Defensive Talent Diversity

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;
Shade;
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.

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Just for clarity, Are you advocating for more unique defensive talents on careers? Or are you advocating for defensive talents to be more in line with how a career looks (aka armor, robes), or both?

Also if it’s both the things above, that would be difficult to do or maybe i just cant think of things (thats prob it). I do agree somewhat with armor should have damage reduction and then robes (like bw) should just have more mobile options of dodging damage, like movement speed, maybe more offensive ways of negating damage (increased attack speed) (just ideas, i s$ck at ideas but just to give some examples to help clarify).

Yeah, both.

I don’t know why you think it would be difficult to do. I listed almost a dozen different things Fatshark could put instead of simple damage reduction. All I’m asking for is the removal of damage reduction for several careers and instead put something else in its place, either focus more on offense or put a different defensive trait there. I just want variety in defensive options.

I didn’t see any examples. You gave examples of already existing ones, but not new ones. Do you think it’s possible to have a unique one for every career that don’t overlap. Yes we can combine talents and make them unique that way, but having stagger power + 1 stam talent would not be anything unique.

No I don’t think you understood. I just want something else other than damage reduction. I’m not saying that completely new and unique defensive properties should be created for every single career, I’m just asking for diversity in that regard. Stuff like dodge range, health regen, tHP generation and block talents are something we don’t see enough of in comparison to DR. In this regard, they are ‘more unique’ than damage reduction.

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Ah i missunderstood, thank you for clarifying and mybad.

I think there are a lot of good points in the opening. Especially the part about certain characters which should have no or at least less damage reduction. While I would be personally okay to just remove these talents/passives to actually encourage the usage of defensive characters (instead of dps spam), I think the majority would prefer some kind of alternative with more variation and maybe more fitting for these careers.

Not sure how Shades are described in Lore but I agree that of all Kerillian careers she shouldnt have damage reduction. Actually none of them should have it. As she is centered around an assassin theme, it could be an idea to influence her dodge window with a talent

  • Reduced Presence: Increases Kerillian’s dodge window by 0.25 seconds.

It would make dodging easier with her but if she gets hit it would be game over. Would be different from Handmaiden which has more health and wider dodge and would be a talent more valuable in higher difficulties.

Sienna shouldn’t have damage reduction as well outside of Unchained. And even on Unchained you have a clever mechanic where you have a trade-off for the increased damage reduction (unless you chose easy play Abandon -_-).
But why should Battle Wizard a career with insane control have damage reduction on top of everything which is triggered this easily? It should be removed and replaced by an offense talent. Even if she keeps the talent. 30 %? That is ridiculous. At least reduce it to 15 or 20 % or give it a trade-off where her fire dot loses strength.
Similar can be said for Pyromancer although it is less of an issue here since the talent has to compare to other strong talents and has a more annoying trigger mechanic. So it shouldnt be chosen that often.
For Unchained, she has already enough defense. But for her career there would be a chance of an additional fitting “defense” talent if FS ever decides to remove Abandon again or to scrap Chain Reaction:

  • Burning Wounds: Upon receiving damage Sienna creates an area of effect fire blast which damages (but does not stagger) nearby enemies proportional to the damage received.

It would go very well with the burning and “type of flame” persona Unchained has. Technically, you could give this talent to the other two careers. But it is far less fitting there.

I never understood why the half-naked dwarf has such strong damage reduction talents and I dont buy in the berserker argument. It just means you dont feel the damage not that it doesnt have an effect. Since he wears no armor more mobility is an idea but this is covered with his active skill pretty well as well as Barge. However, I agree that he should have something more in line with his career instead of simple damage reduction. Not necessarily the same as Zealot because that is a bs talent but something similar:

  • Glorious: Upon being downed Bardin will revive automatically, stagger nearby enemies and increase his damage and attack speed by 30 % for 10 seconds

This would be in line with the Slayers goal to die an actual glorious death and not being dragged around in humilating fashion by a Packmaster. He would have to give up his whole damage reduction but would have a specifically conditioned get out of jail card with a strong boost. On Cataclysm this would be one time and the next time would be indeed be death unless he heals inbetween (do Slayers heal themselves?). Talent would be broken on lower difficulties though so there is need for optimization. Another option would be a talent for an increased dodge count, this could maybe be incorparated into Barge.

