First a couple of disclaimers.
this post is talking about the game recruit to champ , legend is excluded because it is balanced very differently , all the other levels you hit the same breakpoints as you go through the power range to the next level legend just doesn’t work like this so it needs to be tuned in its own way . and imo the balance of the other 3 difficulties is the foundation for legend and they need to be got right first then we can get legend in a good spot.
When i talk about a career being weak im talking about objectively compared to another career on an even field , just because “you” and you know who you are do well with that character topping the green circle hunt in every game you play does not make the career balanced.
the problem as i see it is power creep. through the broken power scaling that they did not fix in the 1.0.5 patch , the general increase in ranged power the appearance of infinite ammo / no overcharge limit builds. better weapons , career talents and skills all of this together has made all of our characters far too powerful.
Why is it a problem? well there are several issues. First it robs specials and elites of any difference in how to handle them , even a CW is one shot by hmm i can think of 6 ways off the top of my head , a slayer can kill it in normal melee in under 1 second and a lot of other careers are very close to it. this has a few negative impacts.
Obsolete careers - Witch hunter captain his kit is pointless. any man sized enemy is instantly killed by a crit. well now with the power creep you would have to look far and wide to find any man sized enemy that isn’t killed by a headshot in the first place! the same issue with his ability to do more damage to taggable enemies. if everything dies in 1-2 hits there is no room left to lower the hits to kill.
The shade has similar issues being able to one shot a CW would be a cool and useful ability but so many others have also go the ability and at range on shorter cooldowns that are easier to use its fallen into near redundancy a kit that should of been able to make her a fragile high dps class has been withered down to just being good dps on a boss which is hardly a rare attribute now. Again because everything dies in a couple of hits her killing things faster from behind is irrelevant.
The zealot suffers to , the idea of increasing damage as his health drops is nice and unique but in the actual gameplay again it makes no difference, if things were taking 10 hits to kill (and im not asking for that) then 20% power boost would drop the hits to kill to 8 and actually have an impact but with nothing except the CW ever taking more than 2 hits it just doesn’t actually change anything.
And of course it also means that just about all of the +power talents/traits actually do nothing in real terms most of the time. this again hits WHc , shade , handmaiden , knight, unchained etc
Indistinct enemies - because everything dies so fast there is no need to prioritise targets , just mow it all down. no point leaving those high health high armour Chaos warriors to last take out the weak high damage targets first when any one of a long list can just one shot it or the melee can just remove it.
at its core the base gameplay is about applying our damage while avoiding thiers , if picking where that damage goes is gone and you just kill whats infront of you that’s a lot of absent gameplay.
The whole ranged vs melee debate.
I must admit i have changed my opinion on this subject a bit , i used to think the problem was all these ranged careers (WS, pyro/beam, BH/blessed volly even Hunts/bow) were overpowered , but recently they have been appearing a bit less and i have realised the game is easiest with 4 melee, might be a bit slower but its safer and easier without the ranged guys. the problem with them isn’t their power its they get to apply their power first which generally means no one else gets to play. the problem isn’t that they kill so much it’s that there is too little left over.
front loaded damage
This runs on from the last point but the sheer volume of fire we can put down range has to be balanced against. if the group has WS , Pyro , BH , Hunts that is an obscene amount of damage that can be brought to bear before anything gets in range your looking at deleting 10+ high hp elites and specials from the ults, then each kills a bunch more with ranged and next to nothing gets near them. in a way it doesn’t matter they can just throw more at us to take it into account but that leads into
Bad balance methods
Unfortunately because this has been accepted and balance is being attempted around it the devs hands have been tied down to throw more and have it hit harder. now maybe i’m alone here but to me the game feels like its easy borderline trivial then you just drop dead down to unfairness, or rng blesses you and that death spawn doesn’t happen. think of our power leaning against and balancing the enemy power because these two stacks are so high and heavy when it goes it goes fast and the chance to reverse it is tiny.
If we were a lot weaker , and the enemy was toned down to match there could be more room and time between it starting to go wrong and looking at the defeat screen.
the time we have to get to a seperated player, the time a player is downed the time for any recovery style action is so low because of this we have this very digital trivial/dead gameplay.
so what am i asking for.
the 1.0.5 power scaling fix. the gameplay on that beta server was a shock , pretty much had to re learn the game , but it was better , unpopular yes but better. most of the complaints were based in fear not actual experience . i would like to see at least the “tanky” specials stormvermin Cw/marauders have their health upped and possibly the numbers dropped make them actually a bit durable so they can do their job.
i dont know what to do about the ranged problem , a lot of people are used to have ranged characters now , there seems to be a simple balance equation if a class has double the on target time it has to do half the damage , but that’s going to be a bit unpopular. if it were me id give some pool back and get rid of most/all regen abilities might even want to look at having hand placed ammo boxes at set places and remove the rng from it if your going to allow people to stay pure ranged.
all the redundant /obsolete classes/traits/talents. only way i see it either change the game back to what these were designed for or change them all to be relevant in the game we actually have.