Hi all. My friends and I come from decades of co-op gaming (From DOOM 2 to present day) and I wanted to share our dissapointment and suggestions for Vermintide 2. We currently play amazing team-play focused games such as Planetside 2, Deep Rock Galactic, Satisfactory, Apex Legends, and DOTA.
TLDR at bottom.
The biggest issue for us is the lack of synergies and other team-oriented elements that Vermintide should have. Currently most of the play is just you killing enemies and very little consideration for supporting eachother and special synergies that help two classes work together better. Deep Rock Galactic is a great example of how each class brings strong teamplay elements to the game. Half of your equipment is for helping eachother in that game. Planetside 2 also has very strong support / teamplay elements that are essential to success. About 2/3 of the classes and 1/3 of the vehicles are support oriented. DOTA is also a fantastic example of team synergies and cooperation being essential for success. But Vermintide 2 seems much more about just killing enemies more effectively and positioning is more important than synergies. Please consider improving the teamplay / synergy aspects of the game.
- Combat mechanics
In every game, there’s a pretty simple concept: the gameplay is more rewarding when you learn the nuances of the game mechanics and use those skills to succeed. A low-skill game is a low-reward, mundane game that gets old quickly. Our group all agree that Vermintide 2, being primarily about melee combat, needs more nuance to the combat mechanics. The current mechanics are quite simple and don’t require much thought or skill to be effective. Take Mount and Blade, a game that’s been out since 2008. That game has parrying, directional strikes, counters, etc. Many other melee-focused games have fatigue systems for running, blocking, and weapon use that add depth to combat pacing. Currently in VT2, it’s mostly just swing until they are all dead, rinse, repeat. [removed comment on melee physics] The obvious top of the line example of in depth melee combat is Kindom Come Deliverance, which I would not suggest to emulate in full. But VT2 needs MORE DEPTH to its melee combat, because learning the nuances to your class is what makes playing that class rewarding.
And we MUST say something about the silly ranged weapons. A witch hunter that can rapid fire 12 flintlock pistol shots guns akimbo? Bows that shoot instantly and THEN you draw the bow back? It’s far too arcade-like and takes away the rewarding experience of pulling back an arrow while lining up a shot; making every flintlock shot count due to long reloads, etc. The simple fix is to make them more realistic but tweak damage values and other aspects to keep them relevant. Perhaps even worse is that EVERY class gets a ranged weapon, and nearly every ranged weapon is very accurate, which severely hurts the concept of class differences. When everyone can shoot enemies at a distance, it diminishes the value of classes that specialize in ranged combat. In our opinion, only classes that specialize in ranged combat should have ranged weapons, while consumables like bombs can be available to all (but even then, bombs really should be restricted to certain classes like the witch hunter, but then have alternate consumables for other classes).
- Level design
Part of the rewarding nature of playing as a team is decisionmaking as a team which includes where to go. But VT2 has such an on-rails system, there’s none of that. While all the levels are beautiful and very fitting for WH, the design of the levels is far too strict and narrow in our opinion. It’s pretty clear that the reason why you can’t jump higher than your own kneecaps is to prevent players from treating the areas more like a sandbox. So many sections are ridiculously constrained while visually seeming open and that’s more of a fault on game design choices than to improve the play experience. Consider Deeprock Galactic, which is very sandbox, where you are free to put yourself in a really bad situation and suffer the consequences. This game would benefit greatly from allowing your team more freedom to make tactical positioning decisions by opening up the environments more.
- Waves and enemies
Our cheif complaint with the wave mechanics is that every enemy is acting with complete disregard for the situation. Enemies won’t regroup, fall back, flank; they don’t show any evidence of AI whatsoever. They all just follow a pre-programmed agenda of approach players and engage players, even when they are alone with no hope of survival or even causing much harm.
We also noticed that the enemy spawning mechanics are very simple and not well designed. Waves come primarily by passing waypoints or aggro prompting, which is generally fine. But the specials are on some sort of timer and just show up from time to time regardless of what is happening. Sometimes the timing is good and they support the wave. Other times they are just on their own and die pointlessly. And this segways into straggler killers…
It’s pretty obvious that several of the enemies in this game exist solely to punish and kill stragglers. While this is a good concept to have in the game, to me this is more the developers going cheap and even further controlling where your team goes and limiting your freedom. Characters like the life leach are SOOO useless in the presence of more than one player, and most straggler-killers act so quickly you can’t stop them even if you are aware. Stragglers / solo-players are always at a disadvantage, so the over-the-top tactics of straggler killers are unnecessary and silly. Basically all of them completely abandon their interest in living to catch a single player and then be killed shortly after with no escape plan. It’s an obvious mechanic and silly. The Packmaster is an excellent special because they tend to appear with support, try to remove the player from combat, and generally work with the group of enemies to enhance their effectiveness.
- VT2 is weak on synergies and teamplay support elements and needs much work here.
- Melee combat needs more depth to add more skill and make combat more rewarding.
- Make the ranged weapons more class restricted and less silly.
- Open up the levels for movement more, allowing for more tactical positioning decisions. On-rails = bad.
- Give the enemies some tactical AI for Sigmar’s sake!
Thanks for reading! Please share your thoughts on how to make a better Vermintide.