During the wait for custom zombies waves, I’d like to see this simple change be made in order to allow a more balanced zombies experience.
Currently, many maps are bordering on impossible to get past round 11/12/15 due to things often out of the players control.
This namely encompasses maps with poor balancing decisions and maps with very small designs that prevent general movement or cover-based strategies, but even a number of the maps that do allow you to pass these difficulty spike rounds will often immediately fall apart on round 16, 18, or 19, almost exclusively due to diabolists.
There’s nothing innately wrong with difficulty spikes like this, as round 20, 21, and 22 are also all incredibly difficult and require planning far ahead in order to deal with these rounds properly.
My problem comes from how the difficulty in the first set of rounds is presented.
I honestly believe Round 10 and 11 are some of the more balanced rounds, difficulty spikes for sure that see the end of most smaller maps, but typically are considered fair and manageable with good mob prioritization and ample farming.
Round 12 is the first issue, Sand Elementals.
Yes, not Captains, but the Sand Elementals. While not inherently unfair in any way comparable to the amount of deaths created by Captains, Sand Elementals shut down 90% of ability to play around the other mobs by forcing you to sit completely still, if not within a 3 ~ 5 block radius that’s largely rng dependant on if you have any vertical height to utilize.
If you see them coming you can position properly ahead of the round, but this still forces you into whatever strategy you first select with no variation, movement, or other positioning to take advantage of and I generally believe this is not fun in any capacity. While captains force you to take cover or keep constant pressure on them, sand elementals do not care.
With captains, on some maps, you can have enough mobility to get around them and kite them efficiently, or abuse cover, but sand elementals do not possess any of these inherent flaws.
Their gameplay is simply not fun regardless of how fair they are or are not.
My solution to the first problem:
For those of you who don’t recognize this mob, here’s a short video I created showing what this mob does and how it behaves.
Twinkle Poppers walk slowly towards the player until they’re within a modest distance.
They will then start spawning Twinkles, small mobs that will run towards the player quickly and explode dealing a large amount of damage.
Their explosion hitbox is small but has a great deal of height making it nearly impossible to jump over them, but their hp is very low.
Like gladiators and snipers, they won’t attack when being hit, and unlike sand elementals they cannot hit through blocks, nor do they wall off entire sections of maps as the twinkle explosion will not pass through blocks either.
In order to prevent infinite farming, Twinkles should not be able to give points to the player.
The problem at hand here is even more obvious than Sand Elementals,
Diabolists projectile is invisible due to particle limitations within Terraria, and this creates scenarios where the player is often one-shot from completely invisible projectiles and thus are often impossible to dodge as the diabolist will shoot at the player from off-screen.
You either need to turtle outside of their range, or kill them instantly on spawn, and not all maps support one or even either of those options.
I think Demons are an adequate replacement.
They move towards the player which solves the first issue, they can be modified to do VERY high damage, like Diabolists, they’ll shoot at you from an infinite distance but their projectiles will not go through walls nor are they affected by the particle limitations, thus force a more proper method of mob prioritization while offering a proper ability to counterplay against them by avoiding projectiles through movement and similar.
Everything about Diabolists is mirrored to a lesser extent with Necromancers, invisible projectiles, mobs that don’t move from spawn points, etc. the only difference being their projectiles have a much more limited range and don’t wall-pierce.
I still think they force certain maps into obscurity late-game, thus I’d replace them with Red Devils to follow the theme with Demons, for similar reasons but with a projectile that should in theory be easier to manage.
Perhaps spawning Red Devils in place of Diabolists, with a few demons added into the mix is a better idea?
All in all, I think these 3 simple changes would DRASTICALLY improve the number of maps capable of reaching late-game rounds, but not in a way that simply makes zombies easier.
If you disagree and think that the current mobs are fine, first of all I don’t trust you because they clearly aren’t if you literally can’t see their projectiles, but secondly, what mobs do you think would serve better in the place of these mobs?
My goal with this suggestion is simple: Allow more maps a chance to get into lategame without making zombies feel significantly easier, and to allow other maps a bit more freedom of gameplay within late-game rounds rather than the only viable strategy being to constantly turtle away from diabolist range, or spawn kill instantaneously.
These changes should in theory be simple to make with less than a half hour of work put into it, it will just take a small amount of modification to make these mobs balanced within their rounds, which can be playtested by any of the current staff (as most of us actively play zombies) and then simply given info to Tejd/Durtle to push.