It’s nearing the Vermintide anniversary, and thus it’s also almost time again for Fatshark’s masterpiece “A Quiet Drink”. (Or it’d better be, at least!) This map is one of my favorite things about this game. Its general feel captures the Warhammer / Vermintide tone perfectly: The ridiculous premise. The Ü5 fighting out an over-the-top bloody streetwar with the same attitude and banter of group of friends going out on a bender. The perfect and hilarious writing / voice-acting. The slapstick-esque sense of humor. (I literally laughed out loud the first time “The Hungy Troll” fell off the cliff and the first time you get drunk.) The super jolly barfight music. The crazy and hard gameplay against overwhelming hordes of enemies. The fact that it’s a tour through the entirety of Helmgart, seeing all the parts of it we fought in in the other missions. It’s all brilliant.
However, every year I notice that not many people are playing it, and that a lot of players who normally can handle the difficulty level they’re playing on just fine are really struggling. Well, AQD is a hard map, no doubt. So I figured I’d write out some tips for people who would like to play and beat it this time around.
FIRST PART: "THE HUNGRY TROLL"
A team competent for the selected difficulty shouldn’t have too much trouble getting to the first hard part of this map: “The Hungry Troll” tavern. Do note, however: This map probably should be played with four human players, and it has some nasty ambient spawns and monster / patrol triggers (also allowing monster + patrol situations). It’s best to stick together tightly and watch your pacing, mainly to prevent pulling too much ambient enemies and getting overwhelmed when other stuff like hordes and monsters spawn on top of that. That is important for this entire map! Team composition is also somewhat important here - or in any case more than it is on normal maps. (Ideas about team composition and class choice are further down below in this post.)
Now, once you get to “The Hungy Troll” this map really takes off. After it tragically falls down in front of our heroes’ thirsty eyes, a buttload of enemies - including berserkers, a patrol’s worth of chaos warriors, and a handful of specials - spawn. This is the first part of this map where a lot of runs prematurely end. Fighting on the steps here is hard. Enemies come from all sides and you have very little manouvering room. The best strategy is probably to drop down the ledge back to the ruined house with the ammo box in front, and kite a loop through the house back to the steps. Climbing enemies are vulnerable and this strategy makes this part a lot more manageable. Be careful: You do need some amount of kiting skill and coordination to prevent getting cornered in the ruined house by enemies from both sides, because that is a loss state a lot of the time.
SECOND PART: GETTING DRUNK
Getting to the next bar - “The Feuerblumchen” - should not be a a big deal after surviving that onslaught. Unfortunately for our heroes the place burned down, but conveniently four bottles of ale survived the disaster. Bottoms up! Now this is where the madness starts. This map features a funny “drunk” mechanic, which is stil not very clear to a lot of people. I’ll try to explain it here, because understanding it is key to winning this map.
After drinking the ale you are “drunk”. Being drunk makes your vision a bit wobbly, the voice-acting hilarious, and you get a small bonus to your ult recharge rate. You’ll notice the “drunk” buff has a cooldown timer, and after it expires you’ll be “hungover”. Being hungover is a lot like being “drunk”, but the effect on your vision is a bit more pronounced and you’ll have the very nasty debuffs that you are slowed a little and your ult can not be used anymore and can not recharge! Drinking another ale puts you back into the “drunk” state, allowing your ult bar to recharge again (but it has to start back from zero again). Drinking another ale while already being drunk increses your “drunk” level by one, which increases the effects on your screen but also increases your passive ult recharge rate by even more. (Drunk level three is a substantial bonus to your ult recharge rate!) But be careful: I’m pretty sure the “hangover” effects get worse the higher your “drunk” level is, and the maximum level of being drunk is three. If you drink another ale while being drunk level three, you get downed! So you have to wait for the cooldown to expire and getting “hungover” before you can drink another ale safely if you’re drunk level three. When drinking an ale in “hungover” state, you’ll be put back into the level of the “drunk” state you were in: So, for example, if you get hungover after being drunk level two, the next ale will put you back into drunk level two again. There are also some further peculiarities with this mechanic: Drinking a normal potion when hungover restores your “drunk” state as if you drank an ale, and drinking an ale will cure you of your “wounded” state if you’ve got downed before (but you’ll still be on grey health, off course). If you drink an ale when already drunk level 3 and you get downed by it, you start over from drunk level 1 again with the next ale.
