I made a
post over on the Fatshark Forums Vermintide 2 feedback section, but I figure I want more internet points so I'll post it here as well, just to see if more people would be interested in this idea and/or agree with some of my (many) points.
The Shadows Over Bögenhafen DLC is the first DLC for Vermintide 2. It currently has Mixed reviews on Steam, due to the numerous problems with the DLC: the maps, storyline, and cosmetics. There’s been a wealth of suggestions on what to do to fix the DLC, so maybe it’s time to organize our thoughts and seriously consider going back to Bögenhafen to fix up everything, rather than cutting our losses and just leaving it behind.
This is about eight pages (~3700 words) containing what I think are some of the major issues of the DLC, as well as suggestions for what I think could fix it. There’s also a TL;DR at the end, but I’ll get kind of offended if you skip everything, since I included pictures, bolded text to emphasize key points, and tried to break things down section-by-section.
The Pit is a visually stunning map. The titular area has a very distinct, instantly identifiable aesthetic that sets it apart from the other maps in the map pool. There’s even a cool day-night progression in the map! The primary issues with the Pit are its unutilized space primarily due to the books, its underwhelming crescendo event, and its final part that drags on a bit. Does this sound like me complaining about the entire map? Yes, but they’re all relatively minor issues that just build on each other to create a long, often unpleasant experience.
Once entering the Pit’s main area, you immediately jerk to the right to dive down into the gross water to grab Tome #1 in the sewer area. This is often a “noob trap” for people to get separated if only one or two people jump down, especially during a horde, separating a team almost immediately and potentially near one of the first boss spawn points. After grabbing Tome #1, you then hug to the right as much as possible to retrieve the barrel and grab Grimoire #1. You then jump down from the Grimoire’s resting spot (ideally forward) to quickly go grab Tome #2 from the corner of the Footpad Canal area and invariably proceeding through there to “The Rock”, despite there being 2 other paths to proceed forward. This zig-zag route to grab the books efficiently essentially takes you in a big circle around the Pit, artificially inflating the map’s length.
Here’s the rough route that I see taken every time in quickplay.
a little handy gif with me roughly drawing some of the potential routes through the map.
- Blue goes left through the market and Footpad Canal.
- Brown goes through part of the west side of the Lower Pit to the drop-down between Footpad Canal and the Pit’s tower to go through the guard tower in the wall.
- Black goes straight through the Lower Pit, for the most direct but risky/ambushable route (also there’s a gate there that I’ll mention later on, bear with me).
- Magenta hugs along the Eastern Pit wall, playing it a little safe, kinda like if you just hugged the right side of the beginning forest section of Athel Yenlui.
- Red is zig-zagging to grab all three books in this single section of the map.
After you get through this area, the crescendo event where you burn the food in the Black Hook Gang’s hideout is relatively dull. It doesn’t involve any specials, and the primary risk of defeat is when someone gets too bored and goes off on their own to guard a window and gets overwhelmed by a Chaos Savage hitting them from behind some shielded enemies. This slog of an event may have been adjusted by difficulty-varying terror events introduced in the Winds of Magic beta and may be out-of-date, but I can’t say I know anyone who deliberately went out to try this map in the beta. Regardless, it’s nothing special as far as events go.
After what feels like an eternity (but is more like two and a half minutes) waiting for food to burn, the wall breaks and you escape the burning building. It’s very tense to get everyone out because there’s always that one guy that wants to fight enemies while leaving instead of just holding W, but this finale is otherwise not that difficult. As you’re coming down from that high from your sheer sense of pride and accomplishment, you feel like the level’s over. The event didn’t feel that tense, but you feel like the map’s been going on for a while. As you try to make your escape (outrunning a horde), this finale pacing is suddenly interrupted by somebody going up into the rafters to grab Grimoire #2, which makes the map feel even longer. I feel like this Grimoire’s placement is kinda like if the second grimoire on Skittergate was a 20 second jumping puzzle after you kill Rasknitt (spoilers, sorry). It removes a lot of the tension and focus from what’s going on around you in this escape, as well as removing a lot of tension from the crescendo event because you’re not carrying two grims during the finale.
That was long, so it sounds like there’s a lot wrong with the map, right? No, not really. I feel like relatively minor changes can be made in service of gameplay. A lot of them I feel like would take an afternoon to implement.
Fixing the Pit
Move Tome #1. Currently, it’s just a noob-trap where people take fall damage, get separated during a horde/boss, and it leads to people taking the same Eastern path over and over again. Move it to the sewer before the fish market, which still maintains some risk to the tome by forcing players into that drop down area.
