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LAWLTA

Design Check-In w/ Mark

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Defenders!

We've been out at GDC and have knocked out goals, which thank you so much for all of your support. We were wanting to wait until we got back to get this out, but we're putting it out now! Since we're on the go, I'll be posting on Mark's behalf (he said someone only with superb wisdom such as myself could do so):

Hey Defenders,

While all of the Kickstarter awesomeness has unfolded (and it keeps climbing, which is awesome because it gives me more design work <3), we’ve been pouring over the feedback that we’ve gotten on our brand spanking new forums. I’ve been looking for an excuse to make my first post on here (haha he's not making it, but it is me, Lawlta), and luckily, there was one particular thread that caught my eye on the other day. A lot of defenders continue to have a rather lively conversation about loot acquisition for DDA. I thought I might take a moment and share my thoughts with all of you.

Tower defense is the soul of Dungeon Defenders, but loot is its heartbeat. It serves as a catalyst for creativity, a reward worth chasing, and a means to push towards new and exciting adventures. We’ve learned a ton from the approaches that DD1 and DD2 took with loot, and I wanted to offer you a glimpse of our guiding principles that are helping shape DDA’s loot acquisition:

  1. The steps to get a piece of loot is clear and attainable. You are able to set a goal for yourself and intentionally target the loot you wish to obtain.

  2. Targeting loot DRIVES you toward the most exciting content available to you. You are not forced to replay content that you’ve out-leveled and no longer find engaging.

  3. DDA contains pieces of loot that are incredibly special. These items inspire you to partake in a long-term journey across the entire game. They are a reward for the most skilled defenders with the wherewithal to conquer some of the toughest challenges of Etheria.

  4. This special loot empowers you to take on the most epic fights that the Dungeon Defender universe has ever seen. These fights are an intense crescendo that let you take full advantage of the loot you earned and reward you for your mastery, effort, and dedication.

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am for the future, and how humbling all of your support has been thus far and in the future! Dungeon Defenders is starting a new chapter and I can’t wait for what’s to come, not only as a developer, but as a player who loves Dungeon Defenders with all his heart. We are still having active discussions on much of the game’s design and are using your feedback to help drive us forward. Please keep it coming and know that it shapes all aspects of DDA.

Love,

Mark Telfer
Lead Designer
 

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Oh damn. If you guys can make this happen,DDa will be a better and harder game than DD1 is /was. 

I'm excited to be a part of this and can't wait to see where it will lead us. 

Good stuff guys. 

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I can't begin to express Im hyped for this game!

I hope you guys keep keeping us posted about stuff like this.

 

I also think it could be interesting to have some kind of vote poll to get the opinion of the community on features from DD2/DDE/DD1 that should be taken to DDA. (sorry if it was already sugested)

Out of my head I think of a couple that people really enjoyed or disliked such as:

 - Move while repairing/building

- Different mana for abilites vs building

- Hot swaping between characters

- Local Coop

- DD2's required player's interaction in game, that didn't allow a more TD afkable approach that was possible in DD1

- Giant Hub

- Internet connection always required

- Gear that changes deeply how a certain tower works turning it into basically another tower

- Elements synergies/combos

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I like being able to know what I'm going after, but I think if you remove random loot from the game, you're not really making a dungeon defenders game? The only reason anyone still plays the first one, is to grind for that RNG loot. (I also realize that going after specific loot doesnt mean it wont be random for the most part but have some unique items, which is totally cool)

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I'm very pleased to hear that the team is already taking in feedback from the forums. Thank you for letting us updated, that really motivates me to give more thoughts into it and give more feedback.

@Gutu Mentioned polls and that's a very good idea, but I've already seen a few unofficial ones made by players and for some reason I can't vote on any of them on Firefox.

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Hm... That is a pretty universal and superficial post. I would have loved to hear some actual answer to the loot topic, since you already mentioned it as something that is concerning a lot of players here at the moment.

Which kind of stat and loot system are you going to use for DD:A? DD1's system with simple random numbers for every stat or DD2's system, where the item power level completely determines the main stats. Furthermore since the trailer showed the old defenses back in action, are we going to see a comeback of tower range and tower attack rate?

44 minutes ago, LAWLTA said:

[...]

