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Fundamental Flaws With; Gear


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This thread is one installment of what will be a collection of threads highlighting DD2's core flaws, and how I would go about fixing them. When I have the other threads up, I'll post links to them in this thread and vice-versa.

Progression Thread
Tower Thread


Gear



Gear is one of the most impactful features of this game. Unfortunately, it's also one of biggest issues this game has atm. I'll just dive right in and start explaining what I feel is fundamentally wrong with gear, and discuss potential fixes.


                                                       ----------Progression----------


Notes - For clarity purposes, 'gear classification' means Powerful, Epic, Legendary, etc.
          - For balance purposes, I've created new classifications of gear.

          - In another thread, I propose the re-introduction of Hero Casting Rate and Hero Speed in the SAS sheet, which is why you'll see these stats discussed here.

Gear scaling is unintuitive. Campaign Medium, End Game NM, and every difficulty in between offers the same gear classification range (Sturdy through Legendary) . The problem this creates is a detraction or devaluing of gear classifications, which leads to a disconnect between the player and their progress. Potential fixes;

1. Gear stat strength should be directly correlated with gear classification.
2. Gear classification should be directly correlated with difficulty level.

Examples;

Easy
Worn, Sturdy, Basic, Powerful (high roll)

Medium
Basic, Powerful, Brilliant, Epic (high roll)

Hard
Powerful, Brilliant, Epic, Mythical (high roll)

Insane
Brilliant, Epic, Mythical, Legendary (high roll)

Nightmare
Epic, Mythical, Legendary, Divine (high roll)

Nightmare Specials (challenges, bosses, survival rewards, etc.)
Mythical, Legendary, Divine, Absolute (high roll)

**Exceptions** - Bosses have 30% chance and Special Enemies have a 10% chance to drop an item one classification tier above difficulty level. For example, Betsy on Insane can drop Divine item. 
                              - This is balanced around Free Play. In Campaign, things would and should work differently, with higher gear classifications unlocking every 3-4 maps or so (capped at Legendary). Otherwise, somebody completing the Campaign for their first time on medium would feel stagnant in regards to gear.

This would severely reduce the amount of classification crossover, which puts more emphasis on the strength of classification. Progression would feel smoother and more intuitive, and create an incentive to bump up the difficulty level (which keeps people playing).


                                                       ----------Stats----------


Number of Stats


In DD1, gear could drop with up to 12 stats including resistances. Usually, one or two of these would be in the negative numbers, so we'll just say 10 stats. Compare that to the 2-stat drops of DD2, and we have a change that nobody asked for. Having 2-stat gear drop in higher difficulties is underwhelming, and creates three major balance issues;

1. Demands that the two stats which drop be ridiculously high to compensate.
2. Places copious amounts of significance on the strength of passives.
3. Has caused frustration via stats not matching passives. More stats would dilute this problem. This point depends heavily on the coding. Whether stats are weighted towards passives or the other way around matters, and this is information I don't have.

One potential solution would be to increase number of stats to 6, and have loot scale in number of stats and passives as it gets more powerful in classification. Example;

Worn            1 stat, 0 passives
Sturdy          1-2 stats, 0-1 passives
Basic             1-2 stats, 0-1 passives
Powerful      2-3 stats, 0-2 passives
Brilliant       2-4 stats, 1-2 passives
Epic               3-4 stats, 1-2 passives
Mythical      3-5 stats, 2-3 passives
Legendary   4-5 stats, 2-3 passives
Divine           4-6 stats, 3-4 passives
Absolute       6 stats, 4 passives


Stat Types


Another change considered was giving certain stats higher or lower chances of dropping on particular gear types. Examples;

Armor/MR - All gear besides weapons. -5% drop chance for relics. +5% drop chance for chest, helmet, gloves.
Hero HP - All gear.
Hero Damage - All gear. +5% drop chance for weapons.
Hero Movement Speed - Only on boots. +100% drop chance on boots.
Hero Casting Rate - All gear. +5% drop chance for gloves.
Hero Ability Power - All gear. +5% drop chance for relics.
Defense HP, Power, Range, Speed - All gear.


                                                       ----------Weapons----------


Weapons don't feel as unique as they did in DD1. Here's a list of changes this sequel has undergone which I perceive to be harmful, and the issues they create.

1. No weapon damage    
       - Restricts gear upgrade diversity (amplified by 2-stat cap).
       - Restricts hybrid build potential. Tower-specializing your SAS and gear without a weapon damage stat results in no Builder DPS, limiting role diversity and amplifying the issues of the Hero Deck by demanding DPS characters.

2. Elemental damage takes up stat slot
       - Restricts gear upgrade diversity (amplified by 2-stat cap).
       - Restricts hybrid build potential. Gear only has 2 stats, so Builders/Engineers look for tower stats and ignore weapons that waste a stat on elemental. Thus, in tandem with issue#1, builders don't get to experience weapons for their features or damage output.

