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[CG] Brittani

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DEFENDERS,

It’s finally here! The Lycan’s Keep Update is live on PC/Steam and Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch (as of August 24th, 2021). We’ve been testing, revising, retesting, and re-revising this update for a couple of months. Now, we can’t wait for all Defenders to experience the big (and small) changes to Etheria.

We don’t want to keep you in the intro too long, so get scrolling! Read about all the goodies (and new baddies) included in The Lycan’s Keep Update.

TWO-WEEK EPISODE 1 LOGIN REWARD!

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First thing’s first, to celebrate the launch of The Lycan’s Keep Update and DDA on Nintendo Switch on the same day, Defenders who log in to the game will be rewarded with this fancy Royal Shroomy Hat. This login event will only last for two weeks, so go go go!

Since this is a login reward for the new update, Nintendo Switch Defenders will have two weeks from the release of the update on that console to earn that reward. Don’t worry; we wouldn’t let anyone miss out on the Shroomy hat fun.

New DLC - Supporter Packs

You asked, and we’re delivering, introducing our purchasable Supporter Packs! Have you always wished to look like a Gator while defending the Crystal? Well, us either, but now we can’t think of a better way to scare the baddies. You can grab the full Gator Gear Weapons and Accessories set for $9.99 USD. You’ll also find the Chromatic Costume set and DD1 Original Hero Paper Masks set for $4.99 USD. We can’t wait to see you all in your new gear!

Gator Gear Weapons and Accessories

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Chromatic Costumes

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Original Hero Paper Masks

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New Heroes

This update introduces two new defendin’ heroes to Etheria - The Warden and The Rogue! On top of the new heroes, we made some changes to the Hero Deck, including expanding it and making the active hero incentives stronger.

The Warden

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A guardian of the forest that was banished to the realm our heroes find themselves in, The Warden joins our roster to help push back the evils that stand in your way with plant-like defenses and a Wrath Mode to scare even the toughest enemies. In our prior surveys and roadmap voting, the Dryad from Dungeon Defenders II was one of the most requested heroes. The Warden is her spiritual successor, using the power of the forest to take down any foe that approaches.

Attacks and Abilities

Primary Attack: The Warden swings her mighty polearm like a scythe clearing a field, destroying foes that stand before you in melee range.

Secondary Attack - Sprout: The Warden calls forth a sprout that erupts from the ground, dealing low AoE damage to nearby enemies, shooting a seed a short distance away.

  • Normal Form: Picking up the seed instantly regenerates 15% of the Warden’s mana.
  • Wrath Form: The seed grants increased damage and movement speed for 5 seconds.

Ability 1 - Mushroom Circle: Beckons forth a burst of mushrooms from the desired location.

  • Normal Form: Mushrooms heal allies within the circle, while slowing enemy movement speed and reducing attack rate.
  • Wrath Form: Enemies take damage while within the circle. After 10 seconds, the mushroom circle erupts, dealing damage and stunning all enemies within the circle.

Ability 2 - Wrath Form: Calls upon the power of the forest causing the Warden to surge with energy. Wrath Form increases the strength of all her abilities and defenses while active, regardless of range.

Defenses

Defense 1 - Roots of Purity: Summons a blockade that can take a beating from enemies. Blesses the ground with the Zone of Purity around the roots that allows the Warden’s other defenses to be constructed. The Zone of Purity restores 1% HP per second to any hero within its coverage.

  • Mana Cost: 20 Build Mana
  • Defense Units: 1 DU
  • Wrath Form: The Zone of Purity becomes the Zone of Wrath, dealing damage over time to enemies within its boundaries, while also slightly reducing enemy damage.

Defense 2 - Wisp Den: Opens a portal, pulling through three wisps that focus down enemies within its range, always prioritizing high-threat targets.

  • Mana Cost: 50 Build Mana
  • Defense Units: 4 DU
  • Wrath Form: Wisps become enraged, attacking enemies for more damage.

Defense 3 - Beaming Blossom: Grows a flower that collects solar energy that then goes crazy towards enemies within its range, shooting a pure continuous beam of solar energy that deals high damage.

  • Mana Cost: 70 Build Mana
  • Defense Units: 5 DU
  • Wrath Form: The beam becomes magically empowered, piercing through enemies.

Defense 4 - Shroomy Pit: A pit appears that spawns a Shroomy, a brave mushroom warrior of the forest. Shroomies don’t have a lot going on in their heads, and as a result they do two things. Idly stand still, and as they spot an enemy, charge legs first (they’re a bit off-balance) and explode into enemies, dealing damage in a large area.

  • Mana Cost: 40 Build Mana
  • Defense Units: 5 DU
  • Wrath Form: Shroomies enter their own Wrath Form, applying a damage over time effect to enemies hit by their explosion.

Defense 5 - Sludge Launcher: Vines and logs are infused together, pulling in toxins from the ground, shooting out giant globs that explode on contact, dealing a large amount of damage to the first enemy hit and heavily coat them in sludge, lightly covering nearby enemies in sludge, slightly slowing them.

  • Mana Cost: 80 Build Mana
  • Defense Units: 7 DU
  • Wrath Form: If the Warden attacks heavily sludge covered enemies, they can be stunned for 1.5 seconds.

The Rogue

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This highly-trained elven warrior is the last remaining elite soldier from an ancient elven army, meaning he comes ready to battle enemies head on as a melee and ranged dual-wielding hero. As a combat-only defender, the Rogue is agile, dashing in and leaping out of battle as he sees fit.

A lack of defense towers does not mean the Rogue is without protection. Activating Umbral Form makes him invisible and his arsenal of devices combine to disable, enfeeble, and slow your enemies’ advances.

Attack and Primary Abilities

Weapons of Choice: Dual-wielding: Melee (Right hand) and Crossbow (Left hand)

Primary Attack - Melee Attack: The Rogue swings his equipped sword, dealing damage based on the weapon’s stats.

Secondary Attack - Ranged Attack: The Rogue fires his equipped crossbow, dealing damage based on the weapon’s stats.

Primary Ability 1 - Swift Assault: Dashes forward and deals AoE damage once reaching his destination.

  • From Umbral Form: The Rogue throws a single piercing deadly knife at an enemy, dealing massive damage to up to 3 targets.

Primary Ability 2 - Disengage: Throws a spread of daggers forward dealing AoE damage and applying Rogue’s Mark to all enemies hit during attack. The Rogue leaps backwards out of the danger, providing a gap between him and his foes.

  • From Umbral Form: Daggers deal more damage and pin enemies to the ground, immobilizing them for a short period.

Devices and Utility Abilities

Passive - Rogue’s Mark: Marks are applied to a maximum of 8 enemies while using Swift Assault, Disengage, or Primary and Secondary attacks. The Rogue can then activate debilitating Devices on Marked enemies.

Device 1 - Arcing: Snares Marked enemies with nets of lightning, disabling their attacks and abilities, as well as dealing a large amount of lightning damage.

Device 2 - Napalm: Incinerates Marked enemies, dealing a large amount of fire damage over a short time. Enemies also take increased damage from other attacks and abilities while Napalm is active.

Device 3 - Noxious: Injects Marked enemies with a highly potent toxin that slows movement and deals poison damage while Noxious is active.

Utility Ability 1 - Umbral Form: The Rogue becomes invisible for a short duration. While invisible, the agile hero has increased movement speed, damage, and empowered non-Device abilities. He cannot be targeted by enemies, but he can still take damage from their attacks if he gets within damaging range.

  • Damage: Increased by 10-50%
  • Movement Speed: Increased by 25-100%
  • Healing: up to 5% HP every 0.5 seconds
  • Duration: 5-10 seconds
  • Cooldown: 20-12 seconds

Utility Ability 2 - Carnage: The Rogue throws a flurry of deadly piercing daggers, dealing AoE damage every half a second throughout its duration. Defenders can move while this ability is activated and it can be channeled until you’re completely out of mana.

  • From Umbral Form: AoE damage radius is increased.

Hero Deck and Hero Level Changes

Hero Deck Changes

Now having four heroes is great and all, but based on prior survey results, we knew our Defenders wanted to build bigger hero decks. With the addition of the Warden and the Rogue, we knew this need would be even greater. Instead of 4 heroes in your deck, you’ll now have 6 HERO DECK SLOTS!

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A larger hero deck called for some changes to the Hero Deck Bonuses too. Defenders wanted more incentives for keeping heroes in their hero deck, so we did just that by revamping the bonuses. Check out those changes below:

New Deck Bonuses

  • XP is equally earned across all active heroes in Hero Deck.
  • Set Bonuses and Item Effects are only active in the Hero Deck.
  • Tower Damage for all heroes in the Hero Deck is increased by 20%.

Hero Level Changes

We have one more hero-related change for our Defenders. For all of you who feel reaching Level 100 wasn’t difficult enough, we’re increasing the level cap for all heroes to 105. The best items in The Lycan’s Keep update require Level 105 to equip, meaning you’ll need to conquer many foes on your journey to utilize the strongest gear available.

Pets

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New Pet - Happy Hera

  • Shoots exploding projectiles that deal damage to nearby enemies.
  • Restores HP for each enemy hit while attacking.

New Pet - Raging Zeus

  • Shoots exploding projectiles that deal damage to nearby enemies.
  • Chance to stun while attacking.

New Pet - Lycan Prince

  • Provides bonus armor to nearby heroes.

New Pet - Demon Duke

  • Attacks enemies both with melee and ranged attacks.

Airship

  • Increased chance to spawn with max projectiles (3).
  • Now shoots its projectiles at different targets if more than 1 target exists.
    • For example, with up to 3 projectiles, the targeting changes depending on the number of enemies:
      • 1 Target - 3 projectiles on the one enemy
      • 2 Targets - 2 projectiles on the first enemy, and 1 on the second
      • 3 Targets - 1 projectile on each enemy

Dragon

  • Increased chance to spawn with max projectiles (3).
  • Increased attack damage by 20%.
  • Now always rolls with Fire damage.
  • Updated projectile appearance.

Etherian

  • Increased base damage by 500%.
  • Increased melee extent by 185%.

Giraffe

  • NEW: While the hero with this pet equipped is ACTIVE in play the Hero Deck Builder bonus is increased by 5%.
  • Reduced Hero Stat scaling by 10%.

Griffin

  • Increased chance to spawn with max projectiles (3).
  • Increased attack damage by 20%.
  • Now always rolls with Lightning damage.
  • Updated projectile appearance.

Little Wizard

  • Now has 1 projectile.
  • Increased attack damage.
  • Rolls for any elemental damage, except Fusion.
  • Projectile travels through all map elements for a set duration, dealing damage to all enemies hit on path.

Mega Chicken

  • Increased projectile AoE by 15%.
  • Increased melee extent by about 43% Increased attack damage.
  • Increased scaling for hero stats.
  • Added VFX for projectile and melee attacks.

Mista Mine

  • NEW: While the hero with this pet equipped is ACTIVE in play the Hero Deck Builder bonus is increased by 10%.
  • Reduced Hero Stat scaling by 10%.

Monkey King

  • Decreased damage buff to 10% from 15%, while increasing the number of times it can stack to 10 from 5.
  • Increased base damage by about 1000%.
    • When fully buffed, he will now have about 260% more damage.

Paddleball

  • Increased base damage by about 2800%.

Ramster

  • Increased base damage by about 500%.
  • Increased melee extent by 185%.

Steam Robot

  • Increased base damage by about 400%.
  • Increased melee extent by 330%.

Fusion Pets

  • Fusion pets will now drop on Encore maps in Rifted Campaign victory chests, Survival Wave 14 victory chests, Survival Wave 25 victory chests, and Bonus Wave victory chests.
    • Magus Quarters: Paddleball
    • Endless Spires: Monkey King
    • Glitterhelm: Mega Chicken
    • Foundries and Forges: Demon Duke

All Melee Pets

  • Increased chance to drop with a max attack rate of 0.33 seconds.
  • Increased target range.
  • Increased stat scaling on Vitality by 8%.
  • Removed Knockback from all attacks.

