Level and Mission Design

So I used to play with a group of friends and we had a blast for many hours before eventually petering out. I was excited to try and hop back in with the new character trees they’ve implemented, but even with the new system being great there were two things that ultimately stopped me from hopping back in and dragging my friends in with me.

The first is the mission board. We really can’t wrap our heads around why we can’t just choose a level and the difficulty we want to play on instead of waiting around for one that matches what we’re after. We played a ton of Vermintide 2 and picking level and difficulty was never an issue there and so we can’t help but feel like this is a needless roadblock to us playing a game. Let us just pick the level and difficulty, please.

The second is a much more difficult issue to fix and would require more work than even the recent class tree update, but I feel I gotta say my piece on it. Even after fully leveling up multiple characters, it was difficult to really feel a difference between the different levels and worse, it was incredibly difficult to care about the missions aside from the opportunity to kill more heretics. Vermintide 1&2 and hell, even all the way back to L4D, the format has always been a string of missions that lead to some story driven finale. There was a sense of progression and achievement that feels entirely absent from Darktide. From a ludo narrative perspective, I understand… we’re just grunts, so we’re just doing grunt work…but damn, moving some ammo boxes or scanning samples feels about as thrilling as it sounds, even with nurglites biting at your heels.

I think a lot of this could be fixed by bringing the progressive levels format into Darktide. Give us an interesting narrative to follow along with some more robust level design (I know it’s the Grim Dark Future, but surely you could wow us with a massive Ag factory section of the hive city or something that’s not just various dark metal corridors.)

Anyway, that’s all. As it stands I don’t think anyone I know is really interested in jumping back in unless these things change, so I’m hoping someone on the team sees this and it’s resonates with them!

Design intent. Have RNG replace game design.

But I agree having even minor meta-narrative between stages (like a small story linking maps together a la L4D campaigns) or an illusory “war status” with a moving front line like Helldivers would lessen the feeling of disjointedness that the levels currently have, and is, in my opinion, why maps and new maps aren’t really satisfying the new content desire (not to mention that you can’t even choose to play the new maps unless you’re around within a week of a new map releasing and Fatshark has to deliberately break their design to let people play it).

Another reason is the maps are static as hell. Left4Dead, VT and VT2 had maps where the path can branch a little bit, or it forces you down a different direction, just a little bit of procedural randomness to freshen up the same map here and there, and there is nothing like that in DT outside of 2 set pieces/events and I guess daemonhosts.

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