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Warhammer: Vermintide 2 - Brief and Basic Guide to Gameplay

By Mezmorki   /   Aug 13, 2019     Guides
Warhammer: Vermintide 2 - Brief and Basic Guide to Gameplay

This guide is intended to be a short, concise guide to help people totally new to Vermintide 2 (VT2) get up to speed with the basics of the game. Includes information for version 2.0+.

Other Warhammer: Vermintide 2 Guides:


Gameplay Overview



I have over 300-hours in Vermintide 2. While I'm not a top tier player, I've introduced the game to a lot of people and found myself repeating really basic information over and over. Now I can suggest reading this guide! Hope you find this helpful - and welcome to Vermintide!

Basic Game Information

  • Vermintide 2 is a 4-person cooperative FPS game, with a heavy focus on melee combat.
  • Features a light RPG (character progression) system with characters leveling up and getting stronger (deal more damage) and unlocking TALENTS
  • 5 different CHARACTERS you can play, each with 3 CAREERS. Each character levels up independently (up to max level of 35).
  • Each career has a distinct set of 18 different talents (abilities) to choose from as you level up, and a unique career "ultimate” ability.
  • Loot and crafting system: Loot boxes earned after successfully completing missions.

I’m New! What Character Should I Play?

Any of the characters are perfectly valid points of entry into the game. It really depends on your playstyle and also what character you like the look of and overall vibe. Very briefly, each characters starting career is as follows:

  • Kruber Mercenary: Good all around career. Nice mix of offense, defensive abilities and team support. Ultimate ability staggers enemies and heals your teammates.
  • Badin Dwarf Ranger Veteran: Slightly-ranged focus career with abilities that provides more items and support for your team. Ultimate ability hides you in a smoke cloud from which you can attack.
  • Kerillian Elven Waystalker: Ranged focused career. High mobility and passive abilities to regenerate life slowly. Ultimate fires off a flurry of homing arrows.
  • Saltzpyre Witchhunter: Good all around career. Strong blocking and defense with bonus damage to elites and "taggable” enemies. Ultimate ability staggers enemies and buffs the team’s critical chance.
  • Sienna Battle Wizard: Ranged-focused class using fire magic. Requires managing a "heat meter” instead of ammunition. Ultimate ability is a "firewalk” teleport that leaves a trail of flame.

Setup and Options



VT2 has (in my experience as an "old-school” FPS player) some odd default game and control settings. So let’s just get these out of the way quickly.

Display & Video Settings

  • Turn Field of View (FOV) up to at least 90-degrees. The default is a ridiculously low 65.
  • Turn Max Stacking Frames down to 1 (stacking frames above 1 seems to add input delay on some systems)
  • Optional: Turn off v-sync, especially if using gsync or free-sync with your monitor
  • Optional: Disable Motion Blur (makes combat harder to read)
  • Optional: Disable Depth of Field (makes distances harder to see)

Gameplay Settings:

  • Set Player Outlines to ALWAYS ON
  • Optional: Disable Head Bobbing (annoying)

Controls:

  • Rebind JUMP and DODGE to their own keys. Many people bind SPACE to dodge and then JUMP to L-SHIFT or something
  • Rebind the "TAG” key to it’s own key separate from the communication wheel. An extra mouse button can work well for this.
  • You may want a higher mouse sensitivity than other FPS games, given the amount of quick spinning you’ll need to do.

Combat Basics



Combat, both melee and ranged, is the backbone of the game.Below are the most important basic elements

Melee Attacking

  • Perform light attacks by CLICKING L-MOUSE
  • Perform heavy attacks by HOLDING L-MOUSE
  • Each melee weapon has a distinct pattern of light and heavy attacks. If you keep attacking with light or heavy attacks, you will cycle through these attack patterns.
  • As you get more experienced, you’ll learn which attack patterns can be chained together (often switching between heavy and light attacks) to best deal with the types of enemies you are fighting against.

