The levels themselves come in two forms: “Main” missions (identified with a gold border on the Inn’s map) and “Side” missions. Main missions usually entail your party traversing a large map, making a couple stops to complete events along the way, and culminating in a massive survival sequence and subsequent escape via wagon. Side missions are usually short, but are composed of a larger-scale version of the event types in the Main missions.
You’ll do your fair share of picking up X item and taking it to Y delivery area in these events, but the level design works to keep them compelling. My personal favorite level takes place in a Wizard’s tower. It contains everything you’d want: a bookshelf that reveals a hidden passageway, a room with Escher-esque geometry, and an encounter where you protect the Wizard’s disembodied voice while he completes a spell. All of the levels are dripping with atmosphere, large areas have several branching paths to take, and there’s a surprising amount of vertical movement to keep things fresh.
Interestingly, Vermintide contains a basic loot and crafting system that offer several play styles for each class. Many of the bonuses you receive from all of this gear will increase your damage or survivability. For example, I gravitated towards the Dwarf Ranger, since I enjoy playing as the tank in MMOs. While I spent most of the time using his axe and shield, I could go purely one-handed or equip a massive two-handed hammer, both of which drastically alter his playstyle. As with many other titles, items come color coded based on their rarity, and better gear has increased base stats and slots to add upgrades. You can also choose to dismantle gear for upgrade components, or combine five items of the same rarity to gain a random item of a higher rarity.
In order to get this loot, you have to complete a level first. Doing so brings you to a reward screen where you roll a set number of dice to determine which reward you’ll get. The more successful rolls you get on the dice, the better the reward. If you want to get better odds at great loot, Vermintide has options for you. In the “main” levels, there are two types of hidden items: Tomes and Grimoires. Tomes are easier to find, but take the place of your healing item in your inventory. There are a total of three Tomes to find so a different party member will have to carry each. If your party succeeds in carry them to the end of the level, you’ll get three bonus Tome Dice that have a 66% chance of rolling a success.
There are only two Grimoires to find, and picking one up fills up the potion slot in your inventory, but comes with a greater risk. Each Grimoire carried drops the entire party’s maximum health by 25%, so carrying both leaves each member of the party with only half the health they had when the mission began. Should you manage to carry a Grimoire to the end of a level, though, you’ll get a Grimoire Die that has a 100% success chance. It’s worth noting that unlike the Tome, which can be dropped to pick up and use a healing item before picking it up again, dropping a Grimoire causes it to disintegrate; meaning it’ll be permanently gone for that run. You can also randomly find Loot Dice in treasure chests or by killing Sack Rats in the level, which add more dice to your available pool at the end.