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Gameloft_Syrann

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Let's Talk: The Stronghold.

Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:19 am
Ok folks. This is in no way finalized, but here are some things that I said I'd get back to you on and some tidbits on what's to come. Feel free to ask questions and I or someone else from the team will reply when we are able to do so, but please keep it civil and constructive.
1. Stronghold Shields


- Yup. Starting with one of the more heated issues. We've looked at this and the results of change, and while not everyone will be happy or agree with this change the data we are seeing is that this has been very positive. Raiding has increased dramatically and people that felt they were never being attacked are being attacked at long last. There is some legitimate issues that have been raised we will address, namely being raided frequently by the same person, trophy loss/gain rates and the Stronghold being harder to defend in it's current state. All will be addressed in the next major update to some extent.
2. Stronghold 2.0


- I've poked mention of this a couple times already. This will not be in the next major update as we *really* want to make sure it's ready to go before it hits live. What is this exactly you might wonder? Without going into too many details, this will allow you to build up your Stronghold rooms and upgrade them to give boosts to you minions. This will also come with a re-balancing of the Stronghold.
3. Upkeep


- Support minions have been deemed too bloody expensive for their value. We heard you on this and I'm happy to let you know that we are gutting their costs dramatically. They should be around the cost of Defenders in the next major update...if not a little less! Also we've reduced the upkeep on some other minions as well.
4. Stronghold Champions


- A short time ago we reworked the Immortal Gatekeeper so it would be far more effective in the Stronghold, and as we've seen, it certainly increased it's popularity and usage.... But where does that leave the other Champions? Well. That leaves them to all receive some buffs and or reworks in the next major update. The goal is to have them all be useful and threatening, so you never feel like your Champion is worthless, even if some Champions are better than others. So that means Buffs. Buffs. Buffs. Tons of Buffs.
5. Other Stronghold Minions


- Why should Champions get all the love? Well, they feel like the biggest investment to your Stronghold, but we are not forgetting the fodder...er... little guys that help along the way. While it won't be in the next major update, we will be aiming to have some more monster and minion buffs by the time Stronghold 2.0 hits. The idea here again will be buffs, we've seen and like how certain minions have risen to popularity and we know why. So we'll be making improvements to the other minions, and leaving alone the ones that don't need any improvements (I'm looking at you Voror Knight).

That's all for now. There of course will be more and ongoing changes to improve the Stronghold, and unfortunately I cannot speak about everything for various reasons. If you have any questions feel free to ask, just again, please remain civil and constructive!
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ruggedland

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Re: Lets Talk: The Stronghold.

Sat Jan 09, 2016 2:49 am
My biggest gripe regarding SH has been the imbalance of minions. Nowadays it's all about how many death or water vorors one has, and all other minions don't matter. The whole SH raids have become very boring to be honest. Glad to hear there is some plan to re-balance the old minions especially champions like mossback dragon, etc. Dare I mention Lord of Eve, which a lot of players spent hundreds of gems to obtain but turned to to be totally uselsss.It needs some serious buff too.
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Zungedous

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Re: Lets Talk: The Stronghold.

Sat Jan 09, 2016 4:51 am
Good to know our opinions are being heard, looking forward to the changes.

1) Stronghold Shields
While it has indeed solved the 'drought' problem of stronghold raids for certain players, it certainly has increased the number of times players get smacked in their sleep a lot. I'm sure you've read the angry feedback where players get a nasty shock when they awake in the morning as they lose over 100+ trophies in one night. I'm not sure whether it's happening a lot in the lower rungs (Veteran III and below) but it sure is happening a lot in Master/Legendary...resulting in a necessary 'upkeep' of rank tier through constant raiding. Sadly, like you said, I doubt there's any legit way to stop a 7k+ stat character rampaging through any stronghold.

2) Stronghold 2.0
+1 and looking forward to the new change.

3) Upkeep of Support Minions
Phew! I thought I had to live with my 100+ upkeep gelid voror.
This will certainly make stronghold minion allocations more interesting and varied.

