Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
gigazelle

The fundamental flaws with the hero deck

Recommended Posts

As a result of a recent conversation held with iamisom, I will be doing a 4-part analysis on the biggest issues DD2 currently has that significantly detracts from the player experience. This is part two, which focuses on the hero deck.

Part 1: Hero Combat
Part 2: This one
Part 3: End game gear
Part 4: Difficulty and nightmare
Part 5: Skill spheres and passives
Part 6: Accessories

The current hero deck is a mechanic designed for single player games.

You may not realize it, but DD2 is not the first game to implement a "hero deck". In fact, most turn-based RPG's have a similar mechanic in place.

  • Super Mario RPG, arguably one of my favorite RPG's of all time, only allows 3 characters in a battle (Mario + 2 other characters). However as you progress through the game you have Mallow, Geno, Bowser, and Princess Toadstool all able to fight. You get to choose which 2 allies battle alongside Mario.
  • Paper Mario takes this mechanic even further - You have 7 companions, but can only use one in battle at a time.
  • Almost all Final Fantasy games I've played has a large selection of players, but a max of 3-4 for use in battle.
  • Mardek and its sequels, one of my favorite Flash games ever, allows only 3 players but has many more available.

Notice a trend in these games? They're all single player.

If DD2 was solely a single player game, the hero deck would be a great mechanic in that we'd get to choose which hero(es) take the sidelines, similar to the above RPG's. However, DD2 is not single player which means the mechanic must be changed to accommodate that. The existing hero deck is like allowing a second player to join one of the above RPG's and double the number of characters on your team.

The hero deck completely fails to fulfill its only purpose. Twice over.

Seeing the above mechanics, I would expect the hero deck to operate in such a way so that we had to choose which heroes to bring to battle while the others got to sit on the sidelines. Despite the limitation being in place, it is completely circumvented by another player joining. This "strategic limitation" only applies to solo play, which is not fair in any way, shape or form.

Not only does it fail its only purpose from a mechanic standpoint, but the fact that we have 4 heroes and 4 hero deck slots makes the hero deck pointless. If we keep increasing the hero deck, why even keep it in the game? Here's why:

Removing the hero deck entirely will create DD1-caliber balance issues later on.

In fact, those balance issues are kind of already present. For example, what's the best blockade? Out of the 3 in the game right now, the spike blockade trumps the arcane barrier and training dummy by a landslide. What if the arcane barrier was buffed and the spike blockade was nerfed? Almost instantly the arcane barrier would be used in every build and the spike blockade would be left in the dust. DD1 suffered from this ailment as well.

The issue will be magnified as more heroes are introduced. Say a couple years down the line we have 10 heroes in DD2, and there are now 6 types of walls in the game. Every attempt to balance them is going to cause one to clearly shine above the others, and without a hero deck restriction, there's no give/take involved. The game is essentially "use only the most OP defenses in the game" instead of "find clever builds using equally viable defenses".

Keeping the hero deck per-player is impossible to balance.

Doesn't matter how you spin it, per-player hero decks cannot be balanced in this game. 4-player co op effectively allows the team to bring 16 heroes to battle, while solo play is only allowed 4. As new heroes are introduced, the issue will become more and more prevalent. The "strategic limitation" of not having the best of everything wouldn't apply to multiplayer games.

During influence week, there was a proposal to the hero deck where you could flip over cards that gave you a bonus, but solo play would again be at a severe disadvantage. Solo players would receive far less bonuses than co-op play. While flipping over cards seem like it could be a neat addition to the game, it doesn't address the core issue of the hero deck. Flipping cards still creates a massive disparity between solo and co-op play.

