Why the defense dynamic is broken post 2.0 & why you should care

This is going to be a wall of text so I apologize ahead of time and thank you for those who choose to read it :slight_smile:

There have been a lot of thoughts, both pro and con, posted about the new ranked system post 2.0, many of which deal with the new defense mechanic and the penalties associated with it. Many of these focus on why it is or is not good that players are now being penalized in a real way for defensive losses. Regardless on where you stand on the issue, I believe the defense dynamic is broken in GoW regardless of if the player is or is not penalized for automated defense losses.


Good question and the answer is that there is currently no good or effective way for players to learn from their defensive losses (or wins). Other than going into your guild and battling yourself, there is no way to review how the AI is controlling your defensive team and, while being able to spar against yourself is an improvement, this obvious can’t act as a one-to-one comparison for the defensive battles you win or lose against actual opponents. There are just too many variables.


Ultimately that is up to you (obviously) and some of you won’t (you know who you are lol) but the reason I think you should is pretty simple:

By making the defensive play both obtuse AND essential, the devs have created a toxic combination that forces players to get very meta in order to learn how to field an effective defensive team (and even then, “effective” is probably overstating things since all teams are beatable if the attacker fields an effective team against the defense).

While many players love digging deep into game theory and enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to manipulate the game to their advantage (which is perfectly valid), many players do not; especially not in a game that is (or at least was at one point) geared towards the casual crowd. Even if the developers are trying to shift the game away from casual play towards more strategic/hardcore players, the game (like all games) requires a certain, constant influx of casual players to support its growth and longevity. Something all players, especially hardcore players should care about. By antagonizing new players with penalized play they can’t learn from, the devs have create a gameplay mechanic that serves to simply frustrate players. This hurts everyone long term.


Undoubtedly there are many paths we (or at least the devs) could take and I don’t profess to knowing them all, still what immediately comes to mind is battle archive and review.

If the devs gave us the ability to review our defensive battles (wins & losses), we could learn from them and adapt our defensive team accordingly. I’m still not convinced players should ever be penalized for actions they cannot directly control but regardless, being able to participate and learn from these automated battles would go a long way to engaging players and encouraging them to delve deeper into the game. As it stands now, the devs are using the stick but seem to have forgotten the carrot.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and whether you agree or not; perhaps I missed something obvious? :wink:


I think you have a lot of good points. And let me assent to some of your assertions according to my current mood–


There is a way to see how your defense plays. Pull up yourself and challenge yourself. That way you can see how the computer plays it and adjust accordingly.

I know when I tried it, I nearly was beaten except that it still went for the skull grab. But it was real nice to see that I found something that otherwise worked great against other people closeish to my level.

(I had run into @RiverSong’s team… scouted it… fought someone else as I would have been crushed. Having those extra 900+ levels did give a slight advantage there.)

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@Malkav Haha! I love it. Jack knows what’s up. :wink:

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@Shiratori Thanks for stopping by and joining the convo, Shiratori :slight_smile: but I actually bring that point up (being able to spar yourself) in the “What’s Broken” section. While adding self sparing is an improvement, it gives no actual feedback relative to the battles you are in. Even if you are the same level as your opponent, with the same exact specs, team and abilities, your game still won’t play out the same as the defensive battle in question due to RNG.

I’m glad they added self sparring but it in no way makes up for or helps players learn from their defensive wins/losses.

A lot of good points here. One major issue is that at the low level, you simply may not be able to overcome certain defense combinations with the troops you have available, or maybe just not be aware of what you should be matching in what order to do well vs certain combinations, but at the high level, anything AI defense team can and will be beaten most of the time. Any AI team that is not beaten most of the time by similarly leveled players is then deemed “broken” or “OP”, leading to a cycle of complaints, possibly nerfs, and just overall less fun. Then a new meta emerges and the cycle starts all over again.

The other main thing is that the ladder/leaderboard system and the tier system should not be linked. The tier system, which mimics the old PvP rank system, should be a straight shot to accumulating rewards, just like it was before. The ladder (current “ranked”) point system, is a treadmill - and always will be, as a consequence of what it is. The tier system, I believe, is fairly essential for those just starting out in PvP and is just a bit too rough as it stands now.

