Huge wall of text incoming.
TL;DR: remove thp on crit/hs, give every career the option of thp on cleave/stagger/kill, and move healshare to a necklace trait with reduced effect
There are 4 Temporary HP (thp) talents in the game: thp on cleave, thp on stagger, thp on kill, and thp on crit/headshot. Each career only has access to 2 of these 4 talents, available on the Level 5 row.
The problem with this row is that which thp talent you take is essentially only dependent on which weapon you use, or vice versa.
If you want to use a shield weapon, then you are dependent on pushing or bashing with the thp on stagger talent for the most thp generation. So if you want to use a shield but your career doesn’t have the stagger thp talent, then you’re screwed. This only applies to Mercenary and Handmaiden as they are the only ones with access to shield weapons and do not have the stagger thp talent.
If you want to use a mostly single target weapon like axes, (and crowbill) then you are dependent on killing elites with the thp on kill talent for the most thp generation. Sucks to be Ranger Veteran, Outcast Engineer, Witch Hunter Captain, Unchained, or Waystalker if you want to use axes.
However, all of the above problems are mitigated by thp on cleave, which is the most consistent thp talent for every weapon. It applies to every hit against any number of enemies between 1-5. Even with slow and low cleave shield or axe weapons, gathering thp is doable with this talent alone. Of course not as well as if you had thp on stagger with shields, or had thp on kill and were sniping elites, but it’s doable.
So what’s the issue?
The issue is that only having 2 thp talents limits the playstyles and weapons that are available to the player.
Players shouldn’t be forced to take thp on cleave on these weapons because the preferred weapon or playstyle is incongruous with whatever career they chose.
For example, Unchained with crowbill and a horde clear ranged weapon. Sienna has ample tools for horde clear from ranged and crowbill specializes in single target damage. Blast horde trash with staff, then clean up the remaining elites with the crowbill. A synergistic loadout, no? Too bad Unchained has thp on stagger and thp on cleave. Oh if only there were 3 talents on this row and I could choose thp on kill.
The above example also works with OE. Horde clear with crank, armor with axe. But has thp on stagger and thp on cleave.
RV with Grudgeraker and axe. Kill unarmored with grudge, armor with axe. But has thp on stagger and thp on cleave. I know grudge bash works on hordes with thp on stagger and it is pretty convenient, but I shouldn’t have to bash them for thp when I could just obliterate them instead.
Another example, 1h axe on WHC and I want to build my playstyle around hitting elites really hard and removing them quickly. I should take a thp talent that facilitates this playstyle, right? Like thp on kill for when I take a slave rat hit to snipe an SV head mixed in the horde. Too bad WHC only has thp on crit/hs and thp on cleave talents. Sure, this loadout does fine because thp on cleave is extremely consistent, even if a bit low with this particular weapon. I used to play it a lot, but it undeniably has lackluster thp generation. Whether all this means axe type weapons are bad or not are purely tangential to the main point.
Shield weapons (besides spear & shield) on Mercenary are also lacking. Trying to use sword & shield or mace & shield without thp on stagger is not fun. Kruber spear & shield and Elf spear & shield play nothing like the other shield weapons and thp on cleave is passable here. The other shield weapons are basically unusable without thp on stagger, and thus Mercenary’s thp generation with those weapons are gimped. Whether those shield weapons are bad or not are also purely tangential to the main point.
This is not an exhaustive list of examples. There are numerous weapons on different careers that do not have the desired thp generation talent when played to the weapon’s main strengths. Different careers already encourage certain weapons by virtue of encouraging different roles due to having different perks, different passives, different talents, and different ults. Is it really necessary to remove the option of the weapon’s preferred thp talent too?
Careers that do not have the fallback of taking thp on cleave because they don’t have access to the talent are essentially locked out of certain weapons, or players are basically punished with reduced thp by trying to play differently with their preferred weapon because of the talents they do have.
Some people will argue that thp on stagger is comparable to thp on cleave for some careers and weapons and thus having either of these 2 talents guarantees at least some thp generation. I would generally agree. Many players like to use spear or mace & sword on Huntsman for example. They offer good safety and generate good thp with thp on stagger despite neither being shield weapons. Foot Knight has access to both thp on cleave and thp on stagger, and using mace & sword with either of the 2 talents gives respectable thp.
