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DEV LOG 98 — REFORGING, UPGRADING, AND EVOLUTION!

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LAWLTA

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Greetings Defenders,

Our second DevLog has arrived as promised! These DevLogs are going to build upon one another, making the order of their reveals very important. If you have not had the pleasure of reading our previous one, click here. It makes a lot more sense if you understand what’s going on and why these additions and changes are important.

In the previous DevLog we talked about giant changes to stats and gear in Dungeon Defenders II. Every piece of gear is going to be affected by these changes. Critical chance, critical damage, and speed are revamped; base damage is boosted to compensate for these changes; and gear is gaining magical properties. These features and changes are to allow players to build how they want to and have the tools needed to take on challenges they encounter with the heroes they enjoy.

This isn’t going to be our last DevLog for this update, but there is a ton to cover here. The things we are covering in this DevLog continue to increase what we are able to do as we release future content. Enjoy!

A Quick Note From Elandrian

Colin Fisher (Elandrian) — Associate Producer

Hey, Everyone!
Just a quick check-in from me to make sure expectations are clear!  All the features mentioned in this post are still work in progress/in development and shifting based on feedback and theming with our expansion. The names of the features may change, but the overall goal and core functionality will most likely remain the same.

I hope everyone appreciates the additional beans that Mark and Jose provide today.  Beans are weird. Did you know the first game I worked on was as a designer for a certain popular baked beans brand’s website? True story.  Anyways, back to spilling.

Sincerely,
Elandrian

REFORGING AND UPGRADING!

Mark Telfer — Technical Designer

Hey, Defenders!

In the last dev blog, we left you with some juicy tidbits about how we are revamping the gear system and adding new magical properties. If you haven’t read that one, go check it out now! At the end of the previous Devlog, I promised more bean spillage, and it’s time to deliver (TE-liver™)!

Magical Property Reforging

I’ve had the pleasure of playing a ton of the new content coming to DD2, and I’m having too much fun finding and utilizing the new magical properties on gear. I even found one awesome property that let my defenses counter those pesky Cyborks I was fighting! Truly some great stuff! I fell in love with the relic that the property was on and knew I wanted to perpetually bask in its intrinsic majesty. That is, I thought I did, until I found another relic with an equally amazing property a few minutes later. So there I was, staring down the barrel of a gut-wrenching choice. In a moment of passion, should I spurn my beloved Cybork-countering property for the new relic, or do I thwart this temptation and preserve the ardent bond I have with my current relic. I don’t know about you, Defenders, but my delicate little heart just can’t handle decisions like these. I knew that for the sake of Etheria, I had to protect all heroes from such agonizing choices. And besides, I’ve always been the type that wants to have his cake and eat it too.

So with that, I have one simple question for you, Defenders. Do you also like to have your cake and eat it too? Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could discover two incredible properties on separate pieces of gear, and bring them together in a glorious union? With great pleasure, I can announce Magical Property Reforging, which lets you do just that. Cake for everyone!

Property Reforging empowers you to transfer properties from one piece of gear to another. Prepare to get crazy, creative, and experimentative! The only barrier between you and a perfect combinations of properties is your imagination! Fear not, for you don’t have to pray for an item drop that naturally possesses perfect combinations of properties. You, yes you, can mix and match them to your heart’s content. You don’t like a property on your favorite weapon?  Overwrite that sucker with a better one. Want to give that weapon a boost! Throw a new property into a slot that rolled blank! Did you find a more powerful version of a property you are already using? Purge it for the better one!

So how exactly does this bad boy work, you ask? Well first, you must defend Etheria and reap the sweet, sweet gear rewards for doing so. Once you find two (or more) magical properties you want that reside on separate pieces of gear, head over to the town or tavern. Find a brand new character populating the town who loves to tinker with things, and initiate a Reforge.  From the reforge screen, you select gear that you want to transfer properties from and gear that you want to transfer properties onto. You can then transfer any number of properties from one gear to another so long as there are available property slots. Once you’ve concocted a marauding masterpiece, confirm the transfer and get back to showing the enemies of Etheria who’s boss! Be careful though, the gear you transfer properties from gets destroyed by the reforging process and only the gear that you transferred properties onto survives.

You can transfer properties between two pieces of gear so long as certain guidelines are followed:

  • Properties must be transferred between two pieces of gear of the same type (both are weapons, or relics, or helmets, etc).

  • The gear you are transferring properties from must be earned in a Chaos difficulty that is at or below the Chaos difficulty of the gear you are transferring properties onto (i.e. you can transfer properties from Chaos V to Chaos VII gear, but not the other way around).

  • All properties on a piece of gear must be unique.

  • Only one elemental attunement is present.

Other than that, the sky's the limit!

Now I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, “Mark! I’ve seen you on the devstream before!  You’re a smart, good-looking, cool, weird-looking, strong, Mark-looking guy, but pray tell, you’ve overlooked something here!  All of the new gear properties and reforging sound great, but what good is all of this if I’m currently progressing through DD2?  I get a lot of gear upgrades each map. Doesn’t this mean all my gear and the effort I make reforging will quickly become obsolete?”  Well, dear reader, you are correct. I am indeed weird-looking. You are also correct in that this does pose a challenge to this new gear system. The challenge here is what I like to call gear permanence, or in the case of the current live game, the lack thereof.  

