Similar posts about 2H Swords : Part 1, Part 2
Greetings. Since the posts about 2H swords brought some good discussions and feedbacks, I will keep in making those about the various non-bug related problems Vermintide 2 have. Here, I will be speaking about the problem Shields have, especially when you reach Champion/Legend.
I won't be speaking about shielded Stormvermin here, only the weapons players can use.
Shields are pretty much Kruber's and Bardin's 1H weapons with more stamina (5 stamina shield for all), less dodge range, slower attack speed, a bigger block radius (120° for Sword and Shield, 180° for the others) and less stamina consumed from blocking attacks in the block radius (x0.25 instead of x0.5).
The block radius and reduced stamina consummation encourages the use of push/block radius increase properties, as they are percent based. Excepted on the Sword and shield, you can have a 360° block radius if you reach 100% push/block angle, which is possible on both Footknight and Ironbreaker, who both have a level 5 talent that increase push/block angle by 50%. But in reality, getting your push/block angle between 50% to 80% is good enough to cover you from the majority of attacks.
The slower attack speed can be compensated by the large and strong pushes the weapons offer, which can easily be spammed due to the high base stamina of the weapons. Any of the Mauler's melee attacks can be interrupted by pushes, and so can be the majority of Stormvermin's attacks.
Many do point out that the smaller dodge radius can be crippling, and that dodging an attack is much better than blocking it. However, technically, the only attacks that must be dodged to prevent being crippled/damaged are overheads from Elites, grabs from specials and heavy boss attacks. All of these can still be dodged when using shields.
Shields also have in their charged attack patterns a shield bash. It's the first charged attack for Bardin's Axe and Shield and Kruber's Sword and Shield, and the second one for Bardin's Hammer and Shield and Kruber's Mace and Shield.
Shields can also block bullets from Ratling Gunners and the Deathrattler, but not the flame from Warpfire Throwers and Stormfiends.
Shields have some really good crowd control against anything excepted bosses, some specials and Chaos Warriors. They are mostly here to allow your team to do their jobs rather than you killing things. Shields are not weapons for you, but for your team.
The most used Shield weapon is Bardin's Axe and Shield. The normal attacks goes through armor but have next to no horde clearing abilities, which can be compensated with pushes and ranged weapons good against groups like the Drake weapons and the Grudge-Raker.
The only charge attack that tends to be useful is the shield bash. The others two, an overhead and swipe, are useless since they kind of overlap with the normal attacks.
The push attack, despite being an armor piercing swipe, isn't that great against hordes, as it lacks any form of penetration.
It is the best Shield weapon, as you are able to deal efficiently with armored targets (a must-have in Legend) while not being defenseless against hordes.
The Sword and Shield is a pretty unique weapon. Its normal attacks are all horizontal and wipe swipe attacks that can deal with hordes alongside some pushes. For some reason, the third normal attack is a clean, armor piercing horizontal swipe that deals more damage but have no penetration, which means it tends to stop mid-way against a horde. I strongly advise to do a push right before, or after, this attack when against a horde.
The charge attacks follow a similar pattern to Bardin's Axe and Shield : shield bash, stab and a non-armor piercing swipe, for some reason. This pattern, opposed to Bardin's Axe and Shield, is actually decent at dealing with armored targets but far from effective.
I remember reading the numbers of the third normal attack and third charge attack are actually swapped. Having this fixed would not only make the third charge attack actually useful, but also prevent the awkward mid-stop of the third normal attack.
The push attack is a stab that, despite not being armor piercing, is pretty effective against Stormvermins, but it does require you to be pretty precise. Stabs tends to be harder to land and less effective than overheads, and when you play with Sword and Shield, you understand why.
Also, is it me or it is really easy to land headshots with this weapon ? I do rarely use charged attacks against Stormvermin since it's so easy to headshot them with normal attacks. Even i hordes you can headshots groups with ease.
But, other than having to be precise to deal with Stormvermins and the ridiculously low damage output against Chaos Warriors, the Sword and Shields needs to have a 16% (I will get the exact number later) power vs Fanatics to kill them in two bodyshots on Legend. But once you reach this, you have a pretty versatile weapon that is on the weaker side against armor.
Kruber's Mace and Shield and Bardin's Hammer and Shield are the exact same weapons with different appearance, similar to their 1H versions.
Their normal attacks are 3 swipe attacks, their charged attack are a swipe then a shield bash, and the push attack is… another swipe attack… Ok, we have the same problem that we had with 2H swords : these weapons have no way to deal with armors.
The charged overhead that is a big selling point of their 1H counterpart is nowhere to be seen on their shield version. Having the first charge attack not being the shield bash was the way to go in my opinion, but it should have been an overhead to give at least a way for these weapons to deal with Stormvermins. Compared to their 1H variant, it would still be slower as it cannot be chained and require to block-cancel attacks.
They, however, only need to get 6% power vs Fanatics to kill them in two bodyshots, and can be pretty effective against any kind of hordes with their assortment of swipe attacks. But this does not compensate for their lack of anti-armor abilities.
I think I heard some considering those weapons as the worst in the game and I understand why : they stack up both the problems Shield weapons have and 2H ones.
The Shields powerful crowd control and stumble abilities are, however, rather weak compared to a simple concept : it's better to kill it.
You can stumble an entire horde by yourself, but it's better to kill them.
You can stumble and interrupt attacks of non-Chaos Warriors elites, but it's better to kill them.
You can make man-sized enemies easier to kill, but it's better to kill them.
Shields are also rather good in unfavorable situations such as being ambushed in the open, but it's pretty useless if you do not meet these situation in the first place. That's an other problem with shields : they are too situational.
Fixing the Sword and Shield third attacks issue and giving Mace/Hammer and Shield a decent charge attack could make these weapons on par with more viable ones, but there's something else that must be done for all of them, since the crowd control given by these weapons will always be inferior to killing the target.
But, opposed to the 2H swords, I don't really have a clear idea on how to do that. My first idea was to make the push distance bigger than other weapons so the pushes can be more effective against hordes, or to give it rather gimmicky features like blocking Gutter-runner pounces and Warpire's flames, but they are rather bad in my opinion and still doesn't solve the problem that these weapons are inferior to others able to kill their target.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. For some reason, I feel this post isn't as well made as the 2H ones. Maybe because i am doing it a bit in a rush at work.
If I don't get shit on, the next post of this type i will make wil lbe about the Witch Hunter Captain.
© Post "The Shields problem" for game Warhammer: Vermintide.
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