Dragon Balance in Tiers

The game has changed a lot in the past couple of years- lots of new towers, dragons, events, different game mechanics, such that if a player from about a year back were to look at the game now, they might end up a little amazed.

However, the thing is, even as lower level players (that I will define as gold breeding or below) get to play around with seasonal divines and newer towers (flaks and turrets), new lineage dragons haven’t been released to reflect the change in available towers. This causes a few problems:

  • New players lose interest in the game- looking up to the very top tiers, the only place outside of seasons where new dragons are released regularly, can be demoralizing when you know that you’re likely never going to catch up to that tier in the lifespan of your gameplay. No new content is being released down in the lower tiers, and I’m not saying that each tier needs new dragons every few months, I’m saying that dragons could be reviewed and improved, and where necessary, some tiers could get some new additions to their lineups to buff the paths that newbies could choose to take.

  • Outdated spellsets- Most of the lineage dragons aren’t used in wars or regular flying, which is really odd, considering the name of this game is War Dragons, but maybe it should have been named Indisposed Dragons instead. Why? None of the spells on a dragon should ever be considered useless.
    Early on, each tier introduces a few new spells. They haven’t been updated with tower changes, etc, and their design hasn’t changed much. For example, Evasion. Why isn’t it a 100% dodge of all projectiles, which would make it far more relevant? Or a chance of dodging projectiles and flak shots, like flash? By level 40+, we can build our flaks and turrets (didn’t bother checking the exact number), but none of the blue, orange, green, or gold dragons have resists against them. (I believe platinum-sapphire is where dragons begin exiting the stone age?)

I don’t think any game should be designed such that players think that they have to rush through certain parts of gameplay to reach a point where they can truly begin to enjoy the game.

For me, personally, it’s taken about 6 months to get through red to green, and start on gold. I’m looking forward to Whalegnawer and Consurgens, but in terms of my lineage dragons, not much outside of Ettin and Etzel somewhat, has been that fun for me to fly.

Additionally, the gradually rising level requirement for divines to get their third spell is another concern, since the third spell is often pretty important to the gameplay of a divine dragon (see Necryx) For Fall 2016 divines:

Now for Spring 2018 divines, aka our current season:

(btw, @MareZ, if you see this, I’m sorry for quoting without asking your permission but I wanted to give credit for the info ;-; )

Raising the bar to unlock the third spell doesn’t seem very friendly to newbies, which really isn’t good for any game that wants to appeal to a larger audience. See also: Tower balance changes, which benefitted a small group of people, namely those with level 50+ towers, and hurt everyone else. (hint: the noobs) Some solutions should be considered to make gameplay more accessible to even newer players.

Some possible solutions:

  • Tweak dragon spellsets and stats in earlier tiers instead of just adding new tiers. Especially in the later tiers, where due to the exorbitant egg token costs players can spend months breeding a single breeder dragon that they won’t use in regular play anyway. This should not be the case, and every dragon should be properly balanced. It’s not fun if everyone in the same tier favours the same few dragons- variety is fun!

  • If tweaking spellsets and stats would cause too much chaos (by way of players complaining how a dragon far behind them had been improved drastically, for example), maybe PG would consider adding new dragons to tiers, with more relevant, balanced spellsets and stats which would make them actually useful? Blue tier comes to mind, since many players just skip past it. Seems a little sad for an entire tier of dragons to go unplayed for the rest of the game.

  • I’m not sure if this is an issue, but adding backbreeds to existing dragons wouldn’t really hurt anyone, and would help the players who have previously made mistakes in breeding and need to get on track/ would like to get previous tier dragons at cheaper prices for whatever reason. (Also, more different breeding paths!)

  • Pick a level for divines to unlock their third spell and stick to it. Scaling dragons all the way to the top tier can still happen, but please, please fix a level for divine dragons to get their third spell, since most divine spellsets are built a. la three spells + 1 resist. The third spell definitely affects how a dragon is flown- Necryx, for example- and giving newbies time to git gud with flying dragons is a good thing.

