Warhammer: Vermintide

Mixing Old & New Blood: A Proposal to Fatshark on How to Encourage Skill Level Mixing

warhammer 10 - Mixing Old & New Blood: A Proposal to Fatshark on How to Encourage Skill Level Mixing

Thanks to /u/againpyromancer for spitballing this topic with me this morning.

Before I begin, I'd like to disclaimer that I was introduced to Vermintide 1 on the Playstation platform, so I'm aware there are some "cultural differences" between that and the PC player base—which naturally has a larger population—so these are where my experiences are being drawn from; your mileage may vary. I'd also like to mention that these are more "long-term" solutions that I don't necessarily expect to happen instantaneously or in a short span of time if ever implemented.

Think of this post more as "something to chew on" vs. "I expect to see this in game."

The Strength of the Vermintide Community

I recently just passed my one year anniversary of playing Vermintide (hooray!), so it wasn't too terribly long ago that I was introduced to the game and could barely get past "hard" mode in Vermintide 1's original map pool. I distinctly remember getting at a point where I hit my first skill ceiling, not really knowing basic map strats other than kill as many rats as possible and not dying and failing Castle Drachenfels over and over and over again until I ran into a player named "STEF". STEF was a pretty chill dude who saw me fumbling around and went, "Come here, young rat catcher. Let me teach you the ways of Skaven Slaying,"…and then three games later threw me into my first Nightmare.

Despite my failure of that map and being totally embarrassed I had wiped in front of a high-level player and was 100% sure he'd never play with me again, this guy spent nearly two and a half months inviting me to games daily, teaching me the ropes, and otherwise ensuring I could hold my own. STEF really had no reason for being in hard mode in the first place, I later found out. He just liked to teach.

It left an extremely lasting impression on me, and thus I stuck around.

I like to think most of us—in some way, shape, or form—had some kind of a "Vermintide mentor," whether that was learning from videos we found on Youtube or meeting someone in-game who showed us the light. The fact that these resources were available and that the community is, in general, very welcoming and helpful to newbies, is one of the defining strengths of Vermintide and why our community is as tightly-knit as it is.

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Where We Are with Vermintide II

As of right now, Vermintide II lacks a certain amount of incentive to build bridges between those wanting to learn and those willing to teach in an organic manner. Those wanting to do either a) have to go to specific communities meant for that purpose or b) playing games and hoping to find that connection at random. Fostering that connection is even harder because approaching someone more skilled than you can sometimes be a terrifying prospect, and finding someone who wants to be taught can be even harder.

In this vein, here are a couple long-term proposed solutions to help encourage active player skill mixing, connect "students" with "mentors" in an organic manner within the game, and foster (hopefully), long-term retention of players by harnessing the strength and passion within the community:

PROPOSAL 1: Weekly Difficulty Challenges

For those who are familiar with Vermintide 1, you'll remember the concept of "Cata Sundays"—otherwise the day of the week you could get double key contracts on the bounty board. While I myself certainly went in with pre-mades to get things done faster or more efficiently, oft-times, because I knew there would be some open Cataclysm lobbies, would hop into whatever I found and begin the map. Often, you'd find the mixing of veterans and newbies, and it wasn't super uncommon to find someone around level 20 or so joining your game to get their keys for the day. This allowed not only for more experienced players to show newer players the ropes in a "trial by fire" kind of way, but also for newer players to try their hand at higher difficulty spikes with a fairly tangible reward (keys for Vermillion Tidings, anyone?). Sometimes you had such fun, you'd run your lobby again and wait for the next round of people, so newer players could experience Cataclysm with a guide at their side.

Vermintide 2 could institute something similar to this effect by not just having a "weekly legend" run for a guaranteed emperor's vault/free re-roll/bright dust/whatever might be enticing for those who either play Legend regularly, but also for those wanting to take their first dive into legend with a higher chance for a prize they wouldn't normally get their hands on. This could also be remixed as weekly vet or champ runs, potentially encouraging more experienced players to "play down" out of their premades and mixing with those who sit at that skill level naturally.

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PROPOSAL 2: "Train a Newbie" Events

It could also be proposed that Vermintide 2 could hold limited time (or regular) "Train a Newbie" events that follow along the lines of "Play five games with a new player" that fall during Steam/console sales, free weekends, etc., wherein the "mentor" initially receives a cosmetic. With each additional game set with other new players, additional pieces of the cosmetic could be added.

For example: A Kruber player could receive a special hat after the first five games. Another five games with a new player nets you a feather added to his hat, up to a certain number of feathers with each new player/game set.

New players, in return, could receive something to help them further their gameplay. Perhaps a specific jump in XP received. Perhaps a higher powered weapon +n from where their weapon loadout is now, etc. By the time the next "train a newbie" event comes around, theoretically, the newbies are now vets, and are ready to teach the next set of newbies.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Have other ideas? Introducing newer players to the life of rat slaying has been one of the most rewarding parts of the game for me, and I'd love to see this idea supported in an official capacity in-game.

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