The Mission Picker, Weapon Shop and Weekly Penances are ruining my desire to keep playing

I know it’s a bit of a clickbaitey title, and I’m aware there is already plenty of feedback regarding both the (free) weapons shop and the mission RNG, but I’d like to use this thread to really underline and amplify that feedback, because despite otherwise massively enjoying this game (and Vermintide 2), it is starting to reach a breaking point where I am seriously considering putting the game down, and I don’t feel alone in this given some discussions I’ve had on the official Discord and with friends.

The game isn’t perfect in any ways, but it rubs a good itch during missions. It’s amazing to evolve around levels, overpowering enemies or carrying a team that might not have been ready. You feel smart for running circles around specials that’d otherwise be a guaranteed disable a few hours in. The repetitiveness of missions hasn’t kicked in too much yet which is reassuring. And I know Damnation difficulty will be ready to kick my ass once I’m done fully breaking in Heresy.

But this all comes apart once I return to the Hub. The hub is actually what often leads to me quitting the game when I wanted to keep playing. I cannot insist on this enough, it is getting that bad that it instantly removes my will to keep playing.

Why ? Because of three things I’m going to try and elaborate on here:

  • The Mission Picker
  • The Weapons Shop
  • The Weekly Penance System

Starting with the Mission Picker, this one is probably one that’s not amplified enough by the community (compared to the deluge of anger about the weapons shop, though it’s also an issue I will detail later). The Mission Picker is often the reason I hit ESC and quit playing, straight up. Because it is doing something which I believe is horrible design, which is to try and force a set of missions on me I will not play.

That might come off as strange, after all I enjoyed Vermintide 2 and Quickplay gave you -one random preset mission- and that was it, here you get to choose a dozen. But I finally figured three big reasons why it is souring everyone and why it is never going to work as it exists currently:

  • The Mission Picker assigns a difficulty to every mission, this needs to be urgently removed and players should pick their own difficulty. Due to the small pool of missions, this means you might very well have a screen with, for instance, 2 Haz 1, 3 Haz 2, 3 Haz 3, 2 Haz 4 and 2 Haz 5. So if you want to play Haz 3 (Malice) for challenges or due to level/skill, you only have three missions to pick from!

There is no good reason for the difficulty to be randomized. Forcing players to play above their comfort zone is very likely to lead to frustration and higher level players feeling griefed because someone who is underlevelled or uncomfortable is trying to ride on them to finish a mission. Forcing players to play a difficulty they find trivial is frustrating and draining, and due to aggressive reward scaling it’s a waste of your time.

In Vermintide 2, you could simply specify the difficulty you wanted to play at, and you were ready to roll. That system was extremely basic but functional (and you had a mission picker to boot!). I will also cite Deep Rock Galactic, which has a system that is extremely similar to Darktide (random pool of biome and mission type with modifiers). But those missions exist in a vacuum, and you can play them at the difficulty you want! Meaning you genuinely have 20-30 missions to pick from

  • The Mission Picker is the only way to roll for secondary objectives, they are not guaranteed. This is a big departure from Vermintide 2, and I feel this was executed poorly. I can tolerate Grimoires and Scriptures being mutually exclusive, even though I was very fond of “full book runs”, but I do not like that you can simply fail to roll a mission with more “spice”.

At the start, I felt those “naked missions” as I started to call them were cool, because they allowed me to hard focus on Penances without players getting distracted by collectibles (especially when the crafting system was turned off), and avoided me getting wiped with grimoires on a bad team, but now I’m starting to sour on this. I feel like I am actively wasting my time not picking a mission with a secondary, as I’m simply giving up on a potential reward and not progressing my weeklies.

This is another side effect of the mission picker RNG, though it may be toned down if the difficulty change mentioned above is implemented. This being said though, you can often roll boards with only one or two scripture or grimoire secondaries, which loops back to the issue mentioned previously. If you -need- to progress your weeklies, farm currency or otherwise like the thrill of looking for books, most of the board is locked off (including missions that would otherwise have been extremely interesting due to modifiers)

I don’t have a magical solution to that second one. Tentatively, I’d suggest that almost every mission should have a secondary, and that “naked missions” (no secondary) should be rare (only 1-2 per board) for people who desperately need to run a no-nonsense speedrun mission without having randoms run off to search for books

  • Third and last, the mission refresh is far too slow. I’ve often seen missions I will not pick due to modifiers I don’t like (high horde on a difficulty I’m not comfortable with for example) linger on my board for 90 minutes or more. This does not make me want to play them, especially since it doesn’t “clear” it and it will still be on my board once I’m done or wipe. Ideally, the mission refresh should be 30 minutes globally, giving every player a set of missions they can pick to create a lobby. Though with both changes above, this would already massively increase the odds of having a satisfying roster of missions to pick through

