Most of the melee balance problems are about horde clear

Let’s face it: our melee choices are poorly balanced around horde clear. The top tier weapons are almost universally excellent at horde clear and generally the lower the horde performance the worse the weapon is. Weapons that have low cleave or damage target caps are typically viewed as off-meta or plain bad. Exceptions exist but these are truly the exception. Lastly, very few guns are viable to ammo dump into hordes and these come with a host of other problems when the situation intensifies.

Let’s look at some of the active threads on this forum in the last 24 hours:

Whether its how the stat budget is allocated within a weapon or not, it’s clear that the current balance has it wrong and after 5 months people have generally worked out what is and isn’t good.

What can we do?

I don’t think it’s easy to just nerf big horde clear weapons, though sometimes that might be necessary. The games RNG and itemisation are particularly cruel to people who want to mix up good weapons since it takes just so long to get a good loadout, so I’d like Fatshark to be ‘gentle’ on that.

I wish that Fatshark consider looking at the off-meta weapons and nudging some of those cleave damage figures up. An extra damage target or a less savage drop off in damage from the first to second to third target would greatly improve them without necessarily stepping on the toes of the premiere horde clear weapons.

And finally? Maybe when the bottom rungs are brought up a bit, we could look at the weapons that are “great against everything”. Maybe then they can take a small nerf, after other weapons have had their time in the sun and provide viable alternatives.


PS buff Latrine Shovel for Ogryn
PS Blessings that grant huge power buffs are also ridiculous.


You’re oversimplifying this.

PS, Brutal momentum & flamer do/did not only have great horde clear, but are/were great VS armor as well. Having a weapon that’s excellent against everything, while also requiring little or no skill to use, is the problem.


Increase the cleave damage cap to 5, just please don’t touch my Heavy Sword or Cleaver!

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Hi and thanks for the reply! I’m intentionally making generalisations to draw attention to the fact that the top tier melee weapons tend to have great horde clear.

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But that’s not addressing the problem.

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If the issue is cleave, nerfing the currently good weapons doesn’t solve the issue. It just makes the good weapons less good, while the bad weapons remain as bad as they were before. I’d rather not play nerf whack a mole till we all end up with mediocre weapons, but thats just me.


Actually I would argue that the more sophisticated take is that most of the ogryn weapons are particularily good at anything, not armor or horde clear. But its far more glaringly obvious when a weapon can do okayish against armor (clubs) but do abysmal against the most common chaff enemy in the game. (Notably in a game described as a Horde Shooter)

The idea that a set of weapons would take multiple hits to kill the weakest enemy in the game at any appreciable difficulty seems humorous to me beyond clownshoes territory. I’m all for sensible balance but maybe making first target this bad on “high damage” weapons against the average poxwalker doesn’t make the most sense.


The Deimos is widely considered very strong and has almost no cleave.

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I think the problem is interrelated across a few different things.

For one, there aren’t enough melee weapons that are really good vs. heavy armor. And the ones that are supposed to be better at it (e.g. combat axes) are too slow from a time-to-kill standpoint relative to anti-armor ranged weapons, Brain Bursts, or even high power anti-horde melee weapons that do well-enough against heavy armor anyway (e.g. power sword, force swords, etc.).

One solution to this is to give specific anti-armor melee weapons much more damage against armor, and then greatly increase the health of heavy armored units (maulers, crushers, etc.) so that certain ranged weapons or anti-horde melee weapons would struggle more, relative to the single target anti-armor weapons.

The above in combination would carve out more of a unique niche for dedicated anti-armor weapons.

So I actually don’t think it’s horde clear problem. It’s a problem with heavy-armor mixed into a horde not being strong and tough enough to not just get instantly deleted along with all the other trash mobs in the pack. If a power sword, or a BM momentum Axe, or a charged up Illis Force Sword cleaves through hordes AND does well against armor, why take anything else?

Neither contradicting nor reinforcing your point I would add: The Deimos doesn’t have good horde clear but it can at least kill every horde enemy it hits on first target.

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There’s just too much dissonance with the weapons.

Power sword was one of a kind with no peer, it made no sense compared to how hilariously flawed every other weapon in game is. Powersword had infinite cleave and could kill everything at base, its blessings table is still full of blessings meant to give it even more cleave and killing power.

Combat axes have a cleave stat, while having no cleave at base and actually needs brutal momentum for that stat to matter.

Clubs and Latrine Shovel have a lot of cleave at base, but next to no cleave damage, no stat to modify that, and no blessings that give it real improvement to damage or cleave damage.

Chain weapons barely do anything and get no blessings that allows them to be even kind of average at one thing.

Make it make sense.


