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gigazelle

Make blockades great again

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Hi everyone! I would like to get your input on some defense imbalances, specifically around blockades.

Most walls right now are trash tier late-game, mostly due to some fundamental issues:

  • Almost all walls are outclassed by minions, especially in Nightmare. Some major factors that contribute to this are:
    - Sharken don't charge minions, and thus aren't displaced. Even if the sharken charges through a minion wall, the minion goes right back to where they were.
    - Minions are healed by mages, meaning that they are mostly self-sustaining.
  • Physical beams are really the only blockade that see late-game playtime, because
    - They have excellent health scaling, especially for their 5DU length
    - They can cause "ogre derping" since they don't have any attacking capabilities

This leaves magic blockade, spike blockade, bouncer blockade, slice n dice, and jack in the box pretty much irrelevant in Nightmare. Personally, these are my opinions to help rectify that:

  • Change sharken to charge at anything tangible (including minions), and instead of displacing it, have it instead do a large amount of burst damage
  • Give magic blockades an element-suppressing aura; instead of an enemy having to actually hit it, make it so they only have to be near it. This suppressing aura would scale with the apprentice's defense range stat.
  • Give bouncer blockades and jack in the boxes the ability to knock back ogres, potentially making them ideal for using environmental hazards.
  • Give spike blockade a "thorns" trait, meaning they return a proportionate amount of damage that they take.
  • Crank the slice n' dice's damage to absurd amounts. Make it the highest DPS tower in the game.
  • Remove health scaling from the physical beam's length. Other beams don't scale any stats with length, there shouldn't be any exceptions there.
  • Slightly reduce the archer minion's health scaling and/or the buff beam's damage protection scaling. They would still be viable walls due to the mage's ability to heal them, but they wouldn't be able to tank 10 ogres simultaneously like they can right now.

So to summarize:

  • Magic blockades would be the best supporting wall for elemental builds
  • Bouncer blockades and jack in the boxes would be the best near environmental hazards
  • Spike blockades would be best against high-damage melee enemies like sharken (if changed to deal burst damage)
  • Slice n' dice would be the highest DPS tower in the game
  • Physical beams would be the best wall for covering wide lanes efficiently
  • Minions would be the best wall for long sustained damage with their ability to be healed

I would like to bounce these off of you all and see what you like, what you don't like, and what ideas you personally have to improve balance. With that said, two questions for you:

  • Would you like to see blockades receive some love? Or do you think we should leave things as-is?
  • What recommendations would you suggest to make blockades relevant late-game?

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@gigazelle quote:
  • Remove health scaling from the physical beam's length. Other beams don't scale any stats with length, there shouldn't be any exceptions there.
Other walls also don't cost more DU when you make them bigger.  I like the tradeoff you make when you decide how long to make EV walls.  I vote to leave EV beams alone, personally.

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I agree with Plane that EV walls shouldn't be touched.

I don't think that minions should be tanked in an effort to make walls a viable option though. I like the idea of making sharkens an actual threat to minions though. I always thought that them being the only defense with a hitbox that was immune to sharkens was weird. 

I do not agree with element suppression on the magic blockade. Giving a 2DU wall the effects of a darkness trap is a no go for me. I, however, do like the idea of a magic effect being placed on the thing that is attacking it. It just seems to fit the apprentace to me. I think something more along the lines of a "spell" being put on its attacker that makes it weaker in a way. The walls are rather pathetic health wise anyway so the idea that it would keep itself strong via magic seems like a good idea. Maybe it makes the minion attack slower or something.

As far as the slice n dice I don't think it should get a damage buff. I honestly think that the only way it would be a viable defense would be to buff it to the point where it is just an absurd ogre killer and I think that is just the complete wrong direction to go about fixing the tower.

I do like the thorns idea on the tower though. You could have the damage reverberate scale with tower damage.


