Handmaiden's Inherent Design Clashes

The idea behind these changes are to make HM (Handmaiden) more fun, a dodge/mobility specialist (that’s actually better at dodging than careers like WHC) without damaging current playstyles and to resolve the underlying clash HM has as both a frontliner/aura tank and a mobility career. Doesn’t concern all of HM’s kit, just the parts that I think should be changed.

Career Skill/Passive Ability/Perks:

  • Dash
    Now counts as a dodge by default.

  • Dance of Seasons
    Increased to 20% as most passive abilities are at least as strong as a talent. This would put it on par with a dodge range talent.

  • Unlisted Stamina Perk
    Handmaiden has an unlisted perk that gives half of a stamina shield. Just as the unlisted perks that WHC and Shade have should be listed, so should this.

  • Ariel’s Benison
    Moved to where Quiver of Plenty is. A new perk is added that lets Handmaiden dodge between enemies, but not through them. This mirrors FK in how It’s Hero Time is not forced on the career and instead a decision. If reduced radius is not possible, then a simple passive that decreases the window between dodges, where another dodge cannot be performed, by a small amount would suffice and be distinct. Alongside the change to the base dash, the changes to the ultimate talents and HM’s already strong block, having to choose between this and Birch Stance should not damage support playstyles.

Specific Talents From Rows 1, 4 and 5:

  • Oak Stance
    Additional effect of increasing movement speed by 15% while doing a heavy attack. This would go hand in hand with a lance/charge approach to combat that places more emphasis on keeping careful distance landing precise attacks. Think of how much effective reach (different from raw reach as it does put the user in more risk at the end of the attack) this could give weapons like the Spear, Greatsword etc. This gives these weapons a competitor to Asrai Alacrity.

  • Asrai Alacrity
    Power bonus removed. Attack speed effect decreased to 20%. Now lasts for 3 attacks, allowing it to be used with more of Kerillian’s weapons, including ones that don’t have optimal horde clearing push attacks.

  • Dance of Blades
    Now passively increase dodge range by 20%. Dodging and not taking damage increases power by 10% for 3 seconds. These changes are needed because the current version, while interesting in theory, is clunky in practice because of how often you want to be pushing and dodging as HM. Timing these things alongside each other is too dependent on things like dodge speed, attack speed, the situation you’re in etc. 20% dodge range is still useful on HM, and would pair well with the movement speed boosts so dodging doesn’t give that feeling of slowing down like it does on Slayer with high movement speed.

  • Heart of Oak
    Now increases dodge count by 2 and movement speed during heavy attacks by 10%. The health increase isn’t that useful for HM and not really inline with what Elfs do.

Ultimate Talents:

  • Gift of Ladrielle
    Changed to flinch enemies nearby at the start of the dash for 1 second. This would be a light flinch and would not affect bosses and elite’s doing overhead attacks/CW upswings. This has the opposite effect of the current Ladrielle, as it means a HM can help an ally still, albeit temporarily, even if they must move somewhere else to do something. Support orientation. Incredible synergy with Ariel’s Benison due to being able to ult while reviving. 1 second may sound brief, but from a support perspective, which is what this talent would be for, it would be strong, especially considering how often HM has dash up, and because the effect would be an aoe light stagger.

  • Bladedancer
    Now lets the player turn direction freely during the dash and lets the player attack as normal during it. Attacks apply a low damage bleed affect. Passive bleed from dashing through enemies removed. This makes the talent interactive, not reliant on other talents to be useful and makes HM an actual ‘bladedancer’. Mobility/‘selfish’ approach to combat.
    If turning while dashing is not a possible change, then increase the length of the dash by 20% instead (in addition to the other bleed changes). This would let Handmaiden have more safety when dashing through an entire horde, which is something that Slayer can do more safely with Leap currently despite clearly being what is supposed to be a riskier career.

  • Power from Pain
    Renamed to Power from Unity. This talent would grant bonuses based on the number of allies near HM when dashing, encouraging HM to be near allies as often as possible. The bonus could be something simple like crit chance, cooldown reduction etc. Pairs well with a group that is sticking together, but still differs significantly from the way FK’s (aura row) and IB’s (Blood of Grimnir) talents work.

Overall, this should let HM specialise into proper, diverse forms of mobility, support and frontlining.

The movement speed additions could be used by some players to run off on their own, but they’ll die so who cares. If they don’t die, why aren’t you playing on a higher difficulty/deeds/twitch mode where they will? They’d run away on their own anyway even as IB with a 2h Hammer. Bear in mind that speed running into a trigger would be no more powerful than just dps rushing with a conventional build. Think about all of the in-combat stuff you could do with it, like precisely dodging a large swathe of attacks and then quickly using a Greatsword heavy to reach deep into a horde to headshot a specific target and then dodge away through a narrow opening between two enemies.

Also, why is HM’s Renewal aura labeled as a perk while FK’s Protective Presence aura is labeled as a passive ability?

Overall, is it too much? Are there too many changes to talents you like? If yes to either, are there any ideas here on their own that would be good, with or without different numbers?