4) Stronghold Champions
Fair enough, but I believe what makes the newer champions (eg. Ethera and Colossus) strong are 2 main reasons:
(1) They have immense number of skills/abilities that makes them versatile to attack and defend at any range;
(2) They work with an AI that runs on conditions, instead of a regular hack-and-slash build.

Perhaps working around these 2 principles would be a good way to start in order to order to make those 120-140 upkeep points worthwhile. :)

5) Other Stronghold Minions
Like you said, the balance of stronghold minions is really skewed.

Currently, the stronger combination I've seen so far is 2 water vorors with the rest being voror knights. The high-defense and reflect shield buffs seem to get triggered non-stop, making it difficult to pierce the armor of any minion at long or melee range. I have yet to figure out a strategy to break this, especially if the trap room is the Valenthian Guardhouse (another immunity buff from the environment).
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cemcem

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Re: Lets Talk: The Stronghold.

Sat Jan 09, 2016 5:04 am
1- When tournement is about to finish (last 6 hours), my country zone sleeps and we can't fight back to attacks. Since another country players play in the evening while I sleep, I lose so many points from that specific zone without fighting back.

2- That would be cool what you wrote. All I can say is to adjust superfusion points' effect in a balancing way or alerting way. A couple of SF points overcome all bonuses and greatly increases minion's power. I think I attack the same minion but it is somehow near immortal. It is just confusing the strategy.

3- I'd also like to know minions' base stat (which is the dominant spec on att and def, far from comparison to bonuses) and buffs and how SF points changes att, def, hp, buff properties. SFs don't increase only HP but also att and def at the moment so it is very confusing.

4- Ranged attack defense ability of defender minions should be ceased at some point. Ranged weapons have low damage/hit compared to close-ranged weapons so if you get closer to Voror, you need more time to kill it compared to close-range weapons. In addition, ranged weapons don't have the knockdown or pushback which disrupts the defender minion therefore you are fighting in gripping and slowing zone of Voror longer (because of low damage) and without disrupting it (you continiously get hit, gripped, slowed down)

5- Inherently faulty feature. Minions' effect against player can't be quantified. In principle, I must chose a champion If it has a at least twice effect than a minion having half upkeep cost. Maybe you can balance it by giving elemental buffs, i.e. a voror knight having a fire buff from the room or another minion. Or, you can equalize all minions' upkeep cost of same kind and allow only one type of minion in SH.
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Zungedous

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Re: Lets Talk: The Stronghold.

Sat Jan 09, 2016 6:22 am
@cemcem:

1- This is not true as servers are categorised based on country, meaning that Asian players play strictly with other Asians etc. Thus, based on this logic, the furthest time zone difference would be 3hrs (referencing Australia in Asia server) so it is not such a big time difference. If you get attacked a lot when you sleep, it just means that certain players are raiding at ungodly hours (eg. 3am - 6am).
(Reference from: http://www.timeanddate.com/time/map/)

3- Also, this I beg to differ, I have a +4 lurker that has the same attack as a +1 lurker, only with increased HP.
But SF contributing to minion stats would be more appropriate and perhaps give the minions a bit more punch against stronger raiders.

4- The Voror Knight is an 'odd' defender minion as it is weak in melee and strong in ranged, which is good because at least it has an inherent weakness (if not it'll be way too overpowered). That's why always carry a secondary melee weapon if you're using ranged as primary.

While Ranged weapons don't have as such 'punch' compared to the other melee weapons, most have traits to make up for it (such as high stun/pushback traits %s). Also, I feel that ranged weapons should stay as they are because characters already have an advantage by attacking from a distance and most likely won't get swarmed. Additionally, if you still need the 'knockdown' effectm certain spell skills have that ability (eg. fireball, reaching vines, malovent rush etc.) which can be paired up with ranged weapons for great effect.

5- That's where the support minions come in. And now that they have less upkeep and they're more accessible through the 'summon' feature, I'm looking forward to a more strategic fight in strongholds. :)
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Aqvi Teig

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Re: Lets Talk: The Stronghold.

Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:31 pm
1) From my persepective removing the shield wasn't a bad idea, but it needs some change to work completly. Untill I went in veteran 3 I was attacked about every 30 hours. now it's a lot better. I would suggest though to put back the buyable shields at reduce price, something like 10 gems for 12 hours, 50 gems for a week, and 100 gems for 2 or 3 weeks. You'll get lots of people spending 10 gems. In addition there should be a cooldown between consecutive attacks on the same player, like 12 hours. I doubt anyone could fight all 99 other players in their leaderboard in a mere 12 hours.

Second change to make would be the trophy system. The difference in strengh in each rank being too great, I often found myself loosing on purpose to have more time to strengthen my stronghold. I think trophies you win should be reduced and calculated in another way. I'ld make it so:
- First base win/lost trophies should be 15/15
- Then accounting the defender's defence rate and his global stats against your own you can add/ remove 10 trophies
- Last for those wanting to move up rank fast, there could be a consecutive victory bonus of +5 per victory, reseting when moving up/ down rank or when loosing a raid (an attack). This could also soved some legendary players problem.

This would give a insentive to attack stronger players instead of farming weaker ones. Maybe even throw in an additional booster. This way people would only have little gain in attacking weaker player. It makes it fair because the sure way is the slowest one with little to gain. I think the most important focus is to balance risk and reward.

4 & 5) I think it's great to power up champions so they are equally worthy. I have only a couple gripes, one being with the fear mechanic and the second with some attacks. Fear to attacker is an interresting defence mechanism but I would prefer if I couldn't trigger it with damage over time. I haven't checked, but I suppose damage to attacker or poison could do the same thing. This gives fear too many opportunity to trigger. If possible I would like only direct attack to count for the trigger of fear (or for damage to attacker). As for attacks I have only experienced this with ethera aoe attacks so far, this oattack can't be dodged. With concentration I can dodge most of her chain attacks, but not this aoe. It even seems I take damage before the animation. I'm fine with completly overpowered attacks, especially for champions, just make them dodgeable. It takes skills and gives credit for the player for being good at the game. I think giving the sensation to the player of winning through skills and not just stats is important. Even if it means fighting ethera for 5 minutes because I'm slightly weaker.
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Red69

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Re: Lets Talk: The Stronghold.

Sat Jan 09, 2016 5:01 pm
Syrann,
Thanks for the update.  When you say it won't be in the next major update, does that mean we are looking at sometime in mar/apr? (assuming Chinese new year even is mid February.)  You guys seem to be on a 5 week release cycle.

While I appreciate the update to the Immortal Guardian, he is still weak and can be taken down fairly easily by a water build with 3xt3.  The strong champions have invulnerability for a good portion of the fight.  Even with the Immortals totem, its easy to kill.  Contrast this to Ethera and the Collosus which are untouchable for most of the fight.  Or the mossback that is untouchable between its major attacks.  I have an assasin which I've been slowly leveling and am interested to see what you do with her.

Regarding the stronghold upgrades, it sounds like you are introducing something like stronghold trinkets.  This makes sense and would counteract the character's trinkets which makes strongholds too easy.  Will this be another marathon grind like character trinkets? I don't think most players will be able to deal with another grind of the same cost and duration.  Please make stronghold upgrades easier.  Perhaps these "stronghold trinkets" can be obtained from the SH chest and then applied to stronghold rooms.

Regarding individual minion buffs, you will have to do ALOT of buffs to make them a good value compared to the voror.  The voror punishes ranged attackers, yet has a close range special move snare that does tons of damage.  It is VERY tough and has a defensive trait.. that it frequently gets knocked back so you have to chase it making it harder to kill.

What would it take to make something like the Ogre (same upkeep as the voror) a good value?  

*It would need an interrupt/control of some kind.  (Maybe give it a disarm ability similar to fear that procs occasionally, and that stops a melee character from attacking for a couple seconds.  This would really punish nature and double sword users the most)
*Its attack would need to be effective in a 360* range.  (It is trivial to move slightly and avoid its club.)
*Its armor and attack would need to be significantly higher.