Blocking & Stamina

  • HOLDING R-MOUSE will bring up your guard/blocks.
  • While blocking, you’ll see a number of yellow SHIELDS below your crosshair, which indicates how much STAMINA you have.
  • Stamina is depleted when you make a block, but will regenerate fairly quickly on its own so long as you don’t get hit again too soon.
  • Blocking will work in a 360-degree angle. However, blocking outside of your weapon’s primary blocking arc (which depends on the weapon), costs double stamina typically.

Pushes & Push Attacks

  • While blocking, if you CLICK L-MOUSE you will perform a PUSH.
  • Push: Shoves enemies back and usually staggers them a bit.
  • Pushing consumes stamina, so you can’t push indefinitely. Pushing also delays stamina regeneration for a little bit.
  • PUSH-ATTACK: While blocking, if you CLICK + HOLD L-MOUSE, you will perform a PUSH and then immediately follow up with a special attack. This "push-attack” combo can be useful for dealing with shielded enemies or dense hordes.

Staggering & Cleaving

  • When enemies are hit (depending on the strength of the weapon) or pushed, they will get STAGGERED.
  • Staggered enemies take an additional 20% damage when attacked.
  • If an enemy is staggered again while already staggered, they will take 40% more damage when attacked.
  • On higher difficulty levels, staggering enemies is important to being able to deal with large numbers quickly (e.g. during a Horde).
  • CLEAVE refers to a weapon’s ability to slice through multiple enemies in one swing. Bigger, heavier weapons generally have more cleave strength.

Dodging

  • Dodging is an essential skill to learn in order to avoid damage - especially big heavy attacks from stronger enemies.
  • You can dodge to the side or backwards. Hold the dodge key and click the movement key in the direction you want to dodge.
  • Dodges have to be well timed, relative to the attacker’s swing, in order to successfully dodge and not have the attacker "track you” (i.e. adjusting their swing early) to still hit you.
  • Your selected weapon affects the distance of your dodge (lighter weapons allow for a longer distance dodge) as well as how many "full” dodges you can make before you get winded and your dodges slow down. Typically this is 3-6 dodges.

The "Whoosh”

  • The MOST IMPORTANT thing you’ll learn to avoid damage is the "Woosh.”
  • Listen for a quick "Whoosh” sound effect (sounds like a compressed air can). This sound means that an enemy outside of your field of view is about to attack you.
  • If you hear the sound, immediately HOLD BLOCK and also DODGE (if you can). You’ll have a good chance of avoiding or blocking the damage.

Ranged Attacks

  • Most ranged weapons consume ammo. Ammo is fairly limited, especially on higher difficulties, so don’t fire needlessly.
  • Some weapons, like the wizard’s staff or dwarven fire weapons, generate HEAT instead of using ammo. If the heat gets too high, you’ll explode. Heat dissipates on its own, or it can be vented more quickly by holding the reload key, but you’ll take a little damage in the process.
  • Ranged attacks are particularly useful for dealing with dangerous "special” enemies (more on that below).

Putting it all Together

The real joy in Vermintide (IMHO), comes from putting all of the above together. It’s timing patterns of attacks carefully to deal with the exact mix of enemies you’re facing, while dodging, blocking, and pushing in a little "dance” to avoid taking damage. Through all of this, you’ll need to be mindful of your positioning and work with your team to watch each other’s backs. It’s a lot of fun.

Enemies and Dealing with Them



Learning the ins and outs of each type of enemy - how to avoid their attacks and how to best slay them - is at the core Vermintide. There is much to learn through experience and trail & error, but this section will provide a basic overview to get you started.

Enemy Factions

  • The game features up to three enemy factions: Ratmen, Chaos (Nurgle), and Beastmen (Winds of Magic DLC)
  • Typically, each level will contain a mix of different enemy factions

Basic Enemy "Types”

  • Infantry - basic warriors, come in normal or shielded (i.e. holding a shield) versions. Clan rats, raiders.. There are also trash infantry - weaker versions of basic infantry that show up in large numbers during horde events. Slave rats, fanatics.
  • Armored - tougher enemies that wear armor. Some weapons can penetrate armor, but otherwise AIM FOR THE HEAD. Stormvermin, Chaos Warriors. A little red triangle will appear near your crosshair if an attack deals no damage.
  • Berserkers - Plague Monk ratmen or Chaos Savages - tougher enemies with strong, fast attacks that can’t be interrupted easily. BLOCK AND DODGE!
  • Monsters - These include the mini-bosses (rat ogres, stormfiend, etc.)