3. Less projectile diversity
     - Restricts gear upgrade diversity (amplified by 2-stat cap).
     - Restricts Monk role diversity. Melee combat is horrendous atm, and given the Monk's lack of ranged versatility/upgrade diversity, DPS Monk is unviable, bottle-necking him into a strictly-tower character.

4. Broken tower passives
     - Some tower passives are required in higher-level play. Because these passives can drop on weapons, the uniqueness of the 'Weapon' category is ruined. There is no longer a reason to be concerned with the weapon's features (attack speed, number of projectiles, elemental damage, weapon damage, ammo, charge time, reload time, knockback). The weapon is now simply another opportunity to roll the dice for the one passive that the entirety of your Hero revolves around. This is amplified further by the recent patch, in which new "build passives" can only drop on weapons for some reason.

Potential solutions.

1. Reinstate weapon damage.

2. Give elemental -type and -damage their own slots outside of the stat slots.

3. Reinstate and make upgradeable the number of projectiles and attack speed on App/Huntress/Monk weapons, and projectile damage on Monk weapons. For higher level gear, Monk weapons should have a separate elemental for melee damage and projectile damage.

4. More on that below.


                                                       ----------Passives----------


Note - Throughout this section, I mention the 'Mastery Tree' a few times. This is a concept I'll dive into more in-depth in a different thread. In simple terms, it's an idea I had that replaces the Sphere Sheet as a Hero's progression reward system. Again, more on that in a different thread coming soon.

Passives are too all over the place in function and strength. Current passives are either too;

- Fundamental, which moves stats like Tower Speed and Tower Range away from the SAS sheet and places them in RNG land.

- Broken (Frosty, Hearty, Purge). These passives limit the way in which players can build because of how powerful they are, and set an artificially high bar for how strong future passives should be.

- Game-changing (Idle Flow, Frosty, Purge). If this concept is going to be implemented successfully, two things need to change;

1. Needs to be through a feature that is a guaranteed choice like Mastery Trees, instead of through RNG. It is both frustrating and boring to rely on RNG to have my towers function optimally.

2. Numbers need nerfing. Prioritize what an end-game tower's primary and secondary functions should be, and have the numbers represent this ideology accordingly.

For example, if it were up to me, Frostbite tower would function primarily as a slowing tower, with secondary emphasis on buffing traps. Accordingly, Frosty would be a Mastery that caps at 10%, which removes both the RNG aspect of acquiring it and the potential for the secondary function to override the primary function.

I'll give some examples of what I feel are more fitting passives.

Notes - When I provide ranges for stats, percentages, etc., it's to account for gear strength/rarity.
          - Assume all current passives are removed.
          - Assume defense/hero critical damage are no longer droppable gear stats. Critical strikes now simply deal 200% damage. More on this in another thread.
          - Multipliers applied to Abilities, Hero Damage, Basic Attacks, and Tower Stats are additive. For example, if a Squire has 40% Tight Grip gloves and a fully stacked Finesse weapon, his 10th basic attack will be dealing 240% damage (40% + 200%), not 280% (100% + 40% = 140% x 2)
          - Multipliers applied to Enemy Debuffs (Resistance reduction, Damage output reduction, Slow, etc.) are multiplicative. For example, if a Huntress has the 5% Corrosion Tipped Mastery and a 60% Shatterlight bow, her Basic Attacks will be ignoring 62% of enemy resistances (5% of 100 = 95, 60% of 95 = 57, 95 - 57 =38% resistances, or 62% resistance ignore)
         - Don't get angry with me if your favorite builder passive isn't on this list! All tower-changing mechanics have been shifted into my Mastery Tree concept to remove the RNG aspect of customizing your towers.

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                                        ~All-Gear Passives (besides Shields)~

Tower Hype
 - Defense Critical Chance increased by 1-3%

Hero Hype - Hero Critical Chance increased by 1-3%


                                             ~Boot Passives~



Steel-Toed - Colliding with enemies (walking in/on their hit-boxes) deals physical damage equal to 5-20% of Hero Damage

Hermes' Blessing - Allows double-jumping (Press jump mid-air)

Gravity Field - Allows levitation (Hold jump mid-air like DD1 Summoner)

Spring Loaded - Jump 10-30% higher

Etherian Cleats - 10-60% Knockback resistance

Tremor - Landing a jump deals physical damage equal to 100-400% of Hero Damage to nearby enemies

Avalanche - Steadily (over the course of ~10 seconds) gain up to 20-60% bonus movement speed while moving uninterrupted (S key, jumping, and stopping are interruptions. A,W, D keys are not.)

