Chaos Wastes - Grudge Marks revisited

Grudge Marks are currently too oppressive for what they are. A greater challenge is a fine idea, but it should also be fun and offer something new that isn’t strictly something that reduces the options of a player. Main problems being:

  1. Invalidating certain fundamentals of the game.
  2. Lacking a counterplay function. (Ties into the first point)
  3. Hurts enjoyment.
  4. Reward doesn’t feel like it matches the challenge.

Grudge Mark bosses already have boosted stats and then you add modifiers on top of that. So I’ll go by each Mark, using info from here All About Grudge Marks — Warhammer: Vermintide 2.

Mark has a chance to warp to random locations near the player when hit.

  • Assessment: Simple and allows the player some form of control over when a Monster may teleport.

Mark periodically summons 3 mirror images of itself.

  • Problems: The illusions may do very little damage and have much lower health, but they still have 100% of the oppression of a normal boss. They still wear down stamina shields, knock back, bile troll slime, grab, body mass collision, and all other mechanics at 100% of their normal value.

    The illusions seem to be on a timer and will constantly teleport/split the boss periodically. Illusions spawn with a fraction of the max health of the boss, not the current health.

    • Suggestions: Damage to the illusions causes some type of damage to the real one.

      Killing an illusion causes X damage done to it to be applied to the real one.

      The boss instead splits into miniature versions of itself with its life and damage split amongst each.

Mark cannot be staggered.

  • Problems: Invalidates a variety of staggering tools and career mechanics, such as Footknight charge.

    Removes the ability to cliff.

    Prevents the ability to change boss aggro via stagger tools.

    • Suggestions: Pushing a boss greatly increases aggro, allowing players to a way to change boss aggro.

      Boss takes increased damage from players it isn’t aggro’d on.

      Every so much % of a boss’ life in damage will cause it to be staggered.

Mark periodically deals more damage.

  • Assessment and Potential Problems: On its own it isn’t the worst because you can still block a lot of boss attacks or outmaneuver them. With other Marks, it can be brutal because bosses already do a lot of damage and then you stack this on top of it. It can be overkill at times.

    • Suggestions: When the Mighty buff isn’t active, the boss is Exhausted and deals less damage to stamina shields and/or life.

      Boss takes increased damage while Mighty is active. (Rename to Reckless?)

Mark heals from the damage it deals to players (and bots!).

  • Problems: Bots are especially a problem as they can be healing batteries for bosses. In general, the lack of intelligence for AI (The irony) usually results in a demand for them having cheats, such as reduced aggro range, reduced damage taken, immunity to some things, etc. That is not present here.

    Combined with certain other Marks, this can be absurdly oppressive.

    • Suggestions: Taking damage halves the healing it receives for X duration.

      Cap the amount of life the boss can heal or give it diminishing returns.

Mark is immune to ranged damage.

  • Problems: Immunity of any kind is generally toxic for a player. Invalidates range builds, which numerous careers are focused around.

    Has no downsides for their incredible strength.

    • Suggestions: They take X% of all ranged damage but take Y% more melee damage.

      Builds up resistance to ranged damage proportional to the ranged hit it received. This resistance deteriorates over time.

Mark periodically becomes immune to damage.

  • Problems: Same as above. Immunity isn’t enjoyable to play against.

    • Suggestions: A strong damage resistance rather than pure immunity.

      Strong damage resistance during the buff but takes X% increased damage when it’s off.

      Boss takes a stacking X% increased damage every time the buff turns off.

      Buff interval increases by X second(s) every time it turns off.

Mark severely cripples players it deals damage to.

  • Problems: Can stack too well with other Marks and be overly oppressive.

    Working with wide area abilities and damage over time like Bile Troll vomit or Storm Fiend fire is too much.

    • Suggestions: Restrict application to just boss melee hits.

      Don’t allow illusions to apply this.

      Crippling a player causes the boss to change aggro.

Mark breaks blocks and briefly prevents stamina regeneration.

  • Problems: Bypasses the fundamental player mechanic that is blocking in addition to stamina regeneration prevention.

    • Suggestions: Boss does X more damage to stamina shields instead and takes 1% of its max life in damage every time it breaks the player’s block.

      Does a stacking increased damage to a player’s stamina shields per hit. Debuff wears off over time.

Mark regenerates health over time.

  • Problems: Because the Marked bosses have tougher stats and the Marks can be mix and matched, it can result in it being too powerful.

    • Suggestions: Attacks against the boss ignite them. Burn can stack.

      Attacking the boss gives it a stacking debuff based on the power of the hit. The debuff reduces the amount of life it regenerates per tick.

I believe that new challenging mechanics like Marks should introduce new ways for a player to approach a situation and have to adapt. Changing or offering different ways to approach something like this is more stimulating and interesting than just forcing overly oppressive mechanics on players.

Giving bosses a default increase in stats is pretty vanilla and doesn’t offer anything interesting on its own. However, doing this can present an opportunity for new mechanics that a player can utilize to overcome these new challenges. Not everything has to be an extravagant new mechanic, but not everything should be “+20% more damage” either.

I really like the concept of the Marks and what they could potentially offer. There could even be Marks that are specific to a boss and/or Chaos God. Examples being:

  • Stormfiend shoots a splitting/split flame but it’s thinner and doesn’t last as long.

  • Minotaur will periodically release a War Cry that gives some kind of buff/debuff. Could be anything from “enemies deal and receive 20% more damage” to “enemies will prioritize a specific player”.

  • Rat Ogre being hit sometimes launches slave rats from its body to attack players.

  • Chaos Spawn leaves a trail of short-lasting ooze that debuffs/damages players.

  • Bile Troll empowers itself and allies around it with a plague that does constant damage over time to them but also empowers their attacks with poison. (This DoT would not prevent the Bile Troll from regenerating.)

There is a lot of potential here and while I feel they were a little off the mark here (hur hur hur), this could be turned into something much more unique and entertaining.

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