Berserker: A heavy handed rework that should remove P2W elements

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flashn00b

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Feb 1, 2011
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Full disclosure: I don't expect Berserker to get any balance changes moving forward because people seem to be okay with the idea that you'd need to buy your way into viability with this perk on higher difficulties, with real world money, mind you. With that said, I think it'd be good to explore how the tank class could be improved in such a way that...

A: Makes leveling the Berserker not a pain in the ass
B: Allow base game Zerks to play on a similar playing field to DLC owners assuming similar skill level
C: not be too intrusive to players who are already at Level 25
D: Actually make Massacre a viable sidegrade to Smash

Even before the nerfs from Summer 2021, I've personally felt that Berserker is a bit underpowered since most balance discussion assumes that the player has already hit Level 25 and therefore has his perk skills available to him. I think this is a flawed way of looking at things since this does not account for player progression.

Commando gets extra zed time extensions and better stalker callout radius, Medic and Survivalist get an increased armor capacity, Support gets 1 weight block every five levels, and Gunslinger and Survivalist get faster reload speeds during Zed Time to name a few bonuses. Meanwhile, the only thing that Berserker gets is Perk Weapon Damage like everyone else, and nothing else.

I think it might be worth it to make damage resistances and the Parry skill a passive bonus, so as to give players some sense of progression as they level outside the 5 level milestones. This will also serve as a slight buff to Berserker's survivability, since you currently need a DLC weapon to give the tank class better tanking capabilities than the jack-of-all-trades.

Passives
Underlined passives indicate new changes
Perk Weapon Damage: 1 * Level
Can't be Grabbed by Clots
Night Vision
Damage Resistance: 10% + 1% * Level (Max 35%)
Damage Bonus on Parry: 10% + 1 * Level (Max 35%) (Parry skill is now a passive. To compensate for this, Damage resistance bonus is reduced to 10%*)
Melee Attack Speed: 5% + 0.8 * Level (Max 25%)

*This will bring the Berserker's max damage resistance to 45%, which is still lower than the 55% resistance that Parry originally gave before the Interstellar Insanity update

Level 10 skills
Butcher and Vampire no longer give an attack speed bonus. This is due to Melee Attack speed being a passive, though the above suggestion means that the Berserker will have a 13% attack speed bonus by the time he reaches Level 10. With that said, I think it might be worth exploring Vampire

Vampire
Gain additional health for every zed you kill with Perk weapons. Some zeds are more rewarding than others, melee kills are 50% more rewarding.

ZED health distribution (Plus indicates additional health based on melee kill):
Clot/Crawler/Stalker - 2 +1
Gorefast/Siren - 3 +1
Bloat/Rioter - 4 +2
Gorefiend/Husk - 5 +3
Quarter Pound/EDAR - 8 +4
Scrake/Fleshpound - 16 +8

These changes should make Vampire more rewarding based on the threat level of individual zeds, while also making the risk of going into melee all the more rewarding compared to the health you'd otherwise gain from clicking away at zeds from afar. Having health be distributed on a per zed basis should be possible if the Wild West London weekly is indicative of anything.

Level 15 skills
Since my suggestions for passive damage resistance are pretty heavy handed, these will definitely need adjustment.

Natural Immunity (Resistance replacement): Gain a 20% resistance to Poison, Fire and Sonic damage. You are also more likely to be targeted by large zeds, however. (TODO: RNG manipulation)
Frenzy: Deal 2% more damage with perk weapons for every 5 HP lost. This DOES NOT stack with Dreadnought.

With damage resistance becoming a passive, it wouldn't make sense to give the Resistance skill neutral damage resistance. To compensate, the Resistance Skill now has a slight resistance to fire, though this bonus is likely going to be more meaningful to Husk fireballs rather than the plasma spray or the Matriarch's microwave laser.

And with my suggestion of making Parry passive, it'd probably be a good time to re-introduce the Frenzy skill from back when there were only 4 perks in the game. I've personally found it to be a pretty useful skill since it's a bit unreasonable to expect that you'll time your parries correctly 100% of the time. Bad players will likely die all the same, though good players will have a better chance at fighting their way out of a terrible situation.

Level 20 skills
Massacre: Increase the damage of light melee attacks and ranged perk weapons by 30% and 15% respectively. Also reload faster with Berserker weapons

There is no reason to pick Massacre over Smash right now. Increasing the reload speeds and damage of ranged Berserker weapons can at give some additional utility to the VLAD-1000, Teslalauncher and Eviscerator. Frost Fang especially since the weapon doesn't have a melee bash but rather a light melee swing

Berserker Rage
Now has an unlisted property that manipulates the auto-panic behaviour of the skill based on the following checks:

Game Mode is Objective: If fail, move to next condition
Game Mode is Survival AND Map is Santa's Workshop: If fail, zeds stand still for a while

In most situations, Berserker Rage will behave as it does now in which zeds will stand still and not do anything unless someone walks up to them. However, if Santa's Workshop is being played or if you're in an Objective Mode server, then Berserker Rage will behave like it did before: Making zeds flee before the raging zerker.