Weighted Conjure (App Only) - Mana Bomb damage increased 2-8%

Tectonic Shift (Squire Only) - Seismic Slam damage increased 2-8%

Franklin's Own (Huntress Only) - 2-8% Bonus movement speed when moving away from enemies

Ruyi Bang (Monk Only) - Pole Smash damage increased 2-8%

Ambient Haste - Standing near towers that Hero has placed increases their attack speed by 2-10% (does not apply to other Heroes' towers)


                                             ~Chest Passives~


Polished Steel - 
Enemies within melee range have 2-10% chance to miss melee basic attacks

Resonant Feedback - Enemies who strike you with a melee attack have their attack speed slowed by 5-20% for 3 seconds (does not stack, refreshes)

In This Together - Gain 2-10% bonus resistances for 5 seconds when brought below 20% HP (60 second cooldown)

Flame of Etheria - Burn nearby ground enemies for (10-5,000) fire damage every second

Arcanic Fusion - Gain bonus Armor equal to 1-6% of your MR

Molten Fusion - Gain bonus MR equal to 1-6% of your Armor 

Quill Coating - Return 1-20% of melee damage dealt to you (caps at 6% of enemy max HP for bosses and special enemies, 12% max HP for all other enemies)

Silver Sheen - Return 1-20% of ranged damage dealt to you (caps at 6% of enemy max HP for bosses and special enemies, 12% max HP for all other enemies)

Ambient Tenacity - Standing near towers that Hero has placed provides 2-10% Tower damage reduction (does not apply to other Heroes' towers)


                                             ~Glove Passives~


Soft Touch 
- Increase pet exp gain by 5-30%

Pick Pocket - 20-80% chance for enemies drop triple the gold

Steady Hands - Increase casting rateby 2-20% during combat phase

Loot Aficionado - Enemies drop 10-40% more loot

Tight Grip (Squire/Monk) - Every 10th melee basic attack deals 10-40% bonus damage

Tight Grip (App/Huntress) - Every 10th basic attack deals 5-20% bonus damage

Affinity - Increases elemental weapon damage by 2-12%

Repairman - Increases Hero repair range by 5-30% during combat phase

Ambient Strength - Standing near towers that Hero has placed increases their damage by 2-10% (does not apply to other Heroes' towers)


                                             ~Helmet Passives~


Clairvoyance - Increases mana regeneration by 5-30%

Virtuoso - 2-20% ability cooldown reduction

Vanguard  - When taking damage within active radius of 3 or more of your damage-dealing towers, the towers gain 2-10% bonus damage for 5 seconds (40 second cooldown)

Pilos - When a nearby allied hero takes damage, you gain 2-10% bonus Hero Damage for 5 seconds (40 second cooldown)

Deflective Plating - Receive 10-40% reduced damage from ranged sources

Headstrong - After 3 seconds of uninterrupted movement, colliding with an enemy deals 100-300% of your Hero Damage and Ability Power and stuns enemy for 1 second (30 second cooldown)

Flame of Zeus - Burns nearby flying enemies for (10-5,000) fire damage every second

Undivided Attention - Increases repair rate by 2-20% when facing the defense you're repairing

Ambient Insight - Standing near towers that Hero has placed increases their range by 2-10% (does not apply to other Heroes' towers)


                                             ~Relic Passives~


Clairvoyance - Increases mana regeneration by 5-30%

Virtuoso - 2-20% ability cooldown reduction

Adrenalin - Gain 1% bonus Hero Damage and Ability Power for every 10% missing HP

Occult Maintenance - Grants bonus Casting Rate equal to 1-4% of your Ability Power

Transmutation - Grants bonus Hero Damage equal to 1-4% of your Ability Power

Black Arts (Apprentice) - Mana Bomb heals for 1-6% of the damage dealt (caps at 15% max Hero HP)

Black Arts (Squire) - Seismic Slam heals for 1-6% of the damage dealt (caps at 15% max Hero HP)

Black Arts (Monk) - Chi Blast heals for 1-6% of the damage dealt (caps at 15% max Hero HP)

Black Arts (Huntress) - Piercing Shot heals for 1-6% of the damage dealt (caps at 15% max Hero HP)

Decisive Strike - Tower Critical Strikes deal an extra 10-25% damage.


                                             ~Ranged Weapon Passives~


Shatterlight - Basic attacks ignore 10-60% of enemy resistances (calculated after resistance debuffs)

Soul Reaver - Basic attacks heal for 5-200 HP

Pierce - Basic attacks pierce the first enemy struck, dealing 10-40% damage to second enemy
  
High Impact - Basic attacks knock back enemies

Alchemical Infusion - Enemies killed by basic attacks explode on death, dealing 20-80% Hero Damage to all nearby enemies 

Rift Walker
 - Basic attacks have a 1-5% chance to teleport enemies backwards this far. Does not work on bosses or special enemies (this would be a special boss-drop passive)

The Culling - Charged shots charge twice as fast and deal 300% damage to first enemy struck

Etherian Decree - Hero critical strikes deal an extra 10-25% damage


                                             ~Melee Weapon Passives~


Shatterlight - Basic attacks ignore 10-60% of enemy resistances (calculated after resistance debuffs)

Soul Reaver - Basic attacks heal for 5-150 HP

Phantom - Upon impact, basic attacks extend their range centrifugally by 20%, dealing 10-40% of initial basic attack's damage to effected enemies.