All Ranged Pets

  • Increased chance of spawning with a max attack rate of 0.63 seconds.
  • Increased target range by 50%.
  • Increased all projectile speeds by 300%.
    • No longer target Siren. NEW Target Priority: Djinn > Copter > Ogre/Sharken/Lycan/CopterOgre > Spider > Warrior > Bosses > Everything else

Act IV Maps

We added in another round of maps for our Defenders to test their combat and tower-building skills, that also include NEW ENEMIES and a NEW BOSS. Keep scrolling for all the details on this juicy, new content. (Maps are listed in order.)

The Mill

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The Mill is the first stop the heroes make upon leaving the castle to continue their journey. They enter a bright and vibrant forest that used to be used to provide lumber and materials for building the castle and nearby towns. Though it seems calm and peaceful, an army of enemies awaits to prevent our heroes from pushing onward with their journey.

If you squint REALLY hard you’ll notice that this map is a remake of a fan favorite, and highly requested map, Mistymire. We made a couple of changes to make building defenses feel better, as well as modified some lanes to make things play out more smoothly.

  • # of Cores: 3
  • DU: 140

The Outpost

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The Outpost is a remake of the Drakenfrost Resort map from Dungeon Defenders II, a map that not many people have had the opportunity to explore and defend. It hangs on a cliff, overlooking where you’ve previously come from, and acted as a barracks of sorts to keep soldiers of Etheria stationed outside of town, with a giant belltower to warn of incoming threats.

  • # of Cores: 2
  • DU: 140

The Keep

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The Keep’s sheer size is a challenge in itself. Do you focus on pushing enemies into tight lanes to maximize AoE damage? Do you find the perfect hiding spot for your DSTs? Guess we’ll have to wait and see what The Keep has in store for defenders.

  • # of Cores: 3
  • DU: 145

Bonus Map: Foundries and Forges

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This bonus map probably looks like another familiar remake of one of DD1 Defenders’ favorites. The gorgeous (and deadly) lava that turn up the heat within the Foundries and Forges aims to give Defenders a bit of nostalgia with renewed fun.

  • # of Cores: 1
  • DU: 80

Enemies

Any good update also brings in some new baddies to liven up combat. Act IV introduces the baddest of them all - werewolves! Try not to get too scared while learning more about them.

Lycan

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Using this feral foe’s signature ability, “Howl,” the Lycan empowers himself and nearby enemies, reducing the damage of incoming attacks, and increasing their health and damage each time they’re attacked while howling. Lycan enemies show up on each of the new maps, but they show up in earlier waves as you progress through Act IV.

Lycan King

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Once you maneuver your defenses and combat to get around the Howling Lycan, you have one more challenge to save Etheria - the Lycan King! You’ll run into the King after defeating the final wave on The Keep. We won't spoil this for you, you'll have to experience it yourself!

Gear Changes

Gear has gotten a major facelift in this update, and for a lot of reasons. We took a heavy look at what Defenders are doing with gear, how well they understand it, and what that means for metas. The prior meta was boost-only to succeed. Boost builds are fun, but they shouldn’t be the only way to experience the game. We’re keeping boosting viable, but we’ve also added options to help give our ever-expanding roster of heroes and content more ways to be enjoyed.

Stat Changes

There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s focus on the specific changes to each hero and tower stat.

  • Ammo and Reload Speed Removed
    • Crossbow alternate fires have been updated!
    • NEW - Grenade Shot: The Huntress gains the ability to shoot an arcing explosive that deals damage to enemies hit. If the Huntress is in the explosion radius, she gets launched based on her orientation to the explosion.
  • Agility
    • Cannot be upgraded, but instead scales from levels 1 - 50.
    • At Level 50, the movement speed increase is equivalent to 100 agility stat points from before Episode 1.
  • Block
    • Scales based on the source of the attack, with smaller enemies taking less block resources and stronger enemies taking more.
  • Casting
    • Scales based on your hero level up to a cap. The higher your level, the faster you build, repair, and upgrade defenses.
  • Charge Rate
    • Baked into abilities that charge (e.g. Apprentice Secondary Attack)
  • Knockback
    • Scales off specific weapons innately.
  • Melee Attack, Ranged Attack, and Elemental Attack
    • Merged into one “Damage” stat.
    • Damage scaling is the same as before.
  • Projectile Count (Polearms)
    • Scales with Monk’s level.
    • Start the game with a single projectile, and this number increases with Monk’s progression, with a max of 7 projectiles.
      • Unique boss weapons still change the shot pattern and scale with level.
  • Projectile Speed
    • Scales off specific weapons innately.
  • Skill and Boost
    • Merged into one “Ability” stat.
    • Scales all abilities based on this single stat.
  • New “Crit” and “Crit Scaling” Stats - Melee Only
    • Added Critical Strike and Critical Scaling stats to melee heroes weapons (Swords and Polearms).
    • Scaling applies to primary attacks only (not abilities or secondary attacks).

Item Stat Changes

Now that we have changes to the stats laid out, the presentation of stats are different now too. In the prior meta, a lot of players felt forced to only play with their defenses. Of course, we love a strategic, effective tower build to take on challenges in DDA, but it shouldn’t be the only way to take down the toughest baddies. Instead of forcing Defenders to choose between a defense-focused hero only and a damage-focused hero only, you now have the option for both.

Where stats show up changes within this update and we wanted to provide a breakdown of their new homes:

Hero Stats

  • Damage: Weapons, Pets
  • Attack: Weapons, Pets, and Offhands
  • Ability: Weapons, Pets, and Offhands
  • Vitality: Weapons, Pets, and Offhands
  • Armor: Helmets, Gloves, Chest, and Boots
  • Firing Solution: Crossbows, Staves, and Pets
  • Projectile Count: Crossbows and Staves
  • Critical Chance: Polearms and Swords
  • Critical Severity: Polearms and Swords

Tower Stats

  • Fortitude: Helmet, Gloves, Chest, Boots, Masks, Bracers, and Brooches
  • Power: Helmet, Gloves, Chest, Boots, Masks, Bracers, and Brooches
  • Def. Rate: Helmet, Gloves, Chest, Boots, Masks, Bracers, and Brooches
  • Range: Helmet, Gloves, Chest, Boots, Masks, Bracers, and Brooches

Offhands

All heroes that do not dual wield weapons have an Offhand slot. These are as follows:

  • Ammo Pouch: Crossbow heroes
  • Shield: Sword heroes
  • Tome: Staff heroes
  • Whetstone: Polearm heroes

Item Effects

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This is a new system for all gear in DDA. Item effects are unupgradable additional stats and effects that are applied on all your gear. For Episode 1, our goal has been to lay it out as a foundational system that we are going to continue to build upon.

They’re additional effects that roll on your gear. There are a ton of these (with more added each episode) that should help boost your strength. Some only roll on specific item types. Here’s the list of the new item effects:

Stat Types

  • These roll additional stats on pieces of gear that those stats could appear on.
    • Example 1 - “Increases your Power by X” rolls on armor and accessories.
    • Example 2 - “Increases your Attack by X” rolls on weapons and offhands.

Elemental Increases

  • These roll additional elemental damage increases.
    • Example 1 - “Increases your hero’s Fire damage by X%” rolls on weapons and offhands.
    • Example 2 - “Increases your defenses’ Fire damage by X%” rolls on armor and accessories.

On Attack

  • When using your Primary Attacks, these have a chance to activate.
    • Example 1 - “Your Primary Attacks have X% chance to Enrage enemies for Y seconds”.
    • Example 2 - “Your Primary Attacks have X% chance to explode, damaging all enemies in range. Y seconds cooldown”.

Impact on Current Heroes

With all of these big changes to gear, Defenders should notice a change in your current gear. To make sure everything scales correctly, upgrades have changed since stats are altered. As a result, we’ve removed the upgrades from all of your gear and refunded a plethora of gold based on those upgrades. We know this seems tedious to have to go through this, but this also lets you choose how to upgrade your gear within this new system.

Set Bonuses

Set Bonuses are additional stats and functionality that you get out of wearing pieces of a specific set at the same time. Not much is changing other than there’s more of them! Check out what’s new.

New Bonuses

Thundering Defense

  • Increase your defenses' Lightning damage by 50%.
    • Armor Set, 4 pieces
    • Like Fusion gear, your item stats are still increased, but by a lesser percentage.
    • This increase will make your Lightning Defenses your strongest defenses for this hero.

Plagued Defense

  • Increase your defenses' Poison damage by 50%.
    • Armor Set, 4 pieces
    • Like Fusion gear, your item stats are still increased, but by a lesser percentage.
    • This increase will make your PoisonDefenses your strongest defenses for this hero.

Erupting Defense

  • Increase your defenses’ Fire damage by 50%.
    • Armor Set, 4 Pieces
    • Like Fusion gear, your item stats are still increased, but by a lesser percentage.
    • This increase will make your Fire defenses your strongest defenses for this hero.

Deadly Defense

  • Increase your defenses' Physical damage by 30%.
    • Armor Set, 4 Pieces
    • Like Fusion gear, your item stats are still increased, but by a lesser percentage.
    • This increase will make your Physical defenses your strongest defenses for this hero.

Inspired Defense

  • Increase your defenses' damage by 25%.
    • Armor Set, 4 Pieces
    • Like Fusion gear, your item stats are still increased, but by a lesser percentage.
    • This increase will make your defenses your strongest defenses for this hero.

New Weapon Sets

Thundering Assault

  • Increases your hero’s Lightning Damage by 50%.
    • Weapons, 2 Pieces (Weapon and Offhand)
    • New to weapons, but plays off Lightning weapons you acquire.

Plagued Assault

  • Increases your hero’s Poison Damage by 50%.
    • Weapons, 2 Pieces (Weapon and Offhand)
    • New to weapons, but plays off Poison weapons you acquire.

Erupting Assault

  • Increases your hero’s Fire Damage by 50%.
    • Weapons, 2 Pieces (Weapon and Offhand)
    • New to weapons, but plays off Fire weapons you acquire.

Deadly Assault

  • Increases your hero’s Physical Damage by 30%.
    • Weapons, 2 Pieces (Weapon and Offhand)
    • New to weapons, but plays off Physical weapons you acquire.

Inspired Assault

  • Increases your hero’s damage by 20%.
    • Weapons, 2 Pieces (Weapon and Offhand)

Etherian Champion

  • Increase the Damage, Crit Bonus, and Attributes of all equipped Set Pieces by 30%.
    • Weapons, 2 Pieces (MeleeWeapon and Offhand)

Etherian Marksman

  • Increase the Damage, Attack Rate, and Attributes of all equipped Set Pieces by 20%.
    • Weapons, 2 Pieces (Ranged Weapons and Offhands)

New Hero Weapon Sets

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Apprentice’s Rearmed

  • Mana Bomb triggers 1 additional explosion for additional damage.

EV-A’s Protean Cannon MK II

  • Protean Surge deals 200% increased damage and ensnares enemies by 20% for 10 seconds.

Huntress’s Flock of Searing Gulls

  • Phoenix Shot now fies 2 additional projectiles that deal additional damage.

Monk’s Aura of Pain

  • Hero Boost deals additional damage to all enemies within the aura every second.

Rogue’s Marked for Death

  • Swift Assault reduces all enemy armor by 25% for 8 seconds.

Squire’s Spinning Steel

  • Circular Slice unleashes 4 Piercing Slashes dealing additional damage to all enemies in a line.

Warden’s Enraging Spores

  • Mushroom Circle has a 50% chance to enrage enemies. Effect persists for 10 seconds after Mushroom Circle ends.

