In Defense Grid: The Awakening, is it more cost-efficient to build more towers or upgrade existing ones?

3 Answers 3


I asked devs the same question and turned out there is no difference from both cost and damage points of views (except for temporals and commander towers). I upgrade towers that are located in most valuable places (i.e. where aliens pass several times) where space is limited.

Quote from a dev:

The choice is actually entirely up to you.

level 1 gun tower - cost 100

level 2 gun tower - cost 200 (total paid = 300)

level 3 gun tower - cost 400 (total paid = 700)

The damage a level 2 gun tower does is exactly 3 times as much as a level 1 gun tower. The damage a level 3 gun tower is exactly 7 times as much as a level 1 gun tower.

Essentially, a single level 3 gun tower is equal to seven level 1 gun towers. They do the same total damage and the total cost of each are also the same.

If you're building a maze, the seven towers is probably the better choice. If you're limited on space, or you have a kill zone setup with a temporal tower, then perhaps the full upgraded gun tower is the better choice.

It really depends on your playstyle and the choices you make for any given map.

By the way, the above example is true for all towers. (Except the Temporal and Command tower, they're special.)

  • 2
    usually, when you have enough space, and technically it doesn't matter, mutiple towers give the advantage over a single tower, as they're faster to place and can spread out the damage over multiple targets. Commented Jul 11, 2010 at 21:18
  • Upgrades give increased range, don't they?
    – erikric
    Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 22:53

I found that upgrading always works better for me than to place a lot of towers
Check out what each upgrade does, it shows how much the damage, rate of fire, and range would be increased when you upgrade; I think it becomes clear when you compare damage vs cost.

A level 3 (red) gun tower for example, is way more powerful than a lot level one (green) ones.

Here's an interesting article on that tower, and some design decisions.

There are challenges where you can only build level 1 towers, play that and experience first hand how the gameplay changes.

  • 2
    I tend to think that red gun towers are too powerful, many times you can pass the level by spamming them, without caring about other kinds of turrets.
    – Gnoupi
    Commented Jul 11, 2010 at 6:41
  • @Gnoupi: you sure there aren't any bullet resistant types in the game? I only have the demo so far (so i can't check) but that seems reasonable. Plus, the other towers do have their niches.
    – RCIX
    Commented Jul 11, 2010 at 10:52
  • @RCIX - there are, and you are more effective with correct turrets. But there are several levels in which you can just spam them and win (with some losses, though).
    – Gnoupi
    Commented Jul 11, 2010 at 11:10
  • 1
    @Gnoupi: Considering it is not too hard to beat the game with no losses whatsoever, I don't think that's a very good strategy. Commented Aug 1, 2012 at 21:35

Although I have not myself played Defense Grid, in every other tower defense game I've played it is much more cost effective to upgrade existing ones.

  • Well there is a trade off. Usually for the first several rounds you build towers incessantly. Then, you start upgrading. In my experience two towers of level n are usually better than one tower of level n+1 and only mildly more expensive. This is especially true of towers that target one creep at a time. Commented Jul 11, 2010 at 3:10
  • Depends on how the towers upgrade in the game. For instance, in Sanctum it's more cost-effective to build more towers than to upgrade existing ones. Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 17:01

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