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End-of Map Rewards

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This is really an evergreen topic in DD, and at the moment is kinda taking over the "To-Do List", so i think separate thread to discuss the issue would be in order.

We can all agree that to some degree, the end-of-map rewards need to be modified. Let's first start with an analysis of the situation.

"Endgame" maps: These are the maps most frequently farmed for end rewards, in no particular order.

  • Lab Assault
  • Akatiti Jungle
  • Winter Wonderland
  • The Tinkerer's lab
  • King's Game
  • Boss Rush
  • Crystalline Dimension
  • Temple O' Love
  • Volcanic Eruption
Now, let's go through each of these maps and look at what it is used for.

Lab Assault
Lab Assault is the one-stop-shop for armor and accessories. Outside of Lab Assault, it is rare indeed for one to obtain Ultimate or Supreme armor.

A single Survival run can take hours and be just as fruitful as a single run of Lab Assault, where in the same time as the Survival took, Lab Assault can net you multiple Ultimates and Supremes. Beyond that, the accessories are beyond a doubt the best found in Dungeon Defenders. I am personally unaware of any Ultimate accessory that was ever found outside of Lab Assault. The fact is, the ease of clearing the map because of the EV's dislike of BF Drills makes it far too easy for the reward you obtain at the end - anyone in Mythical gear can enter Lab Assault, and, granted they know what they are doing, restart the map within 5 minutes having obtained possibly (very) high end gear. This map is the primary method of obtaining Ultimate++ armor for good reason.

Akatiti Jungle

If you want high quality tower weapons, look no further. The fact that Ultimate++ Clavas and Gladiuses can cap multiple stats has firmly secured Akatiti Jungle as the best single map for tower weapon farming in the game. The Turtle is a very good pet for low level characters and is farmed by higher level people for side projects but is generally overlooked for high-stat character building. Akatiti's extraordinary weapons are offset by the final wave and boss fight, however. While more experienced players can easily manage both, newer players can easily be overwhelmed by the sheer number of ogres that batter your defenses at the beginning of the final wave and boss fight. The boss itself is notorious for its high HP, causing many players' defenses to break before they can down the boss. Overall, the map's weapons are justifiable strong for the effort a newer player has to put in to obtain them, however the Clava and Gladius do overshadow all other tower staffs and swords.

Winter Wonderland

Coal. Bam. Done.

It takes a lot of runs, but diamonds are almost always worth the investment for the newer players (even if that investment is 5 cubes). The high number required to get them may be debatably high, but that is a subject for a different thread.

The TInkerer's Lab

The Blaster Rifle is the strongest DPS gun in the game. The Eternian Energy Cannon comes close, but it doesn't surpass the overall damage output. Tinkerer's Lab is one of the more "difficult" campaign maps, and the pets you receive for finishing it can be extraordinary. If you want blasters, I suggest doing the Insane Survival instead. That is not to say that the blasters in Nightmare are terrible, it's just to say that they'll be terrible 90% of the time.

The King's Game
This map is a sticky subject. It is by no means hard; it is one of if not the easiest map on this list, but the problem lies in the rewards. The Pawn Shot is the only reward that is reliably farmed for, but the consistency of the rewards is terrible and most of the time you're going to get very very bad myths. Or you get something like this. Farming Pawn Shots can be exceptionally annoying, as the last few waves of the map are drawn out ad nauseam by ogres that are slow to spawn, but overall the map doesn't exactly pose a balance issue.

Boss Rush
Boss Rush isn't hard to run, but can certainly be a pain to farm, as most Classics will be pretty bad. Overall, the Classic isn't exactly a polarizing balance issue, since Bloodshots and other staffs are available and do good damage, and the occasional Ultimate armor from the rewards is nice.

Crystalline Dimension

*Ignoring bugs* Crystalline Dimension weapons are well designed and are not overbearing on weapon choice. The Espear is farmed the most out of DPS Monk weapons, but that is more due to a lack of decent weapons than the ESpear's damage output, as the Sparus and Monk Wrench as able to keep up with its damage. The Estaff needs desperately to not be absolute trash. 94/^ is terrible for a staff and needs to be improved, especially since you have to use an Apprentice to get it, since the Jester is incapable of receiving it.

Temple O' Love
This map does few things, but does them well: Top hats, bows, Wolfhunters/Van Wolf's, and Fairies. It is one of the more difficult maps due to the lack of tolerance for mistakes, but can be well worth the reward since the run time of the map is on the low end.

Volcanic Eruption

This map is farmed almost exclusively for the BF Drill, which like the other rewards is a resounding "meh", until Lab Assault is taken into account.