The C.Axe is an anti-armor weapon AND is quite strong against crushers. Its one of the easiest weapons to use taking on Crushers as my Crusher Challenge has regularly shown. The irony is that as a 40K game the C.Axe is really overperforming against ogryn wearing carapace, not underperforming. That should be the domain of thunder hammers, power mauls, power axes, power swords, etc. Axes should fall flat on their face against Carapace enemies and be no more effective damage wise than the heavy sword special attack. They should be more effective against flak and that’s it.

The Power Sword should be an anti-armor weapon before it is an anti-horde weapon in the first place but the fact is it does quite good against armor as it is. Force Swords also hit their niche properly per lore.


Well then we just can not have 40K weapons of any kind in this 40K game in the future.

Power Swords are by 40K lore cutting trough Diamantine like a hot knife trough butter. By that logic it HAS TO cut trough unarmored flesh of Poxwalkers even better.

Flamers with their holy Promethium are the answer of 40K to any kind of enemy, that is tied to Nurgle or unclean in general. Nothing stays alive when engulfed in its flame, for if it is not the heat of the flames that kills it, then it will be the fact that duo to the flames, there is no breathable air left around its burning body.

Plasma weapons penetrate every known human made/used material in 40K. Only energy shields could stop the plasma shot.

If this is seen as a problem, well then these weapons seem to have to get erased from Darktide.
Because there is no logical solution for you seeing it as a problem, that a sword that cuts Bullwalk armor, has to kill non armored poxwalkers even better.
And flamers seem to be seen as too strong still as it seems, since there are still voices, that want them to be even less effective against anything else then poxwalkers.

And by all this demands to NERF DOWN the top tier 40k unique weapons in DT, to get them down on an even level with boring basic blunt melee weapons, there will be dark times ahead of us.
Because if these weapons already make people go crazy, that compare shovels and axes with energy weapons, then what will they do if FS brings in MELTERS and stuff?

Balance > Lore.
This is a game first and foremost.

If your idea of ‘‘balanced’’ means, that when a game has a cal .50 bmg rifle and a .22 lr rifle. And you want the .50 bmg be balanced down on to the same level of the .22 lr. Then in fact YOU should rather call your own psychologist.

A Bolter has to make bigger holes then an autopistol.
A power or force sword has to be able to kill the toughest enemies.
A heavy sword has to do more dmg then a knive.
And an Axe should always have better cleave then a shovel.

There are power levels of weapons. You can not simply demand that FS takes down the high tier weapons functionality patch by patch until the only left difference of the weapons are the attack patterns and the visual appearance of them.

The way to achieve balance between for example a Chainaxe and a normal Axe should be the faster attack speed of the normal Axe doe to it having less weight. But the Chainaxe having more dmg and bleed caused by its saw blades.
Intelligent balancing. And not plane and blunt: ‘‘muh PS to stronk! Nerf PS to make knife better hur dur’’.

And the next one who says he gives a dam about lore will have a special appointment with the Commisar!


If you want it lore accurate, all guardsmen die in the second wave and that would not make a game.

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Oh so new and fresh this over dramatically stupid argument.

It is a Warhammer 40K game. Balance is nice. But when the way this balance is done comes at the cost of loosing all its ties to the setting it plays in, then why even have it play in 40K.
If you dislike the high tier weapons of 40K so much, then go play Vermintide and have your go at middle age weapons.

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Lion, no one is having the conversation you are making.

Absolutely no one is calling for plasma gun nerfs

No one is saying the 50 bmg has to be balanced around .22 LR

No one in this thread wants every weapon in this game on the same level of whatever you believe the worst weapon in the game is… i can’t guess because there’s a bunch of candidates for worst weapon tbh.

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Because it is a really fast, and has insane dps (especially with right blessings and talents) also infinite, long dodges and fairly wide force push. It’s easily S-tier weapon, even if unlike lets say power sword requires decent aim to be efficient.

Poor default cleave values are one problem here. Also “Cleave Targets” and “Cleave Damage” being separate weapon characteristics make or break many weapons. There should be only one STAT governing cleave, not two.


There’s nothing, to my knoweldge, that gives power swords infinite cleave. We don’t exactly know how they work but its perfectly reasonable to assume they expend energy as they cleave into the target and may well run out or overload based on enemy mass. Perhaps the swing still requires the user’s physical might to drive the blow home and the user still loses some ammount of swing energy as he drives it through the target.

Flamers don’t penetrate carapace in current table top rules or even flak anymore.

Armor can be sufficient to absorb plasma. Tank armor and heavy shields like what ogryn use can definitely stop a plasma bolt.

Balance and Lore are complimentary, not competing interests. If there is balance and no lore I quit. If there is lore and no balance I quit. The lore must inform the balance of the game. LUCKY FOR US the lore has been informing the weapon balance since the 1980s in an actual game system so we have a lot of ways to tackle the problem.