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Damocles

The Musings of a Solo Player

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I played DDA again for the first time in about a month this weekend and it was fun.  It was fun because I deleted my team of level 100s, all my gear, and started again.  I suspected when I moved my team over from legacy that the game would no longer be fun, and I was right.  I’m not sure why I thought that and I’m not entirely sure why was true for me, but my desire to play evaporated at the inauspicious launch.  …honestly it might be related to campaign build timers on Massacre, see below.  😊

So in an effort to reignite my interest, I started up the team fresh with nothing but the generous 35 billion gold from the legacy transfer and all the maps unlocked.

I really enjoyed the progression.  Just as much as I had the first time (the first DDA time).  I played the Deeper Well on medium, then hard, then beat the campaign on hard (losing at the Ramparts several times and the Summit twice along the way) and then Insane, where we're currently stuck on Glitterhelm.  Seeing my team establish and keep a nice distance between their levels and the recommended levels we were beating was gratifying, and though the slog for even mediocre gear was more grindy and with fewer “Oh, nice, I can really use that!” moments than I’d have wanted (especially after beating the Demon Lord to find that the reward weapon wasn’t as good as something I found lying around on the ground on the next map), it was enough fun to fill 16 hours from Friday through yesterday, and I don’t regret a single moment.

The team is currently level 48-58, and we really have no answer for multiple 650k ogres @ Glitterhelm on Insane.  So I’ll probably take some time out from my Campaign-exclusive run and grind some xp and gear the next few times I play.  I’m looking forward to it.

I wanted to share some thoughts with you all while they were fresh in my mind.  I speak solely for myself about all of the following items.  Feel free to agree, disagree, or ignore as you see fit.  😊

The Chromatic Roadmap is a bit of a disappointment.  Not that the items on it don’t have merit, but the glaring lack of a new map sticks out like a sore thumb.  Unless it’s being kept under wraps (which is a bad idea) or the vague “Moon” reference refers to a new map, there appear to be no plans for new maps or story progression.  I get that the game wasn’t complete at launch, but I’d much rather have a new map, never seen before in any DD game, than literally anything on the roadmap except for controller support.  It’s complete absence from the roadmap is unsettling.

If I were the business manager @ Chromatic, I would double-down on making this game as awesome as DD1 was and make no mention whatsoever of any futuristic thoughts that could deter people from considering this game to be the franchise for years to come.  Just the notion that a Chromatic staff person mentioned DD3 earlier today on these forums makes me queasy.  If DDA turns out to be a transitional step between DD2 and DD3, then sure, let it play out that way.  But a lot of good and uncertain things have to happen on the business side for it to turn out that way, and I wouldn't make a habit of mentioning it.  Anything that calls Chromatic's commitment to or focus on this game into question will just cause uncertainty to players about whether it's worth their time.  It's true that Chromatic is not Trendy.  It's also true that my ex-wife at age 47 is not the same person as she was at age 25.  That does not change the fact that lots and lots of promises were made and broken.  People don't forget that.

Chromatic needs to be careful about allowing new character classes to break the existing maps’ challenge/fun/progression.  If the Series EV (or worse, the Summoner) is as OP as they were in the original, they’ll obviate the existing character classes.  Part of the beauty of the game is that you’re (usually) not absolutely obligated to use any particular character class (except maybe a huntress) in order to succeed.  I’d really like to see it stay that way.  I think we should avoid any new difficulty/map that can’t be beaten without a Series EV, for example, (or that an EV makes it so much easier that trying it without one makes no sense). 

I’m vehemently opposed to Mistymire, Moraggo, Aquanos, and Sky City being the progression of the DDA storyline.  This is supposedly a new game.  Re-usability of code and nostalgia aside, DDA already has a disproportionately high number of maps that have been included in previous games.  Though I would love to see Aquanos in particular as a bonus map (favorite map ever with Moraggo and Ramparts rounding out the top three), I think it’s important that new maps be new.  Entirely new.  And prioritized higher than is being done according to the roadmap.