Of course, the game has many other issues that require urgent fixing, and this is by far not the most pressing one, but I do think it is important that a game ensures its enjoyability for players outside of endgame range. Where players two years ago saw a hill as they looked at endgame, players now gape at a mountain. More exciting stuff along the mountain path seems fair, and keeps it fun.

It’s a fact that most established games will have an elite, small group of endgame players, but making it the place where new stuff is distributed when a vast majority of players aren’t ever going to enter that elite faction is just twisting the knife. :confused:

p.s. here’s an earlier thread about the same topic, if yall want to see some discussion: link

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Divines kinda spoil the lower tiers, since they tend to be sooo much better than most if not all line dragons in orange, green and gold. Delaying the spells until 84 somewhat mitigates that issue, giving the line dragons a fighting chance. I’m actually in favor of this, the line dragons are still strong enough to easily take out level-appropriate bases, and the divines with two spells still tend to be stronger.

Not sure why this is an issue, when you reach that tier they’re still brand new dragons to you. Why does it matter that they’ve been out for years or not? It would also be pretty frustrating to see all sorts of fun dragons appearing in low tiers that you can never use, because they are simply too weak to touch anything at your level. At least with new Harbingers I can look forward to having them as useful dragons for a while, somewhere in 2021…

True, it’s a pity we don’t get to see our old dragons anymore, but there is no degree of tweaking that would change that. You’re not going to be flying your blue dragons when you have gold, even if they replace trebuchet resist with dark flak resist.

We already have plenty of backbreed options I think, but they’re not much use other than for collecting purposes. Backbred dragons will never be competitive in your current tier, with a few rare exceptions with strong level-independent spell sets (enki, hau), which you likely wouldn’t backbreed anyway.

This I definitely agree with, but I think the solution does not lie in improving old line dragons. Many of them are already pretty decent, especially for bases around their level, but you still leave them behind fairly quickly. Cost scaling to lower the mountain and give later starters half a chance to catch up seems a more sensible option.

For lineage prior to 84, Pre-flak yes. Post DF, I don’t think so.
Many divines get immensely powered just by having the 3rd spell unlocked (the most notable one I can think of is Nec and Anuba)
Even with 3rd spell, against a good base, many players are struggling even if the base is undefended, let alone using only 2 spell.
While it’s true that this unfriendly environment can create decent breeding and good flying skill, many will lost their motivation to play normally, as the wall is too high to be climbed.
Moreover, some flying style will change once the 3rd spell is unlocked.

I agree with some but the part I really don’t is the whole “endgame” notion. I don’t see why players or PG would want “endgame”. Then what?

Play the game if you enjoy it in a way that you have fun. It is a marathon that never ends. Be happy if you are strong for your level, you don’t need to compete with the whales.

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I’ve never had much trouble hitting bases above my level with line dragons before 84, and I started playing well after dark flaks appeared. It might not be trivial for everyone to do so, but then there’s no need to hit 20+ levels up if you’re not up to learning the flying skills for it. Might be that it was a lot easier in the past (seems likely) but it’s really not that hard now.

Thing is, even with two of their spells missing, the divines tend to outclass the line dragons. I really don’t see a need to give them back their third spell at low level, it just makes low level line dragons even more useless to level (in turn causing people to neglect them and drop behind with breeding).

Also bases getting roflstomped by divines even by the worst flyers gives people the idea that base layout doesn’t really matter because you get defeated easily anyway, which might in part explain some of the horrible bases out there…

@KateRoss thanks for this thread!
You‘re welcome to quote me :slight_smile:

I totally agree and find it sad that no new player will ever feel the satisfaction of breediny their first 100k token gold legendary Cons or Whale and learn how to fly them with Steal Essence because the new semi premium (Fire/Ice Turrets) and premium (Flak) towers will decimate them and render them useless.

