Talent Rebalance Suggestion: Grail Knight

The Grail Knight is a strong character and fun to play, but he has several problems, which severely limit his talent choices and playstyle variety. There is essentially only one viable build, with the only choice being between two lvl 30 talents (while the third talent is not viable).
This post will try to explain what these problems are and suggest solutions.

Main goals for the solutions are: simplicity and ease of implementation. The simplier the solution, the less of a balancing headache it is. The easier it to implement, the less time Fatshark needs to add it in.

LvL 10
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Virtue of the Ideal
Problem:
Although the talent offers a temporary power bonus, it is very easy to stack up and maintain, making it a nearly permanent 30% power bonus on an already powerful character. It wouldn’t be a problem if it this reliability didn’t choke any competition out of existence.
Solution:
Change power bonus from 10% to 5%, but increase the maximum number of stacks from 3 to 5. So as a result ,the max power bonus is 25%. It IS an overall nerf to this talent’s performance, but it is not a severe one and it is necessary to encourage healthy competition in the lvl 10 talent row.

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Virtue of Heroism
Problem:
The talent is completely outclassed by the Virtue of the Ideal. And to make things worse, the talent description is a lie - bonus to charged attacks only increases DAMAGE, not POWER. So they hit harder, but don’t have higher cleave or stagger, making this talent, essentially, a worse option, since Virtue of the Ideal is so easy to maintain and offers more bonuses.
Solution:
Increase bonus from 25% to 30%. This is a minor change, but it should work in tandem with the changes to the Virtue of the Ideal, making these talents compete, without turning one or the other into an objectively the best universal option.

LvL 25
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Virtue of Stoicism
Problem:
While being supposed to help against “chip damage”, when player gets hit by a singe enemy on a rare occasion, the 5 second timer is extremely long for an extremely fast paced game like Vermintide.
Solution:
Decrease the regeneration timer from 5 seconds to 3. This will make this talent much more competitive with the Virtue of the Joust and slightly help agains the frustration with buff getting overwritten by a stray rattling bullet or gas/warpfire on the floor.

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Virtue of Discipline
Problem:
Talent relies on Timed Blocks, which makes it very unreliable, esecially for players with higher ping or weaker PCs. (No, “buy a better rig” is not a viable balancing argument becasue many people can’t afford the upgrade. Especially in with the current market prices.)
Solution:
Change the timer for Timed Blocks to be 1 second instead of 0.5 second. This point will be discussed deeper in a different post.

LvL 30
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Virtue of the Impetuous Knight
Problem:
This talent is considered a joke by most players in the community, as the value it offers is so niche, situational and incomparable with the other options, that you would be hardpressed to see anyone actually run it outside of a meme montage on YouTube. Movement speed serves very little purpose when you are the only one running it in a TEAM game.
Solution:
Instead of +35% movement speed, make this talent give +20% attack speed. Grail knight has no ways to increase his attack speed outside of Swift Slaying and weapon stats. Granting him this massive bonus in exchange for using his ult to kill an enemy every once in a while is a valid trade, especially when it has to compete with the burst potential of Virtue of Audacity and the cleaving power of Virtue of Confidence.

Afterthought:
I do not claim to be “top of the line, balance expert”.
This post is a result of my personal experience with the character, boredom I felt after playing over a hundred games on him with the same unchanging build, and the frustration of requiring too much footwork for a mediocre result when trying to use off-meta builds on him.

10 Likes

I like your ideas generally, do want to comment on the Ideal vs Heroism situation though. Personally I would just swap them so that Ideal just gives bonus damage, and Heroism gives power. I think that makes them fairly competitive and weapon dependent. That way Ideal is pretty akin to Trophy Hunter, while the choice of Heroism is a more interesting pick with the added cleave and stagger.

3 Likes

I wholeheartedly agree with that, but the problem is - while playing around with mods, I found out, that Heroism uses a very specific stat that essentially says “charged attack damage”, and I could find a corresponding stat for charged attack power. So, unless someone in Fatshark codes in a new stat buff specifically for that occasion, the easier and less bothersome solution is to throw around some numbers.

3 Likes

Yeah fair enough. I figure that can’t be a lot of work to implement but I don’t know a thing about coding so maybe it’s not simple at all. I just struggle to see Heroism being an interesting choice while only granting damage. WPoS would also appreciate his “+heavy attack power” talent actually granting power, so I see it as kind of a two birds one stone scenario.

