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Defence Limit - Discussion

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I've noticed a number of comments popping up about people not being satisfied with the way defences are currently quite heavily restricted, especially in Chaos tier.

Most of the comments I've seen have been something along the lines of "increase the DU limit" in some way.

What I want to put forward however is a discussion on why we even have or need a limit in the first place?  Of course feel free to chip in with reasons why we should and why it should just be higher.


Why the current limit is too restrictive

Lets get this one out the way first. There are a few differing opinions but they seem to boil down to these two major points:

  • AI is buggy/unreliable meaning large numbers of blockades need to be used, reducing flexibility.
  • The base limit is just too low, shutting down many potential build strategies and even certain towers completely because they just aren't worth the DU spent.

Many people have probably come from DD1 where it was much more reasonable to expect large numbers of defences on every choke with many combinations working in sync. I think these people will be happy if the DU limit simply increases slightly to allow for more potential, even if this has a knock-on effect when it comes to the balance and strength of towers and enemies. However, lets try taking this a little further.


What are the pros/cons of having the Defence Limit in the game

Pros:

  • Additional Balance lever (read band-aid).
  • Gives some structure and purpose when thinking about how to build the map, especially for newer players.
  • Additional layer of strategy/complexity/difficulty.
  • Stops visual clutter created by having too many defences.
  • Technical limitations can be controlled (too many defences may overload the server etc).


Cons:

  • Results usually in only one builder per game, meaning 3 of 4 players are not participating in the tower defence aspect of a tower defence game.
  • Players with defences that define their playstyle (think EV weapon manufacturer/Lavamancer fissures/buff towers) are potentially grieved for wanting to play that style due to consuming DU.
  • Lack of choice/restrictive strategies due to only a few viable builds existing within the allotted DU.
  • Lack of impact/variance when multiple players play together (even with 4 total strangers playing together, the one builder will build the entire map the exact same way they always do, joining a public game gives little chance to impact the game or strategy or build in any way).
  • Little chance of newer players being able to contribute or feeling like they can be useful at all in a public game.
  • Almost all of the Tower Building gameplay occurs in the first build phase. There is often enough mana to near enough completely fill the DU limit before the game even starts, with all subsequent build phases being an simple choice of what to upgrade first. Leading on to..
  • There is little strategy or thought at all beyond planning out the exact completed defence. Usually there will be consideration of how exactly to survive the early rounds to earn enough mana to get to the full desired build. Each wave is supposed to be a fight for resources with difficult choice of what to spend it on first. This aspect of the game currently doesn't exist at all unless you're losing badly.


First off there are absolutely reasons why the DU limit exists, not least because we just know that without one, someone or many people would be wanting to see just how many T1 Flamethrowers they can fit on the map before the game crashes! However, most of the 'need to stop players doing x scenario' factors for the DU limit can arguably be achieved by properly balancing the other levers that exist in the game already.

I would personally argue that rebalancing these other systems and removing the DU limit completely would be a huge net benefit to the game, so let me quickly run through what would need to be examined and why.


T1 defences are too strong

Currently, T1 defences are far, far more powerful and provide far more benefit per mana spent than trying to upgrade. This is in stark contrast to many TD games out there. Usually, constructing a huge number of T1 defences will be a fast way to lose due to no single defence doing enough damage.  However, currently many defences in the game are hugely beneficial with only the base tier, even in the final waves. This isn't always bad, but in the vast majority of cases and especially with blockades and dps towers, the T1 version should be fairly weak. This encourages people to try to upgrade more instead of just going for large numbers of defences. This leads on to...


Upgrades are too weak!

Upgrades scale terribly on most of the defences in the game. As mentioned above, especially when it comes to dps and blockade towers, upgrades should be king. There should be huge bonuses for upgrading towers to the max, possibly even room for later expansion into the territory of allowing players to spec and customise the bonuses their towers get as they upgrade.

