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New Reveal: Spec Nodes!

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Blacksmith

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Spec-Nodes-Blog

Greetings Defenders,

In last week’s blog, we teased a new feature in the game called Spec Nodes. You may have asked yourself, “What are these mythical nodes? What do they do?”

A New Way to Upgrade Your Hero

The Spec Node system is our new hero upgrading system in Dungeon Defenders II. Spec Nodes allow you to pick and choose which aspects of your hero you want to empower and build around. You can change how a defense operates (a Flameburst Tower that shoots double fireballs!), how an attack works (stun enemies with the Monk’s ranged attack!) and much, much more.

UI

Improving Player Choice

Putting points into individual stats was nice in DD1, but the system didn’t provide any choice beyond, “Which stats do I want to increase?” For DD2, we wanted to make a leveling system that provides meaningful, interesting choices for players from the first hour to the thousandth hour of play. We hope this system will provide a diverse set of options that will encourage alternate playstyles. Most importantly, we wanted to put the meta of the game in your hands so you can discover how Specs combine with different stats and special stats (see, future blog) to achieve a unique build for a hero.

How It Works

Starting at level five, you’ll earn at least one point to invest in these Specs. Every point you spend makes the Spec stronger based on a diminishing returns formula. You can perpetually put all your points into one Spec or spread them around. Going back to a previous example, imagine a Spec that has a chance to make the Flameburst Tower shoot two fireballs. Every point you invest increases that chance.

We will be introducing the system to the Defense Council with six unique Spec Nodes per hero. For example, the Apprentice has a Spec to improve his Earthshatter Tower. This is a long-range, area-of-effect tower, but if you invest points into the Earthshatter Spec, you’ll gain a percentage chance to knock enemies into the air. By knocking up enemies, you can slow their progress to the core and combo it with a frost + geyser freezing combo to shatter frozen enemies, dealing tons of damage. Or you could place Skyguard towers to destroy enemies flying in the air.



Or say you’re building a more tanky, damage-focused Squire (which is my go-to build at the moment). You can invest in the Riposte Spec, which grants a chance to hurt enemies when they strike you. Or you can invest in the Fight Me Not Spec, which gives defenses an extra bonus damage to enemies who are currently fighting you. This is great to use in concert with your Provoke ability, which taunts nearby enemies, to kite enemies around while your defenses wail on them. Or, why not both? The choice is up to you! (The names of these Specs are temporary. Our creative director/lead designer pulled them out of his butt on a dark and stormy night.)

Squire_knockback

The Rest is Up to You (and Us)

This is only the beginning for Spec Nodes. We still have a ways to go to achieve our goals. We are constantly adding new specs and removing unpopular ones. We still haven’t decided the final number of Specs for each hero. There are also many other systems that will tie into Specs (item upgrading, rare loot drops!) that we will be working on in the future, along with some other neat ideas that we’re still mulling about. One such idea is to give players a large pool of Specs to choose from and let them choose which ones to give to their heroes.

So, leave a comment here with some Spec Nodes ideas you would like to see in DD2! Danny and I will review all your posts and pick out our top 3 favorite suggestions. Not only will we give the top suggestors Defense Council codes, but we’ll also explore the potential of adding the suggestions into the game! No promises, though.
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