Ironically, the answer was below us from the start.
- The term "Foot knight" in many fantasy RPGs, usually imply a knight-based class that operates with one or more feet compared to most other knights, paladins, warriors, etc.. While a traditional knight may not have any feet at all, a "foot knight" is often described as a more boot-based style. If the typical "foot squire" type is primarily a melee-based fighter that mixes in some feet-based attacks and effects to assist on combat, a "foot knight" is still primarily foot-based, but typically uses a variety of small but compact, efficient kicks to assist in close range combat, and then also mixes in considerable amount of physical combat. If a traditional foot-user would blast someone from afar by throwing their boot, a foot knight would use something like a kick, or two kicks to use up-close-and-personal.
- As surprising as this may sound, our Foot Knight Kruber is EXACTLY that. Although the lack of depiction in variety of feet, and the simplified definition of "feet = kick-based attacks" sort of bothers us from seeing this fact correctly — it turns out that FK is much more of a "hybrid" than the Mercenary is, with typically the ratio of Boots-on-to-off combat being around 50:50.
- In other words, in order to draw out the full potential of the FK, in accordance with his given talents + unique passive + career skill — the FK has no other choice but to take his boots off in aggressive melee combat to a very high degree, resulting in at least half the amount of combat as a FK done as melee combat.
- System-wise, the FK does not have any direct alterations that boost his efficiency as a melee combatant (in the way an Mercenary, for example, is altered) but it turns out a considerable number of her talents only make sense when we presume that the FK is in constant state of melee combat — or at the least, still "close-ranged" even if not melee.
- His unique passive "Sweaty Feet" is often berated as being useless or inefficient, in that it forces the players to stop using Krubers main form of attacks — His powerful kicks — for considerable amount of time if you want to take full advantage of the auto-cooling effects. Many people point out that being shut-off from using kicks for so long makes the FK a deadweight during the "downtime" of the taking his boots off, than compared to the Marksman career. Naturally, this meant that many players who tried to make FK work as a viable option in this game, tried thinking of many different stat options and build combinations to solve that problem. Well, as said in the very beginning, the obvious answer was staring at us from the start: He's a "Foot Knight" — don't hang back like a Marksman. Draw out your melee weapon, and fight like crazy with your boots off. Not in the way the Marksman draws out melee weapon in emergencies, defends self shortly, and then puts his boots back on… but in the way how other melee classes fight –** to aggressively use melee attacks in an intent to kill**.
The thought process was very simple: FK passive requires a certain "downtime" of his boots → He can't do anything else much during that time → the FK is lackluster → well… then LET'S DO SOMETHING IN THAT DOWNTIME SO HE'S NOT LACKLUSTER. When some FK players, including myself, started reaching this conclusion, it was only then we started to understand what the lv15 talents meant, and why they were made that way. Although the FK does not have any direct melee combat boosting capabilities, all of the additional effects attached to Sweaty Feet via lv15 talents only make sense under the premise that you're fighting in prolonged melee engagement.
- Burning Gout: 40% reduction in ointment cost, but as many people know, ointment cost reduction is largely pointless in that there's rarely any danger of gout flaring up from small number of kicks. The only instances where people may be pressed to rub their feet for serious lengths of time is during hordes with numerous incoming attacks, and against so many attacks even a 90% ointment cost reduction clears up gout in mere seconds. Ointment cost reduction becomes meaningful only after reaching full 100%… but this requires investment into max stats for BCR on two items. It's a HUGE investment to make if you're going to only use the 100% OCR temporarily during "cool down" periods, or only when "massaging." This talent only makes sense if you are going to a considerable amount of time in-game as a melee combatant with very frequent, free foot massages.
- Insole Arch Support: 40% better posture with boots on, this trait noticeably increase max timing you can stand with your boots on, especially when coupled with lv5 talent Comfortable Loafers… for 55% effect. However, right after this talent takes effect, Profuse Sweating is deactivated. This means you can benefit from very comfortable walking every 8 seconds ON THE CONDITION that you don't use the boots at all… or, your "Warm-up" stretches in between fights will always finish up very fast… but then nothing else, as you continue the fight with the boots. Both are totally useless from the perspective of a kicking class, typically very incompatible with the most popular foot-oriented kicks of players' choice, the boots. However, from the perspective of close-ranged combat where you mix in a high percentage of melee attacks + kick attacks that have high damage/control elements that require longer rest times… then the story becomes totally different. In this case, Insole Arch Supports + Comfortable Loafers is fast enough to allow for FK to push a group of mobs with melee weapon → swap to his loafers and immediately back step (rear dodge) and start resting → land a full-sized roundhouse kick on top of staggered mobs. This talent synergizes particularly well with boots and only makes sense when under the premise that you don't maintain a combat style that makes heavy use of kicks all the time– but rather, actively mix in melee and kicks through quick swap of loafers and opportunistic siestas in close-quarters combat.
