Warhammer: Vermintide

Why Functional Progression is Bad and Turns Off New Players

warhammer 6 - Why Functional Progression is Bad and Turns Off New Players
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I've probably put in a good combined 500 hours between when I first got into Vermintide 2 on console (1-2 years ago) and now, with my 110 hours on PC. But as much as I love the game, the core gameplay loop, the class customization, the strategizing, etc, I've realized that a lot of the systems outside of direct gameplay disincentivize people from playing after the first 50 or so hours, or trying high level play. Simply put, functional progression, both in terms of gear and levels, is far too slow, confusing, and causes players to either waste chests or accumulate near meaningless crafting resources.

Lets start with level progression. I am at 110 hours (Probably 20 of those during this double EXP event) and only have the following levels as a fairly veteran Verm player who used to run legends consistently.

Kruber: 35

Kerillian: 20

Saltzpyre: 30

Bardin: 35+4

Sienna: 35

Even with a large chunk (20% or so) of these levels coming from the double exp event, it simply takes far too long to even unlock the basic talents for each hero, after about level 10 it takes 2+ missions to get a lvl up, which means you'll have to spend roughly 45-60 minutes to level up once, on one of 5 characters, out of 35. Thats about 60-70 completed (not failed) missions to fully level up one of the heros, average a mission at 25-30 minutes, and youre spending 30-35 hours per character. This is with grims, quickplay, arts, survivor bonuses, and tomes each run, without those atleast a good 30%-40 of your EXP is gone and could increase it to upwards of 50-60 hours. That's insane. Even with how good the gameplay is, nobody wants to repeat the same maps dozens of times just to be able to actually have access to the full gameplay with high lvl talents. It shouldnt take the average (or good) player over 150-250 hours to complete basic hero progression. I can't even see a reason for this as there aren't any microtransactions or ways to buy functional progress. If your game is well designed people will largely be wanting to play it after unlocking everything, not simply to unlock everything. The simple answer to this is to just increase XP gains until people hit lvl 35.

TLDR; shouldnt take 150+ hours to get max levels for all characters

As for gear, there are two areas of fault, early game, and late game.

Early Game: (Basically until you hit PL 300 and lvl 35)

How power level in loot progresses is not explained by the game at all. Do I need to equip the highest power level items over and over again? Does it go off whats in my inventory? Does it remember the highest power level item I've ever had? What any of my charcters have ever had? My highest level character? I have no idea and the answer doesnt seem to be readily available. In getting to power level 300 you have to open chest after chest for marginal PL differences, and at times it can feel like youre stuck and unable to actually get a higher PL without leveling up. But if getting higher PL stuff requires you to be a higher level, then the player is supposed to not open chests until they hit 35, which is not told to you by the game, and limits crafting resouces and basic gear in the early/mid game, which is the only place they matter. Crafting is atrocious because its entirely RNG based, if I want crit chance on my sword I shouldnt have to sit their with my 400 reroll chances and wait 5-10 minutes for it to give me, not only the crit chance and something I like, but a good percentage amount. Players should be able to spend 10 or so of blue and green powder to atleast choose the stats they want to roll %s on, and then atleast youve reduced the layers of RNG down to one, and given players reasonable accessibility to min maxing and legend/cata break points. Crafting should not be tedious, unfun, and largely an unrewarding chore without guarnteed success.

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Late Game: (After you hit PL 300 and lvl 35)

The largest problem with late game is that crafting, and all the resources involved become useless. Once a character has acquired all orange 300s, there is no functional use for any non red items or resources a player has. So players just begin to salvage hundreds of items without even the faintest ability to use them for some uber slow and costly progression. Unless rng favors you youre going to have to get 5 red items to salvage to make into the one red item you want. Getting red items of any kind is also a pain, not only because they have fairly low spawn rates outside of vaults, but because it takes 25 minutes to get a single chance to roll what will at best be a 5-15% chance, and acquiring that 5-15% is extremely difficult. None of this would matter however if reds didnt have functionality over orange items. Reds being difficult to acquire cosmetic items requiring lots of grinding would be fine, but since theyre the only way I can get 33% curse resistance and 5% crit chance without spending literal hours playing a nickel slot machine, they aren't. I've opened probably 60-70 emperors chests, 5 emperors vaults, and 150 commendation chests, and only recieved 5-6 reds. Even if they were ones I wanted, it wouldn't be enough to give each hero 1 weapon after the charm+neck+trinket. This is something I cannot confirm, but if red spawn chances are based on lvl/PL, then this encourages players to not touch chests until they hit both. I had 100 commendations and 50 Emp chests and didn't touch them until I hit lvl 35 and PL 300. Making the player gain gear naturally both innefecient and harmful longterm makes them not want to play longterm.

TLDR; You cant even slowly craft reds with stockpiles of previous resources, reds are too necessary for proper min maxing yet too hard to get, and crafting becomes useless

Both of these combined mean that the average player will never be able to even reach the lvl caps for more than 1 or two charcters, and discicentivizes general play. What we think of as "the game" shouldn't be an artificially long journey to functional endgame progression, it should be deviations of the game after reaching functional end game progression.

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