(Cross-posting this from my Reddit post for extra visibility.)
WARNING: WALL OF TEXT, NO TL;DR
The purpose of these suggestions is not to “get rid of the ranged meta”, but to make the game more enjoyable for ranged players as well as their teammates. I’m a guy who always chooses ranged heroes in fantasy RPGs, and I also prefer ranged builds in Vermintide. And yet builds where I can shoot endlessly are much less enjoyable to me than the ones where I have to choose when to spend my resources and when to conserve them.
Approach: As little change from the Live version of the game as possible, in order to make it easier for the devs to implement, and easier for the players to get used too.
Section 1: Ammo-Based Weapons and Careers
What I’m trying to achieve with these suggestions:
Ranged careers should be able to replenish their ammo through passives/talents/traits, but at a limited rate, so they’ll have to dose their ammo usage. Each ranged career should have its own unique mechanism for replenishing ammo, that also works when their ammo is fully depleted.
Melee careers should not be able to replenish their ammo through passives/talents/traits. They should, however, be able to reduce their ammo consumption through passives/talents/traits, in order to last longer between ammo pickups.
Some examples of gameplay that I’d like to get rid of: shooting a horde with a crossbow as a Zealot just to replenish ammo, even though I’d rather use my melee weapon to kill it; shoulder bashing a horde as an Ironbreaker fishing for crits just to replenish my Grudge-Raker ammo; shooting every single enemy on the map as a Bounty Hunter with a crossbow because ammo never runs out.
Suggested change: Limit the ammo gain to 2 rounds per crit, no matter the amount of targets hit.
Reasoning: The way it works in the live game, it allows the user to replenish their ammo by shooting hordes, which enables unlimited ammo supply for melee careers that can use a crossbow, and lets some ranged careers to never ever engage in melee. With the suggested change, Scrounger will reduce the rate of ammo consumption but it will never be ammo positive on average, except for the Bounty Hunter. (Although for Bounty Hunter the rate of ammo gain will be limited.)
Suggested change: Disable Scrounger proc on shoulder bash crits with blunderbuss or grudge-raker.
Reasoning: The way it works in the live game, it gives melee careers access to unlimited ammo. Also, shoulder-bashing a horde and praying for RNG procs is not a fun way to play.
Conservative Shooter trait
In my opinion, it’s perfectly fine right now – it doesn’t replenish more than 1 ammo per shot even if the projectile hits multiple enemies in the head, so it can be used to prolong the ammo supply but not to replenish it.
Bounty Hunter career
Blessed Shots passive – change to “Guaranteed ranged critical hit every 10 seconds” (no reset on melee kill by default).
Pious Fervor (lvl 15 talent that heals on crit) – change to “Blessed Shots cooldown resets on melee kill”.
Cruel Fortune and Prize Bounty (the other lvl 15 talents) – no changes.
Locked and Loaded (active ability) – additional effect: “When ammo is fully depleted, replenish 10% of your ammo supply on ability use.
These changes go hand-in-hand with the Scrounger change. Crossbow Bounty Hunter should still be able to go ammo-positive with Scrounger, but not if he shoots each and every enemy he encounters. He would have to melee some of them, either to reset Blessed Shots with the new Pious Fervor talent, or just to conserve ammo. Most importantly, Bounty Hunter will only shoot hordes when he wants to (and can spare the ammo), rather than when he has to replenish ammo. The change to the active ability is my suggested way of recovering from the “fully depleted ammo” state which is very awkward for Bounty Hunters in the live version of the game.
Kurnous’ Blessing talent (recovers ammo on ability use) – replace it with anything else. Example: “Kerillian shoots 5 homing arrows instead of 3.” Around elves, watch yourselves!
[Optional] Vaul’s Quiver talent (regenerates ammo over time) – make it a baseline passive, and replace the talent with anything else. Example: “Kerillian’s health regenerates up to 65%.”
Waystalker with the Hagbane bow is the only ranged build in the live version of the game where ammo management feels perfect to me, except for having to use the active ability just to replenish ammo. With the above change to Scrounger it should feel perfect with other bows too. If not, the rate of ammo regeneration can be tuned individually for each bow. The optional change to Vaul’s Quiver is meant to avoid having a talent row where one talent is the only reasonable choice.
Ranger Veteran career
Survivalist passive (“Specials drop ammo on death”) – make those ammo drops only usable by Bardin (perhaps not even visible to teammates). Increase the amount of shots gained per pickup and balance it separately for each ranged weapon available to Bardin. Make these special pickups visually distinct from the regular ones so that Bardin players can easily identify them.
Grungni’s Cunning talent (increases the ammo gains per pickup) – replace it with anything else. Example: very small chance (maybe 10%) to drop a regular ammo pickup that fully replenishes ammo and is usable by teammates.
Battle Brew and Master Brewer talents (chance of dropping a potion or a bomb) – keep them as they are. Teammates should be able to pick up the potions or bombs dropped by these talents, but not the ammo.
In the live version of the game, a Veteran Ranger with Grungni’s Cunning talent can enable melee heroes to spam their ranged weapons – for example a Witch Hunter Captain can go nuts with Brace of Pistols. It’s not even close to being meta right now, but when it happens it doesn’t feel fun. These changes will ensure that Ranger Veteran has his own mechanism of ammo sustain (and that he doesn’t provide too much ammo to teammates), but he might need other buffs to make him more competitive with other ranged heroes.
