Dungeon Defenders 2: A Gentler, More Persistent MOBA

By Nathan Grayson on March 20th, 2013 at 6:00 pm.

I desperately want to look that cool when I'm running. What do think: should I get the axe/cape combo first, or raise a pack of wolf cubs from birth to adore and obey me until the bitter end?

Though valiantly working to improve, MOBAs can still be quite mean. The original Dungeon Defenders, meanwhile, was the cutest, nicest, most snuggably soft action-tower-defender out there. So naturally, Trendy’s decided to mash up its two great loves, in much the same way one “naturally” leaves their squalling infant at a daycare center run by salivating rhinocobears. And yet, the original Dungeon Defenders was deceptively complex, so perhaps these seemingly incompatible puzzle pieces can snap together and form a respectable portrait of some penguins – or, I suppose, Dungeon Defenders 2 – after all. I have to admit, the first details do sound fairly promising.

If you loved Dungeon Defenders: The First, fear not. Its tried-and-true co-op mode is still fully intact and trundling into town with a whole host of improvements and potentially “experimental” changes. Only in competitive multiplayer do MOBA elements really start creeping into the equation. This isn’t just some haphazard genre blender job, though. If all goes according to plan, we won’t even have to rally terrified townspeople when this Frankenstein monster is finally aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive.

“Our take on the MOBA genre is more RPG-esque, with more hero customization, persistent hero leveling, loot and a town square where players can socialize, manage their heroes, shop, trade, and queue for matches. We’ve drastically simplified the item system, to reduce the learning curve for new players and are aiming for shorter total match times. We’re also experimenting with some other unique twists that you might find out about later (if they work!).”

Once you enter a match, however, it’s 5v5 arena action from the word go. Meanwhile, the only real crossover between competitive and co-op will be your heroes themselves, who will hold onto all gear, weapons, pets, currency, and achievements no matter whom they choose to hack, slash, and otherwise do uncharacteristically grievous harm to.

The whole thing’s F2P, but Trendy’s not trying to be evil, even though evil’s all-too-often the trend with these things. “All stat giving items are awarded only through play, not pay,” it explained. “Like many other games in the genre though, you will be able to purchase boosts that will let you level faster or find better cosmetics.”

Dungeon Defenders 2′s decidedly offensive MOBA portion’s in closed beta right this very second. You can have a go at the line to get in right here. Co-op, on the other hand, isn’t slated for beta until late 2013 or early 2014, with Trendy explaining that it really wants to pull out all the stops and make sure its new ideas don’t leave the original’s delicate balancing act in critical Humpty Dumpty condition.

Both halves of Dungeon Defenders 2 sound like exceedingly tall orders, too, so rushing would probably not be the greatest idea. What do you think, though? An RPG-styled MOBA sharing a roof – not to mention character progression – with a co-op tower defender: can it work? Do you want it to?

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29 Comments »

  1. jon_hill987 says:

    How can it be a MOBA (god I hate this term) if it is persistent, that defeats the entire point.

    • aliksy says:

      Yeah… I’m not really a big fan of the “levelling up and getting more powerful” thing anymore. It makes it hard to play with friends unless we all play the same amount. Yes, I realize that’s pretty fundamental to many games but I don’t care.

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  2. waaaaaaaals says:

    The original Dungeon Defenders left a bad taste in my mouth, specificity the part where they said they wouldn’t do anything to split the community.

    Also they were awful at testing their updates, sometimes they didn’t test fixes at all and other times they’d do stuff like balance test a multi-shot gun at melee range and nerf the hell out of it based on said test.

  3. mehteh says:

    The first was alright, before all the DLC. They kept splitting the community, adding more over-powered items to balance out fixes they refused to patch or to balance out previously added over-powered items, and made it even more of a grind. After the first couple of DLC i started to hate this indie dev. Now DD2 is almost a totally different game in order to profit on the recent MOBA craze and instead of DLC theyre going to milk their fans with microtransactions. Just shows that stupid and shallow devs are not limited to console developers. they can also be indies

  4. L3ros says:

    Stop calling it MOBA, Counter-Strike is a MOBA, Unreal Tournament is a MOBA, played online Age of Empires 2 is a MOBA, most mulitplayer maps on Civilization would qualify for the term MOBA.

    • DrGonzo says:

      And almost every game ever is an RPG. So shush.

    • Brun says:

      Stop being pedantic. What is important is that people know what you’re talking about when you say “MOBA”, which they do (whether they like the term or not) since it is the most common term for games like LoL and DotA. If you’re concerned with clarity – as all writers and journalists such as Nathan should be – rather than pedantry, you’ll use the term that most clearly and concisely conveys your message with the lowest probability of causing confusion.

    • Butler says:

      The “fighting game” genre is hardly specific either, but the title does the job.

    • Pathetic Phallacy says:

      Yeah! And Counter-Strike is an RTS because there is strategy AND it occurs in real-time. Titanic isn’t a drama, it’s an action movie because the ship sinks! Terminator 2 isn’t an action movie because that ending is just so damn sad, it has to be a drama!

      The title of a genre is not be to taken literally.

    • Shepardus says:

      Did you know a pineapple is neither a pine nor an apple? Names don’t always mean the same things as the words they’re composed out of.

    • Astroman says:

      Agreed. “MOBA” is a worthless acronym. We could easily say it has “competitive multiplayer” instead of making up a genre.

      • Premium User Badge darkChozo says:

        Names aside, every single genre is “made up”. Genres, like most forms of categorization, are completely artificial constructs. They exist because it’s often useful to be able to identify a set of common characteristics between similar things, if only for brevity’s sake. Even if Riot hadn’t come up with the MOBA name, the genre would still exist (and probably be called dotalike, but that’s a whole other issue).

        “Competitive Multiplayer” is not a particularly useful descriptor for MOBAs in particular because it’s a preexisting phrase with an established meaning; gameplay involving multiple players competing, ie PvP (incidentally, this is the same reason why I don’t like the ARTS name). While a good genre name should be obviously descriptive of the genre, it’s not really a requirement, there’s plenty of examples to the contrary (see: music genres).

    • Ruffian says:

      I always figured the “Battle Arena” part (however poorly chosen/worded) was meant to refer to the tactical aspect of the games that use said moniker. I think it just sticks because it’s an easily pronounceable acronym. Really though, why get so worked up about words? The term is there to help you. You know what it means. It works. Who cares if it’s not extensively specific? Don’t they generally say the simpler the better? Sure beats the hell out of something like, “RTS where you only control a single hero, whose objective is to kill enemy heroes, and eventually destroy their towers and stronghold.”

    • Ruffian says:

      Actually, I changed my mind, I’m Shakespeare-ing this motherbitch.
      The genre will henceforth be known as “FLERP”.
      Booyah!
      Shakespeare: 12039
      Ruffian: 1

  5. geldonyetich says:

    You had me at, “If you loved Dungeon Defenders: The First.” But that it’s going MOBA, but different, certainly sounds interesting. I’m wonder what they’re planning? Well, if it’s F2P, it won’t cost me a dime to find out.

  6. President Weasel says:

    Rhinocobears are gentle and loving; not for nothing are they called “Nature’s Nannies”. Why must you perpetuate these vile slanders and calumnies against these beautiful creatures?

    • cjlr says:

      FACT: the number one cause of rhino injuries is other rhinos.

      • President Weasel says:

        The second most common cause is “insufficent warmup before strenuous sports”.

  7. cjlr says:

    There was an arena mode in the original game.

    Did anyone ever play it?

  8. Tei says:

    I have 400 hours in the first one. I what fun to just create a “infinite waves” map, and start farming. About the 90% just talking with other people and the other 10% doing something. Fun times. Good times.

    I dunno about a MOBA game. Theres already a lot of these, and most are very good.

  9. Spider Jerusalem says:

    man, considering how trendy nickle and dimed the first dungeon defenders to death, i strongly doubt their ability to set up a good f2p model.

  10. strangeloup says:

    Why does everything have to be a cockfucking MOBA now? Aren’t there enough?

  11. Bob Vila says:

    Persistent hero progression in a “moba” is a terrible idea. Its already bad enough in Lol with runes and masteries; at least you can get a full set pretty quickly (though then you cant afford many heroes for a while). If it really has a substantial progression system not only does that lock you into playing your most used hero (since it will be straight up better than the others) but it also means matchmaking has to consider your hero’s level in addition to your skill level. I really don’t see this working well, especially considering how competitive the genre is already with Dota 2 and Lol (and I guess Hon).

  12. Miltrivd says:

    I remember trying the first one and had an incredibly annoying issue with framerates, checked their forum to find two gems: the problem had existed forever and was never addressed, and their “translations” were made in something worse than Google Translation, the latest which felt particularly insulting if you buy the game because is translated to your language just to find out that nope, it isn’t at all.

    I will stay away from them unless I hear glowing reviews and praises about how they actually fix stuff this time.

  13. uh20 says:

    they should really fix the long list of bugs for the linux version, they dont even “officially support” it yet, which is small talk for “we dont give a flock”.

    as for releasing a 2nd one, yea, right, fix the original one first.

  14. Delodax says:

    Great to see companies trying to evolve the genre!