Topic: Utility Skill Tree Discussion

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  • #2517
    Sky
    Participant

    New day new beginnings.
    Nothing makes you imagination fly free more than a boring eventless day at work. So I decided to fill it in. And the topic will be Skills. I’d like to start a discussion about the current skills in their current state now at the start of Early Access v0.4.0.22 . This is based on my play session so far. I’d like to encourage all players to give their opinions, share their point of view together we might get the feedback the devs are looking for and improve the game we all obviously would like to succeed and give us, the players as much fun as possible. When replying to specific skills please keep the format “skillname: opinion” and an empty row between skills.
    Before we start let me just paint the picture a bit more. I jumped in the game blindly, all info I had was from few gameplay videos on Das’s channel on youtube. Had even no idea what the lvl cap is. My first band the “wolves” died on the first day by werewolf hunters. This is my second start. After the first day rape thought only the expensive guys aren’t expendable and that early game I should focus on the possibly cheapest sellswords. When starting I had in mind a balanced party with all weapon types. Was going to do dedicated defenders and attackers. Thought the skill trees as usually in other games will force the chars to a specific role rendering them much weaker or even useless in others. Well… I couldn’t be more wrong. And that’s fantastic. When I started to realize this still in early game, decided to pick a big variety of skills just to see how they work and what combos can be made. So yeah, did a lot of not so good choices. And still the warband lives long and… sometimes loses a few members making it possible for me to try the high cost high upkeep guys and getting them skills I never had before.

    Utility Tree (BB_UtilityTree.jpg)

    TIER 1

    Bags and Belts: By itself is a mediocre skill at best. Now four slots aren’t much needed especially later. Combined with quick hands is an absolutely different scenario… You can have an xbow a jevelin a 2h and a 1h+shield at the same time, changing between freely as you please. Shoot, then throw, then turtle up and when surrounded release the 2h beast. Even terminator jumps into the smelting bowl just to evade you. You have 9 skill points at maximum level, you need 6 to master a tree, and you can spare 2 to have this. The only question is, do you want it in your playstyle. Alone it is almost non existent, with the QH it is a deadly combination. Right place.

    Taunt: Well. Not sure about this, used it once but did not see much effect. Guess it is good as is.

    Quick Hands: A skill for the whole game. If you are going to use it. Archers should get it and carry a secondary quiver to freely switch when the first is empty after the 5th turn. Early/mid game saved me several times, when had broken shields and broken weapons while in a very long fight. Just carry a replacement. Also helps archers to fast swap for melee if needed. Fine as is.

    Student: Definitely only early game skill. Has low/no value at mid/late game. Good as is.

    Shield Bash: An other early game and rarely mid game skill. Should be buffed somehow, like adding a chance to stun or demoralize. Pretty useless as is.

    Pathfinder: A very good skill for the whole game time. No more problems in forests swamps hills. Like red bull, just in a skill format. Good as is.

    TIER 2

    Brawny: For changes a skill that is useful mid but especially late game. A good armor takes up to 30 fatigue, this skill just halves it. Wear it like a 120 armor one instead of 250. Nice skill, like it, no change needed imo.

    Battle Flow: Unfortunately for some reason skipped this one and found it again only recently, still a bit to go till I get it. Should be useful tho not always needed.

    Footwork: It is a much more sophisticated rotation skill that needs only one char. Saved my archer countless times in forest fights, against vampires, werewolf hunters. Probably is also useful on melee chars. No point to take it together with the rotation. A solid skill in a solid place.

    Captain: A wonderful skill. Just don’t make my mistake and get it for an archer. Much more useful on a melee fighter who is in the middle of the battle instead of a far behind archer. No more panic, no more fear, no more running away, you definitely should have two captains to get both tier 3 skills and this. Like it, fine as is.

    Weaponmaster: Good solid skill, fairly balanced. Useful and I like it.

    Fearsome: This is a good skill, and again don’t make my mistake, it is far more useful if taken by an archer or a 1h char. Simply cuz they attack twice or more. The 2h dudes can release its full potential only at specific times with the area of effect (aoe) attacks. Good as is.

    TIER 3

    Rally the Troops: Again my mistake was to get this for my archer, as with the captain skill this has a max range of 5 if I am not mistaken. A melee fighter can fast turn the battle rejuvenating all around. Nice skill, must have!

    Inspiring Presence: Once more I did a mistake, this one is best on an archer. It is a one time bonus at the start of battle. With this one and two good placed dudes with commander skill you will never lose morale, and the starting bonus is always nice. Must have, ultimate skill!

    Please do write your thoughts, suggestions, comments, perhaps skill ideas. Together we are strong, together we are the battle brothers. Hehe.

