Two things are the cause of this lower damage:
The stats of every creature in the game have been rebalanced. Some creatures were far better than others before, while others were completely awful. There’s not quite as big of a gap anymore.
Defense works differently now. Here’s a rough idea of how damage was calculated before this patch:
(attacker_attack - defender_defense ) / 2.25
Then, the disparity between attacker_luck and defender_luck was used to calculate variance on the result from above, increasing or decreasing the value depending on how the luck compared.
Next, several conditions and abilities could affect this damage. For example, Pad Sorcery would decrease the damage taken if the attacker happened to be a Sorcery creature.
Finally, a straight percentage of the attacker’s speed was added to that value.
Now, everything still works the same except for the first part:
Damage is equal to attacker_attack.
The defender has an internal value called “mitigation”. This value starts at 30% and cannot exceed 85%.
To increase mitigation past 30%, defender_defense is compared to attacker_attack. The higher defender_defense is compared to attacker_attack, the more mitigation is added to the base value of 30%.
After that, mitigation reduces the damage by that same percentage. From there, luck, conditions/abilities, and speed are calculated in the same way as they were prior to this patch.
The reason for this change is because at higher levels (such as where you’re probably at by now), battles often involved one side dealing 1 damage and the other side one-shotting everything. You’ll still be able to obliterate any creature you encounter on low realm levels that you were able to before, but you should no longer hit a brick wall at higher levels. In addition, your creatures should now be able to survive an extra attack or two to give you time to form an actual strategy rather than racing to try to kill your opponents before they could kill you. This inadvertently makes attack, luck, defense, and speed all a little more balanced with each other, since it’s no longer the best option necessarily to stack one stat on an artifact all the time.
With that said, it’s possible that this new mitigation factor could use some fine-tuning in terms of number adjustments.