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Winterbraid

About progression or lack thereof.

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I.

In the countless threads discussing King's Game and whether it is too easy, was too easy, is too hard or will be too hard for players who have played this game for 2 weeks the word 'progression' has appeared numerous times. Mainly in the context that currently there are various gaps in progression and 'brick walls' that prevent new players from ever reaching the status of players who have played this game since the beginning, since before Nightmare was released, since before copters, sharken etc.

Now where exactly those 'brick walls' exist is subject to some disagreement.

Some claim that a 'brick wall' exists between Insane and Nightmare, preventing players that have completed the game on Insane from ever progressing into the first Nightmare levels and further unless they exploit methods such as farming just one wave of a map over and over.

Others say that there is a 'brick wall' between high end myth and Transcendent, preventing those with stats in the 1000-2000 range from ever obtaining Transcendent pieces of armor without either farming unreasonable amounts of mana or sacrificing their cubes to purchase such pieces from more advanced players.

One person has even admitted to have run into a 'brick wall' with their mid-tier Transcendent equipment, already possessing stats in the 1.5k-2.5k range but failing to produce items that would elevate them into the elusive 3k+ range. In this case I will not comment because I have only recently entered the 2.5k zone myself with some of my characters.

But to the remaining two groups, I have the question: Have you actually COMPLETED the game on Insane? Have you completed it on Hard even? Progression as I see it means that you have defeated EVERYTHING, every mission and challenge, on one difficulty level, have nothing left to achieve on that difficulty and thus expect yourself to be ready to move on to the next one.

I have done some research today and if you claim that it's currently impossible to gear up for Nightmare - or upgrade to Transcendent when already possessing Mythical gear - without exploits or afkshops, then I must assume you have not actually COMPLETED the game on Insane or even Hard. Because if you had, you would be aware that many missions or challenges offer Mythical or even better rewards even when played on the Insane difficulty. The Assault Challenge Pack is one of them, City in the Cliffs is another, and I am almost certain I received Mythical rewards from Insane Uber Monster Fests in the past - although I have not played a UMF in such a long time that I won't bet my head on it.

Yes, you could answer that those missions and challenges are so difficult that they require Mythical gear to be completed even on Insane. But you know what? Some maps and challenges will produce Mythical items even when played on the Hard difficulty. Boss Rush is one of them and it is perfectly possible to complete on Hard Hardcore with a decent level 60-73 character. In fact, I have done just that today and for your info, I did not use any of the powerful Godly weapons or armor pieces that you have to play Nightmare challenges or survival to receive. No, I collected all the gear for my level 70 character from Glitterhelm Insane Hardcore survival and Insane Hardcore classic challenges. Here is proof for you if you don't believe:

http://steamcommunity.com/id/winterbraid/screenshot/1154298961366320304
http://steamcommunity.com/id/winterbraid/screenshot/1154298961366313043
http://steamcommunity.com/id/winterbraid/screenshot/1154298961366367902
http://steamcommunity.com/id/winterbraid/screenshot/1154298961366316412

(I failed a few times and eventually generated a few auras using my Jester's presents. In retrospect, I probably should have gone for a fairy instead.)

And then there's the much-maligned King's Game. When completed on the Hard difficulty as a Huntress, it will yield a Mythical Pawn Shot usually somewhere in the 100^ range. Due to the extremely high damage gain of that weapon, a 100^ one will deal equal DPS to a 200^ sonic blaster while also inflicting area of effect damage AND producing much more powerful Piercing Shots:
http://steamcommunity.com/id/winterbraid/screenshot/1154298961360013249
So that's the equivalent of a 200^ Mythical weapon obtained by you without even touching Insane.

Yes, you could say that armor pieces obtained from those sources, though Mythical, won't be much good. They will rarely reach 100 in stats or upgrade slots. But they might still be enough for your builder to reach 500-1000 in tower stats and attempt City in the Cliffs Insane, which has a chance of dropping even a Transcendent Djinnlet in survival. They might allow your DPS character to reach all 90 Insane resistances and 1-2 million DPS, at which point you should be capable of winning Insane Hardcore Boss Rush. And if you can do Insane Hardcore Boss Rush, then hurrah for you as you have entered the loot heaven where Transcendent items will drop regularly and there is even a chance of an Ultimate. Here's what I received in the course of a couple dozen runs:
http://steamcommunity.com/id/winterbraid/screenshot/1154298234161144584

You could still say that assembling a full set of armor using those methods could take an absurd amount of time. You could further point out that items are worthless without upgrades, which require large amounts of mana. In that I agree with you and will discuss those issues in the second part of my post, where I will list what I view as the REAL progression problems in this game.



II.

I'm by no means trying to prove that progression is perfectly fine in this game. I see three REAL 'brick walls' that block progress for the new or casual player, and those are:

1. Mana.

Let's imagine a typical mid-tier player with tower stats around the 1k-2k range. He may toil for hours, days even, playing survival on his map/maps of choice, reaching wave 20-25, and only manage to find a few useless Transcendent weapons and not a single good upgrade to his armor (which is a separate issue that I will discuss later).

