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Jonzor

Open letter to Trendy

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A guy I know and used to play a little DunDef with wrote an open letter to Trendy about his experiences with the first game.

Some people may remember me, I used to deposit an awful lot of snarky comments in these forums back in the day. I played the original for... jeez... 1011 hours, according to Steam.

Wow... that's... that was too many hours on one game.

Anyway, I think the open letter is pretty much spot on across the board. The bigger DunDef got, the less put-together it seemed, and I think it caused a number of problems brought up here.

So, give it a read. I would honestly REALLY like to hear some thoughts from Trendy about real solutions to the problems with the first game brought up here, but I would settle for a little community dialog.

(PS - towards the end, the letter contains a link to an OOOOOLLLLD thread I made containing a challenge for the devs/testers of DunDef. If I could offer one piece of advice to them now about making the sequel, it would be to actually undertake that little dare and see what they learn.)

http://www.meltedjoystick.com/gaming_blog_story.php?id=341

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In many cases this guy has some nigh-infallible points. And they're eloquently stated. Not that various users on the forums haven't posted these same points (many times just as eloquently) over the past few years. Let's hope the team at Trendy reads, and takes to heart, the sentiments echoed. ^_^ They have a good starting vision and a lot of know-how to work with this time around.

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See... that's kind of what worries me. Anyone who actually PLAYED DunDef as just a standard customer HAS to be able to see the logic there, right? And yet... those exact same issues were raised to Trendy over and over and over and over and over and over and over as most of the DLC was coming out and Trendy didn't do a THING about what the letter says.

So... while I believe it's OH SO OBVIOUS that the open letter is right... the points it raises have been ignored before.

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I agree with most of what he said in the article but does he really think hackers should have full access in ranked mode? That was one of my favorite parts of DD is that all the players that don't like to play serious (hackers and/or people that just like mess around with thier stats) are separated from people like me who want a fun and challenging experience that tests teamwork ability, strategic play, and stats. I agree though, why have negative stats at all? However he seemed to want the game way less stat focused. The whole reason I've played DD for 2100 hours is because the stat progression and quest to become more and more powerful is just so addicting. Yes the RNG needs to be fixed but it seemed like he just wanted it gone.

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I can't speak for him, but I imagine he'd feel the same as me about a lot of those questions:

Some people just aren't a fan of the random-loot styled games in general, and that's up to them. I can be, I've surely logged enough time in the Borderlands series and then Dungeon Defenders to prove it. But I think there's a line between random loot and wasted time, and Dungeon Defenders crossed it. Hard. And if you don't play a lot of random-loot games in general, and then play the original Dungeon Defenders, I can see how you'd swear off RNG games for good after that.

The reason for less-stat focused thinking was due to the fact that strategy very nearly completely broke down in Nightmare Mode. Aura stacks, Minion Walls, spend the rest on harpoons/traps, lather-rinse-repeat. When that was nearly the only way to win, the game became ONLY about stats.

Easy-Insane had the perfect balance of all the gameplay elements that DunDef was pulling in, so if you're curious about what he wants in gameplay, start new characters and play from beginning to the end of Insane Glitterhelm. The game absolutely SANG it was so well-made.

The gameplay was addicting, for sure, but that doesn't mean it was good, or fun. I'm not going to tell you how to spend your time, but if you had gotten to where you are currently in the game in 500 hours instead of 2100... would you argue with me if I told you that was a sign of better game design?

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I can't speak for him, but I imagine he'd feel the same as me about a lot of those questions:

Some people just aren't a fan of the random-loot styled games in general, and that's up to them. I can be, I've surely logged enough time in the Borderlands series and then Dungeon Defenders to prove it. But I think there's a line between random loot and wasted time, and Dungeon Defenders crossed it. Hard. And if you don't play a lot of random-loot games in general, and then play the original Dungeon Defenders, I can see how you'd swear off RNG games for good after that.

