Musings on what a "good weapon" is


So over the course of a few discussions in the forums here as well as chatting with people in game it slowly hit me that there is an almost extreme discrepancy in what people define as good weapons.

People cannot seem to agree what is good and what isn’t, but why is this so? At this point from my perspective it seems to boil down to the fact that some careers like say Zealot, slayer, handmaiden or battlewiz can take weapons that would otherwise be crappy and do really well with them.

One could argue that this occurs because some weapons are too niche which can be overcome by careers like slayer being able to bring two weapons, but then why does this occur for the likes of handmaiden/zealot as well?

I do find it true that you can use a melee only career to overcome the flaw of having a niche weapon but its also true that enough steroids/boosts just makes a niche weapon able to perform even beyond it´s niche which is for instance what handmaiden does for a lot of Kerillian´s weapons.

Or how battlewiz can raise firesword heavy 1 superarmor damage up from 12 to 23…that cuts the number of heavies needed to kill a chaos warrior from 21-22 to 11.

However, if it takes a load of steroids to make the weapons good…are they actually good? This is the question i am hoping for you, the readers, to share your opinions on.

Good weapon?
  • Not good if boosts are needed.
  • Good anyway
  • Neither?

0 voters


My own thought is honestly that if a weapon needs a heap of boosters to be useful then it´s not good. Like how people tell me that keri has a ton of good weapons but then when you dig into it the conclusion is just that “with a lot of extra attackspeed+crit (optionally +invis) anything works” then i just conclude that “without those the weapons sucks, right?”.

Notably Saltzpyre and Kruber have also both suffered from this for their ranged careers, both have a several melee options but many are not usable at all. So i´ll advocate for the idea that a lot of weapons need baseline buffs to reach a point where they are in fact generally usable since build diversity doesn’t exist unless this happens, which really makes things stale.

And if melee careers got steroids that makes them overpowered at such a time then don’t just rain nerfs on the weapons as was initially done back when zealot went to town with axe and falchion, nerf the bleeding zealot instead…hasn’t merc also caused some stuff like this? Well either way it becomes more and more important if every character is to have multiple careers sharing the same weapons.

Which is even more important if we want more DLC careers.

I do realize this all isnt likely to occur or cause any short term reactions given fatshark is busy but i felt the need to throw it out here.


Weapons are just a component of a build so whether a weapon is good or bad will always miss information, better is to talk about builds themselves.

That said most weapons will tend to be similarly strong/weak across all the builds/careers, for example dual hammers (strong on all 3 dawi careers in a multitude of builds) or pickaxe (weak across all 3 -but acceptable on slayer at least), so you can somewhat assign a strength to a weapon, albeit basically just an average of the builds they make.


Sure, you can state that 1handed axe isnt bad on waystalker because you can also use hagbane on her…but are you then actually using the 1handed axe or are you using hagbane? Does the 1h axe actually have any point at all?

Similarly that sort of thing occurs a lot with Sienna who throws enough fire around to avoid melee problems. Which is why her melee arsenal was “allowed” to be beyond awful for a very, very long time. And it still is pretty bad to be honest, each of her careers having this one trick that makes 1-2 melee weapons good but they just cant use anything else.

It still strikes me as pretty funny how fire sword is unchained’s signature weapon in the career selection screen but it is quite possibly her worst option entirely since she cant boost the fire damage.

Yeah, no.

The problem with this ideology is the fact that it produces as a situation where you have multiple careers that each have like 10+ weapon choices, but they can only use 2-3 if the criteria is to be self sufficient in melee.

If build diversity and having actual choices is considered good, being able to mix and pair weapons fairly freely, then the present is considered bad. Especially when you have melee oriented careers that only have enough ammo to shoot in emergencies exclusively.

But even when you play ranged careers it´s pretty damn stale to have this one weapon that is really good and then a heap of others are are usable “as long as X(common thing) can be avoided…”

A fine example of the latter is the elf greatsword and hordes with armor/shields in them, it just flops so damn fast.

