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The Game as it stands; Massive Wall of text - TL:DR included (Returning player)

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The Game as it stands

After a big success of a massive thread i made way back, i figured i'd make a 'Round 2'

Reference.
(https://dungeondefenders.com/2/topic/124748/balancing-the-flaws-the-game-as-it-stands-the-great-wall-of-text-tldr-inc?page=1#1162604)

Background;

I am a Returning player, from Nm4. The last Era i played in was PDT incursions. In general, i play for 1 month, i get maxed out. Then i leave for 6 months and return to a fresh wipe and another Game. 
Why do i care so much about an indie game? because i see DD2 having incredible potential, it just doesn't seem as well thought out as i'd like it to be. 

TL:DR - Returning maxed player's thoughts on the game.

Progression;

So i have been back for 3 days and clocked considerable amount of hours in that time, my pre patch gear allowed me entrance into C3, however it took me a while to figure out that i had to replace my C3 gear before seeing any potential loot. 
My progression is now 'capped' as i am currently 32, going on 33 runs of C3 dry of finding a crucial shard i need to progress from C4 into C5 (shielding guard). I am in essentially C4 maxed gear, however it is getting tedius as the majority of my gameplay has been backwards (farming C1, C2, C3 for Shards). I personally significantly dislike this system that locks me into farming 'lower tiers' (i can build first wave and afk till wave 5, carrying 3 people in public), Just so i can slowly progress onto a tier that i could potentially find some Loot.

There is a severe lack of information about 'what loot' gives me the best 'chance' at getting better loot. I'm guessing 90% of the time unless its a clear upgrade, i have no way to determine if 'X gloves is better than Y gloves' in terms of Loot potential.
I do like the idea of having a 'gear cap' in order to stop players from skipping 90% of content and starting with max gear, however i do find it incredibly tedius Vendoring bags and bags of gear/shards without even looking at them because they are lower content.

Paragon  Assention levels are a nice touch, however it drastically widens the gap between Hardcore/casual players, which i don't see as a good thing. It has come to my intention that it'll take me 90% of the time in order to reach endgame content and then i will spend 10% of the time playing the endgame.  
Most RPG's take a different approach, In the past a good basis for progression is to have players reach endgame content faster, while having challenges in the endgame to continue player progression.


I am a player with a considerable amount of time currently, I would highly highly doubt any new/casual player will ever get anywhere close too the 'endgame' content. While i very much agree, 'casual players' are not entitled too beating all content in the game, there has to be some kind of line. Eg. Bob has my entire gear setup, he can play for an hour a day after work. With my current RNG base, it'll take him over a month playing the same content, that is lower than his gear setup. Just to have one shard which could potentially allow him too progress in his (IPWR) Gear. This is not a very user friendly setup.
While you have to cater too Bob and his casual playstyle, the Hardcore players must still feel rewarded.

Suggestions; There needs to be incentive for Bob too continue his progress, and a place where Hardcore players can test/feel challenged. The best way to do this, is too speed up progression (think questing in an MMO, the majority of players are trying too reach endgame content. Some players will do a quest a day, some players will rush through the quests, however once you have done a quest, it is now done, you have no 'wasted' time or 'backwards progression'. Have content that is always moving forward and not relying on RNG completely. This could be solved by adding a currency, eg. getting Shards from doing quests, maps or content which could in turn be exchanged for Artefacts (Artefacts now replace shards). This removes RNG from shards and continues to give RNG based on Items.  This new currency would allow you to better balance the more 'overpowered, sort after shards' with cost. You can lock different upgrades behind chaos tiers, however it allow me too still progress if i haven't yet reached X or Y tier. eg. If 'Power Transfer' a highly sort after shard costs 25 (Currency) in order to purchase it, i can save up some (currency) before i reach C4 in order too purchase it once i reach that level of content.