I've always felt that the old Berserker Rage had its place in Objective Mode, where the securing of a perimeter is much more important than having the higher head count than everyone else. The functionality of perimeter securing is restored only for Objective maps.

Weapons
I feel like Tier 2 weapons are the worst example of Berserker's weapon balancing. Katana is barely even an upgrade at all from the Crovel despite having the same weight cost and damage mitigation properties, and while Fire Axe has its niche to fulfil, it's a bit too unwieldy and not a very attractive alternative to using the VLAD-1000 or a single Piranha Pistol.

Katana
Price reduced to $750
Heavy attack damage increased to 100
Parry window increased to 0.51

Upon looking at the stats again, it's apparent to me that the Katana's actually worse than the Crovel for what it offers, having a shorter parry window and a weaker melee attack than if you spent the extra weight block and $500 to have a level 1 Crovel. Heavy attack is now almost as good as T2 Crovel, but has the added bonus of costing one less weight block and having the same parry window.

Road Redeemer
Removed from the trader pod
Road Redemption owners on Steam instead get a new Katana skin with the Road Redeemer's model
- Katana | Road Redeemer | Precious (replaces all instances of the Vault Precious Road Redeemer)
- Katana | Golden Road Redeemer | Precious (Vault Precious Road Redeemer skin is now exclusive to Road Redemption owners)

There's no point to the Road Redeemer's inclusion in KF2 since it's literally just the Katana but weighing an extra weight block for no justifiable reason. Already worse than just upgrading your crovel on that merit alone.

Fire Axe
Price reduced to $750
Is now at a lower priority than the Crovel Survival Tool
Unequip time reduced to 0.56s

I get that there's a time and place to utilize certain weapons as a stopgap towards higher tier guns, though I found that the Fire Axe is about as clumsy to use as they can get. While the Heavy Attack hits hard enough to be a threat to gorefiends, husks, QPs and Scrakes, its attack speed is so painfully slow that you'll actually wanna keep your crovel around for weaker enemies. I wouldn't mind the Fire Axe being so painfully slow if it didn't take forever and a day to switch out of it. The faster unequip speed should give the player more flexibility when carrying both the Crovel and Fire Axe, while the reduced priority will also do well to emphasize its role as a situational weapon.

Piranha Pistol/Dual Piranha Pistol
Damage reduced to 90

As far as damage is concerned, reducing it to 90 should still make the weapon a formidable tool to use against trash groups when setting up your melee kills, and I don't think it would need to be nerfed TOO TOO badly since a previous suggestion involves making it less effective at healing the player than if he took his melee weapon out to do the job. This suggestion does not take Gunslinger into account since I don't think he was ever taken into consideration regarding the Piranha's balancing (it's really only a GS weapon because dual pistols, let's be honest)
 
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CitronVert

Member
May 17, 2015
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So you start your post by saying you don't want to affect lvl 25 zerks so much, yet you suggest, all at once:
  • +25% flat resistance buff
  • Parry as passive, so now zerk can have BOTH parry and resistance
  • +20% additional resistance to husk
  • A broken version of vampire
  • Buff to half of his weapons, including one of his best (eviscerator)

All buffs applied at once, without any single nerf, and your only justification is that zerk would still not be as busted as pre-nerf version? First of all, this is not true, your new zerk is arguably as busted as pre-nerfed zerk, maybe even more, because even though your new parry would give less bonuses, you have increased zerk's natural resistance enough that he wouldn't need parry to survive anymore, on top of this, you still give him bonuses on parry, removed his weakness to husk, a new broken version of vampire that makes him the ultimate kiting class, you buffed eviscerator, gave more resistance to poison (why??).

Zerk should already be in a very healthy state balance-wise now that hemo has been nerfed and it really doesn't need buffs imo, if anything, I'd say eviscerator combined with skirmisher is still too strong, but that's more an issue with the game not being able to handle kiting in general rather than zerk itself. In particular, zerk really does not need any survivability buffs, there are already too many zerks who let their team die because they know they can solo the wave anyway, and we don't need to make this even more rampant.

It's true that zerk progression is one of the steepest in the game, but that is really a minor issue which simply disappears after you become lvl 20, compared to the MASSIVE issue of HoE being a joke right now due to kiting classes.
 

flashn00b

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Feb 1, 2011
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With the way Berserker is currently balanced, it's actually pretty pay-to-win, and I think it's important to buff pure melee loadouts. Increasing Berserker's capabilities in melee combat would do well to discourage players from buying the Piranha Pistol, because while ammo costs money, simply rolling with the crovel on the early waves puts you at a much bigger disadvantage compared to grabbbing the Piranha and two magazines on wave 2. $600 for a 3 penetration 115 damage six-shooter that counts as a Berserker weapon is in such a position that you'll have a much easier time surviving earlier waves than if you rely purely on melee as your only source of kills.

And people seem okay with Berserker's early game being balanced around DLC ownership.
 

CitronVert

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May 17, 2015
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I haven't tried the Piranha, but if it's OP then the solution is to nerf it, not buff every other zerk weapon... and when you say "Zerk is currently pay-to-win", you really, literally mean currently, because before the nerf that happened literally 3 days ago, hemoclobber has always been, by far, the best weapon in the game. And maybe it still is. Haven't had time to try. And not only it's not a DLC weapon, it's a weapon that costs only 1200$.