Gear Permanence and You!

One of the reasons I love working on (and more importantly playing) Dungeon Defenders II is because of how unique of a game it is. One of these unique aspects is how we handle hero progression after you reach level 50. As you test your might in Chaos Trials, gear is progression. Cumulative and incremental progress to your heroes comes in the form of a consistent flow of new item drops that possess increasingly higher gear scores. Equipping those items on a frequent basis raises your champion score, and building champion score unlocks new challenges for you to take head-on.

This system is pretty cool, but it’s not conducive to long-term attachment to a specific piece of gear. Since the Barbarian’s Wrath update, the loot system assures that the plethora of gear you earn continuously rolls higher gear scores so long as you’re playing at the appropriate difficulty. Throughout the course of even one map, you’re likely to see higher gear scores for a given slot many times over. This meant that swapping gear several times in one map would be a formidable progression strategy. The current system encourages, and in fact rewards you, for constantly swapping to new gear with a higher gear score.  This system results in gear being ephemeral during progression and furthermore, relegates all of the new gear we are creating to nothing more than a short-term decision.

That’s not what gear in Dungeon Defenders II should be. Equipping behavior should be a result of careful and meaningful deliberation which rewards the opportunity to carve out a creative and unique playstyle. Having to constantly swap gear makes this deliberation fruitless and frivolous. We knew that if we are truly going to make the gear revamp meaningful, we must allow players to keep their favorite gear long-term and ensure the gear remained viable in the process. Essentially, we had to ensure that players had the freedom to make gear permanent if they desired.


Equipment Upgrading and Evolution

At the heart of creative and diverse gameplay is freedom. Freedom means emancipating players from constraints that would otherwise impede their goals as heroes of Etheria. Based on this sentiment, we’ve totally revamped the equipment upgrading system, and it is with great pleasure that I can announce the brand new system that will take its place: Upgrading and Evolution!

Now what do I mean when I say freedom?  Buckle up! Our new system literally lets you take the first piece of gear you ever earn in Campaign and power it up to a strength that is greater than the current Chaos VII gear cap in the game. That’s right, Defenders. If you find any awesome piece of equipment that you like, you can keep it viable for as long as you want. Do you love the Harbinger’s shield that you get for completing campaign? You can power that bad boy up beyond the Chaos VII cap.  Do you love a property the way I love the Cybork-countering property? Upgrade the gear that it’s on and power it up beside you as you progress.

So how does all of this work? Like I said earlier, the current upgrading system will be replaced. Gone are the days where you have a small amount of upgrade levels that max out.  Instead, you will be able to take your chosen piece of gear through a two-step process called (new) upgrading, and evolution.


(New) Upgrading!

Every piece of gear will track the chaos level that it was dropped in. As you know, each Chaos has a gear score range that can drop, a min and a max if you will. That range will be abstracted to a meter on our new upgrading screen. Filling this meter will power your gear from the min to the max of the corresponding Chaos range. If you get a gear drop whose gear score falls somewhere between the min and the max, meter levels will automatically be awarded retroactively. Filling that meter substantially beefs you up and makes your enemies cower before your fortitude. Once that meter has been filled and you’re at the max of that Chaos level’s range, you’re not done —you’re ready to Evolve!


Evolution!

Okay! So your gear is beefed up, and you’re at the maximum gear score possible from the Chaos level the gear was dropped in. It’s time to evolve! Evolution allows you to break that gear past its current Chaos level and bring that gear up to the minimum of the next Chaos level. Magical properties see a massive strength increase when you perform an evolution to ready you for the next challenge that you undertake. The upgrade meter then is set back down to 0.  You can keep repeating this process for as long as you wish to keep using a piece of gear. You can even use this process to evolve gear past Chaos VII! MIGHTY POWER AWAITS!


Upgrading and Evolution Costs

Currency cost, especially gold costs, will be substantially different than our current upgrade costs. You can spend currency for each upgrade/evolution you preform. Currency isn’t all you’re going to need to do this though…

New and powerful materials have been discovered across Etheria that make power boosts like this possible. With this update, these materials drop in specific maps and at specific difficulties as you defend Etheria from the goblin legion. Gather these materials up because they empower you to perform these brand new upgrades and evolutions.  


The Road to Freedom!

So at this point you might be saying to yourself, “I want to gather as many of these awesome materials up as possible, but Mark just said that they only drop on specific maps.  Right now, I can’t just choose a specific map I want to play, especially in Chaos Trials. Isn’t that a problem?” Defenders, I wasn’t kidding when I said that we are striving to give you the freedom to play the way you want. I’m going to let Jose take it from here and make our next big announcement. That said, I’ll leave you with this:  Jose, the rest of the team, and I STILL aren’t done revealing all of the big things that are coming in this next update. We seriously have even bigger features to announce in the future. I can’t wait for more bean spillage to occur.

