Let me start by clarifying that I love this game. The only reason I may come across as a whiney b**** who hates fatshark is because I actually love them and I really really want this game to be the best it can be.
This game has such potential, but the developers repeatedly make bad decisions (imo) and promise amazing features that end up being implemented in a disappointing way.
One of such features is modding.
TDLR: Modded Realm has no loot or progression of any kind.
Vermintide 1 modding was the wild west. Anyone could do anything, and there was nothing to stop you from enjoying the game in your own way, whether that be inventing new challenge ideas like 3-grim runs with effectively 1hp and no respawns, or just spawning in all the hats and reds for yourself. If you saw a mod that changed the game or loot system in a way that might give you a slight advantage (e.g. healthbars on storm vermin, or locking some of the weapon traits when rerolling to help you get what you wanted quicker), you could make your own judgement call on whether or not that was fair for you.
Sure, it was possible to cheat, but in my ~500 hours I encountered only one “cheater”. He spawned in a bunch of speed potions and went rocketing around the map for a while before getting downed by an assassin and disconnecting. The rest of my 499h 50m was spent having the time of my life, the way that I wanted to play.
Cue Vermintide 2 announcement, and the promise of mod support.
We hear of this separation between official and Modded Realm, to protect new-comers and those who want the vanilla experience. Sure, this sounds like a smart idea, but my friends and I all agree we’ll probably live on the Modded Realm anyway.
Natually, we wait patiently for months before mod support is added, only to realise that the Modded Realm is a deserted and worthless wasteland.
See for yourself. Launch in the Modded Realm, open up the lobby browser and set the region to World. If you’re lucky, you might find one or two lobbies, which are probably just modders testing their latest code, or players who can’t get past EAC for some reason or another.
- No loot. I don’t play for loot, but clutching your heart out for 20 minutes and getting nothing for it is still sad.
- No acheivements/challenges - Two of the major reasons why I would play VT1 were the daily contracts and the steam acheivements. My new friends and I would log on every night and have a reason to play and a goal to complete. Often this led to fancy new weapons that we would likely never get from RNG drops, or simply absurd fun from achievement hunting.
- No loot on Modded Realm means mod developers have a very hard time developing and testing mods that affect loot. Whether this be just speeding up rerolling or disallowing duplicate reds until you have a full set - ignoring the fact that most of these, although probably fair and widely requested, would not be sanctioned.
- No players - the above three issues create the final most important issue to compound the problem: no one to play with. This is a co-op game, and if no one wants to play on the Modded Realm with you, you’re just going to stick to the Official Realm.
The whole purpose of modding is to allow players to decide how they want to play, extend the possible game modes, increase the challenge and improve the user experience/quality of life. However, with the Modded Realm being so brutally handicapped that nobody even uses it, some may ask what is even the point?
Sure, there are some mods being sanctioned now, but they are all only visual tweaks, and even then not all of them make it. Fatshark gets to decide how we have our fun. Sure it’s their game, but remember that the purpose of modding is to give users a way to have their own fun. I would even go as far as to say that sanctioned mods aren’t really mods at all, but fixes and features that FS should have implemented themselves or add to the game as standard.
FS have repeatedly suggested that in future it will be possible for mods to add new maps and vastly different game modes (e.g. porting VT1 maps, last stand, or PVP). But with the current system, almost no one will play those because they will most certainly not be sanctioned
Ok, enough bitching, I hope we’re on the same page now.
The Real Problems
What I’ve ranted about above comes from issues with the current solution to a number of problems. Clearly the current solution is not a good one, but in order to come up with a better one, we must first describe the original problems that we’re trying to solve.
Splitting the community into two Realms is not ideal, but for the sake of not making this essay into a 1000 page novel (and because realistically FS aren’t going to throw away all of their hard work) let’s assume we’ll still have an Official Realm with mod sanctioning, and a Modded Realm where anything goes.
Problem 1: With mods, players can just spawn in all the weapons, skins, hats and frames that they want.
In my opinion, this isn’t even a problem at all. Most of the playerbase are actually playing this game because they want to play it, not because they want to own all the junk. They want to earn the rewards.
Does it really matter to you that someone else got all the loot unfairly? You probably know they got it unfairly because they boast about it. Or, they hide the fact that they got it unfairly and pretend to have earned it to impress you, which is just sad.
Even so, it doesn’t really affect your gameplay.
Problem #2: What about cheaters ruining the games of others?
As I said, I haven’t had much experience with this issue, so take this with a grain of salt.
Firstly, this isn’t so different from your standard griefers who might throw away grims at the end of a map, or intentionally kill you for the lols. In fact, the people who already do this will likely be the ones using the cheats.
Secondly, cheaters only cheat because they are bored of the vanilla experience, and will always stop playing after a short while.
Thirdly, it’s not hard to have another mod that detects cheaters and kicks them for you.
Fourthly, if they’re not ruining the games of others and just playing on their own or with their own group of friends, does it actually matter that they’re cheating if it doesn’t affect you?
Mods that are cheats can potentially use a separate matchmaking pool to prevent their games from showing up in the lobby browser or matching in quickplay for non-cheaters.
If you really care about avoiding cheaters, you can still use the Official Realm, or only play with friends.
Problem #3: Mods that work with loot might abuse fatshark’s servers.
Mods might send a huge number of (potentially invalid/unsupported) requests to their servers which may impact the stability of the game for all players, even on the Official Realm, and create more work and costs for fatshark.
This was an actual problem in VT1 (iirc), and I assume a significant reason why there is currently no loot creation or modification of any kind allowed in the Modded Realm.
Local loot, and separate progression.
It’s that simple.
Let all loot gained in the Modded Realm be stored locally on your own computer (not on some server), so that the potential server issues are negated, and loot gained in the Modded Realm does not carry over to the Official Realm.
For experience (character levels), store the total experience gained in each Realm separately, but add them together in the Modded Realm so that experience gained in Official Realm carries over to Modded Realm, but not the other way around.
Challenges and quests can be tracked separately for Modded Realm too, including the rewards you get from completing them.
I think this is a decent solution (outside of merging the realms and using a better matchmaking system instead), which will greatly extend the longevity of Vermintide and allow us all to have even more fun with it.
I can’t see how this could be a bad thing, or why it wasn’t designed like this from the start.
Maybe I’m missing something.