Balancing in Coop PvE games

Quite frequently in threads that discuss the balancing of certain weapon/skills/characters, you see others bringing up the point that balancing in a not PvP game is unnecessary.
I think it would be nice if that could be discussed in this seperate thread instead.
That way in the future you can just reference to this thread instead of having to go through the same argument over and over again.

In my opinion a good balance between weapons, Skills and characters is important in PvE games.
The more viable gear the more different builds the more replayability. Thats especially important for long time players. Of course you can always use less viable gear/skills/characters that objectively perform worse in all or most aspects, but there are a few problems with that.

  1. Some players play a game for the challenge.
    Using stuff that makes learning all the games mechanics unnecessary and less challenging is not fun for those players.

  2. Using less viable gear/skills/characters can sometimes feel like you’re sabotaging the Team and team members might even call you out for that.

  3. If you are the only one in a team who is not using the most broken builds it can happen that there is nothing to do for you as your teammates just do everything way to fast for you to contribute. (Happens mainly when it is already to easy)

  4. Using less viable stuff gives you quickly the feeling that you don’t meaningfully contribute to the Teameffort which is a very bad feeling.

Those points push you into using the most optimal gear/skills/characters which greatly reduces the gameplay variety and its replay value.

I do understand that many players don’t plan to play the game for several hundred hours. Like my friend said, he expects to play Darktide for maybe 40 hours before he likely gets bored. He will use one character with his favourite gear and thats it. Of course good game balance and a large variety of builds doesn’t mather for him. Getting that one build that feels good and might be overpowered is what he wants. He also will likely stay on the lower difficulties, as they give you a stronger feeling of beeing powerful while long time players usually end up on higher difficutlies. So I would argue it is more important that the higher difficulties where the long time players spend most of their time, are well balanced. I also think it is not possible to balance a game for 5 difficulties without balancing everything specifically for each difficulty. So the game not being perfectly balanced for lower difficulties is totally fine for me.

  • Gears/Skills/Characters in Darktide need to be well balanced
  • Gears/Skills/Characters in Darktide don’t need to be well balanced

0 voters

Equally balanced doesn’t mean everything has to do everything equally good.
It means everything has to have sufficient pros and cons. Nothing should outshine something else in every aspect.


I think about this all the time. I think asymmetrical classes are cooler than pure balance. I suppose I support asymmetrical balancing. Such as factions in an RTS* game often being very different.

Ogryn should need 2 players to lift off a ledge, but can carry two scriptures/medpacks/ammo kits. Ogryn should also not fly across the map from explosions do to their mass.

I never get the feeling that people are all playing the “mostest bestest highestest DPS character” and I’m not convinced imbalances would change choices.

It would when the situation is as bad as it is right now.

Currently a lot of people are still in the process of levelling up the classes, as prior to launch, we saw a horde of Veterans, but now I tend to come across basically no Veterans and only Zealots, Ogryns and Psykers. However, the issue we are currently facing with the balancing is playing both the Zealot and the Psyker and just looking at the Veteran and going “What am I even doing here?”.

As someone that started with the Veteran and still main it for the reason that I like my Guard RP and dream of my Kasrkin outfit, I levelled up all the other classes until I came right back to the Veteran again once I had finished with all that. The whiplash was outright humbling.

With all the classes, I always felt I had some major downside I needed my teammates for to compensate. As the Zealot, I really needed someone to take out the Shooters and Gunners because they nuked me in seconds in most cases. As the Psyker I could very easily get overwhelmed by the horde if they managed to get too close for my Voidstrike to stop being too effective, and also I was very fragile once I actually did get hit. As the Ogryn, I played it as a support for everyone, meaning Grenade Gauntlet + Slabshield to be utility over offense for my team and that was fun, as well as unique.

Yet when I came back to the Veteran after probably 60 or so hours, it was like night and day. It really highlighted to me that I had no flaws to deal with. I have the single best melee weapon in the game in the form of the Power Sword that allows me to cleave through hordes, stop Ragers and Maulers, and in case a Crusher sneaks up to me somehow, I can just dodge and hit it a couple of times to kill it nigh instantly. Meanwhile Shooters are easy pickings, as I pop Volley Fire and just start tapping heads, keeping the ability up for up to 1 minute while having it out of cooldown by the time I finish with it so I can just do it again. I can just spam grenades everywhere, and my ability to sit up on a highpoint during a mission where we need to data interrogate and be basically almost totally safe due to Camouflage was just hilarious.

Not all players are playing for the mostest DPS, but most people want to contribute and be part of the game. You also need to ask the question “Why do X when Y is better” and the answer can’t be “Because I personally like doing X over Y”, since again, while for one person that might be okay, odds are there’s a dozen players out there that would like to have a gameplay reason to do X.