[Version 2] Can be found here: Version 2
The reasoning for version 2 can be found here: Version 2 – Reasoning

[Version 3] Can be found here: Version 3

3 Likes

Some interesting ideas. I particularly like the thought of removing the revive speed passive and making it a talent, plus the 1st & 3rd ult talent concepts. The two most annoying things pub Haidmaidens do is run 80% revive speed & spam invis, often on the same build natch, so I’m greatly in favor of things that change that dynamic.

I do find some of your proposals perplexing though. Why have two talents that grant move speed on heavy? It strikes me as a very niche bonus that would mainly benefit only one weapon in practice: the glaive. And why is one of those movement speed talents paired with two effective dodges? I don’t understand what the aim is. Nor do I understand the desire to nerf Asrai Alacrity.

And no changes for Focused Spirit? I believe most players would say that is the HM talent most deserving of a rework.

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So an interesting thing that the Spear, and to a lesser extent the Greatsword, have is they have very fluid movement boosts with their heavy attacks. This lets them ready a heavy at a moderately safe distance, and then use the movement boost to to fling forward. Essentially additional movement speed during the heavy would enhance this further, and enable some more footwork with these heavy attacks when forced to back peddle. The extra dodge counts would help the Spear (has 3 dodges like the Glaive). It also helps the Longbow and Hagbane Shortbow, as HM can get caught by enemies when using these two ranged weapons.

Spreading it out among two talents may seem odd, but a similar thing is done on Zealot and Slayer to make high movement speed potential a purposeful choice rather than something they get for free. This also makes this high melee range approach to combat more flexible and less reliant on a single talent, allowing it to appear a little in more builds.

For Asrai Alacrity, it only feels natural on weapons with cleave push attacks and ones that have to push a lot. On SnD, Dual Swords and Dual Daggers it’s very odd feeling. On Spear and Shield it feels decent against elites but not doesn’t last for enough hits to reach the heavy stab, and feels unnatural against hordes.
For comparison, FK’s Crowd Clearer is a fun talent that rewards careful usage of stamina, while still allowing for powerful bursts of quick attack flurries, and works with most/all of Kruber’s weapons well. Asrai Alacrity makes itself distinct by lasting for a set number of attacks instead of a set amount of time, but due to HM’s stamina aura it has nearly 100% uptime.
Being limited to 2 attacks makes it awkward on some of HM’s weapons, and doesn’t last for a lot of these weapons horde clear combos, like Spear’s push attack > light stab > light sweep, Spear and Shield’s combo push attack > light stab > light sweep and its and its push attack > heavy overhead > heavy stab anti elite combo benefit from this, as well as making the talent more fluid for all of Kerillian’s melee weapons.
The current iteration of 30% attack speed and 10% power with very high uptime that imo feels rather bad on some of HM’s weapons should be changed, as for half of Kerillian’s weapons no other talent could really compete with this as an option, and for the other half it’s still technically good but unnatural feeling.

I was hesitant with this talent, but I agree. I think this would work:

  • Focused Spirit
    Now only deactivates when taking 20 or more damage over a period of 1 second. No longer affected by friendly fire. Currently Spirit has bad uptime in any situation where chip damage is an inevitability without very defensive/passive play. This includes things like Ungor Archers hiding behind hordes, fighting a mixed horde etc, especially so on Cata and up. Being deactivated by friendly fire is silly as that can sometimes be totally out of the player’s control. These changes should fix both of these issues and make Spirit not reliant on another talent to be effective (it does some work with the current Bladedancer, but it encourages passive play), and a reliable/consistent option for a player that can skillfully avoiding being hit by 90% of the attacks in this game. The period of 1 second is important as it means if HM gets peppered by a medium amount of damage in a small burst, they’ll still lose the buff which is reasonable. 20 damage is a number I thought would be fair, but I don’t know exactly what number would make the most sense with how variable enemy damage can be.

Thank you for the feedback and for telling me which parts you thought were good, and which parts have issues.

2 Likes

Nice post! I actually like most of it but i am dubious as to the lvl 30/ability changes.

Honestly to start with i do not like invisibility on handmaiden, feels really strange to have a career that is supposedly a guard with the ability to just…go invisible and run away. But, if invisibility is to be kept then the flinch mechanic does sound good.

Isnt the dash silly fast? How would turning ever work out without bugging a ton? Then as for the bleed, i am not in favor of removing it at all, instead i think i´d be cool to have something like a sweeping attack at the end of it at the expense of more cooldown. Something to make the ability feel more impactful.

Additionally for the argument of bleed removal, even if you let her attack during the dash itself the net loss of damage from losing the bleed would be massive so that doesnt seem great either.

There was some talent like this but it kept bugging out so much that they removed it :sweat_smile:

But in all seriousness i cant say i favor an ult that relies on her teammates to stack together a lot, especially not when she is likely to end up split from them after her first dash which would remove all benefits she could get from it.

But as for the other talent changes, i do think they are good and would help bring handmaiden up to be more on par with other melee careers. The focused spirit change alone would make me happy because it really does feel silly how even unchained “bomb balm” disables it :sob:

2 Likes

I don’t believe I made my critiques clear enough. So allow me to take another stab at it.