3 Likes

Well, I don’t know how Warrior Priest talent is coded, so maybe someone did actually add the stat buff I was talking about. (Last time I dug the code was before Grudge Marks were released)
If that IS the case, then I would gladly settle for that option.

Well what I meant is that WP’s talent sadly also just grants bonus damage currently. Presumably draws on similar code to Heroism. Best case scenario they rewrite both to grant real power.

Edit: As a side note his “power” vs Super Armour passive also just grants damage. Talent descriptions sadly don’t seem to be getting more accurate with time.

2 Likes

If they rewrite the stat buff to actually be power instead of damage, then all problems will be solved, but I wouldn’t hold my hopes high just yet. xD

1 Like

I wouldnt nerf Virtue of Ideal. Dont see a reason why GK should be nerfed in any talent.
I like your other suggestions, theyre interesting.

1 Like

I’m not sure how you balance that row with current Ideal. 30% raw power with excellent uptime is very very good. That’s why I think changing it to damage, then changing heroism to power would be the most elegant. Shouldn’t mess with any damage breakpoints but then heroism has a chance to compete by potentially providing stagger and cleave breakpoints Ideal wouldn’t.

2 Likes

The only change heroism needs is changing it to be power instead of damage. It wouldn’t affect Blessed Blade, unlike Ideal, but also doesnt need to be micro managed. Thats enough of a difference to make people take one, or the other.

Stoicism is really great if it works, mostly annoying. If you play on a higher difficulty, and with a halfway “stick together” kind of party. You gonna catch as many friendly fire chips as you get tickled by warpfire, gas, and rattling. Or you just get jumped by an eshin you pushed, get the lag release, did everything right and still lose your stoicism.
It should just count damage you take until you don’t take damage for a couple of seconds and pay out a percentage of it in THP. That way it also would work like in the description.

Discipline is a bad joke. There is no reason to take it over extra stamina reg, or stoicism gambling. That one needs a rework.

Impetuous biggest problem is that it grants you the speed after you killed something. It is just straight up worse than Audacity as a movement ability, which lets you “movetech” on demand. A change to attack speed might actually make it interesting and competitive, if the buff is long enough.

Iam kind of weirded out that Confidence didn’t make it to the list. This ability is straight up gamble. You sometimes hit through enemies. You cant aim at what you want to kill. It staggers, or doesnt. Its again a case of being worse than Audacity in every possible scenario. The cleave of Confidence should be upped by a lot, or the charge and animation reduced drastically, so it can be used as a quick stagger/room tool. Right now its just a nightmare to use.

Something that can defiantly get toyed around with to make certain Line 30 Talent more compelling is Cooldown. Increasing Audacities CD, so concoction cant fill it completely anymore, and reducing/keeping the CD of the other ones should be on the table. The last Tournaments Rebalance increased the Cooldown of Blessed Blade in general, which has a big impact, but also makes the already less desirable Talents even worse.

I pretty well agree with the rest of your post, but am confused by the logic of this part. Why would you ever take Heroism over Ideal in your scenario? It’s less bonus, for one specific attack rather than everything, just for the price of it being always on? How many scenarios are you realistically not killing once every 10 seconds with GK? Maybe when there’s just a boss and nothing else? It’s just such easy upkeep I’m struggling to think of scenarios where Heroism would be better if Ideal is left as it is.

So I guess TL;DR in what situations/loadouts would you see yourself taking Heroism if it were changed to power but Ideal left as is?

1 Like

I wouldnt say its raw. Youve it in Hordefights. Much less vs roamings or bosses. 25% on Heavies is especially in the wastes a good alternative option.

1 Like

I think you underestimate how easy it is to keep all 3 stacks just on Roaming enemies alone. Don’t forget, it has a duration of 10 seconds.
If you are not idling around, you will easily find things to kill.
And because it only takes 3 kills to reach full power, you don’t get to put much effort to even get it back up when you lost it.

Also, 25% DAMAGE on demand is still worse than conditional 30% POWER. Power affects stagger and cleave, so you have to basically count it not as “25% damage vs 30% damage”, but instead as “25% power vs 30% damage, 30% cleave, 30% stagger”.
For me, personally, Heroism is outclassed by Ideal no matter how you look at it.

