TL;DR Man, I had hope for this game being a considerably better version of Dungeon Defenders 1, especially considering the large amount of changes done, but it ended up being a huge disappointment. I invested a reasonable amount of hours, and even persuaded my friends that were playing the game that things would get better because Trendy was listening. Things didn't get better, but Trendy kept listening. In short, I'd advise against getting the game, at least for now. While I've sort of relinquished my affection for the game, I do still look at updates and hope things get better.
So this is Dungeon Defenders 1.5. Basically, it serves to help be the middle ground between Dungeon Defenders 2 and Dungeon Defenders 1 (I think). If you've played Dungeon Defenders, then you know what this game is about. Dungeon Defenders is a game where you pick a champion (or all of them, because that's an option) and your goal is to defend the Etheria crystals from the mobs trying to break them. I think them breaking means the end of the world or something. Let's go with that.
While Dungeon Defenders 1 had 4 heroes by default and the other 3 were DLC-only, Dungeon Defenders Eternity has all heroes available at the start. Also, much like the heroes, it has many of the previous maps also available at the start. Some maps haven't transitioned into Dungeon Defenders Eternity, but there is still potential for them to be added in the future as Trendy has decided that they intend to update the game with a content update MONTHLY. Currently, they've gone through 3 content updates. (The game came ou in July, so they're on pace) Each update has so far come with a new map. Also, to go along with the monthly "big update," they also do smaller weekly updates to the game.
Gameplay is identical to the first with few exceptions. Some towers have had some tweaking and, perhaps the most controversial change, Minion Units from Dungeon Defenders 1 has been replaced by adding on Defense Units to maps that warranted it. Also, the game comes with 4 additional maps to the campaign, 3 inside of the missions leading to Eternia Shards maps, and 1 after Crystalline Dimension.
The way items upgrade has also been reworked. Previously they costed mana which was all but abundant in the game, and only an exceptional few items took one's entire inventory's worth of mana to fully upgrade, but now they function on the new Gold resource that has replaced Mana. Mana now only interacts with towers and doesn't influence anything outside of a given map. Gold though, as you might imagine, is noticably harder to come by. Whereas in the past it wasn't too difficult to find a 2000 mana Mana Token, now you'd be hard pressed to find even a 50 gold Gold Coin. Fortunately, items cost an almost proportionally amount less gold to upgrade and this seems to serve as to limit a player's ability to just upgrade their gear to obscene levels early on and just rush through the game with that gear. Maybe.
So, I'm going to level with you. I spent 800 hours in Dungeon Defenders 1 and I only played for about 4 months. The game got really solved and that made me kind of furstrated, so I gave away what I had and just left the game. Games like these are intended to encourage you to farm for gear that gives you beetter stats so you have an easier time with the endgame, right? Well, that's fine and you can get to that level hilariously easy in Dungeon Defenders 1 by means of Tinkerer's Lab Assault NMHC. At around 3000 stats in Dungeon Defenders 1 (fully upgraded), you are pretty comfortable with every map. Eternity, on the other hand, while it doesn't have Tinkerer's Lab Assault, it does have something far worse.
Something to note is that in Dungeon Defenders 1, it was pretty difficult to find an item with 400 in a stat. There was even a cap on the more obscene Obsidian Weapons at 999 in a stat. That was basically the highest you'd see at all in the game and it was tremendously rare to find anything not a Clava with those stats.
Unfortunately, Eternity decided numbers get players or something, so you can find as high as 600 base stats on an item. Remember how I mentioned items upgrade differently? Well not only do they use gold, but they upgrade 10% of the base. Imagine you found an elusive 600 stat weapon in the game and it came with 16 upgrades (highest from the past. I'm not sure if it was implemented to have items with 16 upgrades anymore). Well, that would mean that you could get 60 stats per upgrade, 15 more times giving you 900 extra stats. That would mean 1500 stats on, potentially, one stat from an item. I mean, all of the stats could have rolled with 600, so you could have something obscene like 600/1050/1050/600 on an item or something. Or ytou could have a waller with just 1500 in tower Health because that's a thing. Sure, the formulas scale a bit differently from Dungeon Defenders 1, but it just doesn't make sense.
That said, you don't need anywhere close to the maximum theoretical stats achieveable to clear maps. I've had friends that broke into nightmare, clearing Tavern Defense with meager 800s in a stat. Not even in the thousands. Sure, you might suggest that some other maps require higher stats, but those stats are pretty easily achievable. I mean, it's not like you'd be spending hours and hours trying to clear The Deeper Well (first map in the game) on Nightmare (current highest difficulty in the game) with the Hardcore modifier (makes the mobs harder and you get better drops) or anything. That really detracts from how fun the game is.
With games like these with the amoutn of diversity in characters, there's also much to be said about balance. If you've played Dungeon Defenders 1, you know that there were really only 4 builders in that game (at least in end-game): Huntress, Monk(Initiate), Summoner(Demoness) and Series EV. What of that changed in Dungeon Defenders Eternity? Well, the Huntress is nearly not even a class. Changes that were made to her include having all towers default to 15s recharge time, making her gas trap nearly unusable. Also, inferno trap doesn't scale with rate as one might hope. Instead, it will tick every second for forever. Rate just affects the recharge of the trap. Fortunately, her Darkness trap has an added feature that will also give mobs a chance to "miss" a target, effectively acting as a secondary Strength Drain within a limited area.
Monk's Enrage Aura also is/was brokenly overpowered. It's still an AoE mind control tower ('cause those are always
balanced in Tower Defense games), but it also debuffs mobs so that they die faster too. In previous patches it was even more brokenly overpowered by being able to tick faster and harder.
Summoner, because Minion Units stripped from the game, was given an unwarranted buff to its units. Mages, for example, can now heal all towers within range, not just minions. Because, in case you were worried about having to play the game, the game has to be put back in gaminess.
Series EV's utility towers are just as potent as before, but Buff Beam has seen a considerable buff to it scaling. No longer does it "soft-cap" at ~3000 stats, but it goes on forever. Because every Tower Defense game needs an AoE buff tower that can reach absurd levels, right?
Ugh. Ok, so I know my tone hasn't been the best, but this game is frustrating. Not because of the game per-se, but beacuse of the game... Yeah, ok, words are hard. The gameplay itself ultimately isn't any different from Dungeon Defenders 1. Ultimately, I guess that's my fault for being a challenge I thought I'd have to overcome. I mean, Dungeon Defenders 1 was just so stale after a point, so I was hoping Eternity would breathe new life into the game. I honestly was defending the game to my friends because I was certain the game would get better and be a better experience. It's almost embarassing to me.
Anyway, character cap. This game is a huge let-down