However, he will end up with a billion or more mana from wave autosells. So what will he do? He'll hit the afkshops, checking every single one of them for any trace of Transcendent armor, and when he finally finds a piece that has semi-good stats, matches his set and is not on the floor, he will be overjoyed to purchase it for 600 million. In such a way, a cunning seller who knows the REAL ways to obtain Transcendent armor (trading, map rewards and Summoner farming) can easily reap the fruits of HUNDREDS of man-hours of survival from those who don't, and obtain such absurd amounts of mana that mana no longer means anything to him.

I think it's no secret to anyone who has spent some time in this game that mana is grossly overinflated, has been grossly overinflated and the increase of autosell limit or the introduction of standardized mana tokens have made it no better, if not the opposite. Few will actually sell a piece of ACTUAL end-game gear for anything less than a piece of equal quality or an item such as a cube or a rock, which are all completely out of reach for the average player, or an amount of mana so ridiculous that it's equally out of reach for the average player.

On the other hand, mana still means EVERYTHING to the player who has just made their first steps into Nightmare. It is all too common to see players wearing full Myth gear that they had managed to loot in public games or received from their friends, all still at level 1 because they have absolutely no idea how to obtain the mana to put into upgrades.

And even an advanced player wishing to bring their Transcendent gear and pet to their full potential (and there is no reason why every player shouldn't aim for that or be allowed to reach that goal) will face the expense of a dozen billion mana, if not more - which, if they are not able or willing to delve into the economy, presents them with no alternative other than hours upon hours upon HOURS of survival.

I think it would help everyone if the upgrade system was revisited. I suggest that all items should work like pets, in that they should receive upgrades from simply being used, but at a much faster rate than pets currently do. Spending mana on upgrades should still remain as the expensive, but quicker option for the wealthy players, and perhaps a requirement to get in the last couple levels so that the item can actually be 'maxed out' and named.

2. Survival.

I haven't played King's Game since the patches yet, but I played it pre-patch and there was one thing that I liked VERY MUCH about it and that will definitely make me return to it once I feel my gear is up for the task. It was the fact that it actually dropped Transcendent items, it dropped them early and it dropped them A LOT.

I have been in a few Aquanos runs and I can say for sure that they didn't drop Transcendent items as early or with similar abundance to the King's Game. (Sky City does drop trans as early as King's Game, but well... every Sky City run I have been in so far would basically become hell after wave 20, with 80+res, 3k stat players falling like flies to the onslaught of copters, invisible djinns desummoning buff beams, invisible sharkens pushing walls around the whole place etc.. So here's hoping King's Game will not turn out to have become that.)

I can't help but think that Survival just doesn't reward us enough for the amount of time and effort we invest into it. Boss Rush drops Transcendent and better items at a very high rate, and look how much time it takes to complete a Boss Rush with a team of competent players, and how much time and effort it takes to build a Survival run, upgrade all the towers, and keep it going till waves 20-25 where the good stuff MAY start dropping, with the same team of players. Only reason I still go for survival is that going through the same 5 minute sequence of events over and over and over would drive me crazy.

Survival needs to reward me more, and I consider a Transcendent or better item a reward. (Even if it might not be a very good item, but more on that later.) Otherwise Survival will just be reduced from the 'end of the endgame' and the place to find THE gear, to a mere mana farm for those who fail at economy.

The availability of armor is a whole different issue. Currently a good piece of armor is worth MUCH more than a good weapon, and the reason for that is simple. A good character needs four good MATCHING pieces of armor and only one good weapon, yet weapons seem to drop at least as numerously, if not more, as armor. First purple drop of the run? You run up to it like crazy? Oh wait... it's just a weapon. I already have 10 like that for sale that no one wants to buy, not even gonna bother picking it up. The weapon:armor drop rates should AT LEAST reflect the demand, that is: be around 1:4. Maybe even more in favor of armor so that weapons become rarer and more valuable, because it's logical that a sword should cost more than a pair of pants or gloves that someone has probably worn before you.

Yes, having only summoners out solves the issue by removing weapon drops completely. But a less advanced, or more combat-inclined, player might opt to have an actual DPS character out to aid the trouble spots more actively, and besides, was the goal to have ONLY ONE VIABLE endgame combat class that isn't even DESIGNED for combat?

I suspect the problem might somehow be related to the item spawn limits, with weapons having naturally higher mana value or something and thus tending to push armor off the map. In that case, it could be solved by making separate item queues for weapons and armor, with separate limits that would reflect the 1:4 ratio.

3. Item generation.

I have played countless role-playing games, some of them loot-based, yet I think in not a single one other than DD were players punished with negative stats so much. Oh look, a purple drop that is actually armor and not a weapon, yay! Wait... -100 hero attack, nevermind. Oh, another one, huzzah! And this one actually has good health and attack, alleluyah! Hmm, -300 casting... oh well, maybe I won't need to repair much. -200 ability... I guess I don't even use that ability so much.

Yes, it shouldn't be easy to find an item that is AWESOME in every regard. But normally it's considered fair that an item that gives you a lot in one field should give you little or nothing in another. A negative stat penalizes not only the item in question, it penalizes every other item that you have found before and are presently wearing. I don't think it's fair.