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Just my Thoughts:

  • Leave the EV Wall where it is
  • Give the Magic blockade a spell that is casted on all minions that hit the blockade (Slower attack speed or DMG Weaken, maybe even that they take 10% more dmg?
  • Spike Blockade should get Thorns that equals to some % the attackers damage
  • Buff the Slice n Dice to deal significant more DMG. Honestly, its a 8DU tower and boy it SHOULD be strong. Either that or reduce the DU, because now its only a wet sponge that can't withstand a couple of hits.
  • Give the Bouncer Blockade either knockback on all Mobs (Except Bosses) and / or add a short stun duration after the knockback is applied (Mobs that got hit are 3-4 Seconds immune to stun).


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Here is the health scaling of all the mentioned blockades at exactly 2000 Tower HP.
The percentage is as a percent of the HP of a 3 DU Physical Beam

Gssd7jL.png

Based on this data, here are my thoughts:

I agree with most of the changes proposed except for 3.

Slice N’ Dice turrets already do twice the damage of Harpoon turrets. They don’t need more damage, they need more Health. They only have 67% of the HP scaling of a Physical Wall at 3 DU; and even at 3 DU Physical walls can die rather quickly. Give them more HP or damage resistance. And drop the DU to 6.

If you want Physical Beams to “be the best wall for covering wide lanes efficiently”, why remove the HP scaling?

I don’t think minions should be nerfed. They also can’t take 10 ogres at once from endgame maps anymore. That’s just an exaggeration. See how long your minion line lasts on wave 35 TL survival against 10 mini ogres. The problem isn’t their tanking ability (see picture), it’s mages.

If anything, Jack-In-the-Box and Bouncer Blockades should get a slight HP increase.

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Disagree with nerfing the EV physical beams, they are the only wall that even hold in it's current state in nightmare. I also disagree with changing the way the Sharken works, nerfing Minions, and boosting slice n' dice DPS.

I like the new unique traits being added to all the towers.

I would prefer a simpler change of giving magic blockade, spike blockade, bouncer, and slice n' dice all a boost of health in addition to those traits I think the rankings should remain the same as the above post by Caimen0, but everything should have MORE health.


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I'm not sure if these changes would help at all.  The main reason why non-minion walls aren't used is because (in essence) they can't tank well enough.  With ogres scaling to >100m hp in survivals, the last thing you want is your walls dealing even more damage and getting more aggro when they could instead just be sitting there, blocking the path to your dps towers and barely taking any damage at all.

I think the only way to make non-minion walls viable is if you made ogres smarter and allowed them to attack whatever's blocking them if they can't reach their primary target.  Of course, this would be a pretty groundbreaking change that might require a ton of re-balancing.

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QWhile I like the idea of knockback on jack in the box and bouncers. A good enough knockback would keep ogres out of range, which sounds like an issue. It saddens me since the knockback would be entertaining to see I imagine. While a stun that can't stack but still lasts long enough to decrease ogres damage to the defenses sounds useful (but less entertaining :/ ). And just a health buff doesn't sound right to me. I'd rather like to see a dmg nerf and a stun effect.

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@Hardened Defender quote:

I'm not sure if these changes would help at all.  The main reason why non-minion walls aren't used is because (in essence) they can't tank well enough.  With ogres scaling to >100m hp in survivals, the last thing you want is your walls dealing even more damage and getting more aggro when they could instead just be sitting there, blocking the path to your dps towers and barely taking any damage at all.

I think the only way to make non-minion walls viable is if you made ogres smarter and allowed them to attack whatever's blocking them if they can't reach their primary target.  Of course, this would be a pretty groundbreaking change that might require a ton of re-balancing.

I think that even a small incremental change that makes the non-minions walls more viable in NM would be a step in the right direction, even if they aren't usable for the highest levels of survival mode.

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physical beam doesn't need changes. As noted, physical beams still see some use late game.
While a cheaper wall shouldn't have as much health as a more expensive one, the magic blockade does little of value past a player's initial campaign run since its special attribute is negated by aura stacks, so it should really have nearly as much HP as the 3 DU alternatives (which themselves should also have more HP other than the physical beam) I don't know if this would be difficult to do or not but perhaps enhance the Magic Barricade's effect to reduce the damage dealt or attack rate of the enemies that hit it.
The orc summon was also intended to be something of a moveable wall, however they are mostly ignored because they lack range. I kind of think something should be done for these because currently people would rather just use archers and mages (maybe spiders) exlcusively.