TL:DR - I am forced into doing content far below my power level in order too progress; Casual player/hardcore player line; New currency to stop Shard RNG

Endgame;

Endgame as it stands, is an infinite grind of assention levels, which allow players too complete zero more content than a player at the same tier. So what is the point of continuously grinding endlessly? - The game is essentially, one Giant campaign with Zero endgame. (campaign - > c7) Having 'other' content that is for the 'endgame' players would be the fix, not just adding C10, C4000 in the future of the game. I would love to see the game actually have content for a player that has invested considerable hours into. While having Chaos tiers introduce new mechanics and mobs is great, i love the concept, i makes it quite exciting. Once you have reached the highest Tier, you are now, well, done? There has to be alternate content for a player that has reached the tremendous feat of 'completing your game'. There are plenty of paths you can take, PvP content, Speed running, Highscores, Raiding, Onslaught, incursions. You name it, having boss battles that are considerably difficult that have alternate rewards than gear you find in your regular gameplay. (eg, you get different weapons, pets etc.) 


Having a 'Paragon' system only increases that gap between the 'Hardcore, and the Casual' players while allowing players to complete essentially zero more content, seems quite questionable to me.
Lets assume i can complete and gear up in C7 in 100 hours for maths sake, A player who has played 1000 hours in C7 would be able to complete, the exact same amount of content that i can complete, he will have no extra cosmetics to show he has done so, he will have better gear due too the Assention levels, however his Gear is essentially 'useless' because it doesn't allow him to do 'any extras', eg. Boss battles, PVP better, complete higher onslaught waves. 

Suggestions; Just add some more things too do in the game, other than endlessly grinding the same content for zero rewards.

TL;DR - You spend 90% of your time in order to reach content you will play for 10% of the time, Add Different content for players

User Interface;

Coming back i was completely lost, bags full of clutter, Shards were a thing, socketing, what to spend my gold on, where to go to farm rewards, how too progress. I can't even imagine being a new player trying to figure it all out.

The game currently has Zero information ingame, everything i learnt about the new patch i found from content creators or players. This needs serious addressing. It took me a considerable amount of time to figure out that i had to remove all my 'gear' that you gave me, replace it with 'worse' gear in order to find 'better' gear. That sentence in itself is a headache, now imagine trying to figure that out, without external guides. 

It feels like trendy is doing a GOLD grab on bag space, as having limited bags and Shards that take up slots is complete bull. While i understand free games need a way to generate income, out of my history of playing games. I can honestly say, that i have spent considerable amounts more on free games that i enjoy the gameplay, NOT spending money on a free game because i 'have too'.  Having limted bag space and EVERY DROP in the game going into the same BAG it seems like i 'must' spend money in order too progress, I would be more inclined to spend money buying X and Y skin or getting Z DLC early because i enjoy the content of the game.

Sort your bags, Sort your socketing, sort your UI out or you'll lose a considerable amount of your player base.
I can't even tell you how many times i've sold something by accident, sold a shard that is socketed etc. 
Inventory should be just that, Inventory. I'm not sure on your engine support, however putting 'every' drop into the same place, is a nightmare. Simplifying it would make things significantly easier.  Shards stack, They go into the Shard place, i can sort by 'hero, green, blue, or name'.. (oh look, i found what i was looking for). 


Pets go into my 'Pet' companion place, i can look at my pets, i can swap my pets, my pets no longer take up my INVENTORY SPACE.
After you have fixed this clutter, we can now start to work on socketing. I love the idea that socketing comes with its own screen that helps me sort my shards, this sorting needs a lot more work, i should be able to search or each shard have its own symbol etc.  However, once i have placed these shards in my gear, or unequip them. My bags now look like a whorehouse on a friday night again. 

Suggestions; I added alot there however Add significantly more information regarding where to go, what to do. Maybe add a quest line that talks about 'Shards, socketing, how too find better gear, where to find better gear' I'm not a quest line kinda guy, but outsourcing 99% of your user manual to the community seems like a flawed design choice. Lets make bags, just that. Bags, they can hold my items, not hold 'everything i need too progress'.  It would be fine to have shards in your inventory if shards were a minor component of the game, 'an extra' as you will. However with shards being so crucial and Game breaking, they need a separate UI/Space to hold them. 

