First of all everything here is my opinion, everyone have different taste & my view is not right it’s just my preference. With that said I’ll write this in a way that make it sounds like it’s a universal fact that’s stronger then every scientific facts combined. So take it with a gran of salt(z), here I go.
Hero Power & Item Power is a relic of the past that we should let die when it comes to Horde Slaying games.
I know what you are thinking “Oh all knowing God what else can there be?”.
Thank you for asking but let’s not jump the gun. First let me explain why this is the case.
It’s borderline impossible introducing friends to the game.
I have 1500+ hours in Vermintide 2 & have individual red items for all careers, I miss some weapons but I’m set for life. I don’t need necks, charms or trinkets.
A new player start from scratch & if I play with them I’ll just ruin the fun for them because I kill everything in a instant. What I can do is equipped all the blueprint items & go down to 355 Hero Power. But even then I might ruin the fun so I have to hold back & walk in the background while I let my friends enjoy & learn the game, only jumping in if a lose is imminent. That takes away all the joy of the game for me & it only works up to Champion after that I need to put on my red gear or just random orange gear but even then I’m steam rolling through everything.
To summarise, it’s a pain to introduce the game to friends.
So what better system can be used? I’m no game designer so I don’t have a answer. I can however give examples from other games that I think have better systems. But let’s start much much closer. The Chaos Waste in Vermintide 2. A great example of a system that work much better. Hero Power do not matter that much so it’s a much more even playfield despite me having unlock all the talents for my career.
Another example is Back 4 Blood. Another Horde Slaying game that will release this month. Instead of Hero Power & Item power you unlock cards & build decks. After retching a checkpoint you draw a few cards & choose one, receiving whatever buffs the card have making my character stronger the further we get in the campaign.
So if I introducing the game to a friend I can build a deck with less powerful cards & be on a more equal power as my friend making it a more pleasant experience for both of us.
What I want to say with this is that I really hope that Darktide do not follow in Vermintides footstep & continue using an old system whose place is in a museum.