The majority of content at VT2’s launch was spillover from VT1, as they made 2 to make the game more scalable for long-term game design. That’s pretty much the only reason VT2 exists.
Not that I’m defending Darktide’s launch, but it’s always a weak argument.
They didn’t “earn” the support either. The non-hero class DLCs are still terrible for their price point and amount of content received. Weaves arrived behind a $20 DLC with no Quickplay and were slow to add it in, which killed that entire subsystem of the game, much the same way that Deeds did.
It’s boring narrative. Darktide doesn’t need content DLCs. They clearly demonstrated that they don’t need to make those same mistakes.
Buy the cosmetics or don’t. They can’t hurt you. They’ll never affect you.
They already do. Even if you never buy the cosmetics you’re already affected a ton of little deliberate design inconveniences that I’m pretty sure wouldn’t have been there if there was no cash shop.
That’s what I meant, they didn’t monetise VT2 further until after they partially raised it out of the pit that was launch and the port. DT went full in even before the game had basic functionality finished.
VT2 had 15 careers, 2 factions, 4 bosses, 3 map bosses, dozen distinct new maps.
VT had 5 careers, 1 faction, 1 boss, 1 (2) map bosses, also many unique maps.
Now DT has 4 careers, 1 faction (drags & scags - meh, they are too similar), 3 bosses, 1 map boss (on 2 maps, hardly an interesting fight), 5 indistinguishable types of maps.
Additionally, VT2 and DT both have totally new content.
While it can be argued that much of this new content is built off of old content and databases, this is nothing new to game development and between game devs, the only change is how well this is masked.
All the Souls and Soulslike games from From Soft for instance are also entirely built off each other.
Dark Souls 1 has Demon Souls code as a code base and assets that are simply disabled.
The Need For Speed series has the same phenomenon. It goes so deep, that you can recognize and differentiate the different development studios by era (NFS 1 until NFS 2 Special Edition is the 1st era; NFS 3 Hot Pursuit until NFS Carbon is the 2nd era; everything thereafter is Criterion era). The driving mechanics of each era are the same, much of the game flow and game design is similiar (1st era made for arcades, 2nd era classic arcade style home gaming, 3rd era modernized cinematic driving with Flat Out engine from Criterion).
So these are example from other big Triple A studios. If you have a sharp eye, you can do this with any franchise. Tom Clancy, Fifa, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Rayman, Tomb Raider, etc.
So I’d argue that the same is the case here. VT is the base, VT2 builds on top of it, Dark Tide uses the same engine and many similiar mechanics, but also has new elements on top of that. They all use the same base and follow the same game logic and flow. Nothing wrong with that.
While this is a virtually impossible order, I would need tangible evidence of this, especially considering how insistent everyone is that the cosmetic cash shop is altering the game’s experience.
Obviously this affects the pipeline of free cosmetics and premium ones, but the free cosmetics in VT2 were arguably worse as pure recolors and nothing else (as most of VT2’s rewards are based around challenge completion and not just Ordos). Darktide at least has managed several variations of the same outfits for free.
I don’t really accept the Shillings argument because Shillings didn’t really unlock anything impressive at all compared to premium cosmetics. Ordos cosmetics is already this system, anyway, despite how much people want to deny it. The 50 Shilling cosmetics are also DLC-locked, so I don’t count those either (which is a slap in the face the more I think about it, honestly, especially when the other DLC cosmetics were green recolors of the base outfits).
I should have clarified especially that I meant to include the idea that a lot of it was potentially already planned or in development for VT1, and they shifted it all into work for VT2. I’m not trying to say VT2 didn’t have a lot of new content on its own, because it did, but that we shouldn’t discount that VT2 already had the luxury of building off of itself.
Darktide was made from scratch and potentially in production 2-3 years into VT2’s release. It sort of explains why a lot of QOL improvements haven’t made it into the game from VT2, as they were likely referencing older builds at the time.
And while I am saddened that it didn’t launch with more content like everyone else, and has took them a predictable year to finally get the game at a launch-ready state (the only thing missing now is a weapon/blessing overhaul, as literally the only system they haven’t reworked thus far), I honestly do not see anything directly affected by the cosmetic shop to say that it has negatively impacted the game’s design or development.