Of the maps listed, very few of them are actually a balance problem. They may require some adjusting to function better or have more consistent rewards, but ignoring Obsidian weapons, only Lab Assault is truly game warping, being the indisputable best place to go for both armor and   accessories.

This brings us to the elephant in the room.

As it stands, we do not know the rough base weapon damage, rough base stats per quality, or upgrade damage per quality. We are also unsure of the state of the Treadmill on a Treadmill or the pet goldfish. What Moonbase brings and how we react will determine a lot of our philosophy for changes to Dungeon Defenders from here on out. Setting the precedent.

So the question is this: what do we want to see out of these new changes? There two options here:
    •  We desire further progression into endgame; that is, we allow for stronger weapons in hopes of more challenging content requiring stronger weapons.
    •  We do not desire further endgame progression; that is, we attempt to make weapons more varied rather than powerful to prevent the extending of the grind that the game is at high levels.

Beyond Moonbase and the extending of endgame, What should be done with Lab Assault?
  •  We nerf the rewards until they are in line with the current difficulty
  •  We fix the dodgy AI of the Series EV's and keep the same rewards
  • Tangentially, we improve other maps to lessen the dominance of the map

Please bear in mind that anything I have said in my overview of the maps is very subjective. If you have any problems, let me know so that a more accurate assessment of the maps can be provided. It is also possible that any of the changes we suggest here will not be implemented for a long time; this is not a thread made to change the very first patch that comes out. Game balance is a very fragile thing, one to be changed slowly and deliberately to make sure nothing breaks. This, rather, is intended to start a discussion about the future of Dungeon Defenders in the way that we think will most positively impact the game.

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For the love of god, leave Lab Assault as it is, this map is the ONLY reason atm I still play the game, I really hope the devs will NOT let the community decide on what to do with existing maps like lab assault.

If it does change, well then I am really out, almost 4k hours aint bad for a game:)

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You can't deny how warping the map is though.

    [[70358,users]] quote:

    Whatever the position on Lab runs as a currency are, however, i believe that something about it has to change. It is too easy for the rewards that it gives and is warping the maps that get played. Why run ToL for anything but fairies anymore? Why run Palantir for Annatars when Lab gives better ones anyway? Why run any survival at all for armor when lab is so much better in both armor and mana? Why run TD or TL for ++ tower pets when Lab is faster and gives more of them?

    Lab Assault has to change somehow. Either through direct nerfs or AI changes, or even the buffing of other maps to make them relevant again.

It's really saddening to me that its really the only map I can farm for armor or accessories and expect any decent results. I don't like the idea of changing the map either, as I think that buffing the rewards of map such as Palantir and the accessories from Winter Wonderland to be actually half decent sometimes to be a great start. Not only that but if Moonbase survival can be made an armor hotspot, then Lab will be able to be let alone since you can get better retuns looking for specific items.

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The Problem with Lab Assault is, that you cant just nerf it anymore. I agree that the armor rewards are kinda easy to get compared to other methods like farming them in survival. Its just, that Trendy should have nerf lab assault as soon as it got public that you can simply let the evs jump off the map. This was a huge game breaker and they havent done anything. Patching it now, idk around 1 year or so later would end in 2 major problems. A) People cant get thier gear that easily anymore and will probably dont have any realistic chance to gear up anymore and B) new ppl will left behind while everyone else was able to gear up every character with easy while these new players will hit a wall in gearing themselfs up.

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Yeah the break of a year would definitely cause problems. Another reason to buff other endgame maps. I've always liked Palantir, and being the original source of Annatars should entitle it to having the best ones imo. There's a lot of ways to help lessen the warping effect that Lab has, and hopefully we can work out the best way to get other maps up to par.

Which is exactly why I made the thread: to discuss how to handle these changes.

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Lab should stay the same. I have rarely ever run it it bores me to tears. But as Sanghelios pointed out, to nerf it now would in essence create two classes of players "haves" and "have nots". Since we are looking at the prospect of being able to tweak rng why mess with something some people absolutely love is it hurting anyone? No. In my eyes it's not a whole lot different than the whole stat debate. Oh to run map X you need Y stats. As many have shown the game can be played with super uber mega stats or it can be run at ridiculously low end stat numbers that call into play luck sometimes. Is either way wrong? No. It comes down to personal choice in how you decide to play DD. Don't like the rewards lab gives? Cool, don't run it. Think it's too easy? I can rattle off numerous maps that in my eyes are easy. But that doesn't mean I want them changed. I whole heartedly agree that of the existing end game maps they should be rewarding quality items, and said quality should be based solely on the given difficulty the map is played. To try and make map X equivalent to map Y is not a good idea and probably not even realistically possible. Run the maps you like and don't run the ones you don't, BAM problem solved. We asked for continued support of DD and we have finally got it. Let's not try to reinvent DD, just refine it. If it were so messed up why in the world would we have spent so much time playing it and trying to get trendy to give us more content? 

