Dungeon Warfare 2 is a pretty extensive Tower Defense game with a TON of options, maps, rewards, runes, skills and more. It can be daunting when first encountering this labrynth of endless options.
This guide will hopefully shed some light in the dark recesses and present a basic understanding of the game, how to progress and how to plan for the future.
Dungeon Warfare 2 is a great Tower defense game but it is not an easy game. You will have to do levels more than once to get a flawless run (losing no lives), and many maps have objectives / challenges that give great rewards that add a twist / difficulty level. To get more rewards, you can up your Wrath level and lastly you can also increase the difficulty using runes – which grant increased XP gains to level even faster.
The game technically has no “end” per se. Once you defeat all the boss levels, you can Ascend – which keeps a small section of rewards that accumulate, but starts you out with all maps +2 difficulty. If Ascending intrigues you and you look forward to sinking more hours into this game, then you really need to understand how all your choices can accumulate to give you an edge when you ascend.
Eventually completing all the levels flawlessly and completing all the challenges on each map successfully gives really nice rewards, so it really is in your best interest to revisit maps to get all these complete.
This guide is broken down into individual sections to explain what each screen does. This guide doesn’t tell you how to complete each map. It assumes you have a basic understanding of the tower defense genre. Therefore, I would really recommend to go and do the first 2-3 maps and then come back here for answers. The first few maps are pretty easy, and I recommend ignoring the challenges for now because completing them gives you rewards which really require further reading.
You might want to skip ahead & read the reward section before completing them if you are a min/maxer and it would bug you to miss out on choosing correctly.
The map room provides a lot of information – where you’ve been, how you did on a map, and the different types of maps. It also acts like a portal into different areas.
Your level is displayed center bottom
It’s the big 42 on this picture.
If you mouse over your level, it will show you the stats for % rarity, % found and % gold increase which are rewards that accumulate.
The bottom line shows you your progress to the next level. You can mouse over this bar for more detailed XP information.
The portal for Mastery / Skill / Item is the two red arrows in the lower right corner.
You will be using this a lot to adjust how things are distributed and this guide has sections for each of these.
There are 4 different types of maps:
Normal – These are red and are fixed layout. You can come back & do them as many times as you’d like using different XP modifiers / layouts / etc. Each map has a level that you can see when you mouse over it. Levels increase to level 16 and waves will increase from lower 20’s to more than 60 at level 16.
TIP: If you are having difficulty doing a map, look around for a map with a lower level and do that to increase your gems / level.
Etheral – These are white and are one-time use. They appear when you identify and place them on the map from the ITEM menu. Once you complete them they disappear forever. They are useful to level up to gain more gems / items.
Boss – These are black / white but turn to red once you beat the map. One or more bosses will be on the map, typically near the end of the waves.
Labrynths – There are 3 of these in total – lesser / greater / infinite. They start out at a level, and once you beat them, their level increases by 1 and you can do it again & again to grind to newer levels.
Treasure – These maps are different in that they have infinite levels (each level gets harder) and the only way to win the map is to accumulate a certain amount of gold.
Except for Etheral maps, once you complete the map, the border will be frayed if you didn’t get 3 hearts (the best)
The map Sigil will change depending upon how many runes you ran with it. More complex swords / axes will display the more runes you ran. If you mouse over the map, it will tell you how many runes you ran the map with.
Mousing over a map will display the challenge status:
If you mouse over a map, a pop up will display showing you your highest score, and the status of the challenges on each map.
Challenges you’ve completed successfully will be green and ones that are incomplete will be red
Running a map
When you click on a map, you get a lot of choices on how to approach the map:
Runes add difficulty and in return give you additional XP, allowing you to level-up faster. On your first run through of a normal map, you probably should forgo selecting any of these until a subsequent playthrough, unless you like a challenge.
TIP: Etheral maps are great places to try many runes. You only get one whack at an etheral map and the XP gain can be substantial, particularly if the etheral map is < 2-3 levels under where you are currently running.
ACHIEVEMENTS: Hoard/Save runes that are “start with X life penalty” as there is an achievement that requires you to run with 100 life penalty and these don’t drop often and you’re going to need 9 of these to get this achievement.
TIP: You can move runes to different tabs by using the transmutation grid…just plop the runes on the transmutation, select a different tab, and then move the runes onto that tab.
I always select the following:
- Out for Blood -> If you’re shooting for a flawless run, might as well take this rune with you as it limits you to one life
- Scythe -> A slight increase to movement and spawn rate is worth the XP gain for this
- NIL -> A 10% bounty decrease may be tough on the first 15 or so maps, but after that, this rune is pretty manageable for the XP gain.