Again, balance doesn’t need to be as strict as it is in PvP, but the critical part about a PvE experience, as someone that plays games like that almost exclusively, is that you will learn the patterns rather quickly and know how to deal with the AI of the game if you do it enough. Unlike players, skill difference doesn’t matter so there is no unpredictability with the opponent you face in PvE. The AI might have 10 different ways it does something against you, but all of them have almost strict structures on how it behaves, patterns that you might in time just outright learn to do via muscle memory.

This is where balancing comes into play, because you also need to offer the players solid ways to “relearn” to fight the AI in as many ways as possible. This is done via the Classes but also their Equipment. However, if there is only a handful of viable options and the rest are just insane downgrades, in a single player situation this is not an issue as it is personal challenge on your part. However, in a team focused game such as Darktide, coming in with subpar weapons will quickly cause issues for either you or your team. If you can’t contribute to a fight as well as the rest, should the nigh apocalyptic scenario take place where the rest are pinned or downed in general, making you the only one with the ability to regain the initiative, you might just outright doom the run because your equipment don’t have the kick needed to achieve that. For example, there could be a lot of armoured guys and you don’t have any actual AP on you. Now that means you have to take too long to save the run, thus failing the run. The other alternative obviously is that you just press Shift + W the entire time since you don’t contribute at all, or have no need to, since your teammates are already stomping everything before you can even think about participating.

So in short, yes, balancing is important in a PvE environment if the plan is to keep more people around beyond a few thousand maniacs that like to do Damnation with the starting knife for the memes.


I have not had this experience. I still see a fairly good mix. I see the least psykers if anything, recently.

I bet starting as a veteran was probably a better experience for you than my going from fast, unkillable zealot to “why am i dead to 2 trash mobs from behind”

Veteran was the first class I made but I’ve ended up just leveling every other class instead because I find them more interesting to play.

Well, I have been playing since CBT, so the Zealot was bugged through most of the time I used him, not to mention the bleedthrough that was added completely gimping the special ability of the Zealot.

I tend to see 1-3 Veterans on average in total among 10 games. It seems to have eased up a bit in the past few days, but a few weeks ago when I was still doing my Ogryn, I was very lucky to have at least one Veteran in there.

My Veteran reached 30 halfway through the Pre-Order Beta, and prior to that I had levelled mine up to 20 during the CBT, so I never really had that many issues, and in POB when I got my hands on the Power Sword, I became outright unstoppable in most cases. Right now when I am doing some crafts material grinding on 3, I can easily go through a mission with only 3 or so health lost from a single melee hit I take from a random rear spawn I didn’t dodge in time. My Psyker was similar, not so much my Zealot or Ogryn.

Higher level vet is a good experience for sure… just the first few levels before you get any stamina feel miserable.

For me it is the gunplay that I feel get a lot of satisfaction out of. The feedback when you hit a Guardsmen in the skull with a Lasgun is just wonderful. I am also the only Veteran player in the group as of right now since the others are levelling their alts or doing Penances outside their Veterans so they need someone on Heresy+ to take on the ranged grunts in droves.


I do enjoy how the guns feel in this game. I’ve been having a blast with the revolver on my psyker, and I’ve even replaced the boltor with it on my zealot.

Asymmetrical Balance well done is still a good balancing.
If one Carrer excells at ranged combat being good at taking out huge amounts of ranged enemys while strugling with hordes of melee foes while another carrer does the exact opposite AND ranged and melee enemys are similary threatening for the success of the run, i would say it is well balanced.

I do like very asymmetrical classes as they also add a lot of replay value.

I do think those characters/builds do usually get the most attention. Supporter classes mostly being the once that get the least.

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Bring everyone to veteran levels and buff the difficulties up.


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The only class that feels left behind right now imo is Psyker. Everyone else can roll through hordes of enemies if you keep the pressure on. The game rewards very aggressive combat.

if a weapon does no damage is that a problem?
if a weapon deletes every enemy on the map and all spawns as they happen just by being equipped , is that a problem.

so weve established balance does matter :wink: but those are extremes

weapons/ class/ equipment are tools to complete a task the game resides in giving you tools good enough that are fun but maintaining the corect level of challenge (artistic vision)

in DT particulaly i would say weapons and classes need to be above the line of base effectiveness ie you can use them and achieve within a margin the win / loss result the devs have envisioned for the difficulty

but they shouldnt be either so far ahead of the pack as to be the only logical good choice or exceed the effective threshold the devs have in mind for how good the tools are for the job at hand.

in some aspects balance is more important in a PVE game like DT than in a say PVP arena shooter like the quake/UT games of old , weapons for example were divided by clear power tiers , chaingun was the upgraded machine gun for eg, that would be a big no no in DT but in Quake 2 for example its fine because the players all have access and they fight each other because the players are the “task” you can have wildly unbalanced guns but the game remains balanced because both sides have it.

But some aspects are reverse,. compare DT and Overwatch classes , the overwatch classes all have to be equal (within thier role) but you can have different power class’s in DT to some degree so long as they are viable or better but not op they are fine.