The game is far more restrictive than the available choices make it appear. Many of the choices, upon further playing, testing, and evaluating, are simply outclassed way too hard by one or more other choices that there's no reason to choose it, ever. It would be great if the suboptimal choices at least have niche uses or have a great combo use with another suboptimal choice that makes them viable, but having played hundreds of hours there are a lot of talents, traits, properties, and equipment choices that I am simply convinced will never be relevant And I'm being pretty generous with what I'm about to list below, because a lot of traits, properties, and talents I feel are overshadowed but they are still technically viable despite not being optimal so I didn't bring them up. So here goes:
In general, there are just so few traits that choices are already lacking, but on top of that a great deal of them are simply not viable, which causes a real issue in terms of allowing players to customize their gameplay in interesting directions.
- Concoction – Appears to be bugged. Does not provide Strength boost for non-host players.
- Proxy – Appears to be bugged. Potion share doesn't work properly, or only shares with the host? If anyone has in-depth on how this trait works at the moment please enlighten me.
- Barkskin – I don't see when this will ever be useful except if you're clutching and drink an emergency Draught in the middle of a fight.
- Inspirational Shot – This was useful in VT1 when Trueflight and Bolt Staff were spammable auto-headshot weapons, in fact it was overpowered, but now that it is not the case, and since melee kills regenerate stamina, this trait is meaningless.
- Heroic Intervention – You get maybe 1-3 assists per game, because the only times it seems to count is when you free your allies of a special. A trait that procs 1-3 times per game is just meaningless.
- Off Balance – It doesn't stack with a number of debuffs also available in the game, and even if it did it would be difficult to justify using this. It would only be useful perhaps on a tank character who was blocking the boss on purpose instead of dodging in order to proc the bonus, outside of that scenario it would be deadweight.
I'm convinced that a number of properties exist only to actively increase the amount of RNG that must be surmounted in order to roll an actual pair of useful properties, because even on paper you can tell these properties are meaningless.
- Respawn Speed – Even in VT1, the only time this was useful was during Last Stand where people suicide on purpose to regain health and ammunition. The uselessness of this trait should be self-evident.
- Revive Speed – I mean, maybe this is viable? It's just difficult to justify a property choice based on intending your allies to be knocked out. Not to mention everyone takes Curse Resistance on Trinket so the question is do you really want to make your only choice of Trinket property a Revive Speed property?
- Crit Power – It's basically never good. Aside from the fact that crits are uncontrollable except for Bounty Hunter, the damage increase is so insignificant that taking any Power property instead would be superior.
- Power vs. Berserkers – Yeah, these guys are threatening, but are you really going to spend a Charm property hitting breakpoints for only 2 enemy types that you literally see maybe 3-6 of every half hour? Even if you were, it would probably make more sense to hit these breakpoints with PvChaos or PvSkaven instead.
- Damage Reduction vs Skaven/Chaos/AoE – The damage reduction is tiny, having 20% more health makes way more sense than trying to take 10% less damage from a specific source.
Oh boy oh boy, the real meat of the problem. Because while Traits and Properties can be argued for allowing choice in hitting breakpoints and pushing your build further towards a specific stat (e.g. Attack Speed, Crit Chance, Power versus Monsters, etc.), Talents are where you really see that the game does not take full advantage of its own systems to allow a variety of playstyles and builds.
- Temp Health on Crit / Heal On Boss Kill – Lets just get this out of the way first, every career having the same 3 choices for their level 20 talent is so dumb. And on top of that the silly design of the talents means that everyone takes temp health on kill. And on top of even that, temp health just trivializes certain game mechanics such as venting overheat. Level 20 talents are a triple whammy of bad design.
- Huntsman (Scavenger, Hands Off!, Thrill of the Hunt, Hunter's Respite) – Regain ammo when boss dies is dumb, you should build around surmounting the biggest threat in the map, not around benefiting from having already surmounted it. Hands Off is silly because I can't imagine a build centered around getting grabbed by specials, and even as a defensive measure most of the time if your ally is going after a special that grabbed you, the damage bonus isn't going to matter. Getting reload speed from a ranged headshot is silly, your limiting factor is your ammo count, not your reload speed. And healing from your ult does nothing to help you actually make the most of your ult, which you certainly shouldn't be using to heal anyways.
- Foot Knight (Counter-Attack) – When your guard is broken, maybe the best idea isn't to then drop your guard and start attacking non-stop for 5 seconds while taking hits on purpose.
