This topic has a lot to do with Powercreep, but hope y’all don’t mind a thread for this specific thing.
This isn’t about addressing how a majority of careers are boss killers or how careers that weren’t previously boss killers are getting weapons that make them excel at boss killing, but obviously they played a huge role in the making of this thread.
Monsters have 1 stagger animation. That’s a problem. 12 careers can stagger bosses through talents or weapons. It’s easier to just name the ones who can’t, that’s Huntsman, Slayer, Waystalker, Handmaiden, Shade, Zealot (and all of those are still boss slaying powerhouses, but that’s for the Powercreep thread).
There’s very clear differences in power between all moves and weapons that can stagger monsters, but all monsters have only one stagger animation. This makes monsters less of a challenge and contributes to some classes being wildly OP when they truly shouldn’t.
Contrast with normal enemies, where staggering them is emphasized in the game and a mathematical problem for shield wall players to find the most efficient combination of power increasing properties and the right trait (Opportunist), or a means to explore different builds to find new ways to play the game. How many stagger animations do slave rats have? Chaos Warriors have 4 that I can think of (the flinch, the stumble, falling to their knees, getting knocked on their back).
No math needed for bosses. Throw a bomb or torpedo or press F. Change that.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Deathwish mod realm player, enemies being totally immune to knockback and crowd control is unfun and terrible. Panic ults should make space from bosses, the right tools should give some relief from an aggressive monster, and throwing them off a cliff will always be fun.
But the game has progressed past monsters’ designs. We don’t just have 3 dedicated monster slaying careers and 3 careers that can make space and control monsters. We have everyone capable of slaying and controlling monsters; so it’s really past time to revisit monster animations and stagger power against them. Or nerf everything until the same problem pops up again in another year after a few more classes and weapons are introduced or in Darktide.
Monsters need a flinch and a stumble animation, your level 1 and level 2 staggers to go before the level 3 knockback that monsters currently have. The monster stagger trait (or whatever) needs to be redone and given the same amount of phases and math that went into every other aspect of the stagger mechanic!
And that means we need to decide which skills, talents, and weapons should knock-back a monster versus flinching and staggering.
Monster Flinching: These are my suggestions of skills that are reasonable for interrupting monster attacks, but shouldn’t be strong enough to chain stun or throw monsters off ledges.
- Disengage: nerfing Ranger Veteran won’t sit well with people, but smoke bomb doesn’t need to throw monsters so hard since Ranger is already dropping aggro.
- Gromril Curse: Ironbreaker’s cream of the crop, the absolute best talent to ever exist. Reel that in, some.
- Piston Power: I don’t feel great about nerfing the single greatest talent Outcast Engineer has, buuut yah know maybe it shouldn’t be able to punch a minotaur into yesterday.
- Trollhammer Torpedo: This weapon is going to get nerfed. I know it, you know it, we could solve a huge portion of the problem by reducing its monster stagger to flinch, enough to do its damage and interrupt an attack, but not enough to solo chain stun a monster.
- Piercing Shot: Maaaaaaaaaaaybe? It is the hardest talent to use.
- Bloodrazor Thicket: It doesn’t need monster knockback. Actually I’d rather it do no monster stagger at all.
- Locked and Loaded: Doesn’t need the knockback.
- Firewalk: another maaaaaybe?
- Burning Head: doesn’t need it.
- Living Bomb: monster flinch should be baseline.
Monster Stumbling: the level 2 stagger. Strong enough to be significant, maybe even something weaker talents/weapons could reach with power investment, players do love being rewarded for doing math.
Morale Boost/Animosity: both shouts deserve to be reeled in as being able to scream a monster across the Atlantic is excessive, but not so much as to completely invalidate their defensive purpose
fking dwons. Full boss knockback should need power investment or be talent specific.
- Blessed Blade: yeeting monsters by hitting them with a sword is totally ünnecessary.
- Thornwake: Baseline
Monster Knockback: The current, sole form of stagger for monsters as we know it. For the game’s health only a few things should be strong enough to continue chucking monsters across the field like small children.
- Valiant Charge: Because if we took this away then Footknight would truly have nothing.
- Kaboom: Too thematic to not do so.
- Wildfire: Thematic and also part of the talent.
- Bombs and Barrels
Lords also have some odd stagger inconsistencies. The most reliable and predictable one is Bodavar Ribspreader, he goes through all levels of Chaos Warrior stagger in reverse to prevent chain staggering, which is quite good. Skarrik Spinemangler’s stagger is completely unpredictable, it’s actually the one advantage he has against no-comp QP groups that fail to bring any super armor dps or items to his fight. He gets me every time I play as Footknight, I go for the charge and find myself panicking and wondering if I accidentally somehow activated DWONS as he looks at me with dead eyes before punting me into next week. Halescourge is quite unpredictable, too, as I’m used to him never staggering until he does inexplicably. There even used to be a bug where Saltzpyre could hook stagger him off a platform and cause him to despawn. I wouldn’t say Lord stagger is particularly dire when there’s a dozen other major issues with all fights that’s not Nurgloth, but it wouldn’t hurt to keep how staggerable or not they are in mind.