EDIT : Fatshark has listened to us and reverted the change. Praise Sigmar!
Map switching: a staple for deed players
Oh boy, was I pissed off when I saw it was fixed for good. For the unaware, we were able to start a second vote that takes priority over the primary vote. This is not the case anymore.
In the case of deeds, this essentially meant that we could change their map, difficulty and even turn them into a quickplay while retaining the deed modifiers and the deed completion. Those who have played deeds extensively will already know (that the grind is ridiculous) the following, but this trick allowed us to play any map instead of the set one, including DLC ones – deeds being strictly limited to Helmgart maps. It allowed for variety and unpredictability and therefore brought forth player retention among the small deed community. For most, though, it made the grind to 500 deeds less painful and more fun.
A brief history of map switching
Map switching is much, much older than the release date of the video linked at the beginning. It has existed ever since the release of the game as far as I’m aware, and I and many others have been using it since then.
Now, back to recent times: Fatshark already tried to fix this back in 2.1, and failed to do so as the trick was still achievable through the interactive map in the keep (it used to be possible with the hotkey). Fatshark also fixed several instances of Skippergate, and Fatshark watches Vermintide Amplified’s videos. Just kidding, I don’t know about that, but I do find it slightly suspicious that those fixes coincide with said YouTuber’s recent activity on reddit and that wording from the patch notes is identical to his video titles. Anyway, this is all fair and expected. Fixing glitches and bugs is part of their job afterall, even if they do it poorly.
Exploitability of map switching
Let’s not be candid. Map switching could be and was most likely used to switch deeds to more exploitable maps and downgrade their difficulty. Or was it? Like Novality points it out in his post on the recent Skippergate fix, such instances would be marginal, not only because said exploits weren’t known by many (and most of those who did used it for challenge and fun, not abuse), but because those weren’t even done with other people and therefore did not detract from the experience of others – as per community consensus. Although I will not argue in this sense in the case of Skippergate (way too exploitable), I will do so for deeds. Seriously, barely anyone (in my personal case: no one that I knew) ran triple modifier deeds on recruit just to make it easy. The small deed community is very much geared towards the (non-modded) endgame, and deeds are commonly done in combination with hypertwitch to increase both difficulty and loot returns. In other words, fixing map switching has done more harm than good.
The underlying issue
Fatshark fixed a nifty – and somewhat harmless – little trick without fixing the actual problem, and that’s the actual problem here. I wouldn’t have had any second thoughts had they fixed map switching along with a deed rework. But this is not case. Deeds are still incredibly hard to obtain comparatively to the expected amount of time Fatshark expects us to put into them via Okri’s Challenges, all while leaving them out in the dust in favor of a paid subsidiary system that doesn’t even award loot in the first place, weaves.
As an aside: I bear a strong disliking for the toxicity that lingers in the subreddit and the community as such behavior pushes ill-minded change forward. But I fully understand it. Fatshark, you’ve done an amazing job at messing up player retention under so many aspects that I would have never even imagined half of it nearly 2 years ago. I will keep playing because the core game is amazing and hope that, moving forward, this – along with other things like the crafting system – will see some serious work.
Back on topic, the core essence of the deed system is actually great. The execution, however, leaves much to be desired. There is a deed-only chest in the game files, and I’m sure Fatshark had their reason for not implementing it. Yet in the meantime, deeds are being left as-is at best, and forgotten at worst. In both cases, they’re in a strong need of a rework and all that we’ve heard so far is that they’re on the list of things to do. To what extent? We don’t know. To the extent of the crafting system’s red dust? Oh please, this change was welcome, but it was just a drop in the sea. Respect our play time, for the love of Sigmar!
Now, like I said, let’s not be candid. I am not expecting a deed rework right now, even if that would be amazing (when was the last time the community was surprised positively? Fortunes of War?). But there needs to be one, and not Soon™. As a player and a customer, I want want one soon, period. Yes, there are a plethora of issues to deal with, but I believe deeds are part of a very important aspect of any game based on repetition for replayability : loot. This is to put in relation with the aforementioned player retention. A minor (sometimes vocal) part of the hardcore players may only play for the so-called “pride and accomplishment”, but most player (including experienced casuals and 500h+ players) still care about loot and completionism as a statistical truism applicable to games of that type, of which I’m sure Fatshark is in fact the most aware (I am basing myself on other titles of the same genre such as PAYDAY 2 or Killing Floor 2).
Vermintide 2 has, to be succint and relatively polite, an appaling loot system. At the very least, deeds increase our odds of getting items while adding difficulty in a challenging and fun manner. They’re great. If these were reworked in a way that would allow us to play them more often and, most importantly, be more accessible, I’m sure it would do both the players and Fatshark some good on the long run. We’re the donkeys, but Fatshark isn’t putting any carrot to the stick attached to our forehead, they’re putting onions and they’re making us cry as we’re forced to slash them along rats, rotbloods, and humanoid cows making weird falling coconut noises when they walk. Please do put a carrot to end of the stick. A golden one. Give the players more incentive to play the game on the long run, to be rewarded, do yourself the favor of building yourself a positive reputation, not building Ghost Ship Game’s reputation based on your negative reputation (DRG is great btw) and your fleeing player base. I’m sure that Fatshark is capable of making a great game past its core.
Like suggested earlier, deeds are currently limited. We are getting more maps as time goes, and yet they’re stuck to the same ol’ Helmgart maps. We are getting more modifiers (weeklies, weaves) as time goes, and yet deeds aren’t.
I do not claim to have found the deed panacea, but there are ways to tackle the issue while reiterating a recently emerging leitmotiv seen in Fatshark’s own official posts : tying it together (which is exceedingly funny as Martin said that they want people to play whatever they like in Vermintide 2, as if sandboxing such a game was a sound idea. I’m not a developper, but as a player, it’s not, it doesn’t attract me, that’s not what VT2 is and has been).
Now, here is a non-exhaustive list of ideas :
• Can’t the weekly be equivalent to a deed? Wasn’t it supposed to have a reward? Oh, and please, not just shillings (much less only 5: thanks for ruining dailies), but chests. Like deeds. This would essentially be a “free deed” as an introduction to newer players;
• In the vein of making deeds more accessible, some possibilites have been voiced times and times again: making a deed crafting system (look at all those resources we’re piling up), making deeds a selectable gamemode, incorporating the deed-only chest in the game, et cetera;
• In the case of crafting and gamemodes : letting us select our modifiers to increase rewards would be a great incentive for players to go for the hardest kind of deeds (double chest loot); save for Back to Basics, but that specific case is just poor design where Fatshark is at fault;
• Expanding on existing modifiers: for instance, a lot of us love Tzeentchian Twins, and although Fatshark has applied an exclusivity policy so far for events, I feel like said modifiers do not hold enough exclusiveness (unlike night time for all maps on Geheimnisnacht) to be strictly limited to weeklies. A case could also be made for weave modifiers (where applicable, not all will work) being used on deeds. This, in conjunction with a deed crafting system, could lead to us using resources such as essence to create weave-modified deeds;
• The list goes on… And so should the replies, so have at it!