I consider this an issue with weapons that are good generalist weapons essentially double dipping in these thp talents. Most weapons in the game that are considered either good generalist weapons or good horde clearing weapons generate thp very well with either of these 2 talents. The only difference between these 2 talents is that cleave has a target limit and works on bosses, and stagger does not give thp for an enemy that gets killed with the attack or is climbing. You could argue this is a large enough difference to warrant having both of these talents instead of on kill to replace one of them, but please continue reading. Any dual wield weapon fits here. Any weapon that attacks fast fits here. Any weapon with wide sweeps (so basically all 2h weapons) fits here. Pretty much every weapon except axes, flails, and shields fits here, though flails are not too bad.
FK, RV, and UC are the careers with thp on stagger and thp on cleave. On all of these careers there really is not that much difference in thp generation with either of these talents on most weapons. Hammers generate a bit more with stagger, but they still do just fine with cleave. Empire 1h sword on Kruber and Sienna do fine with either of them, though cleave is favored. Again, the exceptions are shields and axe type weapons. Kruber doesn’t really have a weapon that has low cleave so it doesn’t matter there, but Bardin has a few axes and Sienna has crowbill. Getting thp with flails are also just a bit meh on both Sienna and Saltzpyre. They don’t really do as well as most other weapons with cleave, and still do worse than other generalist weapons with stagger. They struggle against pinky hordes in particular with thp on stagger in my experience. These thp talents are the most consistent ones, as trash enemies are the most numerous, and disproportionately favor weapons that can hit multiple targets in a short amount of time, whether it be due to higher swing speed, dual wielded weapons, sweeping attacks, or any combination of the 3.
I believe that both these talents have a place, but the careers that only have these 2 talents as their thp options don’t really care that much about which one they take. They essentially do the same thing with most weapons except shields. Stagger can provide more thp than cleave in a shorter amount of time with a few weapons, but cleave is more consistent. The problem is that these careers don’t have thp on kill to encourage any of the other weapons or playstyles, and this limits the weapons that players would have otherwise chosen on the career solely because the thp generation is lacking.
Now let’s talk about thp on crit/hs: “Melee critical strikes and headshots restore 2 temporary health. Critical headshots restores twice as much”. This talent is available on WS, Shade, SoTT, WHC, and BH. This is theoretically more thp than thp on cleave if you have an insane headshot rate, or have increased melee crit chance somehow. The problem is that WS and BH have zero synergy with this talent, and SoTT only has synergy when using one particular talent on Level 25 for guaranteed crits. There is no real gameplay reason for this talent not being thp on cleave instead for these careers, or a different one on WS. Also, why do WS and BH get this talent, but Pyro, the career with some amazing crit synergy, doesn’t (this will not be an issue with my proposed solution)? Shade and WHC have ways to drastically increase their crit chance and also have headshot synergies in their kit, so this talent can be justified on these careers.
However in practice, thp on crit/hs is either functionally the same as or worse than thp on cleave in most situations. Shade and WHC can sort of “burst heal” with their ults when using this talent, but thp on cleave is more consistent because the number of headshots you can achieve is limited by the swing arc of the weapon you are using, the position of enemies, and any teammates also attacking with you. In the best case it’s about on par with thp on cleave but less consistent, and in the worst case just straight up worse, regardless of whether you’re a headshot god or not. The thp on crit/hs is a convoluted talent that doesn’t achieve anything that the thp on cleave talent does better. More importantly, it takes up a thp talent slot on careers that would be better served having a different thp talent in place of it, giving way for more playstyles. Again, WHC has thp on crit/hs and thp on cleave. They function basically the same, and thp on crit/hs taking up a slot means that thp on kill or thp on stagger are unavailable on the career, thus limiting weapon choices.
