I’m watching footage of an Auric Hi5STG in Mercantile from tonight using Marksman (w/ camo), a Vraks7 and Infiltrate (w/ low profile). Marksman is up when I need it because I can consciously make a decision to maximize its use, but I also get a lot of uptime (and therefore benefit) when I’m not thinking about it.
Before I sound like I’m going in circles (and lordy I may still): I bring this up only to draw attention to the fact that I have a choice to cruise with a “natural” lower-impact buff or, at any moment, put in a small amount of effort (i.e. stop moving for a beat and/or line up a headshot) to activate the true power of the keystone (which is great when gunners, ragers or metal men flood the room).
I think that choice is what is so interesting about the vet keystones, and I see differing degrees of agency in keystones across classes as something that has to be balanced to create an interesting array of play options.
In play (i.e. not speaking in a build/talent-picking sense), Warp Siphon gives you very little control over when you’ll gain/keep the buff (you can’t just manifest it whenever), and times when you need to ult may not coincide with when you want your stacks to drop. Empowered Psionics has some aspect of choice/agency in that you can choose when to spend the buff, but not really when to get it. Disrupt Destiny is very similar to Marksman in my opinion, but DD seems (I haven’t used it much) to require more of your focus.
Zealot isn’t my main (and I just flat out cannot speak on the big man), but it seems like the same stuff is at play there. You can’t choose when 25 guys are going to die around you, but you have the choice to build into crit to more reliably proc it. I don’t think I will ever run Martyrdom, in part because the choice there is to straight up sacrifice your body (and in my experience, often your team’s runs) and then play QUITE specifically (and some might say unnaturally, shunning the God Emperor’s blessings of medicae stations) to keep that buff. And Inexorable Judgement is best suited for a specific type of play in which I suppose you could either say you have all the choice (when to dodge, duck, dip, dive or spend the stacks) or no choice because you just gotta do what ya gotta do to survive out there.
Thematically, the Zealot is living on a prayer and has no free will – I joke, but it fits! – while the Veteran has a cold, tight, calculating grip on his keystones’ full potential. Psyker, the jack of all trades in my book, has keystones that run the gamut from working with the fickle warp to controlling destiny.
And Ogryn has rock I believe.
Anyway, just exploring these thoughts here!