The last BBB in summer was said to be the first half of class and weapon rebalance.
So, for the next BBB I would like to give some feedback and put forth some suggestions primarily dealing with Shade, Grail Knight, Battle Wizard and ranged classes in general. Some various, smaller ideas are also at the bottom of the list.
I will try to outline the reasoning behind my suggestions in the hopes of highlighting current issues regarding balance without bloating the post with too much text.
Due to the number of topics addressed here, the details of each invidividual topic might be limited in scope.
Ultimately, this post is more of a summary of several balance concerns.
It is intended to prevent balance from focusing too much on one issue while forgetting the rest, thus leading to an overall balance that is still skewed due to one aspect having been balanced, but the others not so much.
- Cloak of Mist + Vanish:
This combo enables a low cooldown invisibility ult, thus giving very high survivability via escape tools, extremely high burst damage versus all targets due to 100% crits, especially non CW elites due to instakills, all while keeping Shade nearly permanently invisible.
Yes, there is a chance client netcode issues or enemies clipping into each other will prevent the chaining of invis and then the Shade is in a really bad spot but the net result for this is the aforementioned overpowered combo. One ult and Shade can delete ~10 elites while at 0 risk due to invis.
The cooldown being ~20 to 15 secs.
=> In order to keep the theme and idea of this combo alive (because it is thematically fitting and “fun”) the following changes can be implemented:
- Cloak of Mist: Reducing the cooldown reduction from +45% cdr to +30% (or +25% etc.) cdr.
Reason: The current iteration enables too much invis abuse while giving too much damage for how low the cooldown is. Less cooldown reduction seems adequate.
- Vanish: Adding a 1 second internal cooldown during which Vanish cannot be triggered again.
This gives players a choice if they want perma invis or more dps. Since you either need to wait for the 1 sec internal cooldown before attacking again or you can choose to attack all the time but lose the perma invis.
The Shade level 20 talent row in general:
The lvl 20 talent row is rather bland in my opinion. Nobody takes the increased backstab dmg. Bloodfletcher is useless on xbow and swift bow, longbow does not really need it not does it benefit much from bloodfletcher, only hagbane works but still ends up feeling utterly inferior to Vanish.
=> The goal is to make the entire talent row more interesting and competitive:
Ereth Khial’s Herald / Backstab damage talent:
Increasing the backstab damage from 75% to 100%.
Increasing the backstab angle from 90° (I think it is 90°? Never measured it) to 120°.
Reason: Turn this talent into the backstab damage talent it is supposed to be, while also giving it more QoL with the wider angle.
Bloodfletcher: Reducing the internal cooldown from 2 secs to 1 sec.
Changing the ammo regained from “1” to “5% of max ammo.” Reason: Streamline it with the cooldown for Vanish.
The current 2 secs cooldown is slightly too punishing to make bloodfletcher worth it as you will be stripped for ammo regardless. Yet, a 1 sec cooldown is still enough to prevent ranged spam on a melee class. Additionally, this makes it more useful for repeater xbow and swift bow.
The intention for this talent row is to have a direct damage talent, a utility/safety talent and a utility/ranged talent and to make them all more or less equally appealing.
- Overall, Gk is incredibly high damage for relatively little effort due to his loaded talents and passives.
The main culprits are the minor passive giving him +25% damage on the first target hit, the talent that gives 3 stacks of 10% power each for 1 enemy killed, the potion boon and the low cooldown of his ult.
Put together, he deals an excessive amount of damage (+55% extra damage) while also giving his team an massive surplus of strength potions, and to top it all off he has a delete button every 40 secs that also staggers bosses.
A major part are also the meta weapons but if it was not these 2 weapons, it would be some other pair.
(The meta are mace&sword and executioner sword. Exe heavies with their crit chance and high damage and mace&sword with great horde clear and still very high elite damage. Both weapons might be overtuned but are not really op, especially since exe is only so strong on Gk due to his 2nd melee slot).
===> Edit: Due to buffs to Mace&Sword’s heavy attacks that greatly increased cleave, its performance is overtuned - at least in that department. These buffs were not part of the original mod by the community authors Incan, Pershing & Sleezy and overbuffed the weapon. See Incan’s comments on it below. A reduction in cleave for the heavy attacks seems in order and would help balance Gk more. <=== End of edit.
=> Grail Knight naturally needs to be a melee specialists and should have damage boosts. However, the current amount of extra melee damage is somewhat too high.
Goal: A compromise that makes Gk less frontloaded into damage but instead offers more variety in weapon and talent picks, with more defensive stats as well. (e.g. damage reduction).
