I’ve played mostly Ogryn (level 30)
I run Cleaver and Grenadier Gauntlet, which seems to be a very strong combo that complement each other. Cleaver cuts through hordes like butter, and is fairly good vs all units except the carapace armor, but the Grenadier Gauntlet’s special attack makes quick work of all those pesky, evil, plated brutes. Grenadier Gauntlet’s massive melee attack is great, but it also provides you with an accurate, high damage, long range option for single targets when melee is not feasible, dealing high damage to all single targets while also being a very effective aoe disruption to all enemies around your initial target, which works great vs clusters of ranged enemies.
On the topic of ranged weapons for Ogryns
Because of how combat works in Darktide, Kickback (shotgun) and Ripper Gun don’t seem viable at higher difficulty levels, as they are mostly effective at a very close range. But if you’re in close range, you can just use your melee weapon, which is better because then you can block and cleave. They do give you a high burst attack for close combat, but they seems unusable, as you won’t have a long range option, which from what I can tell is a must, as many encounters forces you to clear enemies out from ranged before moving forward, and half of the elites are ranged and you need an option for how to deal with them too. The Grenadier Gauntlet, on the other hand, gives you both a long range attack and a melee burst attack, which seems like the obvious superior option.
The Twin-Linked Heavy Stubber (minigun) is very fun to use, but it requires a long wind up time and a long reload time, and is very inaccurate at longer ranges, hobbles your mobility, as well as it being very bad against armor, so it doesn’t seem very good even though it was fun to use. You don’t really need ranged horde clearing with Ogryn, as you have Cleaver for melee.
My favorite weapon design is actually the Rumbler, which launches an explosive shell with medium impact damage before exploding for high explosive damage. It’s excellent at killing tight clusters of enemies, since the blast is stronger than gauntlet’s, and at staggering elites. However, the shell can bounce and jump and its landing location can be unpredictable, and against chargers and hounds the explosions almost never land. The initial impact damage is decent, but not compared to gauntlet. For long range they function similarly, but gauntlet is just better and more accurate, and the Rumbler does not have the melee anti-elite burst that the gauntlet boasts.
On the topic of melee weapons
Cleaver seems to be the superior choice, but I have not extensively tried all other melee weapons.
Shovel seems meh, functions very similar to 2h hammer in v2, which means heavy attack is decent against armored targets, and push+followup-attack is great for horde crowd control. But, why would I want horde crowd control when I can just slaughter the horde with my Cleaver instead. If it had been better vs armored targets I might’ve considered it, as it’s the most versatile weapon that has no big downsides, but it doesn’t have any real impact either.
Single mace feels too slow and needs to be even better vs armored targets. It struggles against hordes and it feels overall bad. I haven’t tested the patched version of it, but I doubt it makes much of a difference.
Mace/Shield seemed immediately very underpowered. Playing with Shield also blocks a lot of vision for you, which is terrible, but it also reduces the vision of your team. It will make your hit box even bigger as well, resulting in your team mates’ shots not getting through. I’ve played as Veteran together with an Ogryn using a Shield, and it’s more annoying than helpful. It does allow you to to block shots that would otherwise hit you in the face, but is it not better to 'nade the ranged enemies down instead? Killing them, knocking them down, disrupting their formation, seems much more useful than standing still and doing nothing but maybe save a bit of shield/hp. Or heck, just charge them and kill them with your Cleaver. It also gimps you vs hordes, as the Cleaver is just so freaking good for that.
I hate being matched with other Ogryns, as an Ogryn ruins visibility for your team and his ranged weapons often cause a lot of smoke and disruption, so having 2 or more Ogryns in your team feels pretty bad, as it all gets very messy and confusing. I was matched in a team with 4 Ogryns once and that was horrible. One Ogryn is good, but more than that can be detrimental more than useful.
It’s very hard to avoid taking damage as Ogryn. Your hit box is so big that everything will hit you and you can expect to lose HP however well you play. However, that’s why you have a lot of it. I’ve found that offensive strategies are the best: charge in, kill and disrupt the enemy, letting your team clear up the chaf and follow you.
Their game design theory for Darktide was to focus more on ranged combat in general, but there are no ranged talents at all for Ogryn, which seems odd, as it accounts for half your weapon loadout, and you are typically using your ranged weapon as much or even more than your melee weapon. I’d love to see talents that focus on ranged weapons or even tied to specific weapons that could enable things like the minigun to be more viable, so that you can create “big gun gunner” builds. Instead Ogryn’s ranged usefulness is gimped because of no associated talents. However, iterations of this type of Ogryn will likely be introduced as classes post-release.
