I wrote a couple paragraps about this on discord, figured its no harm in sharing it here.
To all who despise drakegun (flamethrower), i wanna outline that: "i've met a lot of annoying or useless drakegunners" ==/== "drakegun is a bad weapon".
There many tips and details about the weapon that is often missed completely, by randoms in pubs, or any person who haven't tried enough to make the weapon work, which combined with its real flaws (not flaws from the wrong use) makes it underwhelming to say the least.
Here are 4 points that are important for drakegun's (flamethrower's) viability:
first question is blinding. flames will obstruct vision in any case should you use it on enemies, the important part is to flame freely when there's no threats that need to be shot down Asap, that will harm you&team through your drakegun CC. Horde+ some elites = flame freely, unless there are berserkers that can't be staggered reliably (in that case you can switch to light attack spam which isnt nearly as blinding), the trash is staggered non-stop and cant do anything to players, elites get pinged, and engaged even more safely because they're left w/o trash support.
Drakegun separates CW/Maulers/SV from chaff, and that makes meleeing them a piece of cake in otherwise dangerous combinations of trash+elites. If there's huge amount of elites with trash, drakegun should do shorter bursts with more delay between bursts (maybe insert melee attacks) to keep trash away or even making it die ASAP, while giving more time to clearly see the elites. The drakegun charged itself can control maulers and SV to a degree.
So its all in the hands of drakegun user to see&hear specials as soon as possible before every1 else, and decide how much vision the team needs, then using drakegun accordingly, or not using it at all (like when there's an unpinged blightstormer casting from the same direction the horde comes). He must see and ping a packrat and flame the horde directly around it, making room for dodging, or simply killing it. The tag spam is the second nature of drakegun-ning.
second problem is when you fire really out of effective distance, and the resulting slow pace and slow kill time of waves – the thing that drakegun actually excels at with the proper use.
Charged attack have dropoff from 4 to 8m, at 8m dealing 0 damage from direct hits (only dot). What you usually see in pubs are drakegunners who always want to charge drakegun to the full charge, and then stand still spraying at a wave that is constatly kept at 10 m range and dies very slowly. That's a very wrong way of using the weapon, in any scenario, unless the wave drops down after ledge and it can't get knocked back further than 4-6 m. For maximizing dps of drakegun you should get as much power vs chaos+infantry as possible on top of barrage (with max output you do x1.8 more damage than vanilla), then, using it against waves you need to keep your effective shooting range in mind at all times (0-4m is max damage, 4-6 is acceptible). If you see that the mobs are pushed out of your effective range, stop flaming, release LMB, while keeping RMB held to start charging again w/o delay, make the enemy get closer or move closer yourself (run speed isnt nerfed when you charge the gun) and flame again. Using drakegun in short bursts actively trying to be as close as possible to the enemies, while still not too close so they wont flank you – is a skill to be learnt. As well as moving around and using geometry – to make enemies more lined up.
third important point is: that the map , how much it is open/close quarter – matters a lot, in close maps (convocation, nest, parts of festering, bell, etc) you wont come into much issues against specials like in wide open maps, at the same time the effectiveness against hordes is higher (because waves go through narrower passages), and the need of CC in these close quarter maps make it worth picking (less place to kite, more elites&mobs per square meter, packmasters showing nextdoor inside a horde).
is melee weapon – best choice is a weapon with strongest single-target DPS, which is 1h axe, 1h hammer, 2h axe. Shield and drakegun's roles and functions are too intertwined, obviously you can't use both weapons at the same time to improve upon your CC role. With drakegun you're more of a back-liner really, and all the situations where you'd use a shield – drakegun suits too. So its more productive to have better anti-armor weapon, to compensate for drakegun's weak sides. Lets say you have a corridor with CW and wave, you spray the wave with gun (through the CW), knocking it back and stunning it for long enough to pull melee and have a few swings at CW, rinse and repeat. The faster you down the CW – the better.
Also i wanna add, that drakegun's wave clearing speed (if used corretly, once again) is on the whole different level than using melee, the speed that allows to avoid building much pressure of combined enemy spawns (trash+elite+special). Specials arriving when a horde in melee contact – is a recipe for wipe, but drakegun allows to obliterate waves fast, and thus specials are more likely to be left with no distraction helping them.
© Post "My recommendations for IB drakegunners" for game Warhammer: Vermintide.
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