Open up the lower sewer grate area where Tome #1 previously rested as an alternate route besides the fish market. Some people may not like the smell of fish and would rather wade through poopy water.
Move Grimoire #1 somewhere else. It’s a rather long detour to grab the barrel to blow up the cart, and it even interferes with the Eagle-Eye View challenge. Boo! Move the Grimoire to the base of that tower for the aforementioned challenge. It gives players a nice place to regroup and appreciate the scenery before choosing their route, instead of invariably leading to the current zig-zag. Maybe someone will even do the challenge while waiting for someone to grab the Grim. Yay! Also add a ladder up there from the west side of the bridge. Make it shootable like the ladder for Grimoire #2 on Halescourge, just so there’s a way up to the Grimoire from both sides of the map. Plus, it’d be cool to have a Grim with multiple solutions, right? One solution using parkour and another using your brain.
Consider using blockages to randomly decide which path the players will take, to mix things up like Fort Brachsenbrücke (and other maps). Maybe block off the fish market one time and reseal the sewer grate the other time. Maybe block off the market/canal entrance to force players out into the open. Maybe destroy the bridge to the Eastern Pit path at the start. Use this tactic only if it seems like one path is routinely chosen in regular play and needs to be randomly blocked to encourage more diversity. There’s probably a lot of potential blockades that can be non-disruptive to the Okri’s Challenges: like opening/closing the gate in the east side of the Lower Pit, sealing up some entrances to Footpad Canal, and closing off some side-paths randomly. These could easily be non-disruptive to the Okri’s Challenges for the map.
Move Tome #2 out of the corner of Footpad Canal. It’s been submerged in doo-doo water for Sigmar knows how long! I don’t want to grab this book, that’s gross! It also forces everyone to go this same route every game, instead of choosing the other paths, which is even more gross than being submerged in doo-doo water. Move it to somewhere in the “The Rock” section. There’s a lot of
nooks, crannies, and
I would guess were
potential book hiding spot candidates at some point. Also there’s a
missing texture right here, so this is transparent. Pls fix.
Move Grimoire #2’s location to a jumping puzzle just before you enter the Black Hook Gang’s hideout. Rather than having a 15-20 second jumping puzzle in the middle of your escape (and disrupting the pacing of the final portion of the map), we can have a jumping puzzle while everyone’s healing up before the event, since people will usually take a few seconds to linger in this area anyway. Also, if you fall like a dumb man-thing and break your legs, you can maybe heal up with the supplies before the event. It also adds some tactical consideration to the map: should you skip this Grim if you’re not doing well and you feel under-prepared for the event?
Mix up the terror events during the burning building finale so the only thing that kills you isn’t just a Savage hitting you through a window behind some shields. Add specials and/or add a guaranteed boss after you escape. This last stretch needs something to make it feel a little more spicy, like a real finale. I didn’t play this at all in the WoM beta, so maybe Fatshark already did this. If so, good job!
Shorten the area between Grimoire #2’s current location and the end of the map. It feels a little bit unnecessary, although it is fun to fight a boss in this area occasionally, as I mentioned in #8. It doesn’t have the rest of the Pit’s unique aesthetic, so it kinda just blends back into the normal map pool. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the area, I just feel like we can shave another minute or two off the map’s length in the service of pacing and fun. Escaping the burning building and then almost seamlessly melding into the docks rush seems like it would be a heart-pumping finale, especially if it’s not interrupted with someone trying to do a Grim jump for 25 seconds like in #7. I added a screenshot of
one last bit of the Pit compared to
Empire in Flames (
and another) and
Righteous Stand. It really doesn’t have that signature squalor look of the Pit, it’s just a normal area at night-time. I feel like a bit of it could be cut down.
I dislike the Blightreaper a lot more than the Pit. I actually like the darkness mechanic with torches like the Dungeons from Castle Drachenfels of Vermintide 1, although I know many people who dislike it. I enjoy the scenery and the constant fireworks. However, it shares a problem with the Pit as far as books, but it also has just really slow events in general that slow down the pacing dramatically. There’s a few reworks I’d have in mind.
Fixing the Blightreaper
Buff the torch so someone actually wants to grab it, for Sigmar’s sake. I get that it’s meant to be weak, but a slave rat can backstab me for damn near quarter of my health with the same torch, so I’ll suspend some disbelief in service of gameplay. Give it some stagger, decent knockback, and decent burn damage.