III.

That pretty much sums up my thoughts on DD in its current state. If you have actually read all of that, my sincere thanks and apologies.

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Unfortunately, it has been months upon months of the same issues, and they never seem to be commented on by Trendy. The few times they do say something, is to simply say that they see no real problem with their code. I am not kidding, that is literally what they say every single time when it comes to item generation and the such.

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Finally, at least one person that gets it. Good read my friend, sums up a lot of my thoughts. Another current issue is that the steam sale caused an influx of new players who think they should already be on endgame, but that's a story for another day.

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As a note to King's Game, my Squire Builder's 2700+ damage/2200+ Attack Rate Harpoons are not enough to take on the 9 Million HP Copter Ogres that swarm my EV walls while the Copters obliterate my minions and other towers.

I cannot complete King's Game, even after this supposed 15% scaling back. I feel like it was a 15% buff instead. At least I could beat Campaign King's Game after the extreme difficulty buff before, I can't even finish the final wave now because it's too brutal. Something is wrong and Trendy isn't fixing it, and this has been going on even since the old days.

These kinds of things has made me play Dungeon Defenders on and off since release, and I'm about to just quit because of it since it's not worth the stress. I play solo so I want the game to be fair, but if you won't make the game fair, then I will just not play.

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I think it's pretty much safe to say that the problem is springing from that point, that some players, specially new ones, tend to believe in this game two weeks is enough to attain the 88 achievements.

The are virtually no progression problems from easy to insane HC, the meat of the matter comes with nightmare, the thing is, nightmare is not supposed to be easy, on any game, yet DD some times goes well over the board with it's difficulty.

At any rate, it's not an insurmountable wall, you just gotta be ready for countless hours of grinding, some times even not to get gear, just mana so you can afford your first bits of high end gear being sold in the shops, something that is frowned upon by many but I think it's something pretty common in these type of games, some sink so low as to even go to the extent of making it impossible to get the required gear so you are forced to spend real money on them, at least DD is not like that.

One last bit, you mention

[QUOTE]Survival needs to reward me more, and I consider a Transcendent or better item a reward.[/QUOTE]

It's funny, someone dropped in the shop today and comment how he/she was unable to find a trans upgrade for his mythical gloves, in this regard, I consider an useful piece, a good upgrade, a reward, regardless of it's class. Some people are *too fixed* on the item class and totally disregard anything that does not carry the ultimate brand, even it's a good upgrade.

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+1 for the insight. The grind is absolutely painful. I get that it takes work, but as stated before the reward is not that great for time spent. The worst part is that the mobs are so beefy that each map in NM becomes a gear check.

I for one want a game that has a great deal of longevity and requires me to put work in, but I just wish I could spend less time grinding and sifting through garbage loot and more time playing the game.

Grinding loot with the current system is putting in the work, but for less than minimum wage.

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Well, after reading your wall of text I may need glasses but I completely agree. I think it would be awesome if when you completed a survival match you got a transcendent item as a reward.

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Well, after reading your wall of text I may need glasses but I completely agree. I think it would be awesome if when you completed a survival match you got a transcendent item as a reward.


Or even a guaranteed trans (even a crappy one) for completing high tier maps on NM. Hey you just beat Sky City on NM, congrats, here's a godly hat worth 53 mana. I get random, but there should be a cutoff where you start receiving LESS crappy items more regularly.

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Not sure how much say I have since I was given gear to start farming but....most of what you show are just weapons which you state is all too common

Never had trouble getting mythical weapons since they were the most common on late-wave insane survivals. Armor on the other hand...well let me give you a comparison. It would be faster to farm mana and buy cheap gear for a few million mana than depend on good mythical armor dropping and somehow getting a full set.

I have done insane challenges and those are only good for finding a nice weapon. Insane shards I never tried, but I did join a survival run and notice the distinct lack of good gear there. Insane shards seemed as if it was only good for the pets rather than gear.

After all of this, I was still stuck around 300 or so stats for my countess. I happened to join 3 random nm magus survival which gave me a ton of mana. One of the people in those rooms gave me a full set of mythical gear which pumped my stats up to 800 and showed me a squire build for it (pre-copters).

Now I was just farming mana in magus while slowly leveling and incorporating my other classes so I could possibly move on to nightmare shards. It took me a few weeks, but I was able to deck them out completely in myth gear from afk shops. Then summoner came out and I happen to "fall head over heels" for those kind of classes. Leveled her up, beat talay in a random group for demoness, and eventually got her a myth set too. I also saved up 200m to buy a seahorse which is the best one I have ever seen even though it's not that good (all of the seahorses were overpriced, but this one was cheaper despite having better stats so I took it.....instant 400 T.range and 350 T.damage).

I heard of the farming wave 1 chests from Endless Spires, but the drops were just pathetic compared to what I could buy for 3-15m. Shrugged that off to being guides dedicated to hardcore grinders that wanted to take the long way. Never tried nm shards since the guides made it seem like I wasn't ready to beat those maps yet.

