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Junior Defender
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  1. By "Reward Items", I'm referring to semi-fixed items you get by completing specific maps or challenges. Things like the Obsidian weapons from completing Akatiti Jungle in DD1, or the weapons from completing Incursions in DD2. Their stats and attributes may vary between reward items of the same kind, but for the most part, these items all look and function very similarly relative to randomly dropped items. I never saw the point in having reward items in games with randomized loot like Dungeon Defenders. Why would you go to the effort of making a huge, complex system that can generate a truly unique item, every time... only to then add easily-farmed items that render the whole system redundant? In DD1, reward items were hugely important to Nightmare-level play; many players say it's pointless to collect random weapons at all, because reward items simply outclass them in every way. I'm sure that if armor could be farmed from beating a specific map, that the same would apply to randomly dropped armor as well (in fact, that's one of many reasons why Lab Assault is so popular). Conversely, I haven't seen or heard of many players using Incursion weapons in DD2, except for especially powerful ones like the Shadowflame Knife. This is likely because Incursion weapons are often weaker than random drops due to losing a MOD slot permanently, and rarely offering anything that justifies losing that slot. Incursions in general also seem to give worse rewards than Expedition or Onslaught maps, providing little incentive to play them. (Side note: the Borderlands games have a similar concept, with the Legendary weapons that are rare drops from specific enemies and Unique weapons from completing certain quests. These are a little better than DD1 due to having varied and unique mechanics, and plenty of Legendary weapons are equal or even inferior to random weapons, but often a good Legendary or Unique weapon outclasses even the best random Purple weapon.) Personally, I think that reward items in DDA should exist as an alternative to extensive farming; you can get a reward weapon easily, and it's good for the level you're at, but taking the time to grind for a high-quality random weapon should render it obsolete. I think the following changes should be made to reward items to make this happen: Less stat deviation in general compared to other items, being about mid-tier on average for where you can find them. The best reward weapons should be better than most random drops on the same map or level, but still noticeably weaker than the best random drops. They should have unique effects that most other weapons lack, similar to the special MODS of the Incursion weapons, without sacrificing too much potential. It would be nice if these effects were available on random weapons as well, but the chances of getting one should be very low. This would help make reward items feel 'different' or 'unique' compared to random drops, and provide an incentive to go for reward items specifically. TL;DR: Items earned from reliable means, like completing a specific map or challenge, should have unique effects that separate them from most random drops, and should never render randomly dropped items inferior or pointless. What are your thoughts on reward items?
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