Woodland Weapons

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This new forest-themed set features the following weapons:

  • Woodland Sword
  • Woodland Polearm
  • Woodland Axe 
  • Woodland Crossbow
  • Woodland Staff

Wolfsbane Weapons

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  • Drops after defeating Lycan King in Massacre Campaign and Survival.
    • Staff: Max 3 Projectiles with large AOE radius.
    • Bow: Max 1 Projectile with piercing.
    • Polearm: large damage and attack rate boosts.
    • Sword/Mace: increased crit bonus and large damage boosts.

Inventory Layout Update

One of the details we’ve been anxiously waiting to add to the live game is the new Inventory layout and information. Especially with all the changes in this update, we knew we needed to deliver information on items, stats, set bonuses, heroes, etc. better than before. We did this by optimizing the layout with updated organization, better sorting options, and more and more helpful information in the tooltips.

We’ve optimized our layout so that everything is together, making it easier to understand what you’re doing within your inventory.

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Bags
You’ll notice at the top there are a plethora of bags. We added additional iconography that allows you to change the visuals for your bags, making it easier to know what each contains based on your personal preferences. That means that you need to have specific filters for specific bags. We’ve got you covered:

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Stats
Wow that’s so much for the Inventory! But wait, maybe you’re asking “Weren’t there other tabs?” and you’d be right. The way character stats are displayed and upgraded are all in one convenient location on the Stats Tab:

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Spellbook
The Spellbook tab explains what your abilities and towers do for your selected hero. We’ll continue to expand on this feature in the future, but for now it should be made more clear what your heroes can do:

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NEW Item Reforging

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Reforging allows you to reset an item’s assigned upgrades and re-upgrade that item in a different way. Reforging the item doesn't take gold but you will have to repurchase any upgrades that you wish to add back on. This is great for if you accidently upgrade the wrong stat or if you want to try something new.

“Tests” Game Mode

We let loose a NEW GAME MODE! This new mode is called “Tests” because it’s one defender being tested against one big baddy. The “big baddy” can be any of DDA’s infamous bosses, and you fight one-on-one to defeat them on their own map. One more small detail - you fight the bosses with zero defenses. Wait! You can’t use your heroes to do this, either. You must choose to fight with one of two predetermined heroes, built by your favorite devs.

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Each fight has a 3-minute timer, so you need to be skilled and quick. We’ve spent our PTR phasing honing these different tests so each battle feels fun, tough, and fair. Those of you who were testers during the PTR probably felt those changes throughout testing, and now we’re super excited to show off this new mode with AWESOME NEW REWARDS! Keep reading on to learn all about the new Tests.

Test of the Demon

  • Available Heroes:
    • Huntress
    • Series EV-A, with staves
  • Demon Lord specials:
    • Demon Lord is immune to damage unless stunned by the Generators
    • When Demon Lord is stunned, goblins and/or orcs rain from the sky
    • Deadly mechanic: Fireball

Test of the Mech

  • Available Heroes:
    • Apprentice
    • Series EV-A, with bows
  • Goblin Mech specials:
    • Mech has increased movement speed.
    • Mech takes reduced damage from hits that don’t hit the weak point.
    • Dark Elf Warriors periodically spawn.
    • Deadly mechanic: Melee attacks.

Test of the Ancient

  • Available Heroes:
    • Monk
    • Squire
  • Ancient Dragon specials:
    • When flying around the map, the Dragon can only be damaged by the Ballista.
    • Wyverns spawn after Dragon is shot by the Ballista.
    • Deadly mechanic: Fireballs

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The tests all provide a reward for our brand new WINGS transmog slot. Wings are only unlocks through transmog, and do not provide an item that goes in your inventory. It's a fun cosmetic piece that we'll continue to incorporate into rewards with future updates.

Changes to Rifted

Rifted Portals

Another fun addition is Rifted Portals. What the heck are portals?!

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Rifted Portals are alternate spawn points for enemies that appear at set locations and times on Rifted Act IV maps. Enemies are removed from their original lane and ported to the alternate location. What defenses they miss along the way, nobody knows.

How do you deal with these pesky portals?? Lucky for Defenders, these can be destroyed by your hero. There’s a catch, of course. Portals cannot be destroyed by your hero’s defenses. So, choose your hero wisely!

An added benefit to destroying a portal is the loot that drops once it’s gone. There’s always that incentive to take it down. If you don’t destroy it before the wave is over, it will quietly disappear and a fresh portal will reappear on the next wave, but you won’t receive any loot. Gotta work for the goods.

Rifted Enemies

After Update 1.3 where we reduced the number of enemies across the board to boost game performance, the experiences in Rifted were impacted more than we (and Defenders) wanted. Rifted was designed to challenge the most dedicated Defenders, but as the enemy counts reduced, this mode kind of felt like a punishment rather than an exciting challenge. The long runs that resulted weren’t an intentional design choice and we’ve fixed that to make Rifted all it was meant to be.

To meet this goal, Rifted no longer spawns normal enemies. Now, only Rifted enemies show up when you choose this mode. The enemy counts, attack damage, and HP stay exactly the same. You just won’t need to bat off the normies anymore.

Bonus Waves

These are one of those spicy additions we’ve added for late-game defenders who are itching for that extra challenge. With an extra challenge comes extra rewards in the form of a chance to get max quality gear from EVERY MAP. What’s the point of a Bonus Wave? To earn extra awesome gear, of course! And you should believe us when we say these rewards are extra awesome.

Unlocking Bonus Waves

Defenders can only unlock Bonus Waves in each Act after completing Survival Wave 25 on the Boss maps on Nightmare and Massacre difficulties. We want to make sure Defenders are rewarded for attempting (and completing) more difficult maps, too. So, once you complete a Boss map, that boss’ named Bonus Wave is unlocked for all prior maps. For example, defeating the Goblin Mech at the end of Act 2 will unlock the Goblin Mech Bonus Wave for all Act 1 and Act 2 maps (minus the Throne Room and Endless Spires).

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This gives defenders freedom to choose the battle that’s appropriate for your style of play. If you want to skip over the Demon Lord and Goblin Mech maps, heading straight to Ancient Dragon to open the Bonus Waves for all three Acts, you’re able to do that. You may be asking, “Why bother with these extra waves if they’re just tougher challenges?” Well, we left out some important pieces of information…

Loot Drops on Bonus Waves

We hope you’re ready for some AWESOME rewards because that’s what Defenders are getting from these Bonus Waves. As with all other loot drops, the loot quality increases according to the level of the boss associated with the Bonus Wave. Basically, Act 1 Bonus Wave loot drops will increase in quality after you defeat Demon Lord, and Act 1 and 2 Bonus Wave loot drops will increase (again) after you defeat Goblin Mech. Activating Hardcore and/or Rifted further adds to the quality of Bonus Wave loot drops on all maps.

NEW ACHIEVEMENTS!

You asked for it, and we thought it was a great idea. Now there are even more achievements to unlock as you defend your way through Etheria - 18 new achievements for Defenders on both platforms, to be exact. Enjoy!

Hero Balance

Apprentice

Defenses

  • Magic Missile Tower
    • Projectile damage was increased by 60%.
    • Projectile speed was increased by 50%.
  • Flameburst Tower
    • Projectile damage was increased by 75%
    • Projectile speed was increased by 50%.
  • Lightning Tower
    • Projectile damage was increased by 80%.
    • Bounce range increased and set to 600 units.
      • Previously at base level was 275 units, and fully upgraded to 350 units.

EV

Defenses

  • Overlock Beam
    • Decreased minimum DU cost to 3 from 4.
    • Increased width to 25 from 20.

Huntress

Defenses

  • All traps
    • Reduced attack rate cap to 0.65 from 2.
  • Explosive Trap
    • Increased damage by 10%.
  • Inferno Trap
    • Increased damage by 100%.
  • Thunder Spike Trap
    • Increased damage by 50%.
    • Decreased reset time by about 40%.

Monk

Secondary Attack

  • Now scales from Primary Attack Damage.
  • Increased max projectile to 8 from 6.
    • Projectiles now scale with hero level.
  • Updated attack to hit for 50% of melee damage per projectile.
  • Decreased attack rate scaling.

Squire

Defenses

  • Harpoon Turret
    • Projectile damage was increased by 33%.
    • Projectile speed increased by 50%.
  • Bowling Bowl Turret
    • Projectile damage increased by 45%.

General

Melee Attacks

  • Melee attacks no longer deal damage based on the enemy getting hit by the weapon’s model. Instead there is now a (pretty generous) hitbox that deals damage.
    • Developer’s Note - This was change made because:
      • Melee is already punishing to play. Increasing the range gives a little more safety and a lot more consistency with damage.
      • Various animations would make it so attacks would sometimes not hit. The animations pull from a pool of options, so sometimes RNG animations could punish you if their attack range didn’t extend as far.
      • Transmogging a weapon would change the range at which it hit, and made the transmog system potentially punish players that weren’t using the biggest weapons.
      • It’s just more fun.

Enemy Balance

Multiplayer Enemy HP

  • Reduced HP scaling for most enemies when in multiplayer mode
  • Add 50% HP to each enemy for each additional player:
    • Ogres
    • Copter Ogres
    • Siren
    • Lycan
  • Add 25% HP to each enemy for each additional player:
    • Sharken
    • Djinn

Survival Rifted Boss HP

  • Increased HP for all Survival Bosses to be 100% more in Rifted.

Bug Fixes

On top of the new content, we fixed lots of bugs reported by the community for PC and Xbox platforms. Here is the list of those fixes:

General

  • Fixed a bug where transmog tooltips weren’t showing.
  • Updated buff count to scale properly from rolling.
  • Fixed an issue where healing may not have worked properly.
  • Fixed a bug that would cause leaving the inventory to crash the game.
  • Fixed a crash that would occur when upgrading then swapping heroes in the inventory.
  • Fixed an issue where Ability Count effects were not correctly counting shots fired from ranged weapons.
  • Fixed a bug where Upgrade / Repair / Sell weren't canceling each other when activated so you could have multiple activated at once.
  • Fixed an issue Repair / Upgrade / Sell abilities were not cancelling after swapping to Build Mode.
  • Fixed an issue where Sirens were getting stuck when fleeing to their spawn points.
  • Survival: if you beat a certain wave on a harder difficulty, you can now play the same wave on a lower difficulty.
    • Example: if you beat Wave 20 on Massacre you can play up to Wave 20 on all lower difficulties.
  • Fixed an issue where repair times were incorrect and taking longer on some defenses.
  • Fixed an issue where Hero Stat points were resetting after upgrading an item and then returning to the Hero Stat menu.
  • Fixed an issue where Vitality would not show as increasing when adding points.
  • Fixed an issue where Crossbow weapons did not continue firing while holding the button to attack after double-clicking.
  • Fixed an issue where Clients could see their own HP bar above their head.
  • Fixed an issue where the Megachicken was showing incorrect projectile count.
  • Fixed an issue where the pointer was missing from the main menu.
  • Adjusted various accessory placements on heroes.
  • Fixed an LOD issue with the Baby Phoenix Pet’s VFX.
  • Fixed an issue where Level, XP, and Unspent Points didn’t update when you swapped heroes while on the stats tab in the inventory.
  • Fixed an issue where IE ability passive abilities were not restarting on defender death and respawn.
  • Fixed an issue where Map Selection wasn't selecting your last map’s difficulty.
  • Fixed an issue where the “Sell All” function wasn’t working on PC.
  • Fixed an issue where the Wave 25 victory chest would not automatically open in bonus wave build phases.
  • Fixed an issue where Num5 and Num6 were not default to the binds for Slot 5 and Slot 6 of the hero deck for swapping.
  • Fixed an issue where rotating a Defense after selecting placement caused issues with placing towers close together.
  • Fixed an issue where no Repair and Upgrade were not ending animations when complete.
  • Fixed an issue where regeneration effects were lingering on death.
  • Fixed an issue where defenses were not showing any damage dealt in their tooltips.
  • Fixed an issue where the compare tooltip showed up for slots that didn't have anything equipped.
  • Fixed an issue where the transmog was displaying item tooltips.
  • Fixed an issue where the pause between melee attacks was too long.
  • Fixed an issue where some Ranged DPS pets could hit max stat on damage.
  • Fixed an issue where Clients would not see the correct value for stats when inspecting built traps.