High Impact - Basic attacks knock back enemies

Alchemical Infusion - Enemies killed by basic attacks explode on death, dealing 20-100% Hero Damage to all nearby enemies

Rift Striker - Basic attacks have a 1% chance to instantly kill all enemies struck. Does not work on bosses or special enemies (this would be a special boss-drop passive)

Might - Basic attacks deal 10-20% bonus damage to first enemy struck

Finesse - When not taking damage, basic attacks ramp up in damage by 5% per attack, capping at 200% (taking damage resets the stacks, along with not attacking for 2 seconds)

Etherian Decree - Hero critical strikes deal an extra 10-25% damage


                                             ~Elemental Weapon Passives~


Thunderstruck - Every 16th basic attack stuns enemies for 1 second

Surge - 
Damaging Hero Abilities deal bonus electrical damage equal to 4-30% of Ability Power

Electric Zeal
 - Hero Critical Strikes chain to 5 nearest enemies (3 nearest enemies for ranged)(if the 16th attack of 'Thunderstruck' critically strikes, all chained enemies are effected by 'Thunderstruck')

Chilling Touch
 - Basic attacks slow enemies by 2-20% for 2 seconds (does not stack, refreshes)

Absolute Zero - Basic attacks have a 1% chance to freeze enemies for 5 seconds

Cold Front - Hero Critical Strikes freeze target for 1 second, and create a chilled zone around target for 3 seconds, slowing all enemies within the zone by 20%

Wildfire - 
Basic attacks splash fire damage equal to 5-20% of Hero Damage

Pyrotechnic 
- Damaging Hero Abilities set target aflame, dealing fire damage equal to 5% of Ability per second for 4 seconds.

Infernal Conjure - Hero Critical Strikes create a fire zone around target for 4 seconds, dealing fire damage equal to 60% of Hero Damage every second to all enemies within the zone. 

Toxicity - Basic attacks poison targets for 3 seconds, dealing poison damage equal to 12% of Hero Damage every second for the duration (does not stack, refreshes)

Viral Dissolution - Damaging Hero Abilities have a 1% to instantly kill all enemies effected (doesn't work on bosses or special enemies)

Pandemic - Hero Critical Strikes infect enemies with a contagious plague for 4 seconds which spreads to nearby enemies, diminishing in duration by 25% with each spread. Plagued enemies suffer a 6% decrease in resistance and damage output for the duration.


                                                       ~Shield Passives~


Caustic Glaze - Enemies who attack you while blocking have their resistances reduced by 2-10% for 3 seconds (does not stack, refreshes)

Righteousness - During combat phase, regenerate 1% of maximum HP per second while blocking

Reverberation - Enemies who attack you with a melee attack while blocking have a 10-40% chance at stunned for 1 second

Calm Before The Storm - During combat phase, Hero Damage and Ability Power increase by 2% per second while blocking. Upon releasing block, this effect dissolves after 5 seconds

Demoralizing Vigor - Enemies who attack you while blocking have their total damage output reduced by 2-10% for 3 seconds (does not stack, refreshes)

Fortification - During combat phase, gain 1-20 Armor and Magic Resist per second for 20 seconds while blocking. Effect dissolves immediately upon releasing block

Serious Mode - Initiating a block knocks back all nearby enemies. Enemies who collide with other enemies or terrain receive physical damage equal to 10-30% of Hero Damage and are slowed by 4-20% for 2 seconds (60 second cooldown)

Apprentice's Apprentice - Upon striking an enemy, Shield Bash releases a cone-shaped AoE, dealing magic damage equal to 4-20% of Ability Power to enemies behind initial enemy 

Vital Spot - Shield Bash has a 1% chance to instantly kill (does not work on bosses or special enemies)

Hopefully this list better communicates how I feel about passives than any paragraph I could write. There is something there for every hero role. Tower-changing passives have been shifted over to the Mastery Tree, giving more choice and validity to a wider pool of passives. 

Well hey, let me know what you guys think about all of this, and be sure to leave your own ideas here as well. Any and all responses welcome!

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This is really well put and a lot of passive ideas which would really help things with loot being more interesting and flavorful. I also think the laying out the differences was needed to be done because Trendy themselves said that they're looking back at DD1 and looking at what made it such a big success for them. I think a big issue as well is that it seems like there's too much at the moment like they're trying to go in too many directions, trying to "Shotgun" the problem to see what works. Like for example the different melee speeds. I definitely agree with the weapons section too, some legendary weapons have cool feeling effects, but we kind of need more of that and at a base level.


I have my own idea for gear, which while only slightly "gear" related, would make it more gear focused instead:


Uber spheres kind of seem a bit underwhelming and feels like it's too much trying to make it a sidegrade which kind of brings it down a bit.


