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Trendy Brett

Shards - Slot Balance Inquiry!

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The design team is looking for some feedback on shard slot balance! Notably, which shards are nearly always used in their slot, and which shards are nearly never used in their slot.

An example of what we mean by this:

  • Destruction and Blazing Phoenix both occupy a slot on a relic. If Destruction always gives better results than Blazing Phoenix, there isn't much reason to use Blazing Phoenix (even though Blazing Phoenix only works on 1 defense!).

For defenses, we know this comparison is a bit easier, since each relic has only 3 shard slots.

But for heroes, it's a lot more complicated, as each piece of armor (and weapons) have different slots!

So share with us! 

  1. Which shards do you find yourself never using? 
  2. And on the opposite side, which shards do you find yourself always using? 
  3. Which shard slots lack meaningful variety?
  4. Which shards slots have TOO MUCH variety?

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Note:Some shards still bad even i use them often.For example; drenced,explosive suprise, splody harpoon, blazing phoneix, brain of confusion

Which shards do you find yourself never using? 

I never use this shards for my defenses

Balista :empowered bolts , power bolts , puncturing bolts

Boost Aura; Rippling explosion

Flamethrower: Empowered flame

Weapon manufacturer: Lazer boost

Skeleton Orcs: Berserk master, electric fingers

Colossus:Colossal fissure

Oil Geyser: Oily entrapment

Volcano:Lateral blast ,volcanic shock

Obelisk:Serpent God's protection

Also never use defensive critical strike , press your luck

I never use this shards for my heroes
Apprentice: Betsy's curse
Squire: Enduring provocation,enduring slam because shield have 2 shard slot and everyone use unholy fire for one shard slot

Huntress: Oil slick, concussive shock

EV2:Aerial mastery, charge blast v2, heat dispanser module, proton cannon insulator

Abyss lord:Shattering stone, fan of knight(can't  work with incursion weapons)

Lavamancer:Molten stun and all other skill shards because you can't play ability power lavamancer if you don't build fissure which is not a good defense.

Mystic:Enduring lash, nightmare fuel

Gunwitch:Bewitching hour, enduring drop, freeze buster, overwelming buster,scatter striker, support magic specialist (most of them weapon shards but they are better choice for them

i also never use jackpot, cluster nades ,haunting

And on the opposite side, which shards do you find yourself always using?

I don't need the answer it because almost everyone uses same shards.

Which shard slots lack meaningful variety?

Boot slot for almost every hero mystic,huntressand apprentice have 0 shards for boots.Lavamacer's boot shard currently not dropping.
Very few unique shard for chest (max 3 for ev2 min 0 for apprentice)

Which shards slots have TOO MUCH variety?

Only with three words...
Weapons, Weapons, Weapons,

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BOOT SHARDS.

I hate quake with a fiery passion because it does literally no damage, only activates half the time, and is overall annoying just to have on. Seriously, I would rather have an empty shard slot than have quake equipped.

Which is exactly what I have on almost all my heroes. Most of them only have the speed boost shard, and the other two shards slots are empty.

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Crit damage, X stat transfer to Y (power transfer, vampiric thingy...), deadly strikes and rate.

These are always somewhere, and there's no way to compete against them, efectively forcing your defenses to always have 1 or 2 slots less because of how effective these are in comparison with the rest. I'm not asking to nerf them, but to make them not so mandatory on defenses, so we can make funnier combinations without gimping ourselves.

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1. None of the Boost Aura shards well because Boost Aura is not worth it to build.

Boosted Power: 20% is too low.

Destruction: I only used it because it's all you have early on. Destruction is outclassed by Vampiric Empowerment.

Megarock: it's held back by horrible shot mechanics and it doesn't do as much damage as that huge 4000% defense power would have you believe. It should travel through walls like regular shots do.

Defense Critical Strike: it's useless when you get the +20% crit chance in ascension but still kinda not useful even if you don't because it is a Chaos 2 shard. It should be a campaign shard.

Panic Fire + Press Your Luck: just because of how the game works, you should never put your towers in a place where they will purposefully take damage. So these shards are fighting an uphill battle. Most towers that take damage get 1 shot anyway.

Collosal Fissure: the penalties are far too harsh on it. 

Blazing Phoenix: the shot is too awkward to hit reliably and it hardly does any damage to make up for that.

Puncturing Bolts: it's rare that you will get enough enemies to line up for this to be worth it.

Anti-Air: I initially thought this was a relic shard but it's not. What if it was a relic shard? You might need to balance it then because SGT would be OP OP.

Cluster Nades, Haunting, Ravenhost, Oil Slick, Power Gambit (bugged)

2. Power Transfer, Defense Crit Damage, Deadly Strikes, Hero Crit Chance, Beacon of the Storm, Speed Boost, Bulwark, Worm Scarf.

3. Boots and chest

4. Weapons

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Aerial Mastery is a backwards and actually harmful shard.

At least for me personally, when I use death from above, I use it more for the AOE damage from the explosion, especially in combo with Enhanced Decoy, and destroying bosses while the diverted aggro is gravy and only needed for a short time.  A shard that decreased the time spent in the air from death from above would be so much more useful, because then I could get more fun big explosions.

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For DPS towers, I always have a combination of the following shards equipped and no others:

  • Power Transfer
  • Defense Rate
  • Deadly Strikes
  • Defensive Critical Damage (I use this in place of Defense Rate on certain traps such as Flame Aura because with capped C7 gear, the difference in extra DPS it provides is marginal due to the defense speed cap on the Flame Aura being reached before the Defense Rate shard can be taken of full advantage.)

For blockades, I usually always have a combination of the following shards equipped:

  • Fortification
  • Shielding Guard
  • Sharpened Spikes
  • Explosive Guard (but only when I don't have the Sharpened Spikes shard)
My advice on other shards:
  • Boosted Power and Destruction -- Destruction actually gives monk's boost aura a higher boost than Boosted Power, so I'd always use Destruction over Boosted Power for when I want to use the Boost Aura to buff my towers, although I'd never use Boost Aura in its current state anyway as it's more efficient to use a Flame Aura instead.
  • Encroaching Flames and Empowering Flames -- Both Flame Aura-specific shards that I'd never use or have seen anyone else use. Any one of the DPS tower shards I mentioned previously (e.g., Power Transfer or Defense Rate) will give Flame Aura far more DPS than its own Empowering Flames shard. In addition, Encroaching Flames is essentially useless because you're better off putting a DPS tower shard than having slightly extra hero DPS, especially since everyone just wants to sit back and watch their defenses burn mobs down.
  • Defense Critical Strike -- This is a shard I'd never use as it only provides a 3% extra critical chance (30% to 33%) once critical chance is maxed out in ascension levels, in essence making it a useless shard. A good way to combat this would be to remove critical chance from ascension levels altogether or simply raise the critical chance cap on defenses.
  • Jackpot -- essentially useless, from what I can tell. Yay, a 10% chance to double my 1 gold drop into 4 gold pieces, even though I already have millions of gold. It's not good enough. Perhaps if it were a "increase drop chance of legendaries by 1%" shard", but I'd rather see golden pets have a hidden passive that does this instead of a shard, thereby giving them more purpose than just to look cool.
  • Anti-Air -- useless. Air does not spawn that much and Skyguard Towers will immediately take any air down, or I can just use the Ice Needle ability on my Gunwitch to instantly drop them. Even without Skyguards or Ice Needle, there are better shards to use instead of this.

While we're talking about shards, I'd like to note that I wish shards stacked or that I could somehow make use of my dupe shards or leftover shards. Trading would help.

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Builder:

1) Never  used: just about everything not in group 2


2) Always used: Deadly Strikes, Power Transfer, Defense Rate, Critical Damage

2b) Used on walls/specials: Fortification, Power Pylon, Split Vipers, Destruction (for low Ascension)


3) Lack variety:

Dryad builder shards - 2 exist, and they are pretty lame

AL Builder Ram, Monk AA, Apprentice Wall, etc - too many defenses have no special shards at all for them, which is boring.


4) Too much variety:

No such thing!


A big part of the builder shard problem is that the generic ones can be so powerful it is hard to ever really use the special ones. Defense Rate gives +33% speed, which for damage towers means you get +33% more DP damage and +33% more DCD damage and activate any special effects +33% more too (like stuns or heavy cannonball effects).  

It seems like you should be rewarded for collecting all the different shards, so if at all possible it would be great for tower specific shards did not take up a shard slot. In the NM4 days you could have 3 passives on all your gear and powers from spheres too, and end up with lots of specials. Reduce the number of generic shards slots, but if you collect all the Ballistae specials you should be able to use them all.

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Never use:

World Tree Mcbufferson, Cthulu's Influence, Poison Leaves, Flaming Retribution, Inspiring Strikes, Electric Retribution, Beacon of the storm, Jackpot, Quake, Press Your Luck, Panic Fire, Annoyance, Retribution, Construction, Howling Feast, Empowered Flame, Betsy's Curse,


Always use:

For towers: Deadly strikes, defense rate, defense crit damage, destruction

For characters: Bulwark, critical strike, Inspiration, Overwhelm, speed boost, worm scarf


We need more tower shards that change up the way towers are used. Dryad tower shards period. Every character I believe needs more new shards for boots.