In V2 it’s strange to have multiple talents that all give the exact same bonus. While Slayer and Zealot both do technically have several talents that grant movement speed, they do so under disparate situations. Meanwhile your proposal that has the exact same bonuses on two talents. I understand the desire to say “Players should have the flexibility to choose this bonus in multiple locations,” but that is not how V2 is currently patterned. And boy, oh boy, are patterns something that Fatshark really love to have in their talents.

Another pattern broken is combining two weirdly unrelated bonuses together into one talent. Movespeed on heavy & additional effective dodges is as inelegant a pairing as anything. And while some talents in this mold do exist, they are far and away the minority.

Not to mention that effective dodge count is a card that Fatshark has tended to play close to their chest. I’d do some dramatic stuff to get +1 effective dodge on many careers. Putting +2 dodges and some extra stuff into a singular talent strikes me as going a bit overboard. “Because elf,” indeed.

I would say that confining “movement speed on heavy” to a single talent and then, if it truly needs one to be competitive, add on a secondary effect that specifically enhances heavy attacks. Something like “increased crit chance on heavy attacks” or what have you. That is much more in line with how Fatshark talent design currently operates.

Why should all elf weapons easily get full attack speed uptime from Asrai Alacrity though? You’ve made the comparison to FK’s Crowd Clearer talent, but FK doesn’t have that sort of uptime with normal attack chains on most Kruber weapons either. I don’t believe this is a strong argument.

Now if the argument was something along the lines of:

Handmaiden, as a ‘tank’ role career, should have a talent that rewards the player with high amounts of attack speed with near 100% uptime for performing a trivial feat they should be doing anyways.

Then I would understand the point. I would also say that under that logic Crowd Clearer certainly needs a buff of some description, because it does not fulfill all those criteria. I might also point out that Handmaiden also has Willow Stance which already achieves this, though in a more selfish manner.

So basically just remove a lot of the uncertainty around the talent and make it more skill focused. I can certainly appreciate the simple approach. Though exactly how good it would be in the end massively depends on where the breakpoint would be. Pretty sure archers deal more than 20 damage on Cata for instance.

2 Likes

12 per shot on cata.

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Well there you go. Thanks for saving me a trip to the modded realm man.

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Whilst this isn’t the direction I’d take with changing HM, your iteration of Bladedancer with the option of turning mid-dash will be unusable by the vast majority of the player base due to how fast you’d have to turn the mouse.

Extra distance to the ult is worthless without the dash itself proccing bleed. What’s the point of dashing through a horde, being able to swing only a few times during the ult, and having done pitiful damage by the end of it?

At the end of the day, the other talents are superior. If we are sticking to this talent being a more selfish choice then she could get stacks by dashing through enemies. Stacks which could give her bleed on light attacks/push attacks only for about 8-11 seconds.

Not sure how long. PfP right now lasts for 15 seconds and I can get my ult back before the stacks run out allowing me to refresh them. Combining bleed with the elf’s high cleave weapons is not exactly a good idea.

Would this be strong? Undoubtedly. But the current iteration of Bladedancer allows you to dash through an entire horde and all non-elite infantry will keel over after about 4 or 5 ticks of damage from the dash.

If stacks aren’t appealing then just give her bleed on dash for light attacks/push attacks only.

Handmaiden is really not a front line tank in WH lore.

If anything should be done to HM. It should be 3 separate skill trees that focus on

  1. Heavy Group Support
  2. Big single target ranged damage
  3. Duel capabilities for monsters/heavy armor.

One of the biggest attributes of handmaidens in WH is their ability to wreck powerful enemies at range with magic arrows and inspire their team to feats of heroism

Sorry, I didn’t make this clear in the post. The flinching would replace the invisibility.

Good points about Bladedancer.

As far as distance goes, the main idea is to make dashing through hordes in a rather reckless, like how Slayer can leap over them with relative safety, a reasonable choice for Handmaiden. Full control might be too much, but just being able to turn a little during the ult would help with various terrains in the game.

However, you’re right, it wouldn’t do enough. I wanted to attach the bleed to melee attacks so the talent didn’t feel useless when armour appeared, since armour penetrating attacks apply bleed through armour, you could use heavies to get the benefits.

How about:

  • Bladedancer
    Now lets the player alter direction somewhat during the dash and lets the player attack as normal during it. Attacks apply a bleed affect during the dash and for 6 seconds after. Passive bleed not removed. This should be enough, since just by ulting at your feet you’ll get 6 seconds of bleed damage on a coolown of 20 seconds (realistically that’s probably 15 seconds at most). You’ll still get more value by doing good dashes through clumps of enemies because the 6 second timer only starts after the dash has ended, so that’s an extra second during the ultimate. This might seem like lot of bleed, but it would be like a conditional version of Flense (Flense is a very strong talent, so a weaker version of it should be balanced on a low cooldown ult).

The passive bleed could also be changed to have a delay on it that deals significant damage, and be samurai like in nature, suddenly dropping enemies. This would be a departure from how bleed works normally in this game, but could be cool visually.

Asrai Grace. It was very bad as it relied on HM being near allies the entire time instead of a brief moment, effectively punishing any use of the dash at all. If the effect strength being based on the number of allies makes it too reliant on others, then it could be made to only require one ally to encourage pairing instead, like Comrades in Arms does, though the effect would have to be weaker as a result.