- Ranger Veteran (Apply Pressure, Last Resort, Curl Up, Master Brewer, Preparation, Catch a Breath) – Apply Pressure is only mediocre where the other two traits are actually meaningful. Last Resort is stupid because if you are out of ammo your first priority is to get more ammo, not to start meleeing away with a power bonus. Curl Up is another of those meaningless defensive talents that won't fit into any build. Master Brewer makes no sense to use because half your team will have Grimoires and the talent doesn't drop Concentration potions. Preparation and Catch a Breath are both mediocre and due to Ranger's Ambush increasing duration and removing the leash range on the invis, it's impossible not to take it.
- Slayer (Stunty Saviour, Unstoppable) – Talents that revolve around your allies being dead shouldn't exist. A trait that is a deadweight until your entire team is wiped out is just silly design. The only purpose is to facilitate solo runners. And Unstoppable, not to be confused with Unstoppable! which is the name of another talent in the same Career, I'll assume this is an oversight that both talents have the same name except for the exclamation point, is another silly talent. Who uses Leap into a situation expecting to get hit on purpose and so takes a talent that lets them hit people while they are getting hit?
- Waystalker (Ironfeather Flights, Lifebloom Arrows) – Another trait where a boss dies and you reap the benefits, bad idea as usual because it makes no sense to build around getting a boost after beating the thing that you would need the boost to help beat. And another one of those healing on ult use talents which are again useless.
- Handmaiden (Triumph of the Cadai, Defiance, Bladedancer, Handmaiden's Grace) – Another trait for healing from boss deaths, useless. Defiance, another solo runner trait or "I sure hope my team dies so I can clutch while I stream on twitch" trait. Blade Dancer and Handmaiden's Grace, completely overshadowed by Gift of Ladrielle which completely defines the purpose of Dash, which is itself already a horde clear and repositioning tool on the lowest cooldown in the game, but now also completely keeps you safe even if you repositioned to the middle of a horde and lets you backstab elites with heavy attacks or cleave down a horde for 3 seconds? Insane.
- Shade (Ellinill's Venom, Mistress of Sacrifice, Veilwalker, Shadowhunter) – Another "get pounced" trait, useless. The increased backstab damage from Ereth Khial's Herald simply outclasses the other choices. And the purpose of Infiltrate is to use the melee damage bonus, making Veilwalker useless unless you're clutching, nor does Shade have enough ranged ammunition to make use of Shadowhunter.
- Witch Hunter Captain (Suffer No Heresy, Marked For Death, Justice's Bounty, Wild Fervor, Resonating Faith, Fierce Oratory) – Another useless "on pounce" talent. All of WHC's level 15 talents are just silly. Low duration, low impact, next to meaningless. And the level 25 talents fail to see that the problem with WHC's ult is that it has such a huge cooldown that those small bonuses are also useless.
- Bounty Hunter (Necessary Means, Pious Fervor, Cruel Fortune, Buckshot) – Another useless "run out of ammo" talent on a range-focused Career. Prize Bounty is so much better than the other two that it's not worth considering. And Double-Shotted can at least be argued to be able to bodyshot delete Chaos Warriors. Literally what is the point of more Buckshot? I've never fired my ult into a crowd and needed more Buckshot.
- Battle Wizard (Molten Skin, World Aflame, Burning Vigour, Rechannel, Volan's Quickening, Lava Walker) – Another stupid "teamwipe" talent. World Aflame and Burning Vigour is the Sienna equivalent of "run out of ammo" talents, trying to make a ranged class get benefits when meleeing. And then there's Rechannel which makes no sense because you're going to cast faster only on your first spell, since Tranquility won't cool down until you're done fighting, making the talent pretty useless. And then for level 25 talents, due to Battle Wizard's lack of overheat management like the Pyromancer, not taking Burnout is a non-option.
- Pyromancer (Basically every skill that doesn't reduce overheat) – This entire career is built around ranged attacks that cost no ammunition and generates so little overheat due to every overheat talent stacking with each other while you can even spec your 40 second cooldown instant-Chaos-Warrior-deleter ult to also fully vent overheat if you don't feel like using your 100+ temp health to vent since you can clear hordes at range eternally. I don't know where I'm going with this but basically all the mediocre talents are mediocre because the best build for Pyromancer is so obvious that the only choice is whether you want to throw out more overpowered homing deathmissiles or if you want your overpowered homing deathmissiles to also fully recharge your staff ranged attacks.
In conclusion – The game would be far more interesting if the choices we made actually influenced our builds, rather than give mediocre and generic bonuses that are shared by other careers (e.g. 5% increased attack speed, whoop-dee-freaking-doo, like 3 other careers have the same talent with a different name). Not to mention bugs with traits that desperately need fixing, and the number of MEANINGFUL choices expanded so that interesting builds can actually occur outside of the current "destroy everything with ranged weapons" meta.
© Post "The Illusion of Choice" for game Warhammer: Vermintide.
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