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Nightmare's End - Discussion Thread


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Responsible members of the Skylords Reborn team recently met to discuss possible changes to campaign maps. What is outlined here are the proposed changes to the map Nightmare's End. These changes are not final and are only proposed. As a warning, other map projects such as more RPvE presets and Defensive RPvE have a much higher priority for our team. As such, these, or any campaign map changes, may not happen for a very long time. 

Some changes here are firmer than others, all italicized proposals have accompanying explanations for why we are considering them, but they are the most tentative of all the proposals.

Proposed Changes:

1.   Increase number of starter wells from 2 --> 3
2.   Increase capacity of starter and T2 wells from 900 --> 1200
3.   Study current spawn timers for the waves which attack the Amii Elemental Nodes to see if they need changes. 
4.   Add a reason to take and hold the Elemental Nodes during the map's duration and not just at the end by adding global effects for controlling a specific node. Below are some initial ideas for such effects.
   A. Nature Node:
       A1. Immediate effect - Global heal of 1000 to 2000 of all friendly units;
       A2. Long term - Wheel of Gifts healing effect (friendly units regenerate 3% of its maximum life points every 4 second).
   B. Shadow Node:
       B1. Immediate effect - Increase all charges by +1;
       B2. Long term - every 30 seconds all cards gain +1 charge
   C. Frost Node:
       C1. Immediate effect - Global repair of 1000 to 2000 of all structures;
       C2. Long Term - Friendly units receive 20% less damage.
   D. Fire Node: 
       D1. Immediate effect - Fire Sphere around all controlled Elemental Nodes;
       D2. Long Term - All own units deal 20% more damage.

Same reasoning as Nightmare’s Shard. This is a very long and hard map which can also have a lot of wait time at the beginning. This would increase well lifetime from 30 minutes to 40 minutes and substantially speed up the beginning.

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Destroying the power shrines is the maps objective.

Players are supposed to destroy them, so obviously they will attempt that asap. Grabbing T2 without also destroying the power shrine right next to it is counterintuitive. It's only really a thing that people think of doing once they use the hidden, underlying mechanics of the map to make it easier for themselves. I don't like the idea of leaning into hidden, counterintuitive mechanics at all.

If anything it should be other other way around. Moving the top left shrine into range of the orb so it will inevitably be destroyed once players claim it. Not destroying the shrine is the exact opposite of what the map tells players they should do. And that is supposed to be the optimal approach? Reward players for following the path intended by the map's design instead.

If you want players to build the orbs without destroying the shrines, then move the shrines into the middle part of the map, which is currently only holding wells. But also mark the location of the orbs with some other objective. So players are enticed to first clear the orbs and then go for the shrines separately. Do not obfuscate things unnecessarily and create situations where players are compelled to ask others what they are supposed to do and the answer ends up being that the game basically lied to them and they ought to do the exact opposite of what the game it telling them.

JarodDempsey likes this
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I generally agree with cocofang but i do not feel strongly either way about the shrine placement. Speaking for the lower difficulties aside from being a long map I do not think it is excessively difficult. On standard the waves are weak enough that defending as you go is doable but by hte time you reach advanced you are able to understand that you do not need to defend until the end which is an acceptable difficulty curve. 

A minor issue I have with this map is how strong the middle edge camps are and yet they only give wells, this makes them pretty much a waste of time to capture. I would suggest putting and orb or two in there or some other bonus effect.

The only other problem i have with this map is lack of space in the central area. It would be nice to open it up a bit especially on the top and bottom sides for easier defensive installations.

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About the difficulty, I would say its OK. In some cases, a bit too easy - but always depends on you team.

Currently there is no reason to clear the shrine and then hold the node which you have unlocked. (as Moon is telling you)

What I mean, in most run we are clearing (alone or together) all shrines and then go for the nodes with T4 wait 5 sec and then go for the end phase.
I was thinking if that is how the map is “supposed” to be played or if the players should activate the node and hold it…

If holding is the way to go, it had to be attractive to do.
-          Give you something if you do. (energy / a buff / etc.)
-          Make it harder if you don’t (Enemy use the not to spawn attack waves)
Personal I would make it hard 😊

But that’s only how I play the maps, maybe other players to it in another way.