Second, the weapon shop. I’m sure the developers have received plenty of feedback about it, and I’ve seen well-written posts explaining the absurd odds for rolling exactly what you want. But it has to be said, that is also ruining my desire to keep going sometimes, and discouraging me from trying out other weapons (which is the opposite of what I assume the system was for, making players try out different things)

I’m going to roll through a bit quicker here, pointing out what I feel are the most obvious issues:

  • The Power Ranking and Quality spread is far too aggressive. I haven’t done any data collecting, but everyone drops white items at Level 30, or often ones that are poorly rolled. This basically ruins multiple picks in the shop (especially since currency is tied to your playtime and so has to be budgeted reasonably). In all honesty, the system should be aggressively clamped so that you can only roll appropriate or better than your level, and never worse! And white weapons should no longer be a thing past the earliest levels.

  • The stat bars are a kick in the gut. I imagine one of the reasons for the new system was to get rid of perfectly rolled weapons like in Vermintide 2, but this seems like a huge mistake. Weapons in Vermintide 2 were perfect base stats-wise once they hit Power Ranking 300, and you only had to roll for traits you wanted (which you could play without, even if they were a good bonus). Here a max level weapon can turn out terrible because the shop decided to roll one of your bars down that is critical for the weapon to pop off, and there is no planned feature to allow you fill up or reroll your bars in the crafting system!

This always makes me feel like I’m missing out because I got unlucky with the shop. I could have rolled that perfect 80 % weapon (why does it not go to 100 %, are reds planned later ?) but my favorite weapon rolled 40 % on ammo or damage. It’s frustrating and I suspect this is why some players see it as outright malicious design (either to induce fear of missing out and making you log in at store refresh, or to sell premium weapons later). I am perfectly aware it wasn’t malicious, but this only underlines how poorly designed the system was that it actually angers players who interact with it and make them assume malice!

Traits and attributes are painful. Some are incredibly overpowered and basically completely change how a weapon operates, and others are an absolute joke (I didn’t pick an example, but we all know the type like “Do [tiny number]% more damage when [asburd condition that is not the main use case for the gun]”).

So, like in Vermintide 2, right ? Everyone had their favorites and hated traits and perks (Resistance to damage types…). And they’re back… except you cannot pick a weapon you roll and then “clean it” by rerolling traits infinitely. Once you reroll a trait, the others get locked.

Why ? Seriously, how does this improve user experience to ruin their weapon they finally pulled from the store by permanently locking a trait that might not be good, just because they had the audacity to roll another ? Why not give them the ability to roll everything ?

I will also add while I’m here, the crafting prices are quite high and border on not respecting my time. Upgrading quality is absurdly expensive, and rerolling traits, on top of the above limitation, gets pricy (though I barely reroll traits due to the trait lock). In Vermintide 2, I could have enough crafting resources to roll a “good enough loadout” with enough playtime, why take that away from me ? This makes it even more frustrating! And this definitely did not stop people from hunting for Reds for even better stats!

Finally, weapon variety is bad. This is more of a side issue, but it quickly gets bothersome to have a bunch of the same weapons rerolling two, three, five, sometimes six or seven times! With weapon balance being what it is, plus obviously personal tastes, and the time commitment of ingame currency, I refuse to simply pick up random weapons that aren’t rolled properly or not in my playstyle. I’m not sure what the fix is here, more options, a hard clamp on how many of each type can generate, separate panels for melee, ranged and charms ? All of these are viable to a degree

Finally, weekly penances. I know it’s a bit of an aside, but this ties all together with the first two points I mentioned, plus an important game design concern, respect of my time. I want to like Darktide, but Darktide is asking me for an absurd commitment of my time, using fear of missing out alongside the bonus for completing all weeklies.

This is not good game design, because it is actually overwhelming me instead of encouraging me to do weeklies! Due to separate character pools, and the way the rewards are scaled, you are looking at 20 full Weeklies across four characters to get a reasonable income of “weekly currency” which is used to buy fancy, extra powerful guns (that don’t drop in the shop, I will insist!)

I’m going to put this into a simple list, to make it more clear what is wrong with the design loop here:

  • Each individual weekly character board is five missions, of which only one can be rerolled for free, and the rest are soft locked in due to the price for rerolling actually being punishing (1-2 missions cost!). So you have to use it to get the “worst weekly out” (usually secondary on a specific map)
  • Some can be done reasonably quickly (3 missions with no player deaths), others at a fair enough pace (5 Monstrosities). Mission completion (15 full missions), Scripture (up to 25!), Grimoire (up to 12!) and Secondary (6 on a specific map!) are infamous for how long they are
  • The cost of the weekly items are prohibitive. I’m glad that the pool was significantly increased from 4-5 to what seems like 10 now, but fully completing a weekly board at best buys you a single weapon and charm!