I'd much rather see sets or legendary effects that do this instead, so that way it's not really having to make so many checks and balances to making sure one isn't too powerful than the other since if every skill/tower gets an uber sphere, that's doubling the amount of things to keep in balance at the same time.


Currently right now I see Uberspheres more like the different "Runes" of Diablo 3 skills when I think they should be like the legendary/set effects which either changes up the way your skills work in a large way or make you think about building in an odd way that makes it shine.

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Please guys move that to the suggestion forum - your ideas are really good. Thanks

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@Aheadatime quote:

One potential solution would be to increase number of stats to 8, and have loot scale in number of stats and passives as it gets more powerful in classification. Example;


Worn            1 stat, 0 passives
Sturdy          1-2 stats, 0-1 passives
Basic             1-2 stats, 0-1 passives
Powerful      2-3 stats, 0-2 passives
Brilliant       2-4stats, 1-2 passives
Epic               3-4 stats, 1-2 passives
Mythical      3-5 stats, 2-3 passives
Legendary   4-6 stats, 2-3 passives
Divine           4-7 stats, 3-4 passives
Absolute       5-8 stats, 3-4 passives


I want this. 

Hire this guy and fire whoever thought that making items boring was a good idea.

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@dreamanime quote:

Wow interesting suggestions for sure =).

Nice job with it! Doesn't look much like a discussion tho.


@atharix quote:

Please guys move that to the suggestion forum - your ideas are really good. Thanks


When making this thread I realized it could have gone into Feedback, Suggestions, or GD. I wanted the player base to read this just as much as I wanted TE to read it, and there are little to no players reading Suggestions or Feedback.

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@Akutare quote:

This is really well put and a lot of passive ideas which would really help things with loot being more interesting and flavorful. 

Uber spheres kind of seem a bit underwhelming and feels like it's too much trying to make it a sidegrade which kind of brings it down a bit. I'd much rather see sets or legendary effects that do this instead, so that way it's not really having to make so many checks and balances to making sure one isn't too powerful than the other since if every skill/tower gets an uber sphere, that's doubling the amount of things to keep in balance at the same time.

Thanks man. Yeah I agree that ubers are underwhelming, and to me they're flat out awkward. I have an idea of what to do with them, but I didn't want to fit too much into one thread.

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As someone who has harped on Trendy fixing, and making loot more interesting for ages, take my like!

I can't tell you how many times I've ranted for loot changes. Hopefully this patch makes some people realize at how important loot is, and why it needs to be changed. 

Gear is in a better state now than before, but it's still lacking depth (which you cover well with the different qualities of loot.) I had a post a while back where I pretty much straight up asked why gear of higher level does not feel more meaningful, and have more stats. Don't think I received a reply, sadly. I'll certainly like your post and keep the discussion going though, because I do feel Trendy needs to realize if they want the game to remain interesting, fun, and engaging, changes will have to be made. 

1-2% here and there for stats is flat out boring. When I get a really badass piece of gear, I want to be stoked about it. Not go "oh yay, 1% more of x stat". 

[[4370,users]]


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This is great work but more importantly I would play that game. This logic that you implement makes it really immersive but still simple. I want Absolute gear now.

Since early on various people have wanted to understand the logic sometimes. I quit at once I heard the dev stream talking about the Poision Dart as a "beefy blockade". Like the last drop. However, DD1 was so awesome that I stick around to wait and see :)

Actually I would like to challenge Brett the system designer here to comment on an possible approach like this :)

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@Tristaris quote:

I had a post a while back where I pretty much straight up asked why gear of higher level does not feel more meaningful, and have more stats. Don't think I received a reply, sadly. I'll certainly like your post and keep the discussion going though, because I do feel Trendy needs to realize if they want the game to remain interesting, fun, and engaging, changes will have to be made. 

1-2% here and there for stats is flat out boring. When I get a really badass piece of gear, I want to be stoked about it. Not go "oh yay, 1% more of x stat". 


Yeah part of what sparked me to write this thread was the lame higher end gear. In DD1, it was awesome getting a stacked 12-stat item with the only negatives being stats you didn't care for anyway. As I get further into DD2, I'm realizing that this excitement isn't present. To be blunt, it feels as though some of the developmental team working on DD2 wasn't around for DD1, because they're changing many of the things that made DD1 so special.


Thanks for the kind words man. Yeah I've noticed you have a strong opinion in multiple threads. I say keep voicing your concerns and ideas all the way to release.

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@NewFolder quote:

This is great work but more importantly I would play that game. This logic that you implement makes it really immersive but still simple. I want Absolute gear now.

Actually I would like to challenge Brett the system designer here to comment on an possible approach like this :)

Thanks Folder, I want absolute gear too :D I would love to discuss loot details with a content designer, but usually the only TE employees I see here in the forums are Isom and Butter.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I completely agree on all of the points you made. 