TL:DR -  User driven manual, zero guidance, I WOULD SPEND MORE MONEY IF YOU DIDN'T TRY TOO FORCE ME TOO.

Multiplayer game vs Single player game

I personally believe the game as its core, is a MULTIPLAYER game, however in its current state the game is definitely catered too being single player. If i was to host a public match, not including the wait time of extra players Just the mob HP/scaling would make it take considerably longer and the game would be considerably harder than it would be to just play solo.
If i jump into my lobby, i can see a Large number of games where players are in campaign grouping up in order to complete content. I did it too, at my very first stages of the game. It is where a community can work together and build up on eachother, It wasn't the gameplay that would make me log on, it would be to hangout with 'friends'.


If i check 'trails' (endgame content) i see few and far between matches because it is inefficient to play with multiple people.
I am gimping myself if i want to help others, receive help from others or share my experience with other players.
while aspects of this are 'okay' and i understand the idea to make content more/less rewarding for bigger groups/solo players.  I would personally lean towards grouping people together, not tearing them apart. 

Currently players run the risk of 'team mates' killing cores with assassins, limited host abilities, hosts now merge with other hosts and games take considerably longer for no extra rewards. This is making players play privately and at large is creating a singleplayer game.

I thought DD2 was supposed to be a game where i can get a group of friends, make a group of friends and go and play the game we all know and love. It's supposed to be community driven, I'd love to see in public lobbies players talking, teaching eachother in waiting rooms, getting excited about an upgrade and showing there friends. However nowadays all i see is players getting frustrated when gimicy things happen (cores die for no apparent reason) and players pushed into playing SOLO.

Suggestion; Don't gimp players for having friends, reward them. A Clanlike system could be a way to get some support for groups, having more content that requires multiple players in order to complete could also help. With a 'clan system' being able to 'chat, across parties with a group rather than using steam messenger'. Rewarding 'clans' for completing tasks togeather. 

TL;DR - It is a Multiplayer game that gimps players from playing Multiplayer.

The Current game

I had the oppertunity the otherday where a friend of mine asked me what that 'sword' icon was on my desktop, i got to explain to him what Dungeon defenders universe was, i got to see him get excited about a potential new game he could play. But then i got to dd2. I couldn't tell him about the trading system, the PvP, The Raids, onslaught, the challenges, Incursions. All i could say, was that it was just an ARPG tower defence game. 


that's Cool and all, but is that really all DD2 is limited too?
I can't see myself suggesting this game to my friends, even still, It bugs me every time. I'd LOVE to be able to share my experiences, hangout with some friends that i know in game. However with the current state of the game, this still isn't viable. Maybe oneday.  
i ask myself the same questions every time i play, fail to land RNG on an item or install a patch. 'What is the point', what is the purpose of getting 'maxed gear' if it doesn't unlock new content for me. I personally like a loot grind, min max style gameplay, i like the accomplishment you feel after you complete some new content. However what the game boils down too, is doing Chaos tiers and well, that's it. That is all there is to offer with the game.

I honestly have no idea where this game is heading, It is still in a similar position to where it was a year ago, i find alot of the changes welcoming, i like the idea of shards instead of passives etc, i like the way you implement new mobs/challenges, i find the artstyle and graphics very refreshing. However it is still in a similar spot.

TL:DR - Need a clear cut vision of where the game will be in 6 months or you will update it into the ground.

Too long : massive wall of text: Didn't read.
- Then don't post, 
Constructive additions, criticism, thoughts welcome. 

Cheers

(edit; spelling mistakes)

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Stop trying to use the "returning player" thing as an excuse to try and make your opinion more valid.  It's unnecessary.

I'll start with the "know what is better" part. The game clearly tells you the gear you're looking at's stats, and its maximum possible value once you max it. I think that is even better than our old IPWR numbers, since you can visually see how much better your equipment will get.

About the user interface, I can't agree more. It's a clusterf*ck of poorly sorted information. Sorting items is a pain, and having ONLY my pets and shards take up 4 and a half bags out of the 7 I have is not good at all. I really feel like trendy is forcing me to buy more and more bags.

