The 4 S's: Sight, Sound, Spawns, and Specials

Clever title ain’t it? My oh my did I mean to make this topic ages ago. In reality this will mostly be about Specials and their interaction with the other three topics but I wouldn’t want to be faulted for not covering the majority of the faults that I’ve at least dealt with. This is going to be a tiny bit of a heartfelt post mixed in with a few frustrations and topped off with a hopeful end. Let’s get started.

Sights, Sounds, Spawns, and Specials
Right now the interaction between visual, audio queues, environmental hazards, and specials is jacked up beyond all belief. To understand why this is an actual big problem we’ll have to analyze a few things by themselves and take into consideration how some of these things were made worse when you throw specials into the mix.

Sight
As a foreword, a lot of these problems may not register as such in isolation. For the sake of clarity, on top of mentioning how they apply to their specific specials I will do so again to an extent at the end of this post.

  • A globadier comes out and throws it’s noxious gas. You have to move now, you can tell you have to move from the green screen. For careers with a skill that alters their vision, it’s hard to even see that you’re in Gloabdier smoke. For maps with certain lightning effects such as hunger in the dark, AY, and some parts of convocation of decay, it’s especially distressing to take damage from such an act.

  • Another problem are AoE particle effects from Allies. I can think of very few people that will be able to see through a waystalkers hagbane smoke cloud. Or see through a fireball staffs explosion. Or be able to see ANYTHING getting flamethrown. Dragon’s Crown has an option that disables/reduces effects coming from allies or from yourself. It sure would be swell if we had that hear so that it became possible to even know when something like a hookrat is chasing that wave with it’s inability to be staggered.

  • On the topic of sight, blightstormers haven’t been “as” bad about this recently but Gutter Runners time to pounce from entering their pounce radius (which we will talk about at length) and your ability to react in time have been thrown out of whack. I’m not sure where this was changed, I’ve noticed it quite some time ago but with the increase in disabler frequency we’ll have words about this.

  • On ANOTHER topic of sight a Pack Master chasing a horde and hooking something through it is a mess. To begin with, smashing T whenever a horde starts in case of a packmaster is not a good feeling. But if you’re playing something as Slayer or if the sound effects don’t give enough of a forewarning (another topic that will be talked about at length) forewarning and twitch reflexes are all that can protect you from being hooked into a near guaranteed large amounts of damage. This isn’t the same as a smoker or a jockey chasing zombies. These things (well one of them at least) have ENORMOUS audio tells and defensible positions allow you to force them to you. On top of that they don’t take a larger than necessary amount of effort to kill or dislodge.

  • Rattling Gunners would be right but there’s one feature that’s so wrong with them that they and it has it’s own elongated section

  • And never ever should a Gutter Runner be able to jump through the obscuring bulk of a Chaos Warrior.

Needless to say some of these issues should come off as issues that can be dealt with through other means. Which is exactly why this next section exists

Sound
My oh my it took quite a bit of rewriting to even condense this segment. In relation to sound there’s so much that goes wrong that coincides with spawns that I considered redoing the entire topic theme and just leaving the “summary” specials section intact

  • Other Allies is going to be first. I can think of very few people who wouldn’t appreciate Saltz F having a sound play when he pulls it out so you know he’s about to let loose lead death on everything between him and that Chaos Warrior. Certain Career skills (iron breaker in particular) don’t have the audio effect that other specials have, and so it’s hard to know when he’s using his career skill based on sound alone. There are others but they are minor. With that out of the way.

  • Second is arguably most important. Your OWN sounds have too much of an effect in reducing your ability to defend yourself. The deafening sounds Critical hits reduce your ability to hear anything coming 3 feet away from you and beyond. Career Skills with consistent sound such as a Zealots chimes or a Slayers leap create an entire issue that reduces your ability to even hear specials and the ability to tell when a horde starts or a boss spawns. And don’t get me started with the lack of directional reverberation that Pinging should have. Follow this up with the deafening sound of splaying three rats with melee impact noise and we have a problem that wouldn’t be a problem if sounds were tweaked better.
    This section may have a lot of highlighted segments. But it’s because the career skills, crits, pings, and weapon sounds contribute so much to white noise that it needed to be stated. As it is now, playing the game normally induces a higher difficulty than what should be as opposed to actual fair challenge and makes all of these later issues actual issues.

  • A gutter runner who announces that he has spawned should have an audio sound reverberate from the direction he will be approaching in. This is only important because of later problems that will be covered at length. That this master ventriloquist Eshin warrior even feels the need to announce its presence but lacks the ability to mask it’s sneaking is a bit odd. On the topic of it’s chittering, the sound is too low, easily drowned out by the horde sound even WITH music reduced, and does not do a good enough job at indicating the direction you’re going to be leaped at. Again, even THIS wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the next segment.

  • Hookrats have so much going on wrong with their sound effect that it’s hard to even start. The clacking sound is not consistent. I’ve seen a hookrat continue moving and the sound itself become muted. It’s not present when their leaping or dropping. It’s masked out by other sounds such as hordes, the sound of your own gunfire (or leap). And heavens save you if you get a crit when one drops down. The next you’ll know you’ll get about a single shake before the darn thing scoops in.

  • Globadiers have their sound obscure by even basic sounds depending on conditions. It’s possible for a leaping slayer to not even hear a toss until it blows up into a green ocean that he himself can’t even see.

The chaos side is relatively tame. Though they aren’t exempt from their own problems. Blightstormers and Lifeleechers don’t lack in sound.

Spawns
What.
The hell.
Happened here.
The level of problems with spawning is such that I can’t even do it justice. And yet for the sake of making an extremely informing post that outlines all of the problems this can produce when combined with gameplay and specials I have no choice but to try.

  • Bosses are fine in my eyes. What is not fine are allies being spawned outside of boss barriers. Many of the mid map bosses are without a doubt FAR harder than finale bosses due to your horde and 6 special gauntlet you’ll be slaying your way through. And yet if things go wrong and everybody dies. Not only are you punished with the loss of all your items, but you’re further messed over by the fact that you might not even be able to kill the damn thing before you get another horde (which WILL kill you) on top of not being able to even pick up your allies for a last stand once those ambients you were evading catch up.

  • Gutter Runners can spawn within pounce position directly behind you and get that pounce off before you even turn around. Two gutter runners can spawn so close to each other that they obscure their own bodies preventing you from even being able to see how many of the damn things are after you. And what’s worse, you can now get pounced on in current build before it announcing it’s presence even plays out.

  • Solo survivors should never ever get two sets of 3 disablers. This game is arguably harder than L4D2 and even at it’s worse you didn’t get mauled on by a charger, a smoker, a jockey, and a hunter all at the same time.

  • Blight Stormers warping outside of tag range putting down a max size storm is bad and should never happen.

  • And while coordinated special attacks are great and I love them. Coordinated DISABLE attempts on ONE person is not. A gutter runner shouldn’t be poised to leap on you the second you dodge a packmaster. Two leechers shouldn’t spawn parallel and make drain attempts on the same target. Any situation where playing well and dodging correctly shouldn’t be “rewarded” with getting disabled anyways because of the lack of ability to make a staggered timing for attacks.

  • Hordes can spawn right on top of you, with all of the problems that brings.

  • Rattling Gunners can spawn directly ON you poised to fire which WILL end your life.

  • And while this isn’t a big of an issue a Sack Rats spook radius is much too large.

  • Ambients spawn in locations outside of reach or aim but take sometimes up to 10 seconds to finish their stationary animation and become an issue. And this is on TOP of draw radius for ambients being too damn long. Anybody who’s played against the grain know what I mean when you’re drowning elites from the path beyond the first tome when you’re nowhere close to that side, inside the house defending yourself from the horde.

  • Lastly I like how much easier patrols are to deal with in terms of evasion. What’s not cool is that there are still patrol locations that pat in two different routes with no way of telling which “safe” zone is actually safe. I’m actually kind of okay with this. But I figured I should mention this.

A mouthful right? A pretty big post right? I think I really should have split this up into 4 topics. But it’s far too late now. Let’s keep going.

Specials
Just think of this segment as a mini summary. I will be touching on a few things that I missed before but will be applying everything at once

In the current build:

  • Blight Stormers can still spawn at max range and drop down max size clouds.
  • Gutter Runners can spawn in pouncing distance before their audio queue plays, has an an announcement sound effect that does not help track approach, can pivot after a failed pounce attempt instead of (like the packmaster) retreating, and can smoke cloud out of vision making dealing with them more challenging than it should be.
    As a disclaimer. I think that Gutter Runners, if they’re to maintain their ability to pounce as many times as necessary to land on their target or die. Should either lose the darn smoke cloud given that they already have eratic movement and thus are difficult to shoot or failing that, should have their pounce land them closer to what they jumped at so they can be meleed.
  • Life Leechers tendency to target the same person when coordinating and their tendency to appear way outside of counter range makes killing them without firearms now a pain in the rear.
  • Rattling Gunners can outright spawn on top of you, not making any noise and then lightning you up at point blank range, thus killing you.
  • Hook rats Have their audio cues drowned by all manners of noises in the game, have their visual recognition (as audio cues are not dependable) obscured by the ability to pass through hordes while having boss armor (and thus boss stagger resistance)
  • Globadiers only fault is that visual conditions (such as Slayer career skill) makes telling when you’re in their darn smoke really hard. Thus they’re the closest to begin fine as the only problem they have are career skills and not the special itself.
  • and Warpfire Throwers are actually fine. They announce their presence, have an easily distinguishable sound even through a Slayers leap heartbeat, possess a giant glowing green visual identifier so they can’t be obscured inside of a horde, And have attacks with an identifiable range and effect while also having the opportunity for counterplay (aim does not increase when getting burned)

And there you have it. A post so long that I’ll be blessed if anybody at fatshark even skims over it, but which contain my honest thoughts on some of the problems with the game in relation to audio cues. Outside of my statements regarding the gutter runner, I believe that many specials are in the right place. And I believe that if they can fix at LEAST the issues involving audio and visual cues, we’ll be in a better spot to have a game that more greatly provides ways to react to difficult situations and a game that appropriately rewards high levels of skill with things that can be responded to under reasonable circumstances.

P.S. thanks for listening and making the Great Axe better, fatshark

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I’d like to add I’ve had mobs ‘‘drop down’’ from above into my character-model a few times and enemies with shields will sometimes make you unable to move unless the mob is displaced; if out of stamina or using a low-weight weapon this means you are going to get your face mauled in and I’d rather be pushed away slightly than be stuck and immobile inside an enemy model.

Also the lack of footsteps on a lot of the enemies when approaching from behind, getting sneaked up upon when unaware if one thing. Swiveling your camera every 5 seconds is another thing, something you should generally do every 20 seconds anyway but in some fights you have to throw your camera around constantly because the footsteps are non-existent for regular rats and the zombie-like nurgle troops. And this is out-of-combat

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Funny you mention it because not just the other day did my party have a mob fountain that dripped onto our Sienna. Mere seconds later I was picking up a now free tome from the ground. But yeah that completely slipped my mind. At some point I’ve got a large amount of things to say about hyper stacking and hordes in general but since those things aren’t too bad, especially after recent patchings, I’ve been putting it off.

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It still leads to really awkward moments at times but has been getting a bit better.

It’s pretty stupid to get destroyed in 1.5 seconds flat by the occasional hyperstack, from full HP to death. Changing the player hits VS response queue helped a little bit but when you get 5 swings and have 20 more coming you’re instagibbed. There needs to be another look at the slot system at some point.

For now excessive dodging luckily prevents getting stuck in infinite block stagger.

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Speaking of sound, I noticed that hordes that spawn while you are fighting a boss tend to be completely silent.
More than once I was happily shooting/mauling down a troll when I suddenly died because a whole horde butchered me from behind without making a sound.

As I said, that only seems to happen during boss fights, as if the boss music was overriding the horde’s sound completely (not only the bell/horn/screams at the beginning, but also their movement, snorts and attack sounds).

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This does seem to happen quite a bit. For those of us using true surround headsets, the back channels seem a bit wonky as well. Sometimes it seems to work, other times it’s a toincoss.

Yes.

Its so unrealistic to have like 8 or 10 fanatics (crazy people) charge at you from behind and you don’t hear any footsteps or crazy chants/screams.

Pack master still silent in many occasions.

Chaos wariror and mauler should make huge footstep sounds, especially when they drop from on high.

OP is right on many things.

Leeches are harder to hear now than 1.0.7 =/

Boss gates are silly.

Patrols are still silent.

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I think you raise many good points, but I kind of disagree on Gutter runners. I like that their audio cue is coming from all around you, it adds to the sense of dread you feel and reinforces their assassin-ess, Obviously they shouldn’t be allowed to pounce before their audio cue, but all in all, I think they work rather well. Maybe their wonky movement ought to be looked at, then again, they do provide lots of “wtf” moments for us to enjoy :smiley:

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy that too! Where I stop enjoying it is when I get pounced before they even acknowledge their presence or start their directional chittering. If they’re meant to pounce on you before their chittering can become a tell, than they should get another audio tell. That’s the statement. Not that I think that black and white, it should be removed as it is. I would much rather it NOT. These are trained assassins! They absolutely should be able to create disorientation and confusion through sound. I love that fact! I just think that when combined with everything else, it’s a bit much at the time, that’s all.

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Yeah, if you get no warning whatsoever, the I fully agree!

This happened to me three times yesterday, which means in 50% of the games I played, and always with gutter runners: shot a runner while it was jumping in my direction, another one immediately pounced on me.

It is so satisfying to get a mid-air skillshot on a jumping assassin, and that sense of achievement is completely taken away by being disabled anyway. Basically, your skillshot was useless.

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Feels like you missed another S - the SALT you have to share. Though I agree with most of your points, especially related to sound/visual cues (my personal most hated sound and visual blur under career abilities, I would add shade and huntsman (veteran ranger probably, though I don’t play him that much) not being able to see gass clouds period), I disagree with some points regarding specials.
I would add shaky cam on some maps, such as Fort B., that randomly screws your aim with sniper-type ranged weapons for no good reason.

And you sould not be able to. War is chaos, particle effects add to the weapon powerlevel as well, it should be super difficult to see what’s going on through all those effects. It’s just the nature of the beast. Dropping framerates though is another thing, but it is a technicall issue mostly.

I think that’s ok, immersion-wise, you are in the middle of mortal combad, of course it should be hard to figure out what is going on around you, it makes sence. It adds to the difficulty, but it should do so in my oppinion. What I don’t like - is the slaughter or headshot compliments in the middle of battle, canceling or preventing “specials are comming” voicelines. Comeone friends, you can tell how cool I am later, warn me of those damn packmasters!

That’s ok, game is cruel and it should be so, and I noticed that in latest patches you don’t get extra waves once you have beaten initial one in boss fights, maybe you’ll get two waves, but they are not infinite, meaning you can stabilize. As for specilas - cruel, but managable. adds to the challenge, I can agree with how things work now.

I find this in particular to be not be consistent. Mainly, instant behind or infront spawns happen in scripted events and locations (most painfull for me - the Festering ground final event, where I consistently get pounced by gutter runners that spawned literally in 2 meters in front of me, in plane gound, not allowing for dodge chance, especially on clients). But it happens only with scripted spawns in my experience, and I agree, that they should revisit those.

I think that’s ok, managable, adds to the spice and so on. I don’t want to flatten the dificulty spikes. Some times game can say: screw that guy, and only thing that should save you - your allies. That’s the core design, and I think it should be so, no matter how unfair it feels. Othervise gambling elemet would be out.

The issue with blightstormers is when thy cast wind at max range some distance away from you. So, you add up distance to the wind to their cast range, making it so they are so far, that even TF volley can’t hit them, but they still pose a big threat you can’t possibly deal with. There should be distance cap between them and players, not just them and wind itself, from which they can cast.
With gutter runners - main issue is that they love to do 180-jumps, so it doesn’t matter, which way they look, they can instantly turn around and jump in any dirrection. I think a little turn timer should be fine. Also, you often can’t tell, weather they have clean jump or notl.
I think hoockrats miss some color or height, maybe they should have some banners that would standout of hordes. Other disablers and specials in general have very different color chemes compared to regular models, not hoockrats though. As off now, they blend in visually to well with rat slaves.
Also monks should have distinct audio clues when they worship and so on, as well as zerks, it is silly, that they have no distinct voicelines, in my oppinion.

Overall, I agree with most of sight and sound things, but I don’t suport most spawn complains and specials have pretty few issues, in my oppinion. I think you vent a bit other board with some complains.

Silly and uncalled for. I win almost every single one of my Legend games. This post was a long time coming of things that I thought were problematic and so addressed. I constructed it whilst at work.

It’s a good thing you can turn off headbob and shaky cam for specifically that reason then.

Dropping framerates is the problem of an underpowered rig. Secondly, the red “damage taken” effect that occurs per tick of dot being applied by these aoe weapons are the real issue. You should not be able to see less from 15 points of hagbane damage than you do from 5 seconds inside of a gasrats smoke cloud.

I think it’s not. And I think that you would be hard pressed to explain what a critical hit is in relation to “immersion”. On the other end of the spectrum in some novels characters doing callouts, catcalls, and compliments to each other in haggered situations is par for the course.

It adds to the difficulty, but it should do so in my oppinion.

There are multiple ways to add to difficulty without hampering a players ability to see and hear.

  1. It’s inconsistent. You can get 0 waves after killing the first one. Or you can get 3. You can get double waves back to back.
  2. 2 sets of 3 incap specials for one person is not fine. I’m pretty sure that was the logic going in when they reduced the frequency of incap specials to begin with.

Hence the word can. Furthermore it does not “only” happen in scripted spawns. It can happen in any gutter runner spawn point. A gutter runner can spawn himself on a roof perpendicular to you and land a 50 yard leap just as his announcement has gone off. I spent a lot of time out of one day with 3 friends specifically to test the spawning circumstances around this.

You can increase them in meanginful ways like adding more flavor to hordes.

Never ever should in a game that has repeated patchnotes designed around increasing skilled play, should you not be able to be skilled enough to save your own ass. Secondly guaranteed damage in any form (not that this is necessarily the case here) is bad game design. Randomness of this nature should exist in games designed solely around it to an extent like Mario Party. It has no place in this game.

And “gambling” elements? That’s called spawn conditions. Where you get the patrol is random. What ambients are random. What specials you get are random. Where items are are random. Where the horde spawns is random. Where the boss spawns is random. That’s GOOD elements of randomness and is what keeps each playthrough fresh. Bad elements of randomness is having two gutter runner spawn within pouncing distance following a hookrat chaser. Or a hookrat and a gutter runner coordinating a disable attempt on a single person such that killing or sidestepping the hookrat can still end with you getting pounced. That’s not conducive to good play and gameflow and promotes easy strategies to avoid such as baiting these things into rooms (when applicable) or otherwise using special abilities on characters who have them to REMOVE the challenge altogether (kerillians arrows/Siennas fireball)

I think I should just do feedback on the feedback forum. If these issues are non issues to fatshark than that’s fine. I think they are which is why I mentioned them. I’m giving “feedback” on my experiences and waiting to see what the official stance is in relation to these things.

Dunno, I’m always very salty when any of things you mentioned cause trouble. And I bet I’m not the only one.

Sounds of critical hits and headshots are pretty fun and satisfying. Unlike ablities visual/sound effects I don’t find them to be over the top, but I can see an argument here. And I actually don’t find them to be all that distractive. And even hagbane does less screen effect then it did in game one, which is a big step forward. Still messes the aim though.

Oh yeah, that’s a big one. Getting death from above is pretty stupid and provides literally no counterplay from your end

Don’t get me wrong, I only ment that a lot of frustraiting elements, such as unfare difficulty and insane game situations that should not be possible to survive are the things I like. It seems like you want some of those to change, like multiple disabler attacks, and I, on the contrary, like those frustrating elements to be in the game. It makes it so no matter how skilled you are, you can’t be sertain that you will win every game, sometimes you will lose just because. And this is actually important for me, because it keeps the thrill (hence gambling word I use to indicate the nature of it). And you can argue that challenge should only be improved in a way you can always overcome, but I don’t think so. Vermintide hooks you up partially because of it’s unfare and random nature.

I actually think this game is designed to be such, it’s a co-op game, so one man should have extreme difficulties, even with high skill involved, to the point of not being able to win the game alone reliably. It’s not just a skill-based game, it’s skill-based co-op game, where you have to have some elements like that. Othervie it would not work. Just to give you perspective so you can see, why it’s not all wrong, but rather deliberatly done the way it is. Devil is in the details though. Not everything you think is a total bs should not be in the game, because it is bs. It actually makess game mre interesting (hope I don’t sound too masochistic :grinning:).

Hey guys, test the new patch too and see if you notice any improvements, noticing more sound myself but had a randomer in my group earlier that wasn’t hearing leeches.

Hordes seem more pronounced now, seem to spread out more and join the fight a bit more spread out, but might’ve been my AI director being nice for a few runs.

Yep I’ll throw down later tonight when the rest of the crew gets on and will be having myself a ball

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Alright. I notice things like packmasters chittering a lot better when I’m leapping and swinging out of my mind. But gutter runners are far worse.

Goodness gracious it’s like release day gutter runners. I’ve seen one leap at a Globadier range with the exact same speed of the globe, flying blissfully into my waiting axe. I’ve also seen gutter runners do some sort of time skipping pounce where the rev up animation is followed shortly by the damn thing near teleporting onto whoever it jumps onto.

On the topic of Scripted specials, they’re also the same/worse. We ran Righteous Stand a few times to clear a few challenges and that little arena now has a lovely tendency to continue placing specials in the same spot. Which a very clever Slayer could exploit by just standing there and cleaving blightstormers/warp fire throwers/rattling gunners in two

All in all I think most feedback concerns remain with a bunch in the sound department diminished but needing tuning on (packmasters can still approach with their sounds masked. But it’s not like it matters this much at this point. You can still easily clear any stage regardless. They should absolutely stay far away from it until they can fix the bugs.

I didn´t read that much, but to be honest…

the Sound is less than you write it… in a real fight, it would be much louder. ^^

and if the game wouldn´t have such issues, it would be to easy, to be a Challenge at all…

Why not join the Fatshark Discord https://discord.gg/K6gyMpu