The new ranged meta - a prediction

Harken back to the days of THP from ranged kills!

Assumption: Ranged killing is efficient, and functional enough in V2 (with the proper kits) to kill most of what is on Cata map creating a minimal need to enter into melee combat. All things equal, ranged combat is preferrable to melee.

Historical informaton: When THP was equally available to ranged and melee. Ranged was preferred. This is probably because ranged is much safer, there is no threat of being hit.

Theory: If THP generation is not strong enough to routinely generate a full health bar, ranged will once again be preferable.

Historical information: One of the greatest complaints against flamewave staff and drakegun were that they “ate” all the temp health from horses.

Theory: Given that THP on kill is preferred now. Bounty hunter, ranger Vet, and huntsman will all “eat” the temp health from non CW elites.

Prediction: This is leading to a new ranged meta where melee is viewed as very dangerous, and more ranged classes being used makes THP generation nearly impossible for on kill THP users. The resulting low THP for all environment will further reinforce a ranged meta. Only strong on stagger generators will routinely be used for melee.

The solution to this is to weaken (not strengthen, i.e. lingering flames) ranged output, and ammo regeneration, and to provide THP on cleave with a boost that puts it on par with on kill THP. Both of these will incentivize more melee.

I know that nerfing anything at the moment will not go over well with most people. While I have zero struggle in legend or cata, I did run somw QP yesterday and the struggle is real. So, this should be framed as the relationship betweem ranged output and THP in melee.

Thoughts?

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I’ve managed to complete all maps on Cata once. In my experience, a ranged team will not have a good time… There’s a slim chance a ranged team will survive the first horde. Enemies are many and in your face in no time. If you can’t deal with a mass of enemies up close, I think you’ll not survive most terror events as well.

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I have finished cata FoW, and nearly 1 shot all of the cata maps by day 2 of the beta release.

At this time when my group runs hagstalker, fireball the ranged dealers are outputting 25k each and melee is down near 10k. They are the easiest games we play by a long shot.

Its not that melee isnt useful, its that its boring, dangerous and less effective. Most things dont get close.

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Well, I must admit I never really tried a ranged team composition, so I don’t know exactly how effective it could be. I’d be interested to see it in practice. Do you happen to have a recording?

This actually seems to be true now sadly. Tried running whc many times running the best possible setup for him but couldn’t get a single clear in cata after many attempts. Went back to hagstalker and cleared a few runs in a row no problem. The few times I did clear cata runs using melee only careers in the past was when someone joined that was running sienna, hagstalker or something like flamethrower ib.

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I don’t think it’s ranged weapons in general that are too strong, but aoe ranged weapons. Hagbane and flame weapons melt everything in a large area if they have the space to just open fire. I personally like single target weapons as they are. Single target elite killers will still need heavy frontline melee to back them up.

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It can be very effective if played properly with voip communication and at least some teamplay, it can manage hordes just OK if you have Flamer on Sienna or Bardin, but overall runs with “ranged party” takes a lot more time then with melee one, at least from my experience.

At the same time “ranged party” works not so good if you have team w/o voip and little to no teamplay (hello QP), but lots of players in QP prefer ranged careers after 2.0, just for one selfish reason- to not commit in melee combat.

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I agree with OP’s prediction, and I’ve already felt it a bit on legend.

Imo no nerf is needed, just normalize THP gain.
Either revert the nerf to THP on cleave or (better yet) remove the worry and the competition altogether, make the kill/cleave talents to be simply “temporarily health based on melee damage”

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Yes, but this heavy frontline can only realistically be IB or FK because they have on stagger. A zealot or slayer will struggle with THP generation (and will be better off going with cleave which still doesnt do enough) if the elite killer is a good player.

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Yeah I agree. THP is not well balanced. I was just saying I don’t want fatshark to be too hasty with the nerf hammer and make ranged classes boring again.

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Certainly, I also think that any nerf right would be wicked bad PR.

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If there’s a problem it needs to be addressed.

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My experience is that Cata narrows the meta down very hard and as it would seem, towards ranged. And yes, I would also entertain that the lack of temp health is one factor in the equation and is linked to underlying issues that have been brought up ad nauseum: melee combat being slogged down by spongy enemies, dodging being unreliable as client, enemies dealing high damage, buggy beastmen that result in you eating almost unavoidable damage. My best experience so far on Cata is mostly with ranged heroes. RV with either shotgun or TA (which you have almost unlimited quantity of when you know how to hit heads, and they cleave like a mofo on charged attacks) is brutal and can run shield savely (which generates a boatload of temp health for him) or dual hammers. Slayer with TA is also very strong, though I do prefer DA-DH setup with movement speed on trophy hunter (which returns him almost to his former glory) - but I think we can all agree that Dagbane Shade is definitely the overall strongest Cata-Setup, because she has access to stealth, high damage, good mobility and can spam her ranged.
Merc Kruber seems to be the only “true” melee hero I see constantly performing well on Cata, which is owed to his kit that has only improved and weapons that cater both to it and the challenges Cata presents (X-sword or spear seem to be absolutely dominant).
Fireball also truly shines, especially on Pyro Sienna.

The reason is actually quite clear: Most ranged weapons and heros don’t care much about what Cata does. The health increase isn’t THAT noticable when spaming fireballs or hagbane arrows.

I will admit that I do use melee alot more than I would on Legend. But ranged spam IS back alot stronger now.

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Aye this hypothesis at least seems sound. I was already concerned with the HP increases in conjunction with ranged bypassing stagger (which it kinda needs to), in that it’d lead back to ranged meta, I hadn’t even thought of THP changes at the time, but now that that’s been nerfed as much as it has too I can well see this happening when it comes to the long term meta.

Problem is melee remains more punishing for QP groups now, if you weaken ranged too much killing specials etc. becomes a nightmare and ranged feels unsatisfying as well. Many people are already unhappy with the heavyhanded melee changes.

If nobody takes eg drakefires, flamethrower or one of Sienna’s aoe staves yes (or a longbow or hagbane), with precision ranged weapons you’ll get overrun, but most ranged comps tend to take at least one solid aoe ranged weapon. It’s also a bit down to the players in that area, if they’re good they’ll only need to switch to melee to take out stragglers/magic spawns.

All in all I’m willing to take the bet this’ll come true:

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This is an important point. Hyper density issues have returned. This is a very strong disincentive to melee. It results in nasty chip damage if you are being aggressive. In some cases all you can do just sit and block/dodge and push attack.

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I wouldn’t mind that too much if it was somewhat reliable.

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That’s a problem with slotting/enemy tracking atm, if you push an enemy other ones often instantly fill their spot and sometimes with running attacks so you eat hits instantly.

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You know who’s still the worst offender of new tracking? Globadiers.

I think it all comes down to the AoE weapons being an issue. Every time the game gets harder, either via bug or modded difficulty or patch, people go back to AoE weapons - the base concept of them is incredibly strong in a game like this. They really walk a fine line - they can easily be completely useless or incredibly OP. I think the latter is okay so long as it’s only true of certain situations.

An example of BALANCED AoE was actually Handmaiden’s old default Bleed - it killed chaff, it heavily damaged mid-tier enemies, and it did basically nothing to Elites. This meant it was a tool for dealing with a specific sort of threat - that of mixed hordes. The narrow channel meant it was not a perfect solution, unlike flamethrowers, where you’ll find quite often that they solve the entire problem of a horde. Only certain Specials, totally open areas, and Chaos Warriors provide any sort of resistance. Ironic, because it was Dash’s Bleed that got removed.

Flamethrowers really just seem the worst offenders to me, I know Fireball and Hagbane are also incredibly strong, but I don’t have any ideas for Fireball, or can even say if they should be adjusted. Hag has always been a strong outlier, held back by limited ammo, which is actually fine. On Shade it has probably been the most balanced, since you can regen ammo, but only slowly. On Handmaiden it has always had the severe drawback of its ammo with only “more ammo” as the solution, and on Waystalker . . . well, in her current state, she’s just got an RNG mechanic to let her get back potentially a lot or none. I think that the solution there is better design of Waystalker’s ammo recovery; it can’t be RNG, and it can’t be free. Like Huntsman’s headshot-for-ammo, it needs to be skill-based somehow.

But for the throwers of flame, I think they need to decide if they want them as a tool for killing everything, a tool for killing chaff, or a support tool. If it’s 1, then they need to have a more limited capacity for firing, because that’s pretty dang strong. If 2, then they need to do less against armor and be about getting the mix out of mixed hordes. If 3, then they should put a long-lasting DoT on enemies, not simply invalidating them instantly.

Another option would be to have enemies actually try to avoid streams of fire by spreading out, like how they currently avoid fire patches. Might be CPU intensive, though.

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Flamers are on of my favorite weapons but they are a bit OP in a game where hordes are the main threat. Solution? Up the threat of non-horde enemies, which they are useless against. IMO they are pretty well balanced in this regard right now, after they got a slight damage nerf and a heat generation nerf in 2.0. I don’t like that their push effect got nerfed because they lost a lot of their tactical support usage.

Fireball can be fixed by nerfing the uncharged rt click a bit, so you have to charge to at least stage 1 to 1 hit hordies.

Conflag is really well balanced imo cause it does next to no non-horde damage, and is only usefull as a stagger support weapon against elites+.

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