Vet Keystones post Patch 15.2

Based on @alsozara’s idea it would probably be a good idea to reopen the discussion about Vet Keystones in its own separate thread now that general build diversity was fixed by patch 15.2. I put this in the gameplay feedback category because I’ll start with some general feedback I have, but I’m quite curious what others think about this too.

PS: My feedback is mainly a complaint about Weapon Specialist and Marksman’s Focus. I think that Focus Target! is generally well-designed and feels good to play.

Post that sparked the topic

Post with links for my previous attempts to articulate what’s wrong with the Keystones.


Veteran’s side Keystones are unique among keystones giving situational boost instead of being build-defining/enabling or a large power boost like other Keystones.

Their relative strength is on par with other keystones while requiring way more player input to trigger and keep up, while the playstyle they push the player toward feels either jarring, unnatural, or non-optimal.

I haven’t read one opinion that considers trying to actively maintain bonuses of either Marksman’s Focus or Weapon Specialist is in any way enjoyable or something people should do.

PS: I know there are people who find the current keystones adequate, but with the current strength of Veteran running these keystones in general I don’t think easing the strictness of maintaining/triggering the bonuses would make Vetaran too strong or be a detriment to anyone’s enjoyment currently liking the playstyles required/provided by the Keystones.

Weapon Specialist

While Weapon Specialist provides some unique bonuses (dodge speed/distance, weapon loading with Always Prepared) actively maintaining or triggering bonuses doesn’t feel good, and “dropping” melee bonuses can feel jarring (especially suddenly losing dodge speed and distance).

The main takeaway from the feedback I’ve read on the forums is that to enjoy it you should disregard the mechanics and use it as a situational “nice to have” bonus instead of trying to maintain or trigger the bonuses. I personally only use it in one of my builds and only to maintain ammo supply on Plasma Gun with always prepared on a very melee-centric build.

I think that the fact that actively pursuing the bonus comes with an unnatural playstyle that isn’t enjoyable is a failure, while the payoff provided also isn’t impactful enough both in a vacuum and especially compared to other Keystones. The closest comparison would be Inexorable Judgment which provides an easily maintainable (basically passive) boost of Ranged and Melee attack speed while also providing a general damage boost.

The other problem with Weapon Specialist is that apart from Always Prepared which gives a unique bonus the other modifiers are extremely situational (and weak), to say the least.

Invigorated does enable rotating switching on-and-off ranged weapon to maintain stamina while running Deadeye, but that’s a pretty fringe and meme tier setup that can be served by other means. It’s atleat pretty hilarious to do…

Using the others (On Your Toes, Fleeting Fire and Conditioning) is just weaker than picking anything else up from the tree. There is always something more impactful in reach including some operative nodes. I don’t even quite understand how they made it into the talent tree. Again there is a fringe use for rotating ranged weapons with On Your Toes for a toughness boost, but that’s just weird, unnatural, and isn’t even impactful.

Change/Rework Idea for Weapon Specialist

My main idea for how to change Weapon Specialist is to make it a more melee-focused keystone by helping ease the maintenance of melee boost without “switching off” while keeping the ranged bonuses still dependent on melee kills.

I actually quite like the bonuses provided for melee (AS, Dodge Distance and Dodge Speed), but the fact that you can’t maintain them without regularly shooting enemies randomly just doesn’t feel good at all.

Also, On Your Toes, Fleeting Fire, Conditioning, and Invigorated probably need complete rework or replacement. There is some possibility for them becoming a good pick with changes (like the bonus provided by Conditioning might be interesting if you can constantly maintain the Stamina Cost reduction), but they are just way too weak and situational now to pick up.

Marksman’s Focus

Where to even start with this thing…

I just quote @alsozara here again:

It might be a misunderstanding in design on my part, but the fact that a supposed “Sniper” keystone has very low synergy with single-shot high-impact weapons while it boosts faster shooting weapons tremendously feels extremely weird.

It can be an active struggle to get stacks up and maintained on weapons of Lasguns and Helbore, while you can just hip-fire at head height with autuguns to immediately gain maximum stacks.

This keystone can turn the already very strong Columbus V Infanty Autogun into a weapon that deals 1k+ damage on weak spot hits and the stack gain is so easy that the “standstill” mechanic can be absolutely disregarded.

While some enjoy the power boost provided, and the bonuses can be very impactful on high-finesse weapons indeed, I don’t think anybody actively enjoys the (somewhat bypassable) standstill requirement, and the more I push into the playstyle the worse I do… the worse it feels.

PS: I feel like I couldn’t properly list out all of my problems with Marksman’s Focus here. There are just so many things wrong with this that all my thoughts are stuck into each other while coming out.

