Polarised playstyles – what's the solution?

Polarised playstyles – what’s the solution?

I’m going to discuss my opinion on the slowly polarising playstyles currently in the game, and what action we might suggest to make changes to blend the current playstyles closer together, and form more cohesive team play.

It’s likely this might be an incendiary discussion, but this is the official forums and not Reddit or Steam Forums and we hold ourselves to a higher standard here. Let’s maintain the discussion intelligently please.

By Polarised playstyles I mean;

Group 1) - Those people who mix-max their character, understand fully the breakpoints and requirements to kills a Hookrat with one shot, and use the S+ tier classes that are often regarded as broken – Waystalker, Pyro and Bounty hunter being the classes that stick out as giving players a much easier ride via wonky mechanics. Ironbreaker Drake Pistols, Kruber Halberd, Shade Double Daggers get an honourable mention here.

Group 2) - Those people who play with a bit more experimentation and flexibility to their build, and possibly play “in the spirit” of the game a bit more. Kruber Sword and Shield, Slayer, Handmaiden and Zealot are quite nice examples of classes that are a bit more within the original press release of “Visceral Melee combat” put out by FatShark.

Although these groups appear in every game ever, it feels like there’s definite lines being drawn as to what kind of player you are, and feelings range from being frosty to someone for not playing in your own way, to being downright nasty.

I am firmly in the second group of people and you can probably see my bia in this post, although I can see why people play the first playstyle and there should be a place for it in the game…

HOWEVER -

There seems to be a widening gap between the two groups, with various levels of resentment building depending upon the type of person you encounter in a group. People in group 1 get annoyed with people in group 2 not being as effective as they possibly can, and people in group 2 get annoyed with people in group 1 steamrolling/CDR spamming or Ult bombing through everything.

So how can the balance be changed so that both groups are happier?

If you ask me (and you didn’t. But I’m going to tell you anyhow) there needs to be a large balance patch that addresses some quite big issues.

Firstly, my personal blood-pressure-problem; The Waystalker.

This class really epitomises the problems as far as I’m concerned as a member of Group 2. It has a wide array of very (too?) effective weapons, an ambient heal that when coupled with temp health makes elf ridiculously resilient, has an infinite ammo build and an Ult that doesn’t need aiming. All of this encourages a solo-yolo playstyle that is absolutely not enjoyable for those playing alongside it and breaks any kind of team cohesion. There needs to be significant changes to the whole class on many levels to bring it in line with everyone else.

Pyromancer has similar problems, in that the wigglemancer build with beamstaff is so effective that it makes me sigh with frustration that is it so easily spammable, and the auto-aim ult can be spammed so often it doesn’t even count as an “ultimate attack” and it just an alternative attack – it happens that frequently.

Bounty Hunter is the one people use as the example of broken “ranged meta” although a good Ranger Veteran can spam ranged almost as much. Let’s not circle the drain already by discussing the ranged meta.

Many players call for buffs to certain classes, Kruber Huntsman being almost always the topic of a heated discussion about his balance. Actually, Kruber HS is probably one of the best balanced classes when taken entirely on it’s own. Put it next to some of the other ranged classes and it looks weaker, BUT I think the problem lies with the other classes and NOT Kruber Huntsman. Leave that poor fella alone for a little while.

There are also some classes that fall way below par, Witch Hunter Captain, Ranger Veteran and Battle Wizard being the ones people need to play very effectively to be on par with the others.

In fact, I believe Krubers classes WHEN TAKEN ALONE AS ONE CHARACTER are the closes to being balanced. The Mercenary could benefit from a little tweak to his talents to make his supporting aura/ult be a bit more supportive, and Footknight could use a tweak to maybe reduce his ult recharge a little – but taken as a range of careers Kruber has the closest to being balanced across his own careers. An effective Ranged career that needs some skill to be good at, a good tanky class, and a good support class.

Other careers should therefore be modified to fit in with this quite-well-balanced character.

So, my question is;

Where is the middle ground for you? What classes are nicely rounded without being Steamrollers of Ease or Sub-Standard? Where should the starting point be to nerf or buff each career with the ultimate aim being a better synergy of the two different groups of players?