The meta loadout (Exe, Mace&Sword, talents 2,1,2,3,3,1) is overperforming but every other loadout is either fine or even underperforming. Bringing them all more in line would be ideal.
- Knight’s Challenge / Passive extra dmg on first target: Reducing the damage from +25% to +15%.
25% is too much, it is higher than Whc tag, almost as high as the full passive of Slayer and Zealot (they add more damage to more targets and affect power too but they are the MAIN passive of said classes, Gk’s is just a minor passive). Extra damage should be earned via gameplay and not be given straight away for free, at least not that such a high amount of extra damage.
- Virtue of the Ideal / Power stacks talent: Changing the requirements for the stacks.
Now requires an elite kill to trigger. Increasing the duration of the stacks from 10 secs to 15 secs.
This is the go-to talent as it is incredibly easy to trigger and keep up.
It is essentially+30% power “for free” because the condition to trigger it are so easy to achieve.
Furthermore, it gives power rather than damage (the heavy attack talent on the same row only gives damage afaik).
It is straight-up better than the other 2 talents of the same row. Therefore, higher reward should require more effort to get, hence the elite kills - as that fits with Gk’s identity as elite killer.
- Virtue of the Penitent / Str. Potion boon: Increasing the kill requirements by 50%, e.g. on cata it is 200 kills, now it should be 300 kills.
Compared to the other options, a high amount of str pots has more value and scales vastly better (you get more pots the more you kill, whereas the other boons do not scale at all with kills or any other action).
- Ult cooldown: Increasing the cooldown of Gk’s ult from 40 secs to 60 secs.
It deals high damage and is in many ways comparable to Shade’s ult, only with boss stagger instead of invis. Consequently, given its potent damage output, it deserves a slightly higher cooldown similar to Shade’s ult.
- Thirst for Glory passive: Changing the effect from +10% movespeed to +10% damage reduction.
It feels very unfitting for the heavily armed and armored Knight to be zooming around the battlefield while having no damage reduction despite his heavy armor.
Moreover, 10% dr would allow a 150 hp Gk to survive overheads on cata and therefore allow for more build variety (instead of defaulting to +20% hp and +30% block cost reduction on necklace).
- Virtue of Stoicism: Changed the effect from “giving 50% of the damage taken back as tmp hp after 5 seconds” to “giving +50% (or +30%) healing received for 2 seconds after having taken damage” (from enemies – friendly fire should be excluded from triggering this effect).
Reason: More straightforward and easy to understand and use. Places more emphasis on player agency and action. Makes it more competitive with Virtue of the Joust.
- Bw has 30% damage reduction, insane tmp hp generation, high mobility and survivability, high stagger, high melee damage and the highest ranged damage of all Sienna classes.
The entire class is stacked and not only overshadows the other 2 Sienna classes but also has a reasonable claim to be the strongest class in the entire game since 2.0.
The main points of balance concern are Famished Flames, Volcanic Force and Double ult/Burnout. The damage output of this class is too high given Bw’s other utility options.
=> Bw’s identity is all over the place and clashes with Pyro’s.
The original idea was to have Bw as the cc/anti horde ranged class that also works as a general utility class while Pyro is the more single target oriented dps class: https://www.vermintide.com/news/2018/12/6/dev-blog-sienna-fuegonasus:
“As a Pyromancer, Sienna is a ferocious single-target annihilator, specialising in incinerating the hardiest of enemies at a brisk pace, one at the time.” -
“As a Battle Wizard, Sienna unleashes spectacular area of effect spells, immolating large numbers of enemies and turning onrushing hordes into smouldering piles of ash.”
In order to make these 2 classes more distinct, changing some damage related talents on Bw so Bw is no longer THE premiere ranged Sienna should make both classes more balanced and interesting:
-Famished Flames - Part 1: Changing it so the higher burn damage no longer applies to melee and ults.
A ranged class should not also be able to deal such a high amount of melee damage, especially since firesword is already a strong melee weapon that offers high tmp hp generation, high safety, high stagger and decent damage. It does not need even more damage going for it.
-Famished Flames - Part 2: Reducing the extra burn damage from +150% to +100%.
Increasing the heat generated to match the increased damage: Famished Flames deals +100% burn damage but also increase heat costs for each attack by 100% (or 50%/75%/150%/etc.).
Higher power at the cost of higher resources, especially since Famished Flames requires no sacrifice otherwise and is permanently active, it has no trigger or similar.