Enemies

  • Decreased delay on the spawn of the last Ogre on Ancient Mines on Massacre Survival.
  • Fixed an issue where Ogre Copter’s hat was too large.
  • Fixed an issue where Copter Ogres would get stuck after their Copter was shot down.
  • Fixed an issue where the Crystals could be attacked on Alchemical Labs while the boss timer was counting down, resulting in an instant stun when the Demon Lord spawned.
  • Fixed an issue where Rifted Ogre's Kobold projectile was exploding too soon.

Heroes

  • Squire
    • Fixed an issue where the Squire lost his base mana regen value.

Maps

  • Fixed an issue where the Southernmost Tornado Valley billboard was partially stuck in the spawn door.
  • Fixed an issue where defenses were unable to be placed on the pipes in Lava Mines.
  • Fixed a lighting issue on Deeper Well.
  • Fixed an issue where enemies were stuck on Endless Spires near the Northwest spawn point.
  • Fixed some issues with collision and lighting on Endless Spires.
  • Fixed an issue where Ogres weren’t spawning in Promenade Massacre Survival.
  • Fixed an issue where Defenders would instantly die in a specific spot on Ancient Mines after using melee attack.

What Else?

Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch port for Dungeon Defenders: Awakened launches today! Check out the eShop page: Dungeon Defenders: Awakened on Nintendo Switch.

We weren’t able to get this update through Nintendo’s Lot Check before the official launch, but it will be downloadable for Switch Defenders as soon as possible! We’ll update the community once that date is available.

PlayStation Update

For PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 ports, we don’t yet have a release timeline. We previously announced we’re aiming for DDA to be out on all consoles by the end of the year. That will still be our goal, but we need some more time to figure out what tasks we need to complete to get DDA through Sony’s certification.

Social Defenders

To stay up-to-date on the latest news from Chromatic Games and the Dungeon Defenders franchise, follow us on all our social channels:

For Etheria!
Chromatic Games

pmasher

Defense Council



Etheria Needs a Hero



Only a handful of Eternia Crystals remain. The rest have shattered, and the Old Ones--a threat believed to be contained--are now free. In a brief period of time, theyve organized armies and conquered much of Etheria. We need the most valiant heroes to band together and form Etherias first Defense Council--the Sunderguard--to prepare for the fight against the relentless hordes!

Your Feedback Influences the Game



Next week, starting Monday, November 11th, 500 of you will have the opportunity to join this Defense Council. As Council members, you will gain access to bi-weekly sessions where youll get to play the game and give feedback on systems, maps, heroes, and more. Youll also be granted access to an exclusive forum and blog, where you can deliver your feedback directly to the development team.



As we get closer to alpha, your responsibilities will grow and you will have more opportunities to play the game and impact development in exciting new ways (sorry, we cant reveal what they are just yet!). Then, when the game launches, youll serve the first term of the in-game Defense Council, influencing decisions that shape the war against the Old Ones!



Council_MapReveal

One of the maps Council members will be the first to play later this year!





Council Seats Are Available November 11th



Were proud to announce that were partnering with Humble Bundle and Childs Play to bring you the Defense Council. There are three ways you can obtain a place in the Council:





    1. Donate $30 or more to Childs Play by using the Humble Widget above starting at 6pm EST on Monday, November 11th. There are only 500 of these slots available, so act quickly!

    2. Bid on additional seats on our Trendy eBay page found HERE.





Once again, all proceeds will go to Childs Play, an organization that provides video games to improve the lives of hospitalized children around the world.

Council_EmblemReveal

Our heroes receiving their Council emblems.





Miss Your Chance? Theres One More Way to Join



The final slots will be given through the community itself, so stay tuned to these forums over the next week to find out more ways you can get a spot on the council. Who knows, maybe a comment on this thread will earn you a seat!



If you have any questions about the Defense Council or how to enter, ask in the comments below. You can also find more questions answered here, in our FAQ. Were excited to see our Defenders come through for Childs Play and we cant wait to get you playing Dungeon Defenders II!



 
drod1000



Greetings, Defenders!

My name is Darrell Rodriguez, and I am the new CEO of Trendy Entertainment. I’ve worked in the entertainment industry for the vast majority of my career, where I have been privileged to work with some of the foremost creative and tech leaders around at companies such as Disney, EA, LucasArts, and now Trendy Entertainment.

I am here to empower the developers at Trendy to achieve their amazing vision, technology, and creativity. I am here so we can continue to build games you will love and create technology that will empower other independent developers to take their games to a place they could not have otherwise gone. Like everyone at Trendy, I am a big believer in collaborating with you, our community. So I’m also here to build systems to empower, to better listen to you and to make your input a reality in the games we make.

I, like you, have been captivated by Dungeon Defenders’ unique gameplay and pledge to bring more of that to you in the future. Both in the form of Dungeon Defenders II, whose evolving art style and gameplay continue to impress me every day, and other (more secret) projects for Dungeon Defenders lovers. I ask for your patience and trust as I help guide your beloved Dungeon Defenders. I am human, and like us all, may stumble. But through listening and learning from you all, I am confident we will work together to make Dungeon Defenders future as bright as possible.

As an independent developer, funding is tight and decisions need to be made that enable survival and empower developers to make games you will play and love. So to start, I have a question for you. The Kickstarter concept of voting with your wallet to fund products you would like to see built has been popular for many independent studios so far. What are your thoughts on using this concept, not to fund a game, but to grow and expand one? For example, would you chip in with other players to help create new features or content for everyone to play as opposed to just buying content for yourself?

The random winners of our Wyvern blog are Baxter and Beorn424!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
Blacksmith
idea-Blog

Hey Defenders,

It’s finally back to your weekly Dungeon Defenders II programming! First up, we have a new DD2 teaser for you. We created this for a partner last week and wanted to share it with all of you:



But more importantly, we have a question for you. When developing a game, there are often many different ideas that get pooled together. Sometimes the ideas are awesomely obvious, like the new combo system we’ve developed in DD2. Other times, ideas take a good amount of iteration to get right or are pretty clear to stay away from. For us, being a sequel to a beloved game, we’re always careful about big changes to something core to the game, and we have an idea that we’re really excited about and want to see if you will be, too!

In Dungeon Defenders II, we’ve been talking about changing it so that, instead of having individual heroes you level up, you level up your hero deck instead. This means as you level up your deck, all the heroes are the same level. This idea came around because, internally, we’ve been playing the game this way since the beginning of development, and we often find it a lot of fun to switch between heroes seamlessly.

We want to add a lot of fun aspects to leveling up your hero deck to give you more options for how you manage your heroes. For example, you’d receive a pool of stat points that you could place amongst all of your heroes, allowing you to focus your stat points in heroes you like the most. Also, when your deck reaches max level, you’ll have an option to reset your progress, like a prestige system. Each time through will give you exciting rewards, like additional stat points, magic find bonuses, special visual customization options, or maybe even a new gear slot! This gives almost limitless replayability and helps with solo play a ton, too.

Why we want to do this:

1. More Even Progression Curve: If you level up multiple heroes at a time in your hero deck with the old system, you’ll constantly be bouncing back to lower matchmaking brackets to get hero experience. With the new system, you get to choose how you spread your stat points amongst your heroes (making them powerful), but you can also use any of the heroes whenever you want without XP sharing concerns. If you're a hardcore player, aiming to max stats for all heroes, you still have to play multiple times just like you would before. However, now you can use all the heroes as you go!

2. More Replayable: Quite simply, this system allows us to make Dungeon Defenders more replayable. If you prestige your hero deck, you can replay the experience for better rewards, or sync up with a new friend who just started the game. It works kind of like a New Game+ feature, and many members of our team talk about liking these types of systems in other games.

3. Awesome Matchmaking: Though we have some cool ideas on how to make matchmaking work well with hero levels (i.e. no more lvl 2 Squire mooching off the 30s doing all the work), the new hero deck leveling system keeps matchmaking very simple. Instead of having to manage your hero deck to guarantee you have the right hero levels for the content you want to play, you can just pick a level range and go. We think this is faster, easier, and gets people playing together in positive ways.

4. Encourages Play with New Heroes: When new heroes come out, you can play them instantly, having a good time experiencing the content without having to grind up hero levels to make them viable. We really like this idea, that when we release new heroes players aren’t forced to grind from the beginning to enjoy the new experience. Maybe you choose to respec to give points to the new hero, or maybe you just prestige to play from the beginning anyway, but now the choice for how to play is yours.

5. More Flexible Solo Play: Each hero has their own unique role in Dungeon Defenders II as we’ve worked to expand the cooperative elements of the game even further. This means having access to multiple heroes in solo play, and leveraging interesting strategies without having to excessively grind is a big positive. You’ll still need to prestige to unlock enough stat points to fully empower multiple heroes, not to mention finding good loot for them too, but all heroes will be at the same level regardless, and can be used effectively with or without stat point bonuses.

These are only the choice aspects of this new feature we love, and we have a lot of details to get sorted. At its core, we feel this can make Dungeon Defenders II a deeper, more approachable game, which meets up with many of our pillars we talked about when we started this journey together. However, we know this is a big change, and we want your feedback before we commit and start figuring out the specific bits. As we get closer to Early Access, we’re excited to build this game together, feature by feature, and your input is absolutely critical to us making the game you want to play.

So what do you think? We’re eager to read your feedback and help make the choice on where we go from here. Love it, hate it, we’re all ears, so head to the comments section and let us know!

The random winners from our Ambient Sounds of Etheria blog are The Osamodas and IGN_ejfaro!

Share your honest feedback in the comments below, and you could win a pre-alpha code for Dungeon Defenders II! We’ll pick TWO random posters and reveal the winners next week. You have a full week to leave a comment. Don’t have a forum account? It takes less than a minute to join the community!
JBrawley

air-Blog.jpg



Balancing the roles, quantity, and power of enemies in DD2 is no small task. The enemies we place in a level affect nearly every vector of difficulty in the game. This is one of the reasons it is imperative that we experiment not only with different types of enemies, but how we use those enemies, as well.

Wyverns were a staple of the original Dungeon Defenders’ gameplay, but it was clear the role of air units in DD2 needed to evolve. Fundamentally, an air unit poses a different tactical question than a ground unit. Units on the ground can be blocked using a barricade, permitting time to react to their presence. Wyverns required players to develop different strategies that were based around anti-air defense.

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The Trouble With Wyverns

But DD1’s Wyverns had numerous shortcomings, and in order to make Wyverns more interesting to engage in DD2, we had to resolve two main problems:

  • There was little variety in their behavior, making any gameplay that involved them monotonous and predictable.
  • They utilized extremely basic AI, flying straight for their objective without deviation.

Fixing these problems in the long term was going to take time. But there was nothing stopping the intrepid level designers from hacking their way around these problems. Early on, it was clear that we needed different types of Wyverns.

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Creating Different Behaviors

Initially we developed the Heavy Wyvern by creating a copy of the standard Wyvern, making him larger, and changing him to a rich purple hue. The Heavy Wyvern was a bit slower, but could take a much larger amount of abuse. We coupled this change with making the standard Wyvern much faster.

The difference was immediately noticeable in terms of strategic consideration. The heavy Wyverns did a fantastic job of diverting the attention of players, and when they appeared in early prototypes, everyone reacted to their presence. Internally, we had to devise new ways of counteracting the presence of the Heavy Wyverns. Players devised new defense setups to combat the Wyverns, such as groups of Frostbite Towers that would freeze and then shatter them when they hit the ground, or Cannonball Towers placed in positions that were advantageous to attacking air units.

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In another playtest, we created a small, fast, black Wyvern that could bombard players and their defenses from a long range. These opponents created a different type of player reaction: If not controlled quickly, the black Wyverns could severely disrupt the team’s defensive layouts.

