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Ratio of Time Invested vs Reward Is Ruining the Fun


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With every new DLC that ups the maximum potential stats of armor and weapons that can drop, it seems to be skewing the ratio of time invested vs reward in the wrong direction (with the exception of the Sky City campaign rewards weapons).

I'm not end-game geared, but I'm also not a noob. My gear falls pretty solid in the mid to high range on my builders and DPS. I have most of my builders with 2.5 - 3k in the primary stats and my DPS characters have 2-2.5k in HPs and Dmg with 90 phys resist and around 80% in the elementals.

On top of that, I'm a decently skilled player. I have all of the achievements in the game except for the Crystalline Dimension ones. I solo'd most of those with what many players would have considered sub-par stats.

My builds generally work well right up to the point where my towers and hero damage output simply cannot keep up with the influx of ogres. Since the release of the copter ogres which has turned every survival map into nothing but an ogre horde beyond wave 19. Due to this, it seems almost impossible to make it much past wave 20 on survival on any map that would actually drop gear that might be an upgrade for me at this point. I've tried different maps. I've tried soloing, letting anywhere from 1 to 3 other geared/skilled players join, to just joining public games myself. I still get virtually no noticeable gear upgrades, even after hours and hours of trying.

Due to new mobs which require additional DU to deal with being added to maps where the DU pool was balanced prior to the new mobs the game has been changed to the point where I simply don't have the gear do the content required to get further upgrades on even a semi-regular basis. I'm sick of putting in hours and hours for zero or marginal upgrades. I'd happily join a public game with someone who has better gear is doing high-end survivals, but those are rare to the point of being almost non-existent on the public games list. To add insult to injury, I get kicked from the rare ones I manage to find in the list due to my stats not being good enough...

So in summary, I've hit a large brick wall in gear progression in this game and the only option I can see to make any further significant progress is to try to buy gear from player shops. Given the abundance of hacked gear and the insanely inflated costs of decent unhacked gear, it would take me far more hours than any sane person would care to spend to mindlessly farming easy maps for enough mana to obtain even one full set of tower or hero gear, let alone enough sets for all the builders and a dps hero. That is about as far from "fun" as a game can get for me. I'm fairly certain that I'm not the only player in this position.

Trendy, if you do take the time to read this lengthy post, please consider this. Dungeon Defenders is/was one of the more enjoyable games I have played in a long time but lately, a large part of the fun has been "patched" out of it with tweaks and new monsters. It's not the new monsters or game mechanics that I mind. In fact, I think adding new monsters and challenging mechanics to the game is great. I just think that the new additions have unbalanced the pre-existing content and "broken" valid gear progression. If you can come up with a solution to keep the progression beyond mid-nightmare gear challenging yet reasonably obtainable, I think it would help retain more of your existing playerbase as well as attracting new people.

I can think of several possibilities, most of which have been suggested here on the forums before.

  • Restrict DLC mobs to the maps and challenges in which they were introduced. Retrofitting the new mobs into older maps which were previously well-balanced in respect to the DU pool is a guaranteed way to unbalance them in a negative way.
  • Increase the DU pool of older maps to allow players to compensate for the introduction of monsters from new DLC if you do not wish to restrict the new monsters.
  • The range between the minimum and maximum stats on items created by the RNG has increased drastically with the release of all the DLC. It has gotten to the point where finding true, high-quality pieces of gear with good numbers in all 4 tower stats or hero stats is a rarity, even on higher-end survival maps. Increase the minimum numbers for the middle and high waves of survival to make it more likely for players to be able to find upgrades.
  • Increase the quality of the rewards from the campaign maps and the challenges so that they do a better job of bridging the gap.
  • Tweak the RNG in general so that it favors quality drops a bit more than it does now. Honestly, this would probably be the easiest and best solution across the board. I don't mind running a map 20-30 times to get some upgrades but I also don't think it's fun to have to run the latest maps 100 times just to get a meaningful set of upgrades. The RNG currently seems to abnormally favor low-quality drops for something that is supposed to be "random".
  • Correct the stat-rollover issues that currently exist for gear.

I'm not saying that the above list is a perfect solution. In fact, I'm sure there are other solutions to this dilemma that would work as well or better. Either way though, I really do feel that something needs to be done to help break down that wall that lies between mid-nightmare and end-game nightmare gear and stats. I think it would go a long way towards making the game "fun" throughout the progression instead of it turning into a boring grind at some point.