Change/Rework Idea for Marksman’s Focus

There are two ways to go about changing Marksman’s Focus, either by pushing more towards functioning like Disrupt Destiny with timed bonuses as an immediate payoff or completely reworking it while distributing some of the power into the currently underperforming Executioner Stance and other places to still enable Veterans to go full weakspot hunting sniper.

More like Disrupt Destiny:

  • Make the bonuses timed instead of dependent on moving. Should be a long duration of 10-20 seconds. A weak spot hit should refresh the duration. This would not affect people already enjoying the keystone negatively while providing more enjoyment for those who don’t like the current “forced” playstyle. It would also reduce the gap between Autoguns and “Sniper Weapons” in usability of the keystone.
  • Work Exhilarating Takedown into the keystone, while replacing the current Exhilarating Takedown Node with another general toughness gain option for Veteran. Keystone should provide toughness regain on weakspot kill with ranged weapons at base while giving +3% toughness damage reduction/stack with an optional Node. This would give an immediate payoff for the playstyle of headhunting and make the keystone a more rounded mechanic.
  • Reduce stack gain speed by making you only gain 1-2 stacks/kill.
  • Readjust boost in power as required.

Other ideas could be changing Camouflage to give you stacks while maintaining ADS instead of standing still (to a lower limit than maximum maybe) giving it a similar feel to how surgical works on your first shot, and adding a node that provides threat reduction to enable “sniper” playstyle more without the requirement to pick up Infiltrate with Low Profile.

There is also the problem with fast-firing weapons getting way too much out of this, which I don’t really think should be the case. Apart from introducing a cooldown for the bonus toughness and stack gain (something like 0.5-1 second) which I don’t find a particularly good idea (and is also very artificial).

Complete Replacement:

Multiple things can replace MF, but the main idea is to put some of the lost bonuses into the currently somewhat lackluster Executioner Stance and new nodes (replacing left-side nodes such as Catch a Breath, Opening Salvo, and Killzone which are weak and incredibly situational currently).

Replacements could be bringing back one of the most requested mechanics as a keystone Sustained Fire/Instant reload triggering on activating Combat Ability, with modifiers that would switch to the ranged weapon with any Combat Ability, a choice between a boost to a shot on full ammo or some Talent version Cavalcade/Blaze Away amongst other possibilities.

This would make the left-side keystone into something that boosts ranged weapons in a more general way, which IMO would be a good idea.

So what do you guys think? Is there someone who thinks that actively maintaining WS or MF bonuses is enjoyable? Are there other ideas to make the keystones better? Am I just wrong on everything?


Great write up. I’ll start by dumping my last lot of rambly thoughts from the other thread.

Regarding left keystone I think I would like it a lot more if spending more than 5 seconds in melee didn’t usually mean dumping most of my stacks. Maybe if melee weak point kills at least paused stack decay for 3 seconds I could vibe with it better. Honestly I’d love for melee weak point kills to actually add one stack along with pausing decay but I’d understand anyone who thinks that would leave to too easy full uptime. I do really like your idea of changing it to a timer regardless of whether or not you’re moving so you’re still fiending for regular ranged headshots for upkeep but how much you move around while doing so doesn’t play into it.


Weapon specialist is fine other than the stances need double the length and melee needs to have more than just the one stack, that just feels odd. The optional nodes need to give it more oomph, right now they are far too utility focused

Marksman’s focus being only weakspot kills is what holds it back. Make weakspot kills give 3 stacks and make weakspot hits give 1. This is if you keep it weakspot at all (which I think fundamentally is making a capstone far too much of a “high skill” capstone). Needs interaction with abilities where activating an ability give max stacks (as does things like weapon specialist, momentum, and heavy hitter. If psyker wasn’t so spammy with abilities I would say warp siphon too but they get their abilities back far too fast for such a mechanic). I do not like that an entire optional don is just “give +5 max stacks” that should be bundled with the rending while at or above 10 stacks, you know, given the wording, and if not bundled should give some sort of ease-of-use bonus like increasing the time before stacks decay for movement or allowing you to walk or give threat reduction, something to allow this slow combat playstyle it seems to not get you killed.

Now if I were to completely change it I would do something like:
Focus should give bonuses that ramp as long as you ADS/use your secondary fire button. It would be a sizable boost to weakspot damage (I do still think it should be focused on weakspots) while ADS (say stacking 15 times with each stack being 2% for 30%) and decreased recoil (by 4% per stack for 60%) Optional nodes gives

  1. increased ranged finesse power (3%per stack for 45%, this is to account for the base increase in damage)
  2. increased toughness DR (3% per stack for 45%)
  3. lockout node for ADS move speed instead of toughness DR last
  4. activating an ability gives max stacks.

Stacks build slow (only 1/sec) as you ADS but every kill while ADS gives one stack and weakspot kills instead give 3. Put a 5 second delay from stopping ADS or letting go of the secondary fire button to account for reload and weapons like the plasma gun. Swapping off ranged instantly ends focus.