Bottom line, I should be excited about getting a tower upgraded all the way. And the balance should be weighted in this favour, forcing players to pick, do I really need to place a new tower? Or can I be greedy and push for that one T5 tower on my main choke?? At this point many different aspects of strategy start to develop beyond just "what build do you use to clear this map?" and then carbon copying someone else's setup to victory.


Mana is too easy to get

Compounding this is that mana is far too plentiful. There is basically no resource gameplay in the game at all. You simple get thrown enough mana at the start of the game to pretty much completely set up all defences on the map before an enemy has even appeared. You're then continually thrown a fairly sizeable amount of mana throughout the game to immediately start focusing on upgrading, and there's usually more than enough mana to upgrade all of the key defences on every single lane.. No thought required here.

While it wouldn't be fun to have the resource game be too restrictive since that causes tension within the team when it comes to spending it. However, this should be the gating factor when it comes to progressing through the waves and building new things. It also allows balancing of things like weapon manufacturers and fissures, which are arguably required for that playstyle to work, by making them very cheap, but placing a per player limit on the number of them on any one map. Maybe we're only allowed 1 weapon manufacturer per player, but it costs very little mana to place. This makes the 'increased number of nodes' shard far more interesting to boot.

Overall this side of the game feels like its being totally ignored in favour of just letting the DU limit dictate the game balance, which kind of sucks since I feel its a fairly integral part of TD games in general. It opens up the possibility for towers or player shards or abilities which increase the amount of mana dropped from defeated enemies. Or perhaps a buff tower that when fully upgraded reduces the cost of upgrades for defences in range.


TL;DR

  • Rebalance defences to start weak at T1, but become exponentially stronger with upgrades, encouraging upgrades over additional towers.
  • Rebalance mana drops, especially from chests, to control progression through the map.
  • Rebalance defence costs and consider removing upgrade paths on some towers.
  • Remove the DU limit completely.

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I can appreciate what you wrote and the thought that went into it. That said, removing DU is just not feasible. Technical issues aside the devs couldnt balance encounters if there was no DU limit. I mean why wouldn't i the cover the whole stage with fire auras, flame throwers, sinking sands, fissures, and blockades. And tuning the game to where instead of fighting im running around uograding even more than now just doesn't seem entertaining. And, honestly, the DU isnt an issue until chaos. I know because i just went through the whole game on normal and hard. The current limits are challenging, but not unreasonable. Chaos is a different animal altogether. 

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@jbaisden quote:

And, honestly, the DU isnt an issue until chaos.

Yeah nice! DU is only an issue for 80% of the game :)


I agree that the DU limit is to low and should be increased, but balanced accordingly. I think removing the DU limit would be bad. Also t1 towers are way to strong and all upgrades are to weak for their price.

Players should have to make meaningful choices between building more or upgrading towers. Right now it's always: Build everything turn 1! No choice, no variation, nothing more :(  Players shouldn't be able to reach the DU limit before wave 1.

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Some kind of DU limit is very much necessary, but I feel it's currently too low.  I'd love to build elaborate defense setups with many strategically placed components.  Back when explosive traps were still decent I placed a couple of those early in the lane so they would clear out the small goblin trash.  I could then use more powerful defenses at my choke point to knock off the big guys that made it there.

Now though, if I build fairly cheap defenses I can fit maybe 4-6 per lane.  3-4 are usually intended to keep the enemies from getting through (blockade, reflect beam, frostbite, proton beam).  This means I only have room to build one, maybe two defenses to actually kill the enemies.  I also have a hard time using the dryad since she needs a world tree to anchor her defenses, but it's way smaller than spike blockade so I need to spend more DU to cover the lanes, resulting in even less DU for other defenses.

I'd love to use some of the expensive, specialized defenses but they do not really work alone.  Earthshatter tower for 80 DU?  It does excellent DPS against single enemies and has one of the longest base ranges, but its slow, powerful hits are wasted against goblins and it takes ages to clear a large group.