Tweaking the Flight Path

Resolving the Wyverns’ flight paths was actually surprisingly easy. With a little manipulation, we were able to create a chain of flight waypoints that forced the Wyverns from a specific lane to follow a tightly controlled path. This allowed us to create predictable air lanes (making it much easier for players to position anti-air defenses) instead of having Wyverns simply spawn on the outside of the space and fly directly towards their targets.

The result of these two initiatives was much stronger aerial gameplay, allowing air units to play a clearer role in the combat space. But we continue to iterate on our air units with new ideas and new prototypes, so if there are any air unit types you might like to see in the game, leave a comment below and you could win a seat on the Defense Council.

The random winner of our QA blog is Ikulity!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We're going to be at PAX East this week so there won't be a blog this Friday. That's why we're going to pick two posters from this blog and reveal the winners in next week's blog post!
I_PASS_BUTTER

Defenders, our first Beastmaster Contest has come to a close, but a new contest begins now. Our next Pet: Purrlin. Go find those magical little gatos, Defenders! You have until May 13th at 11:59 PM EDT to submit your Purrlins in this thread.

There was a lot of awesome participation for the Growld contest. Thank you to everyone that participated. We understand that getting Growld in the timeframe was a little difficult, and we are adjusting the rules accordingly. Starting with this contest, we will pick the top 3 pets as winners, and their owners will all receive the “Beastmaster” title.

Without further ado, the winners of the Growld Beastmaster contest are:


Thank you to our winners for being such good sports and a huge thank you to Mapatti for making handy-dandy charts! We love data! Winners, keep an eye on your PMs early next week for your title code. 


For full contest rules, see the previous post.


I_PASS_BUTTER

Want to win an exclusive “Snapshooter” in-game title? We’re looking for the funniest screenshots! If yours is funny enough, that title can be yours!

From now until August 19th at 2 PM EDT, go on a quest for the funniest in-game screenshot you can take and submit it in this blog! We’ll pick three winners on August 20th!

To enter, take an in-game screenshot and upload it to Steam. Embed the Steam image in a comment below along with a link to the image on Steam. You may submit as many screenshots as you want, but please only submit one image per post.

The Snapshooter Contest is judged by a panel of Trendy community team employees with zero sense for good taste or art. Here is a loose guideline on how we’re judging the screenshots:

  1. G.U.T. -- Genuine, Ultimate Tummy-feeling. If the screenshot tickles something inside our abdominal food synthesizers that makes us say “wow” or “good gravy,” chances are we’ll pick it as a winner.

  2. No HUDs -- Screenshots with the Heads Up Display activated will score lower than HUDless shots. Press “H” to let the game shine.

  3. Originality -- Don’t steal from other players. We’re watching you.

  4. Terminus -- If you can incorporate Terminus, the Roman god who protected boundary markers, into your photos, you’ll earn extra points. How you’re going to do this with an in-game screenshot is beyond us, but we like to be surprised.

You must have your Steam account linked to your forum account. All screenshots must be taken by the Steam account that’s linked to the forum account. Any entry that is stolen from another player will result in the permanent removal of your forum account.

Happy Snapshotting, Defenders!

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Blacksmith

Loot-Blog.jpg



When it comes to loot in Dungeon Defenders II, there is simply so much I could talk about. I honestly felt a bit overwhelmed when I was asked to write this blog. But there is one thing that stands out. Something a little special…

Stat Progression vs. Visual Progression

The earliest versions of armor in Dungeon Defenders were purely stat-based, with no cosmetic benefit. When we first approached loot design in Dungeon Defenders II, we wanted to find a way to balance this. To do so, we developed the following philosophy:

Players should never have to make a choice between the best stats and the coolest looking gear. They should have access to both! From a gameplay perspective, armor should give players stats that allow them to progress heroes, abilities, and defenses to fit their playstyle. But aesthetically, that armor also needs to feel satisfying; to become more and more awesome as you progress within the game.

To accommodate this we decided to separate the two concepts. Instead of being stuck with a set of gear you hate just for the benefit of good stats, you now have the complete freedom to mold and shape your heroes’ look as you see fit.

So how do you improve your character’s stats? To keep the visual progression separate from the stat progression, there will be two types of armor in Dungeon Defenders II:

  1. Armor that provides visual progression: This allows you to change the way your hero looks based on your playstyle. (Lots of exciting things I can’t talk about just yet!)
  2. Armor that provides stat boosts: Stat pieces that drop in the world and can be equipped. We call these pieces Relics!

DD2_3Relics-1024x576.jpg



Relics: Applying Stats to Cosmetic Pieces

Relics are powerful, enchanted artifacts that drop from enemies and chests. At this time, there are three main Relic classifications: Tomes, Medallions, and Totems. Tomes represent intellect and magical affinity, Medallions represent courage and strength, and Totems represent fortitude.

Each hero will have four Relic slots: Boots, Hands, Chest and Head. Additionally, heroes are restricted in which Relics they can equip based on their role. For example, the Squire can only equip Totems and Medallions in any of the four slots. We’re currently testing Relics with this distribution in the Council build.

When a Relic is dropped in the world it will have four main components:

  1. Relic Type: This can be a Talisman, Tome, or Totem.
  2. Who Can Equip It: The item info will display which heroes can equip the relic.
  3. Where It Can Be Slotted: This is indicated by corresponding visuals.
  4. And all of the other things you've come to expect from loot: Stats, tiers, etc.

DD2_relics.gif



Speaking of tiers, you’ll be pleased to know that Dungeon Defenders II will have 6 tiers of loot! From worst to best, the new tiers are:

  1. Worn
  2. Sturdy
  3. Powerful
  4. Epic
  5. Mythical
  6. And the much coveted Legendary!

This is only one small part of a very large, complex, and rewarding system that is loot in Dungeon Defenders II. I look forward to sharing even more exciting loot news with you in the future, but until then, leave a comment below and let us know what you think of the Relic system so far.

The random winner of our Conceptual Level Design blog is Olot!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
LaurawantsaCow

press-Blog



One of the hardest parts of working on a video game is figuring out when it’s ready to be shown. While it’s twice as much work to maintain a stable “live” build alongside a development build or create a completely separate build for an event, the feedback we receive -- be it from comments, surveys, or previews -- is invaluable to the process. That’s why we’ve committed ourselves to showing Dungeon Defenders II at every opportunity, whether it’s to our community, the press, or even students at the local university.


Level Designer Steven Collins hard at work making a PAX specific build of the game.



DD2 Makes the Rounds
We’re constantly adding new features to our development build so that we can “fail” quickly and learn what content is fun versus what needs major retooling. When we show the game, there are even more features we need to add for each specific event. This past press tour, we decided to demo the mid-game experience of Dungeon Defenders II, along with one of our newest features: the elemental combo system. With that experience in mind, we created a build and balance for level 18 heroes and took it to San Francisco and New York City.

We assumed everyone playing the game had been a part of our first press tour in February, so we dove straight into stats, elemental weapons, combos, enemy tiers, advanced maps, and more. Unfortunately, we forgot that some of the journalists playing hadn’t had the opportunity for a hands-on before, so for them it was a bit overwhelming. And of course, like any early build, there were bugs aplenty:

ogreDumb2_1
Surfing Ogres made it even more difficult!


All that aside, the response was very positive. Below you can see some of the writeups, livestreams, and videos that came out of the press tour. And we’re still expecting more!





  • Game Informer: “There Are Even More Reasons To Team Up In Dungeon Defenders II”
  • GamesRadar: “Rube Goldberg machines of death abound in Dungeon Defenders 2”
  • Digital Trends: “Dungeon Defenders 2 grows up with a new focus on colorful loot.”
  • Buzz Focus: “Hands-On with ‘Dungeon Defenders II’ – Promise in Pre-Alpha”
  • GameSpot: “Dungeon Defenders II - Now Playing”
  • Joystiq: “Teaming with Trendy in Dungeon Defenders 2”
  • Destructoid: "Dungeon Defenders 2 Pre-Alpha Gameplay with Max Scoville"

The Road Ahead
Now it’s time to create the build for PAX. Luckily, this past press tour allowed us to “fail” quickly enough to learn a lot for our biggest showing thus far. To satisfy new players and veterans alike, we’re preparing two maps for the PAX East show floor: Dragonfall Gates and Nimbus Reach. Players of the first map will have two defenses and two abilities unlocked, and players of the second map will have three of each. We’re hoping the first map will serve as a good introduction to the new game mechanics and the latter as a challenge for hardcore DD1 fans. Even then, we still have questions to ask ourselves, the biggest being: How can we make loot relevant in just a 20-30 minute demo?

What do you think is the best way to demo the full experience of Dungeon Defenders? Is it even possible in a short session? Let us know in the comments below!

The random winner of our Apprentice blog is a474247132!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
PutmickJ

Dungeon-Defenders-2-qacrab-Blog.jpg



Greetings Defenders, and welcome to this month's QA column: Bugglemania! [Working Title] Today I present to you a fun bug and another silly video. Without further ado, let's get started on slugging those bugs!

The Squire’s Super Shield

If you enjoyed the recent blog post about the Squire and always dreamt of using two shields at once, then this bug’s for you! Recently, while testing the loot drops on each character, we noticed something a bit odd about the Squire when he switched shields. Instead of swapping out for the old shield, the new one would stack on top of it, doubling the stats! Even better, in a feat of Squire engineering, the shields appeared on top of each other, leading the Squire to carry some ridiculous-looking combinations. Here's just one of the over-the-top shields donned by our lovable Squire:

CrabShieldThing-1024x576.jpg



Rise of the Ramsters

The Squire bug came up fairly recently, so I already had another thing to share with you guys, just in case we didn’t have a great bug we could get behind. I spent my free time working on something I thought would be funny, something you would all like, so I present to you: Rise of the Ramsters!

[video=youtube_share;vTA9tOHoHN8]http://youtu.be/vTA9tOHoHN8[/video]



Using one of the assets we had in the editor, I placed the skeletal mesh of the ramster onto the wyvern and a couple of other enemies. The results speak for themselves.

So there we have it, a fun bug showing the Squire's adeptness at shield-building, and the cutest thing to ever attack your core! What did you think of the mesh swap, or the Squire's ingenuity? What would you guys like to see or learn more about when it comes to QA? Let us know in the comments, where I’ll also clarify how the Squire bug came to be!

The random winner of our Monk blog is Uchihia!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
Blacksmith

Combat Improvements



Greetings Defenders!

Do any of you remember our Five Pillars of Design? The Fifth Pillar talks about the unique, symbiotic relationship between the three different aspects of the game: Tower Defense, Action, and RPG. Our Fifth Pillar demands that we make sure these three sides of the game work well together.

We’ve shared some of the new Tower Defense features of DD2, but how are we integrating that with the other two? I’ll be focusing my blogging efforts on this very question, starting first with Combat and how it came to be what it is today.

DD1’s Combat - The Good, The Bad, and the Floaty

When developing a hybrid game like Dungeon Defenders, it’s important that we keep in mind all the different sides of the game. We have to evaluate their strengths and their weaknesses. Most importantly, we have to isolate and identify how those sides can work with -- and not against -- one another. The first Dungeon Defenders featured a simple, yet entertaining combat system. It supported the Tower Defense side of the game and was improved by a rich loot and stat system coupled with unique character progression. But it wasn’t without its problems.

When development began on Dungeon Defenders II, we decided to take a good look at all three sides of the game and see where we could improve them. While DD1’s combat was entertaining and symbiotic, it felt a little too “floaty” in that it didn’t give you solid and powerful feedback. Internally we refer to this as the Lawn Mower Effect since it basically had you mow down loads of enemies without providing you with any sense of contact.


Dungeon Defenders Lawn Mower Melee



Building and Testing Combat Prototypes

Over the course of one week, Trendy’s development team split into three teams, each eager to prototype and showcase their vision for combat in Dungeon Defenders II. While two teams focused on refining DD1’s approach and pushing it further, the third team cooked up something rather special.

