Initial Gameplay Feedback (30+ Hours, Zealot Main, Primarily Malice [3] Difficulty)

I’m making this post for two major gameplay issues, though I’m aware there are UI, performance, outright bugs (talents not working) and crashes, etc; this is still a beta so that’s to be expected. This is all coming from someone with over 2,000 hours between Vermintide 1 and 2 at Legend/Cataclysm difficulty.

Audio Cues - Very weak overall from enemies. Vermintide showed these games are played as much with your ears as you do your eyes and hands. Ragers being perfectly silent is exactly how berserkers were in their introduction, no scream, no swing swooshes, and tend to get lost in the mob. Same could be said for Maulers, which have an unpleasant habit of silently reving their chainaxe and hitting you in the butt. The swarm mobs themselves seem to lack the constant chittering and jabbering that the Skaven do when thinned out, and because the Ogryn has the habit of scattering about weak enemies onto the floor, you often step beyond them not realizing they’re still alive. Combine that with a fairly anemic ‘rear hit’ sound (an issue on itself), you get a lot of little guys falling through the cracks while dealing with the horde. Enemies spawning from ‘doors’ tend to be silent; while ceiling drops and fence climbers give the mobs time to make some noise, the silent door spawns are a bit on the cheap side. I can’t image there’s enough WD-40 for that hive city’s slums for them to be that quiet. Special cues are functional if mediocre in some cases.

I know audio issues have been something that Vermintide 2 has historically had issues with (Beastmen in WoM’s introduction) and have been diligently worked on to be fixed, but this is something that in my opinion should be a priority before launch.

Ranged Enemy AI - I understand Darktide’s core gameplay is not meant to be a carbon copy of Vermintide, with more of an emphasis on ranged combat than the latter, but as it stands the hordes of ranged enemies detract from gameplay more than add to it from a melee class’ perspective with how they currently behave. My assumption is that classes like Zealot are meant to be ranged disruptors; surviving intact long enough to get to the ranged enemies to take pressure off the backliners. In summary, playing melee is not always fun in this game, which is as impressive as it is disheartening given that its predecessor coined the concept of fun fps melee combat.

Rather than try to explain what’s wrong with the current ranged enemies, I’ll suggest ways they could be better managed.

  • Ranged enemies should prioritizing swapping to melee within a more predictable radius if they’re targeting a nearby player, rather than shooting at them point blank.
  • Ranged enemies who are not targeting a nearby player should have a brief cooldown of being able to fire at other players when shoved/cleaved.
  • Getting hit by ranged enemies should have some manner of ‘no stagger’ grace, be it a class feature for Zealot (and Ogryn if they don’t already have such) or being tied to taking toughness damage across all classes. As it stands, getting shot interrupts your sprint and therefore your capacity to slide, which already is unreliable at the best of times being something you need to largely preempt on top of not getting you very far, and leads to a ‘foul-up-cascade’ of getting shot even more. Sliding should be something you can do to get out of a bad spot while under fire, not put you into one.

Also please change the ‘hold to sprint’ option when off to continue to be sprinting when coming out of a slide, so chain slides are doable without needing to respam the sprint button.

These are the two biggest bugbears with my experience so far, and things I think that can be changed. Overall, I’m very excited to be here with the game, and look forward to adjustments throughout the pre-release.


I put together a bit of a tongue-in-cheek video showcasing some of the real weirdness ranged AI has been displaying, as opposed to how well it worked in the closed beta: AI Working as Intended - YouTube

This is exactly how I feel as well.

I was so excited for Darktide, but my experience has been marred by the, in my opinion, excessive amount of ranged enemies starting on Malice diffculty, and I’m frankly not enjoying the game as it is. I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that this game may not be for me after all, which is a big pill to swallow after 1000+ hours of Vermintide.

As an update, it seems the 1.0.7 patch did a good job of resolving the ranged AI issue; ranged enemies seem far less inclined to hose you point blank, and more readily swap to melee. It feels far more encouraging to play melee since then, though I still feel some manner of ‘no stagger on toughness damage from regular gunner mobs’ is in order.