Combat Changes vs Enemy Density

Hi, big lurker here, been in an off and on relationship with this game since launch day. I was inspired a bit by Scottz0rz and all of his big wordy topics, and while I can’t hold a candle to his feedback, I haven’t really seen anyone else talk about this in particular and after quietly mentioning it periodically throughout the betas I thought maybe i’d try and make a more public attempt at it before letting it shrivel and die like the probably-bad idea that it is.

I thought the initial concept for the combat changes was an interesting one when it was introduced in the first beta, with the understanding and hope that this wasn’t all that was going to change. Dodging was going to get nerfed eventually(even if i’m not entirely sure this was the way to go about it, but that’s another topic entirely), and stagger had/has untapped potential as a mechanic to try and enforce some level of teamplay. Not that teamplay doesn’t already happen, it’s just one more way to try and tighten formations, punish stragglers, all that jazz. There’s been a lot of buzz on both sides about the strengths and weaknesses of the new system, and while I think a lot of the arguments have been strong, I think people are focusing too much on only one side of the issue. In my eyes, it’s not that stagger is inherently flawed(even if it is a little muddy mechanically right now) - it’s that the current size and composition of hordes can’t accommodate the system as well as it maybe could be.

People like the combat now because it presents a ‘simple’ solution to trying to recapture what VT1 eventually did so well. It provides a meaty challenge, reinforces cooperation, and allows other primary and secondary traits to see some action(not all builds see crit chance and attack speed anymore). On the other hand, a majority of peeps have expressed a great deal of concern all the way back through July about the changes - that it slows the game down too much, that it causes problems in trying to parse information, hyperstacks becoming an issue again, a whole new mess of weapon balance concerns. I submit that reducing the overall density of waves and roamers/patrols/etc will positively address all of these concerns, and it can be done in a way without having to risk alienating people that happen to like the changes.

Here are some examples, in no particular order, of what I think you get out of reducing enemy ranks:

  • Dodging and pushing groups of 4-7 is more reliable and satisfying than trying to deal with the amorphous blobs of who-knows-how-many standing inside of one-another. Hyperstacking is just an unavoidable part of the experience, at this point - my suggestion mitigates this significantly.
  • Low cleave weapons will suffer less when there are fewer enemies to chew through, giving them some of their potential value back. Weapon balance in general will be easier to manage, in my opinion - fewer ‘special exception’ buffs like what we’d seen bits of in the betas would be necessary.
  • The ability to finish runs in a timeframe similarly to before, since you aren’t fighting huge numbers of ‘spongey’ clusters forever. Enemies being tough should be plenty to ensure a map’s run time is a decent length.
  • Intimate combat is exciting combat. Fewer, tougher enemies allows you to make more consistent use of the stagger system via being able to actually attack the same enemies more frequently over individual runs. You may still need enough numbers to force players to watch their backs, obviously, but the point of the stagger inclusions(at least, in my mind) is to force teammates to cooperate - when you don’t need all four players to hold flanks by themselves, suddenly you are allowed these coordinated takedowns and strategies. Satisfying.
  • Visual clarity is important for reacting to threats, and taking the game this way means you can give enemies more versatility and players will be able to react to it in time. More attack patterns, more AI strategies, etc. I’m just imagining giving combo attacks to stormvermin and maulers, more sweeps or even letting them dodge as well to break away from players ganging up on them. When there aren’t as many enemies to deal with, they can all become more complex.
  • In making elites in general a more infrequent occurrance, you can enhance the excitement and threat of seeing, for example, even just one chaos warrior charging you. Remember that poor guy waiting for you across the walkway/bridge on Against the Grain? Imagine if he was actually a threat.
  • The new beastmen units require space and line of sight in order to properly handle. Bestigors need to be dodged, banners need to be either shot before placement or reached on foot which would be more reliable to do in chokepoint scenarios, and archers require line of sight on the regular to deal with.
  • Performance will improve across the board. I’ve seen people complaining about it again, so I thought this might be something to consider as well.

