Okay, this is a big one. So essetnially Trendy remade DD2 entirely. I may sound exaggerating but they really have reshaped the game.
So first let me post the big patch page: http://trials.dungeondefenders2.com/
The new update is called "Trials" but I often call it Ascencion update.
Of you have played DD2 before, you can bet one thing: All your progress, all your effort, all the time you spent has been taken away fgrom you. You get basically nothing.
Just to make it clear before my rant starts, I like the new approach of the update and the system itself. it gives players more flexibility on their chars and allows them to shape them better to their liking. I'm simply not happy that they made such a big step suddenly. They coudl have broken the entire thing down in smaller steps, that people can better prepare. The update also needs a lot of balancing.
Okay, finally let's come to the changes. Are you one of the people, that had the rare weapons with cool passive effects? Had a Toxic Shock bow? Bling-o Midas? Harbinger Sword? You still have those items and they still look cool on your chars. But they have ripped off the passives of every single item.
Items have no passives anymore, that means those special weapons don't have them either. Which... does not make them special anymore, I guess. Euipment does not come anymore with Defense stats (stats for your towers), instead they come with battle stats like bonus health, more damage, armor etc. Relics drop only with defense stats, stuff that increased the hp and damage of your towers. Even stuff like attack speed (which wasn't there before). Relics can now be assigned to towers individually, so you can gve a hp boost to barriers and an attack boost to dps towers. This allows you to fit your towers with what they need instead of making a compromise and fitting only hp boots ont he squire because you want only to use the barriers. This is probably the best idea in this update, it allows you to make the best use of every single hero you have instead of arranging them to fill into a certain role.
The sad part is of course, your items are (at the start) garbage because they don't fit intot he new system at all. Since stats have been redesigned, you might end up with stats that aren't good. You also have of course nto enough relics for every single hero, you prpibably have only one relic per hero, but now you need four times the amount. Without relics, every single tower is now shit.
Why? Because passive stats (from leveling up) that you could invest into certain points like more damage or defense health, are gone. leveling up has only the purpose to equip stronger items, that's all.
That means you need relics to give your towers any stats at all, otherwise you cannot use them (except in easy mode).
Skill spheres, which also gave passive effects to your heroes, are gone too. Both Skill Spheres and item passives are now unified into a new system, called Shards. Every player that completed the campaign before the update got a collection of "good will" shards. pretty much you get a collection of the most basic and terrible stuff that you could get from easy missions. These give some basic passive effects, like boosting the stats of your towers by a certain percentage or giving your char more movement speed. Shards can be fit into equipment, equipment now has slots, the rarer the item, the more slots it has. Shards help you to shape out your characters better and to give them the much needed boost. They also give the special abilites that were on your items befroe. But don't think you get the same shard that your Toxic Shock bow had before just because you have that bow. Thats why older players are literally screwed now, because they lost everythign that they made strong and got only the most basic stuff in return that does not help them. new players will of course adapt to the new system because... well, they are new, they don't know it any other way. Also during their progress during the camapign they get all the items and shards they need while older players get nothing useful anymore.
Generally however, shards are the way to go. They give your heroes the much needed flexibility. I really hate it that you got sometimes items with better stats, that were useless to you because they didn't had the passive effect you needed. The new system allows you to switch out your items easily when you got something with better stats while still keeping your passives. An amazing approach despite the horrible execution during launch.
Nightmare difficulty is gone, it was replaced by the even harder Chaos mode. Chaos is the new "hard mode" and the new way to play the endgame. Chaos introduces 5 new enemies on each of its difficulty levels, the first one is the Goblin Shield Bearer that blocks all incoming damage from the front. I haven't seen the others so far, because I cannot beat even Chaos 1. Chaos is really a lot harder then before, especially because enemies now scale with your stats and the number of players. i don't know how much they scale but a lot of player they, that this needs to be balanced right now because it's over the top. The gap between campaign and Chaos is huge, Campaign is a piece of cake while Chaos is... well, chaos. It's even harder because all your tactics, that relied on your passives, are not possible anymore. I heard that the Angry Nimbus from the Drayd is the new meta. Probably because its damage scales so well with defense power and it does not rely on passives so much.
As I'm still strugglign to adapt, I cannot talk much in detail about the entire changes of the difficulty or the enemies.
Ascension is another endgame conetn newly introduced. when your characters reach level 50, they accumulate ascension xp. The ascension xp are gained for their class (mutliple heroes of the same class do not produce more xp) and once you reach a new level, you can invest the xp into ascension points. these are small passive effects that work for every hero of the same class. For example you can increase stun durations of skills or increase the range of towers. Ascension allows you to progress your hero even further when you reached the limit through items and shards. The upper limit of ascension levels is really high and I think it will a very long time for the first one to reach the end. I mean, some of the upgrades have 999 levels. Thats insanely high, lol. Acension replace the old stat system you had before.
Items and shards can be now easier be upgraded. Before the update you had to sacrifice tons of other items among a good amount of gold. Now you need only gold and you can do this quickly from your backpack, even if you are on a map at the moment. You don't have to talk to a specific NPC anymore, this saves time and nerves.
Trials are a new way to play the game. They are tied with the new Chaos difficulty and you are assigned to play certain maps, if you complete them, you get the rarer shards and items you need for your character.
Additionally to all of the above, they balanced everything again, heroes, enemies, towers. A lot of heroes have their towers or abilites changed in one way or another. Every tower draws less aggro from enemies, so you are guarented that they rather attack your barriers.
Some towers have been exchanged with their skill sphere counterpart, for example the flameburst tower of the Apprentice is now the flamethrower tower.
Players have now bigger bags to carry more loot. whcih is funny since you need less space because passives on items are gone. But I think you eed the extra space for your shards, so you can collect, sort and exchange them as you need. Honestly, since I'm still in the early phase and get only trash shards, I don't see how much space I currently need.
Anyway, I think oerall the update is a great idea with a bad execution. Old players raged a little when it came out (honestly, this is justified) but people are already making new strategy guides and lay out new tactis for the game. It's great how the meta has changed. I also hope it's now more flexible instead of seeing the same tower build execution on every single map. I'm tired of PDT explosions.