The game *can* be easier with friends. You just can't expect a 2k-gear huntress on chaos 4 sniping flying kobolds from across the map to be helpful, or to not be leading you to your doom. If you communicate with people and do some teamwork, the game becomes stupidly easy.

Annnnnnd.... something I would LOVE to point out, that I don't see enough around these boards:

I couldn't tell him about the trading system

I keep seeing Trendy releasing tons of "quality of life" patches, but they keep ignoring the most important ones. Inventory space and trading. Both are "simple" features that would help the game massively, and just like you, I wish I could talk to my friends about DD2 like I speak about DD1.

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It's funny but I could have made a post very similar to yours. 

I have not played as much since coming back but have had a similar experience of coming back after I stopped last July.  I was waiting on the legendary strategic revamp, and came back to a bit of a confusing mess.

I figured posting on here might help get more attention to the issues.

I agree that, in concept, shards are the solution for gear that most easily works with the inclusion of lots of new characters.  At the same time I think making it mostly random is a major step back.  Just browsing the forum I saw a post by someone who was looking for a shard and still hadn't found it after 50 runs.  That really gave me second thoughts about trying to get back into the game.  Random loot can cause awesome feelings but there has to be a backup to prevent severe negative experiences.  it really feels like trading in 5 unopened shards for one of your choice or something would be an optimal solution so there could be some direction and planning.  If this game hopes to sustain it can't just ask for an endless grind because eventually almost everyone will tire of that.

That brings me to my other point  while I love the concept of the chaos modes it doesn't quite match nightmare because the limits are tier wide.  Back when they talked about the strategic revamp I was most interested in the idea I would actually have to inspect the lanes closely and build defenses appropriately, but my experience in the chaos tiers has been really only checking lanes for the big baddies and occasionally the ones with more enemies.  Having modes like the chaos modes are nice but there needs to be something else for the endgame otherwise whole characters will be shut out when the next tier is release with a new enemy that nullifies one character's ability.

Also I agree that shards and pets need separate storage.  Other than a naked money grab, there is no reason to make people feel forced to buy more bag space with real money. 

edited for spelling

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Shielding Guard is absolutely not essential. If you can't break into C4 right now, Shielding Guard will not push you over the hump.

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@Nefhith quote:

Stop trying to use the "returning player" thing as an excuse to try and make your opinion more valid.  It's unnecessary.

I'll start with the "know what is better" part. The game clearly tells you the gear you're looking at's stats, and its maximum possible value once you max it. I think that is even better than our old IPWR numbers, since you can visually see how much better your equipment will get.

massively, and just like you, I wish I could talk to my friends about DD2 like I speak about DD1.

Returning player was to gather relevance to my position, If i was a player who transitioned manually with the updates, if i was a new player or an old one. It was to give perspective, not to validate my opinion.


So you're telling me that 'max stats' is all that matters? not the 'armour value' not the 'Ranges, of these stats rolls' not the 'rarity?'. I'd love to know how you came across this information, because i can't seem to find it anywhere.  It also becomes quite difficult when you land similar pieces Max stat wise,

It can make it easier, with organised groups etc etc. However for your 'average' public match, you are gimped.
I appreciate the post, thankyou


@Hom-Sha-Bom quote:

Shielding Guard is absolutely not essential. If you can't break into C4 right now, Shielding Guard will not push you over the hump.

I can afk c4, i could push into c5 however i figured i'd spend the time to gather Shielding guard before i wanted too progress, as it is a 'Must have' Shard for a waller.
(i got it now anyway, 36 runs of specifically hunting it)



@Warped Bob quote:

Random loot can cause awesome feelings but there has to be a backup to prevent severe negative experiences.  it really feels like trading in 5 unopened shards for one of your choice or something would be an optimal solution so there could be some direction and planning. 

This X 1,000,000

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Progression & Endgame: It's a work in progress.
UI: I made a similar post and was told, I was doing it wrong. Seems most of the community was happy with their 9/10 bags. Shards should be unlocked (free to use once found) and in a separate tab (similar to old spheres).
MP/SP: it's a single player game, get carried, or carry someone.