All and all, this system does not respect my time, and as a result it further dampens my mood and makes me feel like the game is trying to force me to play instead of giving me incentives. A simple example is having 4 Level 30 characters, each rolling the High complexity Mission Completion mission.

That’s 15 Missions for each character. Meaning 60 Missions total. From start to finish most of the time (save the very odd drop-in mid-mission). 60 Missions in a single week, not including other conditions that might force me to filter what I’m playing like Scriptures or Grimoires.

That is hugely disrespectul of my time. I don’t say this out of spite, but to really drive the point home as to why this can’t be written off as just my personal opinion. No-one should be forced to play this much of a game to get just a trickle of freemium currency (especially since there are no partial points for “almost completing” a weekly, you get it or you don’t). Each mission is on average 17-18 minutes long, plus a minute or two for loading in and out, picking missions, etc. Let’s say 20 minutes. In a single week, you are asking for 1200 minutes, that’s 20 hours of straight playtime. Assuming no wipes, no time wasted! This is straight up a part time job!

I will also note this applies to other secondaries. Some like the no deaths condition are thankfully very simple if you get decent teams, and stuff like Monstrosities can be done organically or forced with Assassination, but Grimoires and Scriptures stick out badly. 25 Scriptures is at least 8 full book runs plus a singleton. And if your team misses a book here and there, that can quickly escalate! And you need to only play missions with Scriptures! And you can’t roll Scripture and Grimoire, so you have to do these separately!

This is especially infuriating because those numbers could easily be scaled down, or if the currency merge happens, those missions could be global, and the reward massively increased or prices dropped sensibly to service all four characters reasonably

As it is, I am increasingly refusing to even acknowledge the weekly penance system, and it is disengaging me from the game loop. I hope I’ve made it clear why. I want to like your game enough to play it daily or on-and-off daily in the evenings, but I have an actual full-time job! I’m not getting paid for this! I can’t put 20 hours a week in! And I want to play every class, not abandon some because “I don’t have enough time to grind for them all”

And finally, a tl;dr list because I’m aware I basically wrote a small essay:

  • Mission Picker needs to have difficulty removed from missions and moved to player choices, secondaries should be more plentiful, and large refresh timers reduced to 30 minutes maximum
  • The weapon shop will need a comprehensive rework I imagine, but in the meantime anything and everything needs to be done to make it less painful to get a weapon you enjoy playing with. Increase the pool, make the stat spread less brutal, make rerolling traits less punishing and remove the trait lock, add caps so the same weapon doesn’t feature six times, maybe add weapon/ranged/charm categories.
  • The weekly penance system is completely disrespectful of my time and expects a time commitment in the order of a part-time job (20 hours easily on worst rolls). Either make the missions global for the time they take currently, or massively lower the requirements overall (15 Missions should seriously be half at -minimum-). Dropping the price on items or upping the rewards sizeably would be appreciated too.

One correction.

The contract is currently not 15 missions/week.

It’s 25 missions/week. TWENTY F***** FIVE.

Which is just downright insulting. Everyone getting this and not playing 20h/week on this game only is forced to rush low tier difficulty like crazy to finish asap.

I’m sure new players are thankful for this.

1 Like

Oh, thank you for the correction. I remembered clearly that you needed 25 Scriptures (since you had 3 per map) and I thought that the missions scaled to 15 because it seemed wrong to ask for 25 Missions in a single week

That obviously only makes it way worse. Quick head math points to 30-35 hours a week… I might as well quit my job at this point to play only this game… or simply stop playing. No offense to the devs, you made an amazing gameplay loop when actually playing, but all this secondary loop in the game hub is killing me

Same feeling than you.

I actually just quitted yesterday after 2 quick missions because I checked my broken penances left, I checked my contracts left (the 25 missions), I checked the useless shop and the forge, I checked the missions available…and I just suddenly felt tired.
Tired to stagnate for I don’t know how many hours now, tired to do and see the same sh*t over and over. Tired so see loading screens half my play time (we’re in 2022 for god sakes). Tired to reset my gameplay parameter every time I launch the game. Tired to feel lucky if I find a mate -just one- on T4 mission.

I disconnected.

Great summary of the reasons I have quit this game despite putting 800+ hours in VT2.