Huntsman could go in similar vain as Shade by erasing presence. So maybe another talent to increase dodge window.

Ranger is tough for a fitting talent. As a scout like career i think there is some merit in the less damage from the back. As like in “he is never surprised by an attack”. So maybe remove the part where he gains damage reduction for headshots and focus on damage from the back. This would however lead to obscure cheese -_- Because people are so dumb to try this out because they think it is “funny”. Otherwise he could also gain increased dodge counter. However Ranger never came to me as a mobile career lore-wise.

Shortly on the possible replacements:

I agree that these should be not further encouraged. There are enough already and I would be in favour of removing Bomb Balm from Unchained for a more interesting talent.

Agree here as well. Not more invisibility in the game (on that note, also no invincibility talents in the game). I can partially accept them for active skills but that should be enough. Would also be in favour for removing Gift of Ladrielle but no idea on what to replace (other topic though).

Difficult, I think. We already have careers with increased movement speed and it is very annoying to run behind turbo careers like Zealot, Grail Knight or Ranger. These talents are often used by people who have not much interest in teamplay.

Maybe I will have more to say tomorrow about other careers or the general defense possibilities. But I think i should sleep -_-

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Good post. I agree.

DMGR:
It’s just too good. Whenever Cata or Cata+ or deeds come up, it means that any Career with DMGR is instantly better. The versatility of it completely outweighs the abilities of non-DMGR Careers to do damage, and makes them too much of a weak link.

I think there would have to be some testing to see if the alternatives would even make up for this.

Best options for non-armoured heroes, imo:

Dodge window, and some form of ‘glancing blow’ mechanic could work, as clearly they would be carrying less weight and have more space to duck an attack. I agree that it needs to ‘make sense’ in terms of armour etc though.

I think in terms of the ‘glancing blow’ mechanic, Huntsman is actually getting a good prototype for it.

There’s also one you missed, which is ‘riposte’ (GK’s Longsword). This mechanic could definitely be used to grant temporary immunity.

It could also be done by a delay to the ‘block effect’ disappearing (someone word this better). E.g. You block, let go of it, and the block persists for another second or two.

Final thoughts:
It’s quite annoying to have to Talent specifically into some of the DMGR Talents, when there’s such great options you could have. Once you reach Legend or Cata, you’re instantly locked into a certain Talent set. BH springs to mind.

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One of the reasons, why Damage Reduction is so widespread is because it’s simple and very effective.
I am not saying it needs to be on every class and in every talent. I am just pointing out, that it takes a bit less brainpower, coding, time, and testing to make functional and do it’s job properly, instead of being a complete flop and failure like Grail Knight’s “damage turns into white health” talent.

Another important thing to remember is that some people need simplier mechanics to have fun with the game. Not everyone has time and patience to get a degree in VerminScience.
I am not trying to devalue or contradict your points here. Just want to add an important factor into consideration.
Don’t throw out “the little guy”.

2 Likes

I agree.

Hopefully with the recent things they’ve done like the GK Sword and Huntsman’s Talent, we might see some other interesting changes/mechanics.

I just wish they could add or make better other mechanics (dodge/block, etc), to outdo straight up DMGR. Increased THP generation too.

GK is already unkillable so long as there’s elites for them to feed on like a vampire. Let’s not take that any further. Fitting for Slayer though.

It’s because the others aren’t really ‘skillful’ melee combatants with the exception of Shade. (as Merc has crit chance I presume Fatshark views FK as more of a brute force career, which explains why Merc got Tutelage (Smite is weird and I can’t explain it, but so is Zealot really)). I think it would be pretty neat anyway though, and would certainly like dodge talents, or perhaps talents with mixed mobility effects on more careers. 10% dodge distance and 20% movement speed was what I was hoping Fatshark would replace BH’s Hunter’s Pursuit with.

I don’t know if this can be done, but perhaps talents that just increase dodge speed instead of both dodge speed and distance could be interesting as well. That and dodge count is another potential modification.

It’s a good idea to incorporate these kind of stats into more talents but I’d want them to not be passive like Joust is (it’s just Cast Away 2.0). Any simple trigger like pushing, blocking, staggering, killing etc. can work. Push radius (which is different from push/block angle) is another possible talent effect, though it could make hordes too easy to control if not implemented carefully.

