Is Darktide's Crafting and Loot System a Step Backwards from Vermintide 2?
A look at the loot and crafting systems in Warhammer 40K Darktide, compared to its predecessor.
Darktide has been out for a couple of weeks now, giving players plenty of time to get to grips with its gameplay and various systems. One aspect of the game that seems to be pretty unpopular at the moment is the manner in which players can go about obtaining items they want - this includes the loot system and crafting system (or lack thereof, currently). Particularly well disliked is the Armoury shop, which gives players a completely random assortment of weapons to buy, refreshing every hour.
I personally found it a bit puzzling that Fatshark has caused these problems for themselves (and their players) given that in my view Vermintide 2 had better loot and crafting systems, and that's the case I'll be making in this article.
Loot in Darktide vs Vermintide 2
Firstly let's look at the loot system in Darktide, and by extension, the general ways in which players obtain new weapons and curios.
Currently, players are limited to the following ways of getting new items:
- Emperor's Gift at the end of missions. Completely random if you get one or not, and the item you get is also pretty much random. Some Curios can influence your chances of getting particular item types, but you can only slightly manipulate the RNG in your favour.
- Buying new items from the Armoury. This will be the most common method for most players - the Armoury sells quite a few weapons at a time, but again the items available are completely random. The weapon you want might not be in there at all for several refreshes, and then when it finally appears it might have bad stats, meaning you have to wait for yet more refreshes for a good one.
- Sire Melk's Requisitorium. This store sells higher quality items in exchange for the currency that you earn by completing weekly contracts. He only sells a few weapons at a time and his stock resets much less often, so again you are pretty much dependent on RNG here.
While RNG is to be expected in pretty much any loot system, in Darktide there is basically no escaping it.
By comparison, Vermintide 2's loot system was more streamlined, yet in my experience at least offered much more value to my own progression by simply playing the game. At the end of each level, you were guaranteed a chest containing three items, as long as you completed the mission. The quality of the items you received was dependent on the difficulty you played the mission on, with additional positive modifiers from how many Tomes, Grimories and Loot Dice you found in the mission, along with a small RNG modifier from Ranald's Gift.
The highest quality items, red quality, were rare, but not ridiculously rare if you played on high difficulties.
And that was basically it in terms of loot. You just got new items by playing the game and finishing levels, you didn't need to spend hours waiting for RNG to give you a perfect store refresh. As soon as you unlocked a new weapon type, you could go and craft it and try it out immediately. Better loot from higher difficulties meant that players were incentivized to get better at the game and play on the higher difficulties, instead of in Darktide where you can often find skilled players speedrunning low difficulties to complete their weekly contracts or farm Emperor's Gifts.
The incentives given to the player have been reversed, in my opinion in the wrong direction. I also don't imagine it's a great experience for new players, having high level characters storm into their games and sprint through the level. This could be somewhat circumvented with proper private matches, but I digress.
To fully appreciate the contrast between the two games, we also have to look at the other piece of the jigsaw - crafting, so let's do that now.
Crafting in Darktide vs Vermintide 2
I obviously have to preface this by saying that Darktide's crafting isn't fully implemented yet. However, Fatshark have revealed what the crafting system will look like when it is complete, so we can use that information to compare the two systems.
When complete, Darktide's Crafting will give us the following options:
- Consecrate - Upgrade the item's quality, adding an extra blessing or perk.
- Earn Blessing - Destroy the weapon in exchange for a Votive Offering - essentially a token that allows you to put a blessing from the destroyed weapon onto another weapon you have.
- Combine Blessings - Combine three of the same blessing to earn one Votive Offering of a higher tier, making the blessing more potent.
- Re-bless - Spend a Votive Offering to replace a weapon's blessing with the one associated with the Votive Offering you chose.
- Refine item - Replace a perk on the item with another random perk. This process gets more expensive each time you do it (on the same item).
In Vermintide 2, we could instead perform the following crafting tasks:
- Craft item - Use some basic crafting materials to craft a weapon or jewellery of your choice (from any unlocked weapon that is valid for your current character)
- Salvage items - Destroy items to earn back some basic crafting materials as well as some coloured dust that depended on the item's quality - salvaging a blue quality item would give some blue dust, etc.
- Upgrade item - Spend some crafting materials to upgrade the item's quality by one tier, unlocking a random Trait or Property depending on the quality.
- Reroll Trait - Spend some yellow dust to apply a random trait to the item, replacing the old one.
- Reroll Property - Spend some green and blue dust to apply random properties to the item, replacing the old ones.
- Convert Dust - Convert some dust to a lower quality dust - useful as you often had an over abundance of yellow dust.
While both of these systems employ a substantial amount of RNG, and the system in Vermintide 2 wasn't perfect by any means, I do think that the latter system was much less grind oriented and allowed you to pretty easily turn useless items into something useful.
Don't like the weapons you got from missions? Just throw them in the salvage pile and use the materials to make something you want.
Sure, you did sometimes have to reroll a lot of times to get the traits and properties you wanted, and this could be a bit annoying. But it was definitely significantly quicker than waiting for the store and Emperor's gift RNG to give you several items with the trait that you want, in order to then upgrade that trait, and then in many cases repeat the process all over again if you want to fully upgrade the trait to tier 4.
In summary, in Vermintide 2 we are incentivized to play on higher difficulties instead of gate-crashing the lowest ones, if we don't like what the RNG gives us then we can pretty easily save up some materials and fix that problem.
In Darktide however we have to spend hours window shopping and brute-forcing our way through several RNG gates in order to get the items we want. It's MMO level grind in a game that is not an MMO.
Personally I hope that Fatshark takes some lessons from their own previous game - I'm not suggesting that they copy their old systems into Darktide, but adding the ability to craft an item of your choice from scratch and go from there would be a good start. Then make higher difficulties give us better Emperor's Gifts (or at least add some other incentives besides more coins and diamantine) and please fix the store - it literally took days for me to find a new Force Sword for my Psyker.
We hope you enjoyed this article about Warhammer 40K: Darktide.