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I mean I don’t think theirs anything wrong with either play style. And I feel like the friction comes from poor sportsmanship. Rather than the two play styles being oil and water.

Kinda Iike the difference between a boss and a leader.

I belong to the first group, my builds are min maxed for my play style. Not min maxed for the meta, not to stroke my own ego but I’m a good player I’ll carry a team if things go wrong. But I refuse to go into games thinking my way is the only right way.

I give players advice when I think it will help, I’ll warn a pug 2 times not to wander away from us or call out if they are being left behind. I’ll try to save them if they get into problems but won’t risk others getting killed to bail them out.

The problem as I see it is with ( compared to other communities) a small part of our player base that feel strongly that they have the “right” way to play. And these people are in both groups of players.

The only solution I can offer is simply the golden rule, be a leader not a boss, be friendly, offer advice, don’t boss others around. Don’t be rude, set the example in game with your own actions you want to see in the community.

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The solution is as you say, balance tweaks. Tune up things that are under-performing, tune down the things that are over-performing. You can’t get rid of meta play entirely of course, but most of the current meta builds are due to a few specific builds and interactions (wiggle pyro, hag spam, BH crits, etc.).

These balance tweaks don’t really negatively affect the players who play off-meta builds, and may in fact help them by buffing certain talents/weapons/ults.

I could point to specific things I’d like (e.g. a RV revamp, pickaxe/1h axe buffs) but most of the issues have already been covered pretty thoroughly. Given that balance is getting better with 1.2, I would say it’s just a matter of time.

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You don’t think there’ll be an immense backlash when the s+ builds get a nerf (which is highly likely?)

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Definitely. For the same reasons that we can’t get people on here to admit when something is not balanced properly – even when most of the evidence weighs in one direction.

I’m skeptical that we’ll see big nerfs, though. The recent change to melee damage on bosses seemed to be a response to the range meta – but coming with a buff to melee instead of a nerf to range. It didn’t cause a big stir, but it’s part of why legend feels so easy now. FS seems sensitive to negative feedback.

But who knows. Maybe FS will take care of this with some of the talent overhaul Hedge mentioned in the last Steam forum post. I personally can’t wait. I hope it’s massive and people are super upset – since that will mean big changes. It would actually be kind of fun to try different builds again.

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The min-maxing part with breakpoints annoy me a bit, I have to admit. I’d like to a weapon damage range instead of fix numbers to soften up those breakpoints and make them less important or too much to rely on. For me it makes a game boring to know if I can kill this enemy with exactly that count of hits and that one with a different number.

Maybe I belong to a small group of players with that mindset but I think we are not 4 characters in a setting but 4 characters in a team which is in that setting. I imagine the team as some kind of blob with 4 hard parts inside and every character distributes something to that blob so it can traverse through the level. A ranged hero takes out hazards from afar, a tanky character strenghtens the durability of that blob and so on. And the blob itself works best if it is more or less shaped as a circle without anyone spread too far away.

If I play a career like Ironbreaker or Mercenary I try to be the character to pull the blob forward without extending it too far, bringing it out of shape. If I am too fast I turn around slow down, If I am behind I try to get back to the front.
As Pyromancer or Waystalker I try to stay behind or keep the flanks but don’t fall back too far.

I really hate teams which have no feeling for their surroundings or where their teammates are. It happened so often I told them I go for the grim/tome. Then I turn left/right or do that jump riddle and then realize they went too far ahead. Assassin/Hookrat and I’m done. And it’s not like I say that and turn away immediately; it happens in rounds where I asked beforehand if we collect them.

Some things of the stat screen should vanish especially the kills (maybe a melee/ranged ratio) but no direct comparisons to other players. In a teamgame with different classes there’s absolute no reason for any comparisons except if someone wants to be the #1 killer and these people are often the ones who jump brainless into hordes.
We don’t need 4 players at that door against the horde. Maybe you just cover our backs and have an eye on the other door or for stray slaverats. Not the horde kills teams but the leftovers do.

sigh

Sorry for my broken english.

edit
I forgot an important point for me on ranged and melee characters:
I was hoping for a more fluent line between these two playstyles like ammo generating traits can only be found on melee weapons and chained ranged attacks don’t buff the next shot. So every career would need to melee to regain ammo outside of ammo crates. But designated ranged careers can stay longer out of melee or regain ammo faster than melee focused careers.

Ranged Veteran looks like they tried something like this with his ammo drops: As long as he stays pure long ranged he might never regain a single round from his own skill.
There might be a talent on ranged careers which works like a general scrounger but only for melee.
In exchange I’d like to see something familiar for some melee classes like a talent for WHC:
“For every succesful ranged hit/crit/kill you gain a stack for a melee damage buff. Each succesful melee hit removes a stack from that buff until it is depleted.” or for Mercenary “Every ranged hit/crit/kill while Paced Strikes is active prolongs the duration by 0.5s/1s or reduces the cooldown of Morale Boost”.

Just something to reward melees and ranged ones to leave their current meta.

I play both, ranged and melee based heroes and I don’t want to get rid of any. But we gotta admit: Ranged is too easy and overshadows melee combat by far while melee combat currently feels like bodyguarding the ranged heroes and you are not allowed to restock your ammunition.

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Why do most people min/max and play steamroller classes? Because they want to top the charts. Period.
How can we deal with this? Make damage done not so important. How? FatShark should start developing a bonus reward system based on: The least damage taken, the most assists, the most damage blocked, the most revives, etc. Let’s call it a TEAM PLAY BONUS . That bonus should award, well, bonus loot boxes. An in no fu*cking circumstance should damage dealt or total kills be the part of that system.

But again, we come to the part where we don’t have any idea what’s happening at FS. Yes, the game is playable. But what are the plans, targets and priorities? Who is pulling the bad decisions and is there a proper leadership which can guide the FS towards better overall quality.

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I’m with @Salvag3 here; the problem exists more with the players than the game. Every game where there is a significant community will have people playing more casually and relaxed and others who take things seriously (often too much so). Both groups include people who think theirs is the only “right” way to play, and who simply cannot understand the mindset of the other side.

That’s not to say that something cannot be done in-game, but I don’t think it should be the reason for any significant changes. Better balance is needed anyway, between weapons, Careers and Talents. Hopefully its side effect will be uniting the community somewhat, but even if the balance in the game was perfect (lots of moving parts and asymmetrical gameplay, so that’s impossible in reality, but let’s run with it anyway) the people saying “my way or the highway” would still say so, and would still consider others idiots for even trying to optimize significantly, or for actually wanting to relax while playing.

As to actual balance stuff, I do think that some aspects of some Careers or synergies between Career abilities and weapon attributes are too powerful. While some Careers could also use some tweaking to make them a bit simpler to understand, or to make their intended kit more obvious, I think only WHC is actually underpowered at the moment, an even he’s not that bad. No Career is so bad as to be unplayable even for a beginning player, and no Career is overpowered in all aspects. Some (most?) changes that could be done to other aspects of the game would also affect Career balance, and as such, should be done before touching specific bits of the powerful Careers.

I don’t think that part’s quite as simple. I’d certainly appreciate more defensive and team-oriented items in the results, but no matter what is done to it short of removing it completely people will still compare their results (through screenshots in Reddit or somewhere else if it’s not otherwise possible), and people will be competitive with them. Getting more aspects of the game shown would give the defensive or supportive Careers more possibilities to shine, though, and would also facilitate using the Scoreboard to learn about your own playing better. It can be used already to follow your progress, and somewhat even to monitor your general performance, but you need to already know what you’re doing to know what you’re looking for.

That would more likely result in far more competition in every aspect that affects it, rather than less. At best, it would only shift the competitive people’s focus from offensive to the defensive side of the game. At worst, it would do that, bring in more people to actively compete for the stats, and for everyone to get angry when someone steals their heal, or causes them to take another hit, or even saves another character. If extra rewards based on performance were to be added they would need to be based on team performance, not individual, and even that would likely be a bad idea as it would lead to hate on the people who “keep dragging the team down”.

Good points, I got to admit. But it would somewhat move the focus from simply chasing the most kills towards more team oriented play. At least that’s what I think.

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I’d rather have a Zealot or Handmaiden in my party over a Pyro or BH any day of the week. Not because I dislike ranged characters, but because they are simply stronger. The resilience of a Zealot or HM is light years beyond a Pyro or WS. If you’re doing difficult deeds, that’s who I would want. At the same time, an average WS or Pyro gets cornered and they die. A HM can just go invisible and dash out, few hagbane shots in and gg. Zealot can dash out and top up their HP nearly to full with their ULT.

People play the game differently, just let people enjoy it how they want to play. I’ve been using the WHC all week and having a lot of fun despite people thinking it’s a garbage class. I was top of the leader boards nearly every game. Not to mention he’s probably the easiest character to hit break points with due to his passive 20% more damage. At the same time, I don’t think people really care about the leader board? At least the 70+ people on the “legend deed”, discord server I play with. We just care about completing the deeds.

You’d have to be pretty thick to think you could of cleared the run by yourself, when you had the tank bardin holding 12 monks and 6 SV so the rest of the party didn’t get swamped during the horde. That one ULT he just used saved the entire run from becoming a wipe. That’s not going to be reflected on the leader-board. Who cares? From what I’ve read here, people seem to think the leader board needs to be changed to reflect these kinds of situations. But how I read it, you just seem to be upset that the WS and Pyro etc can get green circles easier…

I personally think the elf has the most well balanced classes and weapons in the game. All of her weapons are viable for legend, some are not great, but you can take a different ranged weapon to make up for it. The rest of the classes should be balanced similar to her. Fix the rest of Krubers weapons, so people don’t only take the Halberd, or 1hand mace. Fix the rest of Sienna’s staffs so people don’t only take the beam/fireball.

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I’d like to have a second version of SV, Raiders, slave/clan rats sans shield, and fanatics, that have slightly higher hp and mass. Or notably more mass.
Just that 10% chance to hit them and they don’t automatically behave like you’d expect them to.
I’d also like ammo sustain and auto-venting to be less effective - and I main Sienna.
But I doubt it’ll happen.
Yes, it’s mostly the players. It’s rare it’s a problem, though. Few outright complain. Well, I guess if I see a Sienna with a beamstaff I sometimes do.

Yes, I think there will be some backlash, but the changes could still be healthier for the game. Huntsman’s boss damage nerf is the first example that comes to mind. That was a move in a positive direction, even if people think it was overdone.

But ultimately it depends on the changes made and the supporting explanation of said changes. Beam was nerfed in 1.0.6 and there wasn’t significant outcry related to that. And to be fair, plenty of veteran players have been asking for changes to S+ builds (like me and my DnD thread).

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As far as the leader board go, I think the whole things needs a total over haul. It needs to not highlight anyone, and the info it give should give players a base line of where their short comings are and where they are doing good at.

Stuff like how much damage I did don’t matter, how much damage I took does matter ( but not right now for a lot of players since it counts all the damage you take in a down state ) damage blocked and damages dodged would be super useful. Heals used/received would be useful. Avg distance from teammates wold be useful, number of times incapacitated by a special and what kind could be useful.

I feel like that board needs could even highlight different things for different roles. Because at least in my eyes playing your class role well trumps all the kills and damage you do. As a example when I run my shade in Legend I stand behind the damaged DPS and make sure nothing sneaks up behind us and when a bunch of SV or other hard targets Aggro the party then I dart up to the front line and dance my in and out of combat till I have liked them all and go right back to watching our six. Could I do more damage and get more kills, sure I could but is that going to really help us win ? Not from what I have seen doing my job as a rogue has proven to be way more helpful

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It’s not rare though. Just because people don’t openly complain doesn’t mean that they don’t feel crappy about something. I’m at the point now where I just leave if there’s one of these fun-suckers in the game instakilling everything before it can get close.