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    #2536
    PsenBattle
    Keymaster

    And more helpful feedback. Awesome to hear that the utility tree gets some love ;)

    Overhype Studios - Let´s roll!

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    #2540
    Sky
    Participant

    It is actually my favorite one. It is fresh and well working. Always nice to see innovation in rpg like progress systems, unfortunately they mostly fail, not this one!

    #2565
    GOD
    Participant

    Utility tree is pretty great, probably the best balanced one. Tier 1 lacks some flash, but tier 2 and 3 make up for that. You kind of have the issue that there’s a disconnect between the kinds of perks you get in the first tier and the second tier (more unique perks, rather than synergy), but that does mean that the tier 1 perks can be integrated rather well with offence or defence builds.

    I think you’re right regarding Shield Bash. A chance to stun would fit with it being a shield. Could be too powerful though and infringe on the niche of the stunning weapons.

    I haven’t gotten a good read yet on how effective Taunt actually is in triggering attackers, but it has a lot of potential for basing a build on due to being tier 1. Seems to work well with Return Favour and high resolve traits.

    #2568
    PsenBattle
    Keymaster

    Could be too powerful though and infringe on the niche of the stunning weapons.

    The original design was with a chance to stun, but we removed it for exactly that reason. We’ll see what happens when we get more feedback on that.

    Overhype Studios - Let´s roll!

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    #2598
    fartlancer
    Participant

    I agree that Quick Hands is a must have for archers and I hadn’t even considered giving them an extra quiver. I use it to give them a weapon/shield combo so that they can contribute to the beat down as our battle lines devolve or protect themselves better in battles that don’t start with formed lines.

    Your feedback on Bags and Belts makes it sound pretty interesting but I haven’t gotten to the point of desiring that much flexibility yet. Having different Battle Brothers meet my tactical needs rather than Swiss army knife brothers has been sufficient so far but I’m only to the point of a few level 7s in my complement.

    I haven’t used Shield Bash yet, either. Maybe some other debuff like a single target taunt or temporary decrease in accuracy or defense would help make it more appealing and feel better balanced. Or maybe scale the damage based on the shield you use.

    #2677
    Sky
    Participant
    #2911
    Sky
    Participant

    I haven’t used Shield Bash yet, either. Maybe some other debuff like a single target taunt or temporary decrease in accuracy or defense would help make it more appealing and feel better balanced. Or maybe scale the damage based on the shield you use.

    Well I did use it, in early game to free up damaged sellswords, to push the enemy back when they overwhelming, to push the enemy from high advantageous positions. But later there was the Rotation skill and footwork, both of them working 100% of the time. Unfortunately the bonus of this perk to the shield bash skill is the problem. While the skill was useful, the perk is not. 10-25 dmg is a meh bonus and the 10 fatigue damage is useless since the enemy has tons of fatigue. Without a doubt the early game benefits from it, since doing a small amount of damage as a bonus is nice, but starting midgame becomes useless. Mostly cuz I rarely use the skill anymore, just overpowering everything everywhere, and this damge is halved against armor so… everything is armored midgame. Maybe, if the damage would depend on the shield or the overall armor (like the weight behind the bash) would make it at least considerate midgame. Like being full armor would do 50-100 damage to enemy while it would still be halved against armor and ofc the power behind a bash of the full armored weight would send most enemies flying, so doing like 40 fatigue damage is fine, forcing them catch breath or even back off a bit but without overpowering stun. Scaling up the perk effects with char and world progress is a good thing to do.

    #2940
    Malthus
    Participant

    Todays change, giving items in bags a fatique penalty is a step in the right direction but at the same time making bags and belts completely removing said penalty it does not really solve the problem of using quickhands and bags and belts together to use a range of two handed weapons + onehand and shield at the same time.

    While the skill should be an improvement it should not be overpowered. In my opinion it would be ok to further decrease the fatique penalty of items carried in the bags to something between 25 and 40 percent. You are able to carry more but that should not lead to a guy carrying a bilhook, a greatsword and a twohanded axe in the bags while carrying a shield and a one handed weapon in his hands, being able to quickchange them within a combat round, attack with a twohanded weapon of his choice ( whatever does the best effect at the given time) and then change back to onehand and shield before ending the turn and all this without any fatique penalty.

    "I am a Paladin!"
    >OMG, Malthus, there are no damn paladins in Battle Brothers...<
    "OK, OK! Then I´m a wrecked down minstrel drunkard pretending to be a paladin, singing so wrong in the midst of battle that even the undead run in fear... Better?!"

