Ever since the release of Marcus Kruber’s new career, the Grail Knight, we’ve been playing a lot of Warhammer: Vermintide 2. Bardin was my main for the longest time, but I started to really enjoy Bounty Hunter Saltzpyre paired with the clutch of pistols. It’s true that Vermintide 2 has some of the best first person melee combat ever put in a video game, but even so, it also has some pretty damn fun ranged combat. That’s why when I heard about Bardin and his Outcast Engineer career path I was excited that Bardin was getting another career that is about doing ranged damage, especially since he gets an awesome steampunk-like cranked Gatling-style gun.
Bardin is a favorite in my group—we all love that affable dwarf. While most of my friends play a mean Ironbreaker, I’ve always been partial to Bardin’s Slayer career—but its lack of ranged options is a bummer. Sure, he’s got his throwing axes, but they’re limited in range, not as reliable as guns, and you have to retrieve them. So for Bardin to get a gun as a career skill was immediately intriguing, and the fact that it was a Gatling-style gun that required cranking was exciting. I always wanted to have an impressive ranged attack that mirrored the formidable Ratling Gunner Skaven unit. While Bardin’s Crank Gun isn’t as visually impressive, it’s fun as hell.
Using Bardin’s Crank Gun was a bit of a learning curve for me. In fact, I thought I could play Bardin’s Outcast Engineer career for an afternoon and write up this article. The reality is, I was torn on this new career for a long time: is it fun, too complicated, or somewhere in between? I knew I needed to play it a good amount to get the proper feel for it. Unlike most career skills, Bardin’s purple energy bar works as a sort of ammo counter for the Crank Gun. It doesn’t require ammo pick-ups at all—but to replenish your bar, you’ll need to switch to the Crank Gun and give it a few cranks to get the skill bar replenishing. Each crank gives you a stack of Pressure—up to five, or four with the talent “Superior Gaskets.” The higher the pressure, the faster the gauge fills up. The purple potion means unlimited “ammo” for a short duration, and really lets you open up with the Crank Gun. But I’ve found the Crank Gun to be mostly situational– excelling in some situations and not in others.
Different talents can help the Crank Gun achieve greater versatility, but it really excels when clearing enemies that are lined up. Using the Crank Gun in narrow hallways can hold back entire hordes on lower difficulties, and take chunks out of bosses. The default Crank Gun isn’t the best against armor, but if you reduce its rate of fire with the talen “Gromril-Plated Shot” you get slower, armor piercing rounds. These are great for tearing through Black Rat and Beastmen Patrols. It doesn’t gun down Chaos Warriors as effectively, but it can stagger them easily. The Crank Gun can almost be used as a primary weapon with the right setup—but it’s best for your group if you supplement it with normal play.
Bardin’s Outcast Engineer talents are mostly about his Crank Gun, but there are some more interesting aspects to this new career mode. Outcast Engineer is a ranged class, and that means more ammo for guns he carries. Interestingly, the Outcast Engineer is the only other Bardin Career that allows you to carry the Drakefire pistols and flame spouting Drake Gun—both of which don’t even use ammo. But the choice of switching between flames and Crank Gun makes Outcast Engineer Bardin especially formidable against hordes—most of the time. Outcast Engineer also buffs other classes to do more ranged damage—a passive buff that’s just good to have around. But one of Outcast Engineer’s best features is his ability to carry three bombs at a time—and he even has a talent called “Bombardier” that makes those bombs gain the effects of both types of bombs simultaneously. This is absolutely one of my favorite things about him—though I wish the double bomb effect worked for all players in an Outcast Engineer’s group.
Outcast Engineer Bardin isn’t perfect. The Crank Gun is on the cusp of being incredibly fun, but feels almost like more work than it’s worth–especially at first. It took me a bit of practice to be able to melee, switch to crank, switch to shooting, and avoid getting hit. While that’s manageable eventually, it doesn’t change how disappointing the projectiles look. I was hoping for bright tracers, but instead got wisps of steam. It doesn’t really make sense for the barrels to become bright red and super-heated like they do—especially since the projectiles are being pushed out with water vapor—so I wish Fatshark took some liberties with how the projectiles looked, too. I don’t know, I’m not a dwarven engineer.
Outcast Engineer is everything I wanted, but it took me a while to realize it. I kept finding myself wanting something more like Bounty Hunter Saltzpyre paired with clutch of pistols, but I think Outcast Engineer is nearly as compelling while being different than I expected. The Crank Gun can be a little complicated to manage at first, but manages to get fun with practice. The Outcast Engineer’s Bombardier talent mixed with his ability to carry three bombs is great, and adds even more options to a toolkit that has great potential for managing hordes. If you’re playing Vermintide 2, there’s really no reason not to give this career a try.
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