Even with all those things, I would still probably choose the voror.  

Basically, to make every other defender worthwhile, it needs a reliable control, it needs a survivability trait, and it needs to do a ton more damage.  Also, sadly, most minions attack patterns are so rigid that they miss most of the time.  That needs to be addressed too.
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legendary_knight

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Re: Lets Talk: The Stronghold.

Sun Jan 10, 2016 3:57 am
Good to hear :) , for me this SH rework is the second top priority after fixing the bugs: random crashs, guild chat censorship, global/guild chat frozen...
1) Stronghold Shields

I'm surprised that nobody mentionned this point, but I find pretty annoying that you cannot test different SH configurations without being protected.
Sometimes you also want to test your keeper so you temporarily remove your minions few minutes, and you can be raided while your SH is unprotected or partially protected.
This happened to me few times, therefore the shield is a good way to avoid this, otherwise it would be nice to have at least a training SH that is different from the active one.
2) Stronghold 2.0

This could potentially make the game really more fun and tactical, to create different configurations of SH to be able to surprise the raider from one raid to another.
Actually for me, only the dark Dread vorors are powerful and all the other minions are weak (except maybe Ethera and some champions I've never met).
This rework has indeed to be thorough, exhaustive and well thought for the long term to avoid nerfing the minions at every update, I prefer GL to take the time to prepare this carefully (not too much hopefully lol).
3) Upkeep of Support Minions

This is good news, there is definitely something to do with those 2 new vorors: upkeep and/or nerf. Otherwise it was quite misleading to name them vorors, one could imagine they would be as powerful as the old Dread vorors while it is not the case...
The fire voror should be also more powerful IMHO, I did many tests and I'm not convinced by his ability to buff other minons and to disable shields. At least its upkeep should be smaller than the Gelid voror.
But there is also something to do with other support minons such as the rhino vigil by example, I have evolved mine at tier 5 and I have tested it in different ways:  at the end I haven't been able to notice the benefit of his buffs on other minions.
For the rhino, it is a significant nerf that is required, but apparently this is more for Stronghold 2.0.
4) Stronghold Champions

This is also an interesting point, some champions are really a way too weak.
Some of them may be worth together with a nerfed Gelid voror, something to explore...
5) Other Stronghold Minions

It's nice that GL is working to create a more balanced SH because it is actually quite frustrating for players who invest time and money especially on Strongholds (I'm lvl 100+ and VIP 8). Actually I am able to win lot of offensive raids in M3/Legendary leagues but I cannot defend one successfully in those leagues and my SH is also highly vulnerable in M2 league! However I can tell you that my SH is very optimized, I 've made a huge amount of tests to take the max benefit of each minon. But as it is very hard to find those Dread vorors in the chests now that the Kenashi chests are finished, I cannot do much more.
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Artemisdoor

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Re: Lets Talk: The Stronghold.

Sun Jan 10, 2016 2:13 pm
Thank you Syrann, again for bringing up the discussion of the Stronghold problems and highlighting potential solutions that are being discussed by the team at GL.

Ultimately, the major issue many players are finding are the purple voror/blue voror on the lighting shield trap which is beyond broken. I am finding more and more of these type of strongholds littering the game. Which of course are impossible to break. I'm running a 6.2 nature attack which should bust the death vorors into scrap. But the constant protection overlap of the trap and water shields constantly regenerating provide plent of protection. 

Shields are are irrelevant to such bases as they pretty much sit dominant except to only the most advanced (or hacked) players. Frustrating and making yet another part of what was a great game just a boring grind.
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colapepsi

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Re: Lets Talk: The Stronghold.

Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:00 pm
When the time comes to nerf vorors (and start selling new minions), this is what they gonna tell you:
We did not forsee the imbalance that could arise out of mass vorors. We felt that light users are particularly short-changed when it comes to raid, and hence the nerf was necessary.

We're not talking about a special combination of DIFFERENT minions. It is a simple MASS of one type of minion and they need to BS that they can't forsee that? It was the same excuse they used before. Mass moss dragons, mass witches etc