THP & Stagger talent rebalance

I did a Cata true solo as WHC with this mod using this build: https://www.ranaldsgift.com/10/113222/13,8,3,3/19,3,5,7/3,2,1/6,4,2/7,4,3 (I was using Regrowth).

Empire in Flames, 29 minutes, Chaos Spawn, Skaven patrol. Thp generation was decent outside of ult despite only having 10% crit chance. Enhanced Power’s buff to 10% let me hit stagger and crit push stagger (Riposte) breakpoints (namely staggering a Mauler) that it would normally be unable to reach on Official, letting this build frontline very well.

All in all, I don’t see any important downsides to the mod in its current state. It increases melee weapon diversity in a simple way, making melee weapon choice dependent on the qualities of the weapon itself, rather than what thp talents are available, while making the damage gap between low damage careers and high damage careers smaller. On top of this, it even enables niche builds like the one I’ve linked, which I consider to be a great bonus.

It’s unfortunate that careers like WHC would have thp on stagger which would be mostly a dead talent, but I agree with Rebel. The deeper issues like the too strong synergy between WHC’s safety, Killing Shot and thp on kill are ones that need to be looked at by the developers and it would be unwise for us to assume Fatshark will do so, so the way it is now is the safer option.

I have no comments to make on Bulwark and its distribution across careers as I am not qualified to talk about the talent and the weapons it pairs well with.

I hope Fatshark implements the changes in this mod to Official.

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I still need to do further testing, but purely “on paper” Bulwark with 15% still seems like an inferior choice to enhanced power on pretty much all of my mostly played shield builds. If Smiter and Enhanced Power keep existing with their current values, Bulwark needs to be 20% at least to be a superior pick on shields - let alone “normal” weapons - in my opinion.

EDIT:
And even then the choice wouldn’t be quite clear. But that’s not nescesarily a bad thing, I guess.

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Can you explain why not? I really don’t understand why you would want to take any talent outside of Bulwark unless there are very important stagger BP’s with enhanced power.

Edit: is it that you don’t find any value in increasing your team’s dps?

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It’s bias against Bulwark, due to it being bad since forever. We just can’t comprehend in our minds it ever being useful, so it needs eye-popping numbers to make us think it’s finally good.

Not quite. Smiter or Bulwark being the better choice might depend a lot on weapon type as well, but Bulwark and Enhanced Power are direct competitors on weapons that stagger a lot. And Bulwark just offers very, very little, while Enhanced Power offers a lot.

With Enhanced Power you get: Better damage on all attacks - staggered or not (which is a very significant help against CW and Monsters and for more easily reaching several breakpoints at the same time), better ranged attacks (which also directly results in better and more easily attainable ranged breakpoints), you get more cleave, and - very important - you also get more stagger. With shields I practically always would go for the berserker stagger breakpoint (Opportunist + 25% Power against Skaven / Berserkers) and Enhanced Power helps a lot with that, while making ranged breakpoints more attainable while going for it at the same time, and it also helps with preventing me from having to use a property slot on my melee weapon which has powerful alternative options. It also helps in staggering CW more easily, but importantly it also helps a lot in useful smaller stagger breakpoints with non-shield weapons. ( @Velsix mentioned one in his last reply, for example.)

Now, in order to make Bulwark compete with these significant advantages it’d need to be a pretty juicy option indeed. But all Bulwark could offer (as it is now, without a rework and solely by number tweaking) compared Enhanced Power for the character that’s using it, is a paltry damage buff of [its own value] minus [the number enhanced power gives], and that’s on staggered stuff only. That’s it. That’s all it does. So currently that would be a whopping 15 - 10 = 5%. As a tradeoff for damage against unstaggerd targets, ranged power, cleave power, stagger power, and potentially equipment properties. How would anyone consider that a good trade?! Because of the 15% damage teammates get when they attack targets you staggered?! I’d say that that is in praxis a quite useless buff. Stuff that can be staggered long enough for teammates to get a hit in dies fast enough anyways, making the 15% power buff to them not do much in sense of reducing hits needed to kill and such. Remember staggered stuff already takes 20 - 40% more damage anyways, further reducing the usefullness of a damage debuff on them. And it’s not very often - even in higher difficulty gameplay - that teammates attack the same targets you’re keeping under control anyways. In higher difficulty gameplay you need to work together by keeping enemies off your teammates back a lot more than you need to all attack the same (staggerable) target a lot.

