Something I hope Fatshark touches on in the next BBB are the various defensive talents that careers have access to. Specifically, I have an issue with the overabundance of Damage Reduction talents scattered throughout nearly every single career, souring the theme of certain careers and a lack of other, more unique and appropriate defensive properties.
For the sake of this thread, let’s first outline what properties count as defensive:
It is everything that lets you either sustain or avoid damage. Damage reduction mitigates the amount of damage you take, tHP generation talents let you build up health faster, crowd control talents and abilities like WHC shout or IB Gromril Curse stagger enemies, and properties like invisibility, dodge improvements or dashes let you avoid taking damage in the first place.
With that out of the way, I will now list all the careers that have access to damage reduction either as a passive or from talents:
Mercenary; Huntsman; Foot Knight; Grail Knight (random);
Ranger; Ironbreaker; Slayer;
Bounty Hunter; Zealot;
Battle Wizard; Pyromancer; Unchained.
That’s 13/16 careers in the game that have access to the exact same generic effect. Of course, the talents do vary - some are passive, others are conditionally activated, have different percentages - but the effect is the same.
Let’s talk about what damage reduction is supposed to represent in this game. The way I see it, it can be a few things, like armour, berserker rage and/or magically enhanced protection.
Why does this matter? Because it makes sense to create careers that match the expectations of the player. It makes sense that Foot Knight has access to damage reduction both passively and in talents - he’s a tanky frontliner wearing full plate armour, which is represented by his potential for damage reduction and high base HP pool. It wouldn’t make sense thematically to then ditch that train of thought and make him a squishy ranged damage dealer.
So the problem for me is, why is it then that so many careers have access to damage reduction, especially when it doesn’t make sense for them to have it?
Dealing with damage is what really differentiates certain careers from each other - the playstyle of Handmaiden differs greatly from that of Zealot or Mercenary, partly because they have different defensive properties which force you to play differently and sustain damage in different ways. This abundance of damage reduction lowers diversity in that regard, and takes up a spot that other, more interesting ways to avoid death could have.
Careers that I think absolutely shouldn’t have damage reduction talents are:
- Shade (already has invisibility from ult and talent, good tHP generation from ult, in no way works as a frontliner or has anything that really resembles armour, doesn’t fit the theme of a specialist assassin)
- Pyromancer (no armour, no defensive theme, already has good sustain from melee and Bonded Flame, damage reduction talent dead anyways)
- Battle Wizard (really strong ranged career, great mobility and crowd control from ult, strong tHP generation with fire sword and dagger, Famished Flames + Soot Shield makes her an excessively strong frontliner, ruins the theme of the career to be this strong of a frontliner when it’s a robe-wearing wizard, needs a nerf anyways)
Careers that I think could potentially use either a replacement or reduction in damage reduction:
- Slayer (something akin to Zealot, like increased tHP generation, or resist death talent)
- Ranger (Exuberance is a weird talent for Ranger to have, it’s not a career that has any specific synergy with headshots. At the very least I’d change the talent to give 20% damage reduction upon hitting an enemy with melee, and increase base HP to 125, or even add a talent for increased HP, dwarfs should be tough, and Ranger can work as a pseudo-frontliner)
- Huntsman (40% damage reduction is excessively strong for a ranged career. Already has invisibility ult to save yourself from bad situations, and Burst of Enthusiasm is underrated in my opinion cause it stops tHP decay. It still fits for Huntsman to have damage reduction, Kruber is generally tougher than most other characters, and Huntsman is wearing armour like a breastplate. If no replacement, then change talent to give 1 stack of 20% damage reduction every 5-10 seconds, like a mini Gromril Armour)
Lastly, I’ll talk about possible replacements for damage reduction as well:
Dodge Range - only found on WHC, Mercenary and Handmaiden. This is a generic defensive talent that I am surprised is not found in more careers.
Increased tHP generation - only found on Zealot, you could totally put this on other careers, like possibly Slayer or Grail Knight.
tHP bombs - found on Unchained, Ranger, Mercenary, Pyromancer. I would be really careful with this, getting instant tHP is a really powerful effect (arguably the most powerful single effect in the game) and there’s already an abundance of it. A lot of such effects were gutted from the game in 2.0, although lately it’s been kind of creeping back.
Invisibility - found on Shade, Handmaiden (Gift of Ladrielle), Huntsman ult and Ranger ult. I probably wouldn’t add any more invisibility either.
Block talents - such as block cost reduction, push/block angle, stamina regeneration are all effects that also help avoid damage and crowd control enemies. A good example of this in my opinion would be Virtue of the Joust.
Generic health increase - something only seen on Handmaiden now.
Stagger talents - like Gromril Curse, or increased stagger power such as Staggering Force.
Movement speed - something that I feel isn’t explored and implemented well enough, enough movement speed has the capability of being a really solid defensive trait, letting you avoid damage by outrunning enemies. A good example of this would be Slayer’s Impatience talent (it’s genuinely solid, just a bit sad it’s overshadowed by what I consider to be an overpowered trait).
Health regeneration - found on Waystalker, and randomly on Grail Knight. Actually pretty cool in my opinion and could be an interesting talent choice for some other careers. At the same time, this is quite unique, and arguably a defining feature of Waystalker (although maybe could use some expansion in that regard).
Unique defensive properties - ones that should only be done once or twice, these would be unique to the career available to them and possibly a defining feature. Wraith-Walk, resist death, damage soak (Virtue of Stoicism), easily accessible invisibility (Vanish) are all talents that I would consider to be as such. Adding more of these would be interesting, and something like damage soak and resist death you could give to one other career as well.
There’s maybe something I missed as well, but just look at how many options there are for defense. A lot of these get really underused as well, in favour of just spamming more damage reduction. You could also do any number of combinations with these, like making a talent that increase block cost reduction, push/block angle and stamina regeneration all in one, or combining a health increase together with a health generation increase.
So please, when you get around to it Fatshark - Do. Something. Different. It would be a big change in playstyle for many careers, and would offer a ton of variety.