[From Reddit] Killing Armor vs. Killing Hordes: Brainstorming Solutions

Everything in this game is usable, but that does not mean that everything is balanced, not by a long shot. The balance overall isn’t terrible, but it’s certainly not ideal. This post is not about any specific weapons, but about broader concepts within the game that affects the balance of the game.

I think it’s fairly obvious to everyone that weapons that cannot effectively deal with elites (but particularly armor) are definitely on the lower end of the totem pole right now. Again, it doesn’t mean they are useless, just that inability to take out elites with any degree of rapidity is a huge weakness.

Now, in my mind, there’s two major reasons for this:

1. Elite Density

In Vermintide (V1 from now on), difficulty scaled only in health and damage of enemies. Everything hit like a truck and had a billion health, but the number of Stormvermin, spawns etc. stayed the same as the difficulty climbed upwards.

In V2 on the other hand, while health and damage do go up, the difficulty also scales by making elites far more common. I mean, on Legend, you are drowning in Stormvermin, Maulers and so on. As a result of this, we spend a much, much larger portion of our time fighting armor and elites. Obviously, this also makes weapons that can deal with said elites extremely valuable. In V1, you could quite easily bring a onehanded sword and just pop the occasional Stormvermin that happened by, or even mash on their head with the sword until they died. That worked totally fine on one or two, but not when there’s a load of them in one small area.

2. Hordes Just Aren’t That Dangerous

Seriously, they aren’t. There are very, very few weapons (almost no melee weapons at all) in the game that cannot deal with hordes reasonably well even in True Solo. I mean, sure if you play True Solo with a 1h Axe and a Handgun, then yeah, hordes are going to present a problem, but generally speaking you’ll be fine.

I think possibly the bigger cause of this second point however is temporary health. With guaranteed temp health on kill, you can hit trade like nobodies business and just facetank hordes. There’s very little attrition from hordes as a result.

The point in a nutshell here is that hordes generally present a much smaller threat than the insane elite density. Logically, this also places the emphasis on bringing weapons that are good against said elites, because almost regardless of what you bring, you’ll probably be fine against the hordes.

Possible Solutions

One fairly obvious solution would be to just make it so that all weapons are reasonably good against elites (and again, especially armor). This is an obvious solution, but not one that I like. While I am very much against the idea of hyperspecialized weapons (due both to personal feel preference as well as the increased balance and group formation problems that they can present), I feel this solution would greatly hurt variety and make weapons feel a bit too samey.

The other, probably more difficult solution, can be split into two parts, of which we could implement either both or one or the other.

1. Make Hordes Deadlier

This would certainly make horde-killer weapons more valuable, because you’d need to actually worry about how you’re going to survive that horde. What do I mean by making them deadlier?

Well, there are a number of things we could do there, but I think possibly the most major improvement would be to change the way the Level 20 talents (the healing talents) work. My suggestion would be to simply go back to V1 style Regrowth and Bloodlust, i.e. chance on hit to gain x amount of permanent health and chance on kill to gain x amount of permanent health respectively. As a side effect, this would also take that tier from being a no-brainer choice (because health on crit is a joke) to one where there is an actual choice. Anyone who played V1 will know that this style of health regen was helpful, but because you weren’t guaranteed health on every kill/hit, hordes actually felt dangerous because you were actually taking attrition damage from them. Incidentally, the change we had in this regard in V2 is in my opinion very much one of those “why did you try to fix something that wasn’t broken” situations.

As I said, there are other potential changes, but I think this alone would make hordes much scarier.

2. Reducing the amount of armor on Legend

This one I’m less sure about, but could potentially be worth a try. I think the primary issue is less about the elites in general, and more about the absolute mountain of Stormvermin we see in maps. Reducing the number of stormies and chaos warriors and replacing them with more Savages, Monks and Maulers I think could also do it’s part in making anti-armor less of a (borderline) must have on a weapon.

So there, what do you think? Discussion is encouraged.

I’ll edit in more things that I probably forgot later on…

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I’ll add in a third reason: The heavy emphasis the devs have put on encouraging Quickplay. As you don’t know what kind of things you will be facing (including Lords that already encourage a somewhat more specialized equipment than other challenges) and what kinds of setups and player you will face those enemies, you are subtly encouraged to pick up a generalist build, as opposed to being more specialized but letting your teammates deal with other things. This in particular could be somewhat mitigated by adding back the start-of-map equipment chest, but I’ve understood that the delays this could introduce in starting a run are a worry, but one I think could be dealt with. Letting people to change careers until starting a run would be even stronger aversion, but that would present more problems than it’s worth, imo.