So even with 20% I’d still not consider Bulwark a clear-cut competitive alternative to 10% Power on shields, let alone on other weapons. @Sleezy , honest question: On which class / weapon (heck, even team) setup would you consider the current 15% iteration of Bulwark a better pick than 10% Power? (Open question to all, really.) Shields? 2H Hammer? (Sienna) mace? Flail? Coghammer? I honestly couldn’t imagine any right now being better off with Bulwark 15% compared to 10% Power.

Another thing: Earlier on - in reply to my suggestion of simply nerfing Smiter, Assasin, and Enhanced Power by about half, @Incandescent said:

But I’ve been mulling it over, and I can’t really think of any niche (or not niche) builds that would suddenly not be viable anymore after doing that, while still being viable by keeping the current values. Can anybody give me an example there?

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TBH it’s hard to answer because I’m still not really sure exactly how Bulwark works. Does it only proc when you specifically stagger something with your melee weapon? If so then I’d generally agree with your assessment that the team damage buff is largely impractical and inconsequential.

However if all your sources of stagger proc it I can seeing it potentially having useful interactions and niches. For instance then it could give a FK charge a mini shrapnel effect. Drakefire pistols might also get good use out of it with their alt fire. Probably a few other high stagger ranged weapons that could use it well. RV Ult, bombs etc.

So yeah it really depends on how exactly it mechanically works at the moment. One of the most practical day to day advantages for it I could think of is helping to burst bosses but if only your melee weapon procs it then naturally that’s not possible.

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Fire sword on BW or UC for any build that isn’t a famished build and doesn’t require 10% power for bolt staff BPs. So that would depend on difficulty you’re playing on. Also, any build with a shield. When making your comparison, I think you’re failing to acknowledge that it’s a team-wide buff. It also doesn’t work the same way as the other stagger talents. Upon staggering an enemy, they take 15% more damage for 5 seconds. Not just while they are staggered. That also applies to all damage sources. So with fire sword, you’re going to be doing 15% more damage on your dots. With shields, it would work differently because all of your damage is in the bash. However, you should be able to maintain the debuff on a huge percentage of targets that are in the frontline.

Edit, note that taking smiter or enhanced power only increases your personal damage by 10% or so. Your damage on a shield character is going to be minuscule. So increasing your entire team’s damage will have a much larger overall impact on the team. The reason bulwark is bad now is the debuff is only 10% on melee damage and it only lasts 2 seconds. If you have like an aoe staff or hagbane in the group and you’re increasing their damage by 15%, that’s pretty substantial.

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important to keep in mind bulwark is 15% for the whole team, as a shield user you’re gonna be keeping everything debuffed pretty often. Way I see it the choice between Bulwark and Enhanced is the same as Reikland Reaper (15% power personally) vs Strike Together (10% AS for the whole team); both choices have a lot of merit to them.

If it really turns out that bulwark just straight up sucks I do have an idea on how to remedy the situation entirely, but I’d like to let this one settle in a bit before making a judgement call

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It’s 15% for the team’s ranged and melee dps which I think is alright. I could see that being used on UC with Flaming Flail for example. I see players shooting hordes I’m staggering a fair bit.

Perhaps making Enhanced Power only affect damage and cleave and not stagger strength, while giving Bulwark a 10% stagger strength passive would even the two talents out?

That way Bulwark increases your stagger strength by 10% passively, enemies you stagger take 15% more damage from all sources for 5 seconds, while Enhanced Power increases your damage dealt by 10% and your cleave by 10%.

I don’t know the effective realistic dps on the mod’s Bulwark so this is just an idea that could be poorly thought out. Sorry if it is.

I think 5% power would be sad.

By current do you mean the current values in the mod or the current values in the Official Realm?

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While I’m generally sympathetic to the idea of toning down the values for the stagger row across the board to help fight further power creep, I do have significant concerns about going about it in this matter. A lot of things that need looking at, but I’d much prefer targeted, carefully tuned nerfs over a blanket solution. If values were to be tuned down I think it ought to be a more moderate amount to leave room for further adjustments to individual careers that are less likely to compound into super major adjustments overall.

Something like:
Smiter: 15%
Assassin: 30%
EP: 7.5%
Bulwark: I dunno maybe still 15% honestly.

