Halberd combo changes are going against weapon design philosophy of Vermintide

Ok so, being the guy who made the current incarnation of halberd obviously I’m gonna be biased but I’ll give some background on why I made the changes I made.

I’ve over 4000 hours logged in Vermintide 2 (and hundreds in verm 1) and Kruber has always been my mainstay character. I absolutely loved halberd on release and used it on every kruber career and continued to do so even into patch 1.6, not really swapping off it completely until the release of WoM.

I spent a long LONG time debating what halberd’s issues were, how to fix them and what the identity of the weapon is.

Issues and Fixes:

  • slow and cumbersome, but this is also something of a defining feature of halberd so I didn’t remove that aspect entirely. Biggest change I made here was increasing the dodge bonus to 0% instead of -5%. To me it made no sense for a polearm, even a halberd, to have -5% dodge bonus when the only other weapons with negative dodge bonuses in the game were drakefire weapons. As for the weapon itself it still has a “heavy” feel to it which is inline with the identity of the weapon.

  • Combos: optimal use of the weapon employed a grand total of TWO combos, all you’d do is L1 block cancel for hordes and spam push double chop for elites if playing optimally, none of the other tools available saw any use. Now I COULD have just tweaked numbers and left it at that but that wouldn’t have made the weapon more attractive, interesting or really maintain an identity (imo). The big issue Halberd had is it kinda lacked an identity. It was sort of a jack of all trades master of none in terms of the optimal combos it had (decent single target, decent horde clear) but it really wasn’t good enough at either of these and it certainly wasn’t enjoyable compared to the various other weapons on offer as of patch 2.0. I needed to find a way to modernize halberd without sacrificing what makes Hally, Hally. So I tweaked the combos create a much more fluid version of what we already had, making use of ALL of the halberd’s kit. Every attack has a purpose now and Halberd is now better for it but it still serves the same functions as before but with more tools to do so and it’s a little better at it now so it’s not lagging behind the rest of Kruber’s arsenal.

Here’s the thing, I understand Fatshark has a design philosophy but that doesn’t mean what they want is inherently best for the game (or in this case, the weapon) it’s undeniable that there are just as many flaws in FS’s designs for weaponry as there are in various community ideas, neither is a monolith. Another thing to consider is that responding to and learning from feedback is another big part of Fatshark’s philosophy and in this case they opted to roll with what I and the mod team put on offer; Brytarn even stated that all the changes they implemented had his/FS’s approval. Clearly they aren’t as rigid in that philosophy you sited in the Original Post, OR they don’t interpret my changes as a violation of it. Personally I don’t think I’ve killed the identity of halberd at all, my intent was to intensify/enhance the identity it has and on that front, based on community and developer feedback, I succeeded.

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Some questions:

You say before halberd’s identity was a jack of all trades master of none. What do you think is halberds identity after the changes?

You say increasing it’s stats wouldn’t of made it more attractive, did you and your fellow modders try that when testing changes?
If stat changes wouldn’t make the weapon more attractive, do you think old heavy sweep would be used even with chaining into light sweep? Why adjust stats on heavy sweep?

First you said you enjoyed halberd alot and you played with it alot, then you say it wasn’t enjoyable to other weapons after patch 2.0, how come? It was still the same weapon as the one you enjoyed?

What combo’s would you say are the most optimal now, with the new halberd if we remove heavy sweep stat change for a second?

(apologies in advance this is gonna be a lot of quoting)

The same, it’s just more interactive and less anemic

yeah we tried that but it didn’t solve the inherent issues of the L1 cancel and double chop being the best, we could’ve nerfed those and buffed others up to par but that wouldn’t resolve the inherent clunkiness that drove people away from those combos in the first place. It didn’t feel good having the optimal combos be the clunkiest and most awkward

A lot changed with 2.0, a lot of talent changes, the addition of the stagger system, beastmen were added and a lot of weapons were changed to be more attractive. I found myself not really having any reason to use Halberd when spear and executioner existed. Also the optimal combo for single target being the double chop meant I’d have to spam stamina but stamina became a lot more valuable with 2.0 due to the increased block costs in Cata. Halberd just didn’t shape up at all compared to other options in 2.0, hell in 1.6 it was still somewhat carried by blunderbashing being a thing when it came to harder content.

L1>H2 for mixed hordes, H1>L2 for monsters, L1 block cancel for naked/unarmoured hordes, double chop>H1 for elites

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Making the Halberd enjoyable to use ended your enjoyment of the weapon.

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:+1:

Imo, changing weapon combos this far into the game is no good. Sure, it wont matter to newer players or those who didn’t use the weapon much before, but I’m having a really hard time overcoming two and half years of muscle memory.

No no no - you’ve got it all wrong. Kruber’s weapons are supposed to feel like you’re an awkward, clumsy caveman that’s pretty strong. Kruber club enemies dead with metal stick!

On a more serious note, the only use of the light combo I could find was against shields when I ran out of stamina for the push attack. It’s an okay purpose but not great. Still, I can’t really think of anything for it. The current chain might just be the best we can get unfortunately. I’d like to add that I also have the same issue with the Bretonnian Longsword’s full light chain.

I think the changes overall were probably for the better. It’s a shame that it did lose some of its clunky, hard to keep momentum identity, because it felt distinct from Kruber’s other weapons. It still does now, but I’ve been finding myself using it like Kruber’s Spear, just without the sweep push attack. The fantastic idea Incandescent came up with in another thread for the Spear would, in my opinion, resolve that completely.

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I mean, couldn’t the same be said of manbow zoom if it gets changed to a toggle?

Sometimes things need to be changed up

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I suppose so, if you have to press the zoom key every time you draw the bow. If you only have to press it once to keep your preferred zoom option for the rest of the map, then it’s not the same.

Yes, but not like this.

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So far OP’s poll is strongly giving the opposite impression. “Yes, like this” seems to be the majority viewpoint :stuck_out_tongue:

Ok but when the vast majority of feedback both in the mod, the beta and now say that the change was good, does that not mean the change was good?

I’ve only seen like 5 people say they don’t like the current incarnation of Halberd, 3 of which are in this thread. Let’s be real, you can’t please everyone so I’m happy to settle for a 90% satisfaction rating :^)

We can talk about “philosophy” all we like but there’s no denying that Fatshark can get their design philosophies wrong at times; weaves are an example of this. Not only that, Fatshark also approved the changes made here (again as did the community at large) so either their philosophy has changed or OP’s interpretation of it is incorrect in this instance.

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For the vast majority? Yes.
For me? No.

Like I’ve said before, I get that the change is technically good and that most people like it.
But I don’t.

Agreed.

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Yeah i also really dig the new halberd combos and i won’t repeat the stuff already said too much but, i agree the OLD halberd especially after the nerfs and changes was just a 2 combo machine.
The current iteration after bit of practice is at least extremely competitive with kruber’s top weapon’s and while it still feels extremely clunky at times i really don’t see how the old iteration was superior.

I think weapons should have options to use clever alternating of lights, heavies, and pushes to get the attacks you need against a specific enemy.
But then, I also dislike the changes to nearly all weapons in that regard - well, more the shields than the Halberd. I miss being able to do a pushstab into heavy sweep on those.

On the halberd, I preferred to do a heavy sweep when first reaching a horde, then either doing light1->block or just autoattacking (which my mouse does) while concentrating on my movement if there’s a few tougher enemies in there.
Now that I can’t do that anymore, the weapon just feels frustrating to me, and if I end up using it, I still only use light1-cancel and pushstab-light3; But for someone new to halberd, or someone who actually used the stabs before, it’s probably a great change.

Visuals wise, I miss a reverse strike with the prong after the sweep as an option.

I personally just dumped it in favor of using the exec sword more.

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Let me show you why that is:

The majority used the halberd the same META way, they practically saw 1/3 of weapon’s design in use. ALL because the other 2/3 part wasn’t as effective in the field. The majority are mindless power gamers, unable to see past the immediate drawbacks.
I believe i saw 3/3 of weapon’s design in my hands, when i ran Merc with maximum of +40% attack speed, and avoided ANY use of Light 1 swing <-> block cancel spam. First thing is a stat tweak, second is an arguably more beautiful and intended way to play the weapon. And yes, even the most clunkiest combo you can imagine - i’ve used it all. So i know what the halberd lost, but do you? It lost potential to be one of a kind.

So when you say

what you mean is that you wanted to keep half of weapon’s design, while ditching the other half.

some combos were clunky and awkward to use, sure, but

  1. Merc with max attack speed alleviates a lot of it (which is what i would like for other careers to enjoy - via stat tweaks), and
  2. its a matter of practice and getting used to it.

It was the halberd’s designed style to have weird “clunky” combos, like chaining Light 1 sweep -> Heavy 2 stab -> Light 1 sweep -> Heavy 2 stab -> … when hitting heads with the stab it was adequately effective, you also get rewarded with the incredible reach of Heavy stab, you could whiff some of Light 1 into thin air just to keep poking from safe distance. This combo itself was so much fun in a mixed fight (elites+horde), when you constantly alternate between cleaving a wave of trash, and then stabbing one tough target, and repeat.

Now the Heavy stab is instantly accessible, there’s no rewards to be had from using difficult comboing.

So i think stat tweaks could’ve worked just as nicely or better. What would happen if you buff Heavy 2 stab damage by like x1.5? And buffing Heavy 1 sweep damage to first target to same level like Light 3 overhead - so that its a great opener for single targets too? etc.

I’m sure i’m correct with my interpretation of their words. Yes their philosophy could’ve been changed (it was a couple of years ago), but that would be weird considering the point about weapons being unique, its harder and harder to make them unique when you keep adding more.

Maybe the initial (or core) weapon designers just moved on to other project though, and don’t get to continue patching Vermintide.

On weapons uniqueness. We have different interpretation of a word “weapon’s identity”:

You see “weapon’s identity” - as what roles the weapon fulfills in purely practical sense. In that case the “identity” of halberd remains the same. But i view “weapon’s identity” as much more - not only what roles it does, but how it does them, in what style. That’s why i have a problem with both Elven spear and Halberd having the same, never ending chained stabs (charged->light->charged->light).

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I’m not really sure what to make of this other than “the way I used the weapon was the right way, everyone else are just meta slaves” which is like…ok, cool? idk what useful information to glean from this.

Ok, I could say that about the current combo set it has

That’s just silly, hence why people opted to push stab spam. There’s no point in having difficult and plainly awkward combos that aren’t more rewarding than the accessible, smooth combos.

This again, reads to me as “I know better” or that somehow you and the “initial” or what I’m to understand “better” designers, from your perspective, who supposedly aren’t involved now (really not sure how you’d know this tbh) had some deeper understanding of the weapon than I, current devs and the community at large do…which is just, I don’t know what to make of that.

I find it strange that one instance of a combo being similar is a gross violation of weapon identity when multiple weapons in the game share very similar combos. despite elven spear and halberd still remaining vastly different weapons in practice.

All I can interpret all of this as is you have some esoteric sentimental idea of what Halberd was and ought to be along with how it “ought” to be played irregardless of how impractical and undesirable it was/is. I’m happy to agree to disagree on this point but I do find it a bit disconcerting that you put the changes that are appreciated by both a majority of veteran players, newer players and developers alike as all of us simply not understanding the weapon.

yes, sorry for my ego showing. If you don’t see anything else, move past this.

but that’s a different thing we’re speaking of. I’m not whining that current halberd combos are clunky or hard.

I mentioned the buffs to Heavies damage to make them worth, to make it worth going through difficult chaining.

Except shield breaking the weapons are not much different now.

The stabs are meat and potatoes of both weapons currently, one of the most effective and rewarding moves, so having them just the same - really hits the unique aspect.

well actually the best elite dps on Halberd is still the double chop, best monster dps is double stab, best horde dps is double sweep

on Elven spear the best move is stab spam for both monsters and elites, in hordes it’s push attack->light stab->light sweep

Elven spear has significantly higher attack speed and a 15% dodge bonus vs halberd’s 0% and a 180 degree block angle vs Halberd’s 90 degree block angle

They’re vastly different weapons they just have one potential combo similar. Tuskgor spear can do the same thing yet I doubt you’d find anyone saying Elf spear and Tuskgor spear feel the same or they lack identity

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I like the new Halberd.

Using the attacks you need to use as opposed to doing a random single target attack during an AoE chain feels way better. It always makes me feel like my character is dumb.

Sienna’s Dagger having to do a random AoE Heavy 1, before the Heavy 2 stab is an example of what I mean. It does barely anything at all to the Elite you’re fighting and wastes time, leading to the stab which doesn’t do enough to warrant a delay.

I wouldn’t be against them adding some Elite Cleave to the Halberd’s Heavy 2. It would make this Weapon’s utility really strong.

Combos you haven’t included:

Hordes:
Light 1 > Heavy 2 > repeat

" Should “Light 1 sweep block cancel” be reduced in effectiveness?"

No, as this combo and the light-heavy combo give Halberd more versatility.

Elites:
Push-Attack > L2 > Heavy 1

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If anything Halberd’s weapon combo’s and moveset for every scenario makes it unique compared to most weapons.

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I’m just saying it’s not the same weapon anymore and it’s less interesting for me personally. It’s not more complex then it was before as some here claim.

Halberd is still my favorite weapon, but it’s not the ‘same’ weapon as you said.

I just don’t like how attacks chain, it’s easier and LESS fun then before. Yes enjoyment is subjective, as some players enjoy q cancelling, some players like just spamming m1. So yes making a weapon more accessible and attack chains easier does make it more popular to the majority, as expected.

So yes, making the halberd enjoyable to the majority of players did remove some enjoyment for myself.