Without going into too much depth, the talent system in this game is terrible. I’ve played more hours in this game than is healthy for me and design decisions in this game are blatantly dragging this game down from it’s potential.
Firstly you have classes that are outright worse versions of other classes. Take Mercenary and Foot Knight for example. Where Mercenary gets more crit chance, cleave, power and the ability to heal his team while staggering enemies; Foot knight merely gets some damage resistance, an underwhelming charge ability with the ability to choose between pointless infinite block or a power increase.
Then there’s the matter of pointless talents. Why have a talent that weakens enemies when landing a critical hit when a crit will instantly kill most enemies? Why have a talent that increases bleed upon a HM dash when invisibility gives you a few seconds of free melee attacks which does far more damage to enemies? Why have useless talents on unchained like block cost reduction and push arc when A) Blocking is a pointless waste of stamina and you can accomplish more by dodging or running with a high mobility weapon, B) Pushing does absolutely nothing in this game COMPARED to Vermintide 1 (except to interupt enemy attacks between swings) and C) Unchained doesn’t even use a shield weapon.
I mean when you’re making a build in this game there’s no freedom to make choices or experiment, there’s just one set of skills that is just blatently better than all the others. Zealot is just outright better than every other Saltzpyre class because of his ridiculous crit damage, invincibility and temporary health that maxes out from 1% to 100% in less than 3 seconds if you use his ult. Classes like Battle Wizard have a completely useless ultimate ability that leaves you feeling envious of IBs who taunt and go beast mode or zealots who get free speed potions constantly. Slayer is a downgrade of ironbreaker since an ironbreaker can simply take dual hammers with crit + swift slaying and do the exact same as a slayer only with a ranged weapon (which is essential for killing specials) and a swimming pool of health + defense.
Unlike the gear system of Vermintide 1 which while it still had its balance problems, Vermintide 2 offers little freedom to make unique builds without outright making yourself weaker on purpose. Yes you can still use a battle wizard, foot knight, Slayer or any Saltzpyre build other than Zealot and destroy stuff by playing the game sensibly. But it doesn’t change the fact that some abilities and talents add very little benefit or impact. The same problem is even present in weapons; Why pick a shield when it slows you to a slugs pace and makes you unable to dodge when you can pick dual hammers and have the same stamina with none of the negative traits?
I know Verm 1’s balance is far from perfect, but it leaves me appreciating the design choices of the first game. Here customization comes down to either playing in god mode or winning with a handicap. Imo the first game was very difficult at times, wheras overpowered builds in this game turn it into an unchallenging joke.