The Kruber Problem

Okay, so the forums have been brimming with discussion around Grail Knight and his strengths and weaknesses. A lot of comparisons have been drawn between similar classes and there’s a lot of wild conjecture regarding Grail Knight’s power, the power of the classes he’s compared to and a lot of differing findings/opinions due to the difficulties being played by the various players providing feedback.

So let’s break things down shall we? I’m going to list out all stats pertinent to any of the comparisons involving Grail Knight currently so we know what we’re working with in a standard Legend/Cataclysm game with any of these careers (not including weapon/gear loadouts). It’s gonna be wordy so bear with me.

Assuming meta/standard builds:

Grail Knight:
25% bonus damage on first target struck, up to 30% bonus power, ability to regenerate 50% of the damage of the last hit taken after 5 seconds or 30% stamina regen and 30% push angle, 2-3 (virtue of duty) random support buffs that grant up to (virtue of purity) 15% power, 15% damage reduction, 7.5% attack speed, health regen,15% cooldown regen. Ult grants 2 high damage swings via virtue of audacity or one big cleave via virtue of confidence. No ranged weapon.

Up to 40% bonus power, 10% bonus attack speed, 25% damage reduction (or 20% dodge bonus), 5% bonus crit, bonus cleave, an ult (90 second cooldown) which grants 25 temp health and 40% damage reduction for 10 seconds. Can trade 15% of his power for a 10% attack speed buff on the whole team. Has a ranged weapon.

30% bonus damage, 7.5% bonus attack speed; potential for another 10% AS/15% power/5% crit depending on weapon/talent choice, 40% damage reduction for 5 seconds after landing a heavy attack (can refresh), ult is a leap and grants 30% attack speed for 10 seconds with good crowd control via Crunch and has a high uptime with Adrenaline Surge. Throwing Axes are a thing if you really need a ranged weapon.

up to 30% bonus power, up to 20% attack speed, either 90% increased healing or 30% damage reduction, ult is a dash and grants 25% attack speed for 5 seconds with high uptime via Flagellant’s Zeal

Foot Knight (not taking Taal’s Champion):
15% bonus power, 15% damage reduction aura that can also grant 20% block cost reduction, 10% personal damage reduction (can get up to another 15% with talents), ult is a dash (30 second cooldown) that provides good crowd control and up to 30% attack speed for 10 seconds via Bull of Ostland. Has a ranged weapon.

Either 20% bonus damage or 50% bonus crit power, high ammo sustain, either 20% damage reduction or bonus move speed, an ult (60 second cooldown) that lets you turn invisible deal high damage and get a second instance of invis with a guaranteed crit via cloak of pain. Has a ranged weapon.

Ok so those are the nuts and bolts of what these classes bring to the table typically. The biggest thing to consider here is that Grail Knight is the most vulnerable of these classes when it comes to high pressure scenarios having no mobility, no invisibility, no damage reduction and very little crowd control. He has no capability to deal with enemies at range and no means to meaningfully close the gap unlike others. His niche is that he can butcher elites and deal high damage to monsters, shade performs this function just as well if not better whilst having none of the disadvantages; Mercenary can also shine with comparable effectiveness regarding damage on elites whilst again having none of the disadvantages. Foot Knight is the only class on this list that could be considered weaker than Grail Knight when all is said and done and that class has been in a position of being a “discount Mercenary” for quite some time, similar to how Unchained is currently when compared to the other Sienna careers.

I’ve called this thread “The Kruber Problem” but really this is highlighting an issue that exists with other careers such as Ranger Veteran, Unchained and, to a lesser extent, Bounty Hunter; not just just Grail Knight and Foot Knight. As well as an issue of over-performance or rather being a “master of all trades” that exists with various classes such as Zealot and Mercenary.

So what’s the fix?

Well, we could nerf Mercenary, we could buff the Knights, we could do both. We could nerf Pyromancer’s melee, we could (god forbid) buff Unchained, we could nerf Battle Wizard’s durability. Ranger Vet, you get the idea of where I’m going with this.

There’s a lot of things that could be done, I’ve my own ideas on how to fix these things but I’m obviously not the one to decide if my ideas are best and I’ve no real way to guarantee if they’d work. Obviously it all comes down to what feedback from the playerbase says and what Fatshark decides to do with it, if anything.

Personally I’d have give Grail Knight some attack speed (maybe bonus crit) and rework stocism to function how I suggested here I’d nerf Mercenary’s Walk It Off talent (probably rework the others to be more viable) and then Foot Knight would need a series of buffs and I’m not really certain what would be best for him. Anyway that’s just what I’d do more or less. What do you lads and lasses think should be done? Discuss.

Edits: just making the post cleaner, don’t mind me :^)


I do think that 2h swords are kinda meh weapons in higher difficulties. Which probably cause a lot of issues that kruber, in general, faces, and also explain why mercenary which comes with a bunch of attack speed shines more than the others. Slow attack speed means that you can takes hits, and therefore need damage reduction.

I do think that others melee oriented dps (what gk should be) have access to a bunch of fast but pretty damaging weapons (also thanks to their talents) which makes them more effective offensively and defensively (shade’s sword & dagger/dual dagger or whc’s rapier comes in mind).
The new bretonnian 2h sword does solve this by providing a block on heavy hit. But of course it requires stamina and that sword lacks damage.

tl;dr : Solve the 2h swords issues and you’ll solve a lot of what kruber lacks. (Does not mean we should not nerf mercenary a bit or that we can’t up GK)

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I agree with all of that.

Here’s some ideas for WHC:

  • Make Killing Shot not insta kill targets after a certain distance for ranged attacks. Just after the start of the drop off range for the Rapier’s Pistol special could be an acceptable distance. Same treatment for Deathknell.
  • Buff Riposte, nerf Flense (I’m no Flense expert so I’m not sure by how much). Riposte could be combined with Deathknell (need a third talent, can’t think of a good one myself atm). At the very least it should bring parry with it. Parrying while the Riposte buff is active should reset the buff timer.
  • Buff Templars Knowledge (perhaps a 10% increase for WHC, and only a 5% increase for team mates?)
  • Reduce Unending Hunt’s cooldown reduction to 30%. Make Fervency lasts for 5 or 4 seconds. Add a 15% attack speed buff to I Shall Judge You All (6 seconds).


  • Nerf Cast Away to 30% Stamina Recovery on pushing an enemy.
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tbh I think Bretonnian longsword is in Kruber’s top 3 weapons currently the main sticking point is the swift slaying up time is rough without having an innate attack speed or crit chance buff (Mercenary has both while Foot Knight and Huntsman have 1) of which GK has neither and it’s a recurring problem with all of Kruber’s arsenal but buffing the weapon itself would put it into overdrive on Merc

Same could be said about Ranger vet’s melee; his arsenal gets carried pretty hard by ironbreaker and slayer but if you just buff dwarf weapons in general than Slayer and IB’s power levels would skyrocket


Well of course, if you buff let’s say all 2H swords with their cleave or damage on heavy hit for example, you would reduce the atk speed or the passive extra cleave given to Mercenary.
But I do think this is more a “weapon balance” issue first, and then a talent/passive balance second.


yeah for sure, and there is something to be said for how weapon balance and talent/career balance are intertwined and affect one another

Me and others already covered weapon balance extensively with the Weapon Rebalance Mod if you’re interested in looking into it

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I did looked into it with my group (have some replies already). But I do think that this is a bigger task overall (and certainly not an easy one as I would rework properties and traits as well, to improve the “diablo” side of the game).

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yeah I personally looked into talents and traits already for a re-balance mod and it’s…a lot of work

Trait balance is certainly another aspect to it all too, a lot of weapons are extremely reliant on swift slaying to be good but all the weapons that don’t need it end up being better with it generally than any other trait option. Then on the other hand we have things like inspirational shot which are just beyond useless.

Hm, I don’t agree with your comments on Unchained but that is another discussion (not really looking forward to it but maybe I will do the thread this week or next).

First off, towards GK. I am against shoehorning all careers into this crit/attack speed mind set. I actually like that we have for once a heavy damage career not relying on those crutches. This game would be a lot easier to balance if we had no critical hits at all. Most over-performer have this crit/attack speed traits in common which shows the problematic. One of the main problems here is that the two embolden each other in a multiplicative way due to the most broken trait of Swift Slaying. There is hardly any weapon which “needs” the trait. I think adjusting Swift Slaying alone would help to reduce the gap between careers as it just amplifies the already strong weapons even more.

As for other careers in general, it is hard to say what exactly does need change. For some it might be a tweak of talents, for some it might be the passives, for others it might be the active skill. Some random examples (not thought through till the end):

  • Mercenary: I think a simple change to his active skill would already change how he plays and his role in a Team. I would consider Kruber’s shout a supportive/defense skill (in contrast to Saltzpyre’s offense active skill). As such I would remove the part which influences the enemy: the stagger. As such it would not be the out of jail card it currently is. The stagger could then be added as benefit to Ready for Action which would upgrade that choice. So you can chose between situational support (revive), team survivabilty (health and defense) and control (stagger) . The rest may be some number tweakings like Walking off giving only 30 % dr, Blade Barrier only 20 % dr and Reikland Reaper just 10 % power.
  • WHC: For WHC the offense capabilities should be toned down a bit. This might be done with some number tweakings. But I would also look at a slight change to his active skill. In contrast to Mercenary this one is offense, so the stagger effect makes sense. However, I would deactivate the effect of Killing Shot for the duration of Animosity (and maybe change the cdr of Unending Hunt to 30 %).
  • Pyromancer: Don’t really see her above Unchained. Also think that a change to Swift Slaying would balance her out if necessary. Otherwise, I would look at her thematically. She is Sienna’s primary ranged career (they are all range heavy, but Pyromancer is the dedicated one) so her crit bonus should simply not apply to melee attacks.
  • Zealot: Vice-versa Zealot should not get any career bonus on his ranged attacks. If you want to get serious, you could consider that thp reduces the effectiveness of his buffs by 50 %. So at 1hp + rest thp he would have +15 % power. In order to get his full boni he would actually have to take a risk. Also, the difference between 0 % and 15 % is not as large anymore making one of the strongest defense builds in the game more attractive.

No spontaneous ideas on Shade and Slayer. But both again overbenefit from attack speed and critical hits. There are a lot more points we could discuss about. I hereby declare again that it might be useful to make dedicated threads for each career separately and discuss talents in there.


I’d agree that swift slaying presents an issue but I don’t think flat nerfing it would feel particularly good; even if it were only 10% attack speed instead of 20% it’d still be the best trait by a long shot.

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I didn’t say nerfing. I said changing. Do you “need” Swift Slaying more on the slow or the fast weapons?Personally, I mean.

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Slow weapons for sure

2 handed sword, hammers (2h and 1h), executioner, axes even weapons such as billhook feel quite rough and sluggish without swift slaying or some other attack speed steroid

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On one hand I agree that Swift Slaying is problematic, and so are rng crits, but on the other hand I don’t think I could give up being able to do the Chaos Spawn and Minotaur Rapier Riposte combo (2 partial (1 after each of the first two swings) + 1 full charge (after the third attack)).


I think there is a certain craze considering the whole attack speed thingy because it helps to cover poor judgement and I still don’t agree with the notion that many weapons without AS feel sluggish.

However, I have solved the issue for Swift Slaying in a way that slow weapons still benefit from it (some even more) while giving me at least partially what I want (making it decoupled from critical hits and making it a weapon inherent trigger would work too, but there is a more elegant solution).


well I mean it’s my opinion that various weapons feel sluggish to me

part of the problem with swift slaying is though (and I think I’m agreeing with you with this point) that it’s the only melee trait that substantially increases your dps output AND safety all at once.


Not arguing your opinion. Just saying that I have a different :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, I have discussed the topic with another users some weeks ago. If there is interest i can copy my texts from back then and send you my “solution” by pm.


The problem I find with these threads, comparing different Careers, is that a lot of the problems with how OP things can be and the disparity of damage potential has nothing to do with GK.

As you point out, the issue extends beyond Kruber, and it extends beyond the Careers mentioned.

The need for Career and character balance is being wrongfully framed, maybe unintentionally, as a problem to GK himself.

I understand the trigger for this discourse has obviously been GK being added to the game and being percievably weaker than the pure DPS in his role for various reasons. But in reality we need nerfs to half of the Careers mentioned and buffs to others, and no change to GK other than like one or two Talents.

I could go into what’s OP and what’s not OP, and why Shade headshot build is just beyond busted, or how Merc is making GK look bad, but I’ll focus on why I think GK isn’t as bad as he’s being portrayed in these threads:

On GK himself:

Your post also mentions that Merc’s 10% AS can be shared, but didn’t mention that GK’s quests are shared without the need for a Talent change. The amount of stats he gives can’t be ignored.

Before quest Talents (2 of these):

  • 40% Power, across 4 people
  • 20% AS, across 4 people
  • Regen, across 4 people
  • CD regen, across 4 people
  • 40% DMGR, across 4 people

And I’d also argue that his biggest strength with the 2 hit Ult and Cleave Ult, is dealing with Elite density in a burst. This is a big thing, as he’s one of the only Careers in the game that has some counter to it, which isn’t just kiting them out.

Being able to reliably kill 2-3 Elites, with each 40 second CD Ultimate, is also no joke. Especially when 2 of them can be CW, with the double hit Talent.

On his Ult, spamming Bosses with a Conc, or knocking them is huge and increases the safety he offers to the group (this can work with Cleave, but is difficult as you must land headshots for the damage to be worthwhile).

The THP returned on damage taken Talent seems to be disparaged too, when it’s actually pretty good, on Cata at least. There’s some hits, which would be devestating for other Careers, but this allows you to build a bit more THP and really brings home the On-Kill THP Talent, since you never really lose all of you THP when being hit. I’ll save my criticisms of the on-kill THP Talent for another time.

Finally, I’d argue that he’s fun to play as is, and that comboing Exe Sword with a Stagger/Mobility Weapon is one of my favourite playstyles with him, as he’s so good at removing Elites.

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This is why I argued to have him and IB gain 5% AS. It’s such a pain in the arse to get SS up with them.

I’ve worked out the AS difference between Slayer, IB and RV before and it was more than 20% or 30% more, with his spammed Ult Stagger too. :smiley:

Still doesn’t work this way to add power up like that. If it allows to hit a relevant break point, it is not only 10% in relation, if it does not, it is effectively 0%.

That, he is. Very much. But that holds no evidence that he couldn’t be more fun :stuck_out_tongue:

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I don’t think it’s good practice to present the buffs that way; it inflates the numbers bringing a connotation of higher value than what is actually there.

Here’s the thing with Grail Knight:
-Is he viable? Yes.
-Does he perform across difficulties? Sure, any class can perform at any difficulty if the player is capable enough.
-Is he good at what he’s supposedly intended to do? Yes.
-Is he the best at it? No, but that’s not inherently problematic.
-Are his risks and weaknesses worth the strengths and rewards relative to other careers? No.

Edit: For clarity, he’s one of my favourite things to play as right now, I’m having an absolute blast with double longsword :smile: