Everything and everyone are OP, so now what?

Hopefully a sensible discussion about the state of the game. This isn’t a short thread, so if you’re sitting down in the smallest room in the house with your trousers round your ankles scrolling, this might take some time and a comfy chair might suit you better.

[disclaimer] This is about the broad feeling of the balance of the game, and I won’t be discussing the intricacies of the different weapons and different builds other than as examples of how we’ve ended up where we are. If you wish to discuss WHC, The SonicRainboom Bow, Javelin, SoTT, BW, Missing MistShade or any of those things there are threads for that.


Where it begins…

So my position is not a popular one and is unlikely to attract much support. I get that. Still the discussion needs some thought and although there’s threads all over the place talking about OP-this or OP-that, there’s not many solutions available really and I’m hoping to spend some of your time talking through where we’re at, how we got here and what could be done.

To begin with, I think balancing around CATA has brought some fundamental flaws to the breadth of the game. Even mentioning Mods such as DWONS shouldn’t be part of the balance discussion of the base game and should be ignored as considering harder mods skews the perspective even further towards the extreme difficulties. Balancing for the really end of the difficulties(cata) has already nullified any nuance below Cata difficulty. I think large parts of this community would agree that all weapons are easily playable at Legend with very broad aspects of the game making legend trivial. This means all weapons/talents at Champion are dull, and at Champion, Veteran and Recruit it doesn’t matter if you have a 1h sword as Keri or a balloon on a stick – things die damn fast.

In the powercreep problem thread POWERCREEP PROBLEM @Exanimia described the impact very well, in that Recruit, Veteran and Champion games are very very dull-dull. No need to give a kahoots about your build or weapon as you can pretty much plough through regardless.

The other and more meta-problem is that no-one learns anything coming up through the difficulties. Plague monks? Kill em with a dagger as Sienna, or a 1h sword as Keri and suck up a punch or two. Dodging doesn’t matter as players are awash with THP or talents that give THP. Using a Warpick gives largely the same experience as using a 1h axe. Left click and things die. Nobody needs to really pay attention to their build and often don’t care. Champion players see no benefit to rerolling anything as it’s all defunct.

I spend a lot of time dropping down and helping new players (I’ve got over 1k Emperor’s Chests and Emperor’s Coffers and so on) and I help with book locations or tips on using the push-stab and so on so this section isn’t solely my opinion, rather second hand anecdotes as to why people simply stop playing – the bad news is they find it so grindy and boring as no weapons have any kind of intuitive niche at anything less that legend. Couple that with melee orientated characters can go for minutes between hordes without killing something that they get fed up. When players are gleeful for a patrol because they might actually get to hit or kill something it tells you lower balance is screwed completely and the players experience is tainted by frustration at not even being able to join in.

I’m not suggesting we balance around recruit either, but using the extreme of CATA has had a similar effect on the game as balancing around recruit. Because it’s the extreme end of the game it has a fundamental detrimental effect on all other difficulties – difficulties where the largest part of the community are.

Balancing around Legend or even Champion+ might offer a more effective option for the breadth of the health of the game but this would be deeply unpopular I think, although this would make Cata and Legend significantly harder. This would impact loot gains for merely good players, but that a loot discussion that’s been going on since 2018 and I don’t want to touch that too much here.

I have heartily disagreed with FS for using the Weapon Balance Mod as the basis for the patch that rebalanced the weapons and have received more than my fair share of abusive and borderline criminal PM’s about my opinion. Still my opinion hasn’t changed and although I don’t actually know the Mod makers or bear them individually any ill will @Incandescent (and the decision to use the mod was Fatshark’s), the fact that the Mod balanced around Cata and used something like old Exe sword as the baseline is -for me- a large step that began the powercreep.

Prior to that balance patch, discussions of OP centred on BW Firewalk and THP generation, Merc Ult giving 25% DR and THP, BH, GK, Shade snuffing out monsters with gay abandon so on. Such matters are now insignificant to almost the entire playerbase as there are even more glaring and horrendous matters of OP’ness. There are threads to discuss those things elsewhere.

Still, for me the powercreep began with that patch, and those elevated weapons formed the baseline everything else since has been measured against. I’m not suggesting the patch was entirely bad, there was a lot of great stuff but the overall bump in power is what everything else is measured against now and started us down the path we’re currently on. I’m acutely aware people passionately disagree.


What’s been done?

