Here’s my thoughts on the Kingdom Defense format as currently constructed. I encourage others to leave their feedback as well.
First of all, I’m glad that we finally have an event of this type for Kingdoms to work on together. There is nothing particularly novel about this overall event type as it is very common in several match-3 F2P live service games. But lacking originality is not a bad thing; its a good overall construct for kingdom participation. Now that I’ve gotten the positives out of the way, here are the elements that I think need some attention:
Lack of Overkill Mode
To set the table on exactly what we are talking about, an “Overkill Mode” is where in the course of a single Kingdom Boss event, even if the Boss HP has been reduced to zero, the event continues until the event timer expires allowing kingdom members to continue to utilize their available attacks. Currently, when the Boss HP is reduced to zero, the event immediately ends and any members who have not had the opportunity to attack or are in the middle of an attack lose those attacks and thus any further scoring for possible individual rewards. Given that the window is already reduced (18 hour event window instead of 24), there is already one limiter on full daily participation. Why does there need to be yet another?
@Jeto did acknowledge this in the following post but I am mentioning it here again for completeness:
Recommendation - Allow all attacks to be made in the 18 hour window. Since there is a 4 hour window between then end of one Kingdom Boss event and the next, there should be no issue with the timing of “how rewards are mailed out”
Damage Scaling is too Aggressive
The current format essentially is a short attrition battle to do damage in a limited time window (even with careful matching, a Kingdom Boss attempt will rarely last more than 6 turns). However, the real timer for most players is “how many hits can you take”, and the answer for most players is “barely enough at my level range to do anything”. The average player with a handful of citadel levels and a gearset full of epics probably has around 10k combined armor/health (resistance plays no role in Kingdom Defense fights). If they are lucky they probably have around 35% block rate and about the same damage mitigation. However, the Level 61 Tier VIII boss has a base attack of 10k. So, you’re typical player cannot even try to make limited matches to stay under the “spell timer” of the boss because they will likely be dead in two hits. That’s not fun. For comparison, the same Gear Score enemy (Level 60 enemy - Gear Score 2,291 has a base attack of just half that at ~5k. So to be clear, the enemy attacks twice as hard as a comparable non-kingdom enemy (EDIT: as @Lyrian points out later, the damage is comparable to an Event Tier X Level 60 Dragon). It’s understandable that the health of the enemy would be increased substantially since up to 30 people are attacking it. But why should the attack damage be doubled? That’s just bad design.
Recommendation - Kingdom Bosses should have similar attack values at comparable Gear Scores as other first-encountered enemies. Also, consider applying the Spirit Shield to Boss Damage as well as mana gain. An even more radical suggestion by @Zudaio in a previous thread was to eliminate the attack damage entirely!
Silver Reward Thresholds are too high
Currently, in a mixed kingdom group, more than half of the kingdom if not more are going to regularly miss out on the possibility of individual rewards usually because a few more highly geared kingdom members are going to push the event Tier beyond their capabilities. Of course, we can’t expect a level 5 to be getting Silver Medal Awards on Tier X but we should expect to see more than just a handful have a chance at individual gain. As it stands currently though, based on the feedback from our guilds and others, more than half (and often more) of participating members in kingdom defenses are essentially eliminated from contention for individual rewards.
Recommendation - Lower the qualifying damage scores for Silver Rewards. Consider offsetting this change by differentiating Silver and Gold rewards (they are currently the exact same at every Tier)
Immunity to all Status Effects makes the Event boring
I can understand the likely thinking behind this choice, but as it stands right now, all it has done is made the gear/spell choice for kingdom events extremely narrow. Not only do you lose the build up effect of certain potential spell damage bonuses, but many mana-producing and other effects occur from the enemy having a specific debuff, all of which are lost due to the boss immunity. Without these options, it eliminates the utility of dozens of spell and gear choices and leaves all players with very little creativity in their Kingdom Defense.
Recommendation - eliminate boss immunity to most negative status effects, or at the least allow the boss to obtain negative status effects for the conditional benefit of other spell or gear choices (e.g. Boss can be affected by Freeze, would not actually have their mana halved, but would be subject to increased spell damage from a player with Bloodfang Gloves equipped). This was suggested by @Norinth in this thread as well:
The penalty to awards is too high
As the event is currently structured, your kingdom will fail the event approximately 50% of the time. In terms of basic rewards, the current penalty is 90% of the award (e.g. if success at Tier X awards each player 100 gems, 2,500 gold and the kingdom 10 ingots, the rewards are reduced to 10 gems, 250 gold, and as far as I can tell 0 ingots). In terms of design, I don’t really have a problem with this. My issue lies with the current penalty to Silver/Gold awards for individual players when a Kingdom Defense fails. As far as we can tell, if you fail a kingdom event, your Silver/Gold Rewards are reduced to Silver/Silver (currently no difference between Silver and Gold) and the effective Tier is reduced by half. This means that if you fail a Tier X event but qualify for Silver and/or Gold rewards, you receive the Silver/Gold rewards for Tier V. Given the huge hit in quality, this can extremely disincentivize players and lead to essentially “giving up” on the every-other-day that you are expected to fail.
Recommendation - reduce the penalty of Silver/Gold reward reduction to no more than two Tiers. In the scenario above, if you fail Tier X but qualify for Silver and/or Gold rewards, your reduced Tier rewards would be no less than Tier VIII.
Silver/Gold Award Shard Itemization is poor
I’ve mentioned this before in previous posts but the itemization needs to be rethought based on gear progression. For instance, Greater Relics and Superior Shards should not be the most commonly awarded prizes on the same Tier. But more importantly, shard variation is really bad as weapon shards are essentially non-existent even though they are the most needed shard for progression, especially in the one-note builds forced on us by the event.
Recommendation - improve itemization awards based on expected gear levels that can actually win the awards and also increase weapon shards in the shard award %. The problem of weapon shards extends to other content like Skirmish and Dungeon Chests as discussed here:
I look forward to hearing what other improvements or suggestions you all have for the Kingdom Defense event.