Let me start with the obvious part. This is personal opinion and is based on my very limited lore knowledge concerning.
Generally, I understand where disablers come from. They are here for people to stick together and usually I support everything which enforces co-op play in Vermintide. As such disablers are fine, especially if they get you between the horde waves because you haven’t been paying attention. But during hordes they become unfair mainly because they completely ignore the other enemies and just clip through them. This is most noteworthy for the leech and the assassin which both can launch attacks at you which you don’t see and pass also through enemies. It is a bit less problematic for the packmaster as he has to get close to you but he still clips through everything. This is a clear break with the rest of the specials. Blightstormers, Charger, Banner Carriers, Gunners, Warpfire Throwers, Globadiers are all really well designed because their attacks react with the horde and their attacks can be used to the players own advantage. I wish this would work for Leeches and Assassins to so that you can use other enemies as shields against their attacks. But I doubt FS will go that route.
So with the complaining about disablers and especially Assassins and Leeches, why is it the packmaster I want to have changed? For Lore reasons mainly. I understand that with the limited enemy rooster in Vermintide 1 you searched for a second disabler and picked the Packmaster as you couldnt find a better pick. But to my understanding Packmasters are a mixture of Skaven Tamers and Slavers. They are there to keep the ferocious Rat Ogres (or worse) in line. They are skilled warriors.
As such I would like to change them to get more in line with their lore counterparts. There are different options for this (with some pretty similar):
Option A: Rat Ogres in order to be used as war assets have to be brought to the designated area first. As they are mostly mindless you need a packmaster who keeps them in line. As such, you could encounter a Packmaster who is in the process of transporting two Rat Ogres to their new designated area (or he is patrolling an certain area with the two ogres like a … patrol). If he sees you, he will release both Ogres which start attacking the Heroes. In this scenario the packmaster is rather weak and can be killed easily. Killing him will make the ogres run havoc.
Option B: Instead of two ogres the packmaster has only one ogre with him. This may or may not be a bit stronger than normal ogres (like having a metal claw arm). As soon as the fight starts the packmaster joins as skilled warrior and serving as a mini-boss similar to Skarrik in behaviour just less Hp (and using whip and daggers)
Option C: Similar to option B. But the packmaster will not join the fight. He will stay close to the ogre and as long as he lives he will summon new hordes so better kill him fast. He is not dangerous himself. He should have more HP then now so he cant be taken out to easily.
So basically the packmaster would serve as some kind of patrol replacement where you fight a mini-boss instead of lots of elites.
With the packmaster reworked we could use this chance for some mix-up somewhere else. Let me first say again, I definetely think we don’t need more than three disablers so giving the Beastmen a disabler without reworking or removing one of the others is an annoying idea. Also, let me say again that I regard the Beastmen as perfect supplement to the Skaven and Chaos enemy rooster and to be a well-designed and thought out factions which has very few specials and elites but a ferocious and strong horde (which by now got nerfed to the ground) and Beastmen do NOT need more specials and elites.
But if we get a rework for the packmaster and IF we say we should have three disablers enemy then and ONLY then we could give the “free” disabler spot to the Beastmen. It hasnt to be something fancy in my opinion. What I have in mind is something like a disabler light. A Beastmen which throws some kind of net at the heroes. Disabler light because it doesnt outright end your game if you are alone. Getting hit by the net will immobilize you. You can not dodge and not use movement based active skills and you can not move at all. But you can still attack and block. In comparison to other disablers team mates cant help you with ranged attacks. Only way to get free again is to chop down the net. This can be done by teammates but also by the trapped player himself. Also if he is “weaker” as other disablers, the net can catch more than one hero if they are close enough together. But if he misses or enemies are close to the heroes, the enemies can also be caught in the net. In this regard we would have finally a disabler which interacts with other enemies like most of the specials. It would also fit with the horde theme of the Beastmen faction. Because losing dodge and movement inside a horde can be a death sentence. But outside of hordes he is barely a threat (so maybe make his net slightly poisoness or electrical, not necessary though).
Biggest problem: Do Beastmen even use nets? So, you are free to flame or ignore now.
Despite there being people who will be hostile because they disagree with a suggestion or opinion, I’d like to think there are quite a few people who are willing to be constructive or civil. I find it sad that we as people naturally expect hostility now when offering something new or different.
