So far I’ve played several matches on veteran (couldn’t find a champion party), and running OE Bardin with the following loadout (from memory, so not a 100% full list of traits and such):
- Axe & Shield (+2 Stamina);
- Drakefire Pistols (Trait to generate less heat);
- The rest of the equipment gives another +2 Stamina, all-in-one potion effects, and a chance not to consume bombs on use, as well as the obligatory barkskin;
I’m running the Ablative Armor, as well as the trait that makes the Pressure stacks remain even when firing the Steamgun. So far I have been so much as approached in melee so rarely that I might ditch the Ablative Armor for something more offensive (Bombardier is so, so alluring…). Drakes + Steamgun combo is so effective that melee is a rare occurrence.
Combining the Steamgun with Drakefire Pistols makes for an ultimate versatile Ranged career - the combo just mows hordes, specials and monsters alike without ever approaching them (though monsters tend to aggro due to so much damage). The only enemy that seems to withstand the sheer firepower is the Chaos Warrior due to its obnoxious armour, but that could be resolved by getting the armorpiercing talents for the steamgun.
And I just have to say… holy crap, it’s so damn effective. Actually, it’s so effective that I expect a nerf to hit this career, because it’s just dominating the battlefield. So far, I absolutely and unquestionably love it!