My feedback here primarily focuses on issues since the recent QoL update, and feedback regarding some balance changes. I’ve played this game for a long time and love it a lot, but am deeply unhappy with both the state of the game as it stands and the poor focus of the limited development time we see coming out for the game - a QoL update 4 years after the launch of a game is meaningless in name, unless it actually boosts the interaction with or the longevity of the game in question. With that in mind - some things I feel the need to share.
Wrong boss audio - simple one to explain, boss audio cues are playing that do not match up with the boss that has spawned, bizarre but am encountering this constantly with bile trolls and rat ogres.
Getting patrols and bosses at the same map trigger - again, unusual to experience, but have experienced on both halescourge and screaming bell, upon hitting a trigger a boss or patrol spawns, and then proceeding for 10-15 seconds further has yielded the other spawning as well. Amusing the first time like playing Ons or similar, but ultimately bad for players on vanilla realm.
The sienna staffs - have seen from Hedge that this is likely to be addressed so no need to elaborate further.
Huntsman ult audio - Unsure if this is supposed to be an intended change or not but it’s utterly awful, hunstman shooting in ult is creating distorted and deafening audio cues for all players to hear, far louder than other ult audio share usually is.
Performance - I love this game, but this has consistently been the most appalling performing game I’ve ever played. Not for fps, for crashing. This game consistently crashes, more than any game I’ve ever witnessed. That’s gotten even worse since recent update, not including the hat and ui crashes (which is bad but hardly need explaining) the launcher is still causing game crashing which I’ve reported in detail before. The game struggles to be launched again after crashes, sometimes taking minutes to begin responding again and continue the launch operation - not something that has been so bad historically, especially on a powerful system.
Now onto the part that has genuinely saddened me - concerning balance changes made now and the state of the vanilla realm.
Moonfire nerfs - the weapon was the best in game for a time, easy breakpoints, good boss dps, slow but infinite sustain for ammo - true versatility. There are a number of ways that this could have been changed to reduce it’s versatility - making it bleed instead of burn for less power vs armour, reducing the quick charge damage so ammo efficiency came at the cost of breakpoints etc. This isn’t a nerf, this is a complete gut, a waste of both player money and development time as the weapon is singularly one of most useless items now. It has no aoe, atrocious breakpoints, the charge states give an irrelevant tick up in damage, and it’s total damage has lowered drastically and it’s ammo is lower than before. This no longer has a niche, before it was too strong but no one objected that if the dlc was purchased the item wasn’t usable and they felt robbed. Now it serves no purpose, on any career… Javelin provides more out of an infinite ammo weapon and longbow is still a good sniping weapon for all elf careers. Nerfs like this are painful to see as a member of the game audience, because instead of balancing the game, elements are instead ripped out, root and stem. The pool of playable weapons grows ever smaller as items that have been poor for years receive no updates but the pool of top tier weapons is hit, reducing both loadout versatility and the allowance of the player to simply have fun with their friends. I will make this point now and doubtless again - this is a PvE experience, while I’m an extremely hardcore player, much of the community is not. Player skill makes the gaps between weapons even larger than the literal balancing of them does.
My final point for this post - as I will continue to test SotT for more time before coming to a more definitive opinion - is regarding the changes to Shade. My feelings regarding this change also reflect my deep disappointment with the development choices continually made (or not made is more appropriate) regarding the balance of the careers in Vermintide 2. Without contest, Shade historically has been one of the best careers in the game. Even after nerfing the way stealth interacted with her crits which helped to reduce a players ability to Vanish cheese, she still maintained a top tier presence as a powerful dps frontliner due to the low cooldown, high power of Cloak of Mists. I won’t be referring to the 2nd popular build around Cloak of Pain here much as it hasn’t been affected and has always been a stable choice for players.
The older problem - simply, Cloak of Mists was Shade’s most powerful and most versatile ability, it gave her a consistent way to deal with hordes, armour and bosses. The real issue with CoM was twofold. 1. It didn’t need the cooldown reduction bonus of 45% - this should have been removed a long time ago. 2. Her ability to light attack instakill smaller mobs is fine, man sized elites is far less so. It gave her the ability to fight everything in a similar fashion to WHC, however with a worse passive interaction but offset by a substantial cooldown buff. If Shade could kill elites and gain stealth with Vanish, or could insta kill elites with light attack crits to the back it would be strong but no worse than WHC insta killing with light attacks full frontal - doing both however ends very poorly for game health. Irrespective of what was originally in mind for her, vanish could have been changed and CoM nerfed appropriately without damaging the identity she held for players. Balance aside, she had dichotomy - a powerful dps front liner with less defensive capability and THP generation, or a strong CW/Boss killer with poor wave clear potential.