Many of you will have been part of the Alpha/Beta for Winds of Magic, and I think FS iterated through the possibilities for increases of difficulty as part of that test. It’s hard to differentiate too much about balance as …you know… Beastmen… but I think FS went though most of the possibilities via the tests.

Increasing enemy health meant FK with mace and shield made 120k damage in a legend run that took 66 minutes and never had less than a full bar of THP. Battering your way through a meatwall was no fun at all.

Adding the stagger mechanic cause much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and when daggers didn’t stagger things the mushroom cloud of bile caused by shade players could be seen from space. So things started getting staggered more.

I think enemy damage was increased but this meant HS could get downed and snuffed out in 2 SV overheads. Too punishing. So enemy damage was reigned in. Options are now becoming quite limited.


Other factors?

COVID. Probably enough said there. Limitations have been placed on every man, woman and child in the world.

FS have to make money. Customers feeling good makes money. Frustration and annoyance doesn’t make money. These are facts with any business.

I personally have a feeling SoTT was released as P2W without even attempting to hide it. Buy this = win. The tiny little tickle of a nerf made little to no difference and I spend a lot of time sighing at the antics of elves.

Ammo is becoming more and more redundant. I frequently have runs where I’m the only one requiring ammo or no one needs ammo. Shooting with impunity and complete disregard for ammo is back!

There’s also the niggling sense that VT2 is somehow more and more of a testbed for Darktide. FS feel like they’re testing how much they can get away with when it comes to ranged combat, what it’s like without ammo, how can you increase the threat of ranged weapons without nullifying melee and so on with Darktide considerations overshadowing the health of VT2. Maybe this is just me.


So where do we go now?

The next change to affect the balance of the game is either going to be a littler tinkering to address the glaringly obvious OP and leave most of it untouched, although I think this isn’t going to help matters much.

Obvious things need changing. RainboomBow, Javelin, SoTT are the most obvious examples but there’s a lot that is overpowered.

I however consider there needs to be a fundamental change to the balance of the game. Although necessary, changing little things isn’t going to arrest the powercreep. BH and GK Ult, BW S+ class firewalk/corusc and so on, Skarrit lasting less time than a chocolate blast furnace…

Maybe hero-wide nerfs? A reduction in power level down from 650 (at max) might work, although this might not fix the boredom lots of players feel in lower difficulties. There needs to be some deep thinking about what meta is being aimed for. Currently, There’s far too much that can trivialise huge amounts of content.

Enemy damage or health increases? This was tried at WoM, although we’ve been through a lot since then. Making enemies damage sponges isn’t the way forwards I don’t think and if f you can remember back that far there were threads discussing how hard it was to complete legend runs – this was just after launch.

I think there needs to be a system-wide method of addressing the powercreep. If weapons are balanced, then they’re just too powerful or they need nudging into a niche more. Talents need looking at, Elf is simply silly at the moment and some concepts (Boss killers for example) remove threats entirely.

Where do you think the next step needs to be?

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I really don’t think balance is that bad overall. I mostly just think certain weapons and careers need to be toned down. Many things elf top that list unfortunately. As to the challenge, or lack thereof, of lower difficulties, I really don’t think recruit and veteran are meant to be played after players level up, and champion is basically easy mode for fully leveled careers. I do tend to agree that balancing around cataclysm is detrimental to the game, especially seeing as that difficulty is played by a very small percentage of players.

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This. Also stop making levels easier to complete. Beastmen could of been a nice addition to the game had fatshark actually listened to the WOM beta testers. I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again, most people do not want challenge in this game, they want the illusion of it. Most people do not play Legend or cata, and any attempts to stop the difficulty getting nerfed into the ground are immediately met with “sounds like you’re playing on the wrong difficulty, maybe you should try cata hyper twitch + twins + vangaurd + Back to basics.” I don’t think there’s any fix to this, people just want Legend chests and it shows.

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I quite enjoyed the feeling of actually completing something against the odds. But then I can remember when Skarrit Spinemangler was bloody hard and took a while to kill. I think you’re right though, people just want to cruise through and get their lootz.

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This reminds me of one of the more puzzling things I see around here. Namely, asking for perfectly fine weapons like halberd or one hand hammer/mace to be buffed because the overpowered weapons have distorted people’s expectations.

