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PSA/Guide: Don’t neglect your defenders

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How often do you use your defenders? How often do you see other people using them in 4 player missions?

What about when you solo a defense mission?

If not, why not? I'm going to tell you why you should be using them and how.

Mission Types and number of defenders

In SSDs you can have as many as you have defender slots for that region, plus up to 3 extra (from your regular defender slots) as long as you are solo. So that's a max of 5+3 defenders plus yourself.

In 4 player suggested missions (and horde bash as well!) you can have up to 4 defenders active. Since you can only place 3 yourself, then either you place 3 and someone else places 1, or you split it more evenly.

In regular missions, if soloing, then you can have up to 3 defenders active. Less if you have 1 or 2 other people in. Basically max total of 4 players/defenders.

Downsides, especially for SSDs

The downside of defenders is you need the extra weapons and ammo, especially if considering using them for SSDs. Not to mention all that hero XP to level them up!

Why use them?

Simply put, because they kill husks. They are like traps but move around and can hit things from range. Basically it can make missions easier (although there is an argument the game is easy enough anyway). Use them strategically and you can leave certain angles largely unwatched while you focus on other directions. Put them at the end of trap tunnels to finish off anything that makes it through. Put a sniper up high to take out lobbers. Put a melee guy close to the base to take out things that get close.

But defenders are rubbish!

No they are not. Yes, they can die, so can you. Yes, their platforms can get destroyed, so can your base. Yes, they can be rubbish, if you don't level them and give them good weapons. You have to invest in them for them to be good and use them intelligently. Don't go dropping a melee defender right next to the spawn point, it will get mobbed. Don't place a sniper on the ground, he will be not so effective and can be killed quckly.

How to use? Which to use?

Which are keepers?

If like me, you recycled your defenders for a long time, then you might not have a good selection. Naturally, before deciding which ones to use, check out their perks. I would advise against those with increased fire rates, they will chew through ammo quickly. For melee defenders you probably want to consider those with health and shield bonuses.

However, lacking choice, just use any for the moment until you can build up your collection. You can always recycle them later for most of the XP back.

General point about weapons

If you give them fast firing guns, they will chew through ammo. Consider giving them slow firing high damage weapons unless you really don't mind them chewing through the ammo. For example, for assault defenders consider the Hammercrush (or its lower level variants).

Level/Evolution/Rarity of Defenders/Weapons

I use the same guide as i do for my own hero levels and weapons.

In Stonewood get them to level 10 and can be any rarity, 1 star. In Plankerton you should be looking at Rare or Epic, to level 20 with 2 stars (obviously). Canny – level 30, Epic or Legendary. I haven't got to Twine yet, but once there, obviously max them out as you can.

So, which defenders?

In an ideal world, you'd select them based on the mission type along with weapons, but that might not always be an option depending on what you have available. However, let's assume you have as many as you need of each type. And of course, if doing a 4 player, you might want to discuss with your teammates to see what defenders they are placing.

First let's discuss the types:

Sniper

This one is the king of defenders for me personally, and i currently run 3 snipers. Ideally, i'd give them all the Neon Sniper and box them in (walls all around). Unfortunately, that can be very expensive in terms of energy cell usage. The reason to use the neon sniper is that it shoots through anything and can see through walls. HOWEVER! Defenders can cheat and see through walls anyway, so as long as the gun can shoot through walls, well, hello, Obliterator is a good alternative… just be prepared for your defender to destroy any surrounding buildings as well (not player built structures though!).

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If you don't have that sort of weapon, then either you leave them exposed a bit (use arches at a roof at least) or put in walls with windows. Downside to windows is it does restruct their firing solutions, and if high up, really really restrict it. Keep this in mind. With windows you have to put them much closer to the ground.

Suggest creating a tower at least 2-3 tiles high to place them in. If you don't have a Neon Sniper or Obliterator so you can't box them in, consider building higher. Remember to not give the husks a path up to the tower. Sloped walls work great for this. Leaves you a route to get back up should they need reviving. Also don't use full walls for the base. Use arches then the husks won't try and bash through them. Keep in mind the tower can always take incidental damage, so don't use tier 1 wood walls. Take into consideration whether you are facing elemental enemies as well for your building material, and on occasion, a husk will still attack the tower.