Related: a video by Velsix, “Headshot % And How to Calculate It — Vermintide 2” : Headshot % And How to Calculate It — Vermintide 2 - YouTube
My proposed solution to all the thp talent problems is to give every career the choice of thp on cleave, on stagger, or on kill. It provides ideal and satisfying thp options for every weapon and playstyle and does not discriminate based on career. If you want the most consistent thp then you would go on cleave. If you have a shield weapon or want to trade some consistency for larger bursts of thp on hammers then you would go stagger. If you have a weapon that specializes in single-target damage then you would go on kill. And you are not forced to pick any particular career just because they have the thp talent you want. You can pick whatever career just because you like that career and you can pick whatever weapon just because you like that weapon without worrying about having abysmal thp generation.
One of the most interesting cases of good meaningful choices for thp talents is Grail Knight. GK has the option of thp on stagger and thp on kill. GK has access to shield weapons so players that want to use that for safety during hordes will choose that. On the other hand, Kruber has access to the Executioner Sword, which excels at singling out high value targets and taking them out quickly. I believe it’s one of the most common weapons that GK players use because it has devastating elite killing power. This synergizes well with the thp on kill talent and provides players with a choice between where they want their playstyle to lean towards. If GK had access to thp on cleave then shield users would not instantly pick it, and ExeSword users also would not instantly pick it. Mercenary also runs ExeSword pretty commonly, and they take thp on kill even though they have access to thp on cleave (I’m taking this from the Royale w/ Cheese build, which I assume a lot of players who look for builds online will find). Of course not every player, but the fact that this is even up for discussion means it’s a meaningful choice that players will make, weighing the consistent thp from hordes versus the burst of thp from elites. I see no reason for denying these meaningful choices on every career just because of a restriction on which thp talents they have.
People may cry “having access to 3 thp talents on all careers will just make all the careers feel the same”. Or “having only 2 choices of thp means more build variety because you are forced to make a choice instead of picking the ‘objective best’ thp talent every single time”. This is backwards thinking. Thp is such an integral part of the game that not being able to generate enough of it on a weapon because of arbitrary talent restrictions is asinine. The current system reduces build diversity because you are forced to play certain weapons on certain careers purely because the amount of thp you can generate on a weapon is determined by which talents that career has, and if it doesn’t match the weapon you want to use then you are punished with reduced thp generation compared to just picking a different career and using the weapon there. I use ExeSword on FK and destroy a Chaos Warrior but only gain like 4 thp, or delete an SV but only gain 1 thp, because I’m running thp on cleave due to not having access to thp on kill. It really makes me just not want to use ExeSword on FK. Guess I should just switch careers and use the weapon there instead? Yay, build diversity! /s
To any people who would argue that this would be unbalanced or make some careers OP, please explain how some careers already having the preferred thp talent while others don’t is balanced. Let’s look at the shield weapon example again. FK with sword & shield and stagger thp. He generates quite a bit, right? Pushes and bashes excel at generating thp with shields. If Mercenary were to get thp on stagger and used the same weapon, how is this suddenly a huge issue? It’s not like sword & shield is going to be incredibly OP on Merc if he had access to stagger thp. Sure he might have a bit more killing power but it is in no way so much better than FK that it suddenly becomes an OP weapon just because it gets its preferred thp talent. Spear and shield is a better shield weapon and performs well with on cleave so this clearly isn’t an issue. I see it more as fixing a terrible design choice. All shield weapons on any career should have stagger thp as an option by design. All single-target weapons on any career should have kill thp as an option. It’s not as if these weapons suddenly become OP on certain careers purely because they get their NORMAL amount of thp, instead of reduced. And do not tell me that Fatshark intentionally went through every career and balanced every weapon and its availability around how much thp it would generate. I am sure most people know that Fatshark and balance don’t really mix well. Look at the state of OP ranged weapons, elf’s careers, Javelin, Moonbow, BW, Griffonfoot BH, MWP RV, the list goes on. Whether you agree with the entirety of the list or not is irrelevant because they are all larger balance issues. Fatshark already confirmed they are looking into Shade and SoTT. If anybody seriously thinks me wanting thp on kill for 1h axe on WHC or crowbill on UC to fulfill a playstyle fantasy is going to be a bigger balance issue than numerous other things then we just aren’t playing the same game. At the very least I don’t think it would be so wildly imbalanced to justify not having more diverse weapon choices.
Of course, the current third talent that every career has on the Level 5 row would have to be looked at if they were to implement the proposed solution.
