First thing I want to say is the following. Though it may not matter much given that five people still play TPS, Wilhelm is criminally underrated. I know this because my extensive reading before running him through UVHM with good weapons and a thoughtful build led me to believe I would struggle most with him among all the VHs. “He lacks damage,” “He doesn’t do anything very well,” “He’s just average,” etc. While I understand that the strict math may confirm such judgments, it isn’t usually made clear that by “average” or “not excelling anywhere” one means “He isn’t doing insane overkill damage, like Nisha et al., which 99.9% of the time isn’t needed anyway.”
In other words, the more accurate statement, i.e., one that would give newbies a better representation of what Wilhelm is capable of, would be something like this: “He is consistently very powerful, just not completely OP or broken.”
I have been so pleasantly surprised by his consistent output of damage plus his wonderful survivability that I’m almost ready to say he’s the most fun I’ve had in UVHM. I struggled mightily with Athena - as is known here, given my post in her section - but I also had some issues with Nisha and Aurelia in finding a balance between DPS and survival. Not until I studied the lengthy debates between charrisx and Chuck (and others) was I able to get my Nisha really cooking with gas.
All of which is to say, I’m enjoying Wilhelm so much that I would like to optimize my build a bit more, if possible. My main inspiration for it was HandsomeDad’s Wild Billhelm build. I’m not sure why he chose to make that build, but it was serendipitous for me since my personal preferences cut against Tediore chucking and cryo-reliance. Perhaps it was something similar for him. Regardless, I wanted something more along the lines of a straight “gun build” for Wilhelm, and HandsomeDad provided a great template for that.
However, I did vary it up a bit due to my nervousness about passing up on certain skills he left in the dust. I wonder if my choices make sense:
The biggest issues, clearly, are that I didn’t feel comfortable not taking ER, Heatsinks, and Omega Strike. This led me to not max out Divert Power, WTTGS, Energize, and to skip Zero Hour.
Like HD, I’m running with a CE com. I had the sense that if I ran with a Cracked Sash instead of his preferred shield(s) I could basically spam ER while picking up the nice 1 point benefit in DP when things got too DOT’y. Given other similar buffs, though, I figured 4 points was enough in the former, allowing me to put the needed 1 point in the latter.
I realize, of course, that the Cracked Sash would seem to make Heatsinks redundant. It might. I took it because of the delay reduction, small as it might be. I wanted it to be as close to a combination of the Naught’s delay and the Sash’s instant recharge as possible. The gain, needless to say, might be too trivial to justify the 5 points I’ve put into Heatsinks. (Plus, I wanted the points in Heatsinks for if/when I switched to other shields.)
I also didn’t want to miss out on the killing potential of Wolf by not adding OS to RT, sacrificing a bit of survivability by moving that point from ZH.
One thing I’ve noticed is that with this Cracked Sash-style of play, combat with Wilhelm feels almost exactly like Hellborn Krieg with a Rough Rider. It seems like he’s always on fire or corroding or getting electrocuted. And due to the special properties of the shield combined with Wilhelm’s defensive skills, like Krieg, I very rarely go down.
Frankly, I don’t notice anything missing. The DPS is perfectly sufficient. He melts through Badasses with a Flayer. He’s lethal with a Muckamuck from afar. The Absolute Zero provides cryo in a pinch, and the Meat Grinder or Maggie or Iron or Anarchist (whatever I feel like) cleans up trashier enemies. I’m still in disbelief at how powerful he can be, even with a build he wasn’t necessarily made for.
It does worry me, though, that he takes so much elemental damage. I always seem to have a DOT on me. It could be that I’m playing too recklessly. Nearly always when Saint is up I can power through the DOTs, but I’d still, ideally, like to reduce their menace as much as possible. Maybe I already am. Hard to say.
In essence, I’m wondering if I’m wasting defensive skill points and should reallocate them to, say, HCU and Hard to Kill, or something along those lines.
Any suggestions or knowledge you might have to pass on would be, as always, greatly appreciated.
EDIT: I noticed that Hoyle said in his Top Gear post that Divert Power is generally a waste when using Tediores like the Cracked Sash, but I’m failing to understand why. I’m guessing there’s some nuance about the way the skil works or activates that I’m failing to grasp. With a Cracked Sash my shield and my health are constantly getting oblterated, and I put the one point there not for the regenerations (as with Heatsinks) but for the other buff, in this case the damage resistance, which I figure helps me survive those DOTs I mentioned above.
Am I wrong about this?
EDIT 2: Sorry to carry on, but I have another issue that just popped up. I don’t have difficulty with the bosses in themselves, but with some of them, like Redbelly and especially Felicity, the bullet reflection is KILLING me. I don’t really know how to get around it, since I’m somewhat new to this game. My question is: if I equip a 94 Sham, will it absord my own bullets if they’re reflected back at me? If not, what the hell do I do to work around the bullet reflection of these bosses?