That introduces an interesting problem in mixing up the updated game mechanisms. In VT2, all the former “chance of activating on hit” abilities have been tied to Crits. Health-on Crits is already a too unreliable option to choose on any Career or nearly so. Similarly, on-kill activations have been changed to activate on every kill, but toned down in other ways, e. g. healing producing only temporary health instead of permanent, or by putting other restrictions in (for a few career abilities). In that way, going back to VT1-style Regrowth and Bloodlust goes against the particular changes that have been done in VT2. Besides, recovering permanent health might be too strong in several situations, considering the generally larger amounts of enemies encountered and a lot of the characters’ abilities.

I do agree that Temp health generation as is may be too strong in general, but some Careers and builds pretty much still depend on it to be effective for anyone but the most skilled players. Tweaking it too low would make Slayer too hard to play for a vast majority of players, for example, effectively locking them out of a part of the game. Similarly, Zealot plays so risky that he almost requires some temp health generation to be even somewhat safe. That’s not good either.

As for reducing armor, finding a new, unarmored, Elite unit for Skaven and mixing them with Stormvermin could do it, similarly to Maulers and Chaos Warriors. I don’t know Warhammer lore, though, so I don’t have any suggestions to what they could be.

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Perhaps they could create more enemy types specifically for hordes, larger tougher enemies that are not easily cleaved through or one shot but are less powerful than elites,. Dotted through hordes these enemies could provide a little more need for caution during hordes as they could break up your rhythm and punish inattention.

Just make the hordes quite a bit faster, they need to really steam towards the party quickly surrounding players and overwhelming them like …a tide of vermin? Currently they take SO LONG to lumber into view you can basically wait until you feel like pummeling them. OR stand around clutching your privates as someone with infinite ammo exploit rinses the whole thing from a distance.

This might shift the focus from people spamming ranged as they might not be able to kill the horde quick enough and gasp have to switch to melee.

As for the armoured enemies, I think there needs to be a different attack for some elites to make them harder rather than just putting more armour in there. There should be enemies that can knock the player over, requiring them to stand back up (in the same way kruber puts the CW onto one knee or flat on their back) and there should be at least one elite that is anti-ranged. A Chaos warrior with a Shield or a Magic Shield aura that prevents being deleted from range. A special that uses the black cloud from burblespew to disable players. If I had my way there’d be a Jezzail team that just pumped a bullet into Kerrilians face every 12 seconds, but life can’t all be fun.

There are other methods of increasing the difficulty than just making things tougher.

As for weapons, there needs to be some method of making the non-armour-piercing weapons valuable. I think making the AP weapons weaker against hordes is a fairly quick and viable option. Playing with the Axe as Salty-Zealot it really focuses your play, making you beeline for armoured and avoid the hordes where possible. I’m not suggesting ALL AP weapons should be like the axe, but people only see it as a weaker weapon because it is so poor against hordes and QP kind of forces you into an All-Rounder style of play.

This all-rounder style of play makes players less reliant on each other and more likely to take bigger risks separating from the party. Tightly focusing the different weapons to reward different roles within the party might mean closer team-play although it would need some way of changing the loadout within the map, like the chests.

[edit] I’d like to see the hordes climb things a bit quicker too.

Temp Health on kill is the design choice that annoys me the most in vermintide 2. I wish they had never implemented something like this. There are so many reasons why i hate it.

Posted this already in this thread


and on reddit.

  • Getting hit isn’t that bad anymore if you can make enough kills to negate the damage you get with temorary health. This totally changes the feeling of the entire game. In V1 i would never have traded getting hit with doing damage. I was much more carefull. In V2 you can do that. Switchting to hagbane to create room and get temp health in the middle of a horde is deffenitely possible even if you get hit two time by some enemys. Same for some staffs of sienna.

  • Its to strong. Ever played Legend without temp health? Its totally different. Way more difficult. It shouldn’t have such a big impact.

  • Its possible to use it for venting certain weapons.

