Kingdom Defense - Feedback and Recommendations

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.

Cheers

14 Likes

Spirit Shield does not help

While it was designed to prolong the fight by delaying spirit dragon’s mana gain, in reality it only helps a dragon to kill a player faster (due to over-enhanced normal attack damage). I suggest to change the Spirit Shield effect to “Decreases Kingdom Defence Boss’ mana gain by 25% AND reduce his normal attack damage by 50% in all battles”. Only then it would probably be worth buying for 200 Iron Ingots (but as Sibelious mentioned earlier, currently there is no incentive to challenge higher tier bosses because they only increase in difficulty while rewards are staying the same)

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Not sure if it’s intended but Bazaar restock at max rank bazaar is infinitely more useful than spirit shield. This comes down to Gems always being more valuable right now than the over abundance of all superior shards besides weapon shards

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Giving players an extra attempt might be helpful too.

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Great post, Sibellos.

Couple of thoughts on this topic, in no particular order:

Snipped the stats on one of the dragons at level 60:

Granted, that’s not Level 61, but add a couple of hundred more damage to the 9.1k for the additional level and that’s close enough to 10k damage. Dragons have always had outsized damage totals compared to non-dragon bosses. It’s always been this way because being a Dragon and then automatically a Boss combines to form a double damage amp resulting in those kind of damage numbers.

Also, how many players routinely fight Tier X, Level 60 bosses in Event mode (regular Tier 3/4 purchasers)? A dozen or two at most? The vast majority of players are being straight up thrown into max Tier X Event difficulty (or higher) spirit dragons cold turkey who possess no experience with Event-style encounters at this difficulty at all or the requisite gear for these encounters and are getting straight up slaughtered. This is super demoralizing for these players as there is no way for them to meaningfully participate in these fights and will get 1-2 shotted guaranteed every single time.

IMO, Gold rewards are not implemented yet (why, I have no idea). As failing a defense intentionally downgrades a Gold reward down to a Silver reward, the intent must be for Gold rewards to be superior to Silver rewards.

^^^
This, this, this.

Multiple classes and gear pieces are hurt by the inability to stack debuffs that their spells depend upon. Let the debuffs stick. Just make the dragon immune to the effects of the debuffs that are inflicted on it.

It is very much unfair to the players who are mid-defense run when the dragon is defeated that their scores are not counted. Counting their scores should be an easy fix to the current system.

a) When the dragon dies, server timestamps the point where the cumulative damage threshold is reached.
b) Event closes as normal.
c) Server waits 30 minutes to allow all instances of the defense run to conclude or time out. Scores obtained in valid runs started before the dragon was defeated are added to the leaderboard.
d) After 30 minutes, ensuring that all valid instances for a dragon have expired, server reviews the state of the defense leaderboard and sends out the appropriate Gold/Silver/Basic rewards to players.

Though, overkilling for the full 18 hours could be a thing easily enough with the same logic.

Spirit Shields are far too weak to be meaningful for the cost.

Dragons charge spells in 50 mana. Add 25% to that, and you get 62-63 mana. That’s two match-3s, assuming the colors matched are not those of the dragon. That may buy one additional turn per spell, sometimes none at all if magical skyfalls happen to occur.

And if that extra turn is enough to be an edge case to turn a kingdom-wide loss into a win? That just delays the next loss by a day and then you have to reface the dragon without the shield which will probably result in a loss for that day as well. Spirit Shields are not recommended at all for any guild in any situation as currently implemented.

4 Likes

Noted. I should have been more clear to indicate a “normal” Level 60 enemy, often the first enemy that a player would face in a Level 60 Dungeon or Skirmish. I agree that most people’s experience is not 20+ tokens deep into a Tier X event and even then the Dragon boss would be the second enemy allowing at least some build up time to defend through a timely stun achieved through prior gem matching, increased armor/resistance from spells casts and gear, etc. Instead each player is just face-planting into the highest attack possible at that level on turn 1.

Can we please implement an overkill mode already so guilds can finally work together fully rather than being pitted against other members to get the rewards? Thanks.

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Cannot emphasize this enough, an overkill mode is truly needed. It really is tiresome to see so many people not have a chance to even participate daily because of the lack of this feature.

Food Deal 2.0

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Its not a fun mechanic to have a guild constantly competing internally for limited shared resources?

What, do you expect guilds to be cooperative?