Numbers may need to be pulled back if this proves too strong but I would say it is over-all on par with abilities like zealots momentum in terms of strength and ease of use.

Either of these alteration would make me want to actually use it. The latter obviously being a total rework.

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I mean… the class/build is literally called sharpshooter, if your aim’s trash you shouldnt be playing the left talent tree at all. Also if you cannot get the headshots then the ranged finesse wouldnt be of any use to you in the first place.


It runs contrary to literally every other capstone in the game that requires precisely ZERO aim to use effectively. The fact it requires weakspot kills but only give ranged finesse is also contrary to the ability itself. It buffs range finesse instead of weakspot damage. Yes, finesse is good BUT it isn’t exclusive to weakspot damage, which the ability requires to build and maintain stacks.

The ability is a clusterf-k of identity crisis. On top of requiring you to be accurate it also wants you no move around less which is bafflingly bad game design considering the game is not built around moving slow in combat.

So why do the other two capstones not focus on shooting? Why does one require you to change to melee? Why is only one combat ability ranged-based? Because the class has evolved well past the original concept and has done so ever since the talent trees came out.

Don’t be a fatshark apologist dude, it isn’t a good look.

Yeah it’s very beneficial for crits but doesn’t actually build stacks with crits. Allowing ranged crit kills to build stacks and ranged crit hits to pause stack decay as well would be another option here but that wouldn’t really change the guns it is good/bad for it would just make it more forgiving for the guns it’s already ok to good for, so I’m not a huge fan of going that route even though it would definitely benefit my beloved deadshot laspistol.

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I also don’t like that it fundamentally doesn’t really work for my beloved plasma gun. I mean that thing isn’t really designed for accuracy, not in terms of reliably hitting weakspots at least. It just needs something to either build stacks in another way or prevent stack decay.

I had assumed Always Prepared was going to be like Saltzpyre’s Blessed Combat, but I really just don’t like it for the builds I want to use it on (Bolter and Shotgun so far).

Maybe it works perfectly and the fault is mine for wanting to bypass the long reload times. The builds I’ve tried were inspired from watching other people, but I just can’t replicate the results others are having.

(I don’t like the rest of WS sub nodes. Too much point cost for what doesn’t look like much)

It will never work for bolter because of the atrocious ready time. I have never tried it on shotguns but I would assume it would work on them.

That’s what I’m saying! They are all utility and unnecessary (and inefficient) survivability. None of them increase your over-all effectiveness so only always prepared is worth taking. With the most recent changes I’m not overly fussed about this since it means I can unreservedly pick a bunch of the other talent nodes to really make my melee extra spicy but it would be nice if the capstone with the most damn optional nodes in the game didn’t also have the most useless optional nodes in the game.

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Erm, finesse not focusing on weakspots?
Finesse boosts weakspot damage, the executioner stance boosts weakspot damage, like it or not, the left side of the talent tree is focused on aiming and headshots. Dont like it? you’ve 2 other keystones on vet. Not every talent, passive and stat have to boost and fit every playstyle and weapon.

The left side of the tree is called the sharpshooter, use your brain a little and maybe you’ll figure out why.

Why would it? I say again, not every talent, passive and stat have to boost and fit every playstyle and weapon.

How typical… Just because i dont badmouth literally every aspect, nook and cranny of the game, it automatically makes me a “fatshark apologist”.


Here is the reason why I don’t spec into “any” keystones as a Vet running T5A.

  1. Marksman’s Focus
    It’s too niche and heavily favors stationing play-style which sucks. And heavily favors non-automatic weapons. Unless you play with a team that will protect you at all costs, you gotta constantly be moving.

  2. Focus Target
    “I TAG A LOT!” I tag to help me focus. I tag for vision. I tag to help team prioritize. I tag to count. Tagging is one of the best practices in DT(and V2). Welp, if you constantly tagging, you’ll end up applying only 1 stack of Focus Target.

  3. Weapon Specialist
    Another niche ass keystone. I’m not wielding range or melee weps for the sake of Specialist stacks. I use my gun when I have to deal with certain mobs according to my build, same thing for melee weapon. I’m not gonna switch to a range weapon when there is only a horde (without any range enemies) in front of me. Atk spd boost + dodge boost, sure it sounds good. But I don’t need it! My melee is effective enough to clear whatever is in my melee range. It’s not gonna make me kill Crusher faster, it’s still ass because my sword is not effective vs Crushers. I’m just gonna use Krak grenade to kill a Crusher quickly.

Moreover, if there are 5 shotgunners 10m away from me shooting at my ass, would I go find some poxwalkers to kill real quick to gain some stacks before I start shooting the gunners? Hell no!