If you're looking for alternatives, eviscerator is an excellent weapon that is not pay-to-win.
Katana is viable even to solo 6p HoE and is not pay-to-win (but needs skill to use).
And I hope this sentence is a joke:

simply rolling with the crovel on the early waves puts you at a much bigger disadvantage
Crovel is one of the best starting weapons in the game, and zerk one of the best early wave perks, if you have trouble surviving early waves with zerk then I'm sorry but it's a skill issue not a pay-to-win issue.


Here I did HoE waves 9/10 and 10/10 in solo with only a Crovel, and I don't play zerk that much, so if I can do that at wave 10/10, you should handle early waves just fine...
 

flashn00b

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Feb 1, 2011
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if you have trouble surviving early waves with zerk then I'm sorry but it's a skill issue not a pay-to-win issue.
Thing is, even if you're at a higher skill level, the early-game advantages to the sword and pistol combo is disproportionate to the advantages to using a pure melee build. And while i'm watching the video while making this post, I see a fair chunk of moments where damage could've easily been avoided simply by shooting 2-4 sawblades at weaker enemies. I think my argument still stands regarding the disparity between the Berserker's base game and DLC ownership

Crovel is a good starting weapon, but you also have to remember that Berserker usually can't buy his T2 weapons on Wave 2 due to the price difference compared to other perks, Support included. I think you're greatly downplaying the value of being able to spend $676 on half a Tier 3 and 2 magazines on a recently nerfed melee class. Rate of fire and ammo really only starts to become important at around the mid-game though by that point, you already have your second Piranha or have sold your single for a VLAD.

Crovel may be a good starting weapon, but the Crovel/Piranha combo makes the Berserker's early game almost as easy as pre-Summer 2021 Berserker. And I say that Piranha's pay-to-win because it allows the Berserker to get results similar to what was shown in that video but with a significantly lower skill requirement.
 

CitronVert

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May 17, 2015
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I don't think I've ever died at wave 2 with berserker, and I'm really not exaggerating. In contrast, I play sharpshooter a lot, buy armor at wave 2, and sometimes die. So imo, the fact that Crovel+Piranha is a strong combo is irrelevant when the class doesn't need it in the first place. As a zerk, there are only 4 things that should kill you: husks, EDARs, scrakes, and FPs. Scrakes/FPs won't spawn at wave 2. Husks will spawn, but there's nothing to pressure you into fighting them if you don't want to (you can even use 9mm againt them if you're not confident). And against EDARs, you have EMP grenades. So I really don't see why you would need a side weapon with crovel. Maybe it's a good weapon, but it doesn't do anything that you can't do already. I also think you underestimate the katana, although very few people use it, it's just because crovel does 99% of the job already, but imo katana is actually much better than the crovel, especially against trash, you won't one shot things as much, but you can stunlock trash forever due to its insane attacking speed.

True, berserker shouldn't buy anything at wave 2, but imo that's more to save money so that you can buy his main weapons at wave 3-4, whereas many classes will struggle buying their main weapon until waves 5-6, because they have to buy ammo/armor between rounds which zerk doesn't need. Again, sharpshooter would like to say a word here.

Thing is, even if you're at a higher skill level, the early-game advantages to the sword and pistol combo is disproportionate to the advantages to using a pure melee build. And while i'm watching the video while making this post, I see a fair chunk of moments where damage could've easily been avoided simply by shooting 2-4 sawblades at weaker enemies.

I think it's a mistake to view it this way. When playing melee zerk, the game is not about how much damage you take, it's about whether you die or not. If you play melee you are going to take damage, at almost every engagement. True, playing ranged leads to less damage taken than playing melee, but it is not "safer" as long as you know what can kill you and what cannot.

That said I'm not against <lvl25 progression being simplified, and I wouldn't consider it an issue to introduce new mid-class zerk weapons (I just think they'd be completely useless), my issue here is that you are trying to solve something that should be considered a very minor issue, while introducing major issues in the process that will lead to broken zerk 2.0 in the right hands.
 
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emergency snacks

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Come back to play the game and find my class has been double nerfed into the bottem end of the game... THANKS TRIPWIRE. I'M GLAD I TOLD YOU THE HEMOCLOBBER WAS THE PROBLEM....
 

CitronVert

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May 17, 2015
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One stupid mechanic in this PVE game: you lose a lot of HP even if a parry succeeds
Yes this is called balance. Are you suggesting that we ignore balance because it's a PVE game?

If you don't care about balance and want an easy game, well, you can play in easy diffiulties.

Come back to play the game and find my class has been double nerfed into the bottem end of the game...
It's not your class, and zerk is still in high A-tier. (S-tier with hemoclobber)
 
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OnionBubs

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One stupid mechanic in this PVE game: you lose a lot of HP even if a parry succeeds
Fun fact: parries used to reduce all damage to 1 in Early Access, including those done with a knife. It was shortly thereafter changed to the current system because it wasn't even the slightest bit fair or balanced.