Everyone was talking about how easy it was to beat campaigns with just minions so I decided to try it myself. I remembered how annoying it was to dodge and hold 2 ogres on my countess so I wasn't expecting much. Placed down some archers for wave 1 and a whole bunch of people join. It became an instant fail because the mobs walked all over my minions. After failing it 3 times, I decided to try it by myself since I thought I wasn't good enough for a full group. Then I beat wave 1 with a little difficulty and was surprised at how my dual pets nuked the ogre to shreds. Placed more archers and a couple orcs then watched it become even easier. Soon I beat deeper wells solo so I tried again, but using harpoons to start off and then placing minions. 3 people joined and we won the map. One of those randoms gave me a trans djinnlett which I used to beat more nm campaign maps.

Eventually I started to move on to different nm campaign survivals instead of just magus to farm pets. By this time I already had EV and barbarian as well. Raked in lots of mana which I used to push my characters into the 1k+ range and got a bunch of nice myth/trans pets. After a while, I settled on summit for my mana needs and kept trying to farm dragons which, unlike other pets, kept coming out horrible for some reason and ended up trying 20+ times for a somewhat decent dragon (most maps took only a few runs to get a decent one to drop).

Around this time I decided to try to reach higher waves (~20+), but was constantly failing. I decided to finally come into the forums to try to figure out what I was doing wrong. Found out about ddplanner and decided to use it for most of my builds. Since those builds often used more stats than I had, I often had to modify it to fit my build better. Out of all of them, Kandar's seemed the most efficient (he/she is truly a genius) so i mostly used those. They helped, although I lacked the dps neccessary to kill ogres around wave 22 before they stomped my walls and broke the crystal.

Boss rush comes out and I decide to try it. I had a lot of fun crushing bosses with my summoner and I didn't have to worry about protecting a crystal. I had some annoyances with the dragon due to how hard it was to shoot him down, being practically invisible, and pet priority attacking stuff behind me instead. I eventually won and got some myth armors...that were actually good o.o, although not an upgrade for me.

Eventually leveled up an amazon, got her some decent steam saws, and dedicated her for boss rush farming since it was easier to kill the dragon with.

All throughout my journey, I will say that without help it would have taken MUCH longer to get to where I am. I probably hit 1k stats after 300 hours and am now nearing 2k stats with 500 hours piled up. I know it's not fast, but it seemed to be a decent pace for me. I focused more on the achievements, helping friends, and the painful mana farming.

Those starter myths, EV/summoner, and that djinnlett immensely helped me progress. I can't imagine how difficult it would have been without them.

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A good read and many valuable points. The grind curve is simply too high to be fun, it's not that it's too hard to play(there are many ingenious builds for each map), but that the stat check after breaking into nightmare is too high and the rarity of items that enable a player to pass such checks too extreme.

There are plenty of games that are very difficult and still fun(as a person who has all the achievements on Witcher 2), granted none of them are in the unique position of a Tower Defense/RPG, but a little effort by the trendy team to make the NM grind more fun by increasing drop quality and quantity would go a long way to alleviating the frustrations of many players.

The game should be more about if you can come up with a build that is campable of overcoming the challenge ahead, not coming up with a build that allows you to AFK with a summoner for 25-30 waves(multiple times) in the hope of getting gear to attempt the next hurdle.

EDIT: I'll add my experiences with the game up to my current state(trying SC NM).

I played this game with a friend, we ran through insane, etc, at the end of this we had between us, a Adept builder, ranger DPS and a App DPS, all in the 100-300 range max. All good. We then did the insane challenges for the reward items with raised some of our stats to be more evenly spread in the 300 range.

To attempt to break into nm, we farmed wave 1 ES(pre goblin choppers). I leveled up a Aura monk and Huntress, he leveled a summoner.

When we finally managed to complete ES on NMHC our stats sat at around 300-600. At this point we were able to complete the original campaign(pre choppers) in it's entirety. I can't imagine being able to complete the NMHC campaign with such stats now.

My friend takes a break from DD at this point, returning only to get the Legendary Defender achievement with me, just as we finish, Shards 4 breaks and ruins all our previous NM builds.

At this point I level a Tower Countess and also a Summoner and outfit them with spare Myth gear I have, for around 600-700 stats on the countess and 300-500 on summoner. This together with my monk is enough to farm post shards 4 NMHC survivals on Magus Quarters, which gives me a way to upgrade my gear(via upgrades and AFK shopping) as well as a reliable way to farm trans pets(other than hoping for uber monsterfests or CiTC insane runs to show in public lobbies).

From there it's been a slow and rather dull grind, taking each shards map as I can and also getting an EV on the eay, and I'm rather stuck at Sky City really. Furthermore, I needed help to best the shards bosses, even on insane. I simply didn't have a weapon that would kill them before they destroyed my builds(except moroggo, that was fine).

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[quote]But to the remaining two groups, I have the question: Have you actually COMPLETED the game on Insane? Have you completed it on Hard even? Progression as I see it means that you have defeated EVERYTHING, every mission and challenge, on one difficulty level, have nothing left to achieve on that difficulty and thus expect yourself to be ready to move on to the next one.[/quote]

I don't know what exactly is my category : I have a 2k hp 1k damage hero countess, a couple of tower sets with 800 to 1.5k stats and own EV and summoner.

