Theory of Special Enemies - What Else Could There Be?

In the game currently there are seven types of Special enemies;
Gutter Runner, Ratling Gunner, Warpfire Thrower, Poison Wind Globadier, Packmaster, Lifeleech Sorcerer, and the Blightstormer.

Each of these enemies falls into one of two (or even both categories); disabler or area denial.

But are those the only enemy types that could work in the game? I imagine the devs have probably experimented a lot, but I wonder if those are the only two options? Could we not have enemies that do other things?

The first ideas that come to me are enemies that buff their nearby allies, and enemies that debuff the players in some way. Finally it occurs to me that we could have pure combat-oriented specials; unlike the elite enemies we see around the map, these enemies would come from off-map and attack the player in a more clever fashion than how most elites just run straight at you.

Some ideas:
Nurglings (debuff) - Nurglings would actually be a collection of several small Nurgle demons, just under the height of Slave Rats, who run at a player and attack their heels. This does minor damage even on high difficulties, but they can move through hordes freely (their grubby cackling announcing their presence), and heroes they attack are slowed in the same way as when standing in Bile Troll vomit.
Nurglings would break the mold for most enemies because they cannot be sniped with precision weapons easily, being a group of cackling little monsters. Instead, shotgun-type weapons, or CC melee weapons (like great swords) would be most effective at clearing them out.

Chaos Hound (combat/anti-ranged) - A mutant, resistant-type demon hound that is exceedingly fast - and worst of all, dodges projectiles very effectively. When projectiles are launched at it, it will jump quickly to the side and take no damage - it can’t dodge bombs, and precisely timed salvos from multiple heroes can pick it off, but the most consistent way to kill it will be with melee attacks, while dodging its telegraphed bites and slashes.
This will help vary up gameplay by forcing a melee response from players.

Censer Bearer (combat/area denial) - A Plague Monk with a toxic flail that he spins in a circle, pushing back and damaging players, but also creating a toxic cloud like a poison wind globadier, but only around him (to which he is of course immune). High health on this one, and resistant to ranged fire makes him a combination damage dealer and area-denial enemy, who can also hide within crowds.

Fangleader (combat, buff) - There’s already a Stormvermin Commander in the files - why not make him a proper Fangleader who gives some kind of buff to nearby enemies? Put a standard on a pole from his back to make him stand out more, and perhaps he makes enemies tougher or slightly faster or more resilient - he himself would have the same attacks as a normal Stormvermin with a Halberd, but have more health (maybe around 60 on Legend, while regular Stormvermin have 39). However, he’d be a double-edged sword, as killing him could cause other Skaven to become panicked or at least stunned, making him a vital target to kill.

Curse Sorcerer (debuff) - Another kind of Nurgle sorcerer who would target a hero or area of the group and debuff players in the area. The only kind of debuff I can think of that wouldn’t just straight suck the fun out of the game would be a damage debuff, so you can still move and attack, but you deal a percentage less damage per hit. This would make him a pain, but not a game-ending problem. Slowness or taking more damage feel a bit too much. Perhaps the curse could also reduce max health like when a grimoire is picked up (until the sorcerer dies or the curse wears off).

Bloated Zombie (disabler) - A fat nurglite who is swollen with infection and flies. It tries to sneak up on the players and burst, dealing damage and releasing a cloud of flies that attract on the nearest player, disabling them - like the flies in Burblespue’s fight. The flies don’t last indefinitely so it’s not a full disable, but do render the player vulnerable for a period of time.

Just some random thoughts. I know other popular ideas involve Warplock Jezzails - and while I think they’d be interesting, I think it’d be really hard to implement them in a way that would add fun to the game. I feel like they’d work best in some kind of map designed around them, where the heroes have to move between cover to avoid getting picked off.

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I really liked Chaos Hound, Fangleader and Censer Bearer right off the bat.
But all those additional disablers man… my first though was there are enough disablers/area denial already, but then again if those would spawn instead of the current ones, and not with them, that might just add some diversity to gameplay.
Those are some nice ideas, i hope Devs will check them out and add some.

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An enemy buffing special could be fun.
Maybe killing an “officer special” could even end or decrease the current horde.
Maybe this will shake up the go back and look for a narrow path to fight horde meta; there will be a benefit to killing the officer and more mobile.

Another different special would be setting traps to intractable things (chest, door, ammo pack, elevators, healing potions, etc.) when it spawned. Killing it would drop a bomb. Of course, there will be a small window in order to react booby trapped thing.