I have no problem whatsoever paying a premium price for DLC, just make it worth it.  $10-15 for one awesome new map and its associated challenge is not unreasonable.  If you build it, they will come.  And, again.  DD3 will never exist if DDA is not robust and complete.

The Campaign Build timers on Lava Mines, Glitterhelm, and Ramparts are too short; I’d suggest increasing all of them (every wave, all three maps) by 30 seconds.  Those maps are just no longer fun, and several other campaign maps feel like there’s never time to place defenses semi-carefully, repair anything, evaluate/pick up gear, or enjoy the experience of playing.  Co-op or not, the game needs to be enjoyable for solo players.  If I have the gear and the game experience to beat Lava Mines on Massacre, I don’t want the timer to be the reason I can’t do it.  It feels cheap and contrived.  I can’t even tell you how many times I had to try it that first weekend.  It was terrible!  I did finally win.  😊

Someone from Chromatic should provide an update on how things are every two weeks, on this site, whether there is any meaningful progress or not.  Just stop in and say hello.  “Hey, this week the office is no longer flooded and folks are settling into working from home”.  It doesn’t have to be elaborate, or ten pages long.  It doesn’t even have to be about the game.  But for it to exist would be nice.  Have whoever writes it to be available to chat with the players occasionally for a day or two after it’s posted.

Those are my thoughts as I’ve returned to Etheria, yet again this weekend.  It does, by and large, still feel like home.

😊

TL;DR - I stopped playing in June, came back, started from scratch.  It's fun again; the progression works well.  I have thoughts about the future that I wanted to share and I've intentionally said some provocative things to allow the forum users to discuss if they choose.

 

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Glad you are enjoying the progression. I'm an old DD1 and DD2 veteran (as you can see by my number of posts) and just recently discovered DDA, had no idea that it existed a week ago. My experience has been similar to you for progression. I soloed campaign on normal, moved to hard with no problem, then transitioned to insane which was a bit harder, but still very doable. The only issue was the timer of course. Then I moved to nightmare solo and the difficulty curve increased a lot. With some insane survival farming (especially treadmill pets and genies), I was able to solo NM campaign up to act 3, then a friend joined and we finished the NM act 3 maps. The progression from normal to nightmare is very well done, so props to the devs for that. Don't change a thing, it's perfect.

As for timers, I very much agree, it's way too little, although I disagree for some maps. For ramparts, I had enough time to build everything with a bit of extra time. The maps I had the most issues with were lava mines and summit (nightmare, not insane though). But I would agree that overall, the timers need a good increase. I understand that with no more chest picking and forge the timer needs to be reduced, but this is a bit too much. Especially in higher difficulties where you need 4 builders + 1 DPS, the switching of heroes in the deck takes some times. 

About future content and the roadmap, I agree that it isn't a big roadmap, but I do like the content on it. I think that the dev team is just very small, which doesn't allow them to work on a lot of content at the same time. I would expect to see more maps in the future though, and not just remastered DD1 maps, also DD2 maps, and especially new maps. So overall, I'm taking the small roadmap more as a limitation due to a small dev team than a bad premonition about the game's future.

About the Eternia Shard DLC from DD1 (mistmyre forest, Morrago desert, Aquanos, and sky city), I would very much like to see all 4 maps in DDA. It doesn't need to be part of the story, I just want to play on them again. I loved those maps. 

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Best post i've seen on here for a long time. I agree with everything you say. Hopefully it's taken onboard or even acknowledged. 

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3 hours ago, Damocles said:

there appear to be no plans for new maps or story progression.

We are 100% working on new maps and continued story progression. They aren't on the roadmap because we haven't figured out how they fit in the release schedule yet. The roadmap gets updated weekly so once we have a better picture we will decide how to go about adding it onto the roadmap.