Healshare: “Healing yourself with a First Aid Kit or a Healing Draught also heals your nearby allies for 20% of their maximum health. Clears any wounds”. “Wounds” in this case means the amount of times you can go down before dying for good and needing to be rescued, which is 1 on Legend and Cata. This is the “support” talent for when you’re too good for thp. Except the entire game is centered around thp. It is almost impossible to take 0 damage, and it is often the wrong choice to play too defensively in fear of taking damage. Health is a resource, and thp talents make it an infinite one (more like incredibly renewable, but you get the idea). Taking controlled damage is not a bad thing. Many careers have incredibly good thp generation that allows them to hit trade, which in turn means killing things faster as they don’t need to play as defensively. Taking damage also grants ult charge. The amount of charge depends on the amount of damage taken and which career you are. So long as you have a good source of thp, it can be the right play to trade some hp to get an ult off. The most common example is Merc with his ult that generates thp, or IB ult for the taunt and DR to protect the team while trading hits even more.
Of course, you should still try to avoid damage when possible and try not to go down, but this isn’t some souls-like game where you can dodge, parry, and block every instance of damage. Nor is it a fighting game that demands incredibly good reflexes and mechanics that allow you to perfectly defeat your opponents without taking any damage in return. Some people might come and say “well I can perfectly dodge everything in the game all the time so just git gud”. Those people are delusional and not as good at the game as they think they are. This is a co-op game. Unless you can consistently Cata true solo with less than your career’s max hp in damage taken and only using 1 in every 4 heals, then having thp and/or teammates are pretty much the only thing keeping you alive. Even if you can achieve this, it is the exception and not indicative of the general player experience, and also probably incredibly tedious to do, or revolves around a strategy or playstyle that does not translate well to QP lobbies.
In campaign QP, which I imagine most people play on, I have not once been in a situation and went “man I wish someone had taken healshare”. Because I know the only reason where we would need multiple wounds cleared and not enough heals is a situation where those people would have either died even earlier in the run, or would need to be rescued instead of just being wounded, because they wouldn’t have had access to thp. There are enough heals in the map that as long as you are progressing at a decent pace then you will not encounter enough enemies to need more heals. Every map has guaranteed heals at certain points, and some spots along the main path have a chance of heals too, and those are usually enough as long as not all 4 players are simultaneously wounded.
Many people are familiar with the phrase “preparing for failure”. Healshare is the living embodiment of that phrase, and not in a good way. You lose almost all your margin for error because you lack any way to regain hp. Regardless of how good you are at avoiding damage, everybody makes mistakes, and unavoidable damage is unavoidable. And as mentioned earlier, playing too defensively is not always the best play. Ratling gunners and gas rats can deal damage from incredibly far away and reduce your options to move around. Friendly fire can add up to quite a bit across an entire mission if you do not have a buffer of thp. Thp adds up to more than a health bar across a mission. In fact, most of the time thp adds up to 2+ health bars. This is still an incredibly conservative number as most ranged careers take much less damage by virtue of being farther away from enemies. As a non-ranged career the damage taken is usually much higher because of hit trading and the nature of melee combat in this game. Perfectly controlling every single horde to never take a single hit is unrealistic, not to mention any specials or playing off-host. This game is not designed for players to only rely on healing items for health. This game is designed around being able to recover thp to act as a shield. Across the entire map you are more likely to have gained more hp from thp than from any healing you used. Whether you agree with VT2 having this “thp meta” doesn’t matter. It’s just a fact.
Healshare isn’t even a “support” talent either. It is more selfish than thp talents because it requires all the heals to go to that player for “maximum efficiency” heals. Hypothetically, imagine the theoretical optimal scenario of healshare usage throughout a map. They load in and say “hey guys I have healshare” and imagine everybody else also understands the most optimal efficient heals. Healshare person picks up medkits always. The other teammates are not allowed to carry medkits because they cannot be passed to the healshare person, or they pick it up but never use them and just trade them for a draught later. The 3 teammates have to pick up draughts and never drink them. They have to group up around the healshare person and wait for them to medkit themselves if any of them are missing wounds, and then a draught is passed to the healshare person until another kit is found. Nevermind that somebody might need to heal because they just took a big hit and are under a lot of pressure. Or that the healshare person should take the draught instead for a team wide faster heal. I was only analyzing the “most efficient” use of heals throughout a map and it is exaggerated because of that. Even still, the scenario sounds ridiculous because it is, but the point is that the talent is complicated to use effectively. If instead you don’t do any of this, but still run healshare, teammates will heal themselves after being revived to clear wounds as usual and your healshare is useless. It is much more intuitive and convenient for the person who needs the heal to, you know, use the heal.