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i agree
spending 2 and a half hours on survival to find no upgrades is not fun...
running a map a couple of dozen times and not getting a decent reward is not fun...
but limiting NM mobs to their respective maps probably wouldnt be good... id prefer to see a DU rebalancing on some maps

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I AM a noob, but all this talk of endless grinding is scaring me a bit. I've been playing through the game very casually, and I'm super close to finishing the main campaign on Insane, to give you an idea of how new I am. I've been loving what I've played thus far, but the idea of investing hundreds of hours in this game just to get better gear is daunting and unpalatable. It's sounds like after you get through Insane, the game becomes more of a job than a game.

That's not really how I want to spend my free time. I've got enough stress and number crunching to do in real life, I play games to get away from that...

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I AM a noob, but all this talk of endless grinding is scaring me a bit. I've been playing through the game very casually, and I'm super close to finishing the main campaign on Insane, to give you an idea of how new I am. I've been loving what I've played thus far, but the idea of investing hundreds of hours in this game just to get better gear is daunting and unpalatable. It's sounds like after you get through Insane, the game becomes more of a job than a game.

That's not really how I want to spend my free time. I've got enough stress and number crunching to do in real life, I play games to get away from that...


The thing is, this "endless grinding" goes far beyond what you actually need to beat literally everything in the game. It's simply not required of you to attain those super rare drops to win.

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Im at a similar point as the OP, stats between the 2.5-3k stat level. I agree completely to what is being said, running survivals endlessly to maybe get a slightly better item is downright stupid. Now lately i have been runing aqua, and the loot quality has been ****, wave 30 on NMHCMM on one of the harder maps in the game should not drop cursed, godly torn or sub-par myths. Even the trans and supreme armour at those waves are screwed, i have found maybe 3 sup armour in the last 6 runs, all of which were missing a resist, and all of which had less than 300 ups, and all of which barely broke 200 in major stats. The loot quality in the game is stupid, even asking my better geard friend who routinely run sky city/talay and karathiki say the same thing, they have to run multiple times to get anything worth while THE HARDEST MAPS POSSIBLE giving absolutely nothing. I know its all RNG, but for gods sake stop it being all about RNG, and gives us some comfort knowing that if i reach the end wave i would of found ANYTHING worth while.

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I too believe this is a problem. Im getting my characters all to low 2k stats across the board, playing much of my time solo. But its getting to the point where i cant get further into the maps to get higher gear, and the waves i am at barely drop items that are even worth looking at. I use builds seen on the forums here as well as my own and i do make it quite far for someone with my stats, but the gear progression just seems a bit too difficult at the moment.

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The thing is, this "endless grinding" goes far beyond what you actually need to beat literally everything in the game. It's simply not required of you to attain those super rare drops to win.


On medium maybe :) Even on insane, you can lose easily on sky city and CD. I should know, I have over 2000 tower stats for most of my builders and have still lost cause my towers got overwhelmed.

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The thing is, this "endless grinding" goes far beyond what you actually need to beat literally everything in the game. It's simply not required of you to attain those super rare drops to win.

So you can clear Nightmare HC Crystalline Dimension to get those achievements with using mid-level mythical gear?...

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Personally I can't even step into nightmare, I have a level 75 apprentice as a main builder, a 70 EV, and a 70 monk. My apprentice's stats are around Towers - 160/310/190/210
Hero - 98/47/92/128
Resists - 28/40/29/19

I just don't even know what to do, any and every map is a complete mathematical shut out, at this point I've been farming up medium sunken monster fest. After reading the forums, I'm hesitant to even buy gear, that is if I can manage to find an actual shop.
Is it even possible to step into nightmare with godly gear?
Moreover I've been playing for 30 hours with the only progression being made is on the damage of my staff.

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Been broken and is gonna stay broken. Sucks playing nm just to get epic and godly drop.. :/

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Personally I can't even step into nightmare, I have a level 75 apprentice as a main builder, a 70 EV, and a 70 monk. My apprentice's stats are around Towers - 160/310/190/210
Hero - 98/47/92/128
Resists - 28/40/29/19

I just don't even know what to do, any and every map is a complete mathematical shut out, at this point I've been farming up medium sunken monster fest. After reading the forums, I'm hesitant to even buy gear, that is if I can manage to find an actual shop.
Is it even possible to step into nightmare with godly gear?
Moreover I've been playing for 30 hours with the only progression being made is on the damage of my staff.


