Balance Brace of Pistols by Making Them "Burst-Limited"

This is a cross-post from reddit, but an idea that I originally proposed about 8 months ago here on the since-wiped beta forum (RIP).

Executive Summary:

Make Brace of Pistols hit very hard and very fast, with no reloading. Balance them by limiting them to “burst fire” only. E.g. You can make 9 shots quickly, but then you have to wait to re-plenish your available pistols in the same way that heat weapons have to wait to cool down.

The Problem:

With the BoP going through some more changes atm, I thought I’d bring back a suggestion that I made waaaay back during the game’s original beta and that was subsequently lost in the great Fatshark beta forum wipe of 2018. Here are the problems with BoP as I see them:

  1. Brace of Pistols, by rights, ought to be a hard-hitting close-range weapon system with very limited ammo sustain. They’re basically dueling pistols that you shoot once and then drop.

  2. Having Saltz pull 30-odd one-shot pistols out of his underwear is among the most WTF? things in the game. It doesn’t make any sense even in a world of gods and sorcery. Saltz despises magic. Is Sigmar slipping him guns on the sly?

With those things said, games are supposed to be fun first and “realistic” second . But maybe there’s a way to make the BoP both more fun and more realistic at the same time?

The Sisyphean challenge of balancing the current (pre-balance patch) BoP is that if they hit really hard but have low ammo… they’re not fun. You spend most of the map either hoarding ammo for a CW patrol or running around empty. If they hit really hard and have 30 shots, they’re OP. Every move you make on this axis (trading off damage against ammo) has problems. Stacking abilities and potions on top of this system can also “break” balance in difficult-to-manage ways. It’s not that balance is impossible, only that it will always be precarious.

The Solution:

Break out of this balancing merry-go-round by changing the way BoP ammo works to be more realistic. You have 9 pistols strapped to your chest (a.k.a a brace of pistols!). You can fire them like a swashbucking badass but you’ve got to make your shots count. Once you hit zero, have the ammo slowly replenish back up to a count of 9. So they effectively behave like heat weapons: you can burst but then need to wait for your capacity to replenish. The replenishment represents Saltz re-cuperating and re-loading his pistols on the run over the course of the mission. Unrealistic? Yeah, kinda. But more “classic video-game unrealistic” vs. “Saltz keeps 30-guns-in-his-colon unrealistic”. Ideally I’d like to see BoP ammo represented as 9/45 or something similar. So it has sustain despite being burst-focused but you can still run out. Perhaps hitting “reload” could accelerate the replenishment in a way analogous to venting.

Not co-incidentally with the BoP implemented in this way they occupy a unique niche in Saltzpyre’s arsenal: Xbow is slow but deadly and accurate at range and has ammo-sustain for days. Repeater pistol is spammy and mobile and quick to reload, a skirmishing weapon. Volley Crossbow is burst-focused, slow to reload, not armor-piercing. BoP is burst-focused, badass , armor piercing, but can’t reload on demand.

Finally, waaaaaaaay back in March or so when I first proposed this idea it turned out that Mats, one of the main Fatshark action team guys, had already been thinking along similar lines. Obviously the devs have been hella busy in the meantime but with the current beta balance underway I thought it could be a good time to strike up this conversation again.

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I thought he only had 2 pistols with 15 round mag each, never thought of it this way

Flintlock pistols with magazines?

don’t judge, I’m no gun expert

Listen, you can’t really be blamed for this impression given how the alt-fire works!!

Don’t touch my Saltzpy… oh wait… these changes sound interesting.

I try to sum it up:

  • Burst a few shots before they need to be reloaded
  • Slow step by step auto reload
  • Active reloading fills the “clip” completely

I kinda like it…weird.

May I add some ideas too?

  • Primary fire should be slower than now but in exchange more precise
  • Revert the beta-branch speed buff on the secondary fire (Really…that change was completely unnecessary)
  • In VT1 if the BoP have been equipped Saltzpyre suddenly had multiple Pistols strapped to his body*. VT2 needs that too. I look at you Third Person Equipment modder.

*edit: I swear that was a thing! Why can’t I find any pictures of it? o.O

Naturally!

In my heart of hearts, I think the secondary-fire mode should probably go away because it absolutely violates the supposed nature of the guns. I’d replace it with a modest zoom to make landing headshots on close-medium range targets a little easier, but still have Saltz alternate sides as he fires. So you’d hip fire for speed but aim-fire when time/space permits. With harder-hitting BoP (and limited shots) the existing secondary fire wouldn’t make as much strategic sense, anyways.