The current passives on the gear are game-breaking and essentially required for end-game which limits diversity.

Gear dropping with only two stats reduces the viable gear options and build options, which limits diversity.

Diversity is one of the things I liked most about DD1.  I never saw the same build twice in a single session. There were viable defense builds, DPS builds, and hybrid builds for every class.  With DD2 currently you either have a Frost Mage, Hearty Squire, Trap Huntress, or pure DPS.  If you don't, you aren't playing NM4 without a carry, and then the people carrying have the above mentioned builds. It's boring.

The passives should be moved to the sphere system (or another static/controlled system) so we not only don't have to rely on RNG for it, but it can be controlled more precisely for balancing needs so that all builds are more likely to be viable.  Secondly, we need more stat diversity/options on gear to support hybrid builds like DD1 had.

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@Kalseru000 quote:

The passives should be moved to the sphere system (or another static/controlled system) so we not only don't have to rely on RNG for it, but it can be controlled more precisely for balancing needs so that all build are more likely to be viable. 

I fully agree.  All the passives should be on spheres just like the huntress elemental traps are.

Move Frosty Power, Purging Evil, Hearty Blockade to spheres please

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This has to be the best suggestion/ discussion on a topic in this forum ever. Your Idea for gear is almost exactly what I had in my head but could not figure out how to put in to words. Thank you for this post. I hope TE realy takes a look at this one and works had to implement it into the game. as it would fix a lot of problems. Again thanks Aheadatime.

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@Kalseru000 quote:

The passives should be moved to the sphere system (or another static/controlled system) so we not only don't have to rely on RNG for it, but it can be controlled more precisely for balancing needs so that all build are more likely to be viable.  

Excellent point. I'll be discussing this topic more in-depth in another thread I got coming, but I basically want to rework the Sphere Sheets into Mastery Trees. All of the more fundamental passives get shifted over to those, and I'll be thinking of interesting originals as well. This would solve the issues of RNG, and as you said, make it immensely easier to balance in the long run.

Gigazelle I'm curious what you think of the gear ideas in this thread. I recall having balance convos with you in the councilor days, and we tended to think relatively similarly.

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Thanks for the tag - didn't see this thread until now.


@Aheadatime quote:

                                                       ----------Progression----------

1. Gear stat strength should be directly correlated with gear classification.
2. Gear classification should be directly correlated with difficulty level.

The reason why loot is not implemented like this is because it does not scale with the life of the game. I'm talking years down the line here when level cap has been raised multiple times - with the current model, legendary will always be the best tier. 

Surprisingly enough, gear progression was originally implemented exactly as you suggested before the game hit open alpha. We started with just worn loot, then as you progressed through the game you got increasingly higher tiers until legendaries. There were several HUGE flaws with this design though:

  • Late game produced astronomical quantities of crap loot. Legendaries are supposed to be somewhat rare, so late game it's either the choice of dropping lots of worthless worn loot, or making it rain legendaries. If there's anything that would devalue the reward of legendary gear, it would be making it the only gear type that drops late game. With our current loot model, greens and blues can potentially be useful until you find purples and golds of that same ipwr. Heck I'm still using a green bow since it has all the stats and shots per second I want on it.
  • Every time Trendy would want to raise the level cap, they would have to introduce better tiers with better passives. They would have to 1-up current legendaries in every way possible, then do it again and again and again every time the level cap was raised. This means also increasing the effectiveness of passives, which would cause balance to go out of whack really fast.

What I'd rather have is the capability to tie gear quality to what challenges you opt into. For example, all difficulties would have the ability to turn on/off resistances, traits (grounded, healthy, etc), and incursion elements. If you opt into these challenges early in the game, you are constantly rewarded with legendary loot. If you do not opt into these challenges, you are constantly rewarded with worn/sturdy loot. The gear's ipwr is based on enemy mob level, while the gear's quality is based on what challenge elements the player chose into. These mechanics can scale through every phase of the game in its current state, as well as being permanently future-proof.


@Aheadatime quote:

                                                       ----------Stats----------

1. Demands that the two stats which drop be ridiculously high to compensate.
2. Places copious amounts of significance on the strength of passives.
3. Has caused frustration via stats not matching passives. More stats would dilute this problem. This point depends heavily on the coding. Whether stats are weighted towards passives or the other way around matters, and this is information I don't have.

Again, not future-proof. All this is going to do is further create one-trick ponies. The two-stat gear is going to be the only gear that's worth obtaining, since that's going to be the gear that rolls the highest. Since one-trick ponies don't need more than a couple stats, anything that rolls more than two stats is instantly trash tier.

