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Do we really need *5* tower specific shards just for the Ballista?

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I currently have 4 tower specific shards for the Ballista, and there's a 5th that I already know about. I don't know if there are any more, but I think this is enough already.

  • Puncturing Bolts: Ballista can now pierce an additional [1 - 4] targets
  • Splody Harpoon: Ballista projectiles have a [10 - 30]% chance to detonate on each target hit dealing [150 - 350]% of the Ballista's Defense Power stat as extra damage in a small area
  • Oily Harpoon: Ballista has a [4 - 40]% chance to oil targets on hit slowing them by 40% for [2 - 11] seconds. If hit by a fire source, the oil will be consumed and burn the target for [150 - 600]% of your Defense Power stat every second for 5 seconds.
  • Power Bolts: Ballista has a [4 - 49]% chance on hit to deal [5 - 50]% extra magical damage
  • Empowered Bolts: Ballista has a 5% chance on hit to deal full damage to all targets pierced for the next 10 seconds.

And besides these 5, there's the standard "All" shards:

  • Destruction
  • Panic Fire
  • Vampiric Empowerment
  • Attack Rate

And that's not even counting the 3 worthless Defense Crit shards...


With only 3 available shard slots, and the number of shards available for the Ballista, "ridiculous" is an under-statement.

How do you build this thing? This is way too many useless shards for 1 tower.

  • Puncturing Bolts - I'm not sure how many targets it pierces to start with, but I know it does at least 5. How often are you going to get a shot perfectly lined up to pierce 9 enemies? Even if you did, the damage drops by 10% per enemy, so piercing additional targets is rarely going to be useful.
  • Splody Harpoon - This used to be decent, because there weren't a ton of options that we in the weapon slot, but with how Shards work now, 30% chance to do 350% of Defense Power is really insignificant. It averages out to +105% of your Defense Power. But the Ballista itself scales with Defense Power at a rate of 17 damage per DP at Tier 1, and up to 30.6 damage per DP at Tier 5. So a Destruction shard will increase the damage of 100% of attacks by 578% of your DP at Tier 1, and 1,040% of your DP at Tier 5. Compared to 105% of your DP from Splody Harpoon.
  • Oily Harpoon - 11 seconds of 40% slow seems like it could be decent CC. But after you factor in the 40% chance to trigger it, the high cost of 60 DU, and the painfully slow attack rate, this is a terrible CC solution. As for damage, it's actually a decent source of damage however it requires something else that deals Fire damage to ignite it, which increases the DU cost even higher. And there are not a ton of options to combo with Ballistas in Chaos. There is no Chaos Level where Ballistas can effectively be used together with Flame Auras, Blaze Balloons, or (Erupted) Oil Geysers. Your only options are really the crappy Fissure or the OP Flamethrowers. If you're going to use Flamethrowers to ignite, why even bother with Ballistas in the first place?
  • Power Bolts - 50% chance to do 50% more damage? Ok.. so... +25% damage? Yawn. Next.
  • Empowered Bolts - A chance to deal full damage to each enemy. So, if you pierce 2 enemies, this is a +10% damage to only the 2nd enemy. If you pierce 3 enemies, +10% damage to only the 2nd enemy, +20% damage to only the 3rd enemy. If you're able to find enemies are walking in a single file line for a long distance this could be OK but that's extremely situational, and it's probably never worth a third of your shard slots to do a little more damage in a single long straight lane when most lanes in most maps won't really benefit as much.

Can you combine some of these "___ Bolts" shards into 1 that might be useful?

Or change the damage from Splody Harpoon to Fire so it can ignite the oil?


Besides all of this, it just seems like a poorly designed tower. It has a heavy DU cost and very slow attack, both of those combined require it to have a high damage attack. shards that give small chance to do insignificantly more damage, and a small chance to slow an enemy and to apply a damage over time seems totally counter to what slow, expensive defense should do.

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The oily harpoon works great when you add a relic that changes the damage type to fire you can get a fire/oil combo hit off one tower but I get a better damage output applying the defense points to building a Earthshatter tower for high damage (tower dps build apprentice) and using my Squire to get the combos when needed (defense build with an oily weapon and the unholy fire mod on his shield, defense build squire) the unholy fire deals more damage over more enemies since they rarely line up.