I think I'm in the low-mid geared category.

I did everything in the right order from normal to insane with friends. When NM came out we were crushed on DW and once afk shops and ES unlocked NM for us we progressively completed everything (campaign HC, challenges HC, assault, warping core, shards, shards challenges, Nm sky o love...) on NM until today where only CitC survival and NM CD is left for us to complete.

After the first ES stepping stone I think that the number of upgrades I have actually found while playing is just a joke : maybe 3 ? Obviously less than 10.

So when we understood the only way to get better stuff than cheap myth from shops was shards survival we tried mystimire HC. We did 2 runs so far for a total of ~10trans and a supreme armors, all of them but one (one of the upgrades I found :D) were absolute garbage.

What is completely absurd is how quality works : "hey guys here's a new quality tier, ultra rare but with better stats !". What happens in game is that "ultra rare" means that it almost only exists in 1 game mode (on higher waves) and "better stats" means higher stat range which basically leads to very few drops with even fewer chances to get something valuable.
In a nutshell, to find upgrades you have to work with :
-Restriction to a game mode
-High requirements (need to get to higher waves)
-Low drop probability
-Low probability to get desired stats
-Very low probability to get decent numbers in each desired stats
-Acceptable probability to get decent number of upgrades
-Low armors/weapons ratio

None of those factors are a serious problem, what is not acceptable is that every of them is occuring at the same time. I'd say that only 3 or 4 of those should be cumulated.

Normal to insane was perfect because you found everything you needed on the way to move on. Starting NM was a pain because nothing obtained before or during NM could help moving on and right now I'm not even looking for upgrades their seriously too hard to get for their purpose (which is obliterating already beatable content).

I honestly think campaign should already drop some trans quite rarely and that survival later waves should seriously give a lot more good stuff (like maybe half myth and half higher quality tiers on shards, 65/35 on higher campaign levels, ...) because right now trans and higher qualities might as well not exist at all for me...

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A good read and many valuable points. The grind curve is simply too high to be fun, it's not that it's too hard to play(there are many ingenious builds for each map), but that the stat check after breaking into nightmare is too high and the rarity of items that enable a player to pass such checks too extreme.

There are plenty of games that are very difficult and still fun(as a person who has all the achievements on Witcher 2), granted none of them are in the unique position of a Tower Defense/RPG, but a little effort by the trendy team to make the NM grind more fun by increasing drop quality and quantity would go a long way to alleviating the frustrations of many players.

The game should be more about if you can come up with a build that is campable of overcoming the challenge ahead, not coming up with a build that allows you to AFK with a summoner for 25-30 waves(multiple times) in the hope of getting gear to attempt the next hurdle.

EDIT: I'll add my experiences with the game up to my current state(trying SC NM).

I played this game with a friend, we ran through insane, etc, at the end of this we had between us, a Adept builder, ranger DPS and a App DPS, all in the 100-300 range max. All good. We then did the insane challenges for the reward items with raised some of our stats to be more evenly spread in the 300 range.

To attempt to break into nm, we farmed wave 1 ES(pre goblin choppers). I leveled up a Aura monk and Huntress, he leveled a summoner.

When we finally managed to complete ES on NMHC our stats sat at around 300-600. At this point we were able to complete the original campaign(pre choppers) in it's entirety. I can't imagine being able to complete the NMHC campaign with such stats now.

My friend takes a break from DD at this point, returning only to get the Legendary Defender achievement with me, just as we finish, Shards 4 breaks and ruins all our previous NM builds.

At this point I level a Tower Countess and also a Summoner and outfit them with spare Myth gear I have, for around 600-700 stats on the countess and 300-500 on summoner. This together with my monk is enough to farm post shards 4 NMHC survivals on Magus Quarters, which gives me a way to upgrade my gear(via upgrades and AFK shopping) as well as a reliable way to farm trans pets(other than hoping for uber monsterfests or CiTC insane runs to show in public lobbies).

From there it's been a slow and rather dull grind, taking each shards map as I can and also getting an EV on the eay, and I'm rather stuck at Sky City really. Furthermore, I needed help to best the shards bosses, even on insane. I simply didn't have a weapon that would kill them before they destroyed my builds(except moroggo, that was fine).


If I may
L83 Hybrid/DPS Huntress - 733/2185/230/164
L82 Tower Countess - 1005/1984/1110/749
L79 DPS Apprentice - 1150/1755/321/862 ---> move it to tower
L79 Minion Summoner - 1095/1524/270/662 ---> needs more tower rep
L79 Aura Monk - 1050/1123/765/936 ---> perhaps just a little bit more of every stat.
L77 Buff EV - 1043/1570/956/737
L74 Waller EV - 2077/323/460/144
L74 DPS Jester - 939/1606/398/344


It looks to me that you have some tiny holes in your roster, some of which I commented on already, the rest I'd say is ok as it is, specially the EVs.

