So I was thinking about some of the defensive characteristics of melee weapons in Darktide and ended up going down a little bit of a rabbit hole. I took a look at some of said defensive characteristics for each weapon and compiled some preliminary observations into a rough spreadsheet here: Preliminary data on Darktide melee weapons defensive characteristics - Google Sheets
I primarily looked at the dodge distance, dodge limits, and how much extra stamina each weapon gives you without perks. (Update: I have also now looked at the sprint speed and sprint cost of each weapon.) I didn’t really look at push efficacy, or movesets for each weapon. Obviously, a weapon’s movesets (light attack chain, heavy attack chain, how they can be mixed together, push attacks, special attacks) can further contribute to how well a weapon can keep you alive in a chaotic melee.
For dodge limits: when I refer to the dodges “bottoming out”, I’m referring to the phenomenon that occurs when you keep pressing dodge past the stated dodge limit for the weapon. I noticed that when you do so, you get to have a few extra dodges that have longer delays between the dodges and make you travel a shorter distance compared to “fresh” dodges within the dodge limit. If you run out of these extra dodges, then you get put into a state where your dodges REALLY start to suck, harshly degrading the distance traveled and delays between each dodge even further. I’m sure veterans of the -Tide series have a proper term for this phenomenon, but I’m not familiar with it myself
Please ignore any “=” signs in the spreadsheet cells. I don’t know how to use spreadsheets very well, and Google Sheets kept wonking out every time I tried to put down something like “+12.5 to +17.5” in some of the cells.
I’ve separated Ogryn weapons kinda into their own section, since I find that Ogryn plays a little differently from the human classes, and since the human classes and the Ogryn don’t share any weapons.
Cells highlighted in BLUE means the weapon is top tier for that listed characteristic
GREEN = good
YELLOW = average
ORANGE = mediocre
RED = poor
Looking at the weapons’ defensive characteristics as a whole, the “baseline” statistics for weapons for the Human classes appear to be:
Dodge distance ranging from -5% to +5%, depending on mobility stats
Dodge limit of 3 to 5, or 3 to 4
So you can get a sense of whether a weapon is good or bad in that regard by looking at whether it gives you more dodge distance than -5% - +5%, and has better dodge limits than 3 to 5.
As expected, the Knife tends to have the best characteristics in terms of dodge distance and dodge limit, with the special exception of the Psyker Force Swords. (Though the Force Swords tend to have pretty mediocre dodge distances, minus perhaps the Deimos.)
The Veteran Shovel seems to have a weird thing where its dodge limit is stated to range from 3 to 5, but in fact ranges from 5 to 6. With a high mobility stat, the Veteran Shovel actually provides a ton of survivability for the Veteran: its light spam is easy to do and fends off trash mobs well, its special stab attack is fast and can stagger things to give you a bit of breathing room, it gives you a lot of stamina for sprinting and pushing (useful for a class that natively has poor stamina regen), and it’s got fantastic dodge limits to help you duck and weave. If you bring along a ranged weapon that can reasonably kill anything in the game (Helbore lasgun, Bolter, Plasmagun), the Veteran Shovel is a great support tool for the Veteran, letting you keep enemies at bay and create space for yourself to bring out your ranged weapon again.
In terms of defensive characteristics, the Psyker’s Dueling Swords and Tactical Axes operate pretty similarly, offering very similar dodge limits, dodge distance, and extra stamina. They may have differences in terms of dodge speed, but I don’t think I have a precise way to measure that without diving into game files.
In terms of defensive characteristics without regard to movesets, the Zealot’s big chonky 2 hander blunt weapons (Thunder Hammers and Crusher) are universally poor. You really have to rely on these weapons’ stagger and wide sweeping attacks to keep the horde at bay–dodge dancing with these big hefty bois is much harder.
Similarly, the Veteran’s Power Swords are definitely on the poorer end in terms of defending yourself by dodging. Its stamina isn’t too bad, but you’ll really want to rely on your energized sweeping attack and pushes to keep the horde at bay.
I can’t really tell whether the “dodge speed” statistic listed under the Crucis, Crusher, Deimos, and Shield really do anything. I tried doing some dodging in the Psykanium with a Crucis with high Mobility vs a Crucis with bad Mobility, and I couldn’t really see a difference.
Not too surprisingly, the Ogryn weapons have poor defensive characteristics outside of +stamina; Big Man is not the dodgiest boi out there.
The Ogryn Latrine Shovel mirrors the Veteran’s Shovel somewhat, in that it’s on the higher end of dodge limit, dodge distance, and +stamina among Ogryn weapons. Between this and its solid ability to both manage hordes and kill single targets, I feel like the Latrine Shovel is a very well rounded weapon for the Ogryn (though still not the Ogryn meta melee weapon from what I can tell).
On paper, the Ogryn Shield seems bad at blocking things due to only giving +3 stamina…however, there are some quirks that I listed next to its +Stamina stats that make it very good at blocking things.
I hope folks here found this somewhat useful. If you’d like for me to take a look at things like +sprint speed among the melee weapons, please let me know.