  1. The steps to get a piece of loot is clear and attainable. You are able to set a goal for yourself and intentionally target the loot you wish to obtain.

  2. Targeting loot DRIVES you toward the most exciting content available to you. You are not forced to replay content that you’ve out-leveled and no longer find engaging.

[...]

What exactly do you mean when you are talking about "targeting loot" in point 1 and 2? Do you mean a certain pet at wave 25 of survival (as an example) or do you mean an item with specific stats? The later would be a terrible idea. I hope you mean the specific loot like weapons and pets, but this contradicts with point 2, because you would be forced to play a particular map, unless you change that system, which is again not a good idea..

45 minutes ago, LAWLTA said:

[...]

  1. [...]

  2. [...]

  3. DDA contains pieces of loot that are incredibly special. These items inspire you to partake in a long-term journey across the entire game. They are a reward for the most skilled defenders with the wherewithal to conquer some of the toughest challenges of Etheria.

  4. This special loot empowers you to take on the most epic fights that the Dungeon Defender universe has ever seen. These fights are an intense crescendo that let you take full advantage of the loot you earned and reward you for your mastery, effort, and dedication.

[...]

Point 3 and 4 sound great when you read it, it is a nice combination of words for sure, but what does it actually mean? Special weapons and pets similar to DD1 or special stats / effects from DD2? Again the later would be terrible.

Somehow this whole posts reminds me too much about the negative things about DD:E (targeting loot) and DD2 (too special loot)... Please keep it simple, DD1's stat and item generation system was on point. Sure, some different kind of weapons and pets are ok, but please keep the idea of simple base stats. I do not want to see an item that turns my fire-tower into an ice-tower that freezes the enemies in place... Stuff like this has the potential to completely break the balance of the game way too quickly.

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50 minutes ago, LAWLTA said:
  • The steps to get a piece of loot is clear and attainable. You are able to set a goal for yourself and intentionally target the loot you wish to obtain.

  • Targeting loot DRIVES you toward the most exciting content available to you. You are not forced to replay content that you’ve out-leveled and no longer find engaging.

The first point i took to mean you had map specific items, but the second point seems to contradict this i.e you can pick the reward you want to get.

Interested to find out what exactly you mean!

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I really hope for a simple and choice driven approach to loot. Make loot unique and fun.

I wish for a system very close to DD1s, but with more unique effects on loot. Do not reserve cool effects for just a small table of top tier weapons and armor.

DD1 had a lot of diversity, but was terribly balanced, so there were effectivly only very limited choices.

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Posted (edited)

Hi, I was one of the people commenting on loot on the kickstarter. I think I like what you're saying for the competitive power gamers. What are you planning to do around loot for people who don't like grinding and don't want to spend 5-10 minutes after every couple of levels going through the item box to figure out which gear is crap and which is worth keeping?

So that I don't repeat myself, here's what I had to say before.

Edited by mchadwick
Adding context

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Saying things like "targeting loot" and "incredibly special" loot, makes me think you're planning to add Legendary items with unique affixes Diablo 3 style.  I really hope that's not the case because that style of loot leads to uninspired, cookie cutter builds, and leads to an extremely unrewarding loot system where you just grind for 1 specific item, and after you get it you can only hope for minor stat upgrades.

I really hope you guys don't stray too far from DD1's loot system, it was nearly perfect and one of my favorite parts about the game was finding loot with exceptional stats, even if I didn't need it, then opening up my tavern for sales, and putting my new piece of treasure on the floor to haggle with people.  It's what made DD1 one of my favorite games of all time and I hope that is preserved in DDA.

There is nothing wrong with not being able to target your piece of loot, it encourages trading and trading is what made DD1 special.  If you lose that incentive to trade I'm afraid you'll lose one of the best aspects of the game.

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Posted (edited)

Hi Mark! Glad to see you in the community, even if it's just proxy via Lawlta.

I recently started getting back into DD2, and updated myself on all the new mechanics that were introduced since I left a couple years ago. I've been fairly active in DD1, and can share my thoughts on loot for both games.

