Save the bolter!

The Bolter is frankly just really dissapointing right now. Which is a shame considering what it used to be and what it could be again. Without a doubt the Darktide bolter from an audio/visual design perspective is THE very best representation in any media thus far. But its performance is meh now. Lets fix that.

First of all a vision for the weapon:

The boltgun is a POWER weapon, not a finesse weapon. It is properly designed with a 15 round magazine (for humans) and explosive munitions. It has limited cleave against soft targets while sometimes detonating on impact against hard targets it doesn’t penetrate or when reaching its cleave limit. It also can explode inside targets. Many things about this are right. But right now the venerable Boltgun is designed around headshot damage. This just feels wrong. Detonating an explosive inside someone is weakspot damage. There’s absolutely no reason for this unweildy machine to be worried about headshots. Furthermore this weapon has the same issue as plasma where it can penetrate arms and bodies while dealing lower damage just from hitting an arm. I have heard people say they want more ammo, or better draw time. Etc. NAY. THE VISION IS POWER AND VIOLENCE.

I propose we turn the bolter into the GIRTH weapon it should be. It doesn’t matter where you hit the foe, if its not wearing carapace or made out of rotting nurgle flesh it should be biting the dust.

Proposed solutions:

  1. Fix ADS jitter. I’m sure this is being worked on but still. Its only on the bolter and its awful.
  2. Bodyshot, Limb and Weakspot damage are the same.
  3. Damage dramatically raised across the board. 1 hit BP (breakpoint) on non-elite man sized targets regardless of hit zone.
  4. 2 tapping most elites
  5. Maulers somewhere in the range of 3-4 shots. Ragers 2-3.
  6. Reapers and Bulwarks like 2-3ish (with headshots bulwarks are already 2)
  7. Crushers probably should be just a hair easier to kill than they are from what I have seen lately but not a lot.
  8. Monstrosities are already in a good place with the boltgun
  9. 1 tapping all the specialists

That should about do it.
I’m sure there are some BPs that need tweaking since I just made these up after some testing. But that’s the direction I think the bolter should go in.



The revolver does more damage than the bolter. Let that sink in.


You’re gonna want to have some poking around to make it a little more efficient for Vet without being overpowered…but Exec stance substantially reduces recoil and spread, so a Vet should get more mileage out of methodical fire while a Zealot will be wanting to magdump.

It is funny because bolter used to be absurd with how well it handled, well, everything, and now it’s too cumbersome for the damage it does.

How does it stack up versus the thammer in testing, now?


It just hurts when you shoot a scab or dreg on a limb, and said limb not only doesn’t come off but the target actually survives perfectly fine.


They need to do something to Vet like return automatic reload to have him have more mileage out of it. Anoint +25% and IJ 10-20% damage boost with Throwing knives for specials is very hard to compete with. (That said VoC+Target Focus! build does work with bolter as a boss killer.)


How about count any body part hit as weakspot and receive appropriate buffs and modifiers related to weakspot damage?

To balance this out, finesse can be adjusted. And make some armor types, like carapace and unyielding, to not count as weakspot (except for actual weakspots).

Might be overkill anyways though.


Yep. Just yep.

That said, regarding the proposed changes in the OP;

  1. 100%. A lot guns could use a sight picture overhaul (or you know, let us change sights, shame nothing like that is in the game files already), but the drift/jitter on the bolter is special case horrible combined with the sight picture.

  2. I’d argue from a damage point of view, it’s firing an explosive rocket, make it do multiple hitbox damage on explosion.
    Could just make it splash damage to any adjacent hitbox on anything smaller than a rager on direct hit, with some kind of scaling resistance on ragers+ based on target mass.
    Ogryns and bigger could count as big enough to just take one hitzone worth of damage due to total mass, and would keep it at roughly current ammo use for them.

  3. See 2, would fix the breakpoints (by overkill, sort of the point of the gun though).

  4. (4/5/6/7). Yep, though with adding 1-2 shots to move the bulwark shield and the general draw speed of the bolter i think the current amount is fine, same with crushers I’d say.
    Anything less and I’d say it risks trivializing them entirely, which even plasma can’t do entirely due to the overheat mechanism.

  5. (8/9) Yep

I think making it do multiple hitzones worth of damage might be the cleanest fix outside of maybe adding a bleed to direct impact, otherwise it could quickly turn into an overtuned mess by just bumping damage across the board.

Oh, and remove the damn racking animation each time you draw it.
It’s fine on a reload, but the need to forward assist the damn thing each time you swap from melee is silly, especially with the current gun performance as a whole.

Edit, borked the formatting, and I’m not fixing this on my phone!


Fine by me. Would need to be looked at just in case it gets ludicrous but IMO this is fine for the boltgun.

God please no. I know why people want this back but it was the ENTIRE reason the bolter was ever OP. It ignored the key balancing factor of long reloads. With it having long reloads you can have the gun do insane damage when it has ammo which is how it should be.

I will let you know when I get there. We’ve been testing ranged weapons lately.