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Rarely Used

Apprentice:

  • Empowered Flame - Could be decent but not better than standard damage shards.
  • Frosty Bind - Minimal benefits, only used if I have nothing else to put on.
  • Betsy's Curse - Typically better to kill stuff sooner with a damage shard.
  • Meteor Rain - Lackluster damage and would take the slot of other weapon shards you probably want.

Squire:

  • Empowered Bolts - A shard focused on Ballistas as a lane clear defense but it doesn't seem that great, and the only chaos tier that really makes sense is in C2, because even C5 has vanguards pretty early on.
  • Harbinger's Slam Power - Interesting shard, too many conditions to meet, and too expensive since you need to use to abilities for a 4x your AP stat, giving you maybe a bit more than 100k extra damage in C7.

Huntress:

  • Blazing Phoenix - Delayed damage with not great scaling. Doesn't scale with range increases to Blaze Balloon. (Or at least it didn't use to)
  • Oil Slick - Damage typically trumps utility and this one takes up a shard slot that could go towards a more damage oriented shard. 
  • Piercing - Lackluster scaling.
  • Piercing Shot - Shard seems okay but the ability itself needs a change. Long cast time for low damage, and all tiers after Chaos 2 have varying amounts of vanguards and geodes, negating it most of the time.

Monk:

  • Boosted Power - Boost Aura boost scaling doesn't feel worth it, this shard isn't enough to help.
  • Empowering Flames - Awkward to put a hero boost on a tower designed to aoe clear enemies, would almost always want damage shards.
  • Encroaching Flames - Could be usable since Rate shard makes towers hit the speed cap.
  • Rippling Explosions - Low range on boost aura, small chance to proc and very low damage scaling makes it very unappealing.
  • Betsy's Empowered Lightning - Scaling does not seem very good, and takes up a slot that other DPS shards you would want need.
  • Call of the Kobold - Screen Pollution. Damage scaling doesn't seem great.
  • Smashing Fists - Used a lot but only because it used to be bugged and do super damage to rollers. Now it's just another damage shard with bad scaling.

EV2:

  • Atomic Capacity - Weapon Manufacturer weapons damage is lacking, lowering your overall damage output with the downtime trying to use them.
  • Flaming Death - Same as above.
  • Laser Boost - Same as above.
  • Manufacturer's Overcharge - Same as above.
  • Aerial Mastery - Staying in the air feels more like a penalty while playing EV2. Can't use abilities during. Does not feel good being forced to float in the air because you needed to make a quick escape. 
  • Bots of Oil - Utility on a highly damage focused ability and the ignite scaling isn't very good.
  • Charge Blast V2 - Charge shot as a form of DPS is very outscaled by Primary Fire EV2, especially with a shard that gives Secondary Attacks for free (Charged Shot).
  • Dummies and Bots - Not sure about damage but same reason Aerial Mastery for not wanting to bother using it. (Luckily its a boots shard so why not, nothing else to slot in)
  • Enhanced Decoy - Same as above.

Abyss Lord:

  • Colossal Fissure - Feels underwhelming and takes up a slot I'd rather use to make it do more damage in general or make it tankier.
  • Explosive Arrows - Low chance to proc with bad scaling.
  • Rain of Oil - Lowers damage substantially, takes up a damage shard slot or range.

Lavamancer:

  • Megarock - Gets caught on Terrain.
  • Oily Entrapment - Minimal gain on slow%
  • Batter up - Molten Core often doesn't have terrain to work, and when it does is clunky and hard to make use of.
  • Molten Core Power - Same as Above.
  • Molten Striker - Same as Above.
  • Molten Charge Power - Low Damage.

Dryad:

  • Cthulu's Influence - Enemy dead before Charm Effect would matter.
  • World Tree McBufferson - Low Scaling.
  • Poison Leaves - Seems to be low damage.

Mystic:

  • Enduring Lash - Lash Out damage feels lacking.
  • Hemolytic Poison - Same as above.
  • Lashing Power - Same as above.
  • Nightmare Fuel - Same as above.
  • Tormented Power - Dark Torment damage feels lacking.

Gunwitch:

  • Freeze Buster - Very low proc chance.
  • Bewitching Hour - Very niche use, takes up a slot which is better used by other shards.

