Vermintide 2 Winds Of Magic DLC Review: A Rotten Wind With An Unpleasant Price
Having been away from Warhammer: Vermintide 2 for a number of months, I was really needing to scratch that Left 4 Warhammer style itch, and the Winds Of Magic DLC seemed like the perfect time to jump back into the fray.
Unfortunately, this wind stinks of something rotten... and its not the hordes of unwashed beastmen.
Following two previous map packs, Winds Of Magic is the first "major" expansion for Vermintide 2, although what constitutes a major DLC versus a minor one will definitely be a point of contention for fans here.
What You Get For Your $19.99
Look at the little baby! What kind of monster would want to hurt that adorable little guy?
Green flaming meteors from the sky always seem to herald bad things for any given world (just ask the folks in the Darkest Dungeon hamlet or any Lovecraft protagonist ever), and that's no exception with the new Dark Omens level.
If you did a double take reading that sentence, let me reiterate -- yes, there is only a single new level.
Were you expecting a new campaign based around the beastmen and their meteor? That's too bad.
Then again, when you've played the same levels over a couple of hundred times anything new is welcome, but the lack of content is kind of odd considering the other packs at half the price had 2 - 3 levels each.
Dark Omens itself is a pretty standard wilderness and underground mine level that doesn't bring much new to the table. You'll run around out in the woods looking for the meteor crash site, survive waves of enemies, and then destroy some banners at the end before taking the bridge of shadows back to home base.
The biggest challenge in the DLC? Wood banners.
There's no new boss with the DLC, so if you were expecting to have to figure out tactics for a beastman version of Burblespue Halestorm or Bödvarr Ribspreader, you're out of luck
In fact, there are really only a handful of new enemies, which makes this feel more like the chaos faction got a few extra soldier types rather than the arrival of a whole new faction.
The obnoxious bannerman are the real threat in that roster of enemies, setting down a banner that must be destroyed in melee and significantly buffs the horde in the nearby area.
Besides serving as the focal point in Dark Omens, with the DLC installed the beastman randomly appear with hordes in other levels for a little extra variety while mowing down ratmen and chaos warriors.
Nope, I see it now. Exterminate them!
If Winds Of Magic just consisted of the Dark Omens level the fanbase would riot, so now we also get short, randomized levels called weaves, where you upgrade weave-specific weapons.
With the weaves come the addition of "seasons" so you have to start over with weave progress again periodically. Since the progression in the weaves doesn't affect your main game characters, this sort of feels like spinning your wheels.
The point here is to reach the top of the newly added leaderboards, but there's not much incentive to do so at the moment, although its nice to have something different to do if you've already mastered all the other levels.
Next up we get the return of an even harder Cataclysm mode, although bizarrely this top tier difficulty level doesn't include correspondingly better loot or a new tier of chests -- its just harder for the sake of being harder.
So what's the absolute best addition with Winds Of Magic? Probably the new weapon for each class (Sienna's flaming flail is pretty rad) but I mean, does that feel like it would be worth $20 to you?
The Winds Need To Change
A slew of patches arrived for Winds Of Magic during the pre-release period for advance review copies, and they are still coming hot and heavy now in the days after official release.
Sadly they are all needed, and there better be more in the works.
Wednesday's patch for instance wildly nerfed Sienna's fire damage, which was thankfully fixed with a patch that just hit this morning. That patch also changed the weave system so you now get partial experience if you fail a weave, just like with a normal level
Other issues remain, however, like hit detection on the new beastmen enemies in the Dark Omens level needing some polish, as it feels off compared to the rest of the game.
There's also a really odd issue where the sound of the bannerman isn't originating from the correct position, so it will sound like they are ahead of you when they are actually behind you, or vice versa.
The one issue that desperately needs to be fixed is an option to add in bots while playing weaves, because matchmaking with random players is a nightmare right now.
In a normal level you can set a game to private and get three bot allies who aren't great at anything, but will at least revive you when get grabbed by a packmaster or sliced up by an assassin. That's not an option with weave matches.
If you have three friends who regularly play Vermintide 2 and can commit to specific times then you're golden, but if you are just jumping into the pool of other players, get ready for some major wait times on non-peak times.
The Bottom Line
- You get a new level to play with
- Extra enemies
- If you have a reliable group of friends, the weaves are fun
- For the price, this should include a full new campaign
- No new boss?!?
- Every patch seems to break something else from the previous patch
Obviously, its not great when the biggest addition to your game and the place where players were supposed to get the most hours from the expansion is a deserted wasteland.
If you're a Vermintide 2 fanatic and have played every other level into the ground, it might be worth picking up Winds of Magic for Dark Omens and the weaves... but frankly this DLC is priced too high for the content.
Long story short? Wait until it's half off and the bugs have been ironed out.