I like packmaster as a special because it’s satisfying to dodge him and outplay the enemy. What I dislike is him phasing through a thick horde or boss and just casually pulling you through 50 enemies. This was primarily an issue because of hyperdensity. As of Fatshark’s new changes to address hyperdensity more, I still need to experience more gameplay with the recent patch to see if that’s enough to alleviate that problem.
The reason hyperdensity is a problem with enemies like packmasters is because they have a nearly impenetrable meat shield and can easily and safely grab for players again and again. The players have few counterplay measures against this, or none at all depending on the map and situation. Certain abilities or weapons can deal with this meat shield because all the meat in the world is irrelevant to them. Examples would be hagbane, flamethrower, conflagration, bombs, Handmaiden dash, Drakefire pistols, and so on. By alleviating hyperdensity you create more situations for counterplay and allow more weapons to potentially be effective against them, rather than useless.
Blightstormers are my most and only hated special because they too frequently allow for zero counterplay and can storm players with absolutely no consequence at times. No other special does this. I talked about this here:
Essentially, they’ll cast from unreachable, unpingable locations. Or they cast through objects. In the former, it’s unrealistic to kill them. In the latter, it’s impossible to(trueflight might get lucky). That kind of thing shouldn’t exist.
Like I said. I have from a gameplay perspective more issues with Assassins and Leeches (and if you are complaining about absurd spelling ranges you should start with leeches which additionally are shooting through multiple enemies to get you). The packmaster can be countered more or less reliable. It is just that this is not how I would imagine it after reading some lore. And it could be used to juggle some things around.
Blightstormers on the other hand I like. Together with Ratling Gunner he is the top special I can use to turn him against his own kind. The tornado does not differentiate between friend and foe and I think this is an actual interesting design which we see for most specials with the exception of ALL disablers (another reason I want to get rid of current Packmaster and replace it by a special which has an effect on other enemies). The spelling range might be an issue and I have currently no clue what determines how large the initial spell can be. Other than that, he needs 2-3 seconds to complete his spell. There is no other special who gives you this much reaction time after engaging, so unless you are in a horde or badly positioned or you get cornered by two tornados you can normally outrun the tornado and use it to your advantage. I’m not sure if I have ever the tornado growing in size drastically fast as describe by you or even casting through walls. If so then it rarely happened for me. So it is for me minor issues. Only thing I have seen is the tornado getting smaller which is another thing you can use to your advantage. It seems the tornado has some kind of mass, so if it is to large and you navigate it through a choke point it has to reduce its size first which gives you time to run away.
Even in the case that you get caught by the spell, the damage you receive is very limited and is always the same so that you might jump into the spell voluntarily. So Blightstormers are only deadly if you are low on health or if he works with others together (mainly monster, CW or Warpfire throwers). And yea, if bad luck he can shoot you over a ledge. But ledge kills are far more annoying by Warpfire Throwers. Every other special in the game can kill you on his own if he gets you once. So yea, I like Blightstormers. If there should be some kind of adjustment for them, I would suggest making casting distance and spell area inverse. The farer back he is, the smaller the tornado. Also, Chaos Warriors should at least receive damage by the tornado and ideally take them up into the air too. After all the fatty dwarf is effected and i somehow doubt that CW have a higher density than an Ironbreaker.
Still, they should change packmaster to something more interesting. In comparison to Vermintide 1 there is no need to rely on this kind of disabler anymore and we get alternatives to the patrol and some new scenarios. And then, if necessary, give the disabler slot to the Beastmen.
Realistically this will not change but hey suggestions, discussions and so on are interesting.
Disabler wise we have 2 that are rather static when it comes to gutter runner / leech that basically pin you down when they get you while Packmaster is a bit more interesting when it comes to dragging you around while being pinned.
I would definitely like more events that are kinda like Patrols. I actually suggested having some sort of warlord/captain surrounded by a guard that are either patrolling or remain static for you to engage or to try and avoid. Said warlord/captain would have a banner and give an aura to nearby enemies but… we kinda have that now with WoM.