Currently I’m thinking:

  • Power from Unity
    Every ally near HM at the start of when dash is activated grants 20% cooldown reduction. This would reduce the cooldown 8 seconds (would be 6 seconds with CDR on trinket). Being near one ally would reduce it to 16 seconds.

It could also be made to have diminishing returns instead, to encourage a minimum of pairing up while rewarding being with the full team without relying on it. E.g. First ally is worth 30%, second is worth 20%, third is worth 10%.


Very good point. I think you’re right about having it on one talent. The 2nd talent row on all careers is usually very important and decides the career’s main form of offense with a mechanical interaction. On FK that’s stagger, power or speed, on Slayer that’s 2h weapons, 1h weapons or a mix of both etc. Oak Stance would be heavy attacks, mobility and reach. Focused Spirit would be for breakpoints, ranged damage and stagger strength. Asrai Alacrity would be for direct frontlining and frequent but not heavy cc.

Something like:

  • Oak Stance
    Increases crit chance of charged attacks by 5.0%. Movement speed during charged attacks increased by 25.0%. The crit chance here is to encourage frequent use of the heavies and for Swift Slaying uptime.

Then for Heart of Oak:

  • Heart of Oak
    Landing a heavy attack increases dodge speed (only dodge speed, not range) by 15%. Dodge speed only as any more dodge range will likely make hitting enemies after dodging nearly impossible.

I wouldn’t say the change would make it easier for all elf weapons. The ones that don’t horde optimal chains that have push attacks in them would still have some awkwardness from it, but wouldn’t feel as terrible as they do now with it. What FK weapons don’t have good uptime with Crowd Clearer?

  • 1h Sword, 1h Mace, Mace and Sword, 2h Hammer, Exec all work easily and incorporate push attacks when fighting hordes.
  • Shields have to make use of their push frequent and can ignore their push attack when fighting hordes, but don’t get punished for using it since it’s a timer instead of a set number of attacks.
  • Greatsword and Halberd have to use their push attacks very often when fighting elites in mixed hordes, and the Halberd often needs to push to reestablish control against a horde.

You rarely want to use the push attacks SnD, DD, Dual Swords have, with SnD’s push attack only becoming relevant on elites. Dual Swords have higher single target dps vs armour with heavy chaining (whereas Kruber’s Greatsword has higher single target armour dps with the push attack) and DD’s push attack doesn’t do anything of note.

Crowd Clearer is a popular pick for FK. I’m not sure if it needs to be buffed, but if it were to be, what approach do you think would be ideal? The timer could be extended to 4 seconds, or the boost increased to 20%, a distinction could be made for 1h weapons and 2h weapons (so 3s for 1h, 4s for 2h) or would another change be better?

I was tempted to type out changes to Willow Stance as well. I was thinking that it could be changed to only add a stack when not taking damage (excluding friendly fire) during a dodge. Taking damage wouldn’t remove a stack, but wouldn’t add on either. This would suffer similar issues as Focused Spirit does now, but on a much smaller scale because of how frequent dodges are. The 20 damage or more over the course of 1 second could be added here as well. None of this is necessary as Willow Stance is fine as is and works as a talent, but I thought it might be worth mentioning the idea.

Yeah. Not sure what numbers would work, but I think 20 would be reasonable as 1 ratling bullet at point blank does 3 damage, getting clipped by the initial gas throw from a Globadier does 10 damage, while the first tick of gas after it’s landed does 15 damage, 1 Ungor Archer arrow does 12 damage, a single tick of the Stormfiend’s ground fire does 8 damage and the direct stream of fire does 19 damage if only hit by the very start of it, and a Warpfire Thrower does 7 damage per fire tick. This value of 20 means HM still has to avoid the vast majority of damage they’ll be confronted by, but not damage that’s unreasonable to avoid consistently without overly defensive play.


You’re right about the lore, but, and I could be wrong here, I don’t think most players really play HM in V2 to be like one from the lore after a certain point, and it’s not what the career has ever really been like. They play HM for the extreme mobility, evasion and the clutching with support elements mixed in. These changes don’t make HM a classic tank, but rather an evasion tank that can deal with a massive numbers of enemies through dodging and movement and not raw dps.

WHC and Slayer are good examples of careers that can use mobility and specific weapons to deal with massive numbers of enemies with high dps uptime, but raw killing power that lets them kill enemies almost immediately as they move into the slots around the player is a large part of this too. The overall goal of my suggestions are to make HM good at this in a different way, where dps uptime would come mostly from sheer mobility instead of raw killing power.

3 Likes

To recap an addition to the main post:

  • Focused Spirit
    Now only deactivates when taking 20 or more damage over a period of 1 second. No longer affected by friendly fire.

And to recap some changes:

  • Oak Stance
    Increases crit chance of charged attacks by 5.0%. Movement speed during charged attacks increased by 25.0%. The crit chance here is to encourage frequent use of the heavies and for Swift Slaying uptime.

  • Edit: Asrai Alacrity
    Attack speed reduction lessened, placing it at 25%. Change made as only giving 5% more attack speed than FK’s Crowd Clearer seemed unfair considering Asrai Alacrity would only last for 3 attacks.