30 hrs and he's already moaning. And no offense but with those stats you really have no reason to be in this argument. Go and play the damn game first then come back and moan plz.

Back on topic: If you're at 3k then idk what you're expecting. Im currently at 3k too but when I was still hovering around the 2k mark, I did Aqua survival and better armor was dropping like candy. Once you reach the 3k mark you have to accept that better gear will be hard to come by simply because you start closing in on the absolute top end of the gear chain. I picture progress as a pyramid and as you get closer to the top, the amount of potential gear that can be considered as upgrades get smaller and smaller.

People using the argument that C.Dimension cannot be soloed as proof that loot is messed need to stop.....like seriously. Ever considered that the huge difficulty spike of C.Dimension was intended? Its the last level of the game(cannon wise) and it is supposed to be super hard seeing as your parents are being trapped there. When I saw that little crystal monk fella running around I knew this was some hardcore stuff going on. Its not like it cant be won, it can clearly be won as we've seen it done by other folks, it just takes a good group to do it. Oh gee, a group huh, well thats some out of the box thinking right there >_> People seem to be too entrenched in the notion that every map needs to be soloable.


My builds generally work well right up to the point where my towers and hero damage output simply cannot keep up with the influx of ogres. Since the release of the copter ogres which has turned every survival map into nothing but an ogre horde beyond wave 19. Due to this, it seems almost impossible to make it much past wave 20 on survival on any map that would actually drop gear that might be an upgrade for me at this point. I've tried different maps. I've tried soloing, letting anywhere from 1 to 3 other geared/skilled players join, to just joining public games myself. I still get virtually no noticeable gear upgrades, even after hours and hours of trying.


I have to say I find this hard to believe. Im also at the around the 3k mark but mostly 1.5-2.5k, only my attack stats are anywhere near 3k and just barely but I can easily clear Aqua NMHC on 4 player splitscreen without monk hero with no problems. Dont know why you cant even do to 25. Usually the last difficulty spike comes at wave 27, even wave 25 should be easily reachable for someone with 2k-3k stats.

For all those struggling after shards part 4....well tough luck I guess. Keep trying, nothing much you can do besides that. The game has serious progression issues and none have them have been addressed at all since shards part 2. Thats why I farm like crazy for 2 weeks before a new shard release. Cant trust Trendy to make a balance update anymore. The OP's point about introducing new enemies in all maps while not adjusting for the DU is case in point.

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The thing is, this "endless grinding" goes far beyond what you actually need to beat literally everything in the game. It's simply not required of you to attain those super rare drops to win.


It is however required in order to keep people playing. People didn't spend 6 years playing Diablo II in order to finally have enough stats to kill Mephisto, they did it because that game had an almost supernatural sweet spot of time invested to quality loot dropped. DD has a certain problem with consistency in regards to meaningful rewards.

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Personally I can't even step into nightmare, I have a level 75 apprentice as a main builder, a 70 EV, and a 70 monk. My apprentice's stats are around Towers - 160/310/190/210
Hero - 98/47/92/128
Resists - 28/40/29/19

I just don't even know what to do, any and every map is a complete mathematical shut out, at this point I've been farming up medium sunken monster fest. After reading the forums, I'm hesitant to even buy gear, that is if I can manage to find an actual shop.
Is it even possible to step into nightmare with godly gear?
Moreover I've been playing for 30 hours with the only progression being made is on the damage of my staff.


if you can do boss rush on Insane HC, do that, you will get some really decent gear that will help for NM. You can get easily trans armors and weapons and sometimes even better.

I say do that cause making a single DPS character is easier than making a builder and since it gives armor for rewards, you might luck out and get something awesome, I actually got a godly armor that was way better than one of my trans armor..........

with 1000 stats on my dps ranger character and a fully leveled weapon, it takes about 10 mins if you don't mess up.

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30 hrs and he's already moaning. And no offense but with those stats you really have no reason to be in this argument. Go and play the damn game first then come back and moan plz.


This is ridiculous. You're dismissing him because he's played "only" 30 hours? I mean, OK, he shouldn't be expecting to prance into Nightmare without a serious time investment, but at the same time, when DO you have enough hours? That's over a day of play time, christ.

I'm have a problem advancing and I've got "only" 40 hours. The problem is that I've no idea where I should go to progress. I've got two level 71s (an EV and a Countess) and a 62 (a Summoner) and I've sort of hit a roadblock with progression. My stats are wayyy to crappy to handle very much solo, but at the same time no serious online player is going to want me in their game. (Which I totally understand, because my stats suck.) It's an awkward stage of transition and I'm getting slowly put off.

