Warhammer: Vermintide

The problems with the Big Balance Beta

warhammer 2 - The problems with the Big Balance Beta
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Other similar posts : 2H Swords Part 1, 2H Swords Part 2
Similar post about Shields, Witch Hunter Captain


Hello again for one of those, happy to see people liking these posts and giving their opinion. Expect more in the future.

I said last time I was going to speak about Sienna's weapon but, yeah, big balance happened.

I will not speak about weapons here, since weapon balance is both about numbers and feels in VT2, and I didn't play enough of the beta to get both. I will only speak about talents and traits.


New level 20 talents : melee temp health

Never saw a proper list of those so let's have one :
– Health on cleave : Mercenary, FK, VR, Slayer, Handmaiden, WHC, Zealot, Pyromancer, UC
– Health on stagger : Huntsman, FK, VR, IB, BW, UC
– Health on headshot/crits : Huntsman, WS, Shade, WHC, BH
– Health on kill : Mercenary, IB, Slayer, WS, Handmaiden, Shade, BH, Zealot, BW, Pyromancer

When you play a melee or tank career, those new talents are awesome. Not only you have more ways to gain temp health, it's not as broken as the old "just kill stuff", but it's goddamn fun. However, when you start playing ranged, it sucks. A LOT.

This is because you are discouraged to do what you are supposed to do : use your ranged weapon. I don't think I will teach FatShark anything here, and my goal here is not to insult them, but I'm going to quote Mark Rosewater, lead designer of Magic : the Gathering : Make the fun part also the correct strategy to win.
Also "Your audience is good at recognizing problems and bad at solving them". Ironic I know.
When you play ranged, the fun part is using your ranged weapon. But if you get nothing from it, why bother with ranged ? Just go melee. And if you go melee on ranged, why not go melee in the first place ?

I know those changes are made to get rid of the ranged meta, you said it yourself in your dev's insight, but now we are getting a melee meta and ranged becomes unfun to play.

Let's take BH for example. The main way for this career to deal with Chaos Warriors is with their active or with their ranged weapon like the Crossbow. But since he's not getting ANY health for killing him fast with these tools, should he go melee on it instead to get the big health gain from it ? The answer will be "yes" for the BH, but no for the rest of his team.

I might get shit for suggesting this but, maybe ranged careers should have a ranged version of those melee talents instead. That way they still can't dominate at melee ranged opposed to other melee careers, and they are encouraged to do their job.


New level 20 talents : stagger and cleave.

Many already spoke about how much health you gain from health on stagger, so let's not put another nail here.

The problem with those two talents is that you are encouraged to NOT kill your target. When you use shields, it's actually good since it's your role, but on something else like the 1H Hammer, it can get pretty broken. You are discouraged from reaching breakpoints.

My fears are certainly unfounded, since killing is better than staggering and if you one-shot hordes you can go for an other talent. It's truly here for weapons where you can't reach this breakpoint, like shields.

But when I play with health on cleave and I see a couple of rats ahead of the main horde, I am discouraged from killing those, since I won't get any health from them. Health on kill should almost give health when you hit a single enemy (nothing exceptional of course).
Best example I can give here is my playthrough with 2H Sword Zealot. I was barely getting health when spamming light attacks as I was killing the horde 1 by 1. I was not getting hit, but I was not getting health either. So if I wanted health, I had to use charged attacks on hordes, which left me open to attacks and is actually counter intuitive. I was getting health, but also getting hit.

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Some players also pointed out how you can "farm" temp health with health on stagger if you push the same enemy over and over again (since you get health from pushes). The obvious solution is to only gain temp health once per target, but as a programmer myself, I don't want to imagine how torturous it can be for the engine to keep track of who pushed who for each enemy…

I also want to point out a small inconsistency (that might have been fixed after Update 1) : when you use health on stagger, you don't get health from FK's Valiant charge, but you get health from VR's Smoke bomb, and when used against a horde, you can go back to full health easily.


