Even though the EE-edition is just days away I’m compelled to make a few suggestions that I really wish to see someday. Chance is that some of these may even be already implemented.
This game has a lot of potential, which at a lot of times seems to be just an inch away of unleashing itself.
General rant about balance between weapons, including ranged:
To balance the weapons out across different difficulties I see no shame in tweaking the stats according to each difficulty level, or game mode. Good example of this is plasma cannon that works decently without friendly fire but becomes absolute mess with it. The damage that plasma cannon deals to enemies is no way near enough to outweigh the difficulty of use. The damage area is huge but doesn’t even annihilate the basic genestealers in its area. You get to fire it once and kill the first genestealer, two if you are lucky. Then the ones coming after them are already in friendly fire area and you only kill yourself, plus your teammates. (I know that shooting ground, ceiling or floor gives more leeway in controlling the impact point and thus the damage area. Problem is, as mentioned before the area effect isn’t strong enough.)
The melee really needs some additional features. Each melee weapon needs more unique attributes to make them more distinguishable from each other. Overall it would be nice to see more features beside damage and armour penetration. I would go even as far as to suggest two different attack modes for each melee weapon.
This works pretty well as it is. Destructive but requires good awareness. As mentioned before, different kind of attacks would really help to provide more variance and nuances to gameplay. (nuances keep people interested in the game)
This is pretty much just smaller thunder hammer. Give it something to stand out. This could be anything from knocking back enemies to a short distance charge with a strike in the end.
Force sword and force axe:
These are just imported from single player and currently make little sense. Maybe give the sword a hefty cooldown reduction and add some kind of stunning effect to the axe. Perhaps the axe even gives you a whole new psychic skill, or a spinning special attack (doesn’t need fancy animations) that hits all enemies (and allies) around you.
Give the librarian access to skills that improve melee combat. Everyone I know wants to fling a frickin’ force weapon. Sad truth just is that currently they are quite ineffective and become nigh useless on harder difficulties.
This is pretty nice as it is. It feels satisfying to smash it into your enemies. Again, maybe give it slow heavy strike and a faster quick swipe.
This one feels quite weak and not satisfactory at all. Give it alternative heavy strike that charges for a long time but gives damage resistant to self while the strike is charging.
This weapon really needs to be a badass genestealer execution blender to compete with thunder hammer and mace. Once more, give it something to make it unique.
(Different strikes, stun effects, charging modes, make it give you passive damage resistant against melee, make it hit only enemy one at a time but instant kill anything but broodlords, make it have a lot more longer range than other melee weapons, make it give the assault a whole new skill, just to throw few ideas.)
More options for skills:
The gameplay would hugely benefit from larger skill pool for each class, from which the player may pick x many skills to each mission. This creates huge variance to gameplay with relatively small work. Even though I am a fan of the 40k lore, I think it is definitely alright to stretch the lore here and there. (The gameplay would be a mess if the bolters would actually fire small rockets at assault riffle fire rate.) Besides, who is to dictate what gadgets could be found in the endless 40k universe. Nothing really rules out what you can or cannot do with psychic powers.
I would suggest going through all the different aspects of the game one at a time, and to dig out any possibilities of making skills that utilise those aspects. This applies to weapons as well. This applies even to different enemies.
No skills currently slow enemies (librarian shock wave comes close to this), no skills currently do damage over time to enemies, no skill currently affects other skills, no skill currently makes the enemies weaker to all damage or remove their armour.
Force weapon is a great example of having synergy with your marine’s loadout. Just be careful not to make any synergy you implement to be a forced synergy.
Whenever implementing something into a game, think WHY. What does that particular feature bring into to the game. Many games have this problem I call the illusion of choice, which means there are 10 different things that you can choose to hurl at your enemies, which at the core, are all same stuff… only in different colour. You can choose from fire bolt, lightning bolt, ice bolt, magic bolt… all which just deal damage to enemies with no further difference.
Every weapon, skill and enemy should be a chance for players to really explore and expand the gameplay experience. This is what turns a game from mindless pipe run face smashing shooter into a deep and satisfactory experience that keep the players engaged as they figure out the game and new tactics. There really is as much, and more, about weapons, enemies, maps and skills as mentioned here about melee weapons but they all eventually return back to these same, fundamental points.
Feel free to contact me if you wish me to further particularize or explore any point.