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When will we ever get build diversity?

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I am getting increasingly frustrated with DDA and the direction it seems to be heading in. It seems as each new mode is introduced fewer and fewer defences are viable to the point every map is more or less the same no matter who builds it. I have always wanted DD games to have multiple ways to tackle them and see a variety of approaches not this copy and paste mentality. I understand a Meta evolves but why does it feel so forced? Why does any other tower than DST just feel a waste? 

I have heard complaints about squire dps being balanced and DST issues, but what about making other heroes and defences as useful? Where is the push to see actual alternatives to the meta and freedom to be different? it doesnt seem anywhere to be encouraged to experiment or find a unique approach. It is so predictable and boring I have lost almost any desire to play. I have been considering to just give away my keys for console once they arrive.  

There doesnt seem any fun to be had when if I do want to be different the amount of times a niche build works, the grind required for that doesnt seem worth it. There seems little to no reward in not adhering to the meta with both the current design and other players. Attempts by developers to shake up the meta end up only furthering the reduction of viability of towers. In DD2 with onslaught all it did was have the Reflect beam meta thing that works in every map every lane. I might throw in a pdt or earth shatter out of pure boredom but while doing ap resets farming gear for more than the main 4 defences seems pointless waste of time. The same can be said for rift Mode. What would encourage me to farm a set for lsts or any squire defence tbh? For a few instances where they might be useful in a group? Why waste 100's of hrs for those niche times?

I have always wanted a time when build diversity is actively encouraged and I can feel like I have a choice not feel like - here is the solution to the puzzle now use it everywhere. I fail to see this as a strategy game when one solution seems to be by far the only solution. Am I alone in this or do others also want to see actual variety in builds? Where do the developers stand and how do they approach this topic?

Edited by dizzydiana
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I'm absolutely in the same camp as you and I agree with pretty much everything you've said in this post. I've made a few posts about balance over the course of a couple years so I feel as strongly about this as you do. I find when a game is reduced to 'meta only' it becomes quite boring, and quite frustrating that I'm unable to experiment with different builds or setups without being massively penalised. 

However when it comes to balance I can normally think of at least a couple ideas that could possibly help. They might not be the best ideas in the world, and we all have biases and personal opinions about how things should be balanced, but I can at least think of one. In this case however, I can't think of a single idea for balance that would actually help.

How would you go about balancing these towers? Do we start buffing the worse performing towers to make them more viable? Do we nerf the overperforming towers to make the playing field more even? If we nerf the DST, I feel like a majority of the remaining players would go absolutely mental and just leave, so I reckon that's off the table.

I feel like because most of the towers have been brought over 1:1 from DD1, a lot of the same balance problems still exist. DST's still wreck shop, Aura Stacks are still basically required, and Buff Beams are still really really good. They weren't fixed during DD1's lifespan, and because they've been ported over wholesale the balance problems have essentially been renewed to last even longer.

IMO these balance problems are essentially baked into the DNA of this game. Fixing them would require an inordinate amount of effort, and honestly probably wouldn't even be worth the time investment from the devs.

For example, let's say you wanted to rework the Magic Missile Tower. You'd have to take that tower back to the drawing board, come up with a good idea that could replace the tower. It might even involve some new artwork, so you'd possibly have to do that as well. Then the time taken to code the new tower function, and balance it so that it's 'viable'. That probably takes a lot of time and effort, and who's to say that people would even use the tower after all of this? What if you go through all that effort, and it just immediately falls into  balance oblivion never to seen in a build ever again. 

I guess in summary, my opinion is that the window of opportunity to create a good balance was when they hadn't released the game. I believe they've essentially missed that opportunity, and the problems won't ever be fixed. I mean, they're more than welcome to prove me wrong. 


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I don't think balance is the issue here.  Balancing defenses to be better in comparison to each other isn't really going to fix build diversity in DDA.  In fact, it hasn't happened historically even though the specific best builds have changed over the course of this game's lifespan.

The thing is, you need various different tools to make a good build in DDA.  You need walls, so you pick the best wall defense.  You need crowd control to stop sharken from bulldozing your walls, so you pick the best crowd control defense.  You need something ranged to hit djinn and goblin copters, so you pick the best ranged defense.  And you need AoE to deal with everything else, so you pick the best AoE defense.  If you want to experiment, you can pick worse defenses, but you still have to abide by these categories or else one enemy type will just instantly end your build.  I'm not sure if these are exactly the categories that defenses fall into but you get the idea: you can choose which defense you use to perform a specific function, but it's always the same functions every single time, so it's always virtually the same build every single time.

This is what I mean about how builds have changed historically.  Right now, towers are good, because of the buff beam and reflect beam.  Before the EV-A, the multipliers applied to DSTs in massacre made them too weak to reliably use.  There were a lot more traps and auras being used in builds.  But the game still feels the same as it did back then.  Because even though they're different defenses, they work exactly the same way.

I haven't gotten that far into DD2, but I can see they tried to get around this issue by putting different enemy types in each lane, and having some enemies totally counter some tower types.  By the sounds of things in the OP, DD2 failed at that by making a defense that beats every enemy, but I think the idea was good.  Right now in DDA every lane of every map is set up so that it's beaten only by these specific categories working in combination.  And that's why I can't get excited for more maps coming in future, since I know it'll just be the same solution again.  Maybe they should try making maps that are a lot more unique in the challenges they throw at you.  Like, I don't know, maybe a map that just swarmed a ton of basic enemies at you with limited DU would make for a change of pace.  Maybe some maps should have obscene amounts of spiders and others should have no spiders at all.  There are already maps with no fliers, maybe those maps should have no djinn or goblin copters to minimise the importance of ranged towers.  That way, at least these categories wouldn't apply completely universally, and different builds would be better in different situations.

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