Furthermore, it seems that the DPS per DU of single target and AoE defenses is too close.  A single target defense might do triple the damage against a single enemy, but when the enemies come in groups of dozens, AoE defenses win.  The larger enemies, aside from bosses, don't have enough health to warrant trying to use single-target defenses.  And bosses are dealt with by the heroes anyway.

If increasing DU limits would result in defenses having too much total DPS, then their damage could be scaled back to retain the balance.  Being able to build 10-12 defenses per lane would open up more possibilities for different combinations and hopefully allow more different defenses to be used effectively.

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800-1000 DU for most maps is so small right now it's ridiculous.

Walls (90-180+ DU right here, 90 is only if I use one wall per lane in a 3 lane map, which is almost never)

Reflects (90-120+, depending on walls. I'm trying to progress and my largest issue is ranged enemies, and half the time they shoot my core directly)

Frosties (90-180+, I have no range increase shard, so I almost always use 180+ in DU using 2 Frosties per lane.

Fissures (270+, 3 per lane in a line to AoE everything. This feels so weak but without Range or Vamperic Empowerment, these are probably my best bet considering they are immune to EMP)


TL;DR, At absolutely best I spend 210 DU on a lane requiring the bare minimum for my builds. 1 Wall, Minimum size reflect, 3 Fissues, 2 Frosties. With three lanes, assuming I can use the bare minimum, that's 630 DU, and that's without any tools to deal with anything that isn't trash or AA. This is almost never enough because this is the best case situation when it comes to DU usage, and the best case situation never happens.

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I'm not sure if I would say the DU limit is too low, but rather the DU expense of some towers is too high.  It's hard to justify building a blaze balloon or an earthshatter tower when their DU cost is just exorbitant.  Consider the standard Trendy is using: 200 DU per lane, give or take.  80 DU for one tower is pretty costly, especially when you consider the need for 2-3 blockades in each lane.  That's almost the entire DU allotment just for one tower and barricades.

I'm inclined to believe the DU frustration comes from both being unable to use the more expensive towers, and the AI pathing that forces us to build more walls.  It's possible if those two issues were addressed we would feel less restricted, though obviously I could be wrong.

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Many tower defense games do not restrict the number of towers. They balance this by making upgraded towers add more damage per resources spent compared to newly constructed towers.

DD2 absolutely could be made to work like this, however it would require extensive reworking of tower stat numbers at each upgrade level.

Although, I'm not at all convinced that this sort of change would improve the game enough to be worthwhile.

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@Folly quote:

Many tower defense games do not restrict the number of towers. They balance this by making upgraded towers add more damage per resources spent compared to newly constructed towers.

DD2 absolutely could be made to work like this, however it would require extensive reworking of tower stat numbers at each upgrade level.

Although, I'm not at all convinced that this sort of change would improve the game enough to be worthwhile.

Reading that actually made me think that would be really fun, more variety of builds, with no limit on DU but purely limited on start mana resource which could stay the same and mana dropped during the waves. 

Guy 1 wants to spam all his lanes with towers all t1 and guy 2 would plan his build nicely with specific amount of towers per lane with upgrades.

But this is all hypothetically speaking squire_small.png

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You're suggestions is basically reverting some changes done during Trials Update and prior to Trials Update. DU used to be 200 more on almost every map and it definitely should come back and not just all DU being infinite. Pre-Trials T1 Towers used to be weak at first and had to be upgraded and T5 towers were 3x/4x as strong as T1 where right now in Trials Update T1 to T5 is barely 1.5x or 2x increase. That Pre-Trials concept was bad in my opinion since it restricted your ability to simply swap out a lane setup without losing a lot of mana and power. Green Mana hasn't been touched as far as I know right now isn't an issue since we only really have to upgrade Walls. I can barely max out about 6-9 walls by about wave 5 in Trials before reaching my limit. Imagine if Towers were weak at T1 with the current Mana which hasn't been touched at all? We can spread mana evenly and max a few towers but if some of they get destroyed then we're pretty much screwed in some spots. If weaker T1 towers were implemented into Trials then I can imagine C5 being hell without OP towers for starters because we literally have to get everything built by Wave 1 and it has to be self sustaining at that point.