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Well I have been somewhat of an advocate that difficulty should be mainly balanced in legend-cata area but in the current state of the game, I cannot see legend ever being meaningfully difficult without introducing something stupid such as power level 500-600 cap to even it out.
The game is just too different between Rec/vet/champ ->legend → cata → modded and that is a problem on itself. There is just no way you can have weapons that work decently in high density cata vs no density, no hp champ.

But even bigger issue with this games current balancing is fatsharks lack of attempt at doing anything. Its been close to a year now without any meaningful changes in the weapons/careers. When this game would heavily benefit from monthly tweaks.

Its clear that darktide is the main concern but honestly its getting bit insulting how little effort this game is now receiving. Honestly I would not be surprised if the last 2 careers are the final content this game is going to get. Even chaos wastes, which I understood was received quite well has received painfully little in terms of content.

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A lot of problem comes from that ppl dont use tools that they have correctly or even optimally. Throwing nade at horde that wasnt even danger at all? (this is pain, holy sigmar i will never give you more nades when you waste them like that, you disgust me)
Throwing barrels into your teammates.
Ignoring specials.
Missusing your own ability or not using it at all
Not thinking what is your strong and weak sides to compensate it.
(I’m not saying about potions use or positioning because that is pretty much thing that you will learn with time)

Another problem is how weapons are made
In general idea weapons should be good at something bad at rest or mediocree at everything right now its mediocree at one bad at rest or good/excellent at most and mediocree/good at one thing
When you dont have weak sides to compensate you dont learn those mechanics.
A lot of weapons lets you ignore your weaker side because they are not weak enough.
Specialist weapons (axes 1hd sword etc) have way too strong weak side comparing to mixed weapons.
exec only bad side is being slow, but its have amazing horde clear pattern and single elite killing, compare it to 1hd axe, you have slighty better dodge but that wont help you when you will get surrounded by horde because your trash clear is abysmall, and even elites clear is slow.

greatsword vs 1 hd sword, again it would be being slow but its actually not that slow its only bad side is making you slowdown on attacks but with its insane cleave and mixed horde potential its just outshine 1hd sword that can struggle with more intense horde.

Specialist weapons(good at one bad at rest) is quite big problem because they are not even good at what they do most of time.

A little rambling but thats my few cents

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Everything and everyone are OP, so now what?

Um, buy DarkTide?
Seriously, I agree, but I also think that it’s all a waste of time. Have you considered that VT2 is apparenlty abandoned by the developer for an economic reason?

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This has become relevant considering all the posts on here in the last 1-2 months. I completely agree.

Yeah, lots of devs were pulled over thats for sure. It’s also their 3 month annual vacation over there, after SOTT I’m pretty sure they bounced out leaving a skeleton crew. Which means that after they get back, they’re gonna take a few months to push out the next thing leaving a 6+ month gap were nothing is happening.

Why learn how to play the game when the game plays itself /s
I agree with your statement on weapons, most weapons are good in any scenario which completely negates having to actually learn how to use them and learn the mechanics of the game.

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Long story short, you can’t have half a dozen difficulties with vastly different enemy counts, hp/damage values and compositions and then essentially give players weapons that have the same values across all of them without expecting some major issues. The per-difficulty hero power limitation below Cata only mitigates this a little. Some weapons simply don’t work in high enemy density, others don’t work without it. Same with crowd control, armor piercing etc.

There would need to be some fine-tuning along the lines of bombs (which have per-difficulty damage), but with this many weapons and careers that can use them in different ways, it’d be way too much work. Partially because nobody who gets involved in balance discussions actually plays or cares about lower difficulties. And honestly, the loot progression system complicates this even more due to how immense the power difference between new and fully geared players is.

Thus, I don’t think a major comprehensive rebalance is realistic and would only touch upon Legend+ viability like the BBBs anyway.

What SHOULD, in my opinion, undeniably be changed for lower difficulties though are horde counts and compositions. Half the fun in this game is chopping through enemy masses and those difficulties just don’t spawn enough of them to give (especially new) players a feel of what this game is going to be about. Only Cata hordes having elites in them is also weird. One of the most common complaints I’ve seen about the game is this “empty” feeling until you get to at least Champion.

As for the “overpowered” aspect of this thread, I don’t think I can add much as I only play Cata these days and neither touch lower difficulties nor modded.