Pressing ‘Q’ with the torch out should just bring out melee. If I want to get rid of the torch, it’s usually because I’m surrounded and need to kill things. If I want my ranged weapon, I can press “2” instead. It is really inconsistent for muscle memory with how every other item in the game works, so it’s uniquely bad. Video explaining it more: https://youtu.be/wTk7CBTJ9uM
Change Grimoire #1 to not require zig-zagging through the entire dark section to light all the braziers. Just make it tied to a secret hidden switch or two somewhere in the darkness pretty close to the main path but slightly hidden. Like the Pit, it just artificially inflates the map’s length by forcing us to zig-zag through the same path every time just to
get a grimoirerealize we missed one of the torches way back and get angry because this map is so long and has no loot dice.
Speed up the darkness event. Almost every time, it’s just people crouched at the portcullis waiting to crab walk through. It’s slow. Maybe instead of one interactable windlass to open all the doors, make there be one interactable windlass per area, which triggers a subsequent terror event. Cautious teams may want to take it slower, while more skilled teams can whip through some terror events back-to-back. Maybe you could even make a new Okri’s Challenge called “Afraid of the Dark” – “Legend: Escape the darkness of the sewers within five minutes”.
Add a guaranteed Troll spawn in the darkness event (at least on higher difficulties) so I can yell
Okay maybe this is just me, but I like getting extra loot dice on this map, alright? Having a guaranteed boss spawn in the dark section is spooky and exciting, like that Rat Ogre at the end of The Dungeons in Vermintide 1.
Change Tome #2 location. Currently it’s kinda lame because it naturally makes most teams go along one path, instead of potentially exploring other parts like the Fischmarket. I’ve included a birds-eye view screenshot like the one in the Pit that kinda emphasizes the different paths in this section. You could move the Tome further, somewhere in the Dreicke Platz/Bogenhauer’s Steps or, move it to be this pro gamer jump like I say in this video: https://youtu.be/jCR11gB4kfU
Speed up the hidden switches event. Why. Does. This. Take. Thirty. Seconds. Per. Switch. It. Is. Really. Boring. Same principle as the other event. If flipping a switch would queue up a terror event to come at us, well-prepared teams could do this fast while others could take their time to handle everything.
Add a fight against a Gatekeeper Naglfahr-esque boss to drop a loot die (or two). This is a huge boss arena, why is there not a boss fight here? Only a few motley hordes of plague monks and savages came to retrieve a legendary Chaos artifact? Make him appear after we grab the Blightreaper to thank us for unlocking the gate for him. Having a boss fight timed with temp HP sounds kinda cool! Especially because we’d get to hear more of what the Blightreaper has to say, since the sword has a bunch of lines that we never hear because the mission ends like 20 seconds after you grab it. We wouldn’t even need any dialogue for Bouncer ToenailBoat’s stand-in, since the Blightreaper is whispering to us during the fight.
In the intro to Blightreaper, Lohner’s voiceover explains that the sword “draws fatty Nurgle’s eye wherever it goes, and plague follows. Plague, and worse.” So, why are we holding the sword in our trophy room with a sticky note that says “pls don’t touch sword”? Is there some way to detect its presence, or is it more of a situation like Lord of the Rings where Sauron only sees the ring if someone uses it? Either way, if this is how our hideout gets found out like the Red Moon Inn from the last game, I’m going to be kinda pissed off that we’ve just been holding onto the damn thing. It’s like in horror movies where everyone is acting stupid and you’re yelling at the screen.
Heck, it’s been almost a year at this point. It’d make sense to say “Oh it took us a year to research and discover a way to neutralize the sword’s Chaos power” and weave that into a new map. Oh yeah, on top of that, Olesya doesn’t say anything in the keep after you beat these two missions. I feel like she could say, after the Blightreaper, “ahh yes good job getting that sword can you please wash your hands? Let me do some research on how to dispose of this properly.”
Non-Map Content Issues
Alright, I’ll admit it.
But that’s besides the point.
This is the only “adventure mode DLC” in Vermintide history that didn’t add new weapons. That’s kinda lame. It’s a hard sell to convince people of its value when Back to Ubersreik is the same price, gives 3 (technically 3.5 or 4) maps, and 5 weapons.
The Bögenhafen Strongboxes still don’t prioritize generating loot for your class, as far as I can tell?