As you can imagine, this mechanic affects all the classes in a very different way. For some this is a dramatic debuff, while for others it can be a great boon. (I’ve got some musings on class choice for this map written below.)
Getting through the first few fights while being drunk seems to be hard for a lot of groups. It definitely needs some getting used to, and this map throws a lot more pressure on you than a normal map. Key parts of getting through are sticking together to not pull unneeded aggro, taking a smart route & good pacing, remembering to not rely on your ults, and sharing / being tactical with the drinks.
THIRD PART: GETTING TO "THE OBESE MEGALODON"
This part is actually quite hard for a lot of groups, for a big part because of the “drunk” mechanic messing up the playstyle you’ve internalized by playing the game so long, but also because the next part has a really nasty amount of ambient spawns and a lot of triggers for patrols and monsters, together with a lot of suboptimal places to fight. A lot of the runs I’ve been in go south in this part because of people running in all directions (looking for ale?) pulling too much aggro that they can’t solve anymore when timed spawns come as well because of having no backup and being drunk. Getting a patrol + monster with a horde and specials as well is not uncommon here! I know I’ve already wrote it several times in this guide, but I just can’t stress enough how staying together and following a good route with proper pacing is key here. This map is simply harder than other maps. If you normally play on Champion, play with the mindset of playing Legend. If you play this map on Legend, treat it like a Cata map. Mistakes get punished a lot more harshly than normal here!
FOURTH PART: “THE OBESE MEGALODON” BARFIGHT
Now this is the real fun part! Compared to this bit, everything before was just the warmup. After trying to get to that enticing barrel of Bugman’s, a ridiculous army of Pactsworn is going to crash the party resulting in glorious up-close-melee utter chaos, set to the score of a really catching and lively jig. My observation is that a team either breaks really quickly here and the run is over, or they survive the first waves and there is a good chance they make it through. This is because this fight is basically a hard skill check, but also because not being able to deal with the first wave quickly results in more enemies spawning shortly after while you’re still on the backfoot, which then results in getting overwhelmed and wiping. My advice would be to do everything you can to nuke the first wave with everything you have. Be drunk with your ult up before trying to take the barrel. Use all the potions and bombs you have, if you need. It’s getting the situation under control quickly or wipe here.
After that, you “just” need the kiting / surviving skills, situational awareness, teamplay skills, and killing power to deal with a really difficult fight against loads of specials, elites, and a Ratogre in an enclosed space to win this map. Interacting with the “drunk” mechanic in a way that benefits your loadout is really important. Being able to use the mostly unfavorable closed space environment in your favor (by getting enemies to climb over tables and such) and the ability to coordinate controlling enemies to kite them in a manageable circle is super important. There isn’t really that much more advice I can think off for this fight that doesn’t boil down to “get really good at this game”, unfortunately. (Apart from some tips on class / loadout choice, which I’ll write down below.) There isn’t some secret trick or strategy here; It’s just a really hard fight.
After winning the barfight your group should not have trouble anymore with getting to the end of the map and returning to the keep to sleep it off.
CLASS CHOICE & TEAM COMPOSITION
This map is hard with a lot of up-close melee madness in tight spaces, and that - coupled with the “drunk” mechanic - means that class and loadout choice matters a lot here. Especially the “drunk” mechanic limits a lot of classes for this map. Below I’ll write my thoughts on which classes would be good or bad choices per character. But regarding team composition: You need a group that can survive under pressure (one or more with a shield is useful here) but has good killing power as well. Some of these fights are more or less DPS-checks before getting overwhelmed. Having at least one person that can pull off a difficult rez under pressure is also worth much.
- Huntsman: Bad pick. This map isn’t very ranged combat friendly, and his ult being unreliable hurts Huntsman a lot in both offensive and defensive capabilies. Kruber has much better picks here.
- Mercenary: Good pick. Hacking density is what Merc does, his ult is great here, and a properly drunken merc could shout a few times before having to drink again. The 2H Sword, Spear, or 2H Hammer are probably the best weapon choices for him here, but don’t underestimate a shield on him either.
