I recently made a character that saved some skill points after level 15 and made a backup so I could re-spec to try out all specialization perks, and I must say while some are very strong and consistent, others can only be felt in around 0-10% of your normal gameplay depending on how you play.
Marksman: I think having no sway is a crutch. A normally skilled player like me can hit a tank weak spot with a 8-16 scope from 2-00300m away. Why would you need a crutch skill, something you can substitute with a bit of practice as a specialization skill. Apart from that, There is already a skill that reduces weapon sway, it’s only like a 4th level of it. In my eyes it’s a wasted perk point. Making it add damage after you are using a scope for at least 5 seconds and giving the weapon sway perk a 4th level would be more worthwhile.
On a side note: The make’em count ability in this tree seems like a bad deal. Making it count for all non-auto weapons would be better, single fire on an AR has no real advantage over full-auto as you can just invest into recoil reduction, spend the same amount of perk points for it, and just go for trigger-happy to get insane damage and stability on a machine gun, SMG or AR for the same ammo cost.
Vanguard: Probably the best skill in the entire game. 25% universal damage reduction is huge, it works always, in any situation and just makes so many things easier. It’s simple, consistent and the skills on the way to it are all completely worth it, you’re gonna end up with a 35% natural bullet resistance, now go trash some hunters.
Commander: Again something I can’t see many people using. Field radios are abundant and you have a safe zone every 200 meters. This skill would be highly useful if we wouldn’t have so many bonfires, but as it is, it’s only worth using in multiplayer, has little to effect in solo and counts for only one item. Adding something to it that buffs players around you or having it manipulate ticks around you to attack their masters if you are close to a radio would make it a lot more useful.
Medic: There is no death penalty and you can just respawn close by, adrenaline is pretty uncommon and an advanced medkit heals you to 100% when having heal amount 1 after you got downed. It’s commendable we have so many team-perks, but they lack the real value. If you would lose EXP on death or ammo, being up on your feet with 100% would be a huge boon, but as it stands this perk is a 1/10. If players including you would get a damage resitance and a damage boost after being healed at least 30 health points this would add some value, maybe making giving you a 75% damage over time restance (fire and poison). Having abilities that only work after dying in a game that is about not being hit and planning ahead is kind of a bummer.
Survivor: Well, you did something terribly wrong if you die in the first place, maybe choosing Vanguard would have simply prevented that? It’s an OK skill for players that aren’t confident in their combat skills, but as damage dealt to enemies is saved on death and beyond and there is no penalty for dying, why bother?
Commando: Now I don’t know the formula on damage building perks, if it’s multiplicative or additive, but even with component damage and explosive expert, hitting an enemy while unaware with an RPG would deal 40% extra damage in total if it would be multiplicative. FNIX hunters need 3 rockets to the face to fall over on skirmish. So, you get a first hit and thats it, not even with a 50% bonus you’d be able to kill one on a surprise hit with a rocket. It’s THAT bad. Suggestion: Give surprise hits a guaranteed stagger so you can follow up with some heavy fire. Maybe even add a small heal if you break enemy parts with surprise attacks to add to the guerilla flair. Being a stealth killer is very badass, but you absolutely don’t need this perk for it.
Hacker: Man, this is gonna be awesome I thought when I chose this ability. Then I pointed my binocs at a hunter and nothing happened. When it works it’s OK, but most of the time it doesn’t. I think hacking should not be a % chance. It would be really nice if you could consistently hack enemies by keeping your binoculars on them for a time. A hack-meter would apppear and you would have to keep your binocs on the enemy for a time depending on the type: 5 seconds for runners, 10 for hunters and 20 for tanks and harvester, with the heavy ones having a max of 30 seconds hack time with a 180 seconds cooldown for re-hack. Basing an ability on a random chance that even get’s lower the higher the enemy tier is not a good way to deal with this perk. With a hack-time to reach 100% probability it would be way more consistent and could be used to greater effectiveness, having a dice roll in your favor is no achievement, hiding in a good spot so you can hack an enemy and get the drop on that group of hunters because one of their mates starts firendly fire however, is tactical superiority. No other mechanic except loot is based on randomness in GenZ, it’s about planning and tactics, we have no random critical chance, no random weapon jam, no random instant-kills. Consistency would be much appreciated.
Engineer: Very nice idea, unfortunately Tick droprate is too low and the damage negligible. In 4 hours playtime and after killing around 7 tanks, 5 harveys and 50 hunters (Military or FNIX, a few Apoc and proto) I had a glorious amount of 8 ticks with the mechanic 2 perk. They are like budget grenades and on skirmish difficulty it takes more than two ticks to kill a single FNIX runner. If their droprate wouldn’t be so incredibly low it wouldn’t be a problem, you could use them in packs to start an attack. If their droprate stays the same, they should at least be 50% stronger than a grenade. It’s just the numbers that are an issue here, being a cool tech-guy that is able to fight the machines with their own tech is an awesome idea.