The only lineage dragons with resists against those towers came with plainum tier (Fire/Ice Turret Resist) or Harbinger (Flak Resists).

The premium towers and divines completely destroyed the balance at lower levels IMO.

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Not true, I still have fun with that. Well, with Whale at least, don’t really like Cons as much. Expecting to have similar fun with Rizar starting next week.

Whale still does a fine job crushing bases 30-50 levels up as well, I don’t feel the newer towers have changed that significantly.

But it is true that Whale has at no point been my strongest dragon. Despite leveling him pretty hard (level 20 before my base hit 90), he was always a step or two behind the divine dragons, and that is a pity. And I certainly see a lot of people just leaning on their divines and not really bothering with line dragons at all because of that.

Agreed. However, once your flaks and turrets start going into level 25+ territory, line dragons are much, much less useful. I only use Ettin to take out mages before Aibrean/Fomhar/Enki when flying larger bases, since he doesn’t really have the firepower to compete against turrets and flaks at those levels. In this case, I would argue that an adjustment of the level caps for lineage dragons would be in order, since Ettin’s den-capped at about 140k (if you don’t rune/boost him) at level 70, and cannot/can only barely take out an equivalent levelled, good base with about 15 towers. By equivalent, I mean within 15 levels. Either the den cap needs to be increased, or the XP requirement needs to go down, since it was pretty hard getting him den-capped as compared to the divines, and he’s definitely not performing half as well.

Consequently, it would make sense that divines require more effort to level, except it wouldn’t make sense at all for players in Harbinger to spend a month maxing their divine. Divines are sort of integral to gameplay at this point, unless towers are rebalanced, which makes them OP, and would cause a big hullaballoo about the towers anyway.

This sort of disparity between the ability of lineage dragons to solo an equivalent base (not even 15 levels higher) and the strength of bases begins at level 60+, which is why I think it’s illogical to only get the power-up for the divines at any higher than level 70. I’d love to be able to smack down three digits with my lineage dragons, trust me, but the balance is such that not only is that completely impossible against any reasonable base, lineage dragons can’t even hit good equivalent bases well unboosted.

Also, raising the bar every season is…well, it’s not fun trying to chase it ;-;

This is a valid point, and yeah, you’d probably never backbreed those, but by new content, I mean relevant content which matches the new towers. So…new players would be getting Amarok with ice-turret resist or just entire new dragons which would actually be relevant to current gameplay meta.

Backbreed options would be more for higher tiers, where you find people having to backtrack and breed dragons at full price just so that they can continue progression up the tiers. More backbreed options= cheaper and easier for them to proceed= no gameplay stagnation. This isn’t particularly important though, and if there’s already enough backbreed options for players, then it’s not an issue at all.

Sapphire+beyond walls definitely need to come down, but I was thinking another thread on that wouldn’t be very useful at all, since there have been so many posted before this :confused:

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My intent was to convey that PG should make it fun for players as they progress, instead of only providing content to endgame players. This isn’t true in terms of everything, but in terms of lineage dragons, it is :<

You do have a point there, because of the power jump for dragons at 84, base strength also starts to ramp up at the 70+ level. Having the third divine spell at 70 did make sense to balance that out a bit, even though it made line dragons even less relevant.

Fortunately I think the 84 jump is the only crazy power leap like that, later tiers are much more regular. So I expect the line dragons will stay fairly relevant for people who stay on the sharp edge of breeding after gold. Ask me again in a year or so if that actually happened :joy:

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well there is a lot of things that need to be balanced in game , but I am sorry u havent understood yet that this doesnt matter to pg , what matters is your credit card number

It is fun for non-endgame players. I am never going to make it to “endgame,” but all that means is there will be a plethora of information on how to fly each dragon by the time I get to it. One important point I think you are missing is this game is not about reaching “the end.” It is all about the journey. It is like going for a walk in the woods. If you are just going from the start to the end, you are going to be disappointed because you missed everything in between. You can still have fun flying, learning, and meeting new people as a level 50, 100, or 200.