Note: Small upgrade power increase mirrors DD1. DD1 had way more mana gains though so you could literally max out all towers earlier. I don't know about DDE though.

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Du is low for a reason IMO. With the more ascension lvl's and better shards, DU becomes less of an issue as all defenses just become stronger to the point of where everything is just ez.  Yes it's more of a grind but if it wasn't the game would become too easy too fast.  Towers don't need buffed, DU limit doesn't need to be increased, just need to grind more lvl's and/or better shards.  

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All the maps are doable despite the need to over-wall currently, it should improve when you only need one wall on a lane.  You can even do C5 with the main 4 characters, you don't need to abuse the better towers.  Getting the right shards makes your towers very effective.


The problem with balance and if you reduce T1 effectiveness is that you still need to have T1 defences that are able to handle the first wave.  If you reduce their effectiveness significantly to allow for greater upgrade effectiveness then you risk not being able to do the first wave until you brute force them with ascension level damage scaling.


I enjoyed DD1 where you were able to gain a significant amount of mana during waves and you did a fair bit of building and upgrading during waves.  In DD2, outside of repairing the odd wall, I don't really touch defences during waves.  However, TE don't want to re-create DD1.


I do think they can tweak and balance the existing system but I don't think they need a radical overhaul.  Removing DU and balancing options based on how much mana was in game would put a significant burden to have balance dead on, no disrespect to TE, but their ability to balance isn't their strong suit.


The hard DU limit is a safety net for what has been a lack of consistency in terms of tower balance.

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@nomad19 quote:

Du is low for a reason IMO. With the more ascension lvl's and better shards, DU becomes less of an issue as all defenses just become stronger to the point of where everything is just ez.  Yes it's more of a grind but if it wasn't the game would become too easy too fast.  Towers don't need buffed, DU limit doesn't need to be increased, just need to grind more lvl's and/or better shards.  

Some towers are plainly stronger than others. It's not that more DU would make content EASIER (not if they increased mob HP to counteract it like I suggested), its that it'd shift some of the power back to the towers, rather than heroes, while making building more thoughtful and fun, and providing more room to use DU as a way to balance towers.

It's like you said, you just have to grind more. You DON'T rethink your build... You DON'T find more optimal strategies... You just get more stats... And that's just slightly depressing imo. The getting too easy too fast (which it really already does if you know what you're doing) comes from almost all of the power coming from stats, rather than play style. Adding more DU would give us more room to combine more towers in different ways and create more diversity between builds, and to have a bigger gap between a good build and a bad build, rather than almost all the difference currently being between high stats and low stats.

Then we get towers like earth shatters that just cost so much, that you can never use them unless you're over geared for your content (removing any validity in their "balance"). And a lot of their issue comes down to just not having the spare DU to supplement their weaknesses currently.

Sure... the current DU limits are fine. But part of the benefits of getting to give the devs our opinion while they're still working on the game, is that we can ask for changes that have the potential to me the system great.

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@xArcAngel quote:
@nomad19 quote:

Du is low for a reason IMO. With the more ascension lvl's and better shards, DU becomes less of an issue as all defenses just become stronger to the point of where everything is just ez.  Yes it's more of a grind but if it wasn't the game would become too easy too fast.  Towers don't need buffed, DU limit doesn't need to be increased, just need to grind more lvl's and/or better shards.  

Some towers are plainly stronger than others. It's not that more DU would make content EASIER (not if they increased mob HP to counteract it like I suggested), its that it'd shift some of the power back to the towers, rather than heroes, while making building more thoughtful and fun, and providing more room to use DU as a way to balance towers.

It's like you said, you just have to grind more. You DON'T rethink your build... You DON'T find more optimal strategies... You just get more stats... And that's just slightly depressing imo. The getting too easy too fast (which it really already does if you know what you're doing) comes from almost all of the power coming from stats, rather than play style. Adding more DU would give us more room to combine more towers in different ways and create more diversity between builds, and to have a bigger gap between a good build and a bad build, rather than almost all the difference currently being between high stats and low stats.