As you craft items, certain item properties can provide bonus damage depending on these "types” of enemies.

Elite Enemies

Elite enemies are particularly tough enemies that occur with less frequency and can pose unique challenges. They can be armored or not, but always must be dealt with carefully (and ideally swiftly).

  • Stormvermin - These are heavily armored rats with powerful overhead strikes that can quickly take you out. Sometimes they will have a sword and shield!
  • Chaos Warrior - a heavy "super armored" warrior. Focus on head shots!
  • Mauler - Chaos infantry with a "super armored" helmet and a giant highly damaging axe. Attack them in the body since their head is armored.
  • Wargor - Beastman that carries a magical war banner with a powerful aura that makes beastmen nearby super tough. Melee attack the banner to destroy it.
  • Bestigor - Beastmen armored enemy with a powerful charge attack. Dodge out of the way!

Special Enemies - Ranged

Ranged enemies are limited in numbers but can cause big problems if not dealt with quickly.

  • Poison Wind Globadiers - rat that lobs poison gas clouds
  • Ratling Gunners - rat with a minigun. If you have a shield you can block the shots!
  • Warp fire thrower - rat with a flamethrower
  • Blightstormer - chaos sorcerer that summons a poison whirlwind. When you see the spell forming, there are green wispy lines you visually follow back to see where the blightstormer is. Take these enemies out quickly!
  • Ungors - Beastmen that shoot annoying arrows, very dangerous in numbers. Take them out at range quickly.

Special Enemies - Disablers

Disablers are special enemies that immediately disable a player if they catch you. If you see a downed teammate, attack the disabler as quickly as you can to free them.

  • Gutter Runner - assassin rat that will pounce on a player and pin them down.
  • Hook Rat (aka Packmaster) - nasty hook. Move towards them and dodge to the side to avoid.
  • Lifeleech - shoots out a magic bolt that sucks you back to them and deals damage

Mini-Bosses (Monsters)

Levels will often spawn a "mini-boss” that is a big monster (with a big health bar at the top of your screen), that you’ll need to deal with. These include Rat Ogres, Stormfiends, Chaos Spawns, Bile Trolls, and Minotaurs. Here are some tips:

  • When a mini-boss is targeting you, prioritize on blocking and dodging to avoid their attacks. Let your teammates deal the damage! Your focus should be not taking tons of damage.
  • Each mini-boss as a distinct pattern of attacks. As you learn this pattern, you’ll be more effective at defending from them and even attacking back when they are targeting you.
  • If a horde shows up during a mini-boss fight, prioritize on clearing the horde so people have room to maneuver and avoid boss damage.
  • If a Chaos Spawn picks up a hero, throw a grenade bomb or use your ultimate ability - many ultimates will stagger bosses and they will drop the hero.

Hordes and Ambushes

  • Usually you’ll hear lots of noise/horns/yelling in the distance when a horde comes. Hordes come in a series of waves, often from multiple directions.
  • Stick together as a team and protect each other.
  • Find a defensible position as a team if you can to limit your ability to get fully surrounded. Up against a wall is good. However, being "too cornered” can be bad, as you have no way to escape or move if the horde gets too dense.
  • Ambushes are generally smaller hordes that spawn with less notice. Focus on getting grouped up as a team.

Patrols

  • Patrols are groups of elite enemy units (e.g. a big pack of armored stormvermin) that will patrol back and forth between two spots on the map.
  • If you don’t attack the patrol, you can wait for it move by and then slip past it. You can often get pretty close without it becoming alerted.

The Joys of Teamwork



Vermintide 2 is a team game, and on higher difficulty levels (especially with the changes introduced in version 2.0) teamwork is important for having a successful run.