In all seriousness, its absurd that no overkill mode is implemented. The present implementation is just frusterating for everyone involved.

Devs, please dont ignore this feedback in the upcoming update.

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We definitely need some sort of overkill mechanic for the Kingdom defense. Without such a mechanic, it is basically punishing active kingdoms in a similar way as the old kingdom bazaar.

The only way that NOT having an overkill would make any sense is if the coordination needed to ensure everyone gets the maximum reward, is the intended point of the mode. However, the mode is called “kingdom defense,” not “kingdom try for a specific score.” When defending your kingdom from a dragon, it feels a bit illogical to not hit it “too hard” so that other people have a chance.

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The current Kingdom Defense is harming progression in the sense that only a top few people hit gold because of the amount of damage they do relative to other people in the kingdom. We want all members of the kingdom to be able to participate, but when 5 people can do multi-million damage runs, it means only 5 people can get rewards. So the top 5 grow stronger while the rest stagnate.

While I’m sure overkill mode isn’t the only solution to the problem, it is an obvious one and would provide kingdoms with visibility into capabilities of their entire kingdom while allowing others to go all out every day.

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Here are my observations and feedback on Kingdom Defense:

I am not sure why the medals are individual based when we are all working as a team. If it is a team effort, give everyone rewards once the dragon is defeated and give us consolation prizes if we don’t. It doesn’t seem encouraging/fair for lower leveled kingdom players to play Kingdom Defense when they can barely hit silver rewards when the other half of the kingdom can exceed gold reward damage.

If we want to have an individual rewards system, what would be helpful is if we use those “chest level stars” to indicate which reward you are at (or something similar) during battle. This way, individuals can somewhat track their damage so each player in the kingdom can contribute fighting and get rewards. Maybe it could be as simple as adding the total damage dealt on any battle to the “battle stats menu” (the list of where you view your stats and enemy stats)

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I want to reinforce the point @Sibelios made about limited gear choices making KD boring. There are over 100 types of gear in the game, but right now there are only 1 or two choices for 7 of the 12 types of gear that are of the quick attack/skull generation variety, which are essential for most players to get some damage in before they are squashed. It makes no sense to structure events this way as all it does is limit creativity in play style and gear choices. KD dragons should not be categorically immune to the effects of the gear the game allows us to use. They should gain and lose immunity in response to the play of the game.

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Something that occurred to me: There’s a lot of room for additional reward options given that Shards often take up ~75% of the table. Perhaps Marks could be introduced as a reward option. Currently they can only be received doing Events which feels very monotonous. It would be nice to get Marks another way especially since we lost access to the Food Deal with the last update.

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I would love to have another way to obtain marks. It would be great to have them as part of kd.

Also, it sucks when you get a bad rng board and feel like you can’t contribute.

There should be a better kingdom reward just for defeating the dragon.

Overkill and i feel like a rotating power up and down like events would add some variety to kd.

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I don’t think I’ve thought of any positive changes/additions that @Sibelios hasn’t already mentioned… I’m in agreement! In particular with the “overkill mode” and allowing status effects to be applied, even if their effects don’t do anything - this has been my primary concern as it severely restricts what spells and gear are useful and pretty much makes shaman (in particular) … not-so-good!

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I had been tracking Raid Boss Stats and Rewards in the following thread but I’ll continue to update here to consolidate the topic:

Here are the raid boss stats known to date:

As mentioned previously, Tiers XI, XII, XIII have the exact same rewards except for a small increase of Superior Shards per Tier for the Silver and Gold Rewards. Now we have confirmed that Tiers XIV, XV, and XVI all have the same rewards except for a small increase of Superior Shards. So for several of these Tiers, you have no real benefit to progression but instead are actually penalized by succeeding as the reward threshold for Silver and Gold is increased in these Tiers with identical rewards.

Just for reference here is the rewards for Tiers XV and XVI which are essentially identical to Tier XIV:


This is probably as far as we will be able to go. Are there Tiers after XVI? Would it even matter? :person_shrugging:

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I’m not so sure the Developers thought any Kingdom would come this far, not any time soon anyways.

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Can you please get an update on when an overkill mode will be in play.

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Back on July 28:

What ever became of this review? Was any of our feedback considered? Are there any potential forthcoming changes to this new game mode that is not so new now? There are a number of glaring issues; it would be nice to know that it is at least acknowledged and will be addressed and not just “we will bring it up” and then two months later, still nothing.

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