So make all weapons equally good and remove all steroids from all careers so that everything is balanced and bland and niches disappear ?

I disagree with this thread for two reasons :
1 - I don’t get what the purpose of it is. It is an open discussion about the state of weapons, but what is the endgame ?
2 - I’m assuming you’re talking from a Cataclysm point of view. In Legend, all weapons are viable, and I’d argue that the same is true in Cataclysm. I’m not saying all weapons are equal, as they shouldn’t be, but I can argue any is usable. The point here is, you should first answer the question "Which difficulty should the game be balanced around ? ", and I’d say Legend is a better choice for the majority of the playerbase than Cataclysm.

And I disagree with you personally :
You are advocating for a power creep I do not want to see. The game should be balanced around Legend in my opinion, to keep Legend hard and Cataclysm harder. If you balance around Cataclysm so that every weapon is a viable choice, chances are Legend will become more of a walk in the park and less of a step-up from Champion, as the entire game will become easier.

I do. I remember enjoying playing for the 4 Lords kills on Legend with the 1h axe. It’s definitely not a bad weapon. Others are better, certainly, but it isn’t bad - and waystalker doesn’t really have that much going in regards to melee steroids.

I totally agree with this.

You are kind of saying the same thing as @PistolPete here.
Flame sword is an excellent weapon on Battle Wizard, but that doesn’t prevent me from using it on UC. THP on stagger + burn on push + 70% push arc after heavy attack is more than decent in hordes clearing and UC has enough stagger with high overcharge to deal with elites (in a slow but sure way).
Sure, flail is probably better… and ?
Sure, UC doesn’t have burn damage boost… and ?

An entire part of the game is teamplay and adaptation.

Move back, take your bow out. Tag the elite so that a teammate snipes them or deals with them. Push the trash away and heavy attack the elite. Press F = win (at least on WS and Shade).
And this applies to any weapon and any career.

Finally and TL;DR : if there was a problem, which I don’t think there is, the problem would not be “weapons that are bad”, but “weapons that are too good at everything”.


Personally I do think that if weapon is not usable by all 3 careers (to some extent) then the weapon generally is on the weaker side of the balance scale.
I also think some careers like merc/HM are single handedly stopping some of the weapon buffs from happening because they would simply brake the game if weapon X were to be any more powerful.

You can just look at some of the most stable meta weapon such as sword&dagger, axe&falch (before nerfs), etc and they pretty much are usable regardless of the talent, career or trait setup.
Sure there are also underlying issues with those weapons like being too generic and good against pretty much everything.

That being said I also think that the current weapon balance is pretty “okish” atm. Most things are viable, tough obviously the game gets easier if you do use some of the stronger stuff such as coghammer. I think more problematic aspect really at this point is career balance.

Those exactly, but even then I don’t think they break the game. They cast shadow on other options is all ; and if you want to bring others into the light, I’d rather cut those down than buff the others.

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Equally good isnt possible in all likeliness, and removing all the steroids isnt needed. But having everything be simply good and cutting down on excessive steroids that create balancing difficulties such as zealot´s should be doable.

I am addressing the reality that in cata most weapons are not generally viable, in fact the opposite tends to be true in possibly as few as just 2-3 are viable at all.

Yes the PoW is from cata, i should have mentioned that.

But since you mentioned legend, honestly its probably another thread onto itself but the game has been powercrept via talents and other stuff for a long time now and legend today is like a meowling cat that used to be a lion. Powercreep has killed the difficulty completely by things like weapons that oneshot chaos warriors or abilities that 1-2 shot bosses and even lords.

Below legend? Honestly i watched a video from i think it was veteran or possibly champion with a guy eating a ogre overhead slam and he lost like 20% health without any reductions. Bosses are a joke down there. However even so i think it should be possible to buff or change the weapons to reach a “generally good” state and then if needed also buff enemies a bit to compensate. But the reality that so few weapons are usable in official peak difficulty is bad.

