Stagger Talents - Yet another approach

Well, we certainly had a lot of different discussion about this issue already. And realistically we know that nothing will be done in this BBB anway. Maybe, there will be some adjustment at the end of the year BBB, together with traits.

I’m not opposed to the current system. For the most part it works. But it can certainly be said that certain talents overperform like Smiter or Assassin while other talents do not have the effect has inititally planned like Mainstay. Reason for that is simple. The talents have been designed for WoM Beta 1 where enemies had far more health. The initial damage bonus was not worth much more since enemies survived the first hit. Mainstay had an effect since enemies lived long enough to reach stagger state 2. However, the health between Beta 1 and 2 has been decreased sharply with the talents never been adjusted for this.
The result is a bias towards Smiter and Assassin which simply overperform. This is one reason why earlier or later a toning down and rebalance has to be done. The second reason is that a certain streamlining for these talents makes sense. So that no disparity arises between different careers.

In the same stroke the talents can be reworked in such a way that each of them caters to a different playstyle. There isn’t that much change necessary in my opinion.

As such I suggest the following changes:

  • The stagger default of + 20 % damage versus enemies in first stagger state and + 40 % damage versus enemies in the second stagger state will be removed completely unless said otherwise in the talent
  • The first talent will be reworked and be called Finesse and be a combination of Smiter and Assassin with the following characteristics
    • First enemy hit gets + 5 % more melee damage
    • Headshots deal + 15 % more melee damage
    • Bodyshots deal + 5 % more melee damage
  • The second talent will be an upgraded version of Mainstay and be called Bulwark (irritating, isn’t it :P) with the following characteristics
    • Unstaggered enemies receive + 0 % more melee damage
    • Enemies in light stagger state receive + 30 % more melee damage
    • Enemies in medium to heavy stagger state receive + 60 % more melee damage
  • The third talent will stay as it is and be called Enhanced Power. As now, in contrast to the other talents it adds power both to range and melee and not just melee damage

What would be the result of these changes? You would get talents which enable you different specialization at the sacrifice of versatility in other areas:

  • Finesse will be the talent for high single target damage and finesse weapons, additionally you can easily calculate breakpoints, basically you opt out of stagger but for a requirement in a slightly bit more skill
  • Bulwark will be the brute force talent which first needs to stagger enemies first but works well on such stagger weapons and/or weapons with high cleave values, also it is less reliant on headshots to deal out damage
  • Enhanced Power would be the talent for ranged careers or if you want to emphasize on the stagger aspect of melee weapons in exchange for the increased damage

Each talent would fit a different bill.

Some simple math notions:

  • Headshotting an enemy with Finesse will net + 20 % more melee damage, equal to the current Smiter but with more skill needed
  • If you do two headshots against an enemy with Finesse he will get +40 % more damage, while + 30 % more damage with Bulwark, so Finesse is in favour
  • If you headshot subsequent enemies with Finesse twice they will get + 30 % damage, the same result you get with Bulwark if the second hit is in staggered state, so with the second hit the talents will have equal impact
  • If you can’t headshot reliable Bulwark will be the safer bet
  • If you bring a Shield user with you, you can get a reliable + 60 % more melee damage if you chose Bulwark, the shield user can either chose Bulwark himself or Enhanced Power to increase his stagger power
  • Not 100 % decided on range, but currently I think similar to the current live version with Smiter, Finesse will apply automatically to all ranged attacks. This means that headshots get the same bonus as right now, however bodyshots do less damage than right now. So range needs some more skill to be effective as one or two bodyshot breakpoints will be lost (which is a good thing), Enhanced Power will help to get some breakpoints again and additionally increase ranged cleave for horde clearing ranged weapons

Overall, we get talents which are more in line in each other and are more or less as strong as right now, however with more specialization and some more finesse needed


The concept is solid. The numbers need to be trialed in a new balance patch. The level 5 THP talents need to be modified and simplified in conjunction with the level 15 stagger talents.


Just abusing your post for two hours more visibility. I know that this won’t get much traction.