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This post hits the spot! Just what ive been trying to say about the game is going to die for higher lvl players if ur not careful!

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Postman, i dont assume he was trying to put him down, or tell him off, even if he did say it wrongly. But with a low amount of time placed into the game and stuck at a difficult point isnt the point of this thread. Its to discuss the crazy time required to get better loot for players with hundreds of hours, who have beaten almost every map and are stuck at the same map over and over again.

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Back on topic: If you're at 3k then idk what you're expecting. Im currently at 3k too but when I was still hovering around the 2k mark, I did Aqua survival and better armor was dropping like candy. Once you reach the 3k mark you have to accept that better gear will be hard to come by simply because you start closing in on the absolute top end of the gear chain. I picture progress as a pyramid and as you get closer to the top, the amount of potential gear that can be considered as upgrades get smaller and smaller.

People using the argument that C.Dimension cannot be soloed as proof that loot is messed need to stop.....like seriously. Ever considered that the huge difficulty spike of C.Dimension was intended? Its the last level of the game(cannon wise) and it is supposed to be super hard seeing as your parents are being trapped there. When I saw that little crystal monk fella running around I knew this was some hardcore stuff going on. Its not like it cant be won, it can clearly be won as we've seen it done by other folks, it just takes a good group to do it. Oh gee, a group huh, well thats some out of the box thinking right there >_> People seem to be too entrenched in the notion that every map needs to be soloable.


I think you missed the overall point of my post. In fact, you acknowledge exactly the point without seeming to realize it. I honestly don't expect to beat the Crystalline Dimension with 3k stats. I never said that. My whole point was, I think players should to be able to progress *past* the 3k stat mark without having to invest literally a hundred+ hours of grinding Aqua over and over just to gear up for it. I don't want the game or achievements handed to me on a platter. The challenge is a large part of why I enjoy this game but having to do Aquanos survival multiple times at 2-3 hours per attempt just to get a couple of 50 point upgrades isn't a challenge... it's a mindless grind. I don't think the current time required to progress after the 2.5-3k stats mark is fun.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, beyond a certain point in progression, this game stops rewarding you for winning, doing it right, etc. and instead changes to rewarding you for "just grinding it out". I'd estimate the chance of getting a non-trivial upgrade on a single piece of gear on any given Aquanos survival run at 10-15% with my current stats and the way the RNG works with loot. That means if I do it right and "beat" Aquanos 10 times, I might get rewarded with an upgrade once, maybe twice if I'm lucky. That's a pretty poor reward ratio for "winning" and it strips a lot of the fun from the game for me.

Trendy may very well disagree with me and deem that 100+ hours of farming the same map/s is an acceptable entry barrier to the 3k+ club. It's their game and their decisions. I'm simply pointing out that a big draw of this game is the progression. Progression is what keeps the game from getting stale after you have completed each map/challenge more than a few times. The issue is that progression beyond 2.5-3k stats slows to a crawl and requires a increasingly massive investment of playtime and grinding. If you could complete all of the content with a good group of skilled players in 3k stat gear and anything beyond that was just for bragging rights, etc., it wouldn't be such a big deal. But when they're releasing content that requires 4k+ stats to complete, it makes the grind a requirement for entry and changes a customer's expectations.

Such a large investment of time is beyond what all but the most hardcore players have and/or are willing to put into a game, especially when said investment is just repeatedly running the same 1-3 maps over and over. I think it will make it difficult for them to retain a long-term and loyal player base which is where a lot of their future DLC sales would/should come from.

P.S. For the record, I've logged 1,757.6 hours in Dungeon Defenders since purchasing it a little less than a year ago. I also rarely run an AFK Hero shop so most of those hours are active playtime. Granted, I will help other players with challenges and maps when I get tired of the grind so not all of those hours were 100% focused on progression, but a respectable portion was.

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Postman, i dont assume he was trying to put him down, or tell him off, even if he did say it wrongly. But with a low amount of time placed into the game and stuck at a difficult point isnt the point of this thread. Its to discuss the crazy time required to get better loot for players with hundreds of hours, who have beaten almost every map and are stuck at the same map over and over again.


Yeah, you're right. Just the absurdity of that statement struck me.

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Sorry, for clarification I meant 30 hours in monster fest. Though I'm still only 66 hours in, the part I'm struggling with is the whole you need mythical gear to do nightmare, you get mythical gear from doing nightmare. Almost makes sense. . . almost.