    #2944
    GOD
    Participant

    The entire point of the perk combination is to do precisely that though. I don’t think it still doing that constitutes a problem, as it’s not like it’s breaking the game. There’s also no real reason to ever have such a heavy load, so there’s no need to nerf the perk for that reason. You could certainly do it and I guess it gives your merc some extra flexibility, but nothing that completely changes how you use that character. It would be pretty broken if you could carry armour, but you can’t so that’s not an issue. I’m pretty much fine with the way it is. You now a reason to have Bags and Belts on its own and it still synergises well with Quick Hands. Overall, I’m pretty pleased with the changes made.

    #2945
    Malthus
    Participant

    So you tell me it is absolutely intended to use a guy with bags an belts + quick hands standing in front of an orc army having a bilhook, great axe, great swort in the bags and a onehand weapon + shield equipped?
    Now as soon as the enemies have closed in on him, he does not need to move anymore which means, with full ap he changes his equip to lets say a greatsword because there are two orcs in a line. Bam doublekill. Switch back to onehand + shield for def bonus. Now his brothers dying left and right and he is surrounded by orks. HAA nice to have a Battle Brothers´ Swiss Army knife (Greatsword,Greataxe,Bilhook,onehand+shield all in one) take out your greataxe and show them the tornado of death then switch back to get your shield bonus again before ending the turn. Hmm now they are all dead, no orc inside the one hex range. AAHHH there is another orc right behind my next brother. Lets bilhook him to death.
    This cannot be the way to go. This game is about taking meaningful choices aswell in choosing your mercenaries and their equipment and not to have alround fighters. The way this goes it takes all the cons of the different weapons away leaving only the pros…

    "I am a Paladin!"
    >OMG, Malthus, there are no damn paladins in Battle Brothers...<
    "OK, OK! Then I´m a wrecked down minstrel drunkard pretending to be a paladin, singing so wrong in the midst of battle that even the undead run in fear... Better?!"

    #2949
    Sky
    Participant

    I personally have no problem with it, and the latest change seems quite nice making a skill valid on its own. Tho there is something in what you saying Malthus and perhaps the skill should give the free of ap weapon change limited to once per turn. So if you change to a 2h weapon while surrounded to score a multi kill, you will stay with it thru till the next turn when you could switch back to shielded. This would indeed make the decision quite tactical and will have to be done in a clever way, else you simply might end up with a dead brother while all the surronding enemy chops him in small pieces while he’s with that 2h. This I belive would both stay true to the game and still be an improvement to the skill.

    Almost forgot to mention about this skill more,

    Rally the Troops: My band leader has a 74 resolve. He is an archer and as I wrote it would be better to have it on a melee. After playing a bit I can say that I was wrong. The archer was the better choise. With the area of 5 tiles all I have to do is move him to the perfect spot, since he’s behind my line he is free to move. Now what I did not do when started the topic was to use this skill actively. Wanted to ass later but it slipped my mind so i’m doing it now. You can use the skill every turn. There is no cooldown. But definetely should be. My other archer has the Focus ability from the offense tree. He starts before the leader guy so he’s the one who start the shooting with focus. A rain of arrows is the standart start, now after that using the rally skill removes 74 fatigue of him. He has a max if 150is making him a perfect shot every turn and an arrow rain every 3rd turn. Sure the leader guy does not attack since the skill uses all ap, but hell this is way worth it. Practically it means first turn 1-4 enemy dead, 1 enemy on 2nd turn and 3rd turn, and again 1-4 dead on 4th. Besides him all other brothers may go all in with their abilities since their fatigue is fully refreshed EVERY turn. This skill is OP as O and P can ever be. For a cost of 1 member the other 11 can do whatever they like without thinking about stamina or skill use. You want to do spearwall and shieldwall just for lolz, go for it, next turn you will be 0 fatigue anyway. Definetely needs to be redone and nerfed nerfed nerfed.

    #2953
    zolw
    Participant

    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 :)

    TIER 1
    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.

    TIER 2
    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.

    TIER 3:
    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

    #2955
    Sky
    Participant

    Yeah, that’s what I was hoping for when starting the thread to see different playstyle thoughts. It’s definitely different from mine quite much, and you value the perks accordingly. Thank you for sharing your opinion!

    #2956
    Malthus
    Participant

    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 :)

    The point is to make it work like i described you can not move and attack with a two handed weapon in the same turn, as you will end up on 1 or less ap which automatically ends your turn. So you already have to stand next to your target.

    But if you dont move, attacking only costs 6 ap for a two handed weapon, leaving you with 3 ap left and still beeing able to change back your equip. After that you could make a step.

    Beyond this in my opinion you made some very valid points about the rest of the utility skills.

    "I am a Paladin!"
    >OMG, Malthus, there are no damn paladins in Battle Brothers...<
    "OK, OK! Then I´m a wrecked down minstrel drunkard pretending to be a paladin, singing so wrong in the midst of battle that even the undead run in fear... Better?!"

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