What I'd rather have is gear that makes all numbers 1-8 valuable in some form or another. All gear would have the following:

  • One of: physical resist, magic resist, hero health. This slot determines how you as a hero are able to survive. Armor would be subtractive, not a percent resist.
  • One of: hero ability power, defense ability power, hero damage. This slot determines how you deal damage. Abilities would be modified to where if you used them on defenses, would grant them a temporary buff. Ideally your total damage output would be roughly the same, regardless of which you chose to specialize in.
  • One of: Defense power or defense crit damage. This slot determines how your defenses would deal damage. Ideally a full crit build would potentially dish out more damage, but would take luck to do so. If a cannon deals 10K DPS with everything in DP, then it would deal 600K damage in a minute. Investing in a full crit build would also result in 600K damage per minute on average. If the cannon did only 5K DPS normally with a 5% crit chance, it would crit on average 3 times a minute, meaning each crit would deal 100K damage. This means that if you're lucky a full crit build could dish out 800K damage (if it crits 5 times), or only 400K damage (if it only crits once). Crit chance would be adjusted based on the number of people who choose into DP vs DCD builds.
  • One defense trait gambit between +/- damage, +/- attack rate, and +/- range. For example, +rate and -range, or +damage and -rate. Gear quality (mythical, legendary) would determine how big the gambits are. Worn gear would not have any gambits, while legendary gear would double one stat and halve another. This means you could get auras that have 8x the range with 1/8th the damage, or 8x the damage with 1/8th the range.
  • Defense Health and Crit chance would be removed as stats. Defense health would scale proportionately with defense power. No use including a stat that forces an entire character to build around a single defense.

What we end up with is gear that always has 4 stats - armor, damage, defense damage, and defense trait spec. All stats can increase indefinitely and would still preserve balance even if there's 1 million in each stat (except gambits, which are tied to gear quality, not ipwr). All gear would have its place somewhere, and players would be encouraged to farm for their preferred combo between the above stats.


@Aheadatime quote:

Armor/MR - All gear besides weapons. -5% drop chance for relics. +5% drop chance for chest, helmet, gloves. 

Hero HP - All gear.
Hero Damage - All gear. +5% drop chance for weapons.
Hero Movement Speed - Only on boots. +100% drop chance on boots.
Hero Casting Rate - All gear. +5% drop chance for gloves.
Hero Ability Power - All gear. +5% drop chance for relics.
Defense HP, Power, Range, Speed - All gear.

Again, not future-proof. For example, how would you make it so movement speed has a notable impact level 1 while preventing movement speed from going insanely out of control at ipwr 700? What about when the ipwr cap is raised to 1000? 2000? If you say anything about a cap or diminishing returns, I have a nice little rant if you want to hear it.


@Aheadatime quote:

                                                       ----------Weapons----------

1. Reinstate weapon damage.

2. Give elemental -type and -damage their own slots outside of the stat slots.

3. Reinstate and make upgradeable the number of projectiles and attack speed on App/Huntress/Monk weapons, and projectile damage on Monk weapons. For higher level gear, Monk weapons should have a separate elemental for melee damage and projectile damage.

Reinstating weapon damage will not do anything to improve the game. It was an unnecessary damage multiplier in DD1 and will only cause more balance issues later on. As a community developer for DD1, trust me here. The number of viable weapons in DD1 is EXTREMELY limited, largely due to weapon damage.

I can agree that giving elemental damage its own slot would be beneficial, but at that point, why not just make it so the weapon itself deals that elemental type, like how pets currently operate?

Monk is currently missing variant projectiles, which Trendy has stated they are going to be changing in a future patch. Upgrading the number of projectiles means that the weapon must be balanced around its max projectile limit. This one is more about semantics, but personally I'd rather a weapon come with all its projectiles so it's not completely worthless until after I upgrade it.

The one thing I would like to see changed short-term is the fact that 4/s bows are inherently better for huntress due to her charged shot passive. If the skill sphere was changed to "once a second it has a 15% chance", that would make it so 1/s and 2/s bows could see some play time. I'd also re-tune the scatter effect to have unlimited range, and make it so burst projectiles don't scale the best with hero damage. I'd actually initially retune them so they all scale exactly the same, then based on what players use the least, tweak their damage scaling by 5-10% constantly until we reach a point where all projectile types and shots per second are used roughly the same.


@Aheadatime quote:

                                                       ----------Passives----------

1. Needs to be through a feature that is a guaranteed choice like Mastery Trees, instead of through RNG. It is both frustrating and boring to rely on RNG to have my towers function optimally.

2. Numbers need nerfing. Prioritize what an end-game tower's primary and secondary functions should be, and have the numbers represent this ideology accordingly.

For example, if it were up to me, Frostbite tower would function primarily as a slowing tower, with secondary emphasis on buffing traps. Accordingly, Frosty would be a Mastery that caps at 10%, which removes both the RNG aspect of acquiring it and the potential for the secondary function to override the primary function.

This is one section that I heartily agree with. The design team has dug themselves into quite a mess in the current passive system. This makes defenses much more difficult to balance, and makes some passives an absolute requirement for the defense to be remotely viable. Other defenses are already good, but with passives makes them SUPER overpowered.