  • Heart of Oak
    Landing a heavy attack increases dodge speed (only dodge speed, not range) by 15%. Dodge speed only as any more dodge range will likely make hitting enemies after dodging nearly impossible.

  • Bladedancer
    Lets the player alter direction somewhat during the dash and lets the player attack as normal during it. Attacks apply a bleed affect during the dash and for 6 seconds after. Passive bleed not removed.

  • Power from Unity (originally Power from Pain)
    Every ally near HM at the start of when dash is activated grants 20% cooldown reduction. This would reduce the cooldown 8 seconds (would be 6 seconds with CDR on trinket). Being near one ally would reduce it to 16 seconds.

2 Likes

I cut out a lot of the FK talk in the interest of keeping us on topic. Suffice it to say that I disagree with your assessment. Especially on the slower, two handed weapons. And especially especially considering that FK lacks any sort of native stamina regen.

I still don’t believe you’ve made a very compelling case for changing Asrai Alacrity. SnD & DD still make use their amazing half cost pushes for control, so I don’t see the relevance of their push stabs being more situational. Dual Swords is probably the weapon with the least to gain from the talent, but even then it still helps with crit fishing on the 3rd & 4th lights by getting the first two attacks out of the way faster.

The whole thing feels like a change to assuage a pet peeve rather than a substantive improvement for the career. Which is fine to push for, but seems out of place according to the stated purpose of the topic.

I bow to your knowledge of damage values. 20 health sounds like a perfectly reasonable number. Though my gut tells me that ~1 second is too generous.

And now for your revised suggestions.

5% crit is probably too low to be worthwhile when put against a usable version of Focused Spirit & Asrai Alacrity. I would say that 10-15% would be more appropriate. Or if that much crit is problematic, changing the damage bonus part of the talent to headshot damage.

Dodge speed sounds like a very niche benefit in general to me. Never mind having to access it via landing a heavy attack. What would the practical use case for this talent be?

So it has the normal bleed proc on Dashing through enemies, but also gives her Flense for a few seconds? Seems powerful, but the question should be raised if making Bladedancer an all-in-one damage package that murders horde enemies and also enhances her elite & armor killing is wise. I would say, at the very least, that it should increase the cooldown of Dash to 30 seconds to keep the uptime down.

Changing PfP from a talent that rewards the player from hitting enemies with their ult and possibly putting the player out of position to a talent that rewards the player for being with the team with a buff sounds great. But CDR alone is just not that valuable on a career with the shortest cooldown in the game and an ult that provides nothing beyond raw repositioning. Not when it’s put against talents that provide that sorts of additional effects.

This feels more like a talent that should go in another row. Similar to the FK’s Hero Time talent.

2 Likes

This is fair. The changes overall to Asrai Alacrity are not needed. However, I do think the power part should be removed to prevent overlap with Focused Spirit. 30% attack speed on push for two attacks on a career with 100% (130% possible from gear) stamina recovery should be strong enough. So:

  • Asrai Alacrity
    Power bonus removed. Reverted to two attacks. Attack speed increase no longer changed (stays at original 30%).

Funnily enough, Dual Swords gains more from this then most of HM’s weapons even if it’s in an awkward way. This is because since DS cleave armour, the addition of 30% attack speed makes push (not push attack) > 2x heavy very safe and decent dps, while for a weapon like DD HM is still at great risk when landing the low reach heavies despite the attack speed increase. I just did Convocation of Decay’s Cata final as HM with this setup and it worked very well, so I’ve concluded that my previous arguments for changing Asrai Alacrity were incorrect.

Would two seconds be better?

Interesting idea. Kerillian’s weapons do have decent headshot modifiers to scale off of, and this would make the talent skill based and revolve around decisive charged attacks, but instead of the cleave power, stagger power and ranged bonuses of Focused Spirit, it brings mobility and what would be mostly a single target damage boost. Something like 35.0% headshot damage bonus on charged melee attacks opens up some combo breakpoints (like Spear 2x light stab headshot > heavy stab headshot killing an SV with Smiter) while still not reaching the same levels of directly increased overall dps from Spirit and Asrai Alacrity. So:

  • Oak Stance
    Increases headshot damage bonus of charged attacks by 35.0%. Movement speed is increased by 25.0% for the duration of charged attacks.

Essentially the main use would be dodging incredibly quickly away from a horde after landing a heavy attack that puts HM at risk. 15% on its own may not be much, but dodge distance, like movement speed, becomes very powerful after a certain threshold. Since HM would already have 20% from Dance of Seasons, this talent would extend HM’s dodging capabilities into very strong territory. If Dance of Blades is taken as well, HM’s mobility becomes more focused on the entire area rather than a small one. This contrasts with something like WHC with the Rapier + Charmed Life, who is still very quick but focused on a small area and engaging with specific targets in front of them. A HM using one of the lower reach weapons, like DD, the 1h Axe, SnD etc. would take this and not take Dance of Blades, as it would help these weapons land heavy attacks on elites in hordes without giving them dodges that send them so far they can’t reach any enemies, while higher reach weapons like the Spear, Greatsword etc. could take both for large scale battlefield mobility. Another benefit of it being only dodge speed is that it will not drag enemy running attacks as much, which is more team friendly.