Ascension: I'm happy with the idea. However, instead of being a bit extra for end game it's become necessary for progression- e.g., we have an illusion of choice when it comes to crit chance. While movement speed isn't a big deal, the base speed is so slow that maxing it makes the game, for lack of a better word, fun.

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@Peekaboss quote:

So you're telling me that 'max stats' is all that matters? not the 'armour value' not the 'Ranges, of these stats rolls' not the 'rarity?'. I'd love to know how you came across this information, because i can't seem to find it anywhere.  It also becomes quite difficult when you land similar pieces Max stat wise,

It can make it easier, with organised groups etc etc. However for your 'average' public match, you are gimped.
I appreciate the post, thankyou

Yep. Max stats is where the magic happens most of the time. If you have an item that with its max stats will get over your actual equipment, you're better off taking it, upgrading it, and equipping it. That's why you should have a "garbage" character fully geared with top-tier legendary gear with the wrong stats that you'll never use, since these have 60 upgrades and have a better chance of getting above your mythicals.

Think of this game like old RPGs, where not everything is written in paper, and knowledge is shared by talking to other players, like Ragnarok Online or Tibia.

And-a-yup. Public matches suck a lot, especially when you join and have three gunwitches bukkake you with their green mana and press G. I still suggest to play a few public matches, add some good players and when you have >10 people, just play with those.

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@Warped Bob quote:

At the same time I think making it mostly random is a major step back.  Just browsing the forum I saw a post by someone who was looking for a shard and still hadn't found it after 50 runs. 

Hah, that sounds like me. It took me ~150 matches of C3 before I got my first Deadly Strikes and I really wish I could tell you that was a joke. No, it legitimately took me an entire week of dedicated playing to get one. Funniest part was that I finally got it from buying a shard pack and not from finishing a map. Of course after that I got 4 more in like 20 matches. It took me ~50 matches of C4 to get my first Defense Rate. My most lucky shard was heavy cannonball and that took me around 30 C5 shards to get. RNG is random and random can majorly suck. Sometimes you get super lucky, but it's mostly just sucking.

Meanwhile I've gotten and sold hundreds of Mystic and Abyss Lord shards --- heroes I don't even own. Yep, hundreds. So I fully agree with you about the random acquisition of shards being a major step back.

@Warped Bob quote:

That brings me to my other point  while I love the concept of the chaos modes it doesn't quite match nightmare because the limits are tier wide.  Back when they talked about the strategic revamp I was most interested in the idea I would actually have to inspect the lanes closely and build defenses appropriately, but my experience in the chaos tiers has been really only checking lanes for the big baddies and occasionally the ones with more enemies.  Having modes like the chaos modes are nice but there needs to be something else for the endgame otherwise whole characters will be shut out when the next tier is release with a new enemy that nullifies one character's ability.

Also I agree that shards and pets need separate storage.  Other than a naked money grab, there is no reason to make people feel forced to buy more bag space with real money.  

Most of the time I only check a lane to see if it has a Roller. I think it's an interesting idea to only have some lanes spawn a certain type of chaos mob and some lanes spawn other ones, but I kinda like the way it is now. The new enemies (and rollers because rollers) are the bulk of difficulty in a new chaos level. There are problems of course. Mainly how do you feel when a defense you enjoy using gets countered by the mobs of the tier? The complete hard counter mobs are IMO the issue there and they are the RNG Insta-Loss Geodes and the "don't build auras bro k thanks bye" Cyborcs. The rest of them don't force you to avoid using certain things and instead encourage different placement or to use a more diverse defense.

On the topic of storage, I'd be happy if we could purchase more bag space with defender medals. Though this is a F2P game and that's likely the best money right there since this is also as much of a loot game as it is a TD game. I think it's only fair to provide a option for those who don't/can't pay for such a gameplay enhancing feature. Having more bag space is very useful. Cosmetics IMO should be the only things with the paywall in front of them, like tower skins, character skins, etc. Though they do allow you to get some character customization for defender medals, albeit randomly. Gameplay stuff like bag space should have a paid and free option.

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