I don’t think any experienced Vermintide player would disagree that Sister of the Thorn is too strong. Radiant Inheritance is better than most ults, Doomsight generates crits on demand, and Bloodrazer Thicket can kill almost any enemy on Cata with its bleed damage. And don’t forget her exclusive staff, the undisputed best CC weapon in the game.
Yet despite all these strengths, it would only take two talents eating the nerfbat to leave SotT in a very mediocre spot. If Radiant inheritance and Bloodthorn Thicket are removed as viable options, suddenly SotT is nothing more than a vehicle for carrying her staff around.
This deficiency primarily stems from (plant joke) both level 30 talents other than Bloodthorn Thicket being extremely weak. Ironbark and Blackvenom Thicket fail to fix the core problem Thornwake, that being a scarcity of situations where 6-10 seconds of a small but impenetrable wall is beneficial to the party.
There are two obvious use-cases for Thornwake: sealing off a path entirely or creating a narrow choke point. Let’s look at sealing off a path first. During a horde, waves almost always spawn from two points and come at players from every possible angle. Blocking one entire horde wave by sealing a path sounds great in theory, but in practice a flaw becomes immediately apparent. Enemies clump behind the wall, and when it goes down there’s suddenly a high density mob rushing the party. Every experienced player knows there are few things more dangerous than density, and closing off a path for just 6-10 seconds will rarely be worth the dense horde it releases. Even using the Blackvenom Thicket talent can’t solve this problem, as the knockback is too small and enemies will simply swarm over the frontline that were stumbled.
The second use-case is creating a choke point to funnel horde into an easily held kill box. For this to work, a SotT player must cast their ult in a passage that is to large to blocked entirely, but still small enough that Thornwake has a meaningful effect funneling enemies. In these situations, Thornwake is a great area denial tool.
Unfortunately, the ideal conditions for using Thornwake to create a chokpoint are very rare. Most maps have multiple avenues for enemies to enter, and creating one good chokepoint won’t matter when the enemy is coming from four directions. And when there is a properly sized passage, and the enemy can only approach from one direction, even then the wall only lasts for 6-10 seconds, or 12-20 with Radiance. Most hordes last much longer than 20 seconds, so the choke will be short lived. Sienna’s coruscation staff does a better job at zone control, as her flame walls can be recast for as long as necessary.
Without Radiant Inheritance and Bloodrazor Thicket to boost her killing potential, SotT would be an underwhelming support class. Her walls are too situational with too short of a duration relative to their cooldown. Too many areas allow enemies multiple avenues of attack for a 6-10 second wall that blocks enemies and allies alike to be worthwhile, even with a second cast every minute. It’s simply not a fun ult to use due to how infrequently it actually provides a meaningful benefit to the team compared to other support ults.
I know developers typically want feedback to highlight what need fixing but not how to fix it, as customers rarely understand what is and isn’t feasible. That being said, here’s a few ideas on how to make Thornwake fun:
Cut the cooldown of the wall variants of Thornwake in half, and double their duration.
Give players a defensive buff when they walk through or stand near the Ironbark Thicket.
Increase the radius of Blackvenom Thicket’s explosion, and apply the explosion both when it’s created and dispersed (making it actually possible to debuff a mobile boss)
I think the new class concept is unique and awesome, but as it stands it’s not the support powerhouse the devs clearly intended (based on the dev blog released today). If players forgo SotT’s damage talents for support talents, they are not nearly as useful to their team. Dead rats can’t hurt teammates, but a horde of overlapping rats stuck behind a very temporary wall sure can.
Thank you for reading this wall of text. I can’t wait to see how you tweak SotT going forward.