I did that same challenge on cata and it was impossible to not just spam hagbane everywhere, the 1h axe is cripplingly bad against multiple opponents and it hurts there. And it touches on my question of "is it fine for a weapon to be bad on one or several careers of a character because that character has one career that does have enough steroids to make it work? "

Are we talking legend here? Because trying to kill a CW or beastigor on cata with that build on cata ( i did that) feels like slapping a brick wall with a stick.

What the heck are you smoking? O_O

“Push the trash away and heavy the elite”? If the elite is in my face then this doesnt even work. And heaps of elites spawn in every wave on cata.

For legend yes, cata not so much, the weapon of choice needs to be able to handle everything to be considered decent let alone really good.

I think its important to differentiate on the question of “are these weapons overshadowed because those other ones are too strong” or “are they overshadowed because they are too bad?”

Elf greatsword is a fine example where you have basically nothing except chaff clearing but it struggles with shields, struggles with elites and struggles with really high density too. This weapon would not be more fun to use just becuase you nerf say sword and dagger, no, you´d just be left with a bunch of options that feel bad.

It depends entirely on what you mean by the word “good”.
From a meta perspective, I couldn’t have said it better than PistolPete

If a weapon is top tier, because of a certain talent on a certain career. The fact of the matter is, the weapon will remain “good”, or strong, or meta, or whatever you want to call it for this simple reason.

One might argue the weapon is “bad” from a design perspective because of this specialization, but that is an entirely different discussion.

Personally, I think one should design weapons to be somewhat usable across careers (unless they are locked to a specific one of course), but I see no problem in weapons being stronger given certain talent combos for example.

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This i do think is fine, but it´s taken too far in many cases at the present IMO.

That and pistolPete´s example doesnt account much for careers that cant supplement melee problems by drowning said problem in ranged attacks the way a 1handed axe + hagbane waystalker can.

it kinda depends. Elf weapons are good because they’re all usually rocking high dodge, good attack speed and a good moveset with good damage profiles. The fact they get boosted by the classes that use 'em is a bonus

Billhook, Axe and Falchion etc. are all substantially weaker on BH than they are on the other 2 Saltzpyres but those weapons are still very good. BH struggles a bit simply because his talent options aren’t good for melee aside from assassin not that his weapon options are bad

Executioner is an example of a weapon that actually doesn’t feel that good without boosts (even pre-nerf) yet it’s still widely considered a very good weapon since most of Kruber’s careers have tools to enable it


It is vastly the case in my opinion.


Below Legend wasn’t really part of my point, just that the general difficulty would go down and Legend wouldn’t be a challenge anymore.

No, Cata, but that is more a flame sword problem in general. I don’t think BW with her burn boosts fares that much better.

Assuming there was only one, but the rest stands. Improvise, adapt, overcome. :laughing:

I agree. But then Cataclysm is designed to be a challenge step above Legend (which the game should be balanced around), and so is designed to force player to think about how they’re going in. It is normal that some builds are therefore viable and others aren’t, and that is a good thing.

I can also agree that some weapons are bad, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not “there are 1-2 good weapons and the rest is trash and should be buffed”. There is a middle ground.

I don’t use elven 2h sword that much, as I don’t really like it personally. I do see people using it often enough though, so I doubt it’s that unusable. I also dislike Kruber’s 2h Hammer (though I like Bardin’s), Sienna’s mace or Bardin’s masterwork pistol ; that doesn’t make those weapons bad.

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Most certainly, there are many cases of weapons being too specialized in V2.

Generally speaking, I think they can class lock many of these weapons, because they don’t mesh well with other classes, while being perfectly fine (relatively speaking) on their respective classes.

Take for example the repeater pistol. The weapon is complete, irredeemable trash on everything but BH, because you cannot kill anything without on demand crits. Is the weapon poorly designed, or “bad”? I wouldn’t say so. It is however far, far too specialized for the BH, so there’s no reason to even have it available on other careers.