Then we get towers like earth shatters that just cost so much, that you can never use them unless you're over geared for your content (removing any validity in their "balance"). And a lot of their issue comes down to just not having the spare DU to supplement their weaknesses currently.

Sure... the current DU limits are fine. But part of the benefits of getting to give the devs our opinion while they're still working on the game, is that we can ask for changes that have the potential to me the system great.

Well actually you do rethink your build and find optimal strategies before your ascension/gear is high enough to not have to worry about it. Lot's of different combinations of builds are possible even when your lower ascension lvl and less geared. It's just that people pick the OP builds to fly through the maps faster.  Some builds will always be more optimal than others, but with good placement and strategy lot's of non-op/non-meta builds are very doable and possible. 

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@nomad19 quote:

Well actually you do rethink your build and find optimal strategies before your ascension/gear is high enough to not have to worry about it. Lot's of different combinations of builds are possible even when your lower ascension lvl and less geared. It's just that people pick the OP builds to fly through the maps faster.  Some builds will always be more optimal than others, but with good placement and strategy lot's of non-op/non-meta builds are very doable and possible. 

But the current strategies largely come down to which TOWER is the strongest. Not any sort of combination or placement really... My "finding an optimal strategy" has come down to trying C1, realizing vanguards are just annoying, so use flames or ramsters (no dryad to even try nimbuses). Learned ramster range is pitiful, and the gambit is useless, so had to rely on flames. Past that the only "optimization" I've been able to do is experimenting per map with the least number of walls I can use, and in the cases of maps with more harsh DU limits, the least number of flames I HAVE to have before I can even start throwing down slows/utilities.

Again, I don't think the current DU limits are BAD. And I certainly don't wont the DU limits removed entirely as some have suggested. But I think giving us more room to create more diverse and interesting builds can only prove to make the game more enjoyable (again, provided monster HP is balanced around the increased DU). It just seems like there is more than a fair share of people that are feeling like the current DU limit leaves us very room to create many fun builds. It largely comes down to "Pick one wall, pick one AOE DPS tower, pick one slow/stun".

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There is no problem with the du limit on maps. your off your head. 

If you can t compete then your doing it wrong.

undergeared poor build.

Just beat chaos 5 with no walls at all. Its the things listed above. Watch a few streams is what i did. I had the same complaints as this post. its not the game its you full stop.

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@Swampdonkey quote:

There is no problem with the du limit on maps. your off your head. 

If you can t compete then your doing it wrong.

undergeared poor build.

Just beat chaos 5 with no walls at all. Its the things listed above. Watch a few streams is what i did. I had the same complaints as this post. its not the game its you full stop.

I don't know how to emphasize enough for people to understand that the current DU limit is not a problem and in no way impedes peoples ability to clear content or progress. I have had no difficulties in progression. My point is not that DU is too harsh, but rather increasing the DU limit would prove to be more beneficial for the game's health and longevity.

Yes I'm under geared for C5... Yes, I only have 51 ascension levels. Yes, I currently can not clear an entire 5 waves yet on C5, because I've only attempted C5 3 times so far. I am NOT requesting the consideration because I can not clear C5. I am NOT making these requests under the foolish notion that having more DU will magically make me beat the content, when quite frankly, towers only do 30-40% of the work at BEST when you're trying to beat C5 with C4 gear.

I'm 100% sure that in a few days, whether or not DU is ever touched, I will be clearing C5 with ease, before I even get to ascension level 100... When balanced correctly, increasing DU and monster health will result in a HARDER game that is still reasonably beatable. Rather than our current system of mostly just repairing a wall and shooting things. I simply wish to see DD2 have a more interesting tower defense aspect than the overly basic and boring one it currently has. If you think asking for a DU increase is asking for the game to be easier because we can't beat it, you are severely missing the point, "full stop".

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