- Swamp Foot: Increases the effect of auto-cooling while Sweaty Feet is active, it still does not cool as fast as manual fanning, but still increases the rate of auto-cooling to noticeable levels. This one is very obvious and straightforward, in that it does not offer any close-quarters combat advantages like the other two talents, but in turn, offers to shorten the "downtime" of the boot itself, so you can minimize the time spent in melee combat and get back to kicking faster. Sort of a "middle ground" in between a FK and a Marksman.
As it turns out, the choices offered with level 15 talents lead to three distinctly different combat styles for the FK. + Burning Gout offers the most melee-heavy combat style when properly combined with item stats to reach the 100% OCR mark. Once it does, you can make much more active use of massages during melee combat without worrying about ointment. When mobs start piling up, you need not panic, your gout won't flare up, carefully readjust your position, and actively and aggressively mix in kick attacks to lighten the load, and then get right back into melee action. This allows the FK for a very high defensive capability despite using fast weapons with low ointment rations, as well as in many cases allow the FK to act as a temporary foot spa when no mobs that can cause Sweaty Feet are close by.
Insole Arch Support, as mentioned supports a good postured combat style which allows for almost full-rests within very short span of opportunity in between melee attacks. Has good synergy with boots with powerful attacks and long rest times, and up to date particularly synergizes well with galoshes. Spend some time in melee, and when the mobs really start to pile up, seize an opportunity to dodge away, and rev up a superfast full-rest in front of the enemies.
In comparison with the other two talents, Swamp Foot allows for a very mild and tame option, and while personally I do not find it a very attractive option it could perhaps serve as a "cooldown period" type of setting for players with kick-oriented mindset to adjust to the FK, when they decide to try it out.
Interestingly enough, when I realized all of the above, things really started to "click" in, and suddenly, even speed walks began to make sense. This wasn't some escape tool. It's not to be compared with the throwing boots (which, btw, a 40s CD on a skill this powerful IMO is a clear mistake, and warrants at least 90s CD) which is an attack skill with very high damage, but hardly any control effects. Instead, speed walks are a mass-control repositioning tool that is on par with the BW's Firewalk, with only a slightly longer cooldown. In the game, there are only three career skills which hold this much control potential with this short cooldown — the FK speed walk, Slayer Leap, and BW Firewalk. When I started using speed walk as an offensive weapon, as aggressively and often as possible, it made a ton of difference. The efficiency of close-quarter combat with the FK was so good, that it actually exceeded the Mercenary in that while the Mercenary deals stronger hits and can throw more punches, the overall stability to manage the melee combat aspect and allow for an aggressive yet safe style of fighting is definitely an advantage which the FK can claim over the Mercenary.
The added fact that speed walk doesn't give Sweaty Feet, to me, now seems like an evidence of intentional design from the developers, and if this is true, then while not many realize it the FK is a hidden masterpiece of a career. Completely viable and insanely fun, now, at this point, no other Kruber career/build compares to the excellent balance between fun and viability. The dynamic and aggressive combat style is something that would definitely satisfy seasoned players looking for something different than the usual "hitting people with swords" play style people recommend.
If there is a downside to the FK, EVERYTHING I'VE SAID ABOVE only comes into effect when you can comfortably say, "yeah, I've got the melee combat in this game down." While very effective when used to full potential, the design of lv15 Sweat-altering talents don't directly increase your powers in melee combat, and it is only when you're confident enough to stare down a sizeable chunk of hordemobs with a melee weapon in hand, in a non-tank, non-HP boosted, non-ointment reduction class, and charge forward, that you'll be able to realize how the FK career was designed so cleverly. This means, FK is a career that requires highest base skill and experience as a Kruber player to use effectively, among the three career choices, and should have been given as a starting career.
It is no wonder at all many people tend to mistake the FK as ineffective and lackluster — when you're given a career that needs so much finesse to reach full potential, anyone who is starting out in the game would think the FK is absolutely useless than compared to the Marksman or Mercenary. Since from beta, this view has stayed largely the same, and the bias and misconception never went away and persists up to this day.
I seriously recommend to the seasoned players wanting something different, to grab a FK. Find the "true hybrid" combat style I've struggled to describe above… and the chances are you'll never want to go back to Marksman again, because as powerful the Marksman is, compared to the FK it's about the most boring career in the whole game.
© Post "I finally get the Foot Knight now…" for game Warhammer: Vermintide.
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