For a moment I thought you really meant healing throwable bombs (would be pretty rad). I can’t personally think of any careers that temp hp bombs would make sense on other than the ones that already have it (and it’s a bit odd on UC).

This is an interesting but also scary idea. I think 0.15 would more appropriate, as even a small increase in the dodge window is very powerful against hordes and makes solo play a lot easier. It could also feel a little inconsistent for others players as well but that probably wouldn’t matter much I hope.

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I do agree. As long as you keep every char in their 1 or 2 possibles roles.
For example, as long as melee pyro is still playable (indeed the DR talent is kinda dead on that row).

I agree with the general idea of this post wholeheartedly, but this bit in particular is something I feel really strongly about:

Ranger Veteran as-is actually isn’t a completely bad class, and his current playstyle in itself kinda works for the game. But a squishy, mobile, stealthy, and shooty kind of playstyle just feels so wrong on a Dawi! You have only as much hitpoints as a mage, or a bloody Elf, even… While in Warhammer lore dwarven rangers are indeed scouts, but they’re also quite tough and more than capable of standing their ground in an infantry grind. Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t they pretty much the only “scout” unit that didn’t “skirmish” but instead formed a block formation like normal infantry units? And they wore heavy armor (and even shields), and had a “toughness” value of 4 (like all dwarves)? By all rights, a Ranger Veteran class should totally be able to last longer in up close combat than a lot of other classes in Vermintide, instead of being a squishy / mobile shooty & gimmicky class.

It’s not that that playstyle doesn’t fit the game or doesn’t work per se, but it’s just that it doesn’t fit what one would expect from a Warhammer dwarven ranger veteran…

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to completely remove damage reduction from all careers - in my mind, careers like Bounty Hunter, Mercenary, Foot Knight, Ranger and so on would still have access to that. But there are definitely careers that I think are completely unfit to have such a boost and would be much more appropriate for them to have something else, while sprinkling in different defensive properties in general.

I also don’t really buy into your idea that damage reduction is that much more simple to code and tweak. I mean, how difficult can it be to add and tweak dodge range, increased healing, health pool increases or block stats? Simple stats like these would still form the core of most careers defensive abilities, but I also don’t think it’d be bad to attempt more interesting and big-brained ideas, something unique like Wraith-Walk, but these would still remain specific to certain careers. I disagree that damage soak for GK was a flop, I think it’s a good idea and don’t think the talent is trash. While I haven’t played with GK myself, I’ve seen other players use it and think it’s decent. It’s just not as strong as everyone expects it to be.

For the most part, yeah, but I definitely think that some careers just shouldn’t be able to fulfill certain roles. Just like how Foot Knight isn’t a backline damage dealer, then Battle Wizard shouldn’t be a robust frontliner, and Soot Shield is part of what enables that. Melee Pyromancer would be pretty much unaffected by this, as you mention yourself it’s a dead talent, and it’d in fact be beneficial to replace it with something else, like more offense or a different defensive property like increased healing received (Pyromancer does seem to rely on THP for defense).

Oh, no, I think you misunderstood me. I am 100% with you that Ranger should be a tough career and I think that damage reduction is fitting on him. I myself am kind of a Ranger main and I like that he’s different from a lot of other careers in that he can accomplish a wide variety of roles, and dwarfs should be tough regardless. I just have an issue with the trigger specifically, it seems weird to attach it to headshots when Ranger has otherwise no synergy with headshots (it’s more something you’d see on Huntsman). I think adding a talent in another row to increase health and healing received would do well to accentuate his toughness even more, bringing him up to the same HP pool as someone like Mercenary.

Slayers wear plot-armour, which is known to be tougher than gromril.

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I know, I was agreeing with you, emphasising the part I agree with the most. :slight_smile:

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Yeah the op post is pretty spot on how I feel as well. Generally I always felt it was bit odd how stuff like hp increase and dodge ranges were gutted from some careers in 2.0. As simple as they are they can sometimes be really solid choices especially dodge ranges if you play on some of the bigger weapons or just generally like dodging more.

Seems like something worth exploring, then again it easily has the potential to be extremely strong or non impactful.

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