I suggest that you try this
http://forums.trendyent.com/showthread.php?70281-GUIDE-Sky-city-NMHC-campaign

after you buff your stats just a sip, but, even as you are right now, try it on insane, as a way to practice building under a timer, the guide suggests building on 3 phases, at first it took me five waves or so, by now I have everything ready by the end of the second, so it can be done.

On another matter, I wouldn't lose that much sleep over not being able to beat the lost shards bosses, everyone at some point in the game had it a tough time beating the summit dragon. If you are missing weapons, don't be afraid to hit the stores, or the trade forums, when in doubt about anything, post it to the item check thread.

What you need is to remain focused on what you want to achieve, yes, you will be purchasing gear from afk stores, that doesn't mean you won't be gaining your own some day.

I beat each shard map for the first time with help, either from randoms or friends, that opened them up for survival, eventually, I gained enough ground to attempt the bosses on my own, and be successful.

If you need help I can dps and upgrade for you, which brings me to another piece of advise, when you get a good dps toon, get a djinnlet/genie, one important factor of success in campaign is how fast you can upgrade.

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I bought this during the steam sale. And thus far in the past 2-3 weeks ive dumped 165 hours into it. So I guess ill share my experiences so far.

I played with a friend, me as a barbarian, him as an apprentice. We quickly blew threw the medium difficulty campaign. From there we leapt into the challenges, only to find that a few were actually doable for us. We were able to essentially jump a gap from medium -> insane by doing the warping core challenges, the armor reward allowed us to jump right into insane, which we completed with rapidity.

This is where we got stuck.
We went back and did all the challenges we could, from medium to insane difficulty where applicable (for example we beat ogre crush on insane, but couldnt manage say, assault pack 1-3 on anything above medium)

We discovered city in the cliffs, and were able to get beat it with a little help from some friends (who were actually lower geared than us. But as it turns out, having 3 extra hands to defend crystals from wyverns goes a long way)

However this jumped us to a rather high level without any gear. We then essentially got stuck trying to progress into nightmare. Quite literally the only way we managed to transition into it is by joining nightmare games already in progress, and either looting an upgrade here and there, and by obtaining the mana from it in order to buy higher end mythics.

Recently we've managed to get to about mid-level nightmare stuff. We could easily complete every non-boss campaign level. Alchemical was hard, throne room was easier, and summit we couldnt do alone. But we're reaching another sort of wall. Both of us are decked in high mythic to low trans, most of which we only got from kings game. We're both levels 80-90 on our characters, with a wide variety of builders. And while I cant speak for the gaps beyond trans, the one from insane -> nightmare is quite real.

The concern is, YES we did every level we could on insane, multiple times. We obtained neither the gear, nor the mana nessecary to break into nightmare. Nor did we particularly relish the concept of doing endless spires waves 1-3 over and over and over again. This is a tower defense game, not a korean MMO.


If I were to make suggestions to players looking to jump into nightmare
1. do city in the cliffs on medium, hard or insane (whichever you're comfortable with) in order to level up to ~70-74
2. Filter games on the custom list to nightmare only
3. Join nightmare survivals
4. repair/upgrade as directed
5. take the mana and buy mythics from player shops
6. Enjoy your new stats capable of lower end nightmare stuff


If I were to make suggestions to Trendy on how to better bridge the gap
1. Change some of the challenge rewards and possibly tweak their difficulties. Most people want to try the challenges after beating the campaign. It stands to reason that the rewards should at least be functional to the point of use again. Basically after being medium summit, a player should be able to reasonably tackle the original challenges on medium, which should give gear good enough to beat hard. And so on and so on such that the insane difficulty challenges reward lower end mythics
Pros: helps bridge gap. Challenge end rewards are moderate (only 1 piece per completion) meaning players would still need to work hard to get them
Cons: may require serious tweaking and testing (How hard is too hard? How strong/weak do rewards need to be to tackle the next campaign difficulty, ETC)

2. Increase mana rewards? I was speaking to a friend who asked me why I didnt have 20million for completing summit. I asked him what the heck he was talking about, I never got mana like that! It turns out, he had gotten 20million mana for beating summit during some christmas event or something? But basically that mana enabled him to buy 2 pieces of rather decent mythic gear. (100 upgrades, 200 in about 3 stats, ETC)
The idea would be that completing the campaign (deeper well -> summit [not glitterhelm]) would reward the player with a larger mana bonus. These bonuses would be additive and uh, I dont really know the word for it. But basically if you beat the campaign on easy, you'd get like 2mil, medium would get you 5mil, and then the 2mil from easy if you had NOT previously completed it on easy. Hard would be 10mil, and insane 20mil. Thus if you dived right into insane and beat it without having previously beaten the full campaign on a lower difficulty, you would receive 37million mana.
I believe this would help bridge the gap into nightmare, simply because if you're lucky/patient when searching player shops, 40million mana can buy you a full set of mythics, giving you 4+ stats near the 1000 range if youve got a decent weapon+pet already. This is about enough to really start tackling the original campaign on NM (at least in my experience) at the very least, youll probably make it to alchemical.

Pros: Enables players who have finished the campaign on insane to purchase mythic gear from other players in order to bridge the gap
Cons: Not a whole lot? 37million mana isnt about to flood the economy. (also the rewards would be 1 time only. I dont think I mentioned that) The only con would be that it might maybe allow some players who purchase wisely from player shops to bridge the gap into low end nightmare stuff faster, assuming you think that's a bad thing.