The jack in the box is also pretty expensive considering its limited coverage. It does have a unique ability in being the only defense that can apply knockback to ogres; however it doesn't always do this- I thought it would be too powerful otherwise.
I had the following idea for the JITB:

-buff HP in line with buffing the HP of other walls.

-Increase rate and amount of ogre knockback

-Limit the attack rate of the tower substantially but have it really send the enemies flying (edit: we're talking about distance, not damage)


The one carveat to all of this: Buffing all blocade's HP will likely make the early game drastically easier. Does anyone have a problem with that?

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@Alhanalem quote:


The orc summon was also intended to be something of a moveable wall, however they are mostly ignored because they lack range.

I'm pretty sure Orcs and Ogres are rarely used because they move off of buff beams when they swing.

JitB would be too powerful if it could both knockback and do significant damage to ogres. I would strongly prefer that it knockback ogres as opposed to doing any significant damage. We already have towers that do that.

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@Caimen0 quote:



@Alhanalem quote:


The orc summon was also intended to be something of a moveable wall, however they are mostly ignored because they lack range.

I'm pretty sure Orcs and Ogres are rarely used because they move off of buff beams when they swing.

JitB would be too powerful if it could both knockback and do significant damage to ogres. I would strongly prefer that it knockback ogres as opposed to doing any significant damage. We already have towers that do that.

Currently though, nobody uses them outside of people who create a jester as one of their first characters. That was one of the pruposes of it, of course, but I would like to see them get some use. The damage is obviously not high enough to be compelling, and like I suggested, I'd like to take more of a utility approach, which is why I suggsted tuning up the knockback. Unlike bouncers, jack in the box only goes in a single direction, which is part of the reason they were granted the special ability to push ogres around- but  the rate is pretty low and the amount of knockback isnt great because we were concerned it might be OP (especially if you could easily knock them into the lava). But I'm thinking maybe we erred too far on the side of caution.

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Not every level has environmental hazards, and even on the levels that do, not every lane has them either.

I'd love to see jack in the boxes send any kind of enemy flying. Even if they guaranteed environment kills, they couldn't possibly reach buff beam or aura stack OP status.

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Okay, so a recap of the general consensus of this thread:

  • Do not, I repeat, do not touch physical beam or minion health scaling in any way
  • Increase magic blockade health scaling by 40% and on hit make enemies deal 20% less damage
  • Increase slice n' dice health scaling by 40% and increase damage by 10%
  • Increase bouncer blockade health scaling by 20% and apply knockback to ogres. Ogres can still attack it out of range.
  • Increase jack-in-the-box health scaling by 20% and apply large knockback to ogres. Ogres can still attack it out of range.
  • Give spike blockade a thorns buff that causes an attacker to take damage equivalent to reflect beam damage
  • Remove sharken displacement of towers, replace with a high-damage attack that applies to both minions and towers

Any vehement opposition to these proposals?

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Why not make Magic blockades simply immune to elemental damage? could be enough of a gimmick for it to have it's uses at least every now and then. Adding a damage reduction to them may force everyone to make Tower HP adapts, essentially this makes nearly every map 20% easier if players are able to take full advantage of it. Either people will stop building reflects in favor of magic blockades, or they will continue to rarely be used outside of early game.

Love the other ideas, however I would like to see SnD receive a vacuum effect.

"When an enemy gets within x units of the SnD, pull them in closer. This effect cannot happen more than once every x seconds to a non unique target." as an example.


Edit: Sharkens were kinda fun to deal with, before minions were a thing. However now they just force a minion wall meta, get rid of their push ability already!

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The vacuum effect for SnD makes lots of sense.

[edit]
*Any vehement opposition to these proposals?*
Vehement is quite a strong word but I'm not satisfied at all with the change to SnD


Well I also agree with Plane that early game shouldn't change and a vacuum effect would make a powerful tower even more powerful which isn't acceptable. But I think buffing dmg and health a bit wouldn't make it any better. I suppose we'll have to try and see it by our own eyes to tell...
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Give magic blockades an element-suppressing aura; instead of an enemy having to actually hit it, make it so they only have to be near it. This suppressing aura would scale with the apprentice's defense range stat.

-- Depends on the range. Most, if not all builds that utilize some sort of physical beam/blockade have them under the protection of a Strength Drain aura already so that they take less damage, and when an Ogre derps itself out, it is already stripped off its elemental immunity. So you see it doesn't still make Magic Blockades any more attractive than they are currently. This one would require some out-of-the-box suggestion to be improved.

Give bouncer blockades and jack in the boxes the ability to knock back ogres, potentially making them ideal for using environmental hazards.

-- Yeah I'd like to see that. I'd also like to see Jack In The Box having a 4 directional attack pattern, or maybe four boxing arms go out at the same time and a Joker figurine pops up from the top, that sort of animation would work! Bouncer Block has a 360° attack, along with attacking things that fall on top of it. Something similar to JITB seems decent enough.

Give spike blockade a "thorns" trait, meaning they return a proportionate amount of damage that they take.

How about... if it gets attacked, the Spike Blockade releases a fury of high speed high damage thorns that pierce enemies, in a 145° field of view. After which it recharges/replenishes the thorns for a while. Adding a unique ranged damage ability to a blockade seems good. In certain maps when there is not enough mana to build towers and you have to block enemies, this can come in handy.

Crank the slice n' dice's damage to absurd amounts. Make it the highest DPS tower in the game.

It already does good damage. The problem it suffers is from an absurdly high DU and mana cost requirement, along with being surprisingly squishy and having no proper anti-range(mostly copter) protection. Increasing its resistance to damage attacks from Copters and Kobolds should be one of the fix. Along with lowering DU to 5, reducing mana cost to 80.

Additionally, adding a grappling hook/barb on top of the Slicer which can hit only Djinns in range and only if they are trying to desummon things. And once the barb/hook is released it can pull the Djinns closer to its blades to kill. There would also have to be an appropriate enough cooldown on this otherwise with it would just start grabbing Djinn left right and centre.
Seems like a fun thing? I totally was not able to explain it properly, but I hope you understand. 

Remove health scaling from the physical beam's length. Other beams don't scale any stats with length, there shouldn't be any exceptions there.

No!

Slightly reduce the archer minion's health scaling and/or the buff beam's damage protection scaling. They would still be viable walls due to the mage's ability to heal them, but they wouldn't be able to tank 10 ogres simultaneously like they can right now.

No!

Now that's for the main post.

_________________________________________________________

Do not, I repeat, do not touch physical beam or minion health scaling in any way

Yep!

Increase magic blockade health scaling by 40% and on hit make enemies deal 20% less damage

I still wouldn't use them, not attractive enough for me, but I won't "oppose" it. Would the less damage stack if its inside an Strength drain aura which already reduces enemy damage dealt?

Increase slice n' dice health scaling by 40% and increase damage by 10%

Dunno about the damage. I use them a lot on Sky City(and Sky City survivial NMHCMM) and their HP seems good enough to me, maybe just increase its resistance to explosion/fire damage. Also maybe consider the "grappling hook" proposal.

Increase bouncer blockade health scaling by 20% and apply knockback to ogres. Ogres can still attack it out of range.

Yep. Also reduce DU to 3. For 4 DU... its not worth using.

Increase jack-in-the-box health scaling by 20% and apply large knockback to ogres. Ogres can still attack it out of range.

Yep. Also incorporate a 4 directional attack.

Give spike blockade a thorns buff that causes an attacker to take damage equivalent to reflect beam damage

Somewhat agree, much rather have it shoot out a bunch of mean little pointy-thorns instead! :D And reduce DU to 2. 3 DUs for Spike blockade is a joke!

Remove sharken displacement of towers, replace with a high-damage attack that applies to both minions and towers

Leave Sharken as it is. Its still a mean little enemy at early-mid games.