- Footknight: Pretty decent pick. Can help a lot with a shield under pressure, and a drunken battering ram can do amazing stuff in a tight space. Mace and Shield is probably the way to go here.
- Grail Knight: Great choice. His killing power helps, a shield in your backpocket helps, and while drunk you might be able to ult a few times.
- Engineer: Engi has never been able to play this map officially, so I can’t base this advice on personal experience. But Engi as a class is basically a minigun on legs with very few up-close melee bonusses. I can only guess how the “drunk” mechanic affects the minigun, but I suspect it will royally screw it over. I think Engineer is a bad choice for this map and I’d recommend against taking him.
- Ranger: Up close melee madness isn’t really Ranger’s forte, so this wouldn’t be a great pick for this map. On the other hand: A well-timed ult with team bonusses and going all “shootout at the O.K.-corral” with the new pistol might yield some spectacular results in the barfight. I’m still not really sure about him, but it’s probably worth an expiriment. If you do take Ranger I’d recommend bringing a shield to survive under pressure and the pistol because it’s crazy powerful.
- Slayer: Good pick for this map, because his killing power helps a lot even without his ult. I’d recommend the 2H weapon build with a 2H Hammer for chaos warrior-deleting power and making room.
- Ironbreaker: Also a pretty good choice, especially if your team already has killing power enough. His ult can really save a run in the last fight, he is tough even without his ult, and a shield-tank makes a lot of difference there as well because he can make space and pull off a rez where others couldn’t. I’d recommend a shield, and the flamethrower because it scales nicely with the crazy density this map throws at you. Changing a mixed horde into a bunch of elites is a really great party trick.
- Waystalker: Bad pick. This is not a shooty map, and Waystalker doesn’t do very well under pressure. There are way better choices here.
- Shade: Good pick. You need the killing power she brings. It might be hard to deal with the drunk-mechanic as Shade, but I’ve seen shades do great on this map. I’m not a Shade player, so I couldn’t give a lot of more detailed advice.
- Handmaiden: Not at all a bad pick. Her stamina regen aura helps a lot, and her rezzing skill helps a lot as well. Being drunk and zooming around with your ult is cool. You could go with shield if your team has no other tank-ish class, but a more offensive build stacking combat bonusses is quite good here as well. Only thing is that I’ve seen shades do better than handmaidens most of the time, but it’s a solid enough class for this map.
- Bounty Hunter: Not a good pick. Same comments as on other shooty classes, and he relies on his ult a lot, so not having it available hurts him more than most classes.
- Zealot: Decent choice. Survivability under pressure and good damage output. Doesn’t rely on his ult much to do his job, but it’s still useful to have. Not much more to say here. However, there is a third Saltz class:
- Witch Hunter Captain: Best pick. Great killing power, his team bonusses are constantly up with how many elites there are in the last fight, and if you are properly inebriated and you are running your cooldown ult talent you can clear the bar with your alcohol-breath alone. Can’t go wrong with his meta weapons. Most succesful runs I’ve done on this map involved a WHC, actually.
- Unchained: Horrible choice. Having less control over your ult hurts her like no other class. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Unchained do well on this map…
- Pyro: Not optimal, but not really bad either. The melee crit build probably has some merit, but she might not do enough to justify her inability to deal with pressure. I must admit I haven’t met many pyros on this map and I don’t play her, however, so I couldn’t comment much more. Fireball in high density might even be quite good damage dealing.
- Battle Wizard: Top tier pick. Flamesword and better burns build scales tremendously well in damage output with density, while having good control and survivability as well. Drunkenly “Kaboom!”-ing all over the bar is awesome. A conflag staff helps tremendously. BW simply is one of the best possible picks for this map.
Like always, play whatever you want to play. But know that this map is seriously unbalanced regarding class viability. If you and your group are struggling with this map: A team of WHC & BW with a tank and another DPS / utility class is probably the best setup. But in any case, just make sure your team has a balance between damage output - both against hordes and elites - and the ability to deal with pressure even if your ult is unavailable.
So, what are your thoughts? Does anybody have additional advice? Comments and tips on classes I’m not familiar with? In any case, I’m looking forward to slapping on my beerstein frame and scrounging the streets of Helmgart for ale with the lot of you soon!