****ay for walls of text. But as a semi-new player who has spent 165 hours playing, and only really just started into nightmare stuff, well, these are my thoughts.

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Game shouldn't revolve around player shops or grinding the same map way too many times.


I agree.
The kings maps fixed that until the high end players started to cry.
The worst part is the map was not end game map,it was meant to be a bridge map for the adv players.

But the high end players seen it as a threat to there afk/paypal shops.
many of us have jobs ect ect,so no way we can put in tons of hours each week,the only ppl that can do that are the ones that do not work.
So while there claiming government money,they are prob also supporting themselves with the paypal shops.
And yet trendy is supporting them type of ppl.
I'm not saying all of them are,but i can bet there is a lot of them.

Come on trendy look at the general players and cater for them,not the ones who control the afk/paypal shops.
This game is meant to be fun,i can tell you now not many adv players are having fun since the shard mobs(copters/sharks) and stupid lvl difficultly.

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I think one of the biggest reasons that so many people (myself included) have trouble making it past these progression walls is because there aren't any decent post-copter guides for newbies to get through nightmare. The only thing up right now is the breaking into nightmare guide, which shows you how to get your first myths, but after that its pretty much a guessing game as to how the progression actually goes. These sharing of experiences and strategies are exactly what the guides section needs- a post copter guide through nightmare which shows the progression curve and possible strategies to getting around it. I'd sorely appreciate one right now, and I'm guessing a lot of other players would too.

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I was in the same situation.
It's seems NM was made harder and harder after each shard patch.
Now any maps have these shard's mobs, making them really hard for breaking into nightmare.
Old players may have done them without copter, without djinn and without sharken, and it's makes a enormous difference.
i think it miss a new difficulty level for these high-end-players, or may be survival should take this role (new mobs appear after some wave).

For breaking into nightmare, i followed this order :
- some 1st wave of endles spike (some armor stuff)
- some challenge raining goblin (great app weapon)
- 2 or 3 times: challenge ogre crush (great monk weapon)
- a lots of challenge Halloween spookatular : i can't beat the last wave before i use a buff beam (from a lvl30 ev :)) (iI used monk's auras, squire's walls and 1 harpon per cristal)

Nowadays I continue to farm halloween's map, i've got about 30-40mil per run, and some times good stuff.
And I just got about 1k on important tower's stats, nightmare campaign's maps are still really hard to beat.

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I was in the same situation.
It's seems NM was made harder and harder after each shard patch.
Now any maps have these shard's mobs, making them really hard for breaking into nightmare.
Old players may have done them without copter, without djinn and without sharken, and it's makes a enormous difference.
i think it miss a new difficulty level for these high-end-players, or may be survival should take this role (new mobs appear after some wave).

For breaking into nightmare, i followed this order :
- some 1st wave of endles spike (some armor stuff)
- some challenge raining goblin (great app weapon)
- 2 or 3 times: challenge ogre crush (great monk weapon)
- a lots of challenge Halloween spookatular : i can't beat the last wave before i use a buff beam (from a lvl30 ev :)) (iI used monk's auras, squire's walls and 1 harpon per cristal)

Nowadays I continue to farm halloween's map, i've got about 30-40mil per run, and some times good stuff.
And I just got about 1k on important tower's stats, nightmare campaign's maps are still really hard to beat.


Right now, endless spires its pretty much a no-go as first stop on nightmare.
Prior to djinns/sharks/copters, the first couple of aves was doable with godly gear, or even naked.
Right now, you get miserably crushed in the first wave by a 2m HP ogre & sharkens.

Right now is, magus quarters until your eyes bleed, and then, shard maps.

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after you buff your stats just a sip, but, even as you are right now, try it on insane, as a way to practice building under a timer, the guide suggests building on 3 phases, at first it took me five waves or so, by now I have everything ready by the end of the second, so it can be done.

I can already build under a timer and I have completed SC on insane HC, it's just the NM Sky City I haven't gotten past.

I admit I probably should move my app to tower, but it's proven hard to find tower sets with just about everything I pick up even in NMHC survival runs being junk. My aura monk is understated, be neglecting him of late.

It's not that I wouldn't love to get my toons into better gear, but the time investment required to do so is prohibitive.

Right now, endless spires its pretty much a no-go as first stop on nightmare.
Prior to djinns/sharks/copters, the first couple of aves was doable with godly gear, or even naked.
Right now, you get miserably crushed in the first wave by a 2m HP ogre & sharkens.

Right now is, magus quarters until your eyes bleed, and then, shard maps.

Wave 1 ES is possible in the godly gear from the insane campaign, since choppers were removed from wave 1, wave 2...is not.

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Old players may have done them without copter, without djinn and without sharken, and it's makes a enormous difference.
i think it miss a new difficulty level for these high-end-players, or may be survival should take this role (new mobs appear after some wave).


There we go again with the old players had it easier bull****, it simply is not true.

