Detailed exclusively in the next issue of PC Gamer magazine, Winds of Magic is the first expansion for Vermintide 2, planned for release this summer. The expansion will bring a new enemy faction, a new endgame mode, new difficulty options, new talents and a new weapon type for each character.
In Winds of Magic, Beastmen will join the existing alliance of Skaven and the Rotblood Tribe. Rather than simply being fresh meat to carve through, the Beastmen have been designed to introduce new types of problems for players to tackle. In the prototype build I was shown, Fatshark was testing packs of bow-wielding Ungors, and augmenting standard melee fighters with spear units—providing different ranges of attack.
The Beastmen's elite unit is the Bestigor, a giant, armoured hulk who charges players—also knocking over any other enemies that get between him and his target. Their special, rather than ambushing players like the Gutter Runner or Packmaster, plays more of a support role. The Standardbearer will place totems that will buff nearby enemies with effects like invulnerability, forcing players to deal with the problem before clearing out the hordes.
While Winds of Magic will likely offer a new introductory mission, Fatshark aren't planning to create a new campaign of adventure maps. Instead, the focus of the expansion will be a new mode: an ongoing gauntlet of exponentially more difficult challenges, each with a special modifier related to one of Warhammer's eight winds of magic.
The Winds of Magic is made up of what Fatshark is currently calling "Weaves". Each Weave will be a combination of the following elements:
- Map: A chunk of one of the existing adventure maps, remixed to add variety. In the example I was shown, for instance, the map was played back-to-front. These maps will also look different based on which Wind is currently active.
- Wind: A modifier based on the Winds of Magic. One example being prototyped for the Jade Wind (the Lore of Life) is that players have constant health regeneration, but take damage each time they hit an enemy.
- Objective: Your goal in each Weave is to complete a specific task. Currently being trialled are objectives such as killing a number of enemies of a specific type and defending a capturing a number of control points.
- Finale: Once the objective has been completed, a portal will open to an arena where players must survive a final showdown. Examples I was given included battling waves of enemies, or fighting against multiple bosses.
- Difficulty: As players progress through Weaves, Fatshark plans to escalate the challenge far, far beyond what is currently available. The base set of Weaves will all be handcrafted, but the plan is for them to repeat at exponentially higher difficulties.
Fatshark's hope is that Weaves will act more like puzzles—requiring the community to figure out the best careers and weapons to progress. By not randomising them, players can share their tips, and also compete in individual leaderboards for each Weave. Beyond that, a global leaderboard is being discussed, showcasing the players who have made it the furthest through the mode. Ultimately, by continuing to escalate the challenge, Fatshark hopes to create an endgame with no upper limit on the number of Weaves—that ends simply when players are unable to progress any further.
That's the general overview. You'll find more details, including an explanation of the new weapon types (here's a hint for one character: throwable axes) and a more thorough explanation of the new faction and mode, in the new issue of PC Gamer magazine, out March 7 in the UK, and March 26 in the US. Here's a look at the exclusive subscriber cover, which will start arriving at subscribers' doors from tomorrow.