Obviously this is hurting the game’s overall feel of being swept over by a huge tidal wave of enemies, but it’s been made abundantly clear that they are committed to these changes, and if that’s the case then I think this is the most graceful way to achieve compromise…I guess what i’m trying to say is if you’re convinced this new system will work, go all the way with it.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, it’s a little wordy but I felt like I needed to make the points clear. Please have a lovely weekend.


Good post, the “amorphous blobs of who-knows-how-many standing inside of one-another” is something that needs to be fixed.

Like what was done for players, that they cant dodge through enemies now, same rules should apply to the enemies? (enemies cant stand on the same spot…)

To compensate for this (this will make the game a bit more easy i would guess) make more use of elite/semi-elites, and make them a bit more challenging. Maybe add dodge/block for SW or Maulers. To make the combat more interesting it need to be a bit more complex, its to simple as it is now.

More complex combat, (more different attacks/moves from “higher tier” enemies) its a hard but good way to fix this. Then the need for big waves to make the game a challenge is made less important, even tho sometimes there should also be waves with simple enemies ofc, but the combo of good elites/semi elites with interesting attack patterns/moves/blocks etc and spammed waves of clan-rats with only simple attacks is a good way to fix this.


Unfortunately, as I sort of alluded to in my post, if they could have fixed it by now i’m sure they would have. I think we’re stuck with hyperdensity and the like for the forseeable future.

Having the occasional just giant wave of small baddies could be fun - mixing up horde compositions could keep people on their toes in that sense, for sure. That sounds really fun!

I hope whatever direction they choose to go, enough people are happy with them to keep supporting it. This whole thing has just been unfortunate!

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Also, as an aside, I think this makes more sense when looking at the new beastmen units, as well. Having more LoS opportunities against archers, being able to better reach banners in chokepoint scenarios, having more room to avoid bestigors. You could make individual tweaks to all these units, which could take a while and potentially never even happen - or you could reduce the density of hordes and etc and cut the workflow down a bit. Maybe. I’m no dev, so i’m sure it’s a bit more complicated than just a flick of the wrist.

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These are some well thought out points for sure. The hyperdensity has been at an all time high with this patch. This has been a problem in the past and really hits with a vengeance in the current patch. Not very fun when 10 rats are in the same position (you can’t see them of course because of the enormous blob) and you get instantly annihilated. I like the idea of the patch, talents, etc. But it feels that the execution is abysmal. I think with some tweaking and bug fixing we will be on the right track. Let’s just hope that’s what happens.


This does seem like a pretty solid idea to at least attempt and on the plus side it would help players with less powerful computers run the game reliably.


In fact the main problem isn’t the stagger, but these hordes and their attacks that you can’t see or dodge. If we add tHP that doesn’t exist and enemies that spawn on you… we have this the new Vermintide.


Addition of enemies armed with spears, capable of hitting you from over 3 meters THROUGH other enemies models makes this worse. Especially if you combine this with changes to the dodge mechanic which make you more exposed to random attacks.

I feel like this is not V2 anymore. I get constatly hit in situations where I have no idea where the damage came from.

Also another matter, often the sound which plays when someone is winding up an attack aimed at your back DOES NOT play or is delayed to the point it provides no warning.


It’s the enemy’s tracking that’s the main problem, not the dodge itself necessarily. Enemies that begin to attack/track you after you’re already mid-dodge continue to track you after it (to prevent preemptive dodging), which is logical for elite enemies but leads to eating a lot of unneeded hits from lesser enemies who imo shouldn’t have that mechanic in the first place.


Yes, unfortunately the game is terribly buggy at this juncture. I hope that fixes are around the corner. Ultimately I wish they had given themselves more time.

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If anybody has read my other posts this might come to a shock but,
I really really REALLY like the new density and hell, I even like horde aggression. And while we’re going another, I’m also not particularly nonplussed about this spearmen existing and attack through their peers.