- Frenzy -> If you’re not running any minions this rune giving creeps + attack and + damage has very little affect
- Rust -> A 10% slowdown in consumable spawn rate is very manageable, particularly when you have two consumable traps available.
- Swarm -> I typically don’t find 30% more enemies to impact my runs that much – notable exception is if flying machines are on the map, and I’ll forgo this one.
TIP: Under the Elite Mastery, there is a skill called Rune Mastery, which gives you extra XP based on # of runes you are running. When running > 5 runes, this can pay big dividends in compounding your XP and is recommended to max this out.
Selecting a Loadout
You can select the traps you want to use on the map here. This option is available as long as you haven’t placed any traps.
TIP: When you bring up the loadout screen, you can adjust the Mastery level of each of these traps by pressing the Hammer icon in the lower right. It is a good idea to maximize the level for the traps you are bringing to battle and drop the ones you aren’t using back to 1.
Portals / Paths
Portals where creeps emerge from are displayed very inconsistent in this game. They will change on each type of map. By default, Portal #1 will have its path highlighted and you can highlight it at any time by clicking on the portal. It is very easy to miss the 2nd or 3rd portal. Look carefully at the map to make sure there aren’t other portals.
Wrath / Rushing a wave
Wrath is a both a difficulty modifier and a way to increase drop rates for items. Wrath is generated by calling a wave early by clicking on the number. When you click on the wave number, it will drop down to the bottom and a red bar will appear. This red bar will begin to recede. If you click on the next wave AND it hits the bottom before the red bar disappears, the waves will change color and you will be at the next wrath level. You can continue to increase this indefinitely.
TIP: Rushing is calling a wave early. As long as the wave is clicked on before it hits the bottom, it is counted as a Rushed wave.
TIP: On some maps, the challenge is to “have a wrath level of 6 or higher” and this ONLY COUNTS IF YOU END THE LAST WAVE AT THIS WRATH LEVEL.
ACHIEVEMENT: There is an achievement for +10 wrath level. I would recommend that you do this with one of the labrynths or etheral maps that are many (> 4-5 levels) below where you are currently running at.
There are two pauses in this game:
1. TAB will pause the game and allow you to place traps, click on wave to “rush the wave” or increase wrath level. Pressing TAB will unpause.
2. ESC will pause the game and a pop-up menu will occur if you press the ESC key. You can not do anything in the game while this pop-up is visible. You must press the ESC key to unpause.
The challenge statuses are displayed in the upper right hand corner:
WHITE : Neither fully successful or failed
RED : The challenge is in a failed state
Dungeon Warfare 2 is like an RPG in that you can level up your character, your skills and also have items that can be changed in / out depending upon the type of traps you are running.
Mastery is the points (gems) you assign to your traps. Here is what my mastery grid looks like at the end of my 1st ascension:
The best things about mastery are:
1. You can respect at will for no cost. Yes, you heard that, you can increment / decrement any trap on any map or between maps.
Want to try a new loadout? Give it a whirl! Want to assign all your gems to one trap and see how a level 30, 60 or even level 300 trap will do on a certain map? Try it! It only costs time.
2. You can get to mastery from the map loadout screen by clicking on the hammer in the lower right hand corner during map selection, so it’s quite easy to push the loadout button, then the hammer button when prepping for a map. Easy!
Through rewards, you can gain permanent additions (signified by the + sign next to a trap) that survive through ascension. These number increase every time you select these rewards for completing a map or challenge to a map.
This is VERY important: As you gain far more gems, getting a trap from level 100 to 103 will cost 100+101+102 = 303 gems, but if you have a +3 next to a map, you just saved yourself 303 gems in upgrade costs.
Skills are broken down into three areas. Like Mastery, you can respect for no cost. You can try any combination and see how it’s working for you. Most of these are pretty self explanatory, but in each section I will highlight some of the specific things I find particularly useful.
Brute is trap synergies and force. Adjacent traps giving 10% increases in rearming can really pay dividends for a row of similar traps. Having enough force for push, spring and harpoons to actually impact the heavier creeps is really nice on certain maps
Portal Guardians are the single most important item for new players. It can save a flawless run by having a few guardians to kill escapees.