- Volcanic Force: Changing the +50% damage for fully charged ranged attacks to +50% (or +25%?) aoe range/cleave for fully charged ranged attacks.
This talent makes bolt staff ridiculously unbalanced while also turning Bw into Pyro’s single target identity, but simply “better.”
Bolt staff does not need even more single target dmg, with Volcanic Force it 1shots bodyshots all non-boss enemies except superarmor on cata - and CWs only take 2 headshots too.
Aoe, stagger and anti horde as the core concepts of Bw are more fitting than more single target damage.
- Double ult/Burnout: Removing the damage from the ult. Now only staggers and teleports the Bw.
Burnout already has 2 instances of stagger AND 2 instances of teleporting/survivability, it should not deal damage as well. This would make Kaboom the damage focused one, and the cooldown one the generalist talent. Burnout should focus on 2 out of the 3 aspects (stagger, movement, damage) and do these 2 twice as well but not also do the 3rd one.
First, some general statements about ranged vs. melee.
Ranged weapons are stronger in power (no melee weapon can delete hordes like a shotgun, no melee weapon deals as much single target damage as ranged weapons can or at least not as fast and not with such a range etc.).
Ranged weapons also allow the player to stay safe and away from melee, dealing dmg to enemies with impunity.
Consequently, this means that ranged weapons can add a staggering amount of safety to a team when threats are killed from range before they can overwhelm the team. This requires little effort since pointing a shotgun at a horde is less demanding than actually fighting it in melee.
As a result, it is to assume that, overall, ranged weapons are more powerful in several ways compared to melee weapons.
Which is good!
The balancing factor for ranged weapons is the fact that they require ammo - and are thus limited in their use.
However, this only applies to melee classes; ranged classes simply ignore the ammo restriction by virtue of having access to unlimited ammo.
Ultimately, this leads to a ranged power creep since the ability to ability to safely delete enemies with the more powerful ranged weapons that no longer have to worry about ammo limitations.
=> Ranged classes should have more ammo than melee classes and they should be able to rely on ranged weapons more.
Still, the current amount of ammo sustain on all ranged classes is rather too high and enables an unhealthy ranged spam.
Being able to go 95% ranged kills and 5% melee kills and still be the top damage dealer in a self-proclaimed “melee focused game” is bad and should not exist in the way it currently does.
Reductions in (not complete removal of) ammo sustain are as follows:
Ranger veteran: Reducing Grungni’s Cunning ammo drops from 30% of max ammo to 20% (or 15%) of max ammo.
Waystalker: Removing the ability of Kurnous’ Reward to trigger multiple times with one ult volley. Should only trigger once per ult.
Huntsman: Reducing the amount of ammo gained from Shot Crafter from 10% to 5% per special kill. Removing the no ammo consumption during ult.
Reason: Huntsman has 3 other ways of getting ammo (Passive “Waste Not, Want Not” / Putting Scrounger or Conservative Shooter on the weapon / the talent Keep It Coming). Leaving the skill based passive and the one tied to Keep it coming untouched is justified.
- Bounty Hunter: Reducing Bh’s extra ammo from +50% total ammo to +40% total ammo. Due to Bh’s dependency on Scrounger for ammo sustain outside of his Dual Action talent the only way to change his ammo sustain without changing Scrounger is to reduce the total ammo he gets
Reason: Slightly reduces the ammo generation on Bh (since Scrounger is based on 5% of total ammo) without messing with Scrounger for other classes.
- Sienna: Increasing the hp cost of venting slightly.
Reason: The current hp cost of venting is largely irrelevant due to the high tmp hp generation available to all 3 Sienna classes.
===> Edit: After some feedback from other people in this thread, the drastic reductions across the board could be switched for some other changes.
These could be along the lines of the suggestion of James and others in this thread that proposed keeping ammo sustain largely the same BUT tying it to melee (similar to VT1 scavenger on melee weapon).
This would alleviate the same issue of ranged classes being able to sit back the entire match by adding “melee phases” for these ranged classes during which they need to spend time/do actions in melee to get ammo (as opposed to relying on the ranged weapon and talents for ranged ammo sustain).
Tl;dr: Instead of “use ranged, get more ammo with ranged, use even more ranged” => “Use ranged, use melee, get ammo, then use ranged again.” <=== End of edit.
Conservative Shooter changes:
Reducing the ammo sustain on ranged classes comes with its own problems:
The difference between a melee class with a sniper weapon with Conservative Shooter and a dedicated ranged class will then be smaller, possibly tipping the scales in favor of the melee class with Conservative Shooter.
