The OP raised some points that i felt about the same way. And i believe this feedback is spot on, tackling one of the major problems of Vermintide that i can relate to.
First off, focus on what is the fundamental fun of the game. In a game where your objective is to run a map from point A to B killing things - it is melee combat, ranged combat, and active teamplay.
Lets’ start from the fun from melee+ranged combat.
The selection of weapons and careers define it. You choose one career and melee+ranged, and play it for the next 20-30 mins (1 run).
Now lets imagine for a moment, that you can play only 1 build (career+weapons) in the whole game. In the game, each weapon is designed to have only a few available attacks or moves. Means you’ll get burned out very fast. You need build variety.
Now to illustrate my point i’ll have to divide Legend players into hypothetical groups:
A) players who don’t find Legend easy at all, or even struggle with it.
Somebody said already here, that they’re the bulk of the playerbase. From my QuickPlay experience with randoms i think the same. Those players are very encouraged to find most OP, most strong builds to make Legend doable, to increase success rate, to not wipe/die because its unfun.
Problem: game pushes them to play in a certain, most effective way, severely reducing career+weapon variety.
B) good at Legend and play off-meta
Play any underpowered builds they want while still pulling enough weight for one player.
Problem: on normal legend its fine. For deeds though, they’re heavily encouraged to equip meta stuff, just like group A for basic legend.
C) good at Legend and play meta
Those won’t shy away from using most optimal career+weapon setups, they’re the deleters that trivialize basic Legend.
Problem: little equipment variety, too easy game (for basic Leg).
For quality solution you need to solve all of these 3 problems at once, PLUS another problem which is rightfully was brought by the OP:
Not enough incentive for active teamplay. By active teamplay i mean fighting in melee sticking together, assisting each other in melee blender, taking good position, etc.
I see the roots of the problem in how much power a player can wield with the best careers&weapons. Active teamplay won’t appear from nowhere, you need an incentive, a strong one to unite the players, to make them think a bit differently. Currently, groups A+B get enough power to get by, group C doesn’t have to care at all. I think the current mindset is as follows: get the best gun, the sharpest melee, and git gut with individual skill. You got gud with individual skill? Congruatulations, you’re in group B, or C!
People don’t get to learn teamplay, because it’s something alien and unpredictable, because your own skill and power is enough to win with non-coherent randoms.
In my mind, all is solved by adressing three important things:
The idea of weapon&career balance is obvious, yet hard to execute, partially because the weapon&career variety is an enemy of balance - while balancing you have to keep in mind the fun aspect. For example in 1.2 mace+shield was brought up good, but it became a very boring weapon.
The balance task is closely tied with the next one:
how much power one player can wield.
Imagine overall effectiveness of a weapon is one slider. In ideal world, when everything is balanced, all weapon’s sliders are on the same level. The question is about where is that level should move:
-To the current halberd/dual dagger level (everything is super strong)?
-To the current pickaxe/repeater handgun level (everything is weak)?
-To the current greataxe/exec.sword level (everything is average)?
I have a feeling of power with careers&weapons, and the best way to go is for the average, imo. To do it you’d have swing the nerfhammer hard though (but just as much as buffhammer), which you should have courage to do, because of the problems i mentioned:
-weak incentive for teamplay on basic legend;
-the game is too easy for veterans who use meta builds.
some adjustments in difficulty balance.
Bring down the intensity of difficulty spikes a little (patrol, special simultaneous attacks, less elite roamer spam - see Athel Enlui or WarCamp). Bring up the danger of overall gameplay - add ambient clanrats that spawn in groups of 2-4 and chase players (just like in Verm 1), increase the difficulty of hordes, especially of slaverats.
^I don’t like how this game can be extremely easy for 95% of the map, and extremely hard for 5% - possibly resulting in a wipe. You run the level bored and - oops! - get destroyed all of a sudden from simultaneous 4 specials, some roamer elites, plus horde.