Overall, I don’t invest a great deal in Brute except on a case by case basis and the Portal Guardians. Here it is at the end of a run:
In the beginning – say through level 50 or so, gold is king. Having more gold to set up traps is very beneficial when starting waves. However, the abilities in the other areas are far more powerful and as you gain confidence (and more starting gold through leveling up), you will want to rebalance occasionally as 15-20K in gold is a bit much and these skill points can be used in other areas.
Notable points in gold to focus on are:
Learning – XP gains
Hoard – If you can have 2000 or 3000 unspent gold, rearming bonuses are very nice
Paralysis – Lightning stun is awesome end game advantage
Here is my current Greed investment:
When you can have a single chokepoint on a map, Singularity is hard to beat. However, it’s not very viable until you are at least level 50-70 or so, when some of the more interesting traps become available. Having a trap almost constantly firing because it’s of the rearming speed bonuses for being the only trap of its kind is like having 4-5 traps. It is that powerful.
TIP: There is a legendary item, called Verdant Loops, that allows you to have 2 traps and still count as singularity. This can drastically change your strategies when you have 2 chokepoints.
However, there are other important traits hiding beyond the singularity trait that can really boost your damage. Here are my favorites:
Rune Mastery – If you are confident enough to use Runes, this multiplies XP gain when using runes. If you’re running runes, max this out.
Cuting Edge – overall dmg increase for all traps. Duh, get this.
Ballistics – Range of projectiles. Instead of a measly 3 square activation range, why not 7?
Pierce – Up to 50% chance to penetrate & hit a second creep? Sign me up!
Frostbite – Chilled units take more damage? Hey now we’re talking!
When running maps, creeps will occasionally drop items. When they first show up in your inventory, they will be “UNIDENTIFIED”. This is like a loot chest. You can right click on them and select Identify to expose the traits on the item.
On the left hand side, you can equip up to 9 items to bring into battle. Many of these items can grant bonuses to many things, particularly traps.
Opening up loot chests like these is what gamers live for and I’m telling you AVOID THE TEMPTATION!! This is because there is also a button for Trasmutation, which allows you to create higher level items Provided they remain Unidentified!
TIP: You can move items to the 3 different tabs by first shuffling them to the Transmutation grid, then selecting the tab, and then moving them from the transmutation grid onto that tab. I save the first tab for my legendaries + new drops, second tab for rares and 3rd tab for lower level items to combine.
There is another guide on here for Transmutation. The cliff notes is that 9 un-identified items will create a new higher level item. There are 4 levels of items:
Black Background -> Most basic. 9 of these to create a blue background
Blue Background -> Good. 9 of these to create a rare item
Green Background -> Rare. 9 of these to create a legendary
Brown Background -> Legendary. Check out the legendary guide here on steam to see the types of items you can create! These are very good and worthwhile to try to attain.
You always want to identify a legendary. 9 legendaries can create a Grotesque Endeavor, which will have a random 5-6 of the traits that you combined. In effect, this allows even more legendaries to be equipped.
When you complete a map, you will get to choose 1 reward from a random set of 3 for each objective you complete for a map. Maps that have more objectives / challenges will give one reward for the FIRST time you complete each objective.
Gems -> Straight up gems. While it is very tempting to get these in your early stages to upgrade your traps, you will find that you will be gaining hundreds of gems by the end of the game per level (it is quite easy to attain level 150 or higher by the end of the game), so it is best to never select gems.
Skill -> Skills are gained with each level you increase, and you will have quite a few of these by the end of the game, and with no respect cost, skills are not the best place to spend the rewards as you can easily try different skills with virtually no penalty.
+ Trap/Consumable -> It may not seem like a lot when you’re first beginning, as you may say “hey I use this trap but to upgrade to level 10 is only 10 gems”, but later in the game you will have traps at level 50 or higher, and these can be worth A LOT of gems later in the game. The bonus is these carry over with Ascension and it is awesome to start out a new game with +30 or more on a trap. It can make the first few levels a cakewalk with that trap.
SPECIAL: Most of the time the + on trap and consumables is +1, but occasionally you will get a +2 or even a +3 so make sure you mouse over these icons to see the bonus amount before dismissing it!
% chance on quality Rarity -> When items drop from creeps during waves, this will influence the quality of the item dropped. Dropping a blue instead of a black can save you 9 transmutations. Dropping a green instead of a black can save you the equivalent of 81 transmutations from all black. This, along with quantity, can help you gain legendary items through transmutation a lot faster. The bonus is these carry over with Ascension
% chance on Quantity -> Like Quality, how many items drop during a wave is influenced by this number. The more items that drop, the more things you can transmute to get to legendary. The bonus is these carry over with Ascension
1% increase to starting gold
Permanently increases your starting gold. This can accumulate and as a bonus this carries over with Ascension.
