Warhammer: Vermintide

Give Us Better Power Vs X, Damage Reduction, and other Properties!

warhammer 4 - Give Us Better Power Vs X, Damage Reduction, and other Properties!

Let's look at some properties and consider some ways to fix them.

Power Vs. X Properties

These properties can be found on Melee weapons, Ranged Weapons, and Charms. The range is +5% to +%10. The properties are: Chaos, Skaven, Armored, Monsters, Infantry, and Berserkers.

These properties are broken. There are six choices, but not really. Some of these are top-tier choices or have a few important niche applications. Others literally never get taken. They're "trap" choices. Bonus damage against berserkers, you say? Who ever rolled this and got excited?

Let's compare them. Check out this table.

(Convenient layout of categories borrowed from Machiavelli's guide.)

HP Category Skaven Chaos
Infantry Slaverat(7.5)Clanrat(15)Assassin(36)Gasrat(60)Rasknitt (What are you doing here?) Fanatic(18)Marader(39)Mauler(90)Leech(60)Blightstormer(60)
Armor and Super-Armor Stormvermin(39)Gunrat(36)Warpfire Thrower(36) Rothelm(120)
Berzerker Plague Monk(52) Berzerker(54)
Monster Rat Ogre(2100)Stormfiend(2100)Packmaster(75) (sneaky!) Bile Troll(1500)Chaos Spawn(2100)

Looking across columns and down rows shows what your bold-faced Power vs. trait will effect in game. Major bosses tend to be exactly what they look like, although Bumbelee Coupontuna is a Monster and Rasknitt is Infantry. What can we conclude here?

The big winners are Power vs. Skaven and Power vs. Chaos. Each one each encompasses roughly half the enemies in the game you'll be slaying constantly. After that, Power vs. Infantry comes up in builds to help reach breakpoints with a few weapons and the infantry represent the vast majority of enemies you'll be fighting (but, importantly, not the vast majority of enemies that will give you problems). Finally, Power vs. Armor pops up because people really like one-shotting Stormvermin and you sometimes need to 'double up' on anti-Stormvermin properties. Salty can one-shot Chaos Warriors with the Repeater Pistol if he grabs this trait. Chaos Warriors tend to be big enough that taking them out fast is worth specializing in, while they have a big enough pool of hitpoints that even if you don't deal all the damage to them, dealing more damage to them contributes to other allies killing them faster. So Armor has some utility.

This leaves Power vs. Monsters and Power vs. Berserkers languishing.

Consider Monsters. Why focus on Monsters when Skaven or Chaos exist? Those target half the monsters and also almost every other enemy in the game, giving you meaningful breakpoints. A dedicated anti-monster weapon build sounds viable, but bosses are rare and a full party fighting a boss doesn't really need to shave off a few seconds murdering a boss so much as stopping the specials and hordes that show up during a boss fight. Parties don't wipe because a Rat Ogre or Stormfiend showed up; parties wipe because a Rat Ogre or Stormfiend showed up and then a two Packmasters and 50 chaos fanatics join the fray.

Power vs. Berserkers is Fatshark's way of saying, "Waste some more blue dust, please." I'm not motivated to look up meaningful breakpoints for Berserkers, if they exist. They're rarely encountered. You'll see berserkers more often than bosses but less often than specials! Plague monks barely exist in the level that's all about a plague cauldron filled with plague deep enough to flood a mausoleum. There's more Plague Monks guarding the Skyre Doomwheels in the forest.

In order of utility:

  • Power vs. Chaos and Power vs. Skaven tend to be the big winners with Power vs. Infantry also having a role.
  • Power vs. Armor comes up sometimes for special builds, but one-shotting Stormvermin is so powerful and convenient it pays for itself.
  • Power vs. Monsters and Power vs. Berserkers are absolute bottom tier properties.

I used to like my VT1 Ogre-deleting Triple Crossbow. However, ranged weapons don't delete monsters fast enough compared to just bringing a Shade. Spec'ing for monster killing feel like a waste of a weapon, even if you really dislike Packmasters. On the other hand… some people like to focus down bosses and while I feel like it isn't the best strategy, I know some people do it.

What's the solution for fixing these last two properties?