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I can understand frustration if a Waystalker runs swift bow on Veteran or Recruit mode. But that’s completely useless at Legend. Although spamming hagbane is a pain…

Don’t know what kind of change you want. If you want a finite meta it’s gonna be boring. I don’t want everyone to play the same way. Developing different playstyles and developing relationships with people who you work well with is better and more fun.

I can run through pretty hard with BH (+200), but there are some Huntsman I know that can consistently outplay me. WHC definitely needs a buff. Veteran Ranger is fine. BW has the highest skill curve, Pyro the lowest. There are some crazy BWs teleporting all over the place out there. Because everyone is playing different do we get to see the true power of what each character can do.

i wanna thank @Argonaut14 for feeding my craving for daily vermintide philosophy. =D

honestly speaking, i love the polarisation within the player communities. there will always be people that want to min-max, play the supposed ‘meta’ classes and stick with them, and there will always be other players that experiment and seem to flitter about playing different classes and loadouts each game.

also, i believe everyone will agree with me when i say that you won’t become a better player unless you explore the boundaries of what all the classes can do with their different talents and loadouts.

there will also be players with differing personalities affecting how the play the game. this i feel is separate from your definition that minmaxers are elitists and flexible class players are more easygoing. i disagree, there can be minmaxers who are easygoing and people that play all sorts of classes but are elitist in nature and very harsh on newbies.

i agree with @Yzneftamz in that there’s only a ‘problem’ because of differing personalities of each gamer.

i belong loosely in the 2nd group of OP’s definition, in that i love playing around with classes and loadouts. i encourage all sorts of playstyles as long as they don’t violate the ONE thing that i expect from all players in my games, which is:

DO NOT DELAY THE RUN INTENTIONALLY.

there are 3 other random people in a group, and it’s fine to experiment with all sorts of loadout and have fun, as long as people are focused on completing the mission and not screwing around wasting people’s time.

also, i don’t believe in the ‘meta’ as people call it. here’s a simple example:

i use a swiftbow/dagger setup and i’m pretty much killing everything on qp legend. my build absolutely frustrates pyros because i’m stealing all their kills (i’m not doing it intentionally, 1 arrow kills 3 slave rats, 2 arrows kill a marauder, way faster than wiggle beam can handle) but i don’t do as well when there’s a crazy melee stack (slayer/merc) just charging, cleaving and tearing through everything and blocking my LOS.

it’s not the only loadout i can do well with either. IB flamer, huntsman rifle, cleavemaiden, etc all are non-meta dps that i have proven are extremely effective.

anyhow, my point is that gamers have personalities which are translated into their playstyles. we shouldn’t be balancing around that =P embrace it.

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Forums can be closed down, meta-discussion has been won.

I play only melee classes because the melee meta is now old man.

@jingo I don’t want to restrict people’s playable even further, but to add viability and value to more classes and weapons at highest difficulty.

The scoreboard has a lot to answer for and as sword + shield kruber I know I can add a lot of real value to the run by holding hordes in chokepoints and putting chaos warriors on their back for others to kill risk-free. I had a fantastic couple of runs with a slayer when we just clicked. He saw I could control the crowds and hammer the patrols or block-spank stagger them and he could do the killing from a safer place. I knew I needed to take out gunners and gasrats to keep us both alive. Of course his elite/total kills were lots more than mine, but this was only possible because of the two-man understanding about the roles we had. I thoroughly enjoyed those runs more than any I had for weeks, although the scoreboard told a story that I was completely pants at the game. People will ,of course, say that I can choose to play like that always - but the likelihood that others will play like this are remote, especially in QP. I would like the balance to change so that players can recognise that success is much more likely when they synergise- some classes give people a sense they don’t need others and this makes me sigh.

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Well, at the end, everything comes down to the party. I myself engaged my GF and two of my best friends to start playing VT so we can have a full team almost all the time. If you don’t have any irl friends who are willing to play vermintide, go ahead and make some on VT discord groups, reddit or even here. When you have a couple of people who are normal and who have the same thoughts about this game and how it should be played, the game itself becomes much better and interesting.

Why not join the Fatshark Discord https://discord.gg/K6gyMpu