Try dealing with djinn without summoners or evs or barbs or jesters, that's how old players had it.

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There we go again with the old players had it easier bull****, it simply is not true.

Try dealing with djinn without summoners or evs or barbs or jesters, that's how old players had it.


Bs.
The djinn are much easer than the copters anyday of the week.
Also back then you did not need the summoner,nm mode was no were near as hard as it is now.
also the djinn got a nerf as well.

You lot had easy farm mode for a long time simple fact.

[edit]as volkamar said this only hard part was the disconnects,but we still get them anyway.
we can start at later lvls now,but still not always good on low stats and not enough mana to fully upgrade.

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There we go again with the old players had it easier bull****, it simply is not true.

Try dealing with djinn without summoners or evs or barbs or jesters, that's how old players had it.


D'awww you are so adorable. Foolish boy, you know not the meaning of "old players". Ya wanna know how the really old players had it? Try playing a Survival Map, before the Shards Content ever came out, particularly Endless Spires. Wave 12, 11,000 Enemies, and it just went higher and higher. And just when you think you're about to reach the end, BAM, Trendy's servers go offline. Want to continue? Well sorry bub, but since the "Start From Wave X" patch wasn't released yet, you have to start all over again. This is the sort of thing that is probably less desirable than having a swarm of starving african children chew your crotch off. And this was the only way that you could get the fabled "Super Loot" in the game at the time.

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I remember when Djinn came out.

I remember at the end of every survival wave, on every map, the last 100-400 mobs were nothing but Ogres and Djinns.

I remember doing Misty, only on wave 13, with 150 mobs to go, and they were all Djinn, 6 out at a time, everytime you kill one another comes one after another after another. With low stats(which i had at the time) just finishing the last 150 mobs could take damn near an hour. And we didn't have minions. We also didn't have buff beams or EV walls so we had to use barricades or bouncers everywhere.

We also didn't have Supreme's or Ultimates yet as they weren't in the game, and in order to get trans you had to run an 8-15 hour survival run!

Edit- we also had to deal with pre-nerf Golden Dark Elf Warriors. At the time they could pretty much one shot every player in the game!

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There we go again with the old players had it easier bull****, it simply is not true.

Try dealing with djinn without summoners or evs or barbs or jesters, that's how old players had it.


+1

The "old" players definitely did not have it easy. Spiders may be nothing more then an annoyance now, but I remember back when they came out, they were impossible to deal with. The forums were full of "REMOVE SPIDERS FROM THE GAME NOW", or "SPIDERS ARE TOO OP, THEY TAKE ALL THE FUN OUT OF THE GAME", etc. After a month or two, people learned to deal with them (after a bajillion nerfs from trendy), and they just became part of the nightmare experience. Same goes for Dijins, Sharkens, and now Copters. We just have to learn to deal with it.

I get copters are like the spawn of satan, they're incredibly OP, and easily ruin your build that took you forever to perfect, but that's this game for ya. You spend days making a build, perfecting it, then the next part of Shards comes out, introduces a new enemy, and all that work goes in the trash. At least we can look forward to no more new enemies, now that the shards pack is complete.

Imo, what they should do is add a mob filter to matches. For example, if I wanted to run Summit on NMHCMM, I could turn off copters and dijins, at the cost of reduced loot quality. Not sure how hard it would be to do, but I think a lot of people would be very very happy with this. It would also make the progression from insane to Nightmare doable with some effort. I remember when NM first came out, and I got my entry level myth items from farming the Spires on NM with my Hunter, spamming Proxy traps and praying the first two waves died before they got to my crystal lol (now that I think about it, that was probably the most fun I've ever had playing this game).

Idk how hard it would be to code it, but it should be doable. And the disadvantages to using it would simply be reduced loot quality. Something like, having all mobs on would result in 100% loot quality, removing copters would result in 90%, copters and dijins would be 80%, all four would be 50%, etc etc. Obviously that is a major disadvantage of using the mob filter, but even with 50% of the loot quality, you could get some pretty nice Myth items on some of the higher maps, and that would be perfect for people looking to get entry level myth items, or even upgrade their entry level items. The Shards specific mobs would be locked to their maps though, for example you couldn't turn spiders off of Misty, etc. Those mobs are part of the shards experience, so it's only fair.

Well that's my take on things.

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D'awww you are so adorable. Foolish boy, you know not the meaning of "old players". Ya wanna know how the really old players had it? Try playing a Survival Map, before the Shards Content ever came out, particularly Endless Spires. Wave 12, 11,000 Enemies, and it just went higher and higher. And just when you think you're about to reach the end, BAM, Trendy's servers go offline. Want to continue? Well sorry bub, but since the "Start From Wave X" patch wasn't released yet, you have to start all over again. This is the sort of thing that is probably less desirable than having a swarm of starving african children chew your crotch off. And this was the only way that you could get the fabled "Super Loot" in the game at the time.


First, don't call me fool, if I recall correctly I wasn't replying to you so don't be sticking your ****ing nose in everything. On the other hand, it's super funny that you try to teach me how old players had it and then cook up some stupid story, please, next time, don't call someone fool while making a fool of yourself in the process, really shows your IQ.

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