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Splody harpoon has a weird way of doing a bunch of damage to rollers so can be effective on the high roller lanes depending on the modifiers.

The rest are garbage due to the cost of harpoon.

The hateful nerf to harpoon/viper/harpy of changing their poisonous tower specific mods into those pointless fire dot killed any utility they had.

 Don’t expect any changes.

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Posted (edited)

I would actually like to see more towers in the game have more shards than shard slots. With a couple balance passes, you could create multiple viable strategies for a single tower.

I'd also submit that a lot of these shards are in fact not 100% worthless (don't get me wrong though, some of them still are lol). They're by no means reflect beam caliber, but I still occasionally will use a ballista on floor 350+ in onslaught. You're forgetting the increase you get from gilding these shards as well.

  • Empowered bolts (gilded): 40% chance to deal full damage to all pierced enemies for the next 52 seconds. This effectively removes the damage penalty for piercing entirely. Probably don't even need to gild it to keep the 100% pierce uptime.
  • Power bolts (gilded): 40% chance to deal 72% bonus magic damage. That's a straight-up 29% increase in DPS. Not as good as a gilded destruction shard (42%), and pretty close to non-gilded destruction (34%). But, you can stack power bolts with destruction.
  • Puncturing bolts (gilded): You can now pierce 6 additional targets, bringing the number of pierces to 12. I don't think I've ever seen 12 enemies lined up for a shot before, so I don't anticipate seeing this shard getting used that much.
  • Splody harpoon (gilded): 34% chance to deal 920% defense power in an explosion around the enemy. This procs for every enemy pierced. As mentioned above it also works with rollers from the front sometimes.
  • Oily harpoon (gilded): 100% chance to oil target for 7 seconds. Ignite is worthless, unless it's against drakenlord. The valuable thing about oil though is that it slows. Stack this with boosted grasp, frostbite tower, or frosty beams, and you have enemies who are effectively pinned in place.

I currently run splody harpoon + oily harpoon + defense rate shards, with unique power + unique critical + unique CD mods. The relic is currently c8 0/5, and my tavern dummy DPS is sitting at a comfortable 6.5M DPS (tier 1 with dest. pylon and boost aura, pretty standard setup). It scales pretty bad with upgrades; 9M DPS at tier 5. If I wanted to prioritize damage, I could very easily crank that up further if i replaced oily harpoon with destruction, but I use it in combination with flame auras to AFK drakenlord bosses.

Edited by gigazelle
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This thread is also from 2017 so I highly doubt anything the OP said is still in any way relevant. Friendly reminder to check the thread date before posting so you don't inadvertently revive old threads.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Exglint said:

This thread is also from 2017 so I highly doubt anything the OP said is still in any way relevant. Friendly reminder to check the thread date before posting so you don't inadvertently revive old threads.

It’s all still relevant because it’s still unchanged in that time. And Giga raises a wonderful point, more shards to diversify the defences would be great and gives examples of where you can do different at lower onslaught for funs.

Edited by Little Magic Hat

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Posted (edited)

I'm also going to add that HSB left this forums before Protean Shift so I don't think he'll get the part with the mods and the elemental combos if he also actually left the game since then.

Other than that, cool discussion. I'm kinda in favor of having more variety of niche shards if possible. Not shock-rev level of broken but works more like Uber Spheres or Unholy Fire.

Edited by Paloverde zfogshooterz
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My problem with shards is that basic critical stats and fun extras use the same slots, so if you want to play with what shards you have, you will take huge losses in power, speed (thus overall DPS), and/or range - all critical to gameplay. The replaced shard needs to be as beneficial as what is removed or you took a loss, especially on maps where DU is tight. 

I wish stats shards and gameplay shards took different slots. That way you have the power and can change up how the tower plays. That or more DU, but most of us would likely just add more power in that case... I love gameplay shards, a lot, but rarely are they good enough to sacrifice the basic 3 stat shards, so the vast majority of mine sit in the vault. 

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