Developing VerminSkills Pt. I: In-Game and Out-of-Game Development

Originally posted to the subreddit under Developing VerminSkills: Notes from Someone Still Learning.

TL;DR: Development comes from lots of playtime and can be accelerated through additional means of learning.

I’d been sitting on this post for a while, but eventually decided there was never going to be a point in my development where I’d ever feel qualified to post it, so posting it anyways. :slight_smile:

As someone who, over the past couple weeks, has had to relearn how to play Vermintide from the ground up, I’ve found myself compartmentalizing my development, and how to better fast track my “VerminSkills” and growth as a player.

There’s obviously no one way to grow, so this is just what’s helped me thus far.

This post might get a bit lengthy, so I’ve broken down these points into things that can be done in game and out of game.

GENERAL DISCLAIMER: I strongly believe you’re not going to learn much if you don’t have fun. If it’s not fun for you in some way, don’t do the thing.

IN GAME

Play Games, and Play a Lot of Games
One of the best ways to get better at Vermintide is to just play Vermintide. And play Vermintide a lot. This can be quick play, modded, bot solos, true solos—whatever you find fun. What constitutes “a lot” is variable and there’s no real time mark to see development. If an hour every other day is your limit, do that. Play what you can, when you can, and make sure it’s enjoyable for you.

Play Challenging Content
One of the fastest ways I saw improvement for myself was playing stuff I died miserably on. Are you struggling with figuring out QP pubs? Start doing solo queues. Done too much solo QP and struggling with teamwork? Play Onslaught. Finding Champion too easy? Play Legend. Work to challenge yourself until your challenges are less challenging. Then find a new challenge.

Mechanical Exercises
I’ll be the first to admit that these are not for everyone because they can be lonely and boring; but I found really drilling down and doing isolated practice in modded realm with creature spawner and spawn tweaks helped a lot in helping me understand how to react in certain situations or better hone in on my weaknesses (like pajama parties :frowning: ). This also gives you a safe environment to practice weapons you might be rocky on and learning combos without fear of failure and judgment in pubs.

Experiment
I think as anyone can attest, people in the Vermintide community love to help and teach. But ultimately, much of your own learning and play style will come from you experimenting with different things and learning what works best for you. If meta says one thing, but you prefer another, do the thing that works for you! As a player, you can only grow from self-discovery, your successes, and your failures.

OUT OF GAME

Watching Others’ Gameplay and Analyzing Their Decisions
(Also happens in game when you die. :slight_smile: )

Vermintide 2 has created an explosion of content from players with a wealth of knowledge. On Youtube can find anything from Legend pub runs, to true solos, to modded difficulty duos. Find someone’s play style you like and admire, and spend some time watching and learning. Usually, you’ll have a knee-jerk reaction somewhere and think, “Okay I would have done X here, why is this player doing Y instead?” Spend some time ruminating on that, and see if you can come to a conclusion on why that player did things the way they did. And when in doubt: ask!

Ask Questions
Vermintide has a bunch of discords, a subreddit, an official forum, streamers, and people who generally just really love the game and teaching. When it comes to learning, I take the route that “there are no stupid questions, and the only question you will come to regret is the one you never asked.” So go out, seek answers about what confuses you, and see what advice you receive. You may get a ton of variety, but now you are equipped with knowledge to test and try out (see point about “experimentation” above).

Mentorship
One of the best things about this game is that people you meet in-game or in the community are generally willing to share knowledge. If something clicks and you’re willing to learn and the other person is willing to teach, you wind up with someone to proverbially “hold your hand” during the development process. Whether that’s someone introducing you to your first legend run, your first hypertwitch, or someone devising very creative ways for you to repeatedly die in game, having someone (or multiple people) guide you on your path to development is a huge boon.

What’s helped you in your growth as a player?

8 Likes

I’d also add:

Positivity. Yes, you can tell other people how they can do things better, but if you insult them you just automatically put them on the defensive and eventually everyone in the group is annoyed at each other. Or they’ll either kick you or just quit, depending on who’s in the group, but generally at this point the rest of the group is unhappy too. Tilting your teammates isn’t fun or helpful. I’ve both kicked a number of people and left a number of runs after one or two people in the group have decided to harass and boot the fourth guy who’s still learning the ropes, or gotten irrationally angry over taking 1 point of FF. If half the team is behaving badly, I’m not going to risk getting kicked late in the mission by saltmines.

Fortunately I’d say a solid 9/10ths of my experiences in Legend have been positive. Champ was worse back when I played it, but it was still the minority of runs (they just tend to stand out).

People forget VT2 is not one of those games where you can win every run while you’re still learning, the difficulties are meant to be real increases in challenge. It’s part of the game. And that’s without even taking difficulty spikes into account.

Blocking/dodging. Going back to technical skills: Learn when to block and push etc., then learn how to dodge. This depends on weapon choice a bit ofc and preferences. In my case at least blocking and pushing got me up to champion (I only really dodged with bosses and tbh not that well), but I only got good at Legend once I got good at dodging (and especially learning how to time attacking while dodging).

