FOREWARNING: This is a mixture of a suggestion and a rant provoked by seeing apprentice towers get a 15% exponential buff. I was hoping Trendy would rework the underused towers in the game before falling to that route, but it seems my hopes were a bit high. Hopefully this post will get some discussion going, and provoke Trendy into tweaking the core class's defenses a bit! Feel free to respond with input and opinions, and I'll gladly update the initial post. I posted something similar to this roughly 6 months ago, but it covered so much ground that it went largely ignored - so I'm going to keep it niche this time, and avoid touching on guardians / monsters / map issues, and stick to the core of the game - tower defense!
Let's look at the 4 core classes, and evaluate the towers which never see use aside from a simple gimmick or concept: i. Apprentice: We're starting with the class who needs the least work in terms of tower mechanics / DU balancing. Really, the only thing that players rarely use is -
1) DST - For the DU cost, I've only seen it used in niche situations like shooting down wyverns from a single spawn, like the western wyvern spawn on Mistymire. Issue: DU cost, single-target usability, and relatively low damage for where one would expect to see it (read: killing high-level survival wave enemies in one to two shots). Solution: Fix it so that the DST properly targets something where it's damage will not be put to waste. It could also use an animation tweak, as with 0.37 attack speed (around 1900 in the tower speed stat while being buff-beamed), it's barely attacking more than one and a half times per second. I'd suggest either a functionality overhaul, or a drastic increase to it's damage if one intends to keep it single target. Like, a 900% increase. With a cone of fire as narrow as it is, it really should be whittling ogres away - at the moment it's DPS is strictly inferior to the harpoon and fireball turret, while being single target. The advantage is that it pierces walls and has longer range. Woo. ii. Squire: What towers do you ever use aside from the harpoon? If you don't own the series EV - and the spike wall? Be honest? Let's look at what needs to be changed -
1) Spike Wall - Given how the game has evolved, I'm simply going to parrot what several other players have mentioned with regards to this - it really should be 2 DU. It's a simple barricade that provokes ogres into smacking it, rather than derping endlessly into the EV's physical barrier. Issue:Over-costed in terms of DU. Solution:Lower DU cost to 2.
2) Bouncer Blockade - This is actually a really, really strong tower - watching it work under a buff beam is something to admire. However, they don't have the range to hit an ogre who's decided to wail on it - I'm not quite sure how to remedy this aside from advising that their range stat actually increase how far they can damage things, rather than the range at which they begin to attack. Issue:Unable to hit ogres who have decided to beat down on it. Solution:Either give them the ability to knock back ogres (this will provide a secondary solution to ogres rather than setting up a physical beam for them to grind against), or increase their damaging distance significantly.
3) Cannonball - I love this tower. It's fun as hell, and I've used it.. once, on Magus Quarters survival. Truth be told, I'd probably have been better off with harpoons - because they do more dps, pierce ogres (GUESS WHAT CANNONBALLS CAN'T DO?), and cost less DU. So, why am I using this over the harpoon? I like balls. Issue:Strictly inferior to the harpoon, even moreso in the presence of an ogre. Solution:Make it somehow superior to the harpoon in some aspect.
4) Slice 'n Dice Blockade - HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. Strictly worse than bouncer blockade. I think it had more base health last I checked, but the same health scaling - so it had like 50 more health? And it does less DPS. At full spin. Granted, this is with enough attack speed and a buff beam to make the bouncer blockade something of a wondrous bumper-car of doom - but the fact of the matter is, it does less damage for twice the DU. Why would I touch this? Issue:Strictly inferior to the bouncer blockade in damage and DU. It also suffers from the BB's issue of being unable to hit an ogre who's decided to club it from out of range. Equivalent health scaling, it should be at least twice as much, given it has twice the DU and less damage (at the moment). It's attack speed scaling only reduces the time for it to hit the max "spin" rate (meaning every .2 seconds, it will apply it's damage rating to all enemies within the radius at max spin). Solution:Buffs across the board for this. Reduce the DU cost possibly. It's god-awful, people only use this if they're playing for the first time or goofing around. iii. Huntress - Truth be told, her towers are used pretty effectively - particularly gas traps for their utility, and inferno for their healthy, constant DPS regardless of range - all while needing virtually no maintenance. However, one tower stands out as being nonexistant in it's usage:
1) Ethereal Spike Trap - Elemental damage while providing less DPS than a proximity mine forces it into a niche usage of 'countering' aerial units. Name 5 spots you can place this trap where a harpoon simply couldn't cover it from better angling? It's just garbage. Issue: Sub-par DPS and elemental damage when compared to a proximity trap. Yes, a proximity trap does less damage at the outer edges - but it also proves it's worth tenfold the moment more than one thing attempts to cross the trap's threshold. This is actually a major issue in survival, given how Trendy coded the wave to suddenly dump several spiders, djinn, sharken, and gobbocopters all simultaneously. You know when you see about 20 spiders fall from the ceiling? Guess what. Solution: This trap simply needs a rework. A spike of damage is almost always going to be considered ineffective - at least if it's only on a single target. One solution would be to remove the trap reset timer - or make it ridiculously tiny, so that it would hastily deplete all it's charges in effort to kill whatever is on top of it. I'm talking a 0.05 or so reset rate. This would justify the elemental property, and dissuade people from trying to abuse it in tandem with a buff beam, given it would likely expire in hasty fashion and take the beam with it (not to mention the huge radius provided with said buff). iv. Monk - Truthfully, after the reworks to enrage and the buffs to the electrical aura in nightmare - he's solid. For a while enrage was garbage because it didn't take the minion's aggro from towers - enrage could be placed near defenses, but even then an enraged creature would simply keep targeting it rather than allies if they were afflicted. This was remedied a while ago, so I've no suggestions here - although tweaking the DU costs back to launch would be amazing, but that's asking a bit much I think, given how amazing electrical auras are.