Looking at it this way: it is more fun for everyone involved, to try and make a defense team that wins more rather than one that loses less. Penalties for AI defense losses basically should not exist in this format, and especially not to slowing down gains toward your PvP tier. I’d rather set a fun or themed defense team rather than one people scout and go “I don’t want to deal with that”. I’d rather everyone be having fun instead of seeing a bunch of carbon copy teams everywhere just because they dont want to lose their precious points.


Wait till you fight your own guild mate’s teams and then are able to use your guild to craft an excellent and non-goblin team.

@Mithran Great points! I 100% agree and think that “fun” should be a driving factor in all game design (granted “fun” is subjective but for arguments sake fun is kind of like pornography, it can be hard to define but most of us know it when we see it. :wink: )

@Shiratori: Yoiu must be the only one who decided not to fight me - I’m losing regularly.:weary:

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You can see tendencies on what the computer will do and you change around your team to give it different scenarios. Like I said with my team, it worked very fast and should have won except it stopped to grab the skulls. That’s something that we don’t have control over and in fact use to our advantage to be a a stronger team.

But the fact we can pick what we want to face and how to defend it is a big boon since it would show exactly what the computer will decide on. Play against it several times to get a more consistent outlook. Then have your friends try it too with their teams and find out their results. I know it helped me change from my old defense to my current one.

Edit: this wasn’t a disagreement to what you were saying. Just that we have the resources now to do this checking far more than in the past.

You were worth massive points and gold but I didn’t see me being able to loop my Crimson Bat the 4-6 times needed to kill you.

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@Shiratori I think you’re missing the point. Seeing tendencies is but a small part of a much bigger picture. Doing what you suggest would allow you to guess at why your defensive team is winning or losing but that’s all it would be: guesses. Also having to depend on others to fight your team and report back to you isn’t something most players are going to do nor should they have to. That’s just poor game mechanics and design.

Edit: Just saw your edit. I did think you were disagreeing so I apologize for my misunderstanding. :slight_smile:

It seems like the BEST defensive team right now is one that is insanely frustrating to defeat and will take a long time… Just so people DON’T fight you.


@Dustin1280 I agree and that just showcases how flawed the current implementation is. A proper game mechanic would encourage players both to attack and defend, not encourage avoidance. That’s no fun for anyone.

This is actually how the old system did not work. 1.8 and before emphasized losing games to get a bonus.Therefore it was pointless to put up a hard team unless you really did not want to defend. In this update they emphasize a balance to win defence matches to keep you from losing your pvp score however still give you rewards if you fail to do so and can properly fight back against the opponent.

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Yea, I’ll probably make a glacial team to deal with the gazillion goblin teams. Actually, I might test that out in Zaejin tonight. :smile_cat:

Edit: I posted this is the wrong thread. Ha. But, yea, I still can’t wait to freeze some goblins.


@killerman3333 Hi Killer. I agree with you; the issue isn’t the loss of points, the issue is the lack of information given to the player so that they can actively improve.



There was a discussion shortly before 2.0 came out about how to build a good defensive team. I think the basic principle was to keep it simple. Having aoe attacks and gem creators tended to be the most fool proof since you didn’t need to worry about computer targeting the “wrong” thing.

Troops like Gorgotha which while very strong, seemed to do not as well since the computer would always want to use Doomstones to the exclusion of everything else.

For my own team (and relatively speaking, not having many high level solid options) I ended up with:
Hero (Warlock*) Creeping Death
Crimson Bat

Only color duplicated is Red which isn’t an issue. Hero is attack all, Bat is attack all true. Soothsayer buffs and just gets mana. Valkyrie can sometimes pick the wrong color to make blue, but in general got the Bat to full quickly. Outside of when I said the computer will waste time going for skulls sometimes (which it will with everyone) my team is played well.

And there are obviously other teams that can be built with the similar mindset to be as accommodating as possible with how the computer plays.

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@Shiratori Thanks for the info; that sounds like a good team. :slight_smile: