Handmaiden Willow Stance suggestion

Hello! I’m loving all the chances so far! But since you guys are already touching Handmaiden talents i would like to talk about Willow Stance.

My problem:

For me, Willow Stance feels horrible to use, and it’s one of the main reasons i avoid playing handmaiden, specially because the talent is so good that picking something else is just lost potential, the new talent seems to be a good alternative but it suffers from the same problem.

The main reason for this is that you need to dodge to get the attack speed, i cannot stress how annoying it is to spam the dodge button every single fight, it throws your aim off and it tires me out for trying to keep track of my aim and the enemy’s attacks. You’re also wasting a defensive mechanic (dodge count) to gain dps, which in theory sounds good but it is simply too frustrating to keep up, and if you’re not keeping it up you’re simply loosing potential and might aswell have picked other talent. The fact that it has 3 stacks, meaning that you need to dodge 3 times in a row to gain it’s maximum effectiveness, and that it has a 6 second duration makes it way worse.

I’m now going to give some suggestions i thought of, but please don’t take it in a bad way, i know i’m not a game designer and i’m sure there’s problems with my suggestions, but still i feel they’re interesting enough to post here.

Suggestions:

  • Replace Willow Stance with a talent that when you’re holding block, a counter starts charging to 100 (would take like 3 seconds or so), and when you reach 100, your next hit will cause you to gain a attack speed buff and drain the stacks over 8 seconds or so (proportional to the amount of charge accumulated), you could block again to stop the attack speed and stop the counter from going down, making your next charging faster.

  • Replace Willow Stance with a talent that allows handmaiden to press her “Special Action” button, to start converting stamina to attack speed (or instantly convert a specific amount), up to probably a limit of 6 stamina (the minimum she can have) or all of them. This is less intrusive than the other suggestion, it sacrefices a defensive option for more damage, and also puts Handmaiden’s rediculous Stamina Regen to even more use.

The problem with these suggestions is that it probably is too good, and would make the other talents in that row never picked, meaning either the others would have to be changed, or just shuffing the talents around, but to be fair, no one picked anything else that wasnt willow stance unless they hated using willow stance (like me). And with no offense, a QoL talent (Wraith-Walk) should not be on the same row as a DPS talent. However i feel you guys already learned that since the Grail knight talents and the new ones you’ve been making follow that.

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If you aren’t playing elf by dodging a lot, then maybe the class isn’t for you, especially as handmaiden. I think thematically it works and it’s not to difficult to maintain if you’re used to it already.

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i play elf and whc a lot and i dodge a ton, just dodging for no reason other to keep up a buff is not fun, specially once every 6 seconds, you will very rarely run into a scenario where you have to dodge multiple times that often. Having to dodge 3 times before a encounter to have maximum use of your talent is not fun, it impacts your aiming and it’s hard on your vision

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Then don’t try to optimize it’s use and just consider a bonus for how you already play.

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Not using the talent to it’s full potential is not a solution.

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You find dodging to be annoying to manage yet one of your suggestions is to just SIT there blocking to charge something up?

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outside of battles or when you’re just simply blocking yeah, but i think my second suggestion is better.

like seriously do people actually like using this talent?

Yeah. I dodge frequently in combat anyway, so it’s free attack speed for doing something I’ll already be doing.

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For me it usually drops, i rarely have to dodge that often unless i’m trying to kite, 6 seconds just doesn’t seem enough for me.

Yeah its my go to unless i play some stupid weaves where survival might be needed.
Personal opinion is that its perfectly fine as it is, maybe even slightly over tuned considering how easy it is to keep up.

The problem with a lot of these Block Talents is that it kind of forces a playstyle. Especially on HM, where pushing and dodging are more effective, because of her Weapon’s mobility and Stamina Regen.

I agree that the dodge spam can become a bit silly though. Her Ult and Talents are all starting to become too situational. And then you have Careers like Zealot/Slayer/Merc/WHC who can just keep the stats up without having to dodge or block anything.

It’s great that they’re trying to make her different, but you can do that with an infantry kill stacking buff, not just a second after blocking or dodging, or having to go over people and force bad positioning with the Ult.

If they keep pushing for too situational Talents, she’ll just become frustrating to play.

Even her 10% Power Talent becomes annoying when you’re playing with a Wizard or someone with a Spread ranged Weapon or using Bombs.

No other character suffers as badly with all of this stuff.

I mean, with the ‘push/block = AS+Power’ Talent, I’m now pushing Bosses. Doesn’t make much sense.

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I agree compleatly, at least the push one feels less intrusive because pushing contributes to horde clearing, and goes well with the glaive since it’s 2 hits, but yeah pushing bosses is very oof

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Yeah, it’s great for that. I really like the Talent.

I think it’s a good example of how making her too situational has some downsides. I like her short buffs tied to gameplay, but I just think it needs a bit of refining.

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I wouldn’t say WHC hit trades any better than Handmaiden. They go down pretty quickly if they don’t block or dodge.

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I was talking more about offensive stats. Merc’s is a good example of a situational buff that doesn’t have a huge downside.

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i just tried handmaiden again and you’re honestly right, 6 seconds is just enough forgiving for you to keep the buff always up without much thought, i still don’t like how it’s in stacks, but yeah i feel bad now, i would delete the post if i could. I still feel like she has very gimicky talents but yeah i apolagise for the mostly bad take.

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hi–i just made an account to comment, since i do partly agree with the sentiment in this thread? willow stance is a bit gimmicky to use, although it’s far from the only talent to require players to use very specific behaviour that can be awkward in some situations (in this case, on narrow ledges where you can only dodge backwards, and outside of combat where you’re still incentivised to dodge regularly despite not having any reason to).

but that’s not the main issue with it–it’s that it far outperforms every other talent on the row. it’s basically a 15% attack speed talent, permanently applicable, one of the biggest talent-based damage buffs in the game, and its alternatives (prior to the beta) are small quality of life buffs to dodging. attack speed, unlike power, is universally valuable–you don’t have to hit a breakpoint to be able to attack more safely and deal more damage in the same window.

even the power boost on dodging with the new talent doesn’t really compare–in order to get that bonus at the same rate, you’d have to dodge before every single attack, and even then, a permanent 10% power buff has a hard time competing with a permanent 15% attack speed buff–especially when you already have bonuses to power from other talents, which make the attack speed more valuable by comparison! willow stance is far too powerful for its row.

But in a horde/other situation, you dodge a lot without even thinking about it…

you do, but there are also situations where you don’t dodge. for example, when you’ve just engaged the horde, it can take a bit before you have to dodge three times, and the low attack speed at the start will throw you off. if you’re in a narrow passage, or holding a door, you’ll rarely benefit from dodging. if you’re on a narrow ledge and dodging would be hazardous, you often don’t do it. if you’re on the offensive against a staggered enemy (say, shieldvermin or a boss) and you need to go forward, dodging is potentially a bad thing! you don’t only need the talent for horde clearing–you need it all the time, frankly, for it to feel comfortable.

in addition, there’s a limit to how often you can dodge; so if you’ve built up your muscle memory to always include a dodge at a certain point, you might end up not having it a second later, when you actually need it. dodging for the sake of dodging is often awkward.

i personally play a lot of spear & shield kerillian, where pushing and heavy attacking tends to send enemies stumbling backwards, and dodging is very often unnecessary; both landing precise follow-up stabs and reaching a stumbling enemy to hit them are actually made harder by dodging mid-combo, but you still have to do it, because the attack speed from willow stance helps a lot more than the janky motion hurts. i feel this is actually an issue with the new dodge talent just as much as with willow stance–dodging to get a short-duration buff doesn’t quite synergise with how you’re meant to use dodging normally.

(by comparison, the new push talent feels amazing and really shakes up your combo choices–it’s already very natural to follow up a push with the best attack for the situation, and even pushing monsters to get the buff leads naturally into combos such as the sword and dagger’s push→stab→2nd heavy.)

About muscle memory…
I’m not sure.
At this point I’m used to it. Dodge count refreshes rather quickly and you don’t need to be constantly dodging in 99% of the situation.
While using a BCR build (very easy on HM), stopping is actually not as dangerous as you’d think.
Plus you have plenty of stamina to boot.

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