  • There are a few loot mechanics in DD2 that suck, but DD2 loot overall is actually pretty good. I was pleasantly surprised with this upon my recent return to the game.
  • Shards suck. They don't stack, they're a pain to farm, and all that gilding crap feels like it's intentionally designed to be a time sink.
  • Mods are actually pretty cool. They fulfill the purpose of shards, and more. If you made all shards into mods, we'd have a fairly intuitive loot system.
  • Gems and defender medals suck. Since you're self-funded and don't need to worry about crappy monetization practices, just stick to a single currency.
  • Speaking of a single currency, DDE's separation of coins and mana was great. I'd like to see that in DDA.
  • Speaking of mana, DD2's separation of blue and green mana was good. I'd like to see that in DDA.
  • Different armor types in DD1 (mail, chain, pristine) to get set bonuses was kind of interesting. I wouldn't mind its return in DDA.
  • I like separate gear (medallion/totem) per defense, especially if mods make it to DDA.
  • It would be nice to make totems more viable on towers and medallions more viable on walls. Crank up the DPS on medallion walls, and crank up the tankiness of totem towers, so they could potentially be used as walls.
  • I really like that in DD2 all heroes can be both hero/dps. In DD1 I don't like having a dedicated tower builder and dedicated DPS.
  • Along those lines, DD2 ascension categories suck. Those can all be mods.
  • Sharing hero levels (and ascension) was a good move. Leveling up heroes in DD1 sucks.
  • Artifacts in DDE were actually pretty cool. I wouldn't mind seeing their return. One time reward per difficulty per map. Permanent stat increases would be applied to all heroes.

Stats:

  • Hero health: in all DD games, it works well
  • Hero damage: in all DD games, it works well
  • Speed: kind of hard making this a stat relevant throughout the game while keep individual points rewarding. I think this would be best as a mod.
  • Cast rate: another that kinda makes it hard to keep relevant late game. Also would be good as a mod. 
  • Ability 1 and ability 2: Depends on if DDE's amulets make it in DDA. If they do, offensive ability power and defensive ability power would be awesome. If we don't get amulets, then having a single ability stat would probably be better.
  • Defense health: in all DD games, it works well
  • Defense damage: in all DD games, it works well
  • Defense range: this is a stat that faces a catch 22: you either make it a rewarding stat, and deal with map-sized auras, or try and keep it balanced late game and make it an incredibly unrewarding stat. DD2 used to have range as a stat, and there's a reason why it was removed. This would be better as a mod, but don't be as stingy about it as what's currently in DD2. DD2 auras (and traps) don't scale nearly well enough with range. DD1 scales a bit too much. We won't talk about DDE.
  • Defense rate: Also a stat that used to be in DD2, but was removed (and for good reason). It's also impossible to make individual points rewarding and keep late-game balance. Also better as a mod.
  • Don't make any percentage-based defenses. DD1's strength drain aura and buff beam are prime examples of this. If the strength drain aura makes it to DDA, make sure it subtracts strength from enemies, not divide it. DD2's buff beam did it right, the problem is that it costs too much DU for not enough kick. Might as well make 2 defenses.
  • Overall stats I'd recommend:
    • Hero health
    • Hero damage
    • Offensive ability power
    • Defensive ability power
    • Defense health
    • Defense damage
    • (6 stats instead of 10, but it helps remove the noise from irrelevant stats)

My ideal loot system would be:

  • Throughout the campaign, standard loot with base stats, no mods. Players focusing on upping their stats.
  • As the player starts breaking into Insane or Nightmare, start introducing mods on gear.
  • As the player reaches endgame, mods are on virtually all gear. Players focus on maximizing the mod qualities on their gear. A '10' mod would be the equivalent of an ult++ piece of gear. Right now DD2 focuses on legendaries, but I get way more excited when I see a '10' mod.

The idea of Twitch integration is amazing. Players being able to throw curveballs at the streamer would be incredibly entertaining to watch. Most of these streamers would likely be late-game, so we'd want to make sure that no matter when they're streaming that it would be entertaining to watch. Moonbase AFK farming? Lame. Playing a chaos 1 incursion to get the weekly challenge? Lame. I hope that no matter what stream I'm in, I'd be able to make an impact on the streamer's play experience. Blacklisting a few towers or heroes? That would be very interesting to watch to see how they overcome it, and I assume the streamer would also find it an enjoyable challenge, otherwise they wouldn't be streaming. But that only works if the streamer is encouraged to play an engaging map.