Multihero:

  • Anti Air - Slot better used with another damage shard that helps both air and ground.
  • Brain of Confusion - Low Chance to proc.
  • Jackpot - Low Chance, negligible monetary gain.
  • Life Leech - Low %
  • Quake - Low Damage.
  • Defense Crit Strike - Waste of a slot after full crit chance ascension.
  • Destruction - In most cases Crit greatly outscales.
  • Press Your Luck - Low Chance to Proc. Unappealing because requires tower to get hit.
  • Shielding Guard - Low DH % added.

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Also - have you thought about the use of shards in Campaign and early Chaos?

Problems with early game shards:

The Defense Critical Chance shard used to be campaign, but for some reason now it is Chaos 2. The shard is really pretty useless once you get Ascension level 60 as the DCC cap is 33% and you will have 30% without any shard at all. DCD is pretty useless without either the Ascension or DCC shard, so a Mark is pretty much a wasted relic until you get DCC up (likely from Ascension early in CT2).

Each campaign shards can cost hundreds of medals and hundred thousands of gold to upgrade, but you only earn a handful of shard and a couple thousand K gold for each map.  In CT7 you can make 70k+ gold per map so I am fine with the CT7 upgrade cost, but the Campaign ones are crazy compared to Campaign income. Yes I know you there are lots of bonuses early on, but that gold and medals can get burned through quickly if you don't know what you are doing and you will not get easy loot like that again. 

When you find shards, they are often just horrible without upgrades. I agree on making us upgrade them for the full powered ones, but they are often initially such small bonuses you barely notice it. For example, the Retribution shard gives you a 2% chance to do 125% of your Armor as damage when you are hit at first, but a 20% chance to do 425% of your armor when upgraded. It is not a powerful shard even fully upgraded, but it is over 30 times more powerful than the start. The un-upgraded shard gives an essentially meaningless amount of damage, and pretty much is not worth the time it takes to equip it. 


How to fix:

Bring the DCC shard back to Campaign. 

Lower the cost of Campaign shard upgrades so it is worthwhile actually experimenting with a couple of them, and the gold cost is not more than a couple of maps worth of income from campaign maps.

Upgrade the starting values of shards so they are about 50% as effective as fully upgraded ones, and leave max values the same. So the Retribution shard could just start with a 10% chance to do the full 425% damage, and scale that up to 20% if you upgrade it.

Outtro-

As it is right now, new players should completely ignore DCD until well after beating the campaign and should only bother upgrading and equipping a small handful of shards that are going to be useful. It really make your gear very boring until very late in the game. So if my suggestion to fix aren't acceptable, please do something!


PS - Related to shard upgrade cost, you might want to make normal gear upgrade costs scale off the relative item power. It is really not worth spending 360k gold to upgrade a weapon from the Harbinger when you will get a better one the next map you run. New players may not understand how hard it is going to be to get those gold/medals later, and will be frustrated if they waste too much this way!


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Please don't nerf the good shards.  I paid money to buy shard packs to get the ones I wanted.  Make the less used ones more useful.  Mainly the tower specific shards. Make them all as good as Heavy Cannonball, Frosty Beams, and Explosive Poison.  

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EDIT: removing a mistaken comment I made about Defensive Critical Strike shard.

Won't comment on DPS, but Trendy, almost none of the defense-specific shards ever see actual use, because Destruction/Deadly Strikes/Crit Damage/Power Transfer/Defense Rate are far, far better!  And even if the specific defenses are better, it's hard to tell because it doesn't show up in the DPS tooltip.

Also, please do something about Defensive Critical Strike (15% crit rate).  As is, there's no reason to do it, because it would only raise the rate from 30% to 33% due to the cap.  Sure you COULD just reduce that ascendancy and arrive exactly at 33% crit rate, but you'd only be gaining, what, 340 crit damage?  I don't think there's anyone who could argue that 3% extra rate and 340 crit damage is somehow better than the popular fragment's increases.  

Lastly, please do _something_ about Panic Fire and Press Your Luck.  I can't think of a situation where these would ever be useful...

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@darksteelhyren quote:

I'm seeing a lot of people say "Defense Critical Strike" is bad somehow.  A lot of end game builds call for both that and Power Transfer...

I think you are mixing up "Defense Critical Damage" which increases DCD by 34% and "Defense Critical Strike" which increases Defense Critical Chance by 15%. The first shard is a very powerful one for anyone with 60+ Ascension, but the second one does very little since you already are close to DCC cap.

The cap on Def Crit Chance is 33%, and you have a 10% base DCC and get +20% more from Ascension fairly quickly. 

The Damage shard increases your DCD by 34% no matter what, but the Chance shard only increases your chance to get a crit from 30% to 33%. 