The only sore spots I have with hordes are that rats and various other throw away infantry are back to spawning directly behind the player and giving absolutely no audio queues when you’re about to get attacked. Which is… unfortunate to say the least. Specials do the same thing. Back to the topic at hand, Incidental damage is way the hell more dangerous on ALL careers so enemies just tracking you through what was an effective dodge for another immediate threat is a bit frustrating. Effective dodges need more properties to counterattack running attacks being the most dangerous thing in the game again. Push attacks are comparatively weaker because in the time in that you to land that followup another rat has slotted into the previous rats position and is merrily on it’s way to eviscerate you in your swing. If staggered enemies counted for even HALF of a slot or something this wouldn’t be a problem I’d wager, since while some garbage might make it through, it would at least make the option not the most dangerous thing in the world.

As I’ve made in my post about the 4 S’ s over a year ago.
Providing the player adequate tools of sight and sound helps reward skilled play. Mobs attacking through mobs and audio queues being worthless now hinders skilled growth rather than encouraging it. Tools being used correctly and still being punished is something nobody can get behind.


I have played a bit more now and this stacking problem seems to be less common than i thought.

It seems it happent many times on the new map Dark omen, but its not very common on the other maps it seems, will play some more to see.

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Beastmen still don’t care about slotting, which was this way in the beta tto, nothing changed.
FS simply cannot fix the slotting issues no matter however they try.

The only slotting that works is the skaven. They are all the same small slot and you can already see it with few enemies that when there is no room they just stand around cheer the others on. Also they fan out to surrond you.

This already stops with chaos, they don’t even have cheering animation, they never stop moving always trying to enter imaginery waiting slots.

And the pinnacle is the beastmen, where they don’t even try to get into any slots, gors bodyblocking you while ungor poke you between/through other enemies.

If they could fix it, they would have already, but with the beastmen it’s utterly nonsense…


Did they even tried fixing it? I coudn’t be so sure about it.

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@Osrali Spot on analysis.

As an addendum: I do realize that they intend us to fight way more enemies than we used to (the scale of the campaign got bigger) but do we really need to have 2000+ enemies on one map?

If nothing else what OP suggests will make it look a bit less ridiculous.

As long as ‘less ridiculous’ doesn’t end up becoming synonymous with ‘much easier’, I am in accord. Difficulty is fine by me, I just wish they’d have gone all the way in pushing this sort of thing. They no doubt knew they were going to alienate and frustrate people, but this was an opportunity to recapture a fan-base that had been with them since the first game, and rather than rip the band-aid off they’re adding a second band-aid and making things more frustrating.

When I say ‘fewer enemy units’, I don’t necessarily mean on the level of VT1, either - the characters are by default much stronger than their first game counterparts, so obviously the numbers still need to stay high enough to be threatening. It just seems like a good next step forward. Difficulty can be increased in other ways - increases in aggression, elites having more ways to attack/avoid attacks, specials becoming more complicated than ‘leap at you’, etc, etc.

Also, I haven’t played in a bit, but did they update the tutorial mission at all to talk about stagger? I feel like forcing people through a new version of that with stagger shown off would have made a lot more sense than how they’ve handled it thus far.

For me a nice in between would be to make hordes appear at a much slower rate. Hordes in V1 were long and far between, but when they did should up, you knew you had to team up and fight for your life.
In V2, hordes almost comes at you nonstop and it slows the game down to a crawl. Even more with verson 2.0x. It feels like you can’t end one horde before another one shows up a few seconds later. Let seconds become several minutes.

Let hordes be big and scary with elites etc. Just let me breath and run around killing random enemies much more. Let us move through much more of each level before another hordes shows up. Just like V1.
One of my biggest problem with V2 from the very start was how frequent hordes show up. Please, let us fear them, not hate them because they get boring so fast.

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That goes without saying. VT1 was a different game, and the levels feel empty compared to the sequel. But ofc it was very different back then. Weapons were clunky (well some of them) non customizable, you had no talents and no breakpoints. Stormvermins one-shot you etc

Edit: I’ve just done a few runs of VT1 for comparison, even finished 1 cata with bots without trouble. VT2 is so much harder! I didn’t expect it. We probably shouldn’t complain so much about how “easy” it is. (don’t get me wrong, I love challenges. Still, expecially for new players, this should come as mindboggling)


But what if people don’t want V1 with fresh coat of paint? What if they did like V2 for what it was?