After play over 100 hours of both the beta and live release I’ve come to the conclusion that ranged weapons in this game are current in a bad place. Currently ranged weapons can offer much more dps then melee weapons. As a resource limited by ammo and heat this is okay however due to the ability of some classes this limit can be wholly ignored. Kerillian’s waystalker level 25 ability Kurnous’ blessing gives 20% of her ammo pool back to her on her ultimate. on an ability with such a short of a cool down this essentially means that she will almost never run out of ammo over the course of a match. Saltzpyre’s bounty hunter is also easily able to abuse his passive with the scrounger trait. This is especially true for his repeating crossbow. with a single triple volley you can get back 20 bolts back just shooting once into a oncoming horde. having gone entire rounds never even having to pick on an ammo pack i can tell you first hand this trait is better off just removed from the game as it is easily abusable with several classes. this is just the worst offender. Krubers huntsman passive to regen ammo on headshots is an okay ability on its own. if played well you can make your ammo pool last a long time. when combined with taal’s blessing which gives another ammo back on head shots and the conservative shooter weapon trait kruber starts to haul in ammo at an insane rate. Easily able to keep a full ammo pouch on most weapons he has available. The abilities of these classes to regenerate ammo on its own creates a massive difference in power between a class that can spam ranged the whole game and those who cant causing the other subclasses to be completely overshadowed in terms of power. If a class cannot make up for this with utility or support in some way it just feels completely inferior to a class that put out damage like the ones listed above. A serious nerf to ammo regeneration abilities needs to be pushed forward as currently with these classes an ammo pool is completely meaningless as the regen will outpace use in most cases. In addition this heat weapons are also in a bad state. Bardins drakefire pistols and iron drake weapons completely overshadow other ranged options. Insane dps with no ammo pool and a meaningless amount of damage for venting means these weapons are just by default better then other options. Honestly i’d like to see active venting removed for these weapons to make up for the fact that there is no resource consumed for using them. sienna is a bit of a different story. As a mage I feel like she should have venting but should also have the damage it does ignore temp health as well as having pyros exhaust ability nerfed to prevent it from becoming just a free heat reset.
I get the idea that they wanted to give us ranged classes to the game that you can play in a certain way to not be forced to melee all the time. In that sense it does work well, damage wise they do roughly about the same DPS as melee (tested on dummy but only a few combos). The issue is that this DPS is almost risk free. Another problem is that it leaves melee:ers in the group less bodies to fend off the incoming horde. If done correctly the ranged will deal with the horde themselves, but usually that is not the case. Since people will stare blindly on doing damage/kills and miss the bigger picture. When I play Sienna or Kerillian, I will hold one side of the horde, no matter the difficulty and just blast away.
All that said I do enjoy ranged in the game, more than I expected, probably because you do feel more powerful to slay elite after elite, special after special, without even getting hit, from 30 meters away. Oh and I wanted to say I do not think those mechanics are “abused” at all, I think they are specifically made so that they should be used as such.