End Note:
Let’s say I’m running the right tree, and spec until I get 10% melee attack speed. Do you think I would spend more for Weapon Specialist keystone? Or should I go the other way to get a juicy 15% SOLID Elite damage without stupid condition? (and get 30% weakspot damage in the process)

Not bad right? Well, it’s good enough to carry 3 console players in T5A (idk, I assume they are console).

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Sounding a lot like a fatshark apologist.

No, it boosts “+25% Ranged Damage, +25% Ranged Weakspot Damage, and you Spread and Recoil are greatly reduced.” Again with not even understanding fundamentals.

The other classes have capstones that fit the primary weapons they have at their disposal, so why doesn’t the vet? All he has is the mark targets and that that is not great given it is actually just a team buff. Weapon specialist enforces a very particular playstyle so your options are thing that doesn’t work if you don’t get weakspot kills, thing that doesn’t build stacks fast enough so you end up only putting one stack on things 80% of the time, and thing that requires a very niche playstyle. The generalist option being an improved mark targets is hardly a good place to be. Surely the thing that builds off the original vet ability should be more appealingthan it currently is, no?

Besides, this isn’t a just a talent talent, passive, or stat boost, this is a capstone, you have to put roughly 19 points into the tree to reach it so it is a pretty big commitment of points. Not doing so well on those fundamental concepts are you? Maybe give it a rest yeah? You don’t like what we have to say? Make you own post saying nothing needs to change then.

I don’t think that’s the main issue here. Middle and right capstones do both benefit plasma a fair bit. Middle gives a pretty reliable ~20% damage bonus which can be pretty huge for plasma breakpoints and WS lets you prolong going through the long reload animation to a very significant extent and lets you spam uncharged shots a good bit faster for 5 seconds after swap.

I don’t think synergy with Vet specific weapons is the main issue here (though I will say hellbore specifically kinda struggles to find one that does much for it), more generally awkward implementation and being a bit too limited on what guns (a lot of which from the shared pool) get good mileage out of them.

Also this isn’t a keystone specific issue but the more I think about it the more strange it is to me that Vet does not have weapon ready speed or charge speed anywhere in their tree despite having two exclusive charge up weapons, one of which has a noticeable ready time.


You are clearly thinking too much. But this is exactly why I am talking about with it not being good enough, the core ability is decent but the optional nodes just don’t give me any incentive to take them over any of the other talents. I do use the weapon specialist, but only it, no optional nodes.

Those optional nodes need to give me a reason to do more than use my ranged weapon just to give me that boost to melee (since melee is just one stack you can easily just use a plasma gun and fire off into a horde or snipe a special to get a kill and swap back). This new a talent arrangement actually gives me even less reason to do anything other than just the single point into WS because it is so easy to grab up a lot of good passives.

Yeah it is really odd that vet has charged weapons and weapons with slow ready speeds but nothing to boost those speeds. I think hellbore would have a place in the left if it just gave a charge rate increase or the bolter would have a place on the right if it gave a ready speed increase, even as one of the optional nodes.

I really think the plasma secondary action should be an ADS that changes the primary button to be a charge, this would enable more accurate shots with it. But specific weapon mechanics is a bit off-topic so I won’t dig further into how I would like weapons to change.

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If it matches your playstyle and you think you can utilize it well, it’s totally fine. I just offered my view and it is based on my judgment and how I approach the game. Have nothing against ppl who run it. Just explained why I don’t. :+1:

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Let me put it from a different perspective.
Before the rework (patch 13) EVERYONE was complaining that the talents are bland and dont do anything specific.
Now that we actually have specific talents that work on specific things so you’re complaining that its not spread out enough again? You want another talent tree that works on every weapon in the game. Want to see how those kind of trees look? Play vermintide 2.

I like my sniper build, i like that i’ve a specific build i can go for that rewards my good aim and as you call it “niche” playstyle and i doubt im alone in this.
You literally have 11 other fking talent builds spread across 4 classes NONE of the require you to aim at all. And you have to call for castration of the one talent build that does reward it just because you cant aim?
How self centered are you…


I find this even more egregious when engaging with enemies not yet alerted. Getting the jump on them while they are still just on patrol is the way, but I would like to have the increased dodge for the fight. It runs basically counter to the instinct I learned from playing the game.

Sorry, don’t understand what you mean. Can you be a bit more clear? At no point did I mention alerting enemies on patrol.

I was just building off of your point basically.

You mentioned shotgunners shooting you, I find it even worse when you have to run counter to your instinct: requiring to shoot something before engaging (potentially) alerting not-yet-alerted enemies you want to engage on to gain the buff…

A buff that would be beneficial in the engagement, but for that you have to play in a way I would consider non-optimal and something in opposition to what the game has hammered into me almost to an instinctual level.

I wasn’t trying to argue with you in any way.