Waste Not, Want Not passive (“Ranged headshots recover 1 ammo”) – change to “Melee kills have a 50% chance to recover 1 ammo.”
Taal’s Blessing talent (“Ranged headshots recover 2 ammo”) – change to “Melee kills have a 100% chance to recover 1 ammo.”
In the live version of the game, a Huntsman can shoot endlessly if he either gets a headshot with every 3rd hit (with Conservative Shooter + Taal’s Blessing build), or if he shoots hordes to replenish his ammo (with Scrounger + Making It Look Easy build). Both playstyles don’t feel fun to me, especially the “shoot a horde to replenish ammo” bit. Also, in practice I either end up shooting everything and never run out of ammo, or I run out of ammo and can’ shoot at all, if hordes don’t line up so I can hit multiple enemies with each shot, or if I miss my headshots too often.
With the proposed changes, a Huntsman would still be able to focus on headshots to conserve his ammo (with Conservative Shooter trait) but would want to use his melee weapon against hordes and ambient enemies (clanrats and marauders) in most cases. He would still be able to shoot hordes when he can spare the ammo, but it won’t feel like something he has to do even when melee would be more convenient/safe.
Bloodfletcher talent – change to “Whenever you kill an enemy with a melee attack from behind, your next ranged attack will not consume any ammo”. The triple crossbow shot should also be free with this buff. Attacks that consume this buff shouldn’t be able to proc Scavenger or Conservative Shooter.
The current implementation of Bloodfletcher allows Shade to fully replenish her ammo which is against the philosophy I propose. The proposed implementation would let her conserve her ammo rather than replenish it.
Section 2: Heat-Based Weapons and Careers
What I’m trying to achieve with these suggestions:
I’d like to go back to the Vermintide 1 pre v.1.9 model, where heat weapon users couldn’t shoot without ever stopping and had 3 tactical options available at any time:
Stay in the “grey area” of the overcharge bar where active venting with the “Reload” key doesn’t cost any health. This means that the user can shoot endlessly, but with certain intervals between shots, because they have to vent after each shot. Thus a wizard could shoot endlessly, but at a greatly reduced rate of fire.
Shoot freely until about 70% overcharge, then switch to melee and wait for overcharge to dissipate, perhaps aided by Earthing Rune procs (chance to reduce overcharge on melee hits).
Shoot freely until about 70% overcharge, then actively vent with the “Reload” key (paying a heavy price in health), then shoot again. Thus we could greatly increase our DPS for a short time, but it wasn’t sustainable long-term. (I.e. it could be done a few times during the mission, but not all the time).
I believe that with some changes to traits and talents Vermintide 2 can support a similar model, although with greater gameplay diversity.
Active Venting (pressing “Reload” key at high overcharge)
Suggested change: Make it always use green health, even if white health is available.
Reasoning: This is one of the changes that will prevent players from mindlessly spamming heat attacks all the time, while still leaving the option to do so at a heavy price.
Heat Sink trait
Suggested change: Change its effect to “critical attacks don’t build up overcharge”.
Reasoning: With this change, the trait will reduce the overcharge build-up by the percentage equal to the user’s current crit chance (on average), and will not be more effective when hitting multiple targets. This trait will only be useful to Pyromancers (as is mostly the case in the live version of the game) but it would not allow them to spam endlessly.
Thermal Equalizer trait
Suggested change: Reduce the effect from 20% to 15%.
Reasoning: This is to balance it with the new Heat Sink. At 20% it would probably be better than Heat Sink even for Pyromancers, while at 15% it should be worse for Pyromancers on average but might still be preferable to some Pyromancer players who value consistency. It will also be a superior choice for Pyromancers who mostly stay in the grey area of the overcharge bar and vent after each shot.
Exhaust talent (“The Burning Head also removes all overcharge”) – replace it with anything else. Example: “The Burning Head no longer stops after hitting an armored enemy.”
Add another baseline passive: “Melee critical strikes reduce overcharge.”
Removal of overcharge reset on ability use is one of the changes that will prevent players from mindlessly spamming heat attacks all the time, while still leaving the option to do so at a heavy price. The new passive will provide a mechanism to actively reduce overcharge without paying with green health, and it mimics the Earthing Rune trait that was well loved by Vermintide 1 players.
Battle Wizard career
Burnout talent (“Fire Walk removes all overcharge”) – replace it with anything else. Example: Increases the damage and radius of the explosion on arrival.
Tranquility passive (“Avoiding damage and not casting spells for 8 seconds automatically ventilates Overcharge”) – reduce the timer to 4–5 seconds (and/or make it activate on melee kills) and increase the strength of the effect.
Removal of overcharge reset on ability use is one of the changes that will prevent players from mindlessly spamming heat attacks all the time, while still leaving the option to do so at a heavy price. The improved Tranquility passive will provide a mechanism to reduce overcharge without paying with green health.
Please note that these changes are just the bare minimum that I think is needed to make Battle Wizard work with my other suggested changes. This career might need more radical changes in order to make it fun and competitive with other careers.
Doesn’t need any changes in order for her to work with my other suggested changes, but this career is just too powerful in my opinion, she might need some nerfs to bring her in line.
Irondrake talent (“Reduces the overheat generated by Drakefire weapons by 30%”) – change the bonus to 15%.
This is just to prevent the Ironbreaker from becoming a better Wizard.
Thanks for reading!