As far as new content, we are getting six brand-new dragons next season, five of which anybody in the game can get. The Divines may be unbalanced compared to the lineage dragons, but they are new content which any tier of player can use. PG has tried adjusting spell sets before, but there was a huge amount of backlash, even when the adjustments were beneficial (Summer 2017). And as far as adding new lineage dragons to the breeding matrix at lower levels, that would be extremely complicated. That is one major benefit to the divine system. PG can add new dragons which everyone can use without making Red pull her hair out redesigning her breeding guides every season.

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Hmm, yeah…maybe dragons will be more fun for me starting from Whale and Cons, since they look pretty fun- here’s to hoping! :slight_smile: I’m having fun in this game, except, I’m suggesting this since this seems to be a big issue that devalues lineage dragons against divine dragons, and further devalues both against equivalent towers, which = less fun for noobs :'0
Really though, putting more emphasis on divine dragons over lineage dragons isn’t going to send good messages to any new player, and I think it’d be good if Orange-Platinum dragons were updated with better resists. If new towers are going to be introduced, resists should be too, at around the level where these towers begin to become available.

Divines are pretty much the way the game works now :man_shrugging:. It is not necessarily good or bad. I would not object if there was a way to make lower level lineage dragons relevant again, but right now all the methods of doing this have a high risk of serious drawbacks

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Well, there was the Assault mini event, which I loved and resulted in dusting off quite a few long since benched dragons. But I guess it didn’t make enough money and wasn’t susceptible enough to brute force spending so it had to go. Kingdom Wars, where you can fly and quit immediately with megas if you’d like, seems to be a fixture now though, so at least there’s that.

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Yeah Assault was before my time, so only heard about it. I would really love it if they brought something like that back!

@PGCrisis So we had:

  • Nightshade/Skarr/Ebon (the first of the season divines in Fall 2016)
    3rd spell unlocked at player level 43 and 4th spell (Resist) at player level 70
    That felt very fair for lower levels as it gets slower to level up at 60+.

  • Fomhar/Samhrad/Aibrean/Nollaig (season divines of Spring 2018)
    3rd spell and 4th spell (Resist) unlocked at player level 84.
    That’s a huge stretch for new players having just 2 skills up to lvl84.

And now we have:

  • Cuauhtli/Coatl (current season divines Summer 2018)
    3rd spell unlocked at player level 102 and 4th spell unlocked at player level 126.

Where is this going? 4 spells are common once players unlock Amarok who needs player level 34 for his 4th spell. Seems like fully playable season divines are now exclusive to players that played one year or spend.
And here I am thinking PG is trying to reduce player churn.

I’ve said it before and it hasn’t changed: Whoever starts playing WD nowadays is a really poor soul.

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Just to chime in from an Obsidian flyer with a lvl 53 towers.
Lineage drags are useless up here as well…
I’ve only just broken into the dark gem drags but the only benefit of a breaking into a new tier since plat is to level up ones divines. I have one lineage drag in my roster and that of course is Hau other than that they are tremendously underpowered and their spell sets are completely irrelevant in comparison to divines. If I started attacking 50ish lvls down I might be able to have a use for my line drags but what’s the fun in that :joy: they get lvled to 8-16 and off to the barn with a chance to see daylight once a season for feeding. The whole reason people can up with breeding paths was so you can skip as many drags as possible and push on to the next tier to lvl up the only drags that matter.
I’ve played for 3 yrs now and have always hated the release of season drags. They killed the linage no matter what lvl you are but to be honest it’s worse up here not better :wink:

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Bruh… I thought you’d say Noctua :man_facepalming:

I’m actually skipping Noc since I can get to harb faster without him how sad is that :cry:

Edit: I can get to Destar faster without him*