While I can’t prove intent conclusively, most of the design decisions for the the Mourningstar initially served to try to always waste a little bit of your time to increase exposure to other people with cosmetics or the cash shop.
There are no hotkeys for the Mourningstar, forcing you to run everywhere. Both VT1 and 2 had hotkeys and they had smaller areas. Functionality is there as proven by the hotkeys mod.
The path you had to take from spawn to the armoury used to have you run past the cash shop. Now if you want any cosmetic, you still take the same path but at least they’re all contained in the same area.
Instead of changing your character on the spot in your current hub, it will always reload you into a new hub and spawn point, meaning you always had to run back to the function you wanted to access as well as exposing you to a new set of players.
In short, the entire Mourningstar “experience” is made to inconvenience you just enough that you stayed in the Mourngingstar a bit longer to try to “subtly” expose people to more cosmetics as well as (initially) push people towards the cash shop. They’ve stepped back a few of those decisions but that doesn’t excuse that they were there in the first place.
The store itself also attempted its own set of dark patterns before they got cold feet and changed some of them, in the most half-arsed ways. “We forgot the 2400 and 100 aquila bundles”, We forgot the 100 aquila bundle", “Too many pages confuses people”, “Now there isn’t a timer but it still rotates”. None of this is accidental.
I would also mention that all of this was there on release before itemisation, one of their so-called “pillars” of gameplay, was even completed.
It just feels like everything else outside of main mission gameplay was focused on retention and maximising monetisation before the foundations of the supporting gameplay systems were even settled, as well as being ahead of player quality of life and that’s where parts of the design of the game has suffered because of the cash shop.
Darktide was definitely not made from scratch at all, no matter what anyone else says. The similiar foundations for the system are too obvious, the gameplay systems all are built from previous work. I can smell it.
I’m not saying this is a bad thing. Most game devs work with previous projects to hasten up production speed and have good reference material for what works. Completing a new project of this size in 3-4 years is a good time, we shouldn’t forget that.
Fatshark is not so great at masking these similiarites from their earlier works, but then it might be that they did not try to begin with.
After all most players came here not just for WH 40k, but also for Rattentide in space. It’s an obvious sales hook.
As for Blessings: You’re in luck.
New / Changed (and arguably much better) Blessings are on the way, it was already datamined. Unlock as many as you can before the new patch fixing the Plasteel bug reels in.
Very compelling evidence and I generally agree.
To be fair, though: Setting up a monetization shop is one of the arguably easier things to do.
From the company’s perspective, it also makes sense to secure further income post-launch.
Fiat is what the entire company runs on. Without the promise of a paycheck, nobody moves their butt. That’s reality.
What I am totally on board with in your comment is the criticism of Dark Patterns.
They would have gotten off better saying “We know the whole game isn’t done yet and buying cosmetics helps us continue development”.
By changing the pricing and packages a few times they have also shown that they’re just not confident yet how and where to set price ranges and packaged goods. Some were ‘calling this out’, but I don’t think it’s bad that they experiment with it a little.
On the other hand: I don’t care that they came out with a total meme response when they backpedalled. I only care that they actually did listen to the feedback. That’s more than most others would have done. I know you probably won’t forgive them for having tried. I guess my mentality there is different as a sales guy. Companies are constantly encouraged to push the boundaries and actively punished if they don’t. It’s an unfortunate reality.
On the bright side, that’s why it’s also so important people like you are here, who give them flak when they push too far. This pushback is needed to keep the market in an acceptable state, even if the presentation of this feedback can be a little harsh.
As for the meme excuse (little bit of rambling):
Being honest is something that makes you vulnerable. Few are comfortable opening up 100%. That’s just something you will accept eventually. You see their lies and you know what it means. But you also know why it happens. White little lies happen all the time in business, because you have to protect your interests as humans are predators.
In modern society our predatory instincts have shifted to the social hierarchy.
Being honest will make most things look worse for most people, even though a badly told lie is also insulting to one’s intellect. It’s a bit of a weird conundrum where the less you say, the better you are off. Maybe this would have been the best course of action. Make the change silently and don’t comment on it. Making too many excuses isn’t good either. It puts you in a position of weakness and opens you up to further attacks.
