Although SC2’s mechanics are pretty kewl for an RTS. A lot less ball of death than before, even for the zerg (although cliff hopping banelings are patently ridiculous).

    • This, except throwing in a vote for C’thun on 40-man. Ulduar certainly had atmosphere, but (and I quit near the end of Icecrown, so I can’t comment after that) the earlier massive stuff had far more interesting executions than any of the paltry crap D3 or SC2 have thrown out.

      Sorry, but this one time I’ll argue that WoW did it first, and did it best. All the fights in D3 have to be watered down to dull because you can’t balance them around anything in particular. That will always be D3’s failing, and it can’t be overcome without enforcing class setups or something that defeats the whole point of customizability.

  5. When I fought Blood Raven on D2 for the first time ever, I nearly soiled my pants. She was already strong enough but the zombies/archers that helps her really pushes me to the limit.

    If I am correct, there isn’t a boss fight in D3 where the boss has a lot of minions around him/her, no? The Skeleton King summons weak skeletons but I am talking about hordes of bodyguards that are present with the boss from the start. I guess I kinda miss those fights.

    I hope that things change in the xpac. More bosses roaming around the world. Not just your fancy-shmancy elites, but actual bosses at the end of a specific dungeon that you need to kill before you get that shimmering chest. Man, that would be sweet.

  6. What do RTS boss mecahnics have to do with H&S boss mechanics? I don’t understand. D3 (act) bosses are fine, and if they want to make them more complex, the expansions are early enough for that.

    • That level was a designed a little RPG style map that felt like a H&S. You basically controlled one (or few) unis and had to use skills and run around like you would in D3.

  7. The last boss of that level really does scream Belial with a few extra mechanics. Imagine Belial’s final form with adds and he smashs 6 areas of the platform in a single attack, rough stuff there.

    I don’t agree with the quoted person on the rest. I don’t see any parallels of the other bosses to D3 bosses. Sure maybe that one summons adds and so does the Skeleton king but the similarities end there. If you start saying something is direct port of D3 because they share a singular aspect well then everything in D3 is direct port of Super Mario since Diablo shoots fireballs just like Bowser!

    Mechanics wise the fights were pretty simple, but had a lot more going on then any of the D3 bosses since you couldn’t just ignore the attacks, you had to react. I wouldn’t say ‘intense’ but for the most part they required a lot more focus then most of the D3 bosses.

  8. I disagree. While im yet to see the boses in hots d3 bosses are surely not boring and far more complex then d2.Yes they got trivial due to being overgeared more so then in d2 but thats another thing but as for challange you got those ubers with high mp…
    finally if you want boring boss fights try PoE.

  9. My first time through inferno back in May my DH was a 1-shot against Butcher/Belial. That was exciting.

  10. The whole point of d3 is to gear and play at a level that is ‘farm.’ You are trying to trivialize everything. Duh, they are boring when you make them trivial!

    The bosses of d3 as you play on normal are plenty interesting in self found gear (no hellfire!!! No gems!!). These comments oin d3 bosses after 10 months of farming are pretty much irrelevant.

  11. Belial boss fight was great. However the rest were pretty average. Played through HOTS on Normal and Hard, can definitely say of the few boss fights there are, they are much better than the D3 ones.

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