 

3 hours ago, Damocles said:

Just the notion that a Chromatic staff person mentioned DD3 earlier today on these forums makes me queasy. 

I'm curious what about my comment I said earlier made you upset? To reiterate we have nothing in the works for such a project, we are 100% committed to improving and adding onto DDA to make it the best we can before we consider moving onto anything else.

 

3 hours ago, Damocles said:

I think we should avoid any new difficulty/map that can’t be beaten without a Series EV

I'm not a designer, but I would imagine they have no intentions of making EV a required hero to complete content, and they will take every hero into consideration as they look into balance moving foward.

 

3 hours ago, Damocles said:

The Campaign Build timers on Lava Mines, Glitterhelm, and Ramparts are too short

I will pass this along to the design team.

 

3 hours ago, Damocles said:

Someone from Chromatic should provide an update on how things are every two weeks, on this site, whether there is any meaningful progress or not.

This is kinda the goal of the roadmap. We update it weekly with how things are going, and as new features start getting worked on, we track their progress in development.

 

Hopefully this cleared up some of your points, I really appreciate you taking the time to write out this feedback. Overall I'm glad you are enjoying the game, and I hope we can continue to improve it and make it a great experience.

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Mostly a solo player myself.  I struggled a lot with the timers until I started making good use of my ability for speed.  Use that and only the apprentice is slow to move around and build (Shouldn’t he be the quickest builder? lol). After that, only Summits timer gave me some slight struggle.

 

Other than maybe adding a few seconds to Summit and Lava Mines.  They should just have the timer pause while swapping in the hero deck (for solo play).

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, ShadowSniper7 said:

Mostly a solo player myself.  I struggled a lot with the timers until I started making good use of my ability for speed.  Use that and only the apprentice is slow to move around and build (Shouldn’t he be the quickest builder? lol). After that, only Summits timer gave me some slight struggle.

 

Other than maybe adding a few seconds to Summit and Lava Mines.  They should just have the timer pause while swapping in the hero deck (for solo play).

I do agree that focusing on making sure you have the right speed, and pet for that matter will make a difference in your ability to build a map. Its possible to do it with precision swapping and key pressing (for the skills that give speed boosts). I think i struggled at Lava mines, and that was my roadblock for a bit on Massacre. At the time I was working on soloing the campaign.

I think hes also saying that due to the short timers you cant really enjoy the map. I agree in that regard. I too felt the timers made those maps less enjoyable to play, at least in solo. I think a timer pause would be something of a start. imo any timer pause should only be applied to nightmare or massacre only. 

Edited by VenatusXM
reiterated on my statement
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10 hours ago, [CG] Philip said:

This is kinda the goal of the roadmap. We update it weekly with how things are going, and as new features start getting worked on, we track their progress in development.

Any progress or updates on the console departement? Are we alpha testing yet?

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16 hours ago, [CG] Philip said:

I'm curious what about my comment I said earlier made you upset? To reiterate we have nothing in the works for such a project, we are 100% committed to improving and adding onto DDA to make it the best we can before we consider moving onto anything else.

 

 

It was in the DLC and Future thread.  Upset is the wrong word.  And in fact, I misread what you said in the context of the question you were asked.  My fault!

Thanks for all the rest of your responses, I do appreciate them all!

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I'm going to scream about the build timers until the end of time.  They're not fun.  They're anti-fun.  They are harbingers of a deep and primal anxiety.  They kill my ability to plan strategically in any way, because I can only meet the timers when I already know ahead of time what to build, and even then it's a stretch.  The joy I get from carefully designing and plotting my defense so that it's just right is ripped away from me.  They are bizarrely and unnecessarily biased against solo players.  Campaign becomes a chore that I have to get through if I want to unlock the fun modes.  And what's it all for, I tell you!?  What do the build timers even add to the game!?  What twisted soul is hunched behind their keyboard saying "I don't know how I could enjoy this game if I wasn't under arbitrary time pressure"!?  I've never met them, and I hope I never have to.  Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

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