There’s quite some hate on the mission select screen. Personally, I think this design choice has some advantages. There are ways to do it better, but going back to lobby browser as a default would be a worse design choice. Feel free to discuss, but please stay polite.
I think the biggest advantages of the mission select screens are:
- Keeping queue times low
- Giving players a realistic chance to play all maps, difficulties and mission modifiers over time
- Opt out of stuff they don’t like
- Total guesswork: It might also be used to improve performance by having same mission instances share ressources on a dedicated server
A “lobby browser only” approach has several disadvantages.
The biggest one is that it tends to lead to concentration of the playerbase on a small subset of the maps/difficulties/gamemodes. It’s a self-reinforcing loop, even if players generally like most options. Players play what’s is available and has low queue times. So less players are playing other options, so queue times there increase, reinforcing the effect. Traditional problems are that the beginners have a hard time finding games, as most of the players have moved on. And some game modes being simply dead, because hardly anybody wanting to sit in a lobby for 20 minutes to signal other players that there might be an option to play this if enough others congregate. (Arma is a prime example for this.)
Realistically, lobby browsers tend to give you less choice in practice, as a lot of content options don’t have enough playerbase most of the time.
There’s a reason why pretty much all modern shooters intruduced some form of quickplay or another. But Quickplay alone gives little agency.
Darktide is a game that intends to grow and do a lot with mission modifiers. Even at 16 maps, 3 book options and 5 mission modifiers, that would be 240 options. A lot of them would hardly ever see play in a “lobby browsers only” approach. And things would get worse the more content gets released.
So having a default rotation that funnels players through all game modes over time, while giving them the option to opt out of stuff they don’t like, imho isn’t a bad thing.
Personally, I think the mission select should be more responsive to player choices. So if a lot of players consistently sign up for damnation with high-high intensity modifier, than that should be more likely in the rotation. Or an additional mission select slot could be created. But keeping such a system from self-reinforcing loops is not that trivial. Even right now, queue times Malice and Damnation are low, but on Heresy they are getting longer. So some Heresy players are already tempted to play on Malice or Damnation instead. Reducing their choice further would reinforce the effect.
Just wanted to get that out there. Feel free to discuss. Personally, I’m curious how your improvement ideas look like.