Our table shows that Power vs. Berserkers is the odd man(/rat) out. Berserkers could fit in with Infantry, but slipping them down with the Monsters and changing the property to Power vs. Monsters/Berserkers seems like it would be good. It takes one terrible trait and adds it in with a trait that might actually be grabbed sometimes. Now we have something more appealing. Combine that with another suggestion: instead of very rarely having a couple berserkers in a little group hanging out around on a level, use berserkers like Stormvermin – mix in one or two as ambient enemies. Let them be a part of random spawns sometimes. And add a couple more to the random berserker groups around.
Make finding a berserker on a level something that happens multiple times as opposed to a rarity.

Also, side effect of combining properties: it removes one trait from the pool, meaning every single person who rolls on a melee weapon, ranged weapon, or charm is a little more likely to get what they want. That's nice!

Damage Reduction

Taking less damage is cool. Most people try to do this every day in their normal life.

Try going from a "tank" class to something softer. You notice Damage Reduction when it's gone. It's not just a flat percentage: the Damage Reduction Talents, Temp HP, and Natural Bond all work together to artificially increase your HP pool by an appreciable amount. You get synergistic effects that, once you start combining them, give you the ability to take a lot more damage than a simple percentage would suggest.

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However, the Damage Reduction properties and even some of the talents just aren't popular.

Let's look at the numbers!

Damage Reduction comes in a range from 5% to 10% and comes in three different flavors: Damage Reduction vs. Chaos, Damage Reduction vs. Skaven, and Damage Reduction vs. Area of Effect. You can find it on your Necklaces. There are only five possible properties on a Necklace, but the Damage Reduction property will randomly pick one of the above three values to protect you against.

There is no other damage reducing property available on other items. However, 20% bonus health and Curse Resistance directly give you more health while +2 Stamina, 30% Stamina Cost Reduction, and 30% Stamina Recovery Rate "indirectly" help protect you.

Compare 10% Damage Reduction to some of the Talents available to characters. It's much weaker. Mercenary Kruber gets a talent that gives him 35% damage reduction when under half health. That same talent is shared with Zealot Salty, except on the same line he gets the ability to alter the damage of incoming hits to 50% damage or 10 HP, whichever is greater (a talent shared with Slayers). Zealots can also temporarily become 100% invincible every 2 minutes instead of dying. Unchained convert damage to heat, essentially allowing them to evaporate 50% of their damage away.


So already, we're talking about only 10% damage reduction AND you have to choose which race (Skaven or Chaos) to enjoy the benefit. Note that some levels only have one race of enemies, so you can "strategically" wear the right necklace for the job, but this is fiddly and avoids using the QuickPlay pool.

Now let's talk about AOE.

Apparently, AOE includes effects like Blightstorms, Warpfire Flames, vomit, some friendly fire effects, buboes, and gas globes. A lazy Google search shows that Damage Reduction was not lowering Gas Globe damage among quite a few other effects that you might assume should be included. That might have been fixed. It might not have. I haven't tested it myself or found any references to it.

Even if the damage reducing effects were directly fixed, AOE in this game is still broken.

Consider vomit. I hate vomit. Troll Vomit in particular is disgusting, but also buggy. Trolls will stop, aim, and then you become blind from vomit before he actually vomits on you. The vomit hits you before the sound of vomit does (Mach 1 vomit is particularly disgusting but not a likely explanation of what is happening here). The visual effects are unclear.

Consider gas globes. They aren't dangerous because of high initial damage. Instead, they're sometimes hard to see. Sometimes, they're invisible. If the gas globe lands on terrain above you, like a tree branch, or on a sloped surface, it can be confusing where the dangerous area is. The most "dangerous" gas globe is not the one that hits you directly, since you know where to run from. Rather, it's one that misses you but isn't obvious where it is. You can't see it so you don't know where to move. Other times, you'll see the green pool and stay out of it, but still take damage because the area of effect isn't where it looks like it is. Heaven help you if you get one blinding gas globe followed by another invisible one; Poisoned Wind Globadiers always throw two in a row.

In general, many AOE effects don't have a clear demarcation between safe area and dangerous area. Stormfiends act strangely if they shoot at an extreme angle. It's as if the horizontal speed of the flame is fixed while the flame coming out of the spout always appears to move at a fixed speed. If you're below a Stormfiend, his flames will hit you before it looks like it hits you. Even on a flat surface, if you're close to a Stormfiend about to shoot his flamethrower, the green flames actually hit you before you see any flames come out, which used to kill players until they lowered the damage.

AOEs in general (and Gas Globes in particular) need to be more readily telegraphed. I think AOE damage can be increased by a fair bit; but if that happens, it needs to be crystal clear where is safe and where is not. A modest damage increase should be paired with a major revamp of the Damage Reduction vs. Aoe property. For perspective, VT1 had a trinket that gave you 60% Damage Reduction from Poisoned Wind Globadiers. So we could go much much higher than 10% now in VT2. Judging by the number of people running Damage Reduction, I don't think people would seriously consider it unless you hit 50% and I'd wager other more universal benefits like extra health would win out even if you were 100% immune to AOE.

Remember, these Damage Reduction traits compete with Stamina and Health traits. Everybody takes +20% health. After that, +2 Stamina or Block Cost Reduction. Stamina builds let you push block forever. But nobody takes Damage Reduction.

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Consider rolling some of these properties together. Remember, having fewer traits buffs everybody by having fewer total traits. Less rerolls to get your desired properties on your items.

Instead of Damage Reduction vs. Skaven or Damage Reduction vs. Chaos, we could make Damage Reduction. Period. 5% to 10%. Some careers get 50% straight up Damage Reduction. FK Kruber has an aura that gives 15%-20% damage reduction. Barkskin gives 40% dependent on taking a hit first. Straight up "damage reduction" without the race modifier makes it easier to learn in fewer properties. It's less fiddly and more straightforward.

For Damage Reduction vs. AOE, a good start is to fix all the broken AOE effects in the game. Let zones of damage be clearer. Get rid of mistimed visual and audio clues. Do that, and we can up the damage on these attacks massively. Let a gas globe or a burst of flame be as potentially deadly as an assassin pounce or a packmaster dragging you away.

At the same time, up the value of the damage reduction considerably. Let the damage be serious enough that people actually want to take something specifically to lower it. The little AOE effects like buboes and friendly fire aren't too big of a bother, although the poison in the Garden of Morr is. Let the damage reduction totally change how you interact with AOE threats. Let it go from a death or a healing item to occasionally being in a position to just ignore the effects of some vomit or a gas grenade. Reward somebody who makes the decision to dedicate a whole slot to AOE protection. Let 60% damage reduction (or higher!) against just these attacks being fine.

Etc. Property Problems

Respawn Speed, Revive Speed, and Push/Block Angle are trash. The introduction of the new Fortunes of War secret map makes Curse Resistance not a "mandatory" choice anymore, so we get to put some thought into the other property on our trinket! But these two properties are still bad.

I thought a "Last Stand" style map might encourage rethinking the Respawn Speed property, but the respawning method in this version of the map is different from VT1. So Respawn Speed, like Curse Resistance, is a dead draw.

Revive Speed is super niche. Saltzpyre gets this as a talent choice. It competes with Necessary Means (+10% Power when out of ammunition) and Crippling Strike (+25% power boost to critical hits). Both sound neat but are sub-optimal, even if you abuse bugs. It's not popular as a talent or as a property. It just gets ignored. I can count on two hands the number of times a 30% revive speed buff would have saved somebody – not even an entire run, just one rando in my group. It doesn't come up often enough to matter. Even if it were 100% Respawn Speed, like a Kruber yell without the AOE effect, I still don't think anybody would take.

Push/Block Angle doesn't get taken too much. It saves on stamina when blocking and pushing outside your radius. You can combine it with Saltzpyre's infinite forward blocks and make them infinite forward and side blocks(?). But the Parry trait or just dodging like a reasonable melee combatant tend to be better choices, and even the tankiest shield user is better off using limited mobility and pushes rather than sitting forever under his shield like a turtle.

I don't even know what to do with these properties. My lazy recommendation is to just combine all three together. They're rarely chosen. It reduces the number of traits down, which is again a good general buff to everybody. Call the new property "Awareness" – more Push/Block, Faster Reviving, and Faster Respawning. Coincidentally, the range of all three of these values is 10%-30%, so you could just use the same percentages on your rolls. They fit together nicely.

(Is this the right flair? Discussion?)

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