In the final as HM I was using the extra health from Heart of Oak. It was still not amazing, but the added defense did help. If we went further along the idea of making landing these heavy attacks safer, than a minor amount of damage reduction (15.0%) after landing a heavy attack could push the talent over and help with chip damage. This would make maintaining Focused Spirit easier but taking Spirit would mean not having the synergy this talent would have with Oak Stance. So:

  • Heart of Oak
    Landing a charged attack increases dodge speed by 15.0% and decreases damage taken by 15.0%.

This copies from Slayer a little, but HM should still be no where nearly as tanky as Slayer is while still not dealing as much damage. Since HM is wearing armour, a minor amount of damage reduction should still feel appropriate on what would end up being a dodge/evasion tank.

Reading that now makes me realise that it probably is too much overall. Would end up just being a increase your damage by pressing f talent. I’m hesitant to add drawbacks to the talent, particular a cooldown increase, but a small one like that could work.

  • Bladedancer
    Lets the player alter direction somewhat during the dash. Attacks during dash and for 6 seconds after dash ends deal bleed damage. Bleed from dash itself removed. Removing the passive bleed means this is still a powerful damage boost but still gives the player complete control over the bleeds application (since normal Bladedancer doesn’t do anything to armour).

Otherwise, your idea:

  • Bladedancer
    Lets the player alter direction somewhat during the dash. Attacks during dash and for 6 seconds after dash ends deal bleed damage. The cooldown of Dash is increased to 30 seconds. Powerful, but with more thought on usage because of the longer cooldown.

My thinking was that it would let HM return to the team quickly, for a more frontline/defense orientation. Since dash would now innately count as a dodge, its inherent value is increased a little, making having it up more often more worthwhile than it would be with the current dash. This helps mitigate the “There goes the HM dashing away from the team again while I’m surrounded. No more stamina aura for me, guess I’ll die.” issue that I’ve seen a lot of players complain about.

Perhaps this instead?

  • Power from Unity (formerly Power from Pain)
    Allies affected by your aura when you dash away retain the aura’s effect for 6 seconds. Being near one ally when starting dash provides 30.0% cooldown reduction, two allies provide 50.0% cooldown reduction and three allies provide 60.0% cooldown reduction. This makes it not completely reliant on the entire team sticking together and not useless if players go down, but the best effect is still achieved if they stay alive and stick together.

If it were placed on a different row instead, where do you think would be a good slot for it to take? It could replace my idea for Heart of Oak potentially.

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I know that some stuff has already changed further down in the discussion. Though I will concentrate on what is written in the opening as some points are consistent even with stilll discussed changes later on.

Ariel’s Benison was a talent before it became a passive. Reason was simply that while considered good, it wasnt good enough to justify a talent. To be fair, as far as I remember it was a level 30 talent. Still, readding it to the talent pool seems unncessary. Although, I think the issue is less with Ariel’s Benison and more with wanting to have the dodge change as passive. Which brings me to the first “problem”

Currently Dance of Blades is an or-function which will be changed to an and-function with the suggested change. It is a straight up buff to a talent row which currently is very much in balance to each other. This problem is amplified by the addition of the new dodge passive which is a weaker version of Wrait Walk. As a result Wrait Walk becomes less desirable as the boon it gives is lessened relatively to before while Dance of Blades becomes buffed. The overall balance of the talent row will be thrown out of the window. The change is good for people who want increased agressive dps uptime but didnt want to give up on the mobility which Wrait Walk offered. It isnt balanced though in my opinion.

As much as I welcome the removal of the invisibilty to counter extensive cheese. However, the suggested change (cant remember if there has been an edit down) seems pretty useless to me. For Handmaiden itself, it doesn’t bring any benefit unless you are running away from enemies. The given example of reviving doesn’t work especially if you active skill away during reviving. With a timeframe of 1 s the effect of the flinch will be already over by the time the reviving is done. Even if the active skill is only used directly after reviving, it still is to short as there is an one second no control phase after reviving. The only effect it has is to lessen slightly the burden of a team mate which is left alone while defending. It would make a bit more sense to let enemies flinch at the final place similar to crunch. But it would still not be worthwhile.

I don’t see the point of changing Bladedancer at all. It is already a strong and interesting talent which plays upon the positioning and spacial awareness skill of the player. As others have pointed out the dash is also to short to make any active slashing meaningful. The only benefit by such a change would be to get the bleed to armoured targets. However, if one wants armour damage there is still Power from Pain. Bladedance is an anti-horde tool and works very well at that.

As much as I like team orientated talents, I dont think it works with Handmaiden’s active skill at all unless we are talking about a total conversion of her giving up the dash for an increased aura effect. But then again, it should be placed to GoL instead of Power from Pain.

With this said, I will come now to the most glaring “issue” of the suggested stuff. And I will get into that with a rather lengthy answer.

Heart of Oak has been changed in the meanwhile but the effect has just been added on Oak Stance. And … sorry, that is an absolutely inexcusabke no-go (personal opinion). Why is that so? You have adressed one part of the issue already yourself. Movement talents can be used to move away from the team. That alone is already adverse to how the game market itself and reason enough to not allow such thing.
However, another far greater problem has not been adressed already. Movement speed can be used to get away from the enemy. In the worst case this leads to outrunning certain enemy types which is another thing completely adverse to what the game wants to be. The problem does not start with outrunning however, it starts with an increased disengagement time. Blooper’s of such style can be already witnessed by an unadressed exploit in the game: air slashing. Most prominent example is probably the Fire Dagger used in FoW to outrun Chaos Warrior hordes and other stuff. Which is why movement speed has to be handled very carefully.