Having high speed is very nice granted, but, is it worth the cost of kinda being really mediocre at everything else? Elf greatsword, 1handed sword,axe, the spear…all of them suffer from just feeling like they fall a bit short of good. And honestly the dual swords are awful without a ton of power pumped into them.

8 damage to a chaos warrior(250 health) on a heavy attack…

Now sure you can stick them on handmaiden and let her boost them to the skies making them look like divine artifacts but…is the weapon good due to itself or because its handmaiden using it then?

He struggles because his talents are bad? Isnt this like putting the cart before the horse? Weapons are the foundation, talents are enhancements. If one is forced to pick weapons based on the talents then something is wrong : (

Because 3 out of 4 of krubs careers have access to high power steroids, or even an extra weapon, to make it work. This isnt a mercy that Bardin or Sienna has access to.

Mostly down to lack of cleave THP, it coaxes BH into something like Rapier.

aside from axe and dual swords, all those weapons are good lol, perfectly solid options for cataclysm.

Your thp options and stagger talents are usually a big factor in what weaponry you can take and feel good about. That’s just how it is right now.

BH with access to health on cleave actually feels a ton better and has no issues in melee.

good thing they don’t have an executioner sword then.

also what? Bardin and Sienna both have access to 2 careers each that highly enable their melee


The greatsword is not good on waystalker, takes one stormvermin group in a melee to create a mortal struggle, and the spear…The dang spear should be good, but its hitbox problems, and that honestly useless first heavy attacks and the weirdly short range makes it a lot less than what it should be.

1handed sword similarly is just, okay, it has a ton of mobility and great speed but the only enemy it kills even somewhat fast is stormvermin, lone stormvermin. Without handmaidens crit and attackspeed steroids that is what it is.

And that is not actually a good thing, it is bad!..Not that part about BH having the possibility of feeling a lot better with a talent change but the fact that talents dictate what weapons you can comfortably and even productively use.

My point was never that “oh this weapon on X character is bad because they´ve no career/build to enable it”, it was arguing that needing talents and steroids to make the weapons useful to start with is bad : (

Because that means that outside the careers that got those talents&steroids the weapons cannot be used which kills build freedom. Which becomes worse and worse the more careers we got and want to add in.

If he had cleave THP would a BH actually consider using greatsword, 1h axe or such? Feels like he´d just be like “nah they got big weaknesses and i will not use them”. Same as waystalkers do avoid dual blades, greatsword or…well a lot of her weapons on their own really.

On that note, i think this would be good to address in order to have a good starting point to adjust hagbane which right now is silly strong and is the only reason waystalker can even pick some weapons…since she doesnt have to use them with hagbane around.

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So are you arguing to give everyone talent steroids or to bring all weapons up to Sword & Dagger levels?

a bit of both?

I’ve definitely got my own ideas regarding balance changes I’d like to see but I’m just trying to figure out where you’re at on it (I agree a lot of weapons could use some tweaking on hitboxes and maybe some minor buffs here or there)

Thing is talents impacting weapon choice is a given, it’s simply how talents work by design, you can argue it’s bad design but it’s the design we’ve got. My perspective is build diversity can be increased by improving talent choices across the board (like normalizing THP and Stagger Talent options)

Wouldn’t be surprised if people call BH with cleave “powercreep” tho


Of course a weapon isn’t just “good” or “bad”… there are classes, talents and circumstances to take into account.
You’re saying a weapon is “good” if you can ignore all that revolves around ; I’m saying it’s broken/OP/whatever you want to call it.
The argument that dual swords is bad because it has no CW damage makes no sense. It’s good at many other things and it is good on handmaiden. The fact that you have weaknesses to compensate is not a bad thing ; though I agree it’d be preferable if the niche weapons were masters of their trade and if jack-of-all-trades were master of none.


Not every weapon is appropriate for every career and that’s fine.
Most can be bought up to a useable level though and appropriate THP & stagger talents to match said weapons would help. Bad design maybe, but it’s what we’ve got.

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