As for the whole grinding situation in general, an rng based gear treadmill that denies access to content is ludicrous.

Also trying to hit 1000 stats with godly gear seems a wee bit hard.

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Judgebanks, try doing some different challenges and such like Halloween Spooktacular, there's a guide on it that is very good and you can do it with godly gear stats with some practice. That'll net you some gear. You can also do Insane Survival HC to get better godly items in the later waves with the chance to get the occasional Mythical items, depending on the map you run it on. On top of that you can get Giraffes if you complete it which are very good for breaking into nightmare with non-active builders to boost their stats somewhat.

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On topic; to me it seems the problem is loot generation. Random is random, but loot descriptives do not align with the word definitions by anyone's definition (ultimate should be just so OP awesome). I believe this issue is a function of the popularity of the game and how it has grown beyond the original design. By this I mean that back in October when the game was released to the public for the first time outside the phone/iPad market, they had spent a bit of time already developing the game from the framework they had made on the phone/iPad. At that time I would find it hard to believe they had built the game code with myth, trans, sup, or ults included in way to work perfectly. I don't know this, and it is just supposition on my part - so anyone at Trendy can correct me if I'm wrong. Anyway, given the popularity and the demands for more and more; Trendy has done an excellent job of doing just that. But, there are cracks in the foundation so to speak (which why some people say a DD2 would be a great next step). So Trendy patches the cracks, but without major rewrites - the core issues remain. I personally think a two step loot generation process would be nice, step one would be the current gen process and step two would be a regen of the item if it's value determined it was a trans, sup, or ult. That way on the regen the trans, sups, and ults could be made truly worthy of the name. But it has been ages since I've done any serious coding and I've not read the DDDK so I can't say how involved that would be. Lol, theoretically you could farm for a million hours game time and never get a drop that would be an upgrade. No matter how many trans, sups, and ults you get. That is not funny. At. All.

Off topic; Judgebanks - you can easily farm godlies up to the 350 to 4xx mark. Just try more than the same old same old. Also challenges provide good gear as you progress. Once you start to hit those stats, look for CrzyRndm's guide on breaking into nightmare (actually read it now to better understand what to look for). Also when you are running NM you will see some funny godly gear. I've seen godlies with over 200^s that have 2xx stats.

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OMFG. Pc players think their time investment ratio ids bad! Ha. You should try getting to level 83 on ps3.


Sadly true... And the phone version is even worse. But at least with each run you see your xp slowly go up. OP's point is not seeing anything. At that point even slow improvements would be better than none.

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Personally, albeit I naturally have bad luck, I think the main problems are the maps not being designed in mind for the thousands of enemies. My stats on all my chars are around the 1k mark with 117 hours into the game. We need more DU and MU added to the first maps and challenges to coincide with the new variations of special enemies! I'm not talking about adding 50-75 more DU. Just a simple 10-20 that would allow for that extra tower to be placed and get the job done. Otherwise, yes, the RNG needs to be adjusted to scale better. I think that adding the DLC enemies ONLY on their respective maps would be too much but rather, put more spiders on Mistymire while keeping the rest of the enmies although their will be less sharken and etc. while adding more sharken on Aquanos but reducing the amount of spiders and etc. This is all I ahve time for but I will be watching this post!

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The thing is, this "endless grinding" goes far beyond what you actually need to beat literally everything in the game. It's simply not required of you to attain those super rare drops to win.

For a little while, this was true. With sensible weapons and pets, with all your builders no higher than 1K stats, and with one good DPS: you could clear anything on Nightmare. This was true both playing solo and multiplayer. That seemed fair. It required hunting down good gear, but it didn't require grinding until the end of time. It was a nice balance for folks that wanted to clear the base challenge of the game (all stages, achievements, etc.) The endless grinding part was only for people that actually chose it; it was not requisite.

Since the introduction of Shards IV content, however, this is not the case anymore. Try doing Mythical RTS with copters added in, especially on stages like City in the Cliffs, with Summoner stats no higher than 1K. Try doing Crystalline Dimension, Nightmare, with 1K builders. Same for Sky City NM campaign. Reasonably, you can't. And ESPECIALLY not solo. As much as they always encouraged team play, the game was always viable both playing solo and as a team. And while I prefer playing with friends immensely, and usually can, there are times where I'm stuck playing alone. That, or friends' stats are not up to par.

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