Also, healshare provides almost no value in most situations because teammates having thp is just as good as green hp so long as there are enough enemies to keep it up, which is pretty much always in Cata. There’s a lot more downtime in lower difficulties so it’s arguably better there. In Legend it’s still pretty hard to be at zero thp unless you’re ranged spamming, in which case you’re in much less danger of taking damage anyway and things don’t hit as hard.
Throughout my time playing this game I have even ran healshare myself a lot to try to really understand its use cases. Communicating “group up for healshare” all the time is annoying in pubs so honestly I’ve stopped doing it. Whether this is a huge mistake on my part or a flaw in the design of healshare is up for debate. In general I hate anything in this game that cannot be easily and immediately understood by the average player without typing. Micromanaging items is a huge headache, even without mentioning healshare. Hell, people walk past potions and bombs right next to them when they have an empty slot. There is no universal language for healshare. Spamming “Come here!” doesn’t work because people don’t listen even when it’s for their direct benefit. Telling people to wait to use heals or pass the heal to you is literally impossible without typing and most of the time you’re too late, or they decide to use the heal on themselves anyway even though multiple people are wounded. The pacing of the mission is interrupted by trying to type, and nevermind if you’re playing on console. People will tell me to just type it while I’m loading in. I would say it’s terribly designed if I have to type in every mission for even the slightest chance to use healshare effectively. And even still nobody listens. I wouldn’t care either.
Take this example. The mission is going reasonably well. I am not running healshare. We all have a healing draught. Somebody else in the party has healshare and communicated that some time ago. I go down and get revived. It was a mistimed dodge of an overhead or whatever, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the mission is still going reasonably well and we are not under any extreme pressure. Nobody else is in any particular danger of dying and I am the only one wounded. Should I drink or have the person with healshare drink? The “most efficient” heal is probably the healshare drink. They are missing some green hp and their drinking will heal everybody else for at least 30 green hp, higher on careers with more base hp, each as long as they are missing that much. That’s a whopping 90+ hp minimum across the whole team, much more than a normal draught. Except I’m a selfish player and want more green hp since I just went down and a full bar of thp scares me. Or I can’t be bothered to group up with that healshare person because I forgot that talent even existed. Or it’s just habit of the hundreds of other times I healed just after getting revived. Also the healshare person already drank the moment I got up and I just wasted the draught because I either didn’t notice or didn’t care. Whatever the case, this is what happens every single time, except the roles are reversed because I have literally never seen another healshare player ever.
This represents the overwhelming majority of times people use heals. It’s usually for just a single person going down and it doesn’t matter how many heals the party is carrying. As soon as somebody goes down, they go at the top of the list for healing usage. It makes the most sense, requires no fussing about who gets what item, and doesn’t need people doing arithmetic in their head to optimize green healing. Just “if you’re wounded, you get the drink”. Or if 2 people are wounded and one of them has a medkit, the person with the medkit heals the other wounded person to heal both their wounds. Two extremely simple rules for healing item usage that you cannot go wrong with and there’s enough healing in maps to follow this general rule unless people on the team are actively trying to die.
The best use of healshare is to heal multiple wounds when the team is lacking in heals, but most of the time the team is lacking in heals because of a series of unfortunate events that a single healshare alone probably isn’t enough for them to recover. The large healing of an item is more important than wound clearing efficiency in high pressure situations. Having 2 players at reasonably high hp is better than 1 player using healshare to give the other 3 players a tiny bit of health because the chances they survive go down exponentially when they’re one hit from death and surrounded. Did I mention the range for healshare is super tiny too? Good luck trying to get off a healshare when someone is dealing with horde, another is kiting boss, and another is on the ground getting overheaded by elites. Healshare does not help the team survive situations where you would need it. It only helps after the team has stabilized in which case it’s still kind of useless. If the team has stabilized then you didn’t need that emergency healshare anyway because you’ve managed to overcome the situation without the heal.
