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A Beginner’s Guide to Warhammer: Vermintide 2

When I first started playing Warhammer: Vermintide 2 by Fatshark, I loved how easy it was to mow down hordes of rat monsters and feel like a big-time hero. I hacked and slashed my way through the different maps with no real idea what I was doing. Button mashing usually worked. And I was leveling up my character's careers and getting gear with bigger numbers. I thought I was doing great!

Vermintide 2 screenshot

Eventually, I noticed the gear I was getting wasn't an improvement anymore. A quick internet search taught me that I had maxed out the gear I could get from Recruit Difficulty (the easiest difficulty in the game). I would have to crank the difficulty up to get better gear. So I did.

How Much Harder Could “Veteran” Difficulty Be?

Running a mission on Veteran didn't seem like a big deal. It's not the highest difficulty in the game. Besides, everything was so easy on Recruit…how much harder could it be? It wasn't long before I realized my health was dropping a lot faster than I was used to. So I went to drink my health potion and was shocked to see I didn't have one. You don't start with one on Veteran. I started staying in the back and shooting but I ran out of ammo. While running all around looking for health, an Assassin jumped me. Nobody else could rescue me. They all went down too.

Game over.

When you bump up the difficulty on Vermintide 2 it's a surprisingly big jump. You have more and stronger enemies and also fewer supplies. Either one on its own would be okay but both at once makes it hard to adjust. The big shock is that Recruit mode probably taught you some bad habits.

So here's some very basic advice for when you first bump up the difficulty.

1. Mind Your Health

In game screenshot of potions.
All the supplies you need will spawn less often

Stop drinking health potions and using health kits willy nilly. You won't have as many as you used to and you'll be taking more damage than before. So because they heal you to full you really want to wait until you're very low before drinking one. To find the health potions you need to look a little harder. The health potions (and ammo, bombs, and buff potions) that do spawn will sometimes be hidden around a corner and inside a room. Don't go crazy exploring every single inch of the level or you'll get attacked a lot more than you need to, but poke your head around corners and open doors just to see if there's a supply stash that you would have missed.

2. Block and Dodge

On Recruit I never blocked or dodged. I didn't even know the right mouse button WAS the block button (I'm playing Vermintide 2 on Steam with a mouse and keyboard). I never needed to. However, on anything other than Recruit you will want to defend yourself from powerful attacks. When you see a Chaos Demon getting ready to deliver a crushing blow, dodge out of the way or block it. If you're taking damage and don't know where it's coming from start blocking. Even though the block animation looks like it only defends you from the front it actually reduces the damage you take from every direction. So hold the block button until you find where the attacker is.

Hordes of bad guys in vermintide 2

While holding your block button if you tap your attack button you'll push back the enemy. When you're overwhelmed by a horde block, push back, swing, block, and repeat. Or push them back and use the space you've created to move to a better position.

3. Weapons

You probably tried out all the different weapons on the practice dummy back at your home castle and picked some based on what seemed the most fun to you. That's great, but start considering what each weapon will be best at and what it'll be weak against. You've got a few different types of enemies. Hordes of weak enemies, armored enemies, and specials that hit from range (like Rattling Gunners). A weapon that swings down from above will be better at head shot-ing a single strong enemy than it will be against a Horde of weaklings. A weapon that sweeps a wide arc will be better at the Horde but probably won't hit individual baddies as hard. Armor piercing does bonus damage to certain enemy types, whether or not a ranged weapon has a sniper zoom, and all these stats start to matter more.

Personally, I like to have a melee weapon that does wide arcs to deal with most enemies and a ranged weapon with Sniper and Armor Piercing for dealing with specials from afar. However, there are lots of strategies that will work, just be aware it's something you need to start thinking about.

4. Ammo

A type of enemy called warpfire thrower
Shoot the guy with the flamethrower

Don't shoot.

Really. Ammo is hard to come by on higher difficulties and if you shoot weak enemies willy nilly you'll run out. Unless you have a ranged weapon like the burning woman's fire magic which never runs out of ammo, but that will explode you if you build up too much heat so you still need to be careful. The thing to remember is that Vermintide 2 is not a shooter game, it's a melee brawling hack and slash game. The range attacks are incredibly useful in certain situations but you're not meant to be shooting all the time. Save most of your shots for the Specials. You want to kill that Assassin or Hook Rat before he gets to you. Anything that has a ranged attack like the one that throws the potion grenades makes a good ranged target. Basically, save your ammo for hard things.

5. Crafting

Crafting is a great way to get the gear you want. The properties and traits you get are still random but you can decide that you want this particular thing, such as a Crossbow, and then re-roll its stats until you get what you want. It's less random since you can at least choose the type of thing you're working on.

Warhammer Vermintide Tips – TL;DR

Vermin! In a tide!

When you start playing on higher difficulties the game gets more complex. You need to conserve your health and ammo. Also, remember to pay attention to how weapons behave and look at their stats. Think hard about your talents. Be prepared to have a game over sometimes (or lots of times). Ultimately Vermintide 2 is about fighting against overwhelming odds and just barely winning.

And all the failure makes the success that much sweeter.

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