Warhammer: Vermintide

Melee Weapons and Balance: Roles are not equal

warhammer 9 - Melee Weapons and Balance: Roles are not equal
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With this big ol' balance beta going full steam ahead, I feel it's worth bringing this up again. Really, watching j_sat's stream yesterday was what brought this up in my mind again.

I'm paraphrasing j_sat quite strongly here, but the basic gist of what he said was "unless a melee weapon is excellent against armor and super armor, the most it can hope to be is pretty good".

Now yeah yeah, I get it, everything is usable yada yada yada, and even more so with the direction this beta is taking. Don't get me wrong, this beta has been excellent so far and has made me way more excited than any content drop, because we are getting real, significant changes to things.

However, this doesn't change the fact that as it stands right now, melee weapons that aren't good at killing armor and super armor are still undeniably on the lower rung of balance.

There's a few, partially overlapping, reasons for this.

  1. First off, not being that good against armor wasn't a big weak spot in V1, because there really just wasn't that much armor around. Sure, individual stormies were more dangerous than in V2, but the numbers were so low that a well placed handgun shot took care of business quite nicely. In V2 Legend however, the density of Stormies and Chaos Warriors is so ridiculously high that this naturally places the emphasis on weapons that can deal with them effectively. Trying to deal with armor using only ranged has always been inefficient (outside of a few notorious exceptions), and has only become more so with the (completely correct) nerfs to ranged.

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  2. The natural counter argument here would be "but those weapons are meant to be horde killers, they have their own role". This is a totally understandable argument, but the issue is that every single melee weapon in the game can deal with hordes to at least a reasonable degree. Even 1h Axe, possibly the worst anti-horde melee weapon in the game, is still totally capable of killing hordes (even after the nerf to it's cleave power). As such, "it kills hordes" just isn't enough. The role of horde killer just isn't worth as much, when your anti-elites are way better at killing hordes than your anti-hordes are at killing elites. I would say this also applies to ranged weapons: can you point me to a ranged weapon that is purely horde clear oriented that is actually good?

Largely as a result of these two points, Half Naked Hordes™ just aren't something you need to equip a group specifically to deal with. By half-naked horde, I mean horde + a few specials + a few elites. This is what you end up fighting 99% of the time. The only exceptions to this are if you intentionally push into high elite density when you are way overdue for a horde/have already got a horde spawning, if you pull a patrol, or if you get a boss.

The point of this post is to bring up the fact that as long as things stay roughly the way they are, I think these "unarmored-oriented" weapons are always going to be lower on a lower rung in the balance than the elite killers. So what's the solution? A few possibilities:

  1. Significantly nerf the "elite killers" horde killing potential, but I think this could bring it's own problems.

  2. Significantly buff the "horde killers" elite killing potential, which could make things feel a bit samey, making weapon choice matter less.

  3. Reduce the amount of armored enemies on Legend.

None of those are really perfect solutions. To be clear, I'm definitely not trying to say that this is some game-breaking problem, it's more that this is an interesting topic to me. This beta is very much going in the right direction so far in my opinion, and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.

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