TLWR: Adding extra attack moves for each boss can make the encounters more varied and interesting, especially for fighting them a 2nd time.
My friend and I just defeated Moder a couple of days ago and like always, I was taken in by the whole experience that the devs crafted – with the design of the bosses, the soundtracks, and all the effects, each boss fight was an awesome and distinct experience from the rest of the game.
It's also nice having the option to re-summon each boss and fight them again to sort of relive the experience, but something becomes quickly apparent even within the first boss fight: their movesets aren't very extensive. For example, The Elder only has 3 attacks, and Moder 4. With movesets this limited, fighting the boss a 2nd or 3rd time can get stale very fast, and I think this is an area of the game that could be made more interesting and re-playable.
My proposal involves adding more attacks to each boss, ideally enough that they can have distinct 'playstyles' to switch between fights, or even mid-fight depending on the player's behaviour (mild spoilers for boss attacks ahead).
As an example, let's take the Elder. Right now, he has 3 attacks:
- Stomp (melee AoE)
- Vine machinegun (ranged and mainly directed at the player)
- Summon Roots (kind of both – summons at range, root attacks are melee)
Each one has a pretty obvious use case, and has a sort of unique 'shape' that calls for the player to react differently. The only issue is that there's just 3 of them. But what if we add just a few more:
- A wide melee Sweep attack in front of the Elder that has a large knockback and can be dodged by jumping;
- An overhead Smash, longer range than the Stomp but also easy to sidestep;
- An artillery-style bombardment of large seeds fired from the Elder's shoulders that does damage and spawns either saplings or tree stumps;
- A 'summoning' but instead of summoning roots, the Elder grows all nearby saplings/stumps into fully-grown trees. These trees might spawn with low hp so that, the next time the Elder hits a tree, it causes a cascade of trees falling down on and around the player.
Each of these forces a different reaction from the player: jumping to dodge, looking out above, and possibly chopping down saplings/tree stumps. Not only that, but we have enough moves now to have at least 2 distinct 'styles' that the Elder can prefer: a melee style and a ranged style. Maybe resummoning the Elder can trigger a different style, or perhaps the Elder can switch mid-fight depending on what the player's doing (e.g. doing mostly damage with arrows will cause the Elder to aggressively close in on the player[s]). Even if the overall difficulty remains the same, having more varied attacks can cause the player to be more vigilant and avoid the sort of 'autopilot' that can happen with longer bossfights.
If this all sounds too complicated, then perhaps the extra attacks can be left to 2nd+ boss encounters (i.e. fighting a boss for the 2nd time). That could also leave some surprises in store when you want to show off to a friend or something. Either way, I think adding more attacks to each boss fight can make them a lot more interesting.
What do you guys think? What other attacks can the other bosses have to enlarge their "epicness"?