Warhammer: Vermintide

Verminscience: Sienna by the Numbers

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Introduction

So there have been many threads asking redundant questions about Sienna, and so I would like to present some data I gathered during the betas. I am not going to talk about weapons or every single talent since those issues are bound to be discussed ad nauseum in the coming weeks. I will stick to some data that you might have suspected but probably didn’t sit down and take the time to measure out; some results may surprise you, a few things certainly surprised me.

Overview

Basically everything varies depending on your career except for melee damage and presumably health, passives notwithstanding. I will present my data first, and then some interpretations afterwards. I have collected this data over the course of betas II, III, & IV; it is possible some of it is currently out of date and may be changed in the future.

Damage

Each career does the same base melee damage with a given weapon, and appears to follow the same melee damage formula. For more information about the damage formula I made <
This graph
shows damage as a function of percent overcharge and you can see that the slopes are extremely close, so having more overcharge available to you is not going to translate into you doing more melee damage. The total gain of melee damage at full overcharge expressed as a percent of the base melee damage is about 40%. Since running hot puts you at risk, especially from specials and friendly fire, you will want to run as cold as possible and still get a useful melee bonus which will vary greatly based on how close you are to a damage breakpoint. Damage in this game is based on integers: it either takes 2 or 3 swings to kill a rat. If you can do 30% more damage with unchained, but it still takes 3 swings, then you are just putting yourself at risk so you can overkill rats by 30% more.

Unchained does come with the only way to actively manage heat without losing health, and it comes with the most total overcharge amount, making probably the most sustainable caster, in addition to the melee damage bonus. The immunity to the attack speed debuff as you build up heat also applies to staves as well as melee. All of this comes at the cost of 10% less ranged damage… and the danger of exploding.

Unchained is great fun to play, high risk high reward, extremely active playstyle. However the explosion is a substantial drawback on high difficulty.

Battle Wizard

Tranquility looks nice on paper, but does not correlate into much increased combat performance. The increased cast speed buff does not work on the bolt staf, and even when you get the talents to improve it, the benefit is small. Default conflag charge time is 2s, with tranquility it is 1.5s, with the talent it is 1s. That is a 50% increase which sounds nice, but it is still only one second of time saved. The main advantage of tranquility is if you don’t shoot trash, you can start every engagement with zero overcharge. The main use of the active is probably only to clear your overcharge at level 25. The damage is anemic and if you want a movement skill the other careers have much less cooldown; handmaiden only has a 25s cooldown compared to battle wizards 90s, for example.

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Pyromancer

On paper, pyromancer is weaker than the other classes by almost every measure, only excelling in the charge time of the special ability. However since the ability does not always hit the target you paint like in V1, its usefulness is somewhat diminished, but still good as there are only two ways to engage specials outside of the map or in cover. Pyromancer’s passive does give her increased critical chance at high overcharge and I have not rigorously tested to find out exactly how much of an increase it is, but suffice to say it is going to be less than 50%. Even if we assume it is a very high 50%, it still comes with a debuff to attack speed, which is a flat nerf to total damage and survivability since less attack speed means less hitstun defenses. Also her T3 talent that increases overcharge comes at the cost of increasing criticals, and applies more and more as you build heat, meaning you have to run hot and deal with the debuff to get value out of it. I think it is safe to say that her passive is the least fleshed out of all careers in the game. The T5 talent only gives you 10 health, while the waystalker’s T5 talent gives 35 health. Pyromancer has the least total overcharge available to her, yet also has the worst venting situation. Even with the grim talent she is less than BW, and UC can choose to manually vent without loosing damage.

Overall, without healing and gear, pyromancer is the worst career, possibly in the entire game; however people are reporting great success once they get healing and gear to offset her weaknesses, and if they fix target selection on her ability, she could be extremely useful on high difficulties with lots of specials.

Ohh and one other thing about pyromancer: she is hot as f*ck. Remember literally none of this tactical stuff matters if you don’t look fashionable.

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Conclusions

Sienna starts out weak and remains that way until you can get healing to allow you to vent. In the last couple betas healing was overbuffed and will almost certainly be toned down for release; the viability of venting will depend on how easy it is to get healing to compensate for the relative increase in damage taken. There were a lot of broken things in beta IV, and I suspect there will be major changes in the first few months to iron out those things; it is impossible to know where the lategame Sienna will stack up.

I think that part of the cause for the weakness of Sienna’s first two careers is the direction the devs tried to take them. On the website, they said that battle wizard would focus more on aoe and that pyro would focus more on single target, but they do not have that many talents or passives that would help them that much in this regard. IMO, they should have went with the same template they used for every other hero: mixed, ranged, melee. In the CBT forums, some often repeated ideas were to give BW earthing rune and BM channeling rune. That would help make BW into a mixed damage and PM into more of a ranged caster and those ideas seem like good changes to the early game, but again, how they would play out in the late game is guesswork.


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