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.
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…