What's the quickest way to farm mana in dungeon defenders?
The following is the best guide I've found to get to the point where you can reliably farm the higher difficulties. I've moved most of it over to protect against link rot.
Source: Loot Progress path for dummies
Getting the Gear
Suggested heroes: Adept/Apprentice (tower focus), Initiate/monk (tower focus), huntress/ranger (tower focus)
Starting build for each char:
Class: Hero stats - skills - Tower stats - resists
Adept: 0/0/0/0 - 0/0 - 65/120/26/120 - 0/0/0/0
Initiate: 0/0/0/0 - 0/0 - 91/120/120/0 - 0/0/0/0
Huntress: 0/0/0/0 - 0/0 - 120/120/91/0 - 0/0/0/0
Start the map with initiate/monk and play during combat phase with adept/apprentice. Focus on gearing up adept the most, but don't leave initiate left behind too much. OPEN ALL CHEST EVERY TIME.
Do each map as many times as you need to get enough gear to do the next suggested map. Also note, failing for the first time on a map doesn't mean you don't have enough gear, maybe you need to refine your tactic, build order. The original thread contains a diary post showing his gear progression (Here).
Here are some alternate tactics from the same guide.
Map #1: Medium Hall of Court (Pure Strategy or Survival)
GENIE IS REQUIRED. NOT OPTIONAL.
Note: Start on wave 8, you finish faster, and if you choose medium PS, then it should be very easy, even naked. If you don't have any gear, just pick up whatever you find during the map. Don't forget to upgrade auras when they are at low health. Some info about Genie. When you are upgrading genie, upgrade the attack!
Map #2: Insane Glitterhelm Caverns (campaign)
The following video is using somewhat modified tactic, because run speed and casting speed is low to play with two chars first wave. The characters are NAKED in this video. (2x speed, so you don't fall asleep)
Note: You can level the genie up very fast here without spending millions of mana on it.
Map #3: Nightmare Endless Spires (campaign)
Note: Chests can contain 90+ upgrade weapons and 60+ upgrade armors even after the first wave. The gear can exceed even ramparts.
Note#2: You can keep farming this in HC NM MM survival mode, and progress towards Map #6 and skip #4,#5.
Map #4: Nightmare Ramparts (campaign)
Note: The loot of this map doesn't exceed Endless Spires, but wanted to leave it here as a possible alternative.
Map #5: Nightmare Über Lifesteram Hollow MonsterFest
cubicleninja is missing the map, so can't provide layout. Check out the vid!
Note: Can be skipped
Map #6: Nightmare Mistmyre Forest
Video by me:
As you may have guessed, the best way to get mana is to sell the numerous items that drop during each wave. Remember to pick up items to sell since there is a cap on how many items can exist on a map at a time. This mainly becomes an issue when the waves consist of over 500 monsters.
Once you can farm Nightmare Mistmyre you should be set to get 60+ million mana every 30 minutes. Here is a more detailed guide for farming mana there: How to farm mythic gear & mana (60+mil 30 mins)
The fastest mana farming I have seen (and I do on a regular basis) is the Assault mission pack. You do have to host it though. On hard you get a 4mil mana reward for each completion. On insane it's 9mil. I haven't beaten it on nightmare but the reward there should be even more. If you can solo the assault mission pack on hard difficulty ot harder, try it!