I just wanna ask - what would an interesting boss fight be to all of you people who ask for "better boss fights"? I love the svanir shaman fight, I don't exploit it though. I love the grawl fractal endboss, I think the entire colossus fractal is great. WTH do you people want???
There are a few core design problems with a lot of the bosses in the game. I'm gonna try to as clearly as I can put into words what I feel is currently wrong with a lot of these encounters.
1. Pacing. This is one of the biggest issues right now and I personally feel this is one of ArenaNets biggest weaknesses when it comes to the overall game design. If a boss does not require any meaningful coordination or strategy it CAN NOT take 15 minutes to finish the fight. Chopping at a HP tree for 15 minutes without any other meaningful interaction going on is not okay. These encounters (I'm looking at you Jellyfish/Norn Shaman/Moss Man/Roothunger and so on and so forth) are gear checks to see if you have the neccesery agony. The fights themselves are way to long and the length can not be justified by any meaningful game mechanic that would make the fight interesting.
2.Risk/Reward. This one sorta goes hand in hand with above paragraph. There needs to be a greater risk, and a greater reward in all boss encounters in the entire game. Let me explain, I don't mean we need better loot. I mean that the fights needs to have serious consequences for messing up, such as failing a boss fight X amounts of times needs to kick you out of the dungeon and force you to start over. There absolutely has to be a sense of urgency, a sense of real risk. Graveyard rushing is a lame ass tactic that should never have been allowed into the game because it significantly trivializes the risks and thus it significantly trivializes the content. Remember DoA? Remember UW? Remember FoW? You had to pay money to go in, and if you wiped you had to start over as well as lose the money.
Likewise performing well as a group needs to be rewarded, you need to be able to tackle and complete an encounter faster with a great group, if your group is only decent then it should be punished by having the fight drag on. A fight dragging on should be a sign of your group not performing as well as it should.
3. Increase the difficulty, A LOT. No ArenaNet, I did not say give the boss a bigger HP pool. Dear lord, it's like this is the only way they can possibly conceive of when trying to make a hard encounter. Remember when DoA was introduced and it took like 3 months before the first guilds managed to defeat Mallyx? Yea sure that fight took a while, but it sure as hell wasn't meaningless combat. You needed to perform incredibly specific tasks at the right times, coordinate your team in the right ways with the right builds executed correctly to beat this guy. Yea the fight took a while, but it consisted of much much more then hacking away at a enormous HP bar. The fight had pacing, and the length of the battle was justified by the mechanics as well as the skill needed by the players to complete the fight.
4. Rewards. Yes, now I am talking about loot. Seriously, make the final dungeon bosses have small, but attainable, chance to drop a precursor. Lets get those prices down to a acceptable level and lets give players some incentive to run these dungeons after they've gotten the dungeon armor they want.
5. Mechanics. Lets face it, a lot of the mechanics of the boss fights are not that interesting. Most of them do not encourage the players to take on a particular role, most of them do not encourage the player to coordinate in any meaningful way and it does not encourage them to preper or strategies before hand.
Lieutenant Kholer is a example of a good boss fight that takes too long. Imagine if it took 5 minutes for a great group to get him down instead of the 10-15 minutes it currently takes a awesome group to get him down. Imagine that he did the same things he do now, only slightly more frequently. Imagine that if you wiped at him 3 times in a row you had to restart the entire dungeon. And imagine he had a chance to drop a skin that only he drops in the entire game. I would now consider this a totally good Boss encounter.
Of course I don't want all of them to be the same. Give us some variation, give us some tiered fights with multiple ways to complete it. Give us a bundle that grants buffs that allow a boss to be damaged and have one person fulfill a role during that fight, like the hammer in the cliffside fractal (the hammer is a great mechanic, the fractal however lacks pacing and drags on for far too long.) Have another person fulfill another role, perhaps that of distracting the boss in some sort of golem suit. And if he doesn't do it well the Boss can easily wipe the entire team. All in all the fight could take no more then 5 minutes if executed correctly.
Hey I'm not a game designer, I'm just coming up with random shit here. But please, force us to communicate, force us to strategies, force us to put our heads together and coordinate in a meaningful way.
This is what I want.