New level 20 talent : the common talent

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Eveyone now have "Healing yourself with a First Aid Kit or a Healing Draught also heals your nearby allies for 20% of their maximum health. Removes any wounds.".

The problem here isn't that everyone got access to this talent, but how it's both not part of a LOT of career's archetypes AND can cause a lot of problems.

I might be worrying for nothing, but in the worst case scenario, everyone will use this talent and wounds will have no reason to exist. On Legend, removing wounds is so much more superior to getting health from healing items. Having the ability to divide your healing use by 4 is absolutely broken.

In the dev's insight post, the goal of this talent is for ranged careers to stay back and pick specials while supporting the team. If it's for these careers, why everyone have it ?

And in reality, it won't be used for those reasons. Ranged might use those because the rest is garbage for them (as I said above, no real reason to get melee-stuff on ranged), and not all ranged wants, or even can, be support.

In truth, it's really something made for careers that can go full support, namely Mercenary, VR, WHC and BW. These careers have the ability to help their team and are the only ones that can truly use this talent to its full potential.

Another problem with this talent is that it's making Hand of Shallya (or "Shared heals") useless. It's a possible two wounds removal against 4, and it's self-heal vs full team heal. Hand of Shallya have no game now.

The suggestion : only have this talent accessible to support careers, make it work when simply using healing items (remove the "yourself" keyword) and maybe even remove the ability to remove wounds to all. Not only it will still be a strong support and healing tool, but also will still allow Hands of Shallya to have a spot.
As for the other careers that might lose this, there are still many archetypes that are unexploited (something about Drake weapons for IB, damaging big targets like CW and bosses for Huntsman, Shade and Slayer, etc…), but it would require a lot of thinking and development time. I don't expect them to be reworked during this beta.


Morale boost and Animosity's cooldown reduction

Mercenary's and WHC's active now have a 90s cooldown instead of 180.

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Morale Boost and Animosity are both known be really strong actives. In my post about the problems with Witch Hunter Captain, I suggested a cooldown reduction. Now that I got the time to think about it more and seeing other's feedback on the idea, I realize that it was not the best course of action.
But even when I was suggesting a cooldown reduction, I was thinking of something close to reducing it to 120-150s, not 90 !

Am I the only one that is shocked at how overpowered these actives are now ? NINETY – SECONDS ! A free extremely powerful buff AND AoE knockback every minute and a half.

I was seriously happy with the 180 cooldown. Those are pretty strong active and should not be spammed. But now you can…


Natural Bonds

I have a friend that use NB day and night, on every single career. He's one of the few that make this trait work. Him and I agreed on this : NB now is overpowered.

I do understand why the inability to heal yourself was removed. It was the main complaint from non-NB users. It also made NB users the best Tome carriers and pretty much removing the downside of carrying a Tome in the first place.

But it was a necessary evil. Every single game I was in everyone had NB, and it was not only to test it. Regen AND temp health AND the ability to heal yourself is extremely strong especially with the "nerfed" Shallya's Boon (since you get less temp health overall, Shallya's Boon is less useful). To quote a french expression, NB users now have the butter and the butter's money.
and the dairywoman's butt.

In my opinion, the inability to not heal yourself should be back. Tweak numbers if you think this is needed, but it should come back.


WHC other buffs

Honestly, they are pretty good. Justice's Bounty is much better now on top of the "nerfed" temp health gain from everyone else and having the other 2 talents affect everyone makes WHC a true support/commander career.

The +25 health is nice, but maybe the +5% base crit chance might be a little bit too much. But I might say that because of the Animosity's state.

Animosity's radius increase is still useless, but in all honesty FatShark already did a lot of great work here.


That was a long post, and I won't be surprised if it gets outdated in the next week. Thank you for taking the time to read it.

I also want to point out FatShark have a survey for the beta so voice your opinions too !

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