Would be hard to see how the net effect of the mod could be seen as a buff with these values, while being more conservative overall in number tuning. I do think halving the current values is a bit too far.

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when it comes to power creep I’m pretty sure the stagger system is the smallest of small factors on the list.

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True enough. But it doesn’t help either. Toning it down would still reduce powercreep even if it’s only by a little, and this topic is about the stagger-damage system and how it should be changed after all, not about how to reduce powercreep most effectively. And for me personally: The main argument to simply get rid of the staggr-damage talent row wasn’t so much powercreep as it was bad, contraproductive, and redundant design. (As per my first reply in this thread.)

In any case, thanks for all the replies everybody, and sorry mine is so late. I’ve just had a very busy week.

@alsozara : Good point about needing to know exactly how this version of Bulwark works. Maybe one of the modmakers could clarify all the exact details? I’m very curious as well.

@Sleezy : Fair point about a non-famished Firesword benefitting from Bulwark. Your personal melee damage would be about the same or a few insignificant percentages higher, so you’d trade off some ranged power, a little damage vs. CW and Monsters, and extra stagger in exchange for a teambuff. I very much disagree with the notion that your personal damage as a shield user is “miniscule”, however! If you don’t play like some dumb staggerbot you can do very respectable melee damage with any shield weapon, moreso on a class like Mercenary. (And everybody is sleeping on FK with M&S who can do suprisingly good damage. He uses Mainstay as well, by the way, and I’d strongly consider using EP over Bulwark on him if this mod as-is would be live.) The damage of a shield user can be really high as well when you factor in ranged weapons like the MP or Drakefire weapons, which would further favor Enhanced Power over Bulwark.

As for toning down values “too much”: Like I said, I think the entire talent row should be removed to start with (with a tiny bit of compensation to enemy health, maybe). And if you just nerf the values by a lot like I suggested somewhere, I don’t think any niche build will suffer disproportionally like Incan suggested might happen. And that’s what I asked for an example of: Which niche build would suddenly not work anymore without the stagger-damage talents / with nerfed versions of those talents?

What I must concede to you all, however, is that in my mind I was still thinking of Bulwark with the old requirements instead of the 5s debuff this mod changed it to, which indeed massively increases its relevance & usefulness to the other players in your team.

Regardless, I still feel like you all overestimate the usefulness of the debuff a little, especially on shields. It’s still not exactly a 15% bonus damage aura. Does the bonus damage for teammates to enemies that I’m already attacking really effectively - and significantly - reduce the time it takes for them to die? And if so: Does that situation really happen enough during a normal Legend or Cata run to make a difference? It’s kind of hard to put to words exactly, but based on personal experience I’m still sceptical the team damage buff would really affect the run in such a significant way as the feeling of the words “15% damage buff” evokes.

My reasoning is a bit like this: You guys just scrapped Mainstay because you felt it was so weak it was useless, basically. So adding a 20% damage teambuff - which I feel wouldn’t be super impactful because of practical reasons - on top of the old Mainstay wouldn’t be very excessive. Especially if you buff Enhanced Power as well. And buffing Bulwark would mostly favor weapons that are on lower rugs of the meta ladder rung anyways. Increasing their worth relatively to the weapons that are top of the power curve - even with the rest of the changes in the mod - isn’t nescesarily a bad thing.

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Should this perhaps at least be posted to the subreddit and/or a few other places? I feel like 24 unique commenters isn’t a large range of feedback for such core talent changes, especially since the forums are probably a pretty skewed demographic of the player base.

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There is a reddit post but it didn’t gain ant traction and there is a separate channel for feedback in the VT Modded Community

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This is the run I mentioned earlier I did with the mod:

Normally a run with a build like this would purely be a challenge or meme run (no crit chance properties, Riposte, Opportunist Rapier, Enhanced Power, crit/headshot thp, 20% Power vs Chaos and 10% vs Armour), but because of the mod it wasn’t. It’s a legitimate build that brings something a standard dps build doesn’t. This is both because of the buff to Enhanced Power and because of crit/headshot thp being made less crit reliant. I could actually comfortably get Ripostes off quickly without getting instantly hit by a horde enemy or another elite. It has good synergy with Fervency as well, because the crit push stagger is good.

A similar build without the mod: Vermintide 2 — Cata True Solo No Swift Slaying - YouTube. It’s anemic by comparison.

As far as builds go, it definitely enables this one.

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