Their prototype featured the Barbarian stomping heavily on the battlefield. He slashed his famous axes through the air with monumental force, cleaving through his enemies before slamming his weapons into the ground. Each attack propelled the Barbarian toward his enemies, and each could be chained with another attack. His full body was animated, opening up the potential for attacks that looked both complicated and impressive. With every swing he gave a loud roar, and his axes shook the screen as they pummeled enemies and terrain alike.

When it came time to review all three prototypes, it was obvious which one we were most excited to move forward with. The third prototype was simple, but it very clearly showcased the type of weighty, visceral combat we wanted to give our players.


New-and-Improved Melee in Dungeon Defenders II



Since then, we have been hard at work on this new combat system. In the future, melee heroes will utilize an action chaining system that allows them to combine different actions seamlessly. Your Squire will be able to jump into combat. unleash a flurry of light and heavy attacks, turn and fire a few abilities, repair a defense, and then jump out of combat, all in quick succession. By the time we are through with our system, players will be able to fluidly chain actions together in the heat of combat.

Refining Ranged Combat

We are also improving how Ranged Combat feels in Dungeon Defenders II. One of the simplest (yet coolest!) additions I can talk about is the Hot-Spot mechanic. This allows Ranged heroes to target special spots on enemies and deal even more damage than normal. The prototype was first tested by adding headshots on a single enemy type, and we are continuing to apply this system to different parts of our game. For example: When hit on an unarmored spot, our Ogre will suffer more damage from attacks.



This Hot-Spot system can be used in a lot of interesting ways. What do you all think? Should we invest the time into implementing a full-fledged Hot-Spot system for our Ranged Heroes?

It is important to keep in mind that this is just the beginning for our Combat Systems in Dungeon Defenders II. There are still plenty of things we are working on that are hidden away deep within Trendy’s lair. You can imagine how the Squire’s combat plays out now, but what about a hero that wields two weapons? How do the weapon choices influence the combat?

That’s a conversation for another time, but until then, your feedback is vital! Be sure to leave a comment and let us know some of the things you are hoping to see improved in DD1’s combat system.

The random winner of our Community Feedback blog is papafhill!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
Blacksmith

Assasin-Blog



Greetings Defenders!

So far the Old Ones’ army has been primarily focused on taking down whatever stands between them and the objectives you and your friends are trying to defend. This month, I’d like to share one of the more sinister additions we have planned. This new enemy is only concerned with isolating and eliminating players. We’re calling it the Dark Assassin for now, and it’s still in early development, so please let us know what you think of the design!

FlyingAssassin
New enemies go through a lot of iteration, including names!



An Old Terror With a New Face
The Dark Assassin replaces the Dark Elf Warrior we had in DD1. We know he wasn’t a fan favorite, but he fulfilled a very important role: Providing a real threat for heroes that could otherwise stand back and avoid the thick of battle. Without him, high-damage ranged characters rarely faced the fear of death.

That said, the Dark Assassin isn’t a 1:1 replacement. He differs from the Dark Elf Warrior in a few key ways:

  • He has absolutely no interest in your defenses or the map objectives, he will never attack them
  • He’s a flying melee enemy.
  • He has lower health and higher damage compared to other enemies.
  • There are clear tells as to when he’s approaching.
  • Higher tier versions of this enemy are initially cloaked, but savvy players can initiate combat with him first.

Once a Dark Assassin spawns into a map, it picks out a player based on a set of criteria favoring:

  • Ranged heroes, like the Huntress or Apprentice.
  • Weakened heroes that are low on HP.
  • High-priority threats, like heroes with a high damage build.

Dark Assassins have the potential to do a lot of damage to their target if they aren’t dealt with quickly. They’re relentless and will stick to the hero they’re pursuing even after they’ve killed them, waiting for the next respawn to charge again.

The Cloaked Assassin
The Dark Assassin comes in three tiers. Starting from the 2nd tier, he gains the ability to Cloak himself and disappear as he moves toward a target. While Cloaked, the Dark Assassin cannot be damaged by any defenses. Perceptive players can spot the Dark Assassin from a distance by the Cloak ability’s distinctive shimmer, and those with particularly sharp ears will hear him approach. The Dark Assassin can be damaged while in cloaked, and a quick attack will disrupt its Cloak, making it visible to all players. But should you ignore the signs and fail to stop him, you’ll be subjected to a massive attack before the Dark Assassin even reveals himself.

What do you think of the Dark Assassin’s design? Will he make a good addition to the Old Ones’ army? If you have any comments or suggestions, leave them below!

The random winner of our World Building blog is Tedion!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
iamisom

deck-Blog.jpg



In the first Dungeon Defenders, players could swap between an unlimited number of heroes during a match. This had several benefits, including the ability for individuals to access more than just one set of defenses. It also encouraged players to create multiple heroes -- and sometimes specialized versions of the same hero -- to use in a single match.

But this system created a few issues. Leveling multiple heroes became the only way to play -- you couldn’t complete the late-game content using a single hero. In addition to this, it discouraged true, four-player co-op in which every player has the chance to contribute to the build strategy. Instead, designated builders would bring in their heroes and tell other players not to take part in the defensive setup.

Ultimately, we want players to embrace the strengths of their teammates. We also want to make it possible to complete the entirety of the online co-op game with a single hero, if that’s what you desire. To facilitate this, we’ve created the Hero Deck, which plays up the positives of the DD1 system while fixing some of the key issues.

HeroDeck-1024x576.jpg



The Hero Deck lets you bring a selection of heroes into battle. At the moment, players can add three individual heroes to their deck. Just like the first Dungeon Defenders, you can go to the Forge to swap between these heroes during the Build Phase. And your ability and defense mana now transfers between heroes when you swap, so no more dropping mana on the ground and cursing when someone walks by and swipes it!

The Hero Deck has encouraged teams in our Defense Council to develop strategies that involve all players, not just a designated builder. We’ve watched players use our revamped Ping system to ask each other to build blockades, auras, towers and traps, which is something that was rarely seen in DD1 public matches.

The Hero Deck is still in the early stages of development, and it’s already sparked some great discussion among our Councillors. For example: What if you’re playing solo and you want to access every defense and hero combination? Or what if you’re playing with friends, and you want one person to build everything like in DD1? We’re still working on how the Hero Deck system will address these concerns, but this feedback and perspective is invaluable to us as we move forward with development, so keep it coming!

How do you feel about the Hero Deck system? Let us know in the comments below, and you could win a seat on the Defense Council and a chance to try out the Hero Deck for yourself!

The random winner of last week's Ping System blog is MasterElodin!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha! You have a full week to leave a comment. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner next Tuesday. Don’t have a forum account? It takes less than a minute to join!

Also, the random winner of our Javelin Throwers blog is going to be chosen on Friday, so there's still time to enter!
iamisom

ping-Blog.jpg



O-A! Pings are back in Dungeon Defenders II, and we’ve made several improvements to their design and functionality to help you communicate with ease.

In the first Dungeon Defenders, pings were only on your person, and only the basic “O-A” ping existed. This was great if you needed help, but these limitations could not account for situations where you might want to instruct other players in more detail. For example, if you needed a Spike Blockade placed in a specific location, or if you wanted someone’s attention in another lane, you had to walk over to that spot, press the Ping Key, and then type in the chat what you pinged for. Not exactly intuitive.

With these issues in mind, we’ve made two major changes to the ping system: separating pings from the player, and creating context-sensitive pings.

ping_gif2



We Claim This Land!
Pings are no longer tied to your location. You can ping as near or as far away from yourself as you want! Press the Ping Key to activate a preview of the ping, then select where you want to place it -- just like a defense.

At the moment, pings are represented by flags that slam down from the heavens and pierce the ground, which -- let’s be honest -- is pretty cool. But it isn’t as intuitive as we’d like. Some new players have been understandably confused by the sudden, repeated appearance of a flag, which ultimately defeats the purpose of the system.

We’re thinking about going back to the graphical display from DD1 to better communicate the purpose of the ping. This goes hand-in-hand with our new context-sensitive pings!

UDKGame 2014-04-30 15-20-28-12.avi.Still001
This menu is in-progress and temporary.



A Little Less Conversation, A Little More Action
Now you can use hotkeys to give more in-depth information about your ping. When you press the Ping Key, a menu of ping options will appear. You can activate the Basic Ping from here, or you can navigate the menu with keyboard shortcuts to select an Action Ping. There are now Action Pings for building defenses (including what type of defense you need), repairing and upgrading defenses, and defending/attacking specific lanes. Both the Basic Ping and the Action Ping will create a line of text in the chat that corresponds with the ping -- for example, “Need a Blockade here!”

The contextual ping system maximizes communication between players, so that even if you’re in a game with someone you’ve never met, you’ll know exactly what they need the moment they ping the map. This feature has already seen a ton of use in the Defense Council, and the feedback has been extremely positive on the conceptual level.

There’s still lots of work to do on the system, of course. Players are having problems noticing the pings on the minimap, and in some levels the flag is hard to see. But we plan to address those concerns and try out new things to make the ping system easy and rewarding to use.

What do you guys think? Should we change pings back to the simple icons we had in DD1? Should context-sensitive pings use different art? Would you use this system instead of voice chat to communicate clearly and effectively? Let us know!

The random winner of our Dark Assassin blog is Sinamoi!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. This time, you have a full week to leave a comment! We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner next Tuesday!

We have two other Defense Council code giveaways: one on our Facebook page and the other on our Twitter. That's three chances to win!"
Blacksmith

javelin-Blog.jpg



The life of a young Javelin Thrower in the Old Ones’ army is hard work. Since birth these adorable-looking critters are told to focus on one thing and one thing only -- beefing up the strength in their right arm. All in hopes of being drafted into the army to get that one throw that might pierce through the Heroes’ defenses and shatter an Eternia Crystal. Or at least that’s how I imagine it.

hero_Hitjav.gif



“Just Like Brad Pitt in Troy”

The Javelin Thrower is designed to be a medium-to-long range Artillery style enemy. He bombards your defenses with a massive, high-speed Javelin that can pierce several targets in one throw, depending on the tier. The Javelin is weakened by each target it impacts, doing less and less damage until it finally shatters.

But the Javelin isn’t just designed to slice through defenses. The Javelin Thrower can hurl his weapon from a very long distance, and if there aren’t enough targets for the javelin to pierce through, he could easily damage your cores.

jav_Social-1024x576.jpg



Bringing Out the Whimsy

The Javelin Thrower is certainly one of our more whimsical creatures, and thanks to the art team, it shows. They really wanted to push the goofy and lighthearted nature of the Javelin Thrower, from its disproportioned figure to its facial expression, animations, and even sound effects.

What do you think about the Javelin Thrower? What sort of name should we give him, and what do you think happens to the poor young Javelin Throwers who don’t make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!

The random winner of our Pings blog is going to be chosen on Tuesday of next week, so there is still time to enter!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. You have a full week to leave a comment! We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner next Friday! Don't have a forum account? It takes less than a minute to join!
LaurawantsaCow

Apprentice-Blog.jpg



So far we’ve given you a preview of the Squire, the Huntress, and the Monk. Now it’s time to introduce the Apprentice!

