Warhammer 40K: Darktide’s had a somewhat unusual launch: through a two-week pre-order beta, developer Fatshark rolled out a selection of new missions and features alongside frequent bug fixes. One glaringly missing ingredient was the crafting system – and on launch day, it was still largely missing. Only one of four aspects of the crafting system is currently available, with the rest marked “Opening Soon!” This has not sat well with some players, who have pointed out that the premium cosmetics store was ready for launch, but crafts were not. So I spoke to Fatshark’s lead developers about why they called.
“The amount of time we’ve spent on the shop compared to the crafting system is just a fraction. I actually think we spent too little time on the premium shop – we should have spent more time getting the packs right,” said Fatshark co-founder Martin Wahlund. (Wahlund is referring to a feature in the store that will allow players to buy the exact amount of premium currency they need, which Fatshark explained was accidentally left out).
Victor Magnuson, Fatshark’s chief design officer, detailed why the production system wasn’t ready for launch: it needed a makeover.
“We had another craft system that we realized just wasn’t good enough,” he said. “So we ripped it out and started over and created a whole new crafting system that will be much, much better. When we made that decision, it wasn’t a happy day at the office. But we felt we had to do it. And it is going to come, and it’s going to come very soon.”
According to Wahlund, part of Fatshark’s focus with Darktide has been to focus on the game’s long-term longevity. He said the studio made “some mistakes” early in the development of 2018’s Vermintide 2 that affected new features they could add and things they could change throughout its life.
“If we release a system and it’s in there and people are using it, it’s very, very difficult to rip that system out and replace it with another system,” Magnuson said. “People have already invested in the previous system. And from a backend perspective, it’s going to be a nightmare. From the player experience, it’s going to be really bad. So if we released the game with a borked crafting system and decided that we needed to redo it, it’s a big operation and we don’t want to do that. It was a very tough call, but I think in the end the players will agree that it was the right call. Of course they’ll never knowing how bad the original crafting system was, but it wasn’t as good as this.”
How Darktide’s crafting will work
During our interview, game director Anders de Geer broke down each step of the crafting system, which Fatshark intends to roll out step by step.
Initiation: Upgrading the rarity of a weapon. Unlike in Vermintide 2, upgrading will not roll a new, random version of that higher rarity weapon. It is more controlled. De Geer: “You have the base rating of a weapon where you can see how much of the total ‘budget’ of the weapon is dedicated to damage or handling or ammo, that sort of thing. It doesn’t change when you upgrade a weapon. So if you have a white weapon with 90% damage dealt, if you upgrade it to orange, 90% of its total value will still be dealt damage, so a white weapon with a high damage percentage will be a high damage orange weapon when you upgrade it, which is a big difference from Vermintide.”
Refine element: Rerolling benefits weapons – the passive stats like 20% damage bonus against armored enemies, and so on.
Earn Blessing: Tearing a specialty from a weapon. De Geer: “You can actually extract traits and move them between weapons. So they’re kind of like gems. You can take a trait out of a weapon and put it on another weapon. So it’s a way for people to get the combination of traits they want. And traits have rarities, with three levels.”
Combine Blessings: This feature allows you to combine these traits to higher rarity levels. If you find a rarity one trait and a rarity two trait, you can combine them into a maximum rare trait three. De Geer: “There is a way to upgrade, if you find the right trait, but it’s not rolled to be the highest level. Then you can put it on your favorite weapon.”
Re-bless: Placed that trait you worked so hard to upgrade into your weapon of choice.