On the topic of talents, I find bleed talents to be very, very bad, as they don’t do nearly any damage at all. If they had given a debuff too perhaps, or just done more damage, it would’ve been fun, but this eliminates any kind of bleed build, which they have built into his talents.
Moreover, the heavy attacks talents (and your passive heavy attack buff) also seem very bad, as you don’t really want to do heavy attacks. You want to be attacking as fast as possible to stagger enemies and avoid getting hit yourself. It’s much easier to be hit and for your attack to be interrupted (especially with random ranged enemies shooting you all the time) when you try to heavy attack. I tried forcing heavy attacks because of shield regen talent, but it was just worse. Vs hordes you either want to be attacking quickly or you want to be using push+followup-attack. Heavy attacks can be useful, depending on your weapon, against single targets, but with the Cleaver light attacks provide more DPS vs single targets as well as vs hordes. And since the best ranged weapon is Gauntlet, you don’t really need a heavy attack for your melee, as a heavy attack is already built into your ranged weapon’s special attack and is far superior to any melee weapon heavy attack.
I would say that Ogryn is not as much a Tank as he is a Brawler. Yes, you have the highest healthpool in the game and you have defensive passives, talents and potential weapons, but the best defense in this game is offense. You need to be pushing forward all the time, as quickly as possible, because the longer you spend sitting still doing nothing, the more hordes and specials will arrive in total during a mission, increasing your risk of failure. Your defensive strength is best used offensively - think of your shield and HP as a resource to kill enemies with, just like ammo.
Your job, apart from killing, is to disrupt enemy ranged formations (and sometimes to stagger monstrosities or knock down melee elites) with your charge. You’re uniquely capable of being able to take a lot of damage before going down, and as such you are the strongest “solo” character, making you able to stray from your team to deal with clusters of ranged shooters.
There’s no point in having a Tank in this game, and as I found with mace/shield, you are only slowing down your team, limiting your own and your team’s vision, and limiting your own ability to efficiently kill, and forcing you to play defensively - which is strictly worse than playing offensively. If you are forced to play defensively from ranged, use your ranged weapon. If you are forced to play defensively in melee, like vs monstrosities, use dodge!
You are also uniquely capable of helping up downed companions because of your passive that lets you do so without being interrupted, however this is more just a bonus, and although you should try to make use of this as often as possible, it’s still often just better to kill surrounding enemies before helping your team mate up anyway. You might not be interrupted while helping them up, but you will take damage.
Weapon balancing and viability. Even though I love Ogryn and his playstyle, and literally all the weapon designs (ranged at least) are cool and feel great, but the weapons are not balanced against each other. They are each meant to give you unique advantages and disadvantages, but when you have a weapon like Gauntlet, which has no disadvantages, it renders all other options mute.
The talent tree is very meh. I don’t feel anything I choose has much impact. It feels more like an illusion of impact. This does make the classes easier to balance, by giving everyone weak or minor talents that change very little about your gameplay, and lets you choose whatever you want, because it’s mostly just down to flavor.
Example: “Bombs Away!” Talent sounds very cool and is a very unique talent, but it doesn’t really do the damage you’d expect a box of grenades to do, so it has low impact. In addition, the best targets for your grenade box is unarmored Ogryns, as you usually one-shot them, and since you do one-shot them, what’s the point of a grenades exploding afterwards? So like most talents of this class, and of all classes in this entire game, it’s low-impact and more about flavor.
The Biggest Boy. You are fat and your team knows it and hates you for it. Ogryn might just be the worst class simply because the ranged focus of the game requires good vision, which an Ogryn can ruin. Being mindful of your team’s positioning isn’t always possible either, but good positioning relative to your team mates is vital because of your size, so being effective as an Ogryn while also allowing your team mates to be effective, is a challenge. It might be the most difficult class to master because of your size and how it impacts your team. And as previously noted, more than one Ogryn is absolutely awful, and since it’s just 4 classes atm, you’re very likely to get more than one Ogryn in your team, and that can hurt your team’s chance of success.
With all of this said I’m still having a blast playing as an Ogryn. My giant, bald-headed “BIGBABYBOY” kills with the Emperor in his heart. Or maybe just because he has a giant cleaver in his hand.