My personal suggestion

So, if removing the hero deck isn't ideal, and keeping it isn't ideal, remove the per-player mechanic behind it. The hero deck can actually exist and be fair, but several fundamental changes must be applied:

  • The hero deck is only based on the number of defenses summoned on a map. Deck slots are not used until a player summons a defense with that hero.
  • The hero deck is team-based, not player-based. Just like how DU is shared across all players, hero deck slots would also be shared.
  • Players can freely swap between all heroes, even after all build hero deck slots are full. The hero deck only applies to summoning defenses, not swapping heroes. You're free to use whatever DPS hero you'd like.
  • The team hero deck would always be 4 for the entire life of the game, no matter how many more heroes are introduced. If we had 10 heroes in the game, you'd get to choose which 4 (i.e. 16 defenses) you used to summon defenses.
  • If the hero deck is not moved to become team-based, it might as well be removed altogether. I REAALLY don't want this to happen because that's going to ruin the magic and fun of finding creative builds as more heroes are introduced.

For more details on a proposed solution, see the Defense Shrine.

What do you like about the hero deck? Do you feel it contributes to the game in any way? How would you like to see it improved?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a late bloomer to DD2 so please help me understand....

Has Trendy explained their logic behind implementing the hero deck in the first place?

Was it to encourage co-op?

Was it to encourage innovative hero constructs where one hero is forced to be both wall and boost or anti-air and dps (deliberately random combos)?

Was it to sell future additions to the deck?

In order to answer your questions I would like to understand what it is trying to achieve in the eyes of the devs....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Adding another game to the list: every single LEGO game.

They operate slightly differently, in that you can choose 2 "main heroes" and the rest will be chosen "randomly" to ensure that the set will be able to finish the map and find all secrets.

It is fair because players can choose according to their personal preferences without needing to worry about effectiveness, and can still effectively complete any map.

I would personally love to see the game operate similarly, with each player being able to bring in 1 builder and 1 fighter in a 4-player settings, or 1 builder and all fighter, to allow for greater fluidity between waves.

Also I think that to encourage actual co-op play, a player should be limited on how many green mana they can drop during each building phrase, enough to allow another player to build a 50-mana defense, but not enough for 1 person doing all the building. This ensures that players are only doing contents that they are at least semi-confident, reduces leeching, and promotes teamplay. Even if 1 player is an overwhelmingly strong builder, the other 3 players can allow that player to build 3 extra defenses per wave and eventually replace the rest of the defense.

During longer game modes, like onslaught this restriction would be minimized as defense can be replaced 1 by 1 until it is all built by the best builder in the party. The build will still eventually be the "optimal" (strongest possible build for the group) build; however without each and everyone pulling their own weight, 1 strong builder within the group would not be as strong as a group with all strong builders.

The only downside to it could be that it leads to elitism...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As mostly solo player in DD1 (1300h), as mostly matchmaking player in DD2 (150h for past 2 weeks).

@gigazelle quote:

What do you like about the hero deck? Do you feel it contributes to the game in any way? How would you like to see it improved?

Nothing. No. I would LOVE to see it removed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So just to confirm if a game has 4 players You can choose 1 character to build with?  OR you choose 4 defences you can build? and then can choose any guy you want to play as your fighter type.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


@gigazelle quote:

What do you like about the hero deck? Do you feel it contributes to the game in any way? How would you like to see it improved?

I like that it makes the game a little less straightforward by forcing me to make choices between defenses.  I also like that it puts a cap on the number of heroes I need to level, with the current content situation being what it is.

On influence week one of the items had a hero deck where unused slots would provide bonuses.  I'd like to see where that could go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On this subject, I think it is important to make a distinction between what players may want, and what may constitute good game design.  

I fervently want the deck removed.  I think creative builds should equal efficient builds, and this can be accomplished through tight tuning on DU and mana limits.  I want to level lots of toons and specialize/use them like I did in DD1, and I think this behavior is a major part of pumping up the number of hours you can play before you feel like you have nothing left worth doing.

All that said, I can sympathize with the stance that the hero deck allows for better game design.  Of your options, I would be most in support of shifting to a limit on the number of builders in a game, though I would like to see it increased to at least 5.  This would have to be implemented in such a way that you couldn't simply have a multiplayer group in which people build, leave the game, and come back and build some more.

One way or the other, something needs to give.  Heading deeper and deeper down the road of "builds" is going to feel increasingly frustrating in the context of the current deck.



Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the hero deck makes sense for a single player DD experience because of the intentional weakness' each class.


However, I don't like the type of gameplay being able to build and then switch produces.  It negates making meaningful choices about how you are going to play the game by letting you bypass and cover your own weakness.  The optimal way to play will be to have one (or more) builders summon all your defenses and then swap to a fighter for the actual waves.  Beyond the fact that (to me) it feels like cheating by bypassing the fundamental give and take of character builds, the balance will always be structured around the optimal play pattern and doing so will be necessary to play the most challenging content.


I can see the appeal of creating a need to level up multiple for creating artificial longevity in the game but it makes no sense that tower stats are linked to the character who built them rather than the player.  My builder Squire doesn't magically do extra damage on attacks because I have a fighter Huntress but somehow my Huntress can have a full set of Squire defenses with all the stat bonuses of an entire extra item in every slot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will probably never really like the hero deck, but this is a pretty good solution to it all (if I understand it all correctly that is).

Solo players, coop players will all get a total of 4 builders, then you can switch to any dps character you want?

In this case, I would not want to feel like any certain tower is mandatory, especially with more heroes, more passives, more spheres etc... I don't like the fact that there is a squire for walls, and another for harpoons, and another for dps... Can we not get healthy wall and harpoon passives on one piece of armor? Not that I want to debate that in this thread, just a concern about the hero deck.

All in all, sounds like a solid plan that meets in the middle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


@It's Not a Dream quote:

I can see the appeal of creating a need to level up multiple for creating artificial longevity in the game but it makes no sense that tower stats are linked to the character who built them rather than the player.  My builder Squire doesn't magically do extra damage on attacks because I have a fighter Huntress but somehow my Huntress can have a full set of Squire defenses with all the stat bonuses of an entire extra item in every slot.

Making them use the stats of the active character would effectively mean you can't have a DPS in single player though.  It would be the equivalent of having completely ungeared builders.  Defenses are so much more effective than hero damage that you can't go without them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shoutout to doing some research before you post dumb threads.

- Here is a video of trendy, addressing the issue.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3quMyhOnLI


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


@Peekaboss quote:

Shoutout to doing some research before you post dumb threads.

- Here is a video of trendy, addressing the issue.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3quMyhOnLI


Read before you call another's action stupid. The OP clearly stated that he spoke with iamisom about this, and iamisom is, if I am not mistaken, one of the developers of the game. This thread is pointing out the highlights of said discussion and asking for some feedback.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Removing the hero deck entirely will create DD1-caliber balance issues later on."  There is no way to keep all heroes/defenses in balance! Hero deck encourages players to only one thing: always keep the best heroes on, forget about the others. Just like in DD1, nobody uses Apprentice, but still, after building with others I like to have some fun with him, because there is NO LIMITATION! With the 4 hero limit I can't collect xp for the hero I want (unlocking costume), can't collect xp for the pet I want. As you said, later on there will be 5-6-7 heroes, but can't play them all. Just one question: why???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1.  As it stands there is nothing I like about the hero deck. I don't like any possible concept as to why it is here. I think it is a detractor from what makes the game fun for me. 2. While my number one goal/desire is to see the hero deck gone, I would not be opposed to trying new changes to the deck that might make it feel less constrictive to single player game play. Not sure I completely understand the OP idea fully but from my understanding it sounds better then what we have. One major change that needs to happen for sure is this level locking for deck slots. Why is it even like that? I feel like the devs think I am a four year old about to run with scissors. I can handle learning more then one hero at a time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The hero deck shown off in the influence week was less limiting because it had 6 slots so we could have 1 builder of each current class as well as a tank and a dps as well as added benefits for not using all 6 slots, but at the same time we didn't have the new build system so that wasn't taken into account for the hero deck. The current hero deck limits it to only 4 so we either have to go full builder with no dps or sacrifice a builder for a dps so even if it had bonuses for not using all slots we simply cannot leave a slot empty because we need all 4 of them unless we have a full team. The 4 character limit is made even worse with how the new builds work so we have to make one (or 2) defenses powerful per builder while making the rest completely worthless, this wouldn't be so much of a problem if we were not limited to only 4 slots.