I love big jumbled walls of text :) Plain and simple as I have said before "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". Different people enjoy DD in different ways let the player decide which map he/she wants to run and don't worry about who got 3 more ups on an item or whatever. With some tweaks to the whole rng process maybe we can bring the other maps to the level of lab but gosh knows don't go messing with how we play the game now, we are liable to end up with another dde on our hands.

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*coughs* Sky City *coughs*

Nice summary Caimeno

I have farmed lab a lot. I actually like it and with my family commitments survivals are difficult. However, it has been undeniably game warping for most players - running lab, buying lab, selling lab.

Nevertheless, we are where we are with it now and having thought about it, I am with H3llfire, leave it be. For me, this says it all "Let's not try to reinvent DD [because we obviously all love it already otherwise you would not be reading this], just refine it". So, for me,

1. Sort the bugs out

2. (a) New content please - this is an amazing development and one for which I am very excited, but

(b) Please, please, please do not break the game with silly OP rewards. We do not need bigger and better stats but different abilities or balance might be good.


I really want to agree that we should tweak the other maps as I generally agree with your summaries. However, the risks of getting it wrong, the endless debates on what and how should be changed are turning me of asking for it. I see balancing future rewards as the key priority

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In my opinion, granted I havent been very active till recently (Saturday to be exact). Our best bet would be to work on balancing the games RNG slowly at end game, in a manner that wont affect any already completed and added maps. If you start messing with lab and such, you run into an issue of lab gets screwed up, and then a new map becomes over powered and becomes the farming map. Does lab have "issues" of sorts in terms of farming compared to pre-lab, yes, but it also is very helpful. As already stated somewhere in this forum, I dont remember if its this thread or not, but people play dungeon defenders their own way all the time, you have the "stat junkies" running around in 6-7k stats completely destroying every map they play, or you have the "lowballs" who play more strategy than shear power and still crush every map with half that or less the stats than the above player. For example, everyone that I talked to before I left constantly said, "any NM map requires 3-4k stats yet, I managed to beat Glitterhelm with only 1-2K stats on NMHC even. Was it difficult? It was probably one of the most challenging things I've done in this game, but I was determined to do it, and I had loads of fun doing it. One of my favorite things about this game is the combination of strategy, with the action. I have always loved TD games, and I have always loved RPG games, yet both have their faults. TD's seem to be slow and have no long term goals, you beat all the levels once and there you go. RPG's on the other hand, can be slow, drawn out, and hit stand stills. DD combines the best of both worlds, while for me virtually removing their own faults (granted it has its own we all know about, the walls, the unbalanced RNG...nothing super game breaking though or I wouldnt have a bunch of hours across three platforms in this game.) 

So all in all, the best bet for the community IMO is to balance out the new maps that are added, in a way that they dont become dominate farming maps, but are level to those we already have end game, such that players dont feel constricted to certain maps for stats or community wealth, yet have a broad umbrella of options. Before my next statement, I've never played any of the open maps stated, I will shortly though, I've heard they are all great works of art by the community, but for example, make the rewards for a map as such that the stats are like that of Akatiti, so for tower weapons players arent as restricted to either A) event items that are hard to come by from what I've seen lately, or B) an Obs. weapon.

That at least is my very long two cents.

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In regards to lab assault, as others said, it can't be nerfed as it'd give us older players an advantage. Better armor should probably drop more frequently on the harder survival maps like akatiti, WW, TD etc...

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I'd like to just say that prior to the DLC the original DD campaign had a decent arc of gear to difficulty ratio.  Then DLC happened and that kind of shot everything into "Ideally, Best stats on your gear, switch out multiple classes to place defenses, or you lose."    Which is still a feature I'm not so terribly fond of. 

Now all the changes to come, any that can actually be made will be done so with a great deal of consideration and done with moderation, inlcuding "How much time should it take someone to get X Y or Z gear?"  Some people sink hundreds of hours into MMO's every month just to ~maybe~ get some decent gear from whatever the games require to be done.  I don't feel it needs to be that extreme for DD, it's not an MMO. (shush, I know my level makes it look like one) It's a tower Defense game, and majorly single player, with very strong suggestions to Co-opMO, and I think it should be kept that way as much as possible, if not just a little less as far as how much someone has to sink their time into grinding, just a little less. 

 There probably is a way for us to have a few levels that can act as great -in between tiers- as far as rewards go for completion, without reinventing the wheels on existing maps or potentially making everything out of whack by trying to balance what's relatively "balanced" already.

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