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A doom-flayer! It’ll be armoured from the front, and when it gets a certain distance from the players it revs up and charges in a straight line, throwing man-sized enemies and players around.

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Looks like junkRAT ultimate if he lets that go

Slowdown on par with the Troll bile would probably be too much, but I can see some debuffer enemies working quite nicely.

Chaos hound sounds interesting, practically forcing the occasional melee bout wouldn’t be bad in my mind. It would be hard to balance danger-wise, as the primary method of dealing with Specials (meta or no) is by sniping them. Allowing sniping from sides or back might help there.

Censer bearer as you proposed it sounds like both anti-melee and anti-ranged, so that might be a bit much. But speed on par with Plague Monks (instead of ranged resistance) and damage aura might work.

Fangleader sounds nice, but I think he would have to be restricted to work with hordes. Don’t know how easy that would be from a programming-perspective. Otherwise, if killing one would put the horde into momentary confusion, making them stop attacking for a few seconds, would often be a welcome reprieve, giving time for healing, reviving and other things. @ruzen 's thought on reducing (or ending) the horde might again be too much, effectively trivialising hordes where one appears.

Doom-Flayer looks cool, and might fit well in the game.

In general, I too would like to see more variance in specials. Four disablers at once is a bit much, and more variance would indirectly help that too, while still giving us the difficulty we so like. Also, would force prioritizing the specials occasionally.

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We need Nurglings. 'Nuff said.

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@Darksky Thanks! I think only the Bloated Zombie would be a true disabler (you could still fight with Nurglings on you, and while I’m thinking about it, you could probably look down and use push to knock them away), and I think the flies from the zombie would be of limited duration - basically making it a step down from other disablers in terms of damage. If it was the last enemy around, and you get swarmed by its flies, you’ll just lose a few seconds, not be doomed (and not have your solo run ended if that’s what you’re doing). It should also have a limited range around it where the flies can hit, so if you do snipe it from 100 feet away it won’t get anyone. It basically just punishes you if you let it get close and let the flies get you.

@zaygr Love the Doom-Flayer idea. I would have thought “ah that’s too big”, but really, it’s not going to be bigger than a Chaos Warrior or mini-boss. It’d also be kinda like the Charger from L4D2, but not grabbing people. Though it’d be HELLISH to encounter in a tight hallway!

@Yzneftamz Probably right that the same slowdown as Bile Troll would be too much, but at least some slow; that would be their main thing, the damage would not be high even on Legend, IMO. I mean they’re tiny little things.
I should have elaborated more on the Censer Bearer; he can be killed with ranged, it’d just take a decent amount of fire. He’s spongy, not immune. And he can be attacked in melee (in my idea), because he has to rev up his censer spin attack, giving you time to melee him, but then have to dodge out of range.
I think the Fangleader would be okay as an ambient elite, or comes with (Skaven) hordes, or even with Skaven Patrols. He would be that first target you want to kill.

But yes, you really hit the nail on the head; I’d love to see more variety of specials that give new dimensions to gameplay without just being disablers. I love fighting the special enemies, but so many of them are capable of ending a run of a full team. With more variety, the odds of the game spawning 4 disablers will be diminished. They’d still be dangerous - we all know that getting hooked in a horde is just about the most dangerous thing that can happen in the game. It’s not the disablers themselves that should be the massive danger (overall), but how combinations of enemies work together (in the sense of their mechanics).

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Would personally like to see a L4D series “Boomer” type mob, something weak, slow and extermely short ranged but if not delt with, well here comes the horde…

Here are some additional ideas (however, I am not sure which warhammer unit should be used to represent this type of minion)

  • A suicide bomber minion - simple runs up to the player and explodes in some way
  • A flying unit - simple as well. flies around but is forces to land once every 5 sec of flight or something to make it more fair to melee specialized heroes.
  • Like the curse sorcerer you mentioned earlier - maybe places a curse around the player and after abit, everyone around that player gets the debuff. So the tactic would be to separate from the cursed player.
  • One thing that would be awesome (but would probably be too tough for the game) would be if random chaos minions could turn to demons after they die (I am picturing the Blood Thirster emerging from the host body). But it does not have to be a greater demon. It could be a regular one which is easier to fight. Lets be real, A greater demon would be game over for the 5 heroes (or 4).
  • One option could be an enemy whom heals other units.
  • We could have some ranged basic enemies that have low damage projectiles.
  • We could have some enemies that warp in walls or obstacles
  • We could have some enemies whom make other enemies invisible (or maybe transparent so it is harder to see them. Kind of like Predator effect) for a couple of sec.
  • We could have an enemy that causes a player to be deaf for a few sec (so they might not hear the warning about specials incoming).