_________________________________

In addition to all this, I would like to add that Harbingers are absolute c*nts when it comes to damage dealt to tower and blockade by their "ranged" attack. Which seemingly doesn't get reflected back by reflect beams. Absolutely ridiculous. Make harbinger blobs get reflected by reflect beams. And have them do no damage to towers in general. These enemies already deal high enough damage to players to make them an actual threat in game. Don't need them to be sniping towers and minions from far off. BS.

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Harbingers are essentially tanky archers with tesla coils strapped to their backs, plus the ability to shoot through reflects.  Their goal in life is to walk to a certain distance away from towers and lob projectiles at them.  The electric attack that hits players is something automatic that they don't even notice, so you can get zapped while they're walking past you on their way to their real objective – doing mediocre damage to towers.

For what it's worth, planning the location of your towers with this AI in mind actually lets you manipulate their behavior and make your builds either risky or safe.

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Oh yeah by now I've mostly adjusted my builds based on Harbinger sniping and rush patterns. But still, and in general, they shouldn't deal damage to towers or at the bare minimum to defenseless blockades and have their blobs be reflected by Reflect Beams. Especially when they already deal crazy amounts of damage to players as a trade-off. They are a definite threat which gets even the best of us when not being extra careful around or near them.

I'm just going to call them "Tesla Coil Dudes" from now on. squire_small.png

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@gigazelle quote:
  • Remove sharken displacement of towers, replace with a high-damage attack that applies to both minions and towers

Any vehement opposition to these proposals?

The only thing I personally dislike (and it's in no way vehement!) is the one I left.

I vividly remember sharkens being added to the game, and it completely changing how builds worked. It would make me sad to see their key feature be removed, just for the sake of making some other blockades great again. I also have a feeling that this change would, again, completely change many builds (and also possibly throw out the window most of the other changes proposed, as the walls would now be taking even heavier damage and would be unable to self-heal the way minions do)

I propose to keep every other change you mentioned, but axe this one. Enough people run jesters that you'll generally have easy access to 'move tower' and can thereby easily fix moved sharken walls if you discover them quickly enough.

That's just my two cents.


@Plane quote:

*snip*

 plus the ability to shoot through reflects.  Their goal in life is to walk to a certain distance away from towers and lob projectiles at them.

*snip*

@Black Mamba quote:

*snip*

But still, and in general, they shouldn't deal damage to towers or at the bare minimum to defenseless blockades and have their blobs be reflected by Reflect Beams. 

*snip*

I lol'd.

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Not really against any of these changes on paper. The Sharken change is completely fine, but it will mean gas traps are required at every minion wall. It nerfs minion walls and buffs normal walls, which will give some variety in choice. 

Ogre knockbacks is a step in the right direction to balancing unused towers and making good use of map environments, but I'm worried it might make difficult maps extremely easy. If it's done right then it will shake up the meta a lot. It's going to depend how reliable the knockback is and how much health the towers have.

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@gigazelle quote:

Okay, so a recap of the general consensus of this thread:

  • Do not, I repeat, do not touch physical beam or minion health scaling in any way
  • Increase magic blockade health scaling by 40% and on hit make enemies deal 20% less damage
  • Increase slice n' dice health scaling by 40% and increase damage by 10%
  • Increase bouncer blockade health scaling by 20% and apply knockback to ogres. Ogres can still attack it out of range.
  • Increase jack-in-the-box health scaling by 20% and apply large knockback to ogres. Ogres can still attack it out of range.
  • Give spike blockade a thorns buff that causes an attacker to take damage equivalent to reflect beam damage
  • Remove sharken displacement of towers, replace with a high-damage attack that applies to both minions and towers

Any vehement opposition to these proposals?

I like all these changes as listed.

My opinion about the sharkens: It is all nostalgia for all of us when the sharken came into the game ,but in my opinion it should have been burst damage in the first place instead of killing all the walls in the game as it does know

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Yeah, I guess my problem with the change to sharken is indeed just nostalgia. I adjusted my builds to accommodate them pushing my walls around and have used Jester as my  main DPS partly because of the move tower ability to put them back (but mostly mega heal all and speed).

Burst damage would definitely make them a threat again.

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