Edited by gigazelle
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, mchadwick said:

Hi, I was one of the people commenting on loot on the kickstarter. I think I like what you're saying for the competitive power gamers. What are you planning to do around loot for people who don't like grinding and don't want to spend 5-10 minutes after every couple of levels going through the item box to figure out which gear is crap and which is worth keeping?

So that I don't repeat myself, here's what I had to say before.

"VASTLY BETTER INVENTORY:  Organization never looked so good!" Is already a core feature for DD:A on the kickstarter page. I'm pretty sure it's much too soon to ask for any details concerning that. I'd recommend giving suggestions on that aspect of the game instead.

In DD1, you're not supposed to pick up everything. At first there are green dots on the map to give you an idea where and if an item should be worth picking up. It doesn't take too long to get decent enough equipment that you don't have as many items appearing green. Then at some point you start only looking for items of a certain quality or above and those drop even less.

You said : "It would be really awesome if the loot drops were replaced with a simpler customization/upgrade system. Just spitballing: maybe as you complete more levels your treasure gets converted into customization points that you can move around at will. This would be separate from the xp/level-up track."

There's no way anything like that should happen. Equipment collecting is pretty much the best and most important feature of DD1.

We just need quality of life features. Examples :

One to make it easier to tell what to pick up on the ground, like a loot filter with parameters you can adjust to your current needs. For example you could set yours so that when you open the map, it would only show or show you with a different color, items with combined tower stats values over 300 or over 150 of a specific stats, etc. Those are just quick examples.

One to the inventory management where you could sort all items by quality or sort them by a specific stats or total stats in a category like Hero or tower. It would be pretty easy to sort all your armors if all the gear you're looking for for your builders needs at least 600 combined towers stats or 150 in a specific one or two. Sorting all your items by their total tower stats, you would instantly get the good ones for you if there are any and then by checking the lower ones, you would very rapidly see that those and anything below are not as good. If everything you see has more or less the same stats then equipping any of those over another wouldn't make much of a difference to your stats.

The inventory space wasn't too small and maybe it could even be increased more. If you don't pick up everything on the ground, you should have a while before you have to sort it all out and with the right tools/options, that should take no time at all.

Edited by Windex
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, gigazelle said:
  • Sharing hero levels (and ascension) was a good move. Leveling up heroes in DD1 sucks.

Multi-hero experience is already listed under Core features as a quality of life improvement on the kickstarter page. I really hope they make the level cap long to obtain as I really enjoyed that extra bit of progression when I was farming for gear.
 

Quote

Cast rate: another that kinda makes it hard to keep relevant late game. Also would be good as a mod.  

Speed: kind of hard making this a stat relevant throughout the game while keep individual points rewarding. I think this would be best as a mod.

Defense range: this is a stat that faces a catch 22: you either make it a rewarding stat, and deal with map-sized auras, or try and keep it balanced late game and make it an incredibly unrewarding stat. DD2 used to have range as a stat, and there's a reason why it was removed. This would be better as a mod, but don't be as stingy about it as what's currently in DD2. DD2 auras (and traps) don't scale nearly well enough with range. DD1 scales a bit too much. We won't talk about DDE.

Defense rate: Also a stat that used to be in DD2, but was removed (and for good reason). It's also impossible to make individual points rewarding and keep late-game balance. Also better as a mod.

All those stats should be present one way or another. Endgame you should be able to feel stronger and more powerful. Summoning, repairing and running should all be noticeably faster the more you progress.

Range and rate should all be much bigger with very high stats compared to when you had none. After playing hundreds of hours, I don't want my harpoon tower to shoot at the same speed it did when I started playing. I'm not talking about shooting ten time as fast either. It shouldn't be that hard to account for a tower being able to shoot 3 times as fast as normal at endgame.

It just needs to be relatively well tuned. Assuming auras and traps are back, CG should be experienced enough and have had plenty of feedback by now to not let those be able get too strong.
 

Quote

Overall stats I'd recommend:

  • Hero health
  • Hero damage
  • Offensive ability power
  • Defensive ability power
  • Defense health
  • Defense damage
  • (6 stats instead of 10, but it helps remove the noise from irrelevant stats) 

I like the idea of 10 stats over 6 stats, it makes actually rolling an item with the stats you need feel much more special. I'm not saying they shouldn't make getting items with high rolls as time consuming as it is in DD1.
 

