Interesting as always to read other players’ approach to choosing different perks and ways to play. I actually had a very different opinion about usefulness of perks in utility tree and maybe more than perks themselves, their grouping together and steep requirement to choose 3 to unlock tier 2. There will be a reference or two to skills from other trees when I need it to justify my choices (so apologies in advance.)
First a little disclaimer though. As things stand now, I find quickhands perk not working fully, so maybe that is why I do not see it as game-breaking combined with bag and belts perk. At the moment I can freely change items, but only at the beginning of the turn. Changing back doesn’t want to work for some reason after I moved or attacked. Therefore “swiss-army knife” scenario is not actually possible for me :)
Bags and belts: Before the change to nullify weight penalty of items carried in the bags, I never picked that perk as I found it a waste. Now slightly more useful, but still only take it for the guys that have nothing better to do with last perk.
Quick hands: I use it often, but interestingly enough not for archers, or to be more precise, archers get it towards the end of their levelling. I mostly use it for my frontline guys, especially when fighting orcs (which I tend to do often) to switch between sword/mace and flail to bypass the massive shields of orc warriors.
Student: Problem with this perk is that it will inevitably feel like a wasted one when you reach a max lvl cap, but the way my guys are set up, there is not much else to choose from at tier 1 if you need tier 2 unlocked.
Shield bash: I find it useless in current form. Additional small bonuses are not worth it at all.
Pathfinder: Great skill. I give to all that can spare a point to have it. Must have for my 2-hander guys and archers.
Taunt: I have it for testing purposes on one guy and it is underwhelming. Game lacks clear feedback of what the range of that skill is, what it actually does in its current form and just how successful you were when your opponent is “43% affected” by it. If it actually made your opponents go mad and lets say… try to move away from close combat with your first line guys to chase after someone further away, thus providing you with free attacks of opportunity, then it would open up interesting choices. At the moment it feels like it does nothing.
That brings me to the current biggest weakness of utility tree in my opinion. Cost of 3 perks that you might not actually want/need just to open up next tier compares unfavourably to the other 2 trees.
Brawny: On paper looks great… however losing 3 perks just to get to it means that out of my 12 guys – NOONE has it. (I will explain where I actually put the points at the end of the post, so it can be skipped if desired, or read if someone is curious.)
Battle flow: Again great on paper, but if you have one relatively safe guy with rally the troops and high resolve, he can reset any fatigue issues for all your guys in one go and battle flow becomes obsolete.
Footwork: I understand its potential appeal for guys that suddenly find themselves in a place they rather not be, but quick mace to the head and step back, push with a shield from another brother, swap perk from defensive tree are all more viable options for me. Additional annoyance with this perk is its description: “…allows leaving Zone of Control without triggering free attacks,” so my idea was to use it offensively for a guy with 2 handed sword or axe to get in, swing and get out. Little did I know that it enables the skill that actually costs 4 AP, so no swing the 2-hander and step back, unless you have berserk from offensive tree and actually managed to kill someone, gain 4 points and use it for footwork, very risky and not viable in my opinion.
Captain: decent perk if you could get it early on, on someone with decent resolve… but that is the catch, either you will get it by the time that your brothers have no more resolve issues, or if you push for it early on, the guy that has it, will probably not yet have that great resolve himself either.
Weaponmaster: same problem as with battle flow. One guy with tier 3 perk rally the troops, solves your fatigue problems for the rest.
Fearsome: Interesting perk for 1-handed weapon users, just too many uninspiring choices required to get to it.
Rally the troops: The only reason why 1 of my guys had to wade through tier 2, just to get this one. Works great (for me at least,) taken on the guy with a billhook – close enough to affect everyone, far enough to safely use it.
Inspiring presence: This would have been great if available early it the game when your guys have low skill and that extra bonus to most of the stats matters a lot. Late on it’s just not worth it. Your guys will have high morale anyway brought on by not dying and killing the opponents.
As you can see, too many perks either not good enough, not available soon enough, or making each other obsolete.
This concludes the part for utility tree feedback. Below is how I usually spend my perk points after some trial and error:
1 captain guy to solve any fatigue issues (monk is good potential background for high resolve) – sundering strikes, fast adaption, colossus, taunt, student, pathfinder, footwork, captain, fearsome (not the best way to spend for 2-hander arguably,) rally the troops.
1 damage dealer with a billhook to quickly get where he is needed – sundering strikes, push the advantage, fast adaption, berserk, head hunter, colossus, battle forged, dodge, fortified mind, pathfinder.
2 ranged guys (one crossbow, one bow, set up differs slightly for that reason) – sundering strikes, executioner, fast adaption, berserk, head hunter/close combat archer, bullseye, killing frenzy, colossus, quick hands, pathfinder.
The rest is front line guys with slight variations along broadly one of these 2 possible lines:
a) sundering strikes, crusher, executioner, berserk, debilitate, colossus, shield expert, battle forged, fortified mind, nine lives.
b) sundering strikes, crusher, colossus, shield expert, battle forged, fortified mind, nine lives, rotation, return favour/indomitable, quick hands/pathfinder