One of the biggest reasons I wanted to download the beta was to try out the new hero, the Bretonnian Damsel – Jeanne d' Antonique – since I've always been excited about her mechanics.
Jeanne of course joins our merry band in their adventures, offering some good support capabilities and even some major offensive spells.
Like Sienna, she's a caster, but with entirely different mechanics as explained below.
As explained in the Official Website, Jeanne was orphaned at a young age, a mere peasant girl who showed promise and was inducted (some say abducted) into the service of The Lady of the Lake – the goddess worshiped by Bretonnian nobility.
Jeanne had finished her training and had spent many years in The Lady's service when The End Times began, and Bretonnia was plunged into civil war and turmoil.
Jeanne escaped the chaos (pun intended) going on in the Bretonnian countryside. Making her way through the Montfort Underground (seen in the Convocation of Decay map), until she arrived at The Keep.
She joins our heroes in the struggle against the Vermintide and the followers of Nurgle.
What makes Jeanne fascinating is that her new mechanics are both a boon for the party, and pretty much a curse for her, as she's the weakest character in terms of defense, but one of the most valuable if kept alive and well-defended.
Jeanne's three careers all emphasize the three Winds of Magic that can be controlled by a Damsel.
Jeanne's ranged weapon – the staff – also changes depending on the career you choose for her.
Yes, this is the first Vermintide character who's weapon ability also changes based on your career preference.
(Level 1): Damsel – Lore of Life:
Passive: Earth Blood – Jeanne regenerates health if standing on natural ground. The speed of regeneration is slightly faster than the Waystalker's Amaranthe, but also requires Jeanne to stop moving (slowing your progress through a map). It also requires you to be standing on natural ground, which means this barely procs on maps like Righteous Stand, but is helpful on maps like Athel Yenlui.
Ultimate: The Dweller's Below – This is probably one of the strongest ultimates right now, and may end up getting nerfed. Basically, you get a targeting circle on the ground and, once cast, grasping hands will drag any enemies caught to their deaths. This does not work on bosses, but it does work on all other mobs – even entire Chaos Warrior patrols. It does have a 7-minute cooldown, which means you rarely get to use it during a game (so hopefully you have a concentration potion handy).
Staff of Ghyran: Jeanne's staff is imbued with Ghyran, the Wind of Magic of Life, allowing her to heal teammates with 'Regrowth' as long as she channels her Mercy on them (pun very much intended). Unfortunately, this also requires her to be immobile and defenseless. The staff at most has 10 charges, and once fully spent, Jeanne will need to 'vent' (or recharge it) at the cost of her health.
Meanwhile, the right-click attack for the staff casts Thorns on your teammates, and enemies will take damage if they hit them with melee.
Overall: The Lore of Life Damsel provides awesome support capabilities with her healing, at the cost of slowing down your progress through a map, and her own defensive capabilities.
(Level 7): Damsel – Lore of Beasts:
Passive: Flock of Doom – Every 30 seconds, crows will appear around Jeanne and fly out, distracting and providing a small amount of damage to enemy targets. This is a very neat ability since if it procs while you're facing a boss, that's an extra 'stun' due to a few seconds of distracting the target.
Ultimate: The Transformation of Kadon – Another insanely powerful ultimate that allows Jeanne to change her form into a wyvern, hydra, manticore, or chimera. The differences between the transformations are mostly visual – you don't actually get to fly, for instance – but the change in Jeanne is massive. She gains a huge boost in attack and defense, as well as turning into a melee powerhouse. The transformation lasts throughout the game.
There is a bug where the game does not detect her transformation model as an actual hero character, which means if you're stuck in your beast form, you can't exit the bridge of shadows. The only fix is to (a) get killed and left behind; (b) leave the game. I've seen some players griefing groups with this issue, preventing them from finishing a match (and requiring a vote kick for the transformed player), so hopefully Fatshark can quickly fix this.
Staff of Ghur: Jeanne's staff controls the power of the Wind of Beasts and this allows her to cast 'Pann's Impenetrable Pelt' on herself. Yes – you actually get to see your own character target herself. The spell gives you additional defense, health, and stamina – making you just as tanky as an Ironbreaker. Unfortunately, it only has 3 charges, so make sure to use it when it counts.
The right-click attack for the staff acts just like Sienna's bolt staff charged-attack – throwing a gleaming Amber Spear at an enemy and also causing armor-piercing damage (or just plainly skewering weak rats that are bunched up together).
