Problems with the Drakefire Damage Talent Rework

I have several problems with the new drakefire damage talent rework. My primary concerns are not how it affects the balances of drakefire weapons or their damage output but how it affects their mechanics and gameplay, especially the impact of the varying attack speed and slowdown at high overheat, I’ve included some clips with an input overlay to demonstrate.

With the old talent the drakegun is consistent and simple to use, you mitigate overheat by simultaneously pressing left-click with right-click for faster charged streams: https://streamable.com/v7dt29
On the Beta patch with the slowdown if you try to do the same you’ll eventually reach enough slowdown that it will keep charging as your left-click input buffer will be too soon, so you want to start stabbing left-click as fast as you can once you’re nearing red overheat, not as fun to use imo: https://streamable.com/n9n6rc

The biggest issue with the slowdown though is how it exacerbates a previously existing bug with the drakegun making it even more hazardous for a player to use, if you get hit by an enemy while doing a charged stream you’ll be forced to a left-click burst attack which is costly in overheat and can force you to explode, even if you don’t explode the forced attack will delay the time until you are able to defend yourself by switching to melee and blocking. On live patch it looks like this when the bug happens(dmg taken disabled for testing sake): https://streamable.com/swffyg
It’s pretty bad in Live patch already, but in Live you’re at least able to switch to melee very quickly, in Beta the slowdown just makes it worse: https://streamable.com/1v3vqu
The drakefire pistols also suffer from a delayed weapon swap in the Beta when at high overheat making it more punishing to get hit while using them: https://streamable.com/9o0zrs

Commenting on the damage with the new talent, I think the overall damage output is slightly worse than Live Patch, using same build between Live and Beta the drakefire pistols will require ~2x as many shots as Live patch to kill an enemy from fresh overcharge although you have the higher attack speed, not until 50% or higher overcharge damage is equivalent to the live patch for both Drakegun and Drakefire Pistols, it’s only at around 75%+ overheat that you get increased enough damage for better breakpoints and damage, but you start to suffer from slowness issues around there anyway. I don’t know how these weapons should be rebalanced best but I’m personally a fan of consistent mechanics instead of massively varying scaling in damage and attack speed. If you were to ask me personally I would say in Live patch the drakegun is slightly overturned in having a low risk horde-melting attack, and that the drakefire pistols are slightly undertuned, even with their Beta shotgun buff.

As long the drakefire weapons can do what they’re supposed to do and are enjoyable to use I don’t care too much how the damage is balanced, but buggy and frustrating gameplay mechanics are something that concern me, which is why I really don’t like the current drakefire damage talent rework.

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I don’t think the Drakefire Pistols presented some kind of Balance issue in the game. I’ve never seen that.

What caused the problems and was overdone, was the Flamethrower. Not the damage, that I always felt needed to be higher, but rather it could be spammed almost endlessly.

It results in the rest of the team standing there with their thumb up their butt standing around while one guy does everything. That’s the one thing I think they needed to reign in… not the Drakefire Pistols.

And I think the Flamethrower just needed heat generation increaased so that you could only fire it in Short Bursts, and not endlessly spam it… but the damage increased proportionately so when it does Burst it takes out everything it hits.

That’s really the only problem with Bardin’s weaponset.

That way Ironbreaker still gets his powerful flamethrower… but the rest of the team isn’t standing around with their thumb up their butt doing nothing. (Which gets pretty boring for everyone else by the way)

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I kind of like how the talents makes you try to keep your overcharge at a certain level to get the damage boost, but then again not too high either because you can’t shoot anymore then. Adds a dimension to thd gameplay. It also adds functionality and “changes” the weapons somewhat, like how it makes Drakefire Pistols better vs. hordes (high overcharge shotgun blasts) but a little less vs. specials (fire speed and handling), and the Drakegun better vs. armored specials (high overcharge leftclick burst) but a little less vs. hordes (need some overcharge to be as effective as without the talent so less charge to use).

I think the handling penalties are a little harsh, but it’s okay to compensate for the power and changing the functionality a little. Maybe if the slowdown would just not affect weapon change to melee? So you still can’t shoot, but at least swap in order to defend yourself.