After the events of the original Dungeon Defenders, the Apprentice finally proved he was ready to attend the Magic Academy and further his studies. While his dedication to the magic arts troubled his father, his pursuit of knowledge never wavered. He channeled that resolve into perfecting his craft, and although he’s not the strongest hero physically, he makes up for it by having a devastating and diverse toolkit of elemental defenses and abilities.

cyc1.gif



Get Lifted
Have you ever wanted to rock someone like a hurricane? Well, the Apprentice can make it happen! With a swift flick of his wrist, he conjures up a cyclone that spirals toward enemies. The Cyclone sweeps up any foes in its path, suspending them in the air while its lightning deals Storm damage over time. While suspended, the enemies are vulnerable to any anti-air defenses, and take extra damage if affected by water debuffs. Once the Cyclone disappears, they crash to the ground taking smashing damage, which leads us to….

frostgif3.gif



Ice Ice Baby
Alright stop, collaborate and listen. The Apprentice is back with a brand new invention: The Frostbite Tower. This tower shoots a beam of frost that damages an enemy and freezes them over time. Once frozen, the enemy can be shattered and killed instantly by defenses and abilities that deal smashing damage (see above). Not all enemies are built the same, though: Smaller enemies freeze much faster than larger enemies, so keep that in mind when lining up a combo for this tower.

Knock_back2.gif



Momma Said Knock You Back
Don't call it a comeback. This wall has been here for years. What used to be the Magic Blockade in the original Dungeon Defenders has evolved along with the Apprentice, turning into the Arcane Barrier. This defense blocks the path of enemies and uses magic to periodically knock back any that try to get past. Taking a page from the Monk’s book of tricks, the Apprentice can position this barricade so that it points toward a nearby ledge, knocking enemies straight to their demise. It also does great when paired with high-damage, low-health defenses, as the knockback gives them more time to unleash their power without fear of being damaged in return.

Now that you’ve seen Hero Previews for all four of our main heroes, tell us what you think about them in the comments below and you could win a seat on the Defense Council!

The random winner of our PC Giveaway Winners blog is CBlue413!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
Guest

combo-Blog.jpg



The visual style of the original Dungeon Defenders was quite memorable, but not really for the right reasons. More in the “Wow those colors sure are… Noticeable!” way. The running joke was that the visuals of the game sometimes reminded everyone of a bag of Skittles that had materialized out of one of those jet-powered blenders. Part of this was because the development cycle only allowed for time to create and commit visual effects (VFX), not necessarily polish them. While I’m extremely proud of my work, I felt the finished product could have been more cohesive overall.

For DD2, we’re taking the extra time to ensure the highest possible quality in our game. Even before the pre-production phase started, our artists were determined to deliver visual effects that were extremely stylistic, elegant, and polished. VFX in DD2 would be unique and recognizable, acting as an accent to the art and immersing players in the experience.

Creating Visually Satisfying Combos
When it came time to develop DD2’s combat, we wanted players to seek out and look forward to complex interactions. To do that, we created a combo system for devastating enemy minions that was both visually rewarding and fun to use.

Our first challenge was to conceptualize how these interactions might look. My personal favorite is the water + electricity combo. In this combo, once a minion is hit by the drenched debuff, it becomes vulnerable to electric-type damage and is stunned while lightning arcs through it.

electro2_1V1.gif


Yes, that’s a lightning elemental sword. And yes, it actually does something cool now!


In this particular example, our FX team had to come up with a solution for not only an emitter-based electricity effect that would play on the enemy, but also a material-based electrocution overlay, as depicted in the GIF above.

Our minion materials were already designed so that when an enemy is set on fire, oiled, drenched, or poisoned, you see the effect on the character model itself. Because we wanted a similar debuff effect for electrocution, we needed to add that state for each minion’s material.

editor1.gif


This orc is just doomed to die a horribly painful death.


This material effect went through two iterations. Initially, we decided to depict it so that lightning played over a dark ‘scorched’ enemy, but in our first FX review, we realized this was too subdued and wasn’t giving enough incentive for players to activate the combo. So we decided to add a pulsing electric overlay to the minions. That coupled with particle-based glow and lightning beams allowed us to reach something pretty cool and immersive.

This process was a great example of a multidisciplinary effort coming together successfully. With everyone on the team dedicated to polishing the visual effects, we achieved something we feel is a great example of what’s to come in Dungeon Defenders II.

We can’t wait for you to experience the immensely satisfying combos we’ve got in store for you. Leave a comment below and tell us what combo you’d most like to see and you could win a spot on the Defense Council!

The random winner of our DD2 at PAX East blog is abbazabba!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
Blacksmith


Greetings, Defenders!

The Old One’s army is full of diverse enemies, each fulfilling a unique -- and sometimes specialized -- role. This week’s reveal introduces an enemy that’s completely different from anything we’ve shown you before. So far, it’s the only enemy that doesn’t directly attack you or your defenses at all. Let’s take a look at the Witherbeast!

An Enemy With a Very Specific Purpose

The Witherbeast is designed to reinforce the principle that the player’s attention is the most valuable resource in Dungeon Defenders II. He’s a menacing, bulky creature that moves quickly and has low health compared to our other enemies. Instead of attacking outright, this beast rushes your clustered defenses and begins to burrow.

witherbeastburrow.gif



As soon as he starts to dig, he becomes harder to kill, gaining a large boost to his health and armor. But that’s only the beginning! If you don’t manage to kill him before he’s fully burrowed, you’ll soon understand why he’s called a “wither” beast.

Withering Your Defenses One Dig At a Time

Once he’s fully burrowed, he plants himself into the ground and emits a pulse that cripples any defenses around him, causing them to take more damage.

witherbeastpulse.gif



While he’s busy making it much easier for enemies to smash through your defenses, he becomes even harder to kill. His health regenerates so much that in our internal co-op games he often requires a focused effort to take down. Once the Witherbeast burrows, he will never resurface. To avoid players hunting for them at the end of the Combat Phase, we plan to have them self-destruct if they’re the only enemies left, damaging nearby defenses in the process.

Everything about this enemy is designed so players will react to it immediately. When these creatures enter the battlefield, we want you to be faced with a very clear choice: Do I stop what I’m doing right now to deal with this threat? Or do I set up defenses that can delay his ability to burrow? That’s a question only you can answer, and it will change from game to game--maybe even from moment to moment.

We’re still working on the specifics, though -- especially in regards to his detonation -- so if you have any comments on this new enemy, leave them below! We’re also looking for ideas on what to name him, and where this creature might have originated.

The random winner of our Core/Subcore Destruction blog is Ioxp!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
LaurawantsaCow

Dungeon-Defenders-2-traps-Blog.jpg



Environmental Traps are a fun new feature in Dungeon Defenders II, and one that we're continuously fine-tuning as we create new levels. When we first started building levels for DD2, we wanted to provide interesting motivations for players to move around the map during combat. We also wanted to think about how players could place defenses that synergize with the maps. We decided to try out a concept of traps built into the level's construction that players could use to their advantage.

Traps that are pre-built into the maps:

  • Encourage players to learn the traps and, by extension, to learn the map.
  • Encourage players to move around the map to use them.
  • Provide a wildcard to help players regain control in an emergency.
  • Add choice to the action gameplay and to defense placement.


Our First Attempts

We tried a number of different concepts for how traps could work mechanically. An early version of Greystone Plaza had a group of archers across the top wall and the player could switch which lane they were firing at. This trap didn't work so well because it wasn't that gratifying to use. Another early draft had steel floor grates that could be shot out, dropping enemies into the lava beneath -- but this didn't work because players spent more time using the grates to kill each other than enemies. In the end, the most satisfying traps tended to be those that had a lot of punch to them and those that encouraged tactical timing or positioning.

Dungeon-Defenders-2-dynomitee.gif



After we had built a few levels with compelling traps in them, it became clear to us that traps weren't quite powerful enough. When players disengage to fire a trap, they are giving up their own DPS in order to use the trap -- so without sufficient lethality, players didn't want to disengage and risk losing control of a lane.

For example, given the choice between these two traps:

  • A trap that can be used frequently to low effect, or
  • A trap that can be used infrequently to high effect


Players almost always preferred the latter trap because its use was more engaging, less tedious, and felt more powerful and fun.

In another example, given the choice between these two traps:

  • A trap that fires a constant, high-DPS stream while the player holds down the attack trigger, or
  • A trap that fires a single, high-damage explosive burst when triggered


Players generally preferred the second type of trap in this case, as well, even if the first trap was actually more powerful. The fire-and-forget trap allowed them to be in control of the situation instead of pinned in one location.

Refining the Idea

One of our most engaging traps is the water trap in Siphon Site D, which blasts enemies off the walkway with a high pressure shot of water. This trap was a lot of fun to use in early tests, even though the visuals were extremely basic when it was first built. Like many of the other successful trap designs, it is quick to activate, slow to recharge, and has a very high impact effect with rewarding visuals. And, as a bonus, you get to watch enemies plummet to their deaths.

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Greystone Plaza now features a dynamite trap that sets off multiple, high-yield explosions and starts fires in the nearby area. This trap was also selected for its high impact and larger recharge times. When properly timed, it can wipe out dozens of enemies and belch out a sea of damage.

Most of our levels now contain traps that have a long cooldown time, but a high payoff. We're looking to make traps that are both spectacular to watch and fun to use -- nothing beats the excitement of seeing what a trap does to enemies the very first time. The Valley's gate trap is another great example of this and a favorite conversation topic at our first internal playtest for the Valley map.

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As we continue to build traps, we’re keeping these fundamental design principles in mind. We can’t wait for you to try them out and feel first-hand how satisfying it is to bombard a horde of Orcs and Goblins with dynamite, or to freeze and shatter a group of Wyverns. Do you have any ideas for traps that you’d like to see in the future? Let us know in the comments and you could win a seat on the Defense Council!

The random winner of our Q.A. blog is mordyo!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
Luska Arco

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Defenders! Welcome to another edition of QA’s bug blog: Ninety-Nine Problems But A Bug Ain’t One [working title]. We’ve got a great bug this month: A mysterious, truly awe-inspiring issue that seemed to affect players at random!

Fire in the Dungeon! Fire in the Deeper Well!

For seemingly no reason, players began to burst into flames. We’re not talking a little spark, either. I mean this was undeniably, spectacularly broken and unignorable. This happened so infrequently that for a long time we couldn’t reproduce it with any reliability.

Let me put it into perspective. You’re playing the game with friends, having a good time. You notice one of the sub-objectives is being swarmed. The exchange goes something like this:

"We need a hand by the East Gate Lock," you say, pinging the map.

"I'm on my way," they answer, rushing to your side. "Incoming Heroic Wave!"

As the horde falls at your feet, you celebrate your hard-earned victory. "Yeah! We rule. Towers for days. Orcs got no game."

And while you're taking a victorious swig of your brand soda of choice, you turn back towards your monitor and see...

[video=youtube_share;Ix4Nr76q40Y]http://youtu.be/Ix4Nr76q40Y[/video]



...And so you say something to the effect of: “Sweet sassy molassy! щ(゜ロ゜щ) What’s happening?!”

Just as quickly as it appeared, it ceases. Not only was this bug very rare, occurring maybe one in every thirty games, but it was such a distraction that it completely captivated us, even though the fire visual effects only lasted two or three seconds at most. We gathered no new information as to what caused it or any steps to reliable see it again, so it slipped through our fingers for a while.

We had to extinguish this bug. We focused up, and after some time, we managed to get it to happen again. We found out it was due to a specific part of our Town Square map, specifically an animation, or what level designers call a “cinematic event,” that played as part of the background.

Bug Type: VFX
Time Spent On 100% Reproduction Rate: 4 months
Time Spent On Fix: 3 hours


After I saw the bug and began eliminating possible explanations, I remembered browsing through the internal build when I first started working here and going down each letter of the alphabet to find console commands. I found one for castleseige2 -- yes, siege is misspelled in the actual command line -- that made me catch on fire randomly, but I didn’t link the command to the bug since the fire didn’t happen right away. I had to do a lot of experimenting once I found the command, because using it once didn't give any results. It only made me burst into flames maybe once in every dozen times, so I used another command to keybind the castleseige2 cinematic event. Spamming the bound key made the bug happen within seconds, which gave us a reliable way to see it and fix it.