Some ranged weapons on melee classes also can come close to unlimited ammo by having access to the trait Conservative Shooter.
With good aim, a longbow, crossbow or handgun will not have similar amounts of ammo sustain as a proper ranged class, but they enable a melee class to shoot significantly more often.
Picking off ambient elites, killing specials etc. requires headshots but hardly uses up a ammo – at least not as much as it should.
=> Conservative Shooter is skill based and should therefore not be reduced too much:
Conservative Shooter: Changing it so that it only triggers the ammo return on every 2nd headshot.
Also should only trigger once per ranged attack (it is possible to get more than 1 arrow back when shooting into a horde and hitting more than 1 headshot).
This places more emphasis on a proper ranged class to do ranged combat as opposed to a Whc with a crossbow, a Handmaiden with longbow or a Merc with handgun etc.
These options still exist but their effectiveness compared to a ranged class will be reduced.
Witch Hunter Captain:
- Changing Fervency so that it no longer has the aoe stun / reducing the aoe stun strength to the level of normal Slayer jump (No Crunch talent).
Reason: Same as with Cloak of Mist, this talent has great damage potential due to 100% crits and instantkills. Reducing the aoe stun will make the other options more competitive and distinct.
-Flense: Changing Flense so that it only has 2 stacks per target instead of 3.
Reason: Flense is extra damage for free (the requirement is to hit the enemy, nothing more) and should thus not be as strong as it currently is.
- These ideas and others have been discussed in the post by Velsix here: Witch Hunter Captain Rebalance
- Smite talent (not “Smiter,” but the lvl 10 talent that gives a guaranteed crit every 5 hits): Removing the interaction with ranged weapons. Reason: It is possible to land a few melee hits and then trigger the crit with a ranged attack.
This is commonly done on volley crossbow, which attacks 3 times per alt-fire, leading to a feedback loop where every alt-fire volley attack now crits. The result is very high ranged (boss) damage and infinite ammo on a tank and melee dps career. That is too much in one package.
The same fix ought to be applied to Mercenary’s Helborg’s Tutelage talent and blundebuss and it should be applied here as well. Difference is that Merc blunderbuss does not have a similiarly strong synergy.
- Zealot rework in general: No suggestion here, just stating a fact that Zealot’s design has aged poorly and needs a complete rework. His passive has a poor interaction with other healing talents (Ws, Gk, healshare etc.) and he was supposed to gain stacks from tacking dmg and then losing stacks again when he gains tmp hp.
Yet, the way he is played revolves around finding the first enemy, getting 6 stacks and then playing the rest of the game with +30% power and +20% attack speed and +90% healing received as a permanent buff.
The band aid change to make his passive work with tmp hp was ok back then but is in dire need of a total rework now.
- Double-shotted: Removing the possibility to gain 80% cooldown reduction when hitting 2 headshots instead of 40% cdr on 1 headshot. This happens all the time on client where a single headshot is counted as 2 because netcode delay. The result is a Bh with a 6 second cooldown on his ult when using 10 cdr on trinket. Without the trinket it’s only 12 seconds.
Needless to say that this is quite ridiculous and should not exist.
Whc’s “Unending Hunt” talent had the same exploit where hitting 20 enemies with the ult gave 80% cdr as opposed to the intended 40% for 10 or more enemies. It was fixed for Whc but not for Bh. Double-shotted dominates the other 2 ult options and gives Bh the highest boss dmg in the game by a wide margin.
While it does require a headshot, the current 80% cooldown Double-shotted is too strong.
- Piercing Shot: Reducing the cooldown reduction on Piercing Shot headshots from 100% cooldown reduction to 80% cooldown reduction. If Bh’s Double-shotted gets changed, Piercing Shot will also need to be changed slightly so it is not like Double-shotted, but just “better.”
The only reason Piercing Shot is not used that much is because it has no ammo sustain for the main ranged weapon like Kurnous’ Reward has. Otherwise Piercing Shot would likely be a top choice for elite and boss damage.
===> Edit: Might not be needed given that this Ws build with Piercing Shot has no ammo sustain whatsoever outside of Conservative Shooter. IF the changes to Conservative Shooter apply, then the changes to Piercing Shot would be overkill and ruin this build => The cooldown can stay the same or only be reduced to 90% (so reaching 100% cdr would require 10% cdr on trinket). <=== End of edit.
- Removing Unchained’s passive affecting stagger power.
