One Shot

Raid bosses are slot machines, and every goblin is to a lesser extent. You pull the level and hope for good loot. Quite a few games take this further, in what I still think of as Diablo-style loot, with lots and lots of drops with lots and lots of randomization. 95+% of it is vendor trash, but that’s not always immediately apparent. If you want to avoid throwing away your prize, you need to dig and see if there is a pony somewhere in that room full of horse poo.

Dungeon Defenders helpfully points out the items that would be upgrades. You can even see green dots on the map and highlighting through the walls. “Come check this out.” Of course, whether it really is an upgrade depends on many things, such as whether your character wants to trade +40 to towers for +20 to towers and +21 to hero stats. So maybe you should still be looking at everything, because that armor may say it’s a downgrade, but you are trading 8 points of something you don’t want for +25% base damage. And then you have prizes like this one. 1 shot 0 kill The value algorithm says this is an upgrade for me. For those of you who do not know the stats involved, those are pretty good hero stats, decent base damage (with no bonus), a very nice firing rate, and an excellent reload rate. It needs that reload rate because this is a gatling gun with a one round clip. It could fire seven times per second, except that you need to reload this muzzle-loader after every shot.

The loot drops so quickly in Dungeon Defenders that it is automatically deleted (not looted, deleted) as you play. There is an item cap that protects game performance and encourages you to run around collecting mana and items. This somewhat counters the pro-social mechanic of dividing up the cash from loot left on the ground at the end of each round, because if you try to leave the loot, a lot of it will go away before the end of the round (past the first few waves). The item cap feels like it was designed for 100-200 enemies, and Survival maps quickly get to thousands of enemies. This discourages AFKing but gives you the choice between adding DPS to beat the level or trying to claim your prizes before they *poof.* The latest patch changed it so that the lowest quality loot gets deleted first, not the oldest; the opposite was a very strange design decision that led to your potential upgrades disappearing as you ran over to pick them up.

Mana is both the currency of the game and what you use to build towers, upgrade them, and power your abilities in the level. It also has a cap for how much can be on the ground (I’m not clear if that’s shared with loot), without the “lowest quality disappears first” provision, so your shiny teal 500-mana gem might disappear when the next 1-mana gem drops.

With so much vendor trash that it throws itself away, Dungeon Defenders may be approaching the reductio ad absurdum of Diablo-style loot.

: Zubon

4 thoughts on “One Shot”

  1. Some of the higher survival levels on higher difficulties are really crazy. Thousands of enemies to fight against, it is very overwhelming and amazing at the same time.

    I really do not know what I would do with out this great system from Trendy. Without knowing which weapons are worth my time via the green thumbs etc. it would turn into sifting through mounds of crappy weapons. I am glad they figured that with so much mediocre loot there was an easy way to identify the better ones. I mean, there are so many weapons and mostly randomized. Without it, the item system would be unbearable for me at least.

    The one thing I would say though is my biggest grievance is the upgrading system. For leveling I strongly avoided upgrading anything. At first I did upgrade quite a few things, but then finding another weapon much better a few dungeons later discouraged me. The amount of money you will spend to upgrade a weapon that will inevitably become weaker than new ones feels severely wasted. Even now, at level 70 upgrading is pretty useful if you find an awesome weapon or piece of armor. But now with the new update increasing the level cap to 80 it shall thus become unmatched to the new items found on insane difficulty.

    A vicious circle…

  2. I never found the green thumb to be very helpfull. The better gear usually has unwanted stats, or a true upgrade might not show up as green since the item’s got no upgrades.

    People always get mad at me when I pick up loot, and not just leave it there for the end of the round. Its funny. How do they expect me to find upgrades?

  3. And now to ask a stupid question…

    If the game knows (or thinks it knows) which items are actually upgrades for the players who are playing, then why does it even drop vendor trash at all? Why doesn’t it, before it drops an item, first check to see if anyone would want it, and if the answer is a definite “No”, drop the equivalent value in gold/mana/whatever instead?

  4. But that weapon IS upgrade! You’ll just need to use first few upgrades to rise ammo capacity (two or three will make it tolerable) and damage, after which it will be strictly better. :)

    I’m fairly sure algorithm just checks item value as “upgrading from 0/0/0/0/0/0/…/0/0/0 to current value in upgrade points, if equal, one with more upgrades possible is better one”.

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