  • It makes certain careers with certain weapons way to tanky. If i take mercenary with longsword i can take more hits than footknight with sword and shield.

  • It makes weapons that already have a high damage outpoot even stronger.

In the end it’s another reason why doing damage is more improtant than anything else in this game. I really hope there will be a mod that changes that.

@Yzneftamz a equipment chest would be a nice solution to the third reason you did mention.
Balancing bloodlust and regrowht wouldn’t be a big problem in my opinion. Just make it that you get health on every 10th kill or something like that. Reliable and not to strong in the same time. Of course you could balance temp health the same way.

why do so many people believe in this? hordes are dangerous because you have to handle them WITH other dangerous threats. if hordes are nothing, i’d really like to see you jump into a quickplay legend and tell me when the wipes occur. ps. it’s mostly always during a horde or ambush with a boss or patrol.

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This is pretty much the thing. Almost nothing in this game is dangerous on its own. But the idea behind the vermintide is that it overwhelms you. Even bosses are almost laughably easy if you don’t have to fight other stuff with it and everyone knows what they are doing. Or a single CW. or a bunch of stormvermin. Or a single gas rat.

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This is very much true, as soon as you develop some basic skills in the game. And yet, at least earlier people complained when things went bad as a horde and a couple of the more annoying specials spawned together, nevermind the horde dragging some Elites into the mix or the same happening with a Boss. It’s a precarious balance, very precarious, and it likely can never be achieved as people’s skills are different.

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True. And I personally think Legend is in a very good spot now. Legend stopped being “challenging” for most regulars a loooong time ago. When you lost, it wasn’t because of difficulty, but because of stuff like 2 hookrats and a runner spawning next to you in a horde or stuff like that. Challenging implies you can overcome the difficulty, it is a game of challenge, not chance.
I like the idea of having powerful heroes using powerful weapons and abilities to win against all odds and the game, for now, gives me that feeling. You still cannot start slacking of and there is still some things that are wonky (had a spawn the other day that did the grab animation and it 180°-degrees not before the animation, but literally in the last moment before the grab missed the character it was aimed at ^^), but I like to stress it time and again: If you pump hundreds of hours into a game and still expect it to be difficult, you are dilusional. They could crank the difficulty up to nigh infinity and after a certain point, the hardcore players would jump through it without getting hit once like it was recruit.
That said, I am still advocating to overhaul the deeds into mutators that you can switch on and of at will for bonus XP (not better loot, just more commendation chests) and for giving people a way to modify their challenges the way they see fit.

2 Likes

This is tied to an unfortunate map design.
It was perfect in V1, as you fought units in closed spaces.
Tight alleys, sewers, tunnels, dwarven strongholds.
Even “open” spaces were divided in much smaller fragments.

Now, with maps like “Against the grain” or similar there’s way too much space
THIS IS WHY so called “ranged meta” became a thing.
THIS and TRAVEL TIME of the horde. And the fact they dont rush you as wave/ group but in a WEIRD
CONGA manner. Seriously, why do they run in a line? Chaos trash especially.
When im on Salzpyre or Sienna I just stand and laugh at my free headshots I score keeping crosshair at the same level.
" POP!"-'NEEEEXT"-“POP!”

And before melee build could shine threat is reduced or gone.
It almost doesnt happen on closed maps like “Convocation of Decay”

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Vent usually is used on ability, which is a problem of it’s own because all Wizard classes handle it the same way.
Venting hp is uwieldy in most situations.
And getting opened up is much more of a problem than in V1 due to density, therefore punishing it more may be overboard.

As to tankiness, i fully agree. This especially comes to mind with specialized tanks that decide for “NB” necklace. On Unchained or Footknight I dont mind taking few hits every now and then, because until something goes HORRIBLY wrong I’ll have great reserves. And I can trade hits.
This is especially painful when compared to WHC, who goes down with 3-4 hits, or Ranged careers who can get 1/2 shotted by random slaverat.

High dmg weapons arent that strong. High cleave weapons are.
2h sword/exec sword beats 1h axes or glaives because they can mow down hordes and bring much more net gain of temp HP.

IF temp hp remains in game it should scale either per weapon (to ensure 1h/ specialized user gets chance to sustain) or per character slain (again, for more specced chars/weapons, and to show that CW is worth more than slaverat)

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