Fatshark is aware of this issues for the most part as can be seen in past precedence as well as current talents and traits. Let’s start with the precedence we had in Vermintide 1. Seal of the Swift Strider (or Quick Foot) has been changed in Patch 1.9 from 6 % to 12 %. As found out fast by the community, this allowed to outrun Slave Rats. They have been physically inable to reach the player. Considering that in Vermintide 1 they made up the majority of enemies, this lead to some major cheesing and easy speed-running success because you had been literally untouchable. Unsurprisingly, this has been reduced from 12 % to 8 % in Patch 1.10.

This experience for Fatshark had consequences for the balancing in Vermintide 2. The first one was the introduction of running-up attacks for all enemy-types. The second has been a major restriction for most movement talents. Out of my head (I might forget one or two) we have four unlimited movement speed boosts: the Trinket property, RV’s No Dawdling, GK’s Thirst for Glory and air-slashing. The first three clearly show the extent to what Fatshark is willing to offer in terms of unlimited movement speed boost. The last one is a simple oversight because Fatshark tends to forget to which extend some minor stuff is exploited.

Other than these unlimited movement speed boosts, we have some more limited movement speeds boni. Most of them concentrate on the pure melee careers as some kind of trade-off for not having ranged weapons. These can be categorized. We have the dashes/slayer jump themself which are restricted by the active skill bar itself. Then we have the active skill talents Virtue of the Impedious Knight and No Escape which are again restricted by the active skill bar to avoid a constant use of that bonus. Other than that we have Impatience and Devotion, two talents which increase movement speed significantly. However, it is visible pretty fast that both boni will fade two seconds(!) out of combat, so that they are useless out of engagement and can not be used to outrun enemies.

With this said we get back to Oak Stance which suggests a whopping 15 % movement speed while doing a heavy attack (later in the thread even 25 %). Heavy attacks are not restricted though, they can be used unlimited making this suggestions a constant movement speed, enabling speedrunning away from the team and away from enemies both gameplay adverse to the self-marketing of Vermintide. This is doubled-down on weapons which have movement speed air-slashing already on heavy attacks like the Twohander. It is easy to see that this shouldn’t be a thing, neither for the suggested change of Oak Stance nor for the already existing exploit of air-slashing. Past precedence and design of other talents make this obvious.

Overall, I don’t see the issue current Handmaiden has. The changes (especially the new dodge passive) seem to target some kind of hyper-mobility/untouchable pure agression dps build similar to Slayer. Changes have been made so that you don’t have to give off major mobility boosts while still being able to chose dps talents. Something desirable if I would like to play alone without other players or even bots. Personally, I don’t like it (personal opinion).

Main concerns with HM are that the dash has anti-synergy with most of her kit and so you end up either leaving the team, depriving them of your aura and front-lining capability, or you just end up never really using the dash at all outside clutch situations, or to reposition…for which 2 of the 3 talents are worthless. Gift of Ladrielle, however, presents a problem in that it’s very strange for a character that’s built for a frontline suddenly turn invisible and drop aggro on you. Every other class with a dash can benefit from dashing in place/cancelling on the spot and HM should be no different in that regard so she can actually stick to the team/hold the line

Outside that I think her kit is fair enough, I know she has some talent issues that are similar to what every career has an issue with rn (5% crit, kinda worthless/uninteresting stuff like that). Very much so like her having revive speed as a passive too; don’t think wraith walk should be a passive, not even a watered down version.

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Hm, it´s likely too weak on its own then.

Bleeds on armor dont work all to well i think, for i know that some like chaos warriors take like 0.5 damage from a bleed tick while a mauler takes 10 damage from the same thing.

If a set bleed damage was added to the attack was added though that´d be workable, but, i suspect the ability would need a higher cooldown to balance it out but that is a finer point.

…The dash itself is really underwhelming, so having only CDR from it would also just be underwhelming and from that perspective the present iteration “power from pain” is indeed better. As it does work as a proper and noticeable melee power up.

Abilities are more fun when they feel powerful, and even a powerful ability can be boring if it lacks that feeling… which is what i think of the present bladedancer to be honest.

I want to believe willow is fine, the tradeoff for taking it over wraith walk is already huge if you are using say bladedancer or just like to hug walls in general.

The only thing I can really gather from your reply is that you dislike this:

I don’t think there’s a point in me attempting a constructive discussion with someone that thinks players like me are idiots that drool over high attack speeds. Do you?


Any thoughts on the stamina aura effect lingering on players that were near the HM when dash started?

Going to honest. I think this is a boring approach to balancing and not strong justification for keeping most of HM’s talents the same as they are. HM doesn’t have to like the other careers to be fun. If you want another push bot, then we do already have a large number of alternatives on different heroes for that purpose. You don’t play HM for that reason right? I’m making assumptions but I doubt it. No one wants to waltz up to the frontline with Dual Swords and be FK without the stagger but with more frequent pushes and longer dodges.

