You can identify multiple areas of the game where a decision was made mid-way through development and has been left unfinished: the guns, the crafting, the characters, and the story. And what ties this all together is, simply put, greed. Every change is made to make the game more conducive to selling cosmetics, and the way that is done is to force as much foot traffic as possible past the cosmetic shop.
The guns were meant to operate with an attachment system but that was changed mid-development. /u/Chindasuinth has an excellent write up here that explains why they’re so imbalanced, but the jist of it is that removing the attachment system simply makes it easier to design cosmetics for them.
Increasing the number of base weapon variations also encourages players to return to the shop more frequently since instead of stopping at 1 god-rolled Kantrel or Catachan, players would be on the hunt for 3.
The crafting, of which Fatshark says they ‘ripped it out and started over’ mid-development, is also now driven not by player progression, but again, forcing players past the cosmetic store and with the scope to monetise it in the future. The blessings are wildly imbalanced (e.g. 50% power vs. 3% reload on slide?) - and the reason for this is that it’s simply another form of RNG. Instead of a numerical value like base stats, it’s another pull on the lever of the slot machine to see if you get the blessing you want, and another inducement to return to the shop to see if anything decent is available.
It also explains why materials are so scarce - they’re not rewards, they’re the tokens you use on the slot machine that is Hadron. The scarcity of plasteel is completely arbritary. It’s designed to be low to keep you playing by padding out the playtime so you’re more likely to come back to check the shop on it’s refresh. From the layout of the Mourningstar, it also suggests that down the line they will probably have a store that sells them for Aquilas opposite Hadron. Like the cosmetic store on the route to the gear shop, eventually you’ll be forced past the materials shop whenever you want to craft something.
The dismal hyping up and woeful underdelivery of the story and the characters can also be explained by a decision mid-development to move towards a live service, MTX-driven model. You can tell from the vastly varying quality of voices and writing that initially there was a limited number of pre-written, pre-made characters. You can hear it in the lines they’ve left for some personalities and the pointless background selection.
You can tell the savant Psyker was meant to be a fully fleshed out character because they have a background already fleshed out regardless of what you pick - they were an Atoman enforcer who lives on Tertium. The cutthroat vet is from Cadia and no choice affects that or conversely, choosing Cadia for someone other than the psyker. Some voices are also clearly also put in as an afterthought to expand the customisation choices. The longer you play the clearer it becomes that an additional gender was simply an afterthought. The french zealot is literally the same VA as the french female psyker.
Those decisions were made to increase customisation for the player at the expense of a real story. It’s why they excited about it and why it was a selling point early on in development, and now it’s revealed to be a complete farce - it’s amounted to nothing more than cutscenes of a mute player being told to play more every 5 levels. The reason for this change again, is to simply to sell more cosmetics. Customisation means more attachment to the characters, and more attachment means you’re more likely to spend Aquilas dressing them up.
Vermintide 2 is my all-time favourite game. Fatshark was my favourite studio because of the palpable passion you could feel they had towards it. That’s still there in Darktide but it’s completely overshadowed by decisions that are motivated by nothing more than greed. I was looking forward to Darktide moreso than any other game in history, and now I only feel resentment at what it could’ve been. It’s simply is the best gameplay of any co-op shooter, but the taint of the metagame is destroying it.
And now Darktide’s playerbase has dropped 90% from it’s peak and communication from them has broken down. Moving to the model of exploiting whales will (and possibly has already) ruined this game. I hope it’s not too late to save it, but it’s clear that it’s not going in the right direction.