If I think of more horrifying ideas to add to this game, I will post them. :slight_smile:

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Some of those ideas would work really well for Beastmen if they were to add them to the game.

Flying unit? Harpies! (though apparently flying units are hard in the engine; or so I’ve heard)
Projectile enemies? Ungor Skirmishers.
Make players deaf? That sounds appropriate for a Bray-Shaman who uses Bray Scream to cause.

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Jezzails could telegraph their intent though, and have a rather imprecise fist but visible shot. One interesting thing is their pavises, they could be a tool to force melee combat on them rather than easy ranged picking.

Among the remaining weapon squads there are the warp grinder, with limited area denial in front.

I like the idea of a special whose role is to be dodge as it rams in one direction, but beastmean will provide plenty of this, they are after all a charge centric army.

Keep in mind though that the game is already quite skewed in favor of ranged. Many special possibilities (long range, flying, area denial, explosive) add more penalties and hazard to close combat. Must say I like the hound idea for this reason, though.

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I want all of the stuff I read here to be added, is that weird? Can’t wait to see what modders as creative as you guys can offer us

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I also would like to see (more or less lorefull) :

  • Skaven slingers (slaves or clanrats)
  • Skryre ingeneer : (special) armoured rat with a jezzail pistol and a halberd ; also able to summon spells (ruins spells, for those playing Warhammer total war, they will better understand ^^)
  • Albino guard : armoured albino skaven, very powerful, who have a halberd made of warpstone. Only for “Legend” levels, lead the stormvermin patrols.

For Chaos, I would like to see more type of Chaos Warriors (some with shields, some with Halberds, etc.).

You mean Warlock Engineers. Also, the sorcerers are already hated enough, I doubt that we need a decently armored Skaven sorcerer with halberd :smiley:

In regasrds of the Sligners, I could see them to be either a useless nuisance or an annoying nuisance. If they spawn like a normal horde they could end up being more annoying than a rattling tbh

Albino guard : armoured albino skaven, very powerful, who have a halberd made of warpstone. Only for “Legend” levels, lead the stormvermin patrols.

They are the guard of the Lords of Decay, the Council of Thirteen, not something a Clan like Fester would be able to deploy.

Exploders could work, tricky to balance though. It would need enough warning to shoot it before rushing, and long enough animation before exploding to dodge out of the way. Might end up abusable with skilled players, even more than Blightwinds are now.

Fliers could be used, but might easily put a bit too much weight on the range again, and end up even more easily unreachable than the current specials, and there’s already enough griping about that.

I’m… Conflicted about this. It would break one of the most important tactics in the game, which is to stay together. Might be fun to break up the gameplay that way, but it would be more likely to effectively cause a lot of wipes. And when a single thing in-game can be blamed for partywipes… Cue hate in the forums.

I don’t have that much lore knowledge to say if demons would be suitable or not, but we are already fighting Nurgle’s servants.

Healers are, as most of us have learned from other games, annoying. Would just become a priority target, and depending on the way they heal, a killer with bosses. And sometimes with CWs.

“Basic” ranged enemies: On Champ and especially Legend, even a little damage is significant. Because of that, I can see them quickly becoming the most hated enemy type. It would also raise the ranged game again (which the devs have been trying to lessen), so I’ll have to vote no on this.

Umm. I don’t know what to say about these. I don’t know what would they bring in, as there already are regularly teleporting enemies with the same effect.

Making others invisible: Invisible CWs ahoy. Unless the invisibilty were limited to smaller enemies, in which case… Very annoying, but mostly trivial.

Deafness: Yikes. The sound cues are already one of the most important (if not the most important) ways to find specials and notice many other things, and there is already griping when it’s not working right. Disabling that would en up… Disastrous, I think. So here’s another definite no from me.

Some variance in CWs would be fun, but I’ll have to say no on the shields. We already have enough hate (or at least annoyance) on the shieldvermin. On skaven slingers, see above on the “basic” ranged units. On the other two, others already commented better than I could’ve.

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The Beastmen idea sounds like a really good idea actually…

They could tie it into the story too. Beastmen are seeing the chaos and are moving in to capitulate.

Could even be the reason for a 6th hero, he or she could have followed them.

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