The reason for less-stat focused thinking was due to the fact that strategy very nearly completely broke down in Nightmare Mode. Aura stacks, Minion Walls, spend the rest on harpoons/traps, lather-rinse-repeat. When that was nearly the only way to win, the game became ONLY about stats.

Easy-Insane had the perfect balance of all the gameplay elements that DunDef was pulling in, so if you're curious about what he wants in gameplay, start new characters and play from beginning to the end of Insane Glitterhelm. The game absolutely SANG it was so well-made.

The gameplay was addicting, for sure, but that doesn't mean it was good, or fun. I'm not going to tell you how to spend your time, but if you had gotten to where you are currently in the game in 500 hours instead of 2100... would you argue with me if I told you that was a sign of better game design?


Would it be even better game design if I got to where I am in just 10 hours? Its not exactly that cut and dry but other then that I agree with you, I hate the fact that buffed minion walls, gas, and aura stacks at each crystal is the only way to win. I also hate the RNG and think it should be fixed and I absolutely loved DD vanilla. That being said, I kinda do like the fact that even 2100 hours later, there is still room for improvement. I do want a game that has the potential to keep me busy for a long time but yes, I don't want to farm lab assault for 4-5 hours just to get one piece of ultimate that sucks.

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I've long thought that the RNG should not be random at all. Gear drops should be determined on a normal distribution (standard bell curve, and for simplicity's sake let's not skew it yet) based on the difficulty level and map being played. maybe some bells and whistles involving your score and how many players are playing, maybe not.

An easy example is Moraggo. And I'm console, so forgive the example which doesn't translate well across to PC.

Play Moraggo on easy (gear quality measured exclusively in number of ^s for sake of example though we know that it's more complex than that): 50% chance of any particular armor drop from a chest being above 20^. 10% chance it's 1/1 on the low-end, 10% chance it's > 30^ on the high end. 1% chance it's above 40^

Moraggo on Medium: 50% chance of any particular armor drop from a chest being above 30^. 10% chance it's 10^ on the low-end, 10% chance it's > 40^ on the high end. 1% chance it's above 50^

Moraggo on Hard: 50% chance of any particular armor drop from a chest being above 40^. 10% chance it's 20^ on the low-end, 10% chance it's > 50^ on the high end. 1% chance it's above 60^

Moraggo on Insane: 50% chance of any particular armor drop from a chest being above 55^. 10% chance it's 35^ on the low-end, 10% chance it's > 75^ on the high end. 1% chance it's above 85^

Moraggo on Insane+: 50% chance of any particular armor drop from a chest being above 75^. 10% chance it's 45^ on the low-end, 10% chance it's > 85^ on the high end. 1% chance it's above 95^

The numbers are just for illustration, but the concept is easy. You reverse engineer the percentages of certain qualities of loot dropping based on how many hours you want it to take the average player to achieve the gear required to beat the endgame. Best case scenario, you've got how all this works out laid out in concept sufficiently to support added content (DLC) that isn't designed yet and have it flow in a natural progression.

You then set the standard. So something like "I want it to take the average player who farms entirely for himself 800 hours of gameplay in order to be geared appropriately to be able to get to and defeat the final boss 50% of the time."

A player who farms gear for 600 hours might have gear good enough to beat that boss 10% of the time. Someone who farms gear for 1200 hours might be OP enough to beat it every time. The key is that someone at Trendy sets those numbers at what they want them to be.

Ultimate goal (TL/DR version): Progression from level one to level X (endgame) should be challenging but fun, and the RNG should be configured to gear a player adequately to meet the next challenge through trial and error and playing skill.

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Would it be even better game design if I got to where I am in just 10 hours? Its not exactly that cut and dry but other then that I agree with you, I hate the fact that buffed minion walls, gas, and aura stacks at each crystal is the only way to win. I also hate the RNG and think it should be fixed and I absolutely loved DD vanilla. That being said, I kinda do like the fact that even 2100 hours later, there is still room for improvement. I do want a game that has the potential to keep me busy for a long time but yes, I don't want to farm lab assault for 4-5 hours just to get one piece of ultimate that sucks.


Fine. If you can do that to my reasoning, then I can do it to yours.

So the game design would be even better in your eyes if it took you 105,000 hours, then? Think of the $/hr value!

It's not about HOW long it takes. It's about WHY it takes that long. DunDef takes a long time to get somewhere for all the wrong reasons. It's a lot easier to increase game length by slowing down progress instead of designing content.

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This open letter is spot on. Every issue I had with the original game is covered, with the exception of the horribly done, and often infuriating, steam integration. Nothing like losing progress in NMHC crystalline dimension on the 3rd map or later, or being disconnected after 10+ waves of survival, thanks to a brief steam disconnect.

Nightmare mode certainly had its own charm, but I think it pales in comparison to the charm of the base game. My fondest memories of DD are all from Insane mode, pre-Eternia Shards.

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Steam integration in itself is a blessing, a key reason the game was so engrossing, and something the second game is thankfully getting. The issue you described was with the game relying on a constant online connection to Steam's matchmaking servers (and how a blip of your connection going out, even for a second, would cause your Ranked game to end. Even when you're playing solo.) From everything they have said with regards to the subject, this won't be an issue in the second game.

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Good call on the Steam issues, guys.

I NEVER played in online games unless my friends had sworn to join me. You just couldn't play online in the hopes that someone would come play, because you never knew when Steam would come along and disconnect you FROM YOURSELF.

More things a new developer needs to learn, and hopefully it catches on.

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I essentially quit playing due to the disconnect issues. That and the copters.

That said, I agree with just about all of the article's points. The risk-reward ratio for higher survival levels was way out of whack. About the only time I got anything decent gear wise was when they first released that chess level (forget the name), which they quickly patched.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk

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Steam integration in itself is a blessing, a key reason the game was so engrossing, and something the second game is thankfully getting. The issue you described was with the game relying on a constant online connection to Steam's matchmaking servers (and how a blip of your connection going out, even for a second, would cause your Ranked game to end. Even when you're playing solo.) From everything they have said with regards to the subject, this won't be an issue in the second game.

A steam dev said it was bad usage of the steam api. Trendy never bothered to change it.

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A steam dev said it was bad usage of the steam api. Trendy never bothered to change it.


Trendy never bothered to fix a LOT of stuff.

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I've never thought about it before reading this letter, but what are negative stats on equipment pieces for?
What do they achieve? Except for trolling?

Saying things like "make a better game", "a better looking game", "a better balanced game" etc is not really useful, Trendy will do its best and its hard beforehand to know what will work or not.
Not having negative stats, on the other hand, is very simple to implement. Best suggestion I've seen for a long time. So obvious in retrospect.

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So... I haven't payed much attention to news about DunDef II. Can anyone tell me if ANY of the complaints about the original game have been specifically addressed by Trendy?

I'm speaking of things similar to those brought up in the link in the first post.

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I enjoyed reading the open letter to trendy and so did a lot of people over here. We are aware of most of those issues thanks to the fans posting them here in the forums and we did take them to heart. That's why we are determined to improve things for DD2. Our Studio Director Dave Loyd even released the blog, Dungeon Defenders II: Pillars, in order to let our fans know that we have been listening to your biggest concerns and we are dedicated to making DD2 even better. Of course, we can always count on you all to let us know if we're slacking, right? ;)

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I enjoyed reading the open letter to trendy and so did a lot of people over here. We are aware of most of those issues thanks to the fans posting them here in the forums and we did take them to heart. That's why we are determined to improve things for DD2. Our Studio Director Dave Loyd even released the blog, Dungeon Defenders II: Pillars, in order to let our fans know that we have been listening to your biggest concerns and we are dedicated to making DD2 even better. Of course, we can always count on you all to let us know if we're slacking, right? ;)


right, we will keep the perverbial whip at the ready. also if anyone missed that blog, give it a read, some awsome stuff in there

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