Getting Downed / Disabled

  • When you (or a teammate) lose all of your hit points, you’ll get downed. Your mates will be able to pick you back up.
  • On higher difficulties, after going down your health bar will turn white and your screen will be greyish colored. If you go down again during this time, you will be dead.
  • If your are dead, after a short period of time you will respawn further ahead in the map and need to be "rescued” by your team.
  • While grey, your white (temporary) health will slowly decline. If you get healed your "wound” will clear, eliminating the grey screen effect and converting health back into permanent health.

Reviving Downed Teammates

  • Pick up teammates with your melee weapon out!
  • You will automatically block attacks from enemies while reviving your teammates - but it takes a few seconds and you may need to clear enemies off your teammate first (push them back, use a bomb, etc.)

Tagging

  • Tagging is using the TAG key to highlight enemies. You can highlight any special or elite (e.g. armored) enemies.
  • Get in the habit of highlighting anything that is a threat or might be hard to see. Being able to see tagged elite units mixed into hordes will help people avoid taking unexpected damage.
  • You can also tag items lying on the ground to call out where potions, ammo, etc. are for your teammates.

Managing Health & Potions

  • You can pass healing potions (green ones) or special potions (the purple, blue or yellow ones) to other players by getting close, aiming at them, and RIGHT-CLICKING with the potion out. You can only pass a potion if they have a free potion slot.
  • Medical Packs cannot be passed, however you can RIGHT-CLICK & HOLD on your teammates to heal them.
  • Keep an eye on any teammates that have a "wound” meaning their entire health bar is grey. Give them a healing potion or use a medical pack on them.

Friendly-Fire

  • Friendly-fire is only enabled on champion, legend, and cataclysm difficulty.
  • Friendly fire is more annoying than it is damaging. Getting hit by friendly fire can give the impression of an enemy hitting you and it will mess up your aim (like getting hit normally).
  • In general, try to avoid friendly fire. Exceptions are when teammates are pinned by a disabler and/or a big threat is endangering your teammates and little friendly fire is preferrable someone getting downed or disabled.

Ultimate Abilities

  • Each career has a unique ultimate ability, which can be used when the purple meter below your health fills us.
  • Ultimate abilities should be used strategically to help turn the tide of a fight. For example, using an ultimate to stagger a large group of enemies so you can revive a teammate, or using an offensive ultimate to quickly eliminate an unexpected and dangerous threat.
  • The ultimate meter slowly recharges on its own, but fighting (dealing damage, blocking, getting hit) recharges it faster.

Positioning and Coordination

  • Stick together as a team.
  • The more spread out you are, the more likely something bad will happen to someone AND the more difficult it will be to revive them in time. This can cascade into further issues and it’s how the team wipes and loses the run.

Loot, Books, and Grimores

  • At the end of a successful mission, you’ll earn a loot box depending on the mission difficulty.
  • The quality of the loot box is determined by a number of factors, if the mission was quickplay or not, how many loot dice were found during the mission, and how many "books” - both tomes and grimoires - were collected.
  • BOOKS: Each level has three "books” hidden in it. Books take up your healing supplies / healing potion slot, but you can freely swap with supplies you find in the level.
  • GRIMOIRES: Each level has two cursed books, or grimoires. Each grimoires will reduce your entire team’s maximum health amount and consumes the "special potion” slot. IF YOU DROP a grimoire or are killed while holding one, it will vanish and be lost for the run.

Character Progression & Builds



Vermintide 2 has a light RPG system for improving your characters over the course of play. Broadly, leveling up and getting stronger weapons and items and gives you new skills and abilities that will allow you to increase the difficulty level and the rewards.

Power Level

  • The power level determines how much damage your character does.
  • The power level of your character can be viewed from the inventory screen (hit I-ley), in the upper left of the window.
  • Power level is determined by two things: your hero level and the average item level of equipped items.
  • Hero Level: 10 points of power for every level, up to 350 at level 35
  • Item Level: Items max out at level 300. Each time you open new chests or craft new items, your item level will gradually increase.
  • Getting your hero up to the highest power and item level is important (though not always necessary) for playing on higher difficulty levels.
  • Each of the five heroes level up independently. Your item level, however, is global across all heroes.