Hero deck should just go completely because it does nothing but cripple people who don't have a full group of people who all focus on different aspects of a build and entirely eliminates build creativity since we are forced to use the best and only the best. The hero deck also makes public matches near impossible because you have to hope the others have characters to do things you cannot, if you have a builder of each class you have to hope they have good dps characters, if you have good dps but lacking builders you have to hope they have good builders.

The bottom line is the hero deck does nothing but cripple everyone that doesn't have a full micromanaged group they always play with and makes build creativity and experimentation near impossible for solo players. The hero deck does nothing but force you to play a certain way which is the exact opposite a game like this should do. There should be no usable hero limits, especially since we can't play with more than one character at a time anyway so it isn't like every person can whip out 4 dps at once and wreck everything and we can only switch during build phases anyway. The limit also discourages the more casual players from wasting the time to make more than 4 total characters because they won't be able to use them all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


@Peekaboss quote:

Shoutout to doing some research before you post dumb threads.

- Here is a video of trendy, addressing the issue.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3quMyhOnLI

Thanks for the shoutout! In the case my suspicion is correct in that this was intended to be a passive aggressive insult, may I remind you that I am well aware of the influence vote and that I disagree with the improvements they intend to make. Specifically:

@gigazelle quote:

Not only does it fail its only purpose from a mechanic standpoint, but the fact that we have 4 heroes and 4 hero deck slots makes the hero deck pointless. If we keep increasing the hero deck, why even keep it in the game? 

During influence week, there was a proposal to the hero deck where you could flip over cards that gave you a bonus, but solo play would again be at a severe disadvantage. Solo players would receive far less bonuses than co-op play. While flipping over cards seem like it could be a neat addition to the game, it doesn't address the core issue of the hero deck. Flipping cards still creates a massive disparity between solo and co-op play.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


@gigazelle quote:


@Peekaboss quote:

Shoutout to doing some research before you post dumb threads.

- Here is a video of trendy, addressing the issue.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3quMyhOnLI

Thanks for the shoutout! In the case my suspicion is correct in that this was intended to be a passive aggressive insult, may I remind you that I am well aware of the influence vote and that I disagree with the improvements they intend to make. Specifically:

@gigazelle quote:

Not only does it fail its only purpose from a mechanic standpoint, but the fact that we have 4 heroes and 4 hero deck slots makes the hero deck pointless. If we keep increasing the hero deck, why even keep it in the game? 

During influence week, there was a proposal to the hero deck where you could flip over cards that gave you a bonus, but solo play would again be at a severe disadvantage. Solo players would receive far less bonuses than co-op play. While flipping over cards seem like it could be a neat addition to the game, it doesn't address the core issue of the hero deck. Flipping cards still creates a massive disparity between solo and co-op play.


Fair, mybad. ill cop that one.
Sorrylad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At this point i really think trendy should just hire you.
I rarely ever disagree with the things you post,  the suggestions all seem very nice.

I personally very much dislike the hero deck, but i feel it could have value if it was team based.

Currently it just upsets me when playing solo, because I'll never ever be as efficient as a group is capable of being.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i can't bring my self to like the hero deck , 400 hours on dd2 , i lived with it, tried to understand it, thought of ways to make it work but at the end , seems like the best solution for me is have it removed.

i like to spend time creating so many character's each one to fulfill his own role, having a limit of 4 hero's active while having so many hero slots seems just absurd to me.

so what the plan here? keep increasing the hero deck every time a new hero is introduced just because 1 class will be most likely left out permanently because he just does not cut it? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


@chaos8 quote:

i can't bring my self to like the hero deck , 400 hours on dd2 , i lived with it, tried to understand it, thought of ways to make it work but at the end , seems like the best solution for me is have it removed.

i like to spend time creating so many character's each one to fulfill his own role, having a limit of 4 hero's active while having so many hero slots seems just absurd to me.

so what the plan here? keep increasing the hero deck every time a new hero is introduced just because 1 class will be most likely left out permanently because he just does not cut it? 