What I think matters here is that by releasing the “We forgot to add this payment option” statement, they tried to walk the most amicable route where a little blame is taken, but the issue isn’t put a spotline on even further. I think that’s totally okay.
I mean what does one say in that position? “Yes, we did push the envelope and tried to see if you’d bite. But you’re not so easy to catch.”
That’s super honest cheeky breeky mode, even has a veiled compliment in there. It could work in some settings, I even know some guys who’d actually react positive to this in a “You’re an ass, but I respect the bravery” type of way.
But not in Gaming. That’s a different target audience. It would only serve to create more outrage, give journalists fodder to jump on.
Most people just aren’t at this level where they can take the punches, roll with them and not think it’s personal. Yes, it really isn’t. But try telling that 17 year old Timmy, who’s brimming with testosterone. It won’t go over well.
It’s another reason why corporate entities don’t really know how to deal with gamers. In professional environments, you take a sales pitch that’s too much, decline it friendly, say “at this time I have no interest” and drop a hint somewhere that you’ve seen better offers before elsewhere. That’s how companies communicate with one another.
But in our defense, most companies haven’t reacted too diplomatically to the diplomatic approach before, either.
Gaming has got to be one of the most toxic industries when it comes to:
Service provider ↔ Customer relationships
You don’t get this type of stuff anywhere else. I love it.
For me it’s more how they keep doing it. One meme reply is whatever, but a series of meme replies where they said they were going to do something and didn’t do even half of what their statement said and then having a meme reply for that too. It gets tiring quickly, tanks the trust in the developer, and trust is something they burnt a lot of with their own actions with the release and state of ongoing support and communications.
The silver lining is that it usually isn’t the CMs with those extra memey statements, but on the flipside, when it’s the lead designer and team leaders making them… yeah, that’s probably a problem.
Interesting thesis - backed up by any statistics or just a guess? Not implying I know any different but I‘d guess that 40K was a major selling point. Of course I can only deduct from my personal bubble in which 4/8 got it for the setting, 1/8 cause he liked vermintide and 3/8 cause they wanted to coop with the other 5 :). Sadly I‘m the onlyone of those still playing occasionally - and I‘m here for the setting.
They keep doing it because they keep running into the same issue, which is miscalculation of alloted time and how much they will do with it.
Also the corporate speech will never stop, because it is a defensive tool as I said. Fatshark as a company has shown it relies on these things, so they will keep doing it.
I mean it would depend on how you read statistics, but I base this claim on the initial All Time Player Peak number, which is close to the sales number.
All time peak - Recorded roughly around launch:
Vermintide 2 - 104.134
Darktide - 107.450
Even the concurrent daily players are roughly the same right now.
It’s not a huge stretch to assume from this overlap that a lot of Vermintide 2 players are also Darktide players and vice versa. Of course, that’s correlation, not causation. But it is indicative.
If the playerbases were attracted for different reasons, I’d expect largely different numbers for both games. But both perform roughly the same.
In any case, wait for early october. It’s supposed to be the big relaunch, which includes Blessing update, skilltrees (many new abilities), new difficulty derived from game and AI director rebalance and more. It’s going to be huge and breath fresh new air into the game.
Also a lot of new bugs. Can’t wait for Mutie Throw of the year.
One reasonable way of interpreting the statistics.
One could of course argue in the opposite direction as well - if VT2‘s population dropped from 100k to 3k that could mean that a lot of those players actually might not have been interested in buying another Fatshark game, which in turn could mean that many of the DT players did not own VT2 before (like me).
And that VT2s current playerbase has roughly the same size as DT‘s actually doesn’t mean anything as those who play one game at that time are obviously not playing the other game at the same time.
If the playerbase of VT2 dropped from 6k to 3k after DTs launch - that correlation would suggest some causality. Was thatcher case?
I would love for there to be sales on cosmetics, either directly or for aquilas. My personal fav was the way Warframe did theirs. Random coupons anywhere from 10%-80% off. Not saying it needs to be that big of a discount. But for those who never would buy a cosmetic for 10 bucks, might do it for 2 or 3 bucks.