Goals. You can also get good at the game even when playing ‘easy’ classes like IB. When I first tried VT2 I played mainly Bardin and Saltzpyre, but on Saltz I would go down much more easily (was before the HP buff to whc) than I did on either Kruber or Bardin. I ended up an IB main, basically the most tanky character, but it got to the point where I could play alright and would aim to have 0 damage taken per map on champion (basic goal, right? It’s IB after all, he has dmg reduction and Gromril). After that, I aimed higher again and tried to get through maps without ever having Gromril armour activate.

Ofc it’s easier to pick a harder career as you get more immediate, brutal feedback when you lose, but you don’t need to. As long as you’re always competing against yourself, you can only improve long term.

The one exception I would say is to not only play careers/builds that can melt bosses (atm on live that’s primarily Shade and BoP (you can also lock them in place with CC to trivialise them on BW and FK but knowing about that that takes more game knowledge and a potion), you only learn how to handle those if you can’t just insta-delete.

Audio cues, use them. They don’t always work, but when they do they save you from getting slapped by a slaverat or SV that came out of nowhere. Tying into this, good situational awareness and a healthy dose of paranoia (especially when you’re playing ranged) come in handy.

Also, keybindings. Dodge/jump at least should be separate. I also recommend having reload on a key that doesn’t interfere with your WASD fingers when playing Sienna (or with Bardin’s new throwing axes, unless their reload gets changed).

That’s all I can think of off the top of my head right now.

4 Likes

Agreed. I can understand that some people might be a bit fearful about asking people in-game because there is always a possibility that person is an arse. That can easily result in you getting kicked or leaving the game to avoid harassment, but that is still better than ending up harassed/kicked later in the game just because you made some “mistake”.

I also think that lower difficulty deeds can provide worthwhile stepping stone to prepare you to higher difficulty. When me and my group were looking to advance to Legend we first got completely wrecked there and then decided to do our Champion Deeds first. This kind of requires you to have regular group or more experienced people to mentor you.

3 Likes

Nice post, and hopefully valuable for at least a few people. I have a couple of things to add:

I’ve found that trying to find stuff that’s just a little harder than you can (comfortably) do is the most effective. You won’t learn anything redoing what you already can (although it has its place; see below), and neither will you learn if you get wiped out before you can realize what’s happening or try doing anything. And Deeds can be used to make certain aspects of the game harder (even if it’s random what you have available). Pick a Deed with a modifier you have trouble with, and you can deal with that without necessarily making more of the game harder.

Self-knowledge is a valuable asset. You’ll have a hard time getting better if you don’t recognise what things are the most difficult for you, so try to figure out what gets you killed most often (a specific enemy type or enemy, positioning, lack of dodging or kiting skills…) and practice that. Once you feel happier with that, move on to the next.

It’s somewhat connected to the Fun aspect, but relax and avoid frustration. If your attempts at Legend aren’t going well, you’re likely to get frustrated, which leads to more mistakes, which leads to more frustration. Try to break that cycle by trying something different, taking a break - or going back to easier stuff for a game or two, just to remind yourself that you aren’t as bad as it feels like. Once you calm down and get your confidence back, try again.

3 Likes

Spam dodge, spam light attacks… profit?

To go even further, even if you made bad experiences when asking for advice, try again in the next session (with different players, ofc). At some point there will be a helpful soul.

A little story of mine:

I once had a player in my qp group who would always apologize for being ‘bad’, i could see he was trying his best, and he did not gave up. I remembered smth from V1 back in the day, were i would read quotes about veteran players going into easy to help new players get into the flow of the game (even as far as doing that most of their time instead of playing cata); so, i took a heart and asked him if he wanted me to show him the ropes (not my wording at the time). He was super thankful and i told him a couple of things he did not know until then, on movement, positioning, the does and don’t’s in critical situations, attack patterns of weapons and enemies, about 1 1/2 hours in the keep and writing stuff in chat and performing. He soaked it up like a sponge and asked me important follow-up questions, and we played 1 more mission, and i already could see he was trying to perform differently. He also said he would share it with his friends. Months later he asked me out of the blue to play with him, and he was a changed player, really growing on the tips i gave him (and a lot of experience in the meantime, ofc). Had fun and 2 very awesome legend runs (with he and i clutching on two different ends of a horde and boss). I felt a little proud that he learned that much and was still playing and enjoying the game.

I told this not to boast or to be praised, but to give an example that stuff like this can happen. It’s all a give and take, i had a lot of experienced players help me through completing all maps for the careers ( going as far staying for multiple missions and missing out on the qp bonus, i know it’s not something everyone does), so it felt natural for me to give it back to the community.

7 Likes

So, here is a bit of experimentation that I did recently that might help some people.

I noticed that some of my buddies pick up specials sounds and monster sounds way better than I do. I sat and listened and listened and listened trying to train my brain, but I always felt underwhelming.

Until today.

So, what I did. Sound settings for your playback device. Properties, Advanced Tab. Set that sampling rate as high as possible. Studio Quality if you can. Then go into ingame audio settings, drop dynamic range to low.

Then behold, at least for me, MUCH Improved sound resolution and special call outs. It’s been amazing today!

Hopefully the outcome of that experiment helps you, or at least lets you experiment to find an optimal audio setting.

1 Like

Got to test that, thank for the advice!

Why not join the Fatshark Discord https://discord.gg/K6gyMpu