Even were that the case, there will always be something left out as more heroes are added. As the OP stated, if there end up more heroes with a type of barricade, the one with the best will be the only one used for building walls and if that heroes wall gets nerfed the next best will be used, and this applies to everything. The strongest AoE dps, strongest single target dps etc, will be the only ones really used so long as there are multiple ways to achieve the same thing. As it stands, the best AA is the one from the monk, but if another hero is added and in some way has a more efficient AA that one will get used and that role will no longer exist for the monk builder, same as when they nerfed both of its beneficial auras. Players will only ever figure out and use the absolute best method, and if a player finds a way that works better everyone else will adopt it. 

Point is, no matter what they do, if they remove the hero deck then there is little point in playing multiplayer other than to have multiple heroes capable of assisting lanes, but as long as there is a hero deck single player will never be as efficient as multiplayer even if they make changes to how single player is played, and if they were to only remove the hero deck for single player who the hell would ever bother to play multiplayer when you can just do every single thing yourself since people seem to prefer self sufficiency over teamwork.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


@gamer21d quote:

Point is, no matter what they do, if they remove the hero deck then there is little point in playing multiplayer other than to have multiple heroes capable of assisting lanes, but as long as there is a hero deck single player will never be as efficient as multiplayer even if they make changes to how single player is played, and if they were to only remove the hero deck for single player who the hell would ever bother to play multiplayer when you can just do every single thing yourself since people seem to prefer self sufficiency over teamwork.

So forcing me to play multiplayer even if I dont want to is a good thing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


@0omph quote:

So forcing me to play multiplayer even if I dont want to is a good thing?

Of course not - he's referring to the consequences of removing the hero deck altogether.

Removing the hero deck altogether would create a meta where we'd have a builder of every class and just use the best defense from them to create an optimal build. Not ideal.

Leaving the hero deck in creates huge disparity between solo play and co-op play. Equally not ideal.

The best way to proceed with this game mechanic is making it map-wide and specific to defenses, not player-specific. There's really no other logical path to have it fulfill its purpose while keeping it fair between solo and co-op play.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Being forced to limit my roles in co-op games? What an absurd idea. I can guarantee you if this were implemented many people would stop playing co-op altogether and just create private games, and this isn't even taking into account the difficulty of even trying to implement it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


@gigazelle quote:

Removing the hero deck altogether would create a meta where we'd have a builder of every class and just use the best defense from them to create an optimal build. Not ideal.

Or even multiple builders of every class.  One squire to build blockades, another to build cannons.  One squire for boost auras, another for damaging auras.  I don't think you need multiple builder huntresses or apprentices, unless you prefer apprentice blockades over squire's.  That's just by stats though - once you take passives and spheres into account, you may well end up having a separate hero for every defense type you want to build.  It removes a lot of choices and variety from the game if you can have the best of everything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


@gigazelle quote:

Removing the hero deck altogether would create a meta where we'd have a builder of every class and just use the best defense from them to create an optimal build. Not ideal.

Why do you say not ideal? Most of us think exact the opposite! I would like to use all heroes what are best for, without limitation. The hero deck doesn't do anything but forcing me compromises! I would like to use dps heroes after building not for anything else just to have fun, to feel powerful in my hardly grinded dps gear. I can't. Here is an example how hero deck ruins the game: I tried to "host" public games several times, waiting for others to join. 8 times out of 10 they arrived, asked me when will I start to build, I said I need a good waller, they just simply left... I had no choice, had to grind for gear and build a waller for myself. Now I'm limited on my own 4 builders, can't play the game how I would like to. If I have an hour or two to play I don't want to spend it with waiting for others with the needed hero. Of course if you have a group to play with all the time it's a different story, but in most cases that's not how it works... Hero deck doesn't encourage people coop at all. You think removing this limitation would ruin the game? Lot's of us still play DD1, that could greatly work without this...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...