Now let’s talk about Hand of Shallya. Wait what? What does Hand of Shallya have anything to do with thp talents?
Hand of Shallya reads: “Healing an ally with medical supplies also heals you for 50% of your missing health”
This works with the healshare talent.
If you have a medkit and heal an ally with it, you will also proc the healing effect of healshare. So a medkit essentially becomes a medkit heal on your target + a 50% mising hp heal for yourself + a 20% max hp heal and wound clear for the rest of the party, all with a single medkit. This is actually much easier to coordinate than healshare alone. Medkits are generally less desired than draughts on Cata because they require more time to use so you have a higher chance of being the one to get the kit (the opposite is true for Legend because of books so there’s that). And people are usually happy to receive a medkit heal from somebody else. This also makes the healshare talent a much less selfish talent. Instead of always healing yourself, prioritize using medkits on the most injured team member and the rest of the team still benefits. It fulfills the role of “support” nicely and also lets you heal the damage you take from not having a thp talent.
Except you have to trade your necklace trait for it. You are even less survivable because Boon of Shallya, Barkskin, and Natural Bond all mitigate not having a thp talent more consistently than Hand of Shallya does.
The healshare + Hand combo can provide some insane healing, but it requires you to have a medkit, which is not guaranteed, and it also requires you to play without a thp talent and without another necklace trait, which is just suffering. It also does not provide as much useful healing as the numbers would suggest because green hp and thp function exactly the same while in active melee combat. The upside is that it fixes the micromanaging and anti-teamplay issues of base healshare because you heal somebody else with a kit instead of having all the healing items funneled to you for personal use. The problem is that using this combo comes at the huge cost of being much less resistant to any amount of high pressure, which is pretty much by definition the majority of wipes. Having thp to act as a buffer is practically required in this game, and other necklace traits drastically increase your survivability, Barkskin in particular.
If the thp talent choices were changed to be thp on cleave, stagger, or kill for every career then healshare should be moved to a necklace trait, with some tweaks of course.
Healshare and Hand of Shallya should have their functions combined, but their numbers considerably reduced. It would primarily serve as the aoe wound clearing effect. It should read something like: “Using a healing item splits the healing among nearby party members. Clears any wounds.” Instead of splitting it could be splitting + reduced by some amount per player healed, or not heal at all but just clear wounds, or only split the healing between the nearest party member, or only clear the wounds of the nearest party member without healing them. You get the idea. It could apply only to draughts or have a different interaction with medkits, but I think having a way to clear more than one wound with a single healing item (besides the medkit thing) is an interesting niche that healshare should fill, just not at the cost of a core game mechanic like thp.
There are probably people who will think this would be terribly OP, even if it just cleared your own and one other player’s wounds without healing either of you. I would disagree. It would essentially make them play at zealot hp without the bonuses. You would be forced to push forward to keep your thp up, which everybody should already be doing anyway. This just makes it a bit more urgent. And turning every draught into 2 wound clears is not really that OP, even if every person on the team ran it. It is theoretically 8 wound clears, yes, which may sound OP, but giving up Boon or Barkskin means you are much less survivable in general. If everybody runs it then healing multiple wounds won’t matter when people can’t keep themselves alive by either chugging after taking a big hit under high pressure, or without the boost to sustain from Boon, or without the incredible DR from Barkskin that almost nothing else comes close to matching when under extreme pressure. If nobody is alive to revive 2 other players then it would be useless. It boils down to making you more easy to be downed, but if you can be revived and another person also needs to be revived or is wounded, then it provides a small benefit. If this still sounds too OP, add a -healing received stat on top of it, like a reverse Boon of Shallya. Surely there are ways to balance an idea like this without outright removing the ability to generate thp.
So that’s it. Remove thp on crit/hs, give every career the option of thp on cleave/stagger/kill, and move healshare to a necklace trait with reduced effect.