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papafhill

Hero Towers/Abilities Reconsideration

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In this suggestion, I want to briefly highlight some good things I've seen in DD2, then spend a little time focusing on some bad things that are hurting the game, then lastly make suggestions to improve on the bad things.


Good things

Multiple game types

I’m not going to go much into detail with this.  Having various game types mixes up DD2 enough to keep Defenders entertained for thousands of more hours now that they can switch to another game type once they are bored of one.

Limited Green Tower Mana

This is such a huge boost to the creative process for Defenders.  It is no longer a question of, “Are my towers strong enough / stats high enough,” but rather a question of, “Is my setup built well, and am I upgrading the lanes that are going to have the greatest volume in the next wave?”  I’ve lost maps I usually win because I’ve ignored a lane’s incoming volume, thus upgrading towers that didn’t need it.  This change is a HUGE welcome to the series.

Tower relics and hero gear

I love the dissolution of the “DPS vs Tower hero” division.  Now that a hero can do both, it is more satisfying and enables Defenders to be creative on the fly, mid-wave.  Nothing, but kudos there!


Bad things

Tower Sets that restrict creativity

This is more a qualm with continued encouragement of turtling.  One of the main issues Trendy was looking to avoid in DD2 back in 2013, during the Pre-Alpha testing, was turtling being the most beneficial tactic.  I’ve noticed that I now am almost forced to turtle now, to grind through some tough levels.

Turtling is a normal occurrence in any offense/defense setting where there are clear objective locations.  In most action games, as you approach a main objective, the volume of defenses increases.  Being the defense in DD2, it is only natural to turtle.

However, some things almost force the Defenders to turtle.  The Dryad is the best example, because everything needs to be within range of a Worldtree.  This forces the turtling or clumping effect,and since the Defender is already forced to clump a few towers near the Worldtree, they then go ahead with adding most of their other towers in the same spot.

Buff/Boost towers

The above leads naturally into my next point; buff beams and boost auras only further encourage turtling by saying to the Defender, “Hey, build your towers close together to maximize the buff effects.” These buff towers force Defender to maximize the buffs by clumping their towers together even more.  Although this has no effect on the Dryad towers as they are already clumped, it still fosters turtling/clumping and deals a heavy blow to creativity. 

It also means Defenders can’t spread out and have various tower setups to deal heavy damage on their route to your barricades. 

Lack of inclusive synergies (please don’t “tl;dr”this)

Moving straight into the next point nicely, I must define synergies in two ways; how everyone typically sees them (exclusive synergy), and how I see them (inclusive synergy).  I harp on this topic every year, but synergies are important to help boost creativity and even potentially alleviates turtling.

My definition: Synergy is the passive, specially programmed effect(s)created from one tower or ability that activates when another tower or ability is present.  This would not otherwise have taken place even if the same towers or abilities were to be present at the same time if this innate effect was not included.

For example, consider the Apprentice’s Tornado mixed with the Monk’s Skyguard tower.  The additional effect created isa status effect on the mobs that puts them in an “airborne” state.  Trendy didn’t need to program this into the game, which would mean the Skyguards would still identify the mobs as ground units and not fire at them.  The Tornado could have simply been left as a simple crowd control ability, but instead the Devs thought it only natural to make anti-air towers target them (making the Tornado airborne effect an inclusive effect).

This differs from things like frost towers slowing enemies whilst other towers have more time to pummel them.  The slowing effect is exclusive, explicit, and normal and does not generate any inclusive and innate effect that other towers capitalize on other than just having more time.  Although, yes, the towers are synergizing with each other, this is not what I’d call an “inclusive synergy”mainly because it isn’t creating any new effects outside of the normal function of present towers and abilities, but is just utilizing the normal, exclusive effects in conjunction to maximize DPS.

One last example, then I’m moving on from my critique.  Consider Ramparts, with the two ground and two air lanes that come in from one path to the north.  Generally, a single Skyguard tower can handle those air lanes, but Defenders will typically create two choke points closer to the main objectives where the northeast and northwest lanes meet the two northern lanes that come down the staircase. Doing the math on my builds for this level, I’d spend about 330 DU for each choke point (the rest goes to the southeast lane).  However, if the Earthshatter tower of the Apprentice would make enemies airborne with the mass of rock that explodes from the ground, it would be easy to save 150 DU using two ES towers, two SG towers,and two blockades at the top of the stairway. This would return 75 DU to each of the other two northern side-lanes now left open.


