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Experience Design for Heroes

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 12:38 am
by Blue Vex

In the first Kingdom Rush game, heroes would begin each stage at level 1 and increase up to level 10 depending on their involvement in combat. In the following games since Frontiers, hero-levels have become permanent, carrying over from one stage to the next until the heroes are permanently at level 10.

Am I the only one who preferred the design in Kingdom Rush? At the start of each stage our towers would be weak, our hero would be weak, and the enemies would be weak. In other words, balanced. And as the stage progressed, so would the strength of or towers, hero and the enemies. Always balanced against each other.

Since Frontiers, low level heroes feel weak, and they can go through entire stages in this weakened state because they gain levels so slowly. Though they keep their levels between stages, this only leads to heroes feeling weak for a long time until they reach level 10 and become permanent powerhouses. This progression feels mostly pointless, and I also find it to be a potential step backwards whenever I want to switch between heroes; the new hero starts at a lower level than the hero I just benched.

Wasn't the experience design much better in the original Kingdom Rush game?

Re: Experience Design for Heroes

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 1:32 am
by Big Bad Bug
The upgraded hero system allows for more abilities and such, as KR1 only had 2 skills per hero. However, it was definitely a lot more satisfying to see a hero gain strength over the course of a level. Perhaps a compromise between the two can be madw, where heroes gain permanent bonuses but also grow in power over the course od each mission?

Re: Experience Design for Heroes

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 2:35 am
by Blue Vex
I also prefer heroes having 4-5 abilities, as opposed to the 2 abilities they had in KR1. More abilities allow for deeper hero interaction. Using Asra (from Vengeance) as an example, her abilities allow her to teleport to a big enemy, shield herself from its damage, poison it (guaranteed kill), then teleport out and continue attacking with various ranged attacks. This would not be possible if her kit was reduced to 2 abilities.

Ability ranks, however, are not unique to the newer games. The abilities had hidden ranks in KR1. For example, Magnus Spellbane would cast additional Mirages and waves of Arcane Storm the higher his level became throughout a stage.
Besides, permanent ability ranks are also part of the problem outlined in my previous post. It causes the abilities to start out weak, then become powerhouses when fully ranked up.

So if the hero design worked well in KR1, asides from having too few abilities, wouldn't the solution be to simply add more abilities? There are ways to add depth to it. One could make it so the heroes can only select up to 4 abilities from a pool of 8.

Having written all this, I do believe Vengeance has provided a different solution to it all. Vengeance adds a new difficulty mode [Impossible], which is intended to be played when fully upgraded and having a maxed out hero.

Re: Experience Design for Heroes

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 6:36 am
by Ninja
I honestly prefer the KR1 system vastly. Instead of just doing away with it, I wish they would have done something different. I don’t know exactly how it could work out and keep the benefits or more abilities, but I would prefer it if they had tried.