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Nightmare difficulty was introduced in patch 7.13. It is the highest difficulty level available in Vanilla Dungeon Defenders. While not yet generally available, players who have bought the Quest for the Lost Eternia Shards Complete DLC on Steam can host maps on Nightmare. Any player may join these, regardless whether or not they bought the content.

Differences From Insane

The increase in difficulty from Insane to Nightmare is much greater than the jump from Hard to Insane. There are also several major differences from normal game play:

Heroes

Stat NM Modifier
Health (Squire, Countess, Jester and Barbarian) ~5.28x
Health (Other Heroes) 7.75x
Damage ~0.16x
Casting Rate >1.0x
Resistances 0.55x
Weapon Projectile Speed 0.1x
Self-Heal Mana Cost 0.5x

Towers

NM Modifiers
Defense Type Health Damage / Potency Range
Apprentice Towers 1.625x 1.625x None
Squire Towers
Traps 0.75x 1.35x
Auras 0.85x 0.75x

1.125x (Electric)

~4x (Healing)

0.7x
Jester Towers 1.625x 1.625x None
Minions 1.625x 3.25x
Beams 1.625x 1.625x

Tower Notes and Exceptions

Pets

  • Pets are significantly more effective, notably melee pets such as the Mega Chicken.

Enemies

  • Spiders spawn at random locations (i.e. not necessarily coming from normal spawn doors, but dropping from above) on every wave, on almost every level.
  • Djinn and Sharken spawn at the normal spawn locations on nearly all maps. On some maps, Djinn spawn at Wyvern spawn locations instead.
  • Goblin Copters typically spawn at the same locations Wyverns appear. They do not spawn on maps that lack Wyverns.
  • Ogres spawn much more often and earlier than usual, such as on the first wave in The Deeper Well. Heroes without significant upgrades to damage resistances on their armor equipment may find themselves killed in one hit. Ogres on Nightmare may also have an elemental affinity.

Other Changes

  • Eternia Crystals have 5x more HP.
  • The quality of loot is drastically better, especially core drops and map-exclusive items.

Tips

  • Like Insane, the Build Phases have time limits on Nightmare Campaign. Make every second count early on.

Early Progression

  • If you're first starting to play maps on Nightmare, look into Hero Shops to buy cheap Mythical items. Sometimes you can find a piece of gear for 1-2 million Mana, and it will pay for itself once you get Mythical loot dropping for you!
  • Endless Spires is a good map to start playing Nightmare as there is lots of room to kite the Ogre on the first wave. With Hardcore enabled, the Treasure Chests after the first wave may also contain solid Mythical gear.
  • At this stage of progression, you probably do not need anymore armor or weapons below Godly quality. You can filter out lower quality item drops on the overlay map from the Options menu to reduce clutter (Minimum Displayed Item Quality).
  • The Apprentice Guardian and Huntress Guardian pets will be very useful and assist your towers greatly. They can more than double the DPS of boosted towers. Even the ones from clearing Summit Campaign on Hard are worth their weight in gold, and will contribute to more to overall DPS than any DPS pet.

Hero Specialization

  • If you have not done so already, begin re-specializing your heroes away from all-around hybrids. Invest into the Tavernkeep's "Respect Hero" service to reallocate your heroes' skill points into only one or a few stats. You can speed up this process by clicking on a stat while holding [Shift] or [Control]. This will assign 5 and 100 points at once respectively.
  • For more information, check out >>this guide<< to hero stats and per class roles.

Armor

  • Remember that you get a set bonus for wearing all armor pieces of the same material type (Leather, Mail, Chain, Plate or Pristine). For Godly quality armor and below, the set bonus is +25% to all stats given. Armor of Mythical quality or above get higher stat bonuses, but all equipped pieces must be at least Mythical to have any set bonus at all.
  • If you are dying too much, prioritize upgrading your resistances over Hero Health. Having 45% physical resistance will allow you to last almost twice as long in Nightmare, which is more effective than spending armor upgrade levels on Hero Health.
  • In order to reach the 90% damage reduction cap per damage type on Nightmare, your armor will need 164% resistance total.

Enemy Specific

  • Out of the four enemies Nightmare introduces, only the Sharken can damage Eternia Crystals.
  • Cover your towers. A brilliant defense means nothing if it gets constantly webbed by Spiders. Your defense should be as close crystals as possible, to minimize the chance of Spiders spawning behind it. However, always have towers pointed inwards to deal with Spiders, as they seem to love spawning on your crystal(s).
    • Alternatively, surrounding your key defenses in Reflection Beams with minimal air space will ensure (in most cases) that no Spider web will cripple them.
    • Damage-dealing traps and Electric Auras, supported by a Strength Drain Aura or Darkness Trap, are also very effective and reliable at killing Spiders. They have 360° range and are intangible; they cannot be attacked. Gas Traps have no effect on Spiders, but can stop a Djinn who may try to de-summon your defenses.
  • The distinct sound of a Djinn casting its defense-destroying red beam or a Sharken's grunt as it readies to push a physical defense should alarm you to directly attack these threats to stun or kill them in time.
  • Wyverns fly a lot faster than normal. Make sure your towers have sufficient range and attack rate. You could sometimes need some extra defenses to handle Wyverns (additional offensive tower, Ensnare Aura, or even Darkness Trap along with Electric Aura).

Ogres

  • If Ogres are problematic for you, focus on single-target towers and walls. A Squire with a high block value can tank the Ogre while your towers kill it easily. Note that Ogres can now have an elemental affinity and therefore be immune to certain defenses. Do not overload on elemental damage without some way to remove/disable affinities. A Strength Drain Aura covers this role while also greatly reducing enemy attack damage.
  • Distract them; having three Ogres smashing your defenses is better than four. Here are some ways to control their aggro:
    1. Physical hug against their backside and attack them. This should quickly turn the Ogre's attention towards you. If a ranged hero, keep your distance, away from club swings, but not too far away or else you risk losing its interest. If this happens, attack while hugging the giant again to bring them back to you.
    2. Place your main damage-dealing towers behind walls, far enough back to where an Ogre hugging the wall cannot smack whichever one it gets aggroed to. This way, the Ogre will only throw snot balls from time-to-time at its target, as long as it is. It will not attack the blockade because the out-of-reach tower dealing the most amount of DPS makes it completely oblivious to all other defenses.
    3. Use a hero ability that will instantaneously deal very high damage to the Ogres and thus aggro them to you (Mana Bomb, Piercing Shot, Hawk Stance, etc.)
  • Ogres from Goblin Copters are unable to damage cores, but are more bulky than regular Ogres. If you can shoot them, destroy copters before they drop off their Ogres manually. Copter Ogres instantly lose 2/3's of their HP if forcibly dropped this way (or die instantly if they fall off the map!) Deadly Striker Towers can also shoot the copters down, but are prone to distraction by their flares, while minions ignore them entirely. Goblin Copters are many times easier to deal with if caught inside an Ensnare Aura, whether they successfully unload or not.

Other

  • On some maps, there is not enough time or starting mana to build a defense that will survive the first wave. You may therefore need to kill the more bulky enemies (ex: Djinn, Sharken, Ogres) on the first wave by yourself.

Trivia

See Also

Ascension - an even higher difficulty level exclusive to Dungeon Defenders Redux.