I don’t recall the visible brace of pistols, either? It sounds like it could be a lot of work to make that work with all his skins but it would be undeniably badass.

You are not insane that’s a thing.
Also the dropped pistols were visible for other players (no idea why not for yourself) but I didn’t notice this in V2.
Yes he drops them on the ground and leaves them behind. No background reloading.

Well, the last change you suggested kind of got us where we are now. That said, I do like this one. I genuinely do.

That said, you’re suggesting that they invent a completely new mechanic for a weapon that already exists. I think we all realize by now that something like that is out of the scope of their capabilities. We’ll have to deal with what we’ve got.

I’ll also agree that the secondary fire will just never feel good. I for one like the speed buff, the old slowdown never felt good… but then, nothing about it ever felt good. It doesn’t fit what the guns are for, it feels like you’re forcing it into the role.

I have always been of the opinion that the secondary fire should let you shoot two guns at once, because two shots happens to be the breakpoint for… pretty much everything. It’s also far, far easier to pull off.

It probably pushed us in this direction from VT1, yeah. But the change I suggested then is actually the same as this change. I’ve just prettied it up a little.

Honestly, I think you’re probably right. It may be too much to ask in general, and far too much to ask for during this current beta phase. With that said, it is indeed true that an idea of this nature (burst-limited, hard-hitting BoP) fell on receptive ears 8 months ago, and I have reason to believe it has found some favour at the current time as well.

Huh! There’s a thought, yeah. Interesting idea!

So more like other ranged weapons the primary attack fire from the hip while secondary fire is aimed?
Then the current primary should be faster than now but less precise while the secondary becomes a “midrange sniper” which also lower the walk speed.

But then the BoP would lose their signature/identity :confused:

Well, I think they’d lose one signature identity and gain another. My take is that the new identity “badass mid-range sniper” would be a better fit for the weapon (and the game) than the current “dual semi-auto pistols” identity. Newcomers to the Badass BoP would find themselves hitting a lot of nothing, but expert players would lay down precise, ferocious fire in mere moments and it would be glorious. I love having that kind of potential mastery to chase.

My vision is this one. I think it fits Saltzpyre like a glove :smiley:

Why does V1 have such an awesome intro and the one of V2 is so boring?

But i like your idear of the BoP

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I especially like the part from the top view a few seconds later where you can clearly see Saltzpyre crossing his arms and shooting into two different directions at once:
Left, crossed, right…

Oh dear, how much I wanted this to be in Vermintide and when they announced Career Abilities for VT2 I wished that could be a skill for the WHC.

“On activation the Witch Hunter Captain knocks back enemies, uses his spare Brace of Pistols and fires the next 6 seconds at random targets in 10m range, prioritizing specials and elites. Movement is slowed down to 50% while active. May be deactivated early”

Would be some kind of mix between the current Animosity/Morale Boost and short ranged aoe True Shot Volley/Burning Head.

Corresponding Talents:

  • Cooldown Reduction by 30%
  • Increases range by 50% and movement is only lowered by 15%
  • Increases the duration to 10 seconds and no shots are automatically fired. Instead the crit chance for you and your allies is increased by 20%. No movement penalty. (Turns the skill into the current Animosity)

A man can dream :smiley:

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I would prefer this to be the new BH ult.

The current BH ult could then be used for regular BoP shots.

Definitely an epic intro for the ages. Did you see the “making of” video of intro? It was posted on the reddit recently.

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Hm. Can’t say right away whether I’d like this change or not, or how it would affect the place of BoP. But it is an interesting proposition.

To be honest, there have been a few other drastic changes suggested, and while I don’t think this beta should include any more, there well could be a place for a new one exclusively to test all the drastic changes (this, separating Crit and Trait procs, I don’t remember what else), just to see what they feel like. No guarantees of any of them making it to the base game, not much balancing (unless something is decided is worth keeping immediately after), just a week or two of testing for huge changes to certain mechanics. It could also be attempted unofficially by modders, to prove or disprove the changes’ validity before FS takes them on.

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I had actually made a fair amount of progress on this in VT1 – modding in my vision of BoP. Haven’t done any modding yet, though, for VT2.

I agree that using the modded realm as a way to pressure test some of these ideas before they hit something like a beta would be a good idea!

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Some may disagree but I think the BOP is in a good place sure they are powerful and fast but if you go to trigger happy you quickly find your self with no ammo and sure you can take all the ammo bags but your not the only person that will need ammo, and the thing about him having 30 pistols in V1 he had 50 so its not really that weird

It’s weird, but it was even weirder in VT1. Here are 22 “pistols” for perspective.

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