4 Likes

Honestly pretty much what Warget said, but I do want to add: are roaming enemies in small enough numbers to not nearly instantly get all your stacks up enough of a threat to even bother discussing? Surely if there aren’t more than a handful of enemies around you, well you don’t really need the bonus anyway.

Only circumstance I can come up with is if you somehow pull a patrol between horde waves and you also somehow weren’t killing ambients beforehand. Even then you have your ult to pretty much immediately get you one or multiple stacks even in the case of a small group of high threat enemies.

I understand being nerf adverse but if you have to bend over backwards to come up with talents that compete without being overpowered, perhaps the talent is a little overtuned.

2 Likes

The only change i would like for this trait is to become an enemy launching skill, like it would deal 0 damage but kruber would hold the magic sword UPSIDE DOWN by the blade and hit the enemy with the handle with such power it would launch enemies similar to a fus ro dah in skyrim, and the sword would break if you hit a boss or a chaos warrior, kruber hands would be burning with yellow magic and he would put it out like hes dusting off his hands almost as if saying “job done”.
Then again that would require extra production, your idea is probably cheaper.

Yeeeeeaaaaaah… Your proposition requires a lot of work to be implemented. And there is no insurance that this change would actually be popular, because you risk just changing one unused meme talent for another unused meme talent.

A balancing headache in what way exactly? Keeping the talents balanced in relation to one another within the given rows or keeping GK overall balanced in comparison to other careers? Also, I’m presuming you are balancing for Cataclysm and not Legend.

Your suggestion makes it more “difficult” to get to max power, but the 10 second duration of the stacks means that stack upkeep is unchanged. This change alone is not enough.

If one of your goals is to allow for different playstyles as GK then I can only echo those above me. Change Ideal to provide Damage whilst Heroism gives power. This way, a more support/stagger focussed playstyle opens up to those that want to play that. Keep in mind that this will not make Heroism competitive with Ideal because Ideal affects every melee attack, the ult, and bombs. Killing your enemies is better dps than staggering them.

I cannot claim to know what this talent is supposed to do but I can tell you what it does. It lets GK face-tank hits, like an overhead for 150 damage, without much fear of losing too much health every 5 seconds. Changing this to 3 seconds would mean that GK could tank melee hits more often and changing Barkskin to Boon would be a viable alternative, as long as you stay in official that is. In other words, you’d push this talent from very good into totally nuts category.

I don’t think that “timed anything” should be in a game that’s fast-paced as Vermintide but that’s my personal preference. Your suggestion however does alleviate the biggest issue with these kind of talents so at the very least it’d be an another option to consider on that row. Not a competitive one, but I understand that not every option needs to be meta.

Even with a change as good as 20% AS for how-many-ever seconds, the biggest limitation of this talent remains; you need to kill in order to get the buff. Good luck getting this when you are in the middle of a boss fight. Other than that, it’s good.

1 Like

I did not intend it as “balancing for specific difficulty”. Partially because Cataclysm is not a “baseline” difficulty. Legend should not be discarded when discussing balance, for many people this is the difficulty they spend the most time on.

I will be honest with you - I haven’t seen many people run Virtue of Stoicism. And those who actually did, had complained about it not being worth taking over Virtue of the Joust. My (although limited) personal experience supports this notion.
I also don’t entirely understand what you meant to say by “changing Barkskin to Boon would be a viable alternative, as long as you stay in official that is”. Could you please elaborate on that a little bit?

3 Likes

a man can dream …

I think it would still be a strong talent if stack duration was reduced. I think 5, 6, or 7 seconds would work.

I can’t agree. It lets GK get away with a lot of hit trading. I would only run Joust in a low stamina and low stagger team.

Imo, the problem with Virtue of Discipline is the player has to stop playing to make it work. Why block when you can dodge or attack and stagger/kill? Blocking usually happens when the player is under a lot of pressure, and then it’s oft unreasonable to parry. Even in the ideal circumstance (good pc and playing as host). I agree with Slashkex—not every talent has to be competitive, and you’re suggestion pushes the talent in the right direction.

I’m nitpicking, but movement speed is effectively a reach extender. It’s quite helpful for supporting allies. Despite enjoying GK’s move speed talent, I agree it isn’t good, and needs changing.

1 Like
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