Reason: Unchained’s passive boosting stagger power results in her being able to stagger multiple chaos warrior overheads with 1 flaming flail heavy.
Unchained was fine before that massive buff but with the extra stagger power she now faces close to 0 threats in melee that she cannot stagger and therefore neutralize with minimal effort.
- Slightly increasing the hp cost of “Abandon” so it will not save Unchained from overheating when near 0 ult charge. In return, the other 2 talents should be looked at.
Reason: Before Abandon was added, Uc was in a sorry spot. Abandon is almost mandatory and while a major part of this is the fact that the other 2 talents on that row are largely useless, Abandon is too safe in its current form. It can save Uc from overheating even when Uc has little to no ult charge. Increasing the hp cost will make it less of a get out ofjail free card. Buffing the other 2 talents as a trade-off is important though.
===> Edit: Patch 4.1 “Made Sienna’s Abandon talent not be affected by damage reduction.” Thus, the point above no longer applies. <=== End of edit.
- Reducing Asrai Alacrity 's attack speed boost from +30% attack speed to +15% attack speed. Reason: This talent vastly outshines the other 2 and gives way too great a reward for being such a simple requirement. Compare it to Footknight’s Crowd Clearer talent that only gives +15% attack speed and no extra power for 3 secs after a push.
- Reducing the damage of the alt fire by ~20%.
Reason: The pistol kills full patrols worth of elites and deletes monsters in seconds with the right click alt fire. The repeater pistol also deals reduced damage per shot on the alt fire, the same can be applied to the masterwork pistol.
Some may argue that the left click is balanced but regardless of that the alt fire is most definitely overtuned. Discussion and analysis by Incandescent here: The Masterwork Pistol does way too much damage
- Reducing the damage of the heavy attacks by ~20%.
Reason: Coghammer is basically just a faster exe with more stagger on light attacks.
This issue is exacerbated on Slayer, where it turns into an absurdly strong elite blender.
Still, even the base version without Slayer is a jack of all trades that also has extremely high heavy damage for some odd reason. It completely overshadows the pickaxe in its intended role.
Reducing the damage will result in a greater power investment being necessary for the breakpoints that make it so strong and make pickaxe and coghammer more distinct: Pickaxe is slow with high dmg, coghammer faster with lower dmg.
Apart from these 2 weapons, the overall balance of weapons is good.
While there are some weapons that are meta and might be faintly overtuned, none is truly op.
As for some of the lesser used weapons, they could be somewhat more interesting.
I would just like to throw some ideas at the wall and see what sticks; mainly spitballing here.
The list is short as this post is about the class and talent outliers that break balance or lead to powercreep, not about items that need buffs.
The weapons work just fine, they are viable but they could be just a tad bit better. More variety is always welcome.
Alternatively, Pershing, Sleezy and Incandescent might be willing to expand upon their previous work on the weapon rebalance (e.g. Firesword Concept or a Kruber spear rework with a focus on stabs instead of sweeps.)
- Enabling the combo of going from push attack into heavy 2. Enhances its anti armor capabilities and adds more QoL.
Replacing dual swords heavy 2 with dual daggers heavy 2. Reducing the extra crit chance on lights to +5% on all light attacks. Dual swords will then have a bit more anti armor damage, while still being more effective versus hordes and less potent against armor than sword&dagger (the 2nd dual daggers heavy has the same dmg profile as the 1st heavy but it is quite a bit harder to land headshots with it).
Alternative option: Adding the 2nd dual daggers heavy attack as a 3rd dual swords heavy attack. Dual swords heavy attack chain now loops from heavy 2 to heavy 3, heavy 1 is only used to start the chain. Essentially like the billhook light attack chain.
Right now, current dual swords might as well not exist, their lack of anti armor dmg makes them near useless for builds that have no proper way or dealing with armor. Even then it is quite subpar (meme builds or special events like twins excluded).
2handed Sword (Kruber/Saltzpyre):
- Adding a push attack follow up attack like dual hammers that deals some armor damage. Same reason as dual swords, the 2handed sword lacks armor damage and has to compete with the bastard sword.
There, of course, more talents and more weapons that could be tweaked or reworked. For the sake of the post length, these suggestions are limited to the ones that are mentioned above. In my opinion, these are the talents and builds that create the largest balance concerns.
Naturally, all of the suggestions come from a subjective point of view.
This post is intended as a summary of notes about game balance. It may help spark some discussions and give others the opportunity to voice their (dis)agreement or add their own suggestions.
The idea is to point out current issues first and foremost, while also providing some solutions to them.