Overall: The Lore of Beasts damsel is Jeanne's 'tanky' career choice, and is perhaps on par with the Ironbreaker in terms of survivability.
(Level 12): Damsel – Lore of Heavens:
Passive: Harmonic Convergence – Jeanne's allies within a 5 yards are granted a slight increase to their ability regeneration (sort of like a permanent-but-slower- concentration potion recharge). This is a pretty good passive although it requires everyone sticking close together (which means it will probably not affect Kerillian players that much).
Ultimate: Comet of Casandora – Much like her ultimate for the Lore of Life, this also places a targeting circle on the ground which casts a massive meteor that obliterates everything it hits – everything including bosses. The downside though is that the meteor takes around 30 seconds to impact the ground, which means your target could have moved by the time it hits.
One trick I've seen players do in the beta was during the Ribspreader fight. Jeanne casts the comet on the ground while Ribspreader is talking. Then, players will try to stunlock him on that spot until such time the comet finally hits. It's very hard to do – and I've seen more groups fail than succeed – but it's definitely doable.
Staff of Azyr: Empowered by the Wind of Heavens, Jeanne casts Chain Lightning with her regular light attack, and these electrocute nearby enemies while hitting others. The staff has the highest number of charges (60/90 with talents) – but is also easily spent as each time the lightning arcs causes a loss of a charge.
The right-click attack uses a Wind Blast – think Sienna's beam staff charge-attack; but this is good for AOE-pushes only, and does very insignificant damage.
Overall: The Lore of Heavens damsel feels more offensive-oriented with her lightning attacks, but also retains some support role with her passive. Her ultimate does take awhile to get setup, and may be more trouble than it's worth.
The Damsel uses the following weapons – dagger, sword, rapier, mace. The attacks are different from their counterparts for the other heroes.
For instance, her rapier's charged attack isn't a straightforward strike like Saltzpyre's; it's more of a wishy-washy wavy attack like she's flailing around. Her dagger also has a shorter range than Kerillian's or Sienna's, and mostly hits one mob only.
She is horribly weak in melee combat, and her weapons all have 1 shield icon only (and she has no talents that increase her stamina; and her weapons stats also don't roll with stamina increases).
This means you'd need to protect her often.
She also has only 75 health (other heroes have 100 health as their lowest). Yes, she WILL die if you don't help her out.
Also, one of the most amazing features of the class is that she DOES NOT use bombs – as these are very uncouth and very rude weapons to be used by a paragon of The Lady's virtue.
Instead, bombs scattered in the battlefields will look like 'Grails' when viewed by Damsel players.
The grails, when held and 'left-click' is pressed, can be used to smash the heads of enemies in melee (with a funny 'THWONK' sound as well).
However, they also have two additional purposes:
Pressing 'E' or interact = when holding a Grail and going near a teammate, pressing E will make them 'drink' from the grail and restore a bit of health and ability recharge. Does not work on Saltzpyre (Possible bug? Or working as intended as this isn't part of the Sigmarite faith?). The effect on Kerillian is also doubled (Possible bug as well? How can an Elf gain a bigger benefit from something made by The Lady of the Lake? Strange…)
Pressing 'Right Click' – will throw the Grail on the ground, doing no damage to any enemies it hits.
However, A MOUNTED GRAIL KNIGHT WILL APPEAR AND CHARGE INTO THE ENEMY before disappearing into the horizon!
I was amazed and shocked the first time I saw it, and so were my teammates who were also checking out the patch. Everyone loved it so much they were just handing me all the bombs they found!
It looks like the Damsel is shaped to be one of the most unique, and perhaps controversial, of the Vermintide heroes. She offers an insane value with her support skills (Lore of Life, Lore of Heavens), and even a tanky class (Lore of Beasts). However, it is her inherent defensive weakness in melee combat (and plainly just taking hits) that can ruin a team's experience. She's so flimsy that picking up two grimoires might end up killing her outright if she does not have any Curse Resistance.
Players who emphasize teamwork and helping each other will find that Jeanne d' Antonique is a brilliant inclusion to their roster; but players who are mostly out for themselves and prefer rushing will probably view her as someone who 'needs a carry'.
She's a surprise to be sure, but a very welcome one.
Go ahead and try her out in the beta, she's fun to play as. Can't wait until she's introduced to more players once the update goes live.
© Post "Review: Beta Patch 1.0.5 and the new Damsel Hero" for game Warhammer: Vermintide.
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