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Melee

My second favourite, but they tend to get into trouble a lot. Not only with being attacked, but getting themselves stuck in places they can't return from. They will die often, so keep and eye on them and revive whenever needed. Best used when you are playing a ranged character and using the melee defender as a meat shield. That way you can support each other. PS: Consider keeping some defender pads in stock when doing encampments as well if you playing a ranged character, after the first spawn, drop a floor and a pad and quickly summon the defender to back you up.

Assault

Probably the best all round as they can do decent damage at a variety of ranges, although vulnerable to lobbers that are far away. Equipping with a long range assault rifle can help here, but remember about ammo use – if high rate of fire, they will rob you blind. Good for dealing with mobs as they close into medium range.

Shotgunner

Also quite effective as they can do good damage at close range, but tend to be best used to pick off stragglers. Good at the end of a trap tunnel with a hard hitting slow firing weapon. Also decent for mobs, but due to the range of most shotguns, you don't get off many shots before the husks close in. Obviously careful about placement and range if you are facing propane husks.

Pistols

A bit similar to Shotguns in my experience as again, you probably want the slow firing weapons with high impact and will most likely be looking at medium to close range. There are also some good piercing weapons like the Bolt Bolt that can be good for mob takedown.

In all cases, remember to keep them protected with some sort of walls, ramps, whatever. A ramp up to a platform for all but the melee can be a good idea, protecting them a bit from forward attacks (except lobbers – you'll come to hate lobbers vs defenders even with snipers).

Placement of 4 defenders

Don't know direction of the attack, then you might want to place 4 defenders in the 4 directions of potential attack. Otherwise you could stack them all on one side, leaving you free to focus on the other sides more, or they can support you if the husks are coming from the same side.

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Sometimes husks come from all directions anyway.

HOWEVER! You are not forced to be static about placement. Stick 4 pads on each side, and summon/resummon them as required.

Mix or Match?

There are 5 weapon types that defenders can use (oh my, just imagine an explosive defeneder!… and just imagine how you'd have to be continuously resupplying them) but unless doing a SSD only 4 defenders max, sometimes only 3.

As I noted earlier, i'm currently playing with 3 snipers. Put them in a tower (spaced out a bit) near to the base and let them do their stuff.

You could combine other types. 4 melee defenders near a spawn point might be quite viable (not tested!), plus if all together, at least easy for you to revive them all (and remember, Adrenaline Rush can be used to keep defenders alive before they need reviving).

A row of 4 assaunt defenders could make a nice medium range wall against again, same goes for shotgun/pistol defenders.

What can work well is conbining defenders in a forward line. Melee at the front, shotgun or pistol behind them, assault behind them, and sniper at the back. Sniper can handle lobbers while the others deal with the hordes (of course, the AI isn't so clever and will shoot at closest first, but in breaks at least the sniper will shoot those further away).

Defenders backed up by a player or players can be a formidable force. Remember though, they are not fire and forget, whatever you use, remember to keep an eye on them, otherwise you will be listening to cries of "I need ammo!" and "I need help!".

Any particular heroes to use?

Generally speaking, i'd say no. Play whatever you enjoy and tailor your defenders to compliment your hero. If you do melee, then ranged defenders. If you do ranged, you might want to use melee or short ranged defenders. Up to you. However, since you will be burning through ammo quicker, and will have more firepower in general on missions where you can use defenders, you might want to consider Outlanders which can get you materials quicker, more ammo, and in particular, Gunblazer Southie who can get ammo from his llamas (plus he has both teddy and shock tower).

A word of warning about negative players

There is one potential downside to using defenders. I've not experienced this myself, but i've heard its possible for people to steal the defender weapons by replacing the weapon (not sure if this is a bug or a feature or if its still possible – not tested). Not only reducing the effectiveness of your defender, but also then giving someone undeserving a potentially good weapon. Keep an eye out for this, and if it happens, remember to report them.

Anyway, hope this guide encourages people to use defenders more (especially in 4 player missions), use them more effectively, and help people understand they are not as useless as some people think.

Feel free to post your own defender tips and tricks!


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