With Winds of Magic releasing this month, the topic of grinding (either leveling or crafting/loot) in Vermintide 2 has made a bit of a come back. I wanted to revisit it again as well as it seems this mechanic is pretty iron-bound to Fatshark’s design philosophy.
I am very much against the current grinding systems in place. I find it takes away from the main feedback loop that I play the game for (A.K.A. running missions). I can’t even begin to estimate the amount of times I sat in my crafting menu re-rolling stats (even on reds), thinking I was close to just pressing ESC > Quit Game. It’s an aspect of the game I consider a complete liability to player enjoyment.
Despite that, I wanted to try and compile a list of pros/cons to try and help make the conversation organized so we can discuss and maybe (if we’re lucky) try to get an understanding of why Fatshark chose certain decisions about Vermintide 2’s game design and if that philosophy will continue into the future of DLC/Expansions or if it might shift.
If anyone would like to add to either side with bullet points I’ll be happy to update the OP to add them with credit.
- Helps situate new players to the main game-play loop without requiring theory-crafting and robust customization.
- At one point, high-level players were required to play lower difficulties (assuming this was originally to generate mentor relationships) to attain crafting material (no longer applicable with dust conversions).
- Customizing your play-style (min-maxing). **This could also be considered a negative if there isn’t enough variety to make the min-maxing feel worth the time investment (I.E. ARPGs like Diablo and Grim Dawn are drowning in variety).
- It also allows getting used to the new Talents, Careers and weapons one-by-one without getting overwhelmed and to more naturally find the ones that suit you well. (Yzneftamz)
- It somewhat encourages trying out the other characters and new setups, as you get new stuff and eventually max out your first character, even more so if you want to make your bots better too. (Yzneftamz)
- There’s advantage to having a progression system, but I think VT1 did it better in many aspects. You start with some basic gear, and get better gear from doing content. (BizarreSalp)
- Takes (sometimes significant) time away from the main attraction.
- Time invested may not feel worth the reward (I have counted upwards of ~2 minutes to re-roll a single trait before, using modded crafting menu with instant re-rolls).
- RNG can and will inflate the amount of time investment required for no positive trade-off to player enjoyment. What are players getting in return for this? It’s completely one-sided like casino house rules to screw players over using statistical mathematics. I suppose an argument can be made for cosmetics, but… why?
- Grind is required if you want to play at your maximum potential. You obviously don’t have to do this, but I always feel like I’m screwing my teammates over if I don’t- you never know if that +20% health may have saved a clutch or not. Break-points are also potent variables in this.
- New players are required to level up at least one character to 30 to play with high level friends. If they want to try a new character they must do the same. Legend players privately inviting low levels is the exception, not the rule. Difficulty choices have historically always worked fine for FPS games.
- Meta will always cause specific setups to be considered optimal. An alternative for this in a game that isn’t drowning in variety is to make some properties/traits baseline to the character classes and generate unique traits for weapons so it’s more difficult to ascertain the objective benefit or liability of any particular weapon as they can behave drastically different depending on the context.
- It is just stupid, like I craft weapon after 2k hours in the game and I get some 297 crap, than 299 crap than 298 crap item… before I finally get 300… than I have to go and scrap those 3, which takes some more time so I don’t have mess in inventory… it’s just irritating and should not be there at all. (flisker)
TL;DR to Fatshark: What is the reasoning to go down a fairly grind-heavy leveling and crafting system in this game and what were the benefits of such a system from the devs’ prerogative? Are there any discussions internally about possibly changing that to a more streamlined experience in the future?