What I'd rather have is for every mechanic-altering passive to be considered a brand-new defense. This proposal requires the addition of several new heroes into the game. For example, we could introduce the adept, who would have the flamethrower, a shield that summons meteors, a single-target freeze tower, and an earthshatter tower that consistently knocks up enemies but does slightly less damage. The apprentice would have his flameburst, Knockback arcane barrier, AoE slow frostbite (cannot freeze), and earthshatter that deals more damage. Then for other passives like frosty power, we could reintroduce the EV who could summon a tower that shoots a pink buff beam that buffs all defenses around that contact point with the enemy.

This allows Trendy the ability to balance defenses around each other, not their passives. It also gives us a LOT more tools for us to utilize at every stage in the game. Is the buff beam used in every build? Nerf the boost percentage. Is the app's frostbite no longer used in any builds? Buff his AoE slow. This would continually be iterated on until all defenses from all heroes are used roughly the same. Players gravitate to the most effective defenses, so constantly buffing the least-used defenses and slightly nerfing the most-used defenses will provide players with a constant choice between what they want to use at all stages of the game. No more being pigeonholed into traps + spike blockade + frostbite in NM4.


@Aheadatime quote:

                                                       ----------Specific Passives----------

I'm not going to comment on any of them individually, but most of them sound pretty solid. The thing to consider here is that they must be able to scale both early and late game, as well as be future-proof. For example, what if heroes can get to level 1000, and face level 1000 enemies? Would it become ridiculously overpowered? If it's still relatively balanced, I'd consider it a good passive.

TL;DR - While many of the flaws are correctly assessed, most of the proposed mechanics would not be able to scale for the future of the game. There's a reason why there's low ipwr and high ipwr legendaries, why there's a static number of stats on gear, and why a lot of stats seen in DD1 were changed to skill spheres in DD2.

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I absolutely love what you have written about DD2 gear. For a game that revolves around gear its pretty pathetic state right now in terms of dead simpleness it has.

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@Aheadatime quote:Yeah part of what sparked me to write this thread was the lame higher end gear. In DD1, it was awesome getting a stacked 12-stat item with the only negatives being stats you didn't care for anyway. As I get further into DD2, I'm realizing that this excitement isn't present. To be blunt, it feels as though some of the developmental team working on DD2 wasn't around for DD1, because they're changing many of the things that made DD1 so special.

I can't say it any better so I'm just going to quote you. I have felt this way about DD2 for a LONG time.

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My goodness. This thread! It's so beautiful! Well thought out, informative, with reasoned debate, and zero pitchforks...It is the visual equivalent of music to my earholes. 

I will refrain from commenting on the specifics of gear balance and future proofing, since I Am Not A Designer, but I do like Gigazelle's idea of introducing more hero's and balancing around their individual kits. i will be bringing this up to Designland, and see what they think of it. I personally have been itching for more heroes. 

Thank you again for the incredible feedback! 

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Thank you for posting this up.  Was quite the enjoyable read while having my morning coffee.  I had planned to do something similar but you beat me to the punch here.  I'd like to touch on something related though that's been irritating me for some time... incursions.

Back in dd1/dde, incursions were slightly harder reduxes of existing levels with the loot available within them slightly tuned up from where they were in the original map.  This hardly feels like the case in the current incursions.  They are instantly a tier above normal play (or tied with cap at the very highest of play) and they hardly feel like revisions on the prior levels design.  Something about this just feels wrong, way wrong.

I personally believe the loot available in the existing incursions should be knocked down a peg.  Let me give you an example of what I mean.  Okay gates nm4 is ipwr 800 with drops residing in the 610-625 range, but gates nm4 inc is at ipwr1000 with drops residing in the 660-700 range.  I think it should be reduced down to the ipwr 900 mark, meaning drops of 620-650.

Part of incursions balance has always been intentionally not creating incursions for already end tier, high drop power gear.  They recreate levels that only typically get play early on so that they are somehow now a viable farming spot.  So that all levels have a place and see some love... that way we all aren't crammed into the same spot for the grind.  Yet somehow, here we all are grinding the same dumb level over and over.  This needs some serious attention.  Currently 2 of those levels are being bumped up 2 grades of gear and one of them is the grind point of infinite time wasting and boredom.  This doesn't feel right at all.

And on that note, these incursions don't even feel THAT much different from their original form.  I'd love to see an incursion overhaul milestone patch.  Redo all these damn incursions, add new mobs/bosses JUST FOR INCURSIONS, add a few more into the incursion list, add more flavor drops specifically tied to the incursion themselves (ie: ramps inc).  Give us a reason to do more than just gates incursion nonstop.  I'm seriously so sick of this map that if steam would allow me to delete the damn map from my steam folder without redownloading it automatically... it'd be gone.

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Have not logged in since the Halloween patch.

I would log in to play your version of the game.

I would rather tremendously enjoy a game that is not future-proofed than never bother to play a game that is.

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