I haven’t played Weaves, so I’m not speaking from experience there.

However, this is seriously a playstyle issue. Playing this way is safer, yes, but not optimal or efficient.

If I try to play like this with my team, they just run off into the Horde and clear it faster.

The optimal playstyle for Flamethrower Dorf is running ahead of your group almost constantly, and left tapping density then flamethrowering whenever you get the chance. A good group doesn’t just stand around waiting for one person to kill everything. Weapon switch left tap used to work better before they changed Weapon switch times for it.

For that reason I disagree with you saying it needs higher overheat, as you rarely reach it when playing optimally.

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Thank you! The mechanics of the left click input buffer for high heat drakegun have seemed to change since the first few beta patches, in a beneficial but not perfect way:
-Originally at high heat pressing right click and then immediately left click would interrupt charging with a left click attack
-Now, using that same set of inputs, that left click is simply not registered and charging continues unless you unpress left click and press again, usually ending up overheating you in the next half second if you don’t notice. Luckily, there is a handy audio clue.

The current state is ~functional but severely awkward due to muscle memory essentially betraying and killing you at higher heat levels. I don’t suppose there’s a way to check if left click is already down when minimum charge is achieved and have it begin firing?

I also appreciate that weapon switching to block after left click is significantly better as well, or at least much less likely to accidentally kill yourself.

The “fire left click when you get hit” ‘bug’ is merely a result of continuous fire requiring left click being held down–when you are hit you are interrupted and then the game reads whatever input you’re giving, in this case a left click which immediately fires. Not sure how to go about fixing that–perhaps a (very, very short) drakegun/flamestorm staff specific input buffer when hit (ideally only for left click) to disregard if you already have left click down?

Hi,

A very good writeup. While I agree with all the points you make, I still like this new talent and I want it to stay. The reason is, this talent is OPTIONAL, you can pick Power from Nearby Teammates instead and get essentially the same functionality as on Live realm with Drakki Wrath, although with slightly reduced damage.

I like the new talent because it completely changes my playstyle with the drakegun, turning Bardin into something like Pyromancer, where you have to carefully balance at high overcharcharge, and where you potentially get higher damage at the cost of raising the skill requirement.

Overall I’d say that the old Drakki Wrath talent is more powerful because it was easier to use. The new talent can potentially increase your damage by 100%, but in practice it’s something like 50% overall damage increase (or even lower) because you can’t always stay at 75%+ overcharge. However you can always stay above 50%, and you can learn to work around the input issues (I think I already did.) You still do incur a reduction to your performance that is very hard to measure, which comes from making your drakegun “clunkier”.

As far as I can tell the talent doesn’t seem to make any difference at high or low overheat when it comes to melting hordes. I have been playing it exactly the same way I always have, I fire off quick puffs to melt hordes when I get a chance, so I’m not sure what skill requirements you’re talking about.

The DPS of your right click attack greatly depends on your Overcharge, you can easily test it on target dummies. At 0 overcharge you do greatly reduced damage compared to what you do without this talent selected. At about 33% overcharge you nominal damage. At about 75% and higher you do double damage. Therefore if you want this talent to be a DPS improvement, you have to never shoot at lower than 50% overcharge. This significantly complicates heat management. The input issues at high overcharge (which were described by the original post author) further complicate the game because you have to work around them.

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Certainly sounds like antifun. That said my point was it still does so much damage to horde enemies even on cata that the dps difference is difficult to notice. This talent just doesn’t make much sense to me from a design perspective.

I don’t like the idea that the drakefire talent is worse than the generic one :frowning:

You do half your nominal damage at 0% overcharge. You might not notice it when fighting Skaven Slaves as they have extremely low health, but you will immediately notice when trying to burn Packmasters or Maulers.

The idea is that you can do up to double your nominal damage if you very carefully manage your overcharge, spend more health on venting and run greater risks of taking hits, which makes sense IMO.

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As a short term fix I say increase the heat generation of the drakefire gun by 10-15% and increase the damage bonus to 150%. I think increasing the damage bonus is particularly fair as it’s using a talent slot just to make a crappy ranged weapon viable.

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