What happened was this: There’s an animation of cannonballs striking the castle in the background of that map on the northeast side that helps visually communicate the siege. This animation has different parts to it, like say, a fire visual. The frequency of the animation sometimes meant that the fire visual would sort of “overflow” and wouldn’t know where to go. For whatever reason, it went to the last thing that was affected by something with a particle effect, like fire from a goblin’s bomb, for instance. The end result was that it transferred to enemies and sometimes even heroes.

This bug is easily my new personal favorite. Easily. ( ̄︶ ̄)

Let us know what you think in the comments. This bug is fixed, but we’re interested in hearing how you might use this awesome superpower of random self-combustion. Maybe to roast a few marshmallows during your victory celebration? Tell us below, and you could win a seat on the Defense Council. Until next time!

The random winner of our Press blog is HPTSparky!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
LaurawantsaCow

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Last month we took you a bit deeper into the mind and arsenal of the Squire. If you’re reading this, you somehow survived the trip. We hope you’re ready for another, because this month we’re taking a closer look at the Huntress!

When she was younger, the Huntress spent her time learning to use a crossbow and making mischief with all sorts of traps. After making the journey to her destroyed homeland, she traded in her crossbow for an Elven-made longbow. The switch has only improved her marksmanship, as she can concentrate on a precise and well-aimed shot.

But devastating archery skills aren't the only thing she’s bringing to the table. Her toolkit is also equipped with ample crowd control, along with traps and defenses that deal burst damage as well as damage over time.

Geysertrap


It’s a Trap!


In the original Dungeon Defenders, the Huntress’ traps were primarily built for damage and could easily clear out cannon fodder in a lane. Some of these, like the Darkness Trap, helped control the flow of battle. These days, the Huntress is more aggressive in her means of crowd control. Her new Geyser Trap triggers a massive spout of water that blasts enemies into the air, delaying their pursuit of the core. It also makes them vulnerable to anti-air defenses like the Monk’s Sky Guard Tower, and applies a drenched debuff. If a drenched enemy is zapped by a Storm-infused weapon or defense, they’re immediately stunned, taking massive damage as lightning courses through them.

OilFlask


E.V.O.O -- Exceptionally Volatile (certified Organic!) Oil


The Geyser Trap isn’t the Huntress’ only means of control, or even her only tactic for supporting her allies! When the time is right, she chucks an Oil Flask at her enemies. It shatters on impact and coats foes in a thick layer of oil that slows their movement. Did we mention it’s highly flammable? Whether they’re ignited by the Huntress’ Piercing Shot or any other source of Fire damage, oiled enemies spread that fire, taking consistent damage while the Huntress picks them off with headshots as they amble toward her.

PoisonDartTower


That Girl is POISOOOOOOOON


But being a hero in Etheria means having a well-rounded arsenal, and for the first time, the Huntress has a true tower of her own: The Poison Dart Tower! This defense fires multiple poison-tipped projectiles into enemies, dealing immediate damage and afflicting them with a damage-over-time debuff. It can also tilt vertically, making it deadly to both land and air units, and especially lethal when placed behind a spawn point, allowing the Huntress to take out a good amount of enemies’ health even while they progress through a lane.

These are just some of the Huntress’ new abilities and defenses. True to her nature, the Huntress isn’t showing all of her cards, so you’ll have to be on your toes if you want to discover new tricks!

Now that you’ve seen what the Squire and the Huntress can do, what kind of combos can you come up with? Let us know in the comments section and you could get your hands on a Defense Council invite!

The random winner of our Puzzling Paralleltress blog is reyrey!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
bgoodsell


One of the challenges we faced in Dungeon Defenders II was creating interesting defenses that did not restrict our map design. While many defenses have no problem being placed on bridges, hills, or other sources of uneven terrain in our maps, there are a few that needed some additional tweaks. Today I’d like to discuss some of the steps we’ve taken to help our traps and auras look good on any type of terrain.

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Huntress Traps


In the original Dungeon Defenders, traps were just a decal on the ground. We decided to actually design the physical traps in DD2 so the effects would come from an existing structure. Unfortunately, a physical object designed to lay flat always assumes the ground is level, so it won’t look as good on uneven terrain. This results in object clipping.

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BeforeAfter_clipping-1024x576.jpg

For the Huntress's traps, we were able to fix this problem by aligning the trap to something called a surface normal. What this means is when you place a Blaze Balloon trap (for example) on a set of stairs, it automatically rotates to align itself with the surface underneath it. Once the defense has been adjusted, its visual effects still play in something called world space, which basically means up is up, so you won't have the balloon floating off sideways.

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Monk Auras


DD1 auras were an interesting problem to solve.

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We didn’t want to re-use the domes because of how much it visually overwhelmed the map. After careful experimentation, we re-purposed the dynamic decals we used for traps in the original Dungeon Defenders. This allowed the auras to be projected on and conform to any surface, which was really nice. Problem solved.

Boost_uneven-1024x576.jpg

The one issue we ran into was with the Lightning Aura. This defense is meant to shoot bolts of lightning toward the ground, but unfortunately it assumes a flat surface. While everyone on the team loved our initial pass, we had to get creative with our tweaks to make it conform to our design rules.

Old_lightningAura-1024x576.jpg

We solved this by using another Unreal system called beams. A beam works by procedurally creating geometry between two endpoints, one of which is always at the top of the defense. The other one we fire off into the world to detect the nearest surface it can interact with. Not only does this help simulate how lightning functions in the real world, but it helps the Lightning Aura that understands the surface, regardless of the location it is placed.

lightningAura_townsquare1-1024x576.jpg

Defenses orienting to and understanding the surfaces they’re placed upon is just the beginning. We have several other cool systems that give defenses more interesting and distinctive effects once they’re placed in the map. I look forward to sharing what we have learned and how we applied it in the future.

-Brian Goodsell, VFX Intern

The random winner of our Environmental traps blog is Ubara-tutu!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
LaurawantsaCow

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Dungeon Defenders II is coming to PAX East!

That’s right! From April 11th to 13th, the Trendy Team is heading to Boston, and we’re bringing the latest build of Dungeon Defenders II with us. We’ve been hard at work making tons of additions and improvements since our showing at NYCC, and we can’t wait for you to see them!

Stop by Booth [[4431,hashtags]] to play the game on one of our 16 stations, enter to win some awesome swag, and say hello to the team!

Test Your Skills and Win Prizes:
Bring your friends and try out two new maps on our custom Alienware gaming rigs. Earn raffle tickets and enter to win a Razer headset or mouse in one of our daily giveaways. Defenders can complete a special challenge at the booth to win an exclusive prize!

Get Some DD2 Goodies:
We also have tons of exclusive DD2 merch for sale. And don’t forget to pick up a raffle ticket when you stop by! We’ll be giving away plenty of T-shirts, mousepads, art prints, and more.

Hang Out With the Dev Team:
A large portion of the Trendy team will be making the trek to Boston to meet our fans. Whether you’re just dropping by to say hi or you have specific questions about our game, feel free to talk to any of us at the booth.

We can’t wait to see all of you on the PAX show floor!

The random winner of our Perils of an Uneven World blog is happyguy3216!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
Joesith

A Bold New World

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Recently, we overhauled our visual effects style in DD2. Our old VFX style used the soft shapes and smooth gradients from the first Dungeon Defenders, but it didn't match what the game was currently achieving in its art style. DD2 uses bold colors and hard shapes, especially in the way we design and build our worlds. Our amazing 2D Animator Alexey Mescherin was already using a more hard-edged and bold color style in his animated flipbooks, so we needed our basic particles and accent components to match that same style and feel. Our goal was to emphasize very simple shapes, simple gradients if any, and bold colors in our VFX.

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We went through our library of VFX assets and picked out the textures that no longer adhered to the visual style we wanted to achieve. I selected a group of textures that used soft shapes and gradients to experiment with. I brought these into Photoshop and played with ways to turn these textures into the hard-edged and bold look we wanted. I tried to find the basic shapes and elements of each texture to break them down to these core elements. I also made them uneven and nonuniform to bring more interest to the textures.

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Then I compared the old and new textures side-by-side with a slight blur added to make sure they still had a reasonable enough similarity between the two. Because we were replacing the old textures with these new ones, we didn’t want to completely change the intent and feel of the VFX.

We didn’t change every soft shape and gradient, though. There are some visual effects that we kept in the old, softer style. For example, we kept certain types of smoke and fog -- volumetric fog, candle smoke and distance fog/smoke -- in the old style for places that are more ambient and less volatile.

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Adjusting to this new style of VFX has been a major hit internally at Trendy, and we are continuing to move forward with it. The hard edges add a very nice banding to our VFX that really push the cartoony stylized feel we want to achieve with DD2. We hope you all enjoy this new approach with our VFX as much as we do!

How do you feel about the bold new VFX style? Tell us in the comments below, and you could win a pre-alpha code for Dungeon Defenders II! You have a full week to leave a comment. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner next Friday. Don’t have a forum account? It takes less than a minute to join!

Also, there's still time to enter the giveaway on the Javelin Thrower Boogie blog!
DanielKaMi


Greetings Defenders,

When thinking about what our community might like to see from our dev blogs, we often draw from topics that excite the team. This month, we’re sharing one that’s always been a conversation-starter: The process behind turning a bare-bones map into the beautiful level you see in game. Today we’ll be sharing how Nimbus Reach was designed, from start to finish.

Starting From White Box Levels

Nimbus Reach was a large undertaking, and it all started with a layout made by the level designers called a White Box. The main purpose of a White Box layout is to define the gameplay before going too far into the visuals. White Box levels have the fundamental gameplay elements: defined enemy lanes, objectives, Kismet integration, and the basic architecture of the map. Most of the geometry is created with primitives like cubes and cylinders, but sometimes temporary meshes are used for clarity. Once the White Box level for Nimbus Reach was done and properly tested by our team, we moved on to the next stage.

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Where We Get Our Inspiration

Before we can build any geometry, we have to have some inspiration and a strong idea of how the final map should look. This is where our talented concept team comes in. At this stage in the process, they create concept sketches and mood shots to inspire the rest of the developers. Later on, they paint over the geometry to show new assets that need to be built or any tweaks that need to be made.

How We Build

Once the concept artists have given us an end goal to work toward, we study the initial layout and make it more visually interesting by replacing the basic primitives (cubes, cylinders, etc) with more complex shapes and curves. In the process of doing this we have to be very careful to keep the gameplay intact, especially the enemy lanes and the objectives.

We always start working with the floor areas first, because enemy lanes are one of the most important things on our levels and they define the final gameplay. In the picture below you can see an example where we did a complete ground path mesh based on the initial White Box layout which is defined by the red lines. In this example, a basic shape is turned into a finished, vertex-painted mesh in Maya.

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So this is for the basic geometry of the level -- floors, walls, ceilings, etc. -- but there are other types of geometry we don't need to create from scratch. These are based on our environment artists’ work.

They create new meshes with superb, hand-painted textures based on concepts for every level. And although most of these new pieces are modular, sometimes we need to make modified versions to fit them to complex areas of the level. This can done in 3D software using blend deformers like lattices, curves, and also the classic modelling tools.

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Adding the Lighting

After the geometry is created and placed, we then need to add lighting to the map. In DD2, we’re trying to define strong focal points by creating depth. Lighting plays an extremely important role in this, and not just visually. Good lighting should help players find the critical areas in the level, while drawing attention away from less important areas.

The Final Result

Once all of that is done, the map is passed off to the VFX artists where it’s really brought to life. You can see the final result and the evolution of Nimbus Reach in the picture below, from the White Box layout to the final level.

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And here’s another example from Little-Horn Valley:

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It takes a lot of hard work and a team full of dedicated artists and designers, but we’re extremely proud of the level of polish we’ve achieved with our maps and hope to bring you the same quality in the future.

Of the maps revealed thus far, which would you like to see from start to finish? Let us know in the comments and you could win a seat on the Defense Council!

The random winner of our Witherbeast blog is Satori!

Leave a comment to get your hands on the Dungeon Defenders II pre-alpha. We’ll pick a random poster and reveal the winner in our next blog post!
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