Temporary Health Talents

  • Every career’s level 5 talent will unlock two options for generating temporary health
  • The third level 5 talent option is "heal share” which allows you to heal your teammates when healing yourself).
  • Temporary health, depending on the career and talent, will be generated by staggering enemies, damaging multiple enemies, killing enemies (health based on the hit points of the target slain), or getting headshots/critical hits. In general, you want to pair your selected weapon with a temporary health talent that matches. E.g., Taking a high cleave weapon like a 2-handed sword should be paired with a talent that gets temporary health from hitting multiple enemies in one swing.

Item Rarities

  • Items come in five rarities: white < green < blue < orange < red
  • Item rarities determine how many magic properties (different bonuses with a variable effect strength) or traits (a special fixed ability) the item can have. Only orange and red items can have a trait.
  • Item traits and properties can be re-rolled through the crafting system.

Crafting

  • The crafting menu is clunky - fair warning.
  • Crafting allows you to change the properties and traits of items, upgrade items from one rarity type to the next, apply illusions (i.e. skins) to your items, or craft new items from scratch.
  • In general, don’t spend too many resources crafting until your items are at level 300. Better to save the resources for later on rolling for the properties and traits you really want.
  • NOTE: You cannot apply an illusion (i.e. cosmetic skin) or upgrade an item if it is equipped on any of the careers It’s irritating but you’ll need to make sure it’s equipped on all three careers before upgrading.
  • When you scrap an item, you’ll generate different types of dust (green, blue, orange, or red) depending on the scrapped item’s rarity.
  • You CANNOT upgrade an item’s actual item power level. You need to find or craft a higher item level item and then upgrade its rarity properties, and traits.

Useful traits and properties:

The exact traits and properties that are most useful to a particular character build will vary quite a bit. However, below are some generally useful ones to consider when starting out:

  • Melee weapon: +attack speed, +crit chance, +stamina properties and swift slaying trait.
  • Ranged weapon: +damage vs infantry or +damage vs. armor. Traits that return ammo like scavenger
  • Necklace: +stamina, +health properties. Boon of Shalya or Barkskin trait.
  • Charm: +attack speed and +damage vs. infantry or armor.
  • Trinket: +crit chance, +curse resistance (reduces health lost from holding grimoires), +move speed, +stamina regeneration. Shrapnel trait.

Difficulty Levels



What do the different difficulty levels do?Difficulty levels increase a number of factors: health of enemies, damage that enemies deal to players, the size of hordes, and abundance of elites, specials, and disablers, and the amount of gear (potions, bombs, and ammo) found in the level.

  • Recruit and Veteren difficulty are fairly easy and should be achievable by most players. Vetern difficulty unlocks at power level 115.
  • Champion difficulty is a solid "normal” difficulty that most players can work up to. Adds friendly-fire. Players will need to dodge and block more consistently to avoid taking critical damage.
  • Legend is a significant step up in the challenge from Champion, and requires a solid understanding of all facets of the game. This is the go-to-difficulty for most experienced players. Loot chests from Legend have a much higher chance of dropping "red” items.
  • Cataclysm is a very challenging difficulty for the most experienced players. Intended to be very difficult for quickplay / random teams to beat. Requires a higher level of team coordination in character builds and tactics to win.

DLC Information



Are the DLC Worth it? What do they add?The DLC’s are not critical for starting out in Vermintide 2. In general, they add new levels, new enemy types, new cosmetics, and new weapons to the game. The latter, new weapons, are probably the most important, although they are not necessary when starting out.

  • Shadows Over Bögenhafen: Adds two new maps and new purple glowing skins for all weapons, obtainable by completing weekly quests that are enabled by this DLC.
  • Back to Ubersreik: Adds three remastered levels from Vermintide 1 and a fourth wave-survival level. Also adds a new weapon for each character - which are all pretty good weapons and worth picking up if you stick with the game.
  • Winds of Magic: Adds new enemy faction (beastmen), one new map, a new weapon for each character, and a distinct game mode (Weaves). Not necessary when starting out in VT2. Worth adding on later for the additional weapons if you stick with the game.
Written by Mezmorki.