It a game like many people dedicate free time at a tremendous rate with varying degree, to some more than others, this time spent is very valuable with daily life rolling along. People are drawn to and pushed away to games for lots of reasons, what matters for this topic however is one we all know.
Time spent vs reward
Something that encourages or discourages players, is the reward. Now rewards, come in many shapes and forms: the sense mastery over the mechanics given to the player*, cosmetics, unlockables, achievements, etc. You get the idea!
Someone who has limited free time often makes well sure to pick their game of choice carefully, decided often through experiencing content. If someone feels like the time they dedicate does not offer up a good enough ratio of time and reward, they odds of them returning drastically decreases.
I believe this reward/time ratio to have a bigger say in a player wanting to continue putting time into vermintide, more so than issues they might have with game balance and changes. Now this is certainly just an opinion, but there are things that just add up so much time.
Crafting is a serious offender here.
Crafting should allow players to set their sight on a certain combination of properties and lock it in, not endlessly reroll and hope RNG favors them. Such randomness does not belong in crafting when the game allows you to customize your playstyle, being timegated behind endlessly rerolling items (sometimes a single item!!!) is quite frankly unacceptable and very likely a reason why many just never return to Vermintide, even though some stick it through.
On top of this, features aren’t fully fleshed out or properly planned, i.e heroic deeds.
The games lobby system doesn’t allow friends of friends on steam to join directly into the keep unlike the first game, making gathering people an absolute hassle if say two and two band up together.
Losing all progress on a host crashing or disconnecting, and this one can really sting. A player clutching a game or a real slog of a deed, only to be greeted with a nope - is rough. It can’t be expected to never happen, but Vermintide is notorious, be it for ragequitting hosts or crashes.
While the idea with chests offering three items at a time certainly is a better then one item every win, the execution is not great. Opening chests is a huge timesink, and eventually you get to the point where you understand this is not equipment - but dust. We need a better way of distributing loot, even the reward screen itself takes up so much time!
The chest modifier screen. I understand this is supposed to be a moment of… “You did it! Behold, its quality rises! Loot!” But it is just way over the top and way overdrawn. Why did the dice get ditched? Rolling the dice for your loot at the end of the map I genuinely believe, while perhaps not literally unique, had a great execution. Maybe its just me, but a swift roll of the dice was much more enjoyable than watching a bar rise with X amount of modifiers.
Too little emphasize on the players introduction to the games mechanics, and the prologue I don’t believe to be the problem here - its just the lack of text and raw information that keeps people in the dark about say stamina regen, block cost, blockbreak and the stagger, dodges and dodgecount on different weapons, the purpose of most charged attacks and curse. (grimoires)
These things lead to Vermintide feeling more like a slog, you dedicate so much time yet may waste so much of it never seeing or getting what you want. I’ll use myself as an example.
- I did not see a single cosmetic until after the 600 hour mark.
Six. Hundred. Hours.
And I’m not going to lie, I love hats.
Despite people starting up the game, friends of mine, seeing hat drops after a couple of levels… I kept on playing. The luck I was experiencing unbelievably bad, I was clearing legend with my friends but never saw cosmetics, un/fortunately my love for the original Vermintide made well sure I couldn’t slip away, but did I really not deserve a hat before then? Just A HAT. I recall just seeing a hat icon on the loot table one day playing Vermintide 1, that alone was a thrill enough for me. I remember to this day how dedicated I became to get one. …and then, I discovered veteran items.
I was sold.
With time, that sense of thrill is gone entirely. Now its just… click, click, click. Again, again and again.
I’m feeling increasingly insulted by the complete disregard for players and their time (add on top of that the mess that was the “internal beta”, whatever your perspective), players who put time aside to play and have a good time with friends challenging or not, some who dedicate time to the community and among posting and conversing, draw fantastic and hilarious art and comics. But we see so little when it comes to what people want. People want to play vermintide, but the artificial timegating behind crafting that may or may not, though most likely will force you to reroll, and reroll, and reroll, and reroll…
When I first got around to playing slayer, it took me 2 hours to get my build set up - and most of that time was just rerolling dual axes again and again. Spent 800 blue/green dust, I have NO idea how many times it was, but **** me.
(*I mention this of course, because with vermintide it is very relevant - more so than other games perhaps because it is based much more on quick assessment and appropriate reaction. We’re of course using a broad brush when talking about games here, so please don’t nitpick me )
It is now more than ever important to put focus on the features of the game that as of right now, disregard players time and force them into dumping precious seconds, minutes, hours, into what is without question unnecessarily overdrawn.