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@Sp3cialk304 quote:

Please don't nerf the good shards.  I paid money to buy shard packs to get the ones I wanted.  Make the less used ones more useful.  Mainly the tower specific shards. Make them all as good as Heavy Cannonball, Frosty Beams, and Explosive Poison.  

This is definitely true - badly nerf the ones people have spent hundreds of hours grinding for (and potentially lots of real money), and there will be a horde of pissed off players...

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Firstly its good that we finally see this thread, so thanks Trendy for doing this.

I think all the above posters have fully answered the question.


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I essentially agree with Sidewalk.

Any tower shards that enable combos are useful - drench, oil, etc.  Any that enable or boost stun or slow down are good.

I've only geared up the Dryad, Monk, EV2 and GW for DPS but generally there are only one or two really useful hero shards per item.  In fact I think it's only the glove where I've had to make a hard choice and dropped a useful shard for critical strike.  Of course I fill all the shard slots with whatever is left over so I have the lightning balls and stuff like that but not sure how effective they are but I like the visual effect.

The most useless shards are Jackpot, Press Your Luck and Panic Fire.   



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As a gunwitch main on the Xbox one, I wonder why the zero entropy shard was taken out of the game before the release of the Xbox one and ps4 free version came out. Gunwithch is the only hero without defenses and has to rely a lot on her abilities. Most heroes now can do the same if not more dps as her now, so I don't see why taking out one shard that increases the ice needle damage more (to a single target) was needed.

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@AzureNephilim quote:

As a gunwitch main on the Xbox one, I wonder why the zero entropy shard was taken out of the game before the release of the Xbox one and ps4 free version came out. Gunwithch is the only hero without defenses and has to rely a lot on her abilities. Most heroes now can do the same if not more dps as her now, so I don't see why taking out one shard that increases the ice needle damage more (to a single target) was needed.

Some shards like zero entropy stop dropping chaos levels due to shard park balance.It doesn't gone forever.It just doesn't drop current chaos difficulties anymore.They will bring it back when next chaos difficulties come to this game.But when? Who knows? Also gunwitch have another shard (frozen core) increase ice needle damage. (drops from Chaos 4)

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If Press your luck, Panic Fire, Def Crit strike and Destruction dropped in Campaign they would be seen as good, for a time.

Dropping in later Chaos tiers when they are superseded is why they are seen as useless.


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@Kruntski quote:

I essentially agree with Sidewalk.

Any tower shards that enable combos are useful - drench, oil, etc.  Any that enable or boost stun or slow down are good.

I've only geared up the Dryad, Monk, EV2 and GW for DPS but generally there are only one or two really useful hero shards per item.  In fact I think it's only the glove where I've had to make a hard choice and dropped a useful shard for critical strike.  Of course I fill all the shard slots with whatever is left over so I have the lightning balls and stuff like that but not sure how effective they are but I like the visual effect.

The most useless shards are Jackpot, Press Your Luck and Panic Fire.   




Yeah, I was using them 'cause I had no shard to use during the Nightmare to Trials transition. Then when I start to obtain better shards, it's like those shard became completely obsolete.

@Fozzie quote:

If Press your luck, Panic Fire, Def Crit strike and Destruction dropped in Campaign they would be seen as good, for a time.

Dropping in later Chaos tiers when they are superseded is why they are seen as useless.


Now that's a good way to distribute them.

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Make the shards that are "never used" slightly better, and introduce Godly items with 4 slots.

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That may be the case for that shard zero entropy, but it should be brought back into the game, the gunwitch has no towers and really only shines in boss killing, which towers do better and or faster. Why play a class that is outclassed by a defense of another class?  The gunwitch needs as much power as she can get.

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@Trendy Brett quote:

The design team is looking for some feedback on shard slot balance! 

btw - thank you Trendy for getting user feedback on these topics! While I know you will likely get very different responses on these things and it will likely not be possible to incorporate everyone's feedback, hopefully there will help improve future improvements. I really hope that going forward with large changes to the game that Trendy asks for player feedback so we the players will be happier with the changes and you the devs can be happier with our money :)

If I could make one suggestion - would it be possible for these feedback requests to get spread out to the various DD2 communication channels? These are on your web forum, but players who mostly the Steam forums or Reddit or Twitter or etc are not included. If at all possible, it would be great if official communications from Trendy were put out on all the sites around the same time. Your sneak peek video at patch 1.1 for example was on Twitch and you linked to it on Reddit, but was not mentioned at all on the web or Steam forums for example.

Thanks again!

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