Tower upgrade efficiency

For the King!

Tower upgrade efficiency

by Larry » Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:45 am

Hello everyone,

i'm new to this forum after lurking here for some weeks and i thought i'd contribute something original in my first post.
This thread will be about the upgrades of all towers from every Kingdom Rush game.

Let's have a little bit of backstory: The first time i've ever played KR was on Armor Games back when i was little. I really liked the game as a child but it wasn't until 2014 that i found out they've ported the game on Android and iOS. I never really liked mobile games but KR was the exception and i spend lots of hours on KR, KR:F and then shortly after release KR:O. Since then i did several playthroughs, got all stars on every Stage, unlocked all achievements and so on.

I guess everyone who's ever played the Kingdom Rush series developed some kind of "feeling" for all the different towers and their upgrades at some point. Whenever a tower is upgraded, it's damage per shot and in some cases also its attack-rate and therefore it's damage output is improved. But while some Tiers are really worth their gold, other Tiers really should only be considered under special circumstances.

After playing through KR:V i felt like some towers in contrast to the previous titles really needed to be fully upgraded in order to be effective and i thought it would be fun to quantify that feeling by analyzing every Tier in terms of damage and cost and whether or not you should consider upgrading it.

While looking up the towers attack-rates i found out theres already a similar article on the KR Wiki rating the cost efficiency and dps for the first three games. But since i have some additional data and there's no entry for Vengeance (yet) i think my post still has something unique to offer. So without further ado, let's talk about the game(s).

I made an Excel file to collect and calculate all necessary data and i'll do my analysis based on the sheets that you can download here.
I made a tab for every game, except for Vengeance which got three individual tabs, simply because there are many more respective Tiers to work with.

As you can see, i didn't include barracks. I wasn't quiet sure how to work with their stats since Barracks work very differently compared to the other towers. I think i might do some calcs in the future considering health, effective health (against physical enemies) and damage output.

Along with "traditional stats" like dps and gold i listed the dps-increase and the dps to gold ratio as columns. With higher Tiers, most of the towers gain less dps per gold, resulting in a decreasing total dps to gold ratio. However, in some cases the decrease in gold effectiveness isn't as big as in others. I won't go into detail on every single tower, as i think it's easier to just provide the data to all of you. Instead i will only point out what i think is noteworthy. Keep in mind that my dps stat is based on the assumption that the attacking tower hits an enemy without any kind of resistance, which isn't moving at all (because it's blocked, put to sleep, stunned, you get the idea...). This makes Artillery seem pretty weak in comparison. But i think, since Artillery towers are pretty specialized on their own, it is easier just to count their single target dps to make Artillery comparable among each other.

KR
There's not too much to talk about here. Generally, lower Tier towers provide more punch for their gold with Archers beeing the most cost-effective Tower type except for the Tier 2 Mage (which i'd totally recommend building asap).
Considering full off-stage upgrades (i'm talking about the upgrades you can get with stars) Mage towers become the most cost-effective towers in the game (and as a matter of fact of all games, at least for lower Tiers).

KR:F
I think it is interesting to point out, that Archers are more cost-effective until reaching Tier 4 where the Archmage provides more damage for it's upgrading costs. With full upgrades, Archers become even more efficient in comparison. Interestingly, an Archmage is worth more than the Tier 3 Mage. Therefore, you should always try to upgrade the T3 Mage unless you really need the gold elsewhere. Also, brilliance is a very effective way to increase the Mage towers cost effectiveness.
From my calcs it would seem like the Dwaarp would never be worth it's money. However, as it is one of the most specialized towers in all of KR, under special circumstances the Dwaarp is still a good addition to your arsenal.

KR:O
Origins is kind of a mixed bag in terms of dps increase and dps/gold ratio. Generally, T4 Towers are way better compared to the first two games, with the exception of Mages. I think it's interesting how the T2 Archer doesn't gain as much additional damage when fully upgraded, especially compared to T1 and T3. Considering that, i think it's most effective to build some T1 Archers and then maxing them out individually as fast as possible.
The Wild Magus and High Elven Mage may not gain a whole lot of damage on T4, but their combinded dps/gold ratio is still very good due to their previous Tiers being very cost-effective. T2 and T3 Mages are even worth more than Archers, although you should keep in mind that i ignored the Archers bleeding effect.