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This statement is factually inaccurate. There are only a couple weapons that were introduced into the meta while meta weapons were generally nerfed. That indicates that overall power is substantially similar or slightly lower than it was before the balance patch. The exceptions being that spear is now a meta choice (in large part because DD was nerfed), mace and sword (FS actually decided to make the heavies cleave attacks instead of single target as they were in the mod), and handgun. Handgun being meta is actually mostly due to the removal of the tech on repeater, though. All of the other meta weapons were either introduced in dlc or they are the same as they were before the bbb, but slightly nerfed.

Edit: the power creep is almost exclusively due to new weapons/careers/talents. The best fix is to nerf everything individually. Even if it’s more tedious to do.

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ok so to start I’m gonna touch on the BBB/rebalance even though it’s a dead horse at this point:

Nothing introduced from the mod was overpowered or even necessarily power creep barring the Mace & Sword changes which were FS’s changes and not ours and the patch even nerfed a few meta weapons that were considered overpowered at the time. Moving on.

I’d say the biggest offenders have been (and continue to be) the DLC. Every new DLC comes with something (or multiple things) that becomes meta or is just straight up overpowered.

Now let’s talk difficulty: I think it’s safe to say a lot of our experiences are massively skewed by having played the game for a long time. The majority of the player base still chills around vet-champ last I checked.

I mean legend was still a breeze imo before all the balance patches and when it was hard it was because of bugs+inexperience. Thing is what sucked about the game pre-BBB wasn’t the difficulty per se, obvs I found it easy but that wasn’t my problem so much as a lot of weapons were just straight up useless or unfun at legend and cata. It gets real boring real fast using the same stuff 24/7 and going off-meta feels like you’re trolling yourself. We’re all real skewed on these things based on hours played and skill level.

Anyway, let’s look at what’s considered overpowered currently for a second (not gonna cover everything). Moonbow, SotT, Cog/Masterwork but those conversations seem to have been superseded by sister, Cloak of mist, Coruscation, Battle Wizard, Trollhammer…the list goes on

it’s pretty much all DLC or really bizzare ideas from FS like Cloak of Mist. Why that went into the game as it was despite literally everyone saying it’s overpowered is beyond me. Which kinda comes to another point: FS really needs to adjust how they process feedback and test things because things like Cloak of Mist are something no rational person who has even a cursory knowledge of the game would think is reasonable to add. This isn’t even a new problem either, we had this problem with WoM with lingering-famished BW, and then fires from ash-kaboom BW immediately after because it feels like sometimes there’s someone at FS’ office calling the shots who doesn’t understand the game at all. Hell it even goes for stuff that kinda sucks like Throwing Axes and Engi where the feedback (and presumably stats) say it sucks but there’s zero buffing or QoL added to them.

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This is massive. How SoTT even made it into the game in it’s current state - let alone pre nerf is utterly baffling.

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Yeah majority of outliers are new DLC weapons/careers.
Most of the weapon buffs were pretty tame outside of Mace & Sword, some weapons were undeservingly nerfed or nerfed in the wrong way and some weapons could still use a little love.

Feel free to correct me or point out weapons that were truly power-crept.

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Horde frequency and count definitely need a huge surge in veteran and champion. There’s loads of times when the team can scoot through massive sections of the map without really meeting any threats.

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Strongly agree with this. Keeping the fun of mixed hordes to Cata only is lame as hell.

Let’s not forget they then also had the nerve to label her a “support” career, with the tagline “damage is for the weak”… I still kinda feel like we’re owed an explanation from someone at FS as to how the bloody hell any of this happened. What trust are we meant to have left in their balancing team after that abomination?

Sorry for the rant, still grinds my gears something fierce.

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Yes. Every weapons/career DLC by now is basically a Pay-to-Win upgrade, it’s annoying to have to deal with at first, but from a business standpoint I can understand why a company never wants to “undershoot” the amount of power their updates bring and face even worse complaints/bad PR. They will probably only balance these weapon packages well after enough people have bought them.

Besides that. I feel like it would satisfy people’s need for challenge a bit if a Twitch style “Not Twitch” mode was released. So you could play a match with random boons and threats without having to rely on an outside website.

Baffling indeed. We can assume they pulled something similar to winds of magic, where they either completely disregarded players feedback, or (most likely) , added in all the OP stuff after internal testing leaving both the community and testers blindsided and downright confused.

I mean, I know it’s an old argument, but if those difficulties need to be buffed, why are so many people playing them? Sure it feels easy to go back and play them after you’ve put a lot of time in on Cata or above, but I don’t think people who play champ and vet are bored with champ and vet content or they’d just move up.

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