Maybe it’s the ADHD but to me that’s a pretty boring fate for HM. Don’t you want… more?

I really don’t care about what a career is ‘supposed’ to do. I care about what they could do, and what gameplay would be the best and distinct from others.

You see a watered down version. I see a version that’s superior in gameplay because it requires precise use, rewarding the player for skill rather than a passive bonus. I’d almost out right suggest replacing Wraith-Walk with this if it wasn’t there to replace the Benison passive.

Why do you like Ariel’s Benison as a passive? Surely having this part of HM be a choice is better than forcing HM to only be making use of their full kit when others mess up by default. You wouldn’t like It’s Hero Time as a passive on FK right?

What are your thoughts are what would be strong enough? The bonus could be increased to 2 seconds of flinch level stagger. Or does it need an additional effect? Or should it simply work both at the start and end of the dash?

On superarmour that’s true, but on regular armour it’s more like a 15% power (definitely not exact, guess-estimate from comparing Flense in dps calc and comparing its dps increase to Enhanced Power) increase in terms of dps. It’s why Flense still tips WHC over into bodyshot damage. Iirc a single tick of Flense is about half damage on armour.

Oh thank god I’m not insane. I’m glad there are other people that agree that Bladedancer feels underwhelming despite its effect.


This is to clear this up for anyone reading the thread as there’s massive walls of text in my replies:
I see an opportunity in HM to explore gameplay that hasn’t been fully implemented and only exists in a limited form on WHC with Charmed Life, the Rapier and 40% attack speed. A precision focused form of gameplay that places emphasis on actually interacting with enemies and reading a massive number of attack animations on a larger scale than WHC does. Slayer can’t do this because Slayer’s mobility weapons simply don’t have that much reach, so it’s very limited on Slayer.

Anyway, back to playing WHC because every other career except for Shade with Cloak of Mists and RV with MWP is weaker after a certain level of skill and apparently everyone is okay with that.
Edit: *Okay with that, or outright wants WHC to reward less for headshots in a way that puts a hard cap on the skill ceiling instead of making it more difficult.

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I actually would tbh then I might actually have a reason to consider the other talents on that row and FK might not be such a sad class. I like Ariel’s Benison atm since it offers something actually pretty unique, if it were just a talent choice I’d probably be more inclined to pick something that will have more uptime/use to me in general. Main reason hero time is the go-to pick on that row for FK is because the other options suck in comparison

I didn’t say her talents should stay the same though :^)
I’m just saying that HM should be able to still benefit from her ult if she elects to stick to the team, which she should typically be doing by virtue of the aura and the nature of her kit. She’s the only career that feels like she has built in anti-synergy

Like Quiver of Plenty, Oak Stance, Focused Spirit and Heart of Oak are all currently pretty sad talents that could use changing/spicing up. I’d be fine with wraith-walk being changed to something more interesting too

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I think there are a lot of options, but whatever they are they should not be weaker than the invisibility that exists now, just different…there are so many options i honestly cant decide what would be good ._.

Feels a bit low for an ability, a little higher would be good i feel.

I´ve advocated for it being strong for a fairly long time… but yup, it ¨feels¨ weak :sweat_smile:

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Inspiring-Blow is pretty decent outside of Deathwish. Counter-punch is inherently counter synergistic with a high stagger career but picks up value due to FK not having stamina recovery and being vulnerable to running out because of intense bursts of push spam. This is more noticeable on weapons like the Greatsword, but even something like the 1h Sword can experience it with Crowd Clearer. Counter-punch does need changes though. I’ve thought that making it last longer for 2h weapons would make sense, since they have slower pushes and push attacks. Still, talents have to looked at through a holistic lense. What does FK want on this row (since it’s the defense row) and what are FK’s weakenesses (what cause FK the most issues in a given run, and what kills FK)?

  • Can’t reach an ally/ult on cd? Can come up but usually not an issue and not a weakness. It sounds dumb but with FK’s cd return on taking damage Skavenslaves attacks are like battery packs for Valiant Charge.
  • Backfoot on low stamina? Not at all a weakness.
  • Not enough dps? A weakness. Inspiring blow lets FK increase the team’s dps, which helps with this.

To compare to WHC:

  • Getting surrounded/caught and unable to escape? Definite weakness since no dash ult. Charmed Life works to prevent this from happening.
  • Not enough cc? Often a weakness, as WHC has no unique source of power for stagger purposes, so Cast Away helps with this.

However, my view could be inherently wrong here. Perhaps what is usually the defense row does not have to always be the defense row, and perhaps a defensive specialist like FK can differ in this regard.

I get that Ariel’s Benison is unique, but is still a forced playstyle on a career that could be made into something more. I just don’t really like passives like that. Very few careers have them, and the ones that do don’t take it so far as to rely on players going down (FK’s damage reduction aura is always useful, like for hit trading on purpose, but I don’t think anyone plans to go down for that sweet 20 green hp). But that’s probably a me problem tbh. I won’t push the point any further.

Fair I reacted incorrectly there. Sorry. Reading your reply now and its clear you were referring to the main issues that HM has, not saying that other changes couldn’t happen.

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