KR:V
Before going into detail about the different towers types, i want to point out that all towers simply gain a 10% damage increase and therefore the whole tower dynamic doesn't change too much when comparing upgraded and non-upgraded towers. Although as Ironhide rounds down (Is it called rounded up/down? I am no native speaker...) the damage increments, some Tiers gain higher profits from the upgrade as others (take the Shadow Archers T1/T2 as an example). I will be mainly comparing the upgraded stats for that reason.


Archers
There are currently only 3 different types of Archers in the game, making the comparison pretty easy. With the recent nerf to the Shadow Archers, it is pretty much outclassed by Bone Flingers, at least in terms of dps/gold ratio. The Shadow Archer is still a good tower, due to the better range and faster projectile speed leading to less missed shots though. I think Goblinrangs are actually a pretty good tower with barracks, where they potentially deal significantly more damage than their counterpars. All in all i think Boneflingers are easily the best tower here. Also let noone tell you the attack-damage-upgrade is bad. It increases the total dps/gold ratio even further, up to 7,87. Also, that quote...

Mages
Mages are super interesting in Vengeance. First of all, i'd like to talk about how the Specters Mausoleum should really be upgraded to T4 asap. On T4, the SM is almost as cost-efficient as the Infernal Mage. The Infernal Mage actually increases it's dps/gold ratio consistently from T1 to T3. However, you should hold back on upgrading it further to T4, as the last upgrade offers much less for it's high price. Orc Shamans are pretty inefficient in comparison, especially compared to the Infernal Mage which serves almost the same purpose.
I honestly don't know whether or not my calcs on the Blazing Gem are correct but even at Ray Intensity 2 it outclasses everything. I like the tower very much and think it is very strong, but i don't think it is as ridiculously strong as the numbers would indicate. How much power is too much? The numbers give you the answer, when you give the Gem Ray Intensity 4... I think it's very interesting how broken the numbers make the Blazing Gem seem.
I was sursprised that Wicked sisters are not that bad in terms of damage. Actually they are better than all the free Mages, at least on paper. I feel like they are really held back by their weird targeting and small attack range. But when microed properly they can be a really strong tower.
Considering all data you should always fully upgrade Mage towers as they get more cost-effective with every Tier.

Artillery
I didn't calculate the Rotten Forrest, as i did not have any numbers for the attack-rate. Other than that, i think the Artillery towers are hard to compare to each other, as they all serve different purposes. From my playing experience i'd say The Goblin War Zeppelin is the best Artillery tower. Normally i'd say the Melting Furnance is superior but i feel like compared to KR:F there are currently not that many maps to support the Melting Furnances playstyle and because of that i'd go with the Zeppelin.

There's way more to analyze with these numbers alone but for now i think i pointed out enough to make this post annoyingly long.
I hope this adds something new to your playing experience. It certainly changed my upgrade behaviour in some cases, even after playing the game for some years now.
KR ist the best mobile franchise and i'm sure there's a whole lot to come from Ironhide. I hope you all enjoy this post.

Have a nice day! :hero:
Last edited by Larry on Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:08 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Tower upgrade efficiency

by Ninja » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:26 am

Welcome to the forums (and with an awesome post, too)! :yey:

As for a bit of on-topic discussion, I actually think that Blazing Gem is as good as the numbers indicate. It melts through everything in seconds, even magic resistant enemies.
Last edited by Ninja on Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tower upgrade efficiency

by Larry » Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:23 am

Thank you! I'm glad you liked the post!

It is indeed very strong. I just didn't expect such high numbers to be honest... :D
At Tier 4 with a Ray-Intensity of 3 (which is not even it's final stage...) it deals more dps than a Dwaarp hitting 12(!) enemies at once.
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Re: Tower upgrade efficiency

by Ninja » Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:26 am

Larry wrote:Thank you! I'm glad you liked the post!

It is indeed very strong. I just didn't expect such high numbers to be honest... :D
At Tier 4 with a Ray-Intensity of 3 (which is not even it's final stage...) it deals more dps than a Dwaarp hitting 12(!) enemies at once.


12? :lol: It does seem to be accurate, though. Just watching a BG shred through a Frost Giant or boss’s HP bar is definitely awe-inspiring.
"Grammar is the logic of speech, even as logic is the grammar of reason." ~ Richard Chenevix Trench

"You don't have good grammar when you type with your fists." ~ C. F. Payne
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