On a positive note as I do believe there are - the buff to Exquisite Huntress is simple and great, the added duration makes it less punishing to use without doing anything to make it stronger. Hungry Wind - this is technically a step in the right direction update wise, however just like its predecessor Shadowstep, it is irredeemably bad and no one is ever going to use it, close but ultimately a massive whiff as it does nothing for the roles she can fulfil and performs the function of her builds far worse than other lvl30 talent options.
Blur - If this game was a solo experience, this might be remotely okay, as a 4 player game, it is a complete embarrassment. With the way that enemy aggro works in this game and how legendarily unreliable and old the Parry mechanic is in combat, seeing this dumped on her as her new way to secure stealth is frustrating. It’s unreliable, slower than normal play for other careers and with pointless payoff - if you do get it to proc you are rewarded with 1 critical strike. Basic dps combos provide more crits, and other careers have talents that guarantee crits of their own. Trying to secure a parry off host, get behind an enemy and then try to use a heavy attack to secure a single kill before losing stealth is a laughably sour experience the vast majority of the time. Combined with enemies insta swapping aggro and starting to run away when you proc stealth often makes this hideous to use as enemies run faster than the player does so your winding up a heavy attack doesn’t tend to work out too well.
Changing passive to require heavy attacks - further to my earlier point, people fondly complain that being able to light attack SV to kill them is unreasonable, but I would have to point out the comparison here to WHC, whose passive synergises far better with the base game mechanics and the way that enemy aggro works in the game. WHC can consistently kill elite enemies, from the front, with no need for ulting with a higher base crit chance than other careers. Getting behind enemies as Shade to secure the first hit requires the enemies to already be attacking other players, or for you to use your ult, to secure a kill from behind, at which point stealth ends and you are the recipient of front facing enemy aggro once more. The synergistic problem before was Vanish, now Vanish is gone - why gut her passive so that it doesn’t even do damage to a group of regular mobs anymore? It makes little sense.
Further to the two previous points - Chain Killer. Not only does the buff not last the full duration, making it be successive charged attacks only makes it nearly entirely unusable unless another player has enemy aggro when you want to use it at all. The fact that any other attack (light, push etc) instantly removes all chain killer stacks is unnecessary, it’s unlikely the player is getting behind enemies when the aggro is turned towards them, so making it so that chain killer can’t even synergise well with blur is a really bizarre design choice. Additionally, on weapons like spear and greatsword, light attacks 1 and 2 in combo trigger the heavy attack requirement for chain killer, but light 3 does not etc… These are not the only instance of this but are the most obvious to spot. In summary - Chain Killer is poorly designed in its current state and is incredibly buggy on nearly all elf weapons.
Ultimately, Shade was in need of adjustment. But I feel the way it was done - as with the rest of this update - was sloppy and hasn’t benefitted the game’s life or playability. I would like to finish with this point and emphasise it for any developers that read it, as I care deeply about this game and the community I have come to know over my time here - This is a Co-op, PvE experience, and always has been. Players see green circles in a game with their friends and it breeds competitiveness in a game where at high level play the focus is on winning together, not looking better than other players. Shade is neither the key, nor the only outstanding balance issue that this game faces. If this update was designed to fix game balance, nerfs to WHC, Battle Wizard and Ironbreaker would have been long overdue. Additionally, updates and buffs/fixes to careers that have been particularly bad at cata and above for literal years would have been perfect. Classes like Pyro, Bounty Hunter, Huntsman or Engineer. Especially Pyro and Engineer good lord. Not only have classes remained entirely broken overpowered (Battle Wizard) or supremely bad (Pyromancer) for long periods of time, but the game has thrived around this in spite of it. The game is four years old now, tampering the with the scales is always a delicate thing, moreso when the playerbase is long established and accustomed to the way certain aspects feel. That does not mean change is bad, but it does mean that you have to consider the merits of making large changes to a game. Is this change alone good for the game if I don’t intend to finish the job and do more? Or will this change simply reduce the pool of fun players feel they can have in game without any efforts to increase fun or playability in other careers that also need addressing? If we are fortunate enough to see future updates, will these updates continue to reflect the poor choices seen in recent times? The neglecting of making older careers and content shine in favour of adding more ways to monetise or by making token balance changes that reflect a loud voice of less experienced players, that do nothing to increase their enjoyment of the game, but further reduce the pool of stronger, variable options that a player has to enjoy in a PvE environment with friends? Modded realm has tourney balance and other career changes to accomodate for their altered difficulties in some aspects, vanilla is reliant on good decisions by developers to keep the core gameplay alive, in terms of the feel that brings so many of us back to the game and the freedom to play the cast of careers without some being too overtuned or unplayable in their weakness to limit how much one can engage in the game before it becomes stale.
This post reflects some feelings that I have had for a long time, but the poor quality of this recent update has damaged the already buggy (but lovable) gameplay, and exacerbated other frustrations towards choices the developers have made.