After having played VT2 for a great many hours I have observed trends in what gets played and used, trends many of us have noticed.
The reality is each balance patch often brings about different play styles with even small buffs which is good. For example increase the armour pen of the dual daggers from 0.2 to 0.5 on the stab was enough to make it the dominant pick for shade. This in turn made every other weapon a non optimal pick.
The Shade ult CD reduction patch made the Shade a must have class for boss missions and a solid pick, where before it was a super niche pick with no clear purpose.
Clearly we can see even small changes can vastly shift the meta so we must be careful with what we change lest we destroy the fragile balance. This is why devs often spend great amounts of time collecting "data" before making changes.
However over the life cycle of this game there are some things that have never changed despite them even being targeted in some patches. These are things that are heavily entrenched and will require quite sizable changes to rectify. These are things that I will address here.
Topic 1: Greatswords aren't so great really…
Greatswords were quite powerful in VT1 and this power has not carried over to VT2 for reasons that become quite apparent quickly. Yet at the same time there are serious flaws with the weapons that if fixed would make them a decent pick. To put it in context the Elf's greatsword is mathematically her worst weapon at everything. The worst for hordes (daggers with a mobile play-style outperform it), worst for bosses and worst for armour.
Problem 1: Diagonal cuts are bad for dealing with hordes, the one thing the weapon is suppose to be good at. The effective killing arc of a greatsword is actually about half the screen on either side of the centre point. For a horde clearing weapon this is garbage and is why you only get good value out of the weapon in choke points. The reason people use heavies with the weapon is not that the damage is even much better, it's that the heavies are more horizontal in their swings. This makes them useful in open field fights.
- The heavy move set is now also the light move set (except Elf GS this needs just more horizontal swings). This makes all swings more horizontal and instantly the weapon is far better at horde clearing.
Problem 2: Armour is everywhere and 0.2 armour pen on heavies isn't going to cut it. Also not being able to score headshots easily due to the wide swings doesn't help you deal with SV. This problem plagues almost every non used weapon.
- Armour pen on heavies changed to 0.5 on all greatswords. They can now deal with armour and will see use. This change could be applied to shield weapons as well. They all suffer the same problem.
Topic 2: Witch Hunter Captain is not really fun or engaging to play
Saltz is the leader of the group and the abilities he has try to reflect this. However they are fairly boring and lack clear impact. This leads to neither you nor your team really understanding what you even did with your passives.
Problem 1: Witch hunt and his other passive "head shots instantly slay man sized enemies" have 0 synergy.
- To have these two passives interact I would suggest a slight change to Witch hunt. Killing a marked target grants Saltz 1 guaranteed crit on his next melee attack. In this way you can actually get some use out of the passive outside of a lucky roll while spamming into a pack of SV. Killing a marked targets means you know that your next melee attack will crit and so you can intentionally light attack the head of say a Mauler or SV for an instant kill. This will then reactivate the passive letting you chain it to the next elite and so on. The counter play here is it's only the next attack, so if you have to fight off random mobs you will waste your crit before getting to use it on an elite. Obviously the lvl 15 talents will need a rework as well. The attack speed one is fine while the crit chance one could be changed to 25% damage resit to allow Saltz to fight better in melee, much like blade barrier helps Merc.
Problem 2: An RNG ult is not fun or useful.
Saltz has a huge ult cooldown for what boils down to, you may get 1 or 2 more crits than usual for the next 6 seconds. Outside of the knockdown the value of this ult is highly questionable.
- Going with the theme of the passive rework the ult would instead give the whole team 4 guaranteed crits on their next melee attacks. This would not work with ranged weapons for obvious reasons and would let the team know they have 4 attacks that will 100% crit. This allows Saltz to use his passive effectively while giving the team more damage and guaranteed procs on either swift slaying or resourceful.
Problem 3: No real weapon to call his own
- The Rapier has been nerfed heavily due to it's ability to be abused by Bounty Hunter. The solution is simple. Limit it to WHC and make it a good weapon again. Have the pistol actually be useful. Restore it to how it was in VT1, give it 20 ammo by default and make it do full damage. Also as a quality of life change make it function like BH ult where you can hold down shoot to hold the pistol out and aim it.
Topic 3: Certain careers crowd out others or lack purpose at higher difficulties
Problem 1: Mercenary Krubers ult lacks purpose as you go up difficulties. he is defined by his damage output not his class skill.
- Temp hp is great at lower levels where attacks don't hit for much and before everyone gets their level 20 talents. Here Merc is a god for the team that carries and saves them with his ult. However at higher levels it lacks a point as the temp Hp is too little to even block a single slave rat hit, except for Kruber himself with blade barrier on.
- When Kruber uses his ult it applies the blade barrier passive to his whole team for the duration. This means in addition to the temp Hp which is largely pointless due to how quickly people can get it themselves, your whole team also gets 25% damage mitigation. Merc Kruber ult is now good in legend.
Problem 2: Shade is a mandatory pick for optimal play due to her ability to remove bosses from play.
- Shade while by no means required is so good at what she does it doesn't make sense to not have her outside of "it's boring to watch a shade 1 shot a boss". Most of her problems come from her ult CD. Make it too long and she is boring to play because she can't use it in general play. Make it too short (like now) and she removes bosses from existence.
- A surprisingly simple one that allows her to still be fun and use her ult while not making it the destroyer of worlds for bosses. Her ult doesn't go on cooldown until after she has actually attacked or the stealth expires. This means she can't just infinitely stay invisible and get maximum value out of a purple pot. She will get a few less attacks per purple pot allowing some bosses to survive her. She still remains good but not oppressive. Alternately you could just nerf the damage to bosses again.
Problem 3: Sienna has three classes?
- BW is garbage. You can try and defend it but really it is garbage. Not because the class is bad, but because both of her other classes outshine it greatly.*
- Take away Pyro's lvl 25 talent that clears her overcharge on ult and give it to BW. BW is now the class that can move around and fight at range or in melee. Pyro while still powerful will have to actually use hp to vent which is offset by a very powerful offensive ult.
Armour strong, 0.2 armour pen not. 0.5 is where it's at.
WHC boring and bad. Rework his passive for guaranteed crits to not make me sad.
Some classes are too good, some not good enough, little changes here and there are all they need.
© Post "Balance changes to make more weapon/class combos viable" for game Warhammer: Vermintide.
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