Quote

My ideal loot system would be:

  • As the player starts breaking into Insane or Nightmare, start introducing mods on gear.
  • As the player reaches endgame, mods are on virtually all gear. Players focus on maximizing the mod qualities on their gear. A '10' mod would be the equivalent of an ult++ piece of gear. Right now DD2 focuses on legendaries, but I get way more excited when I see a '10' mod.

I have not played DD2 much but here's my take on this. From what I just quickly read about mods, they're interchangeable. So you would have to check every piece of gear just for their mods in case there's a good one? If that's the case, items should drop with sockets but no mods and mods should be additional stuff that can drop. You keep the extremely rare qualities like ult/ult++ and you would also have the chance to find very high tier mods as additional loot in endgame. Mods would drop much less frequently and would have an increasingly higher chance to drop in a higher tier the harder the map you play. Otherwise I only see it becoming all about mods and them deciding whether or not an item is useful.

DD:A is said to "recapture the soul of the original Dungeon Defenders". I never not got excited when an item with the highest quality I could get on a map dropped. At least as far as I got. To me the itemization was/is the soul of DD1, I really hope they keep it very similar to it in that regard, with slight improvements.

Edited by Windex
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3 hours ago, gigazelle said:

Hi Mark! Glad to see you in the community, even if it's just proxy via Lawlta.

....

  • Speaking of mana, DD2's separation of blue and green mana was good. I'd like to see that in DDA.

Please, no. 

3 hours ago, gigazelle said:

My ideal loot system would be:

  • Throughout the campaign, standard loot with base stats, no mods. Players focusing on upping their stats.
  • As the player starts breaking into Insane or Nightmare, start introducing mods on gear.
  • As the player reaches endgame, mods are on virtually all gear. Players focus on maximizing the mod qualities on their gear. A '10' mod would be the equivalent of an ult++ piece of gear. Right now DD2 focuses on legendaries, but I get way more excited when I see a '10' mod.

It is my opinion, that if you try to bring too much of the dd2 loot system over, you're going to lose much of the excitement. Playing a map, and magically increasing the item level of what can drop, and doing that over and over until I can get the max tier, is not a loot system at all. That might as well be an idle progression game (like cookie clicker where you get to see neat numbers go higher, yay...)

Having special cosmetic pieces to try to aquire, or a piece of gear that has a special name that might have a special ability that could help you reach past where you are currently is a nice idea, as long as the people that put in the time can farm late game items that can roll better stats, If you leave the builds up to unique items, you will have no variety (diablo 3)

I am excited about this game, but this post (the OP, not you Gigazelle) makes me cautious, in a big way.

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Sounds good so far. I just want more DD. I'm glad this came to pass, and I totally love that you guys are approaching this from the point of view of players. 

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8 hours ago, Gutu said:

- DD2's required player's interaction in game, that didn't allow a more TD afkable approach that was possible in DD1.

Well it is a tower action defense game not just a TD. 

 

You could easily afk farm levels in DD2 once you get the right set up but people complained about this. About not engaging matches. So they added Drakenlord. Which is a great boss to prevent afk farming. 

 

As I said this is a action tower defense rpg game or tower defense action rpg? Interaction from the player is like one of the main things what make DD stick out.

 

Although to please everyone a pure strat mode be good.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Windex said:

Range and rate should all be much bigger with very high stats compared to when you had none. After playing hundreds of hours, I don't want my harpoon tower to shoot at the same speed it did when I started playing. I'm not talking about shooting ten time as fast either. It shouldn't be that hard to account for a tower being able to shoot 3 times as fast as normal at endgame.

It just needs to be relatively well tuned. Assuming auras and traps are back, CG should be experienced enough and have had plenty of feedback by now to not let those be able get too strong.

The difficult part about fine-tuning sensitive stats like hero speed and defense rate is... they're literally impossible to fine-tune.

Stats that can scale endlessly are super easy. If you dump 100 points into defense damage, you get 1000 DPS. Different towers scale differently, but there's a 1:1 relationship between points invested and damage output. It feels good to see your DPS numbers increase when you dump a few points into it. It also feels good to dump a crapton of points into it, and there's no limit to how high you can crank that up. Both early game and end game reward putting points into damage.

Stats like defense range and hero speed that have a finite limit are much more difficult, because you have a paradox on your hands:

  • If you scale them in such a way that rewards early game points invested, you end up with map-sized auras. Sure, you get to see tangible results putting a few points into aura range, but that would completely break things once you hit late game. DDE is a prime example of this.
  • If you scale them in such a way that preserves balance late game, you end up with completely irrelevant and pointless stats early game. Who would want to see their aura range increase by 0.001% after dumping a bunch of points into it while in early game? Not rewarding at all.
  • Diminishing returns removes the reward of late-game progression. You'd put points into it so it'd be "enough", then completely ignore it after that. Stat caps would be the same result. If you're reaching late game, investing points in defense range would not be rewarding. You'd only see your auras increase by 0.001%. This is the way DD1 auras work right now - once you hit a couple thousand points, there's no reason to put any more into them. At that point you put points in the only stat that actually feels rewarding: defense damage.

That's why I'd suggest traits that have finite limits be listed as mods on gear instead. You could get defense rate mods on gear, which would eventually let your harpoon shoot 5 times as fast (or more). Hero speed, hero casting rate, defense rate, and defense range all fall into this category. In DD2 they're pretty stingy about these traits, so hopefully they'll allow more craziness in DDA.

Edited by gigazelle

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Personally I hate mods/shards/whatever. One of the reasons I love dd1 is it gives a piece with the stats. Simple

 

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Can you guys please include SUBTITLES for the deaf and hard of hearing players. 

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I'm happy, I was love first Dungeon Defender and we're going to have another, congratulation for the kickstarter :D

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Posted (edited)

I'm definitely excited with point #2 & #4 being in DDA!

Those two point are currently quite missing in DD2 which I do hope would eventually get rectified fully too.

Just some things here I'm kinda intrigued about....

  • Shards - These Gemlike artifacts have only be discovered during the event of DD2 when the Old Ones decide to use Chaos as their new strategy..
  • M.O.D.S. - These Subroutines have been only invented by the older Prof. Proteus.

So that means when the Heroes travel back in time....it should be a time where shards hasn't been discovered yet...and also where there's a younger Proteus who either hasn't invented those subroutines or at least should be having very early prototypes of them. A time before DD2?

But, the new villain dabbles with time right? So I guess anything could happen!

Just stuff that got me wondering :)

Edited by Paloverde zfogshooterz
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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, gigazelle said:

-Snip-

Let's say you remove certain stats and add them as mods instead. To me it looks like everyone would just get and use all the same ones. Everyone would want 1 mod to run faster, 1 mod to cast faster and if auras return, stack aura mods on their aura characters. Now they would still have to balance the range. Unless you're limited to 1 mod type per character. I don't see the point of having those as mods if everyone ends up using all the same ones.

I get your point about diminishing returns and some stats not being really noticeable in small numbers at low level. I don't see why that's a problem, you want cast rate wherever you can get it on builders and even DPS for repairs at lower levels. Sure you don't get much out of range and speed per point but you can just get items with different stats, there are so many lower qualities item that drop. Once you're able to equip/find rarer quality items, the amount they start giving you for those stats isn't worthless.

True, at one point, because of diminishing returns some stats become worthless getting more off. But to me that's the beauty of DD1. They make it more rare to find an item with really good stats that you want.

You also said you liked characters able to be both a builder and a dps in DD2, but it looks like mods would prevent that since you'd wanna stack builder mods on a character and dps mods on another.

I do not agree that a character should be able to do both after beating the game. But here's a suggestion : Have items in-between certain qualities, let's say Stocky to Powerful (Which is quality 4 to 9 in DD1), drop with both hero and tower stats. So if an item dropped with 75 hero stats, it should also drop with 75 tower stats or vice-versa. When you're playing the campaign, I think you should be able to do both jobs. It's not as enjoyable for everyone when you're playing with friends and they're either stuck with attacking or building because they haven't played or built other characters yet. But the game should be balanced accordingly. Although, maybe this won't be the case since we're getting shared character exp.

You really should have to specialize your characters once you've beaten the "normal game".

Edited by Windex

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