You will have your own preference. I personally prioritize:
1. If it’s a trap that I use a lot i will pick the trap
2. Otherwise pick the quality
3. Otherwise pick the quantity
4. Starting gold
5. Pick the trap even if I don’t use it much, particularly if it’s a trap that is necessary during the first 30-50 levels
6. Then skills
7. I never pick gems so there are no other real options
The easy buttons
Once you can attain level 70 or higher, many of the more dominant traps will become available and there are several combinations you can employ with great effectiveness.
Note: Traps listed in order from where the creeps come out:
Until you get spin blade or black hole, or likely your first 50 levels, it can be quite challenging. It really depends upon the map, but I found the following somewhat effective until I get the spinblade:
Spike to impale the crowds that are backed up behind the grinder
Grinder to grind while they are trying to get around the demon
Demon to block
More advanced combinations that are effective at higher levels are:
Chakram w/pushback (only attainable with legendary chakram item)
Bolts with pushback
If you can get lightning up to level 100 or higher, this is very effective. This is discussed in the guide for Ascension in more detail.
7 lightnings surrounding 2 shockwave generators
Flying machines are the most frustrating creep because they are so impervious to many ground based traps.
They also will take different routes and it is much harder to block them. They will fly over water.
While several traps will do some damage – namely chakrams, bolts, darts and axe, I have these to be really unreliable.
The only things that are very effective are:
2. Lich Tomb – Long range minions
3. Portal Guardians, but only for stragglers. Not effective against 3 or more than come at once
Once you hit level 30, the endless option will be available at the end of a map to see how far you can make it.
While not required, it’s a great way to level up your character because this bonus XP is basically free other than the time to finish it.
While wrath still works in making tougher enemies, item drops are disabled during endless, so it’s pointless to induce wrath, unless you are just a glutton for punishment and want to end your endless run sooner than later.
You start where you finished on the map with all traps in place.
Endless runs are a great place to try trap combinations / placements. Whereas before you might have had one chokepoint, you might want to try:
1. Creating a killing zone right as the creeps emerge to soften them up before they get to your chokepoint
2. How does a field of black holes surrounded by chakrams work?
3. Try different upgrade options on traps to judge their effectiveness
Things I wish I would have found out earlier
After plaything through twice and trying to look back, here are some things that were not evident the first time through. I asked a lot of questions here on the Steam forums and ST was great in answering many of these. Most of these are covered in this guide in other places, but thought it would be nice to summarize those nuggets that would have made quality of life improvements throughout the game.
Mouse wheel on the wave counters will show you upcoming wave compositions
This is critical if you don’t want to enrage (add more wrath) to something that is upcoming.
Q and ~ by default are the hotkeys for consumables
I use consumable traps so much I was always looking for a hot-key and it’s not evident UNTIL you mouse over the consumables then it shows you the hot-keys for these!
You can put traps right up next to the entrance where creeps emerge
I was so focused on trying to maze the creeps, and find a decent choke point that I didn’t really consider cramming traps at the entrance and at the end of my 1st ascension I can tell you that is my preferred strategy and chokepoints are secondary.
You can use the transmutation grid to move items to different tabs
I love to organize and it was super frustrating not having a direct ability to move things to different tabs on the item page. ST again pointed this out and for me this was a godsend in my OCD behavior 😉
Mousing over maps shows you where you have challenges / objectives that you haven’t completed
This was really frustrating as it felt like a hunt and peck by clicking on maps to see what objectives I had missed and this was answered by ST again. It’s now pretty easy to identify those maps I need to revisit.
Etheral maps are a boon and a bust
When you need to grind to get more gems / XP, these are great to have so things don’t get repetitive, but activating them all can clutter the map and for the OCD completionist like me, it was drudgery to go back and do all of them – so I gave up.
The next playthrough, I combined them to create new maps hoping to get something secret. While you can combine them, it didn’t really feel like I got anything special.
Combine bad runes to get different ones
There are certain runes, like +2 totems at the beginning of each wave, % healing, % weight increase that are very tough. You can take 3 of these runes and combine them to get a new one, so it’s a way to declutter all your runes.
Legendary runes can actaully make things easier
This is counter-intuitive. Rare runes are a PITA and I pretty much ignored legendary until very late. It’s important to keep your rares unidentified if you want these legendary runes.