If you just want to see some animated sword swings, scroll down
While certainly not a universal opinion, I think a fair number of us can agree that Kruber/Saltzpyre’s greatsword is currently pretty underwhelming. It’s a launch weapon from Vermintide 1, and does show it’s age in its very simple playstyle and animations. It looks great, but I virtually never see it being used, especially on Kruber, who has a huge selection of melee weapons, and basically no need to ever pick the greatsword over a number of his other fantastic options.
So largely as a design puzzle for myself, I tried to think of what the greatsword might be like had it be designed for the game in 2022, rather than pre-2015. I did some rough animations below to better communicate my thoughts.
- Incorporate aspects of actual greatsword and longsword practices from European history and HEMA
- Make the weapon’s moveset more visually interesting to use (no more swinging the thing back and forth like a baseball bat), and allow for some more manipulation of attack patterns to increase the weapon’s skill ceiling.
- Keep the weapon in its niche, try not to step on other weapon’s toes. This means the greatsword should still be designed with a strong focus on crowd control that isn’t as affected by armour, and still struggles somewhat to duel with armoured targets.
- Keeping in mind the previous point, increase the versatility of the weapon. It’s still focused on crowd clearing and has a hard time managing single targets, but it isn’t exclusively a CC weapon anymore.
With these in mind, I also wanted to animate the sword in such a way that it conveys more of the grace of movement and use of momentum that actual greatsword practitioners use. Instead of fighting the weapon, Kruber / Saltzpyre should now carry the momentum of the swings around their heads and into practical spins to get the sword into place. I also incorporated a few uses of the blade’s false edge (the sharpened side that faces away from the knuckles). These historically are used in double-hitting swings that attempt to bat the opponent’s weapon away with your false edge and then immediately strike with the true edge (the sharpened side that the knuckles face).
LIGHT ATTACK COMBO
3 swings from the right carrying the momentum of the sword, followed by a two-hitting attack that swings up with the false edge, and then delivers an overhead with the true edge. This does give the greatsword a non-stamina consuming single-target attack, but as the attack strings will show later, it’s not really available on demand, and is more a matter of using it when the opportunity arises.
Potential traits of the light attacks could be Tank modifier on the first 3 swings, and extra crit chance on the 4th swing. Tank allows the light attacks to easily deal with unarmoured hoardes, but will struggle much more against armour.
The push attack is diagonal swing from the left that can be used to either slice through a crowd or aim for a headshot against a more dangerous target. The push attack is the only attack that strings into Light 4, the overhead. The change from an overhead chop or a diagonal allows the user to use pushes either to set up for single target hits, like the current greatsword, or to use it in a panic situation when surrounded by a hoard. It doesn’t serve either role as well as either a dedicated overhead or a dedicated sideswipe, but in exchange it is (hopefully) a little more versatile
HEAVY ATTACK COMBO
Each heavy attack hits twice in quick succession with only one release of the mouse, just like Light 4. The first hit is a quick strike with the false edge that almost immediately spins into a strike with the true edge. The difference in the two gifs is just to show the difference between charging basically the shortest amount of time, and holding the attack in place for a bit before releasing.
The idea here is that the false edge cut doesn’t do very much damage, but does stagger enemies and sets up for the true edge cut to start cutting down rats and norsemen left and right. Despite holding the sword in a similar place to Bretonnian Longsword, the intent here is not for the greatsword to inherit that weapon’s riposte mechanic.
The heavy attacks would continue to have the Heavy Linesman modifier, allowing them to cut through just about anything, including Chaos Warriors
Just when you thought I had stopped talking, there’s one more. The special attack is a half-sworded stab downwards, with somewhat shorter range than the rest of the weapon’s attacks, and pinpoint accuracy on the crosshair. Like Spear+Shield’s and Billhook’s special attacks, this one would consume stamina on a successful hit. This allows for still some on-demand single-target, but it still comes at a cost, just like the current greatsword.
The special attack would have great headshot damage, suboptimal bodyshot damage, perhaps even a crit chance bonus if it wasn’t powerful enough. Encourages precise placement of it to finish off foes.
Light 1, Light 2, and Light 3 chain into Heavy 2 (strikes from the right into a strike from the left)
Light 4 chains into Heavy 1
Push Attack chains into Light 4, or Heavy 1
Heavy 1 chains into Light 2 (a strike from the right, then the weapon spins over the head for another strike from the right)
Heavy 2 chains into Light 1
Special Attack resets the pattern back to neutral, just like swapping weapons or blocking.
Intended patterns include
- Light 1 → Light 2 → Light 3 → Block Cancel → repeat for clearing out unarmoured hoards
- Heavy 1 → Heavy 2 → repeat for dealing with mixed hoards or small numbers of armoured targets
- Push Attack → Light 4 → Special Attack for dealing with dangerous single targets like Stormvermin or Chaos Warriors
- Light 1/2/3 → Heavy 2 → repeat for clearing through any hoard when under the effect of Swift Slaying or another attack speed buff
All in all, this was just intended to be a fun design exercise for myself, and in that regard it has succeeded. I don’t expect actual change to come of this, though I would love to see the greatsword in some way, shape, or form be improved.
I also understand that there is a subset of players who actually really enjoy the current greatsword. Perhaps we could have the best of both worlds, and get another huge sword called a Zweihander or Montante or something, and have it use a moveset like this.
Lastly, if you wanted to be real cheeky, you could try to replicate what false edge cuts actually do, which is deflect and parry while setting up for a strike IE literally beating the other sword out of the way so you can cleave the other guy in twain. You could do this by adding block frames to the weapon during the false edge cuts of Light 4 and the Heavy attacks. Seeing as the window would be really short, it’d end up counting as a parry or “timed block”, and allow for some neat little gimmicks. Like Witch Hunter Captain running riposte, and throwing out Heavy attacks to parry a blow and then immediately spend his free crit on a huge swing that cuts through everything.
The weapon could likely reuse or modify a number of already existing animations in the game, like the Bretonnian Longsword push (just place the hands a little further apart), light attacks from the Bretonnian Sword, Greatsword and Executioner Sword, etc.
Thank you for coming to my TED talk