Love,
Mark

EXPEDITIONS!

Jose Villegas — Technical Designer

Hey everyone! Last week’s Dev Log was all about the changes to the core systems of Dungeon Defenders II. Now, let me tell you about the new stuff we are making, and things to get you even more excited for the future of the game.

One of the long standing pain points for the community has been the lack of map choice in Chaos Trials. With this in mind, I’m excited to tell you we have taken a look at this and the Trials are finally over. You now have Expeditions.

Expeditions take the same encounters that you have grown to love (and hate) from Trials, but adds the ability to choose any map you want to play. Actually, we have taken one step further and allow you to select any map that was previously unavailable to that Chaos level!

This new game mode also ties into our improved Upgrade system that we are unveiling today. In order for you to upgrade your items, and reforge your properties around, you must gather all sort of materials across Etheria. Each type of map (Town, Spooky, Castle, Forest, Ruins, and Dungeon) award you with different materials, so make sure to play all of them.

There are still a few secrets we are keeping before the release of the update, so make sure to keep coming back in the following weeks for more info!

Essentially,
Jose

A Further Look to the Horizon!

Alec Saare (Lawlta), Community Manager and Bean Overlord

Hey All,

As promised, the beans continue to floweth! The systems discussed here build upon all of the things we discussed in the previous DevLog (found here). There’s still more information coming (wuuuuuut), and as you can expect, it builds upon everything covered here! Crazy, right?

We talked about some major systems in the game here today. One of the common issues presented talking with all of you is that gear doesn’t feel special and that it doesn’t really matter until you’re maxed out. These changes are to help address that, and we are confident you’ll enjoy what we’re cooking up. Also Expeditions providing map choice, where have I seen that requested before? :)  Your feedback is invaluable to the things we create. Though it takes time, we are always listening and trying to get everything possible into the game. Keeping your feedback constructive and objective makes it easier to find the things that matter most, and ways to implement it so that you not only enjoy it, but utilize potential new or additional systems. Now you may be thinking, what else could they possibly talk about next time with these changes. Here’s a small hint:  there’s an aspect of gear you all use currently that we haven’t talked about yet. Is that vague enough? I think that’s vague enough. You’ll have to wait for the next DevLog to find out!

If you want a sneak peak (as well as helping us polish things before release), our testing groups are just for you! There’s so much coming, and every bit helps to make this expansive update great.

Smooches,
Lawlta

Want More Info On What’s Coming?

Check us out on social media for additional updates and game discussions with our awesome community:

We’re going to give even more details very soon! Our designers are excited to continue sharing what they are working on and explain what changes are coming and why. Stay tuned!

For Etheria!

The Dungeon Defenders II Team

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Sounds good but.....but....what about our current gears we took so long to grind, will we have to start over again like i already did  a couple times (not talking about onslaught) 

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So many beans! O.o

While I was fine with the rate of communication of new content before, I am appreciative of the extra effort Trendy is making to give us a glimpse of the future.  :) Thanks :)

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@uzar quote:

I am interested to see what this really means ,  place a proton beam on every lane and walk way ?

 I even found one awesome property that let my defenses counter those pesky Cyborks I was fighting! 

Or cannon, or PDT, or even just keep using the bees. What we are finally getting are choices. Some people want to only use 1 or 2 defenses and some people want to spam whatever map endlessly and nobody should care because they should be able to play how they want to play. 

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The fact that apparently I will be able to choose any map I want in trials has me genuinely excited. As long as these expeditions aren't 3 maps long >:)

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Sounds very exciting, cant wait!

Couple of questions:

and power it up to a strength that is greater than the current Chaos VII gear cap in the game

I think how this is done is the most important part of the update. Is it going to essentially create a de-facto Chaos 8 tier, but then that's the new hard ceiling? Or, is it (potentially) infinite progression? Or something in between?

I do hope its not the former, people will power to that ceiling quickly and then after a short while be just as bored as they are now. The latter would require other changes of course, but its certainly my preference if its workable. I appreciate the new properties and evolution will create far more options, and more scope for creativity (which is great, am really excited), but will that alone be enough to sate players appetites for better gear? More gear variation does not necessarily mean better gear, it means more variation. Bumping C7 to an effective C8 makes it better yes, but its a bit pointless if you're just creating a new ceiling, its no different to how it is now.

I guess with DD1 there was a hard ceiling for gear, but it was so damn hard, and took so damn long, to get enough resources to power the gear up to that level, the ceiling was suitably unattainable, and that worked imo.


Secondly, I'm keen to understand if the changes will help casual players progress. Currently an Onslaught floor is about an hour and a half for me, and I don't really have that kind of continuous time available. My windows are usually 0-60 minutes at a time. Jumping in for a map or two suits me, but its very boring as there is no point (no better gear to get, not enough time to pass a floor).

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Everything is very cool and promising. However there is something very frustrating, you complete 4 waves, in 5 you lose and then you have to start all over again. Why can not we save the waves as we overcome them?

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