Things To Consider

Tower restructuring

Consideration into how restrictive a tower is could foster creativity.  The less restrictive a tower set is, the more creative freedom the Defender has.

More DU, more inclusive synergies, weaker towers

The more DU the Defender has, the more creative they can get.  Mix this with inclusive synergies, and maintain the limited supply of green tower mana, and you have a playground of creativity and destruction.  The only two balance items that are needed would be to weaken towers, A LOT, and to consider the effect of Defenders prioritizing more expensive, strong towers (lower total upgrade cost) to capitalize on the limited green mana. 

Do away with buff tower/auras

I’d posit that doing away with buff beams/auras would allow for Defenders to spread out their towers.  Clumping towers together is so boring, and I’d rather see towers dotted around the maps in various nooks and crannies, strategically placed to maximize inclusive synergies and utilize the map terrain to the Defenders advantage.  Currently, buffs seem to be the way to go,which I find frustrating that almost 20% of my DU is guaranteed locked down by a buff tower/aura that forces me to clump. If they are removed, then no balancing is needed for them, therefore more opportunity for creativity.

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@papafhill quote:

However, some things almost force the Defenders to turtle.  The Dryad is the best example, because everything needs to be within range of a Worldtree.  This forces the turtling or clumping effect,and since the Defender is already forced to clump a few towers near the Worldtree, they then go ahead with adding most of their other towers in the same spot.

@papafhill quote:

I guess you haven't done Mastery mode and gained the Vicious Strikes shard yet because that allows 2-3 trees to cover most maps entirely.


@papafhill quote:

Buff/Boost towers

The above leads naturally into my next point; buff beams and boost auras only further encourage turtling by saying to the Defender, “Hey, build your towers close together to maximize the buff effects.” These buff towers force Defender to maximize the buffs by clumping their towers together even more.  Although this has no effect on the Dryad towers as they are already clumped, it still fosters turtling/clumping and deals a heavy blow to creativity. 

It also means Defenders can’t spread out and have various tower setups to deal heavy damage on their route to your barricades. 

These buffs are terrible and you end up with better use of DU if you don't use them and in the case of Boost Aura it is useful as a slow aura with the Boosted Grasp shard.


@papafhill quote:

Lack of inclusive synergies

This differs from things like frost towers slowing enemies whilst other towers have more time to pummel them.  The slowing effect is exclusive, explicit, and normal and does not generate any inclusive and innate effect that other towers capitalize on other than just having more time.  Although, yes, the towers are synergizing with each other, this is not what I’d call an “inclusive synergy”mainly because it isn’t creating any new effects outside of the normal function of present towers and abilities, but is just utilizing the normal, exclusive effects in conjunction to maximize DPS.

Freeze has a synergy with crushing damage which shatters enemies and causes extra damage. This was recently nerfed because it was too powerful and thus went the same way everything else does, into the bargain bin for better strategies. The best use of this was Proton Freeze and Earthshatters but that costs too much DU to be viable anymore.

Final note: I almost never turtle, there is no need for it, we are not that weak. One instance where I do turtle is on Temple of the Necrotic where 5 lanes merge into one and that is just for ease of placements so I don't have to run around thinking about how to place but it can be easily spawn camped. The rest of the maps I have done in the upper floors of Onslaught is all spawn camp or best positions halfway down lanes. I don't feel like any of this is restricting my creativity but the enemies and mutators are.

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Your first two points are definitely valid, but the third just emphasizes my point.  That is the exact thing I'm talking about.  So, back in the day (2013) before the game was open to the public, they introduced "Synergies" into the pre-alpha testing environment.  This included your example, except then it was Freeze + Smash Dmg = Insta-kill, which they've always been nerfing ever since.  There were a number of these synergies; fire + oil = extra damage/ prolonged fire DoT, freeze + smash = death, tornado/geyser/monk staff slam + ground mob = anti-air targeting, and water (drench) + electricity = electrocute (this used to stun lock ogres, which were actually tough back in the day).  I might be forgetting one or two, but it is these types of inclusive synergies that I'm referring to. 

I am definitely still working my way through the game, so maybe I'll prove my own suggestion null and void, but there are still a few items in what I wrote that I think need consideration.

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