It still takes at least 22 weeks to get all the content of the DLC, grinding every week. I still don’t have everything as an on-off player. It took me until May, on my 76th chest, to get the purple Ranger Veteran skin. That’s messed up.
After you get everything, the weekly challenges just disappear, even if you did like coming back to have that regular mission to do.
Why are Okri’s Challenges locked behind the DLC? A big selling point of the DLC is that only one player needs it to play it, but when you want to do some of the challenges in a group, non-DLC owners don’t give a rat’s ass, so to speak. A non-DLC owner has no reason to not light the braziers for an achievement or not pick up a torch. You wouldn’t lock a Steam achievement behind DLC, why should Okri’s Challenges be locked?
Also, some of my favorite veteran illusions didn’t get a purple counterpart. That makes me sad.
Fixing Non-Map Content
Add some weapons, free for everybody. I don’t like Back to Ubersreik (and soon Winds of Magic?) setting the precedent that potentially meta-changing weapons are locked behind DLC. The Axe and Falchion, the Dual Hammers, the Crowbill are often considered best-in-slot for their respective characters, until they eventually get nerfed (several months later). Just add some weapons to Bögenhafen that you unlock in the same fashion as B2U weapons, to incentivize people to give the maps a chance after you reworked them (and maybe added a third, final map?) I don’t even think the weapons need to be particularly innovative like the throwing axes or billhook. Just having something rather than nothing would be great. DLC owners would be able too whip through three hosted games to get the weapons ASAP, but non-DLC owners should be able to eventually acquire them via a friend hosting or quickplay luck.
Make the Bögenhafen Strongboxes generate loot for your hero first and foremost. It’s silly that they didn’t. It just extends the grind and makes me dislike the DLC even more.
Change the Bögenhafen Strongboxes to guarantee at least one Bögenhafen illusion/skin/hat, but otherwise have 3 total random items like a Commendation Chest. You may just get an Illusion + 2 green weapons, but imagine the excitement seeing an Illusion + Hat + Skin at random. My heart would leap out of my chest moreso than getting two or three reds in a Legend Vault. It’d make the chests actually more interesting to open rather than just opening and saying “Oh look an illusion for a class I never play.”
Changes in #3 where the Bögenhafen Strongboxes act kinda like Commendation Chests would allow them to drop forever to give the DLC more incentive to buy.
Unlocking Okri’s Challenges to everyone and letting them grab a few Bögenhafen Strongboxes would give players a taste of what cool skins they could get from buying the DLC, as well as giving everyone a reason to complete a challenge in a random game, unlike the current system. They wouldn’t be able to unlock everything they want with only 18-20 strongboxes (if they did every challenge), and surely they’d want to buy the DLC to complete their set. When I got my purple Great Axe, the first things I wanted was a purple shotgun and the purple suit to complete the ensemble… and that took me 76 chests. Also, locking the ability to get an achievement behind DLC is kinda lame, since if I buy the DLC for myself and my group of friends: they don't really have as much incentive to repeatedly replay that content for achievements like I would. It's lame.
Adding purple counterparts to the remaining Veteran illusions would give reasons to keep coming back to get those Bögenhafen Strongboxes, allowing you to almost double the number of purported cosmetics in the DLC, right? Pump out some more purple character skins besides Ranger Veteran as well.
The Pit is boring because the books make you zig-zag and make the map seem much longer than it actually is. It also makes it seem much more repetitive because you don’t ever get to experience the different routes that the Pit has, which are all pretty cool. Also the finale is essentially just waiting around, then running, then grabbing the grim, then running some more, then grabbing the tome, then running some more, then pulling a lever, then picking up your Handmaiden who dashed off the docks, and then running some more.
The Blightreaper is boring because it actually is really long and the Bögenhafen doorsmith really likes making every door the slowest possible door, so the map is longer than Skittergate but doesn’t give any loot dice even though it should because you’re literally collecting a legendary Chaos artifact.
Also the DLC doesn’t have anything to tie the story all together, like how Back to Ubersreik has Fortunes of War to tie all the illusions together. The current story trajectory just looks like the Blightreaper is going to get our hideout exposed since we’re holding it instead of destroying it, so it’s like we’re in a horror movie where the characters are being dumb and we’re yelling “HE’S BEHIND YOU DUMMY”.
The non-map content is also kinda lame unless you like purple because there’s no weapons. But, at the same time, adding weapons for DLC is pay-to-win and I don’t like that because it wasn’t like that in the first game, Fatshark.
EDIT: formatting, fixing links, etc.
Source: Original link
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