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Those effects are incredibly powerful but they also have to justify defending the nodes against the incoming waves, which requires dedicating a good chunk of resources.

How are these effects going to be communicated to the player? Will they know what benefits they would gain to plan around so they can potentially work together to secure the node that is most beneficial to them first?

Lans likes this
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I do agree with the first point to increase the starter wells to 3 to get a more fluent gameplay right off the bat, which will decrease the waiting and repairing time.

All the other proposed points of modification have no significant effect in my opinion. Here is why:

The enemy raid party attacking and attempting to retake the Amii Elemental Node is so strong (at least on Expert Difficulty) and the space around the Nodes is so restraint, that you would have to bury well over 1'000 points of power to defend and hold one Node. The accumulation of this much power takes time, which in turn results in ever stronger enemy spawns.

And in my point of view through experience the gain in enemy strength outweighs the proposed effects by far. You can test this by playing with the Wheel of Gifts in your deck and see if the effect of the Wheel is worth waiting for the power to play it. In my opinion it is not worth the wait.

Simply being faster both keeps the enemy force smaller and shortens the time you have to deal with all the enemy spawns on this map. A win-win-situation 🙂. I think the mechanics of  the entire map would have to be changed in order to change this situation and make other tactics more interesting. I do not see any reason for making such drastic changes.

I hope this helps. Please let me know.

Have a nice day,

DD

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I happened to try this map on expert the other day due to daily quest wanting at least advanced (and I done advanced before that already also due to daily). Double-checking ranks, apparently I managed in ~93mins (~1.5hrs) which feels awfully long but the more amazing thing (to me) is that is in all time top 200 ranks (well, soloing at least); for every other map that shouldn't have been the case.

 

Anyhow, giving the nodes some benefit feels interesting as whenever I did map or of the video/replays I seen, people try to stop short of destroying the shrines (don't talk about defending the nodes). Not sure if it is too much (or too little) but feels like going in direction.

 

 

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The last time we collected data for map completion times, the average time to complete Nightmare's End was 72 minutes. Nightmare Shard took 48 minutes on average for comparison. Nightmare's End is by far the map with the longest average time to complete.

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I love the idea of giving the nodes some unique buffs and immediate effects.
However, the current proposals sound too similar to Wheel of gifts imo. Since they probably won't stack, it discourages players to play WOG on this map, which I think would be rather sad, since it is such a unique card in the nature toolset. (I am aware though, that it is usually not optimal to play it)
Thus, I would like to see some more unique effects, such as the shadow one.

An alternative would be to have the nodes constantly do effects in their area to help with the defense (e.g. freeze the attacking waves, heal your units/structures around the node, give out ice shields, deal burst damage)

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5 hours ago, Metagross31 said:

Since they probably won't stack, it discourages players to play WOG on this map...

We have the ability to make effects count as internal buffs, even when they are applied externally. So allowing stacking is not an issue.

5 hours ago, Metagross31 said:

An alternative would be to have the nodes constantly do effects in their area to help with the defense (e.g. freeze the attacking waves, heal your units/structures around the node, give out ice shields, deal burst damage)

Lebovim and I tried to find the script for the attack waves which spawn to retake the Elemental Nodes as I wanted to reduce their strength, but the map has so many scripts it is like finding a needle in a haystack. In fact, when we did find what seemed to be the relevant files it had no information inside. The reason I am saying this, is that I am in favor of reducing the current strength of these particular attack waves as they are ridiculously strong. As pointed out earlier in this thread, the player is forced to bind way too much power to keep the Node safe, which is part of what encourages the player to just take it at the end. Given it looks like we are currently unable to reduce the attack wave strength directly, I would be in favor of considering localized effects as well (on top of the global buffs) to indirectly nerf the strength of incoming waves. 

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If bound power is a big concern then making the nodes grant free power, like the Shard in Nightmare Shard, would solve that.

So if players hold the nodes, they are granted all the extra power they need to fortify them without slowing down their progress elsewhere.

T1421 likes this
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