And I am doubtful that this topic will be tackled before the next balance beta (if at all).

All interesting ideas!

This one is especially good I think. Without even having to buff Mainstay it makes it relatively stronger.

It may not, but the topic is worth discussing nonetheless, if not only to further refine the ideas before the next balance beta. I do hope players more knowledgeable about the stagger system than myself participate.

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Very nice concept. I think i get finesse and new Bulwark, but i still have questions for enhanced Power.

As far as I know ranged has an innate smiter built in and the stagger talents dont affect range (except enhanced power)
With enhanced powerright now you basically get 1,075 | 1.29 | 1.505 for melee and 1.29 | 1.29 | 1.505 for range.

Unless with your changes, range doesnt have the standart 1.2 | 1.2 | 1.4 for range anymore.

If enhanced power also doesnt have the 1 | 1.2 | 1.4 for melee, the flat 7.5 from enhanced power would be extremely lackluster IMO and needed a buff in return.

If it still does stack on top of that, you have
1,075 | 1.29 | 1.505, which is better than new bullwark without stagger, (almost) equal on 1st stagger and only 10% weaker on stagger 2.
Most enemies will probably die by the first two hits before you even reach that point. This makes your new Bullwark kinda look bad in comparison. Maybe buff its numbers? 1.35 and 1.7 for example.

Okay, I think most of your answer is concerning ranged fighting. I am no expert on that area and like I said I haven’t settled much down on it. Honestly, I would be okay with toning range down a gear.

But let me recap as howit currently would work with the proposal in the OP (starting with another recap on live version):

  • Live version: Smiter is innate which gives the mentioned 1.2/1.2/1.4. As people rarely shoot on staggered enemies, the most important stat here is the 20 % damage bonus on the first target of the first shot (the Smiter effect). Hm, it may have an effect on Sienna’s staves effectiveness as they do stagger quite heavily. Not sure about that.

Now we get to the proposal:

  • Similar to the live version “Finesse” would be an innate talent for ranged damage. So you get on headshots: 1.2 for first enemy and 1.15 on all subsequent enemies, on bodyshots you get 1.1 on first enemy and 1.05 for subsequent enemies
  • So your ranged damage would be equal when you chose the melee talents Finesse or Bulwark
  • When choosing Enhanced power, range would get an additional 7.5 % power boost. So your first headshot would be 1.29 and 1.24 on subsequent headshots, and for bodyshots it would be 1.19 and 1.13. So with Enhanced Power your ranged would be Enhanced in exchange for a bit weaker melee damage (could change with high cleave weapons)

So what would be the overall effect for range with the suggestion:

  • First enemy hit headshot would be equal to now
  • Subsequent headhost would be higher than now (but also difficult to pull)
  • First enemy hit bodyshots are weaker than now but can mostly be compensated with Enhanced Power

So overall range to would need some more skill to get benefit. I am pleased with single target damage for bodyshots is reduced. However, the crowd clearing capability of most weapons would be slightly increased which I don’t like to much. All of this is under the assumption that stagger damage buff currently doesn’t have much influence on ranged gameplay. I think for the most part this assumption to be correct. For Sienna’s staves it might have a notable influence though. This would have to be evaluated correctly.

Right, it doesnt stack on top. But as explained above, it helps with ranged fighting in exchange and also increase cleave. It is also better as Finesse if you cant headshot reliably. It really depends on where you want to place your focus.

  • Finesse: Early damage with better breakpoints, needs more skill to use effectively
  • Bulwark: Stagger heavy weapons with high cleave which needs two or three hits anyway to kill. Worse early breakpoints but high damage towards the end
  • Enhanced Power: May help to reach stagger breakpoints, also buffs ranged gameplay

EDIT: I hope everything is somehow clear ^^’ This reads kinda confusing

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Yeah, I missed/misunderstood this part when I first read it.

This is a very thought through proposal. I like it alot!
Especially that ranged needs a bit more careful aim to be as effective as it is right now.
Too many oneshot breakpoints are too easy to reach, which trivializes most of combat IMO

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