Beastmen disablers I could see either an Elite Ungor Archer with poisoned arrows that debuff the character by lowering movement speed, stamina regeneration, and perhaps dodge effectiveness. Other possibility would be weighted nets or bolos but I’m not sure if that would be supported by their lore when it comes to weapon use. A new type of enemy could be a Chaos Warhound or a Razorgor that could revolve around either knockback or briefly pinning an enemy to the ground for a few seconds while dealing damage before the hero knocks said creature off.
Beastmen definitely need at least 1 or 2 more specials imo as Dark Omen’s just feels odd to me seeing skaven/norscan specials in the beastmen exclusive map.
Realistically, suggestions have been implemented in the game in the past several times. But yea, chances for a rework of an existing special is unlikely.
Like, initially said all disablers suffer a bit from the point that they completely ignore horde enemies due to gameplay reasons. Ideally, the game can keep you engaged without relying on cheap tricks, even if you can counter them. Therefore, an alternative to a patrol which is higher in threat Level could be a nice change of pace, especially if you make the packmaster some kind of ferrocious battle master (which he should be according to Lore). Would also address a point which has surfaced some times that fighting a patrol could give a dice (although I’m against this, as taking a risk for “fun” should not be rewarded).
For Beastman disablers I thought about the net like described. Bolo (if it is what i have in my mind right now) has touched my mind but it would lead again to just singular heroes being affected and needing help to be freed (Maybe). Both weapons have the drawback, that I too, dont know if they fit the lore. The bow would fit the lore but had issues from gameplay perspective. If they have the same accuracy as current archers they would pose no risk. If they have higher accuracy they would be to much of a threat. In comparison current specials have either a long wind-up or a slow projectile. An accurate archer would have neither. And again, I only see a point for another Beastmen special if another slot gets “free”. We definetely don’t need more than three disablers and I also think that the specials are already saturated. But I accept that we will not reach common ground on this.
For elites I am a bit more open. I still don’t think they are needed as the current Beastmen horde has three basic enemies (50 % more than Skaven or Chaos) and also has/had different behaviour and a more complex attack/animation pool. That said elites which mix regularly in the horde like SV would still fit with the horde thriven design of the Beastmen. In this regard, for once, we reached common conclusion. Some kind of warhounds serving as Berserker type. Faster than the monks but dealing less damage, maybe a slight knockback but nothing which stuns you or even incapitates you (like I said, not more disablers).
As for Dark Omen: They should just remove the specials then. Because they are rarely the reason you die there (more likely it was a Minotaur above else) and the map would work well enough without them.
I don’t know anything about Warhammer lore, but from a gameplay perspective, I like the disablers as-is. The only “special” that I would suggest needs re-tuning is actually the loot rat – they “aggro” too quickly & often run away before people even notice them. For example, the one that can spawn above the barracks section after the arena event on Righteous Stand will start running away when the heroes are on the lower floor. Heroes won’t be lured to their doom (or to some exciting YOLO battles) if they don’t even know there’s a loot rat to chase.
Packmaster should obey the slotting rule and have a high priority slot, like CW.
That way he would push aside the meatwall to get to you and you’d at leat be able to shooot it better not just with high-penetration weapons.
Yea according to lore the Packmaster would pretty much be at the head of a patrol or at the back with a whip since usually they were sold together with their “pack” as a bundle to different skaven factions. I could see such a patrol consisting of mostly Skaven Slaves, Stormvermin and then maybe 1 Rat Ogre on Champion+ difficulties. Packmaster model itself should be larger and definitely have a whip or knife.
I agree that net / bolo might not work. Perhaps a bow related special could work like the Standard bearer in that you would have 2 spawn per special call out in which case they accuracy would be as projectiles are now but they would deal a bit more damage while having a duration of less stamina / dodge capabilities / maybe movement for like 3 seconds.
Chaos Warhound would also be interesting either as a special or elite and yea even if it just had the knockback down effect while having a more dive in for a few bites and then jumping back to maneuver that would make them somewhat interesting.
Dark Omen: Lore wise in that map the Beastmen are territorial and wouldn’t suffer the Skaven / Chaos Norsca being so close to their meteor so yea… make more sense to remove the specials which is why I think Beastmen could use 1 or 2 more unless people just want Wargor Standardbearers.