You are so incorrect about this that it hurts me on a personal level.

What made Bolter strong before patch 13 was a variety of factors including a 5x times stronger pinning fire, double ammo return from Scavenger, and way better damage boost from classes. The fact that Zealot could just go 100% rending with Chastize (and still with FotF) and Vet had the Instant Reload (with also Toughness boost) was only a small part of it.

IDK what your problem with instant reload is, the bolter on Vet could be balanced with that in mind, and wouldn’t break the game if it were reimplemented. Classes can seemingly bypass balancing methods and it’s fine… Like having an automatic reload on Ogryn for example.

Auto reload/Sustained Fire is something Vet deserve to have. It was a very fun mechanic to play and is very much missing from the “ranged specialist” side of the tree.


I still use it on stealth zealot. I don’t bother on vet.

I use my throwing knives and dagger for any non carapace enemy. Then when I see a crusher or mauler (or multiple)… I say forget this and put away my dagger.

I then unload with the boltgun.

Even with pinning fire and shattering impact T4 and unloading a full mag it can be a little underwhelming. I would be down for other anti-armor ranged weapons in the zealots arsenal or other marks of boltguns. One for reliable long range damage. And one for a massive burst of close quarter damage.

To have it feel appropriate I still think it should feel clunky to use but compensated by massive damage, piercing maybe, AoE, stagger, etc.

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This :point_up:… It’s ridiculous that the revolver actually feels more like an bolter (performance/damage wise) than the bolter (and no… This is not an nerf request for the revolver… Just buff the bolter and fix the ADS for the bolter… Just do it… Make bolter great again…


To me the bolter just feels way too sluggish to use especially when compared to other ‘heavy weapons’ in the game. Neither the plasma or even the ogryn stubbers feel so bad in comparison and no ammount of damage tweaks will make me play it for long. The ads jitter is obviously terrible, too, but in a game that so heavily demands weapon switching and adjusting on the fly the bolter just feels bad.

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But see, the problem is that if the bolter is balanced with Vet’s now removed auto-reload in mind it will be weak in other hands. As it was prior to patch 13. No one was complaining that the bolter was OP on the Zealot even though he had all the same supposedly OP blessings. Mostly the preference for bolter on Zealot was to not run it unless using the heavy sword. I argued in the past that it was shattering impact, not pinning fire, that was the problem and I was able to demonstrate that in the past with various tests.

The weapon was OP on veteran because of instant reload and too weak on zealot because zealot didn’t have it. It is designed as high yield high damage weapon, and was one before patch 13, with incredible burst that also gained sustain via the reload talent. It had the ability to maintain uptime on pinning fire by doubling its shots. Thus the whole magazine of 15 extra rounds was at that improved power. Despite having the same gun and the same blessings the zealot couldn’t delete entire waves of specialists and elites in a flash at any range. Even in our current power creep I don’t think many classes can keep up with what the old VET bolter was like.

No one should have instant reload, not even Ogryn. I would have much preferred they ditched the concept entirely. But at least ogryn doesn’t share weapons with anyone else. He’s not going to be making weapons that are just “ok” on one class “incredible” nor is he going to be taking “Good” weapons for another class and turning them into game breakers. He can be balanced on his own accord. But the Boltgun can’t because its usable on more than one class.

I accept that some people feel this way but I don’t. I have run the bolter extensively in patch 14-15 and I still like using it. The draw time is something to work around. But the weapon should have the output to support it. It is desirable to me that the weapon have a bad draw time. I’m tired of all the differentiating pluses and minuses of every weapon in the game being shaved off. Not that you’re arguing for that but I digress.


I agree the bolter could use some buffs like slightly higher base damage to 1-shot basic horde units, ignoring limbs like arms and legs and the ADS jank being the biggest one IMO. But bolter is already a very competent weapon in its current form for both Veteran and Zealot. So I don’t think that proposing it should be able to 2 tap most elites and 1 tap specials at base is a good idea, boltgun already is pretty nutty at doing burst damage.

Forgot to mention, but I also really like Boltgun’s flexibility in being able to snipe single-targets and choosing to full-auto something to death.


In a game where 15 gunner spawns are normal, being able to kill half of them in a whole boltgun magazine is hardly OP i think.


Well yea, isn’t boltgun already capable of doing that? I thought you were talking about maulers & ragers when mentioning elites.

Though TBH, Boltgun’s infested damage is pitiful, it should definitely be able to 1-shot headshot a hound like the other weapons with limited ammo counts.

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I was thinking this:

Definitely better infested damage too.


Man don’t I feel stupid, that’s definitely a lot more sensible than what I thought I read.

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No longer actual - racking was replaced by slapping charging handle forward (as if making sure bolt is secured) or plain (a bit slower) draw. It’s been that way for a few months.
I was overjoyed when FS fixed it.

Also Glory to Emperor’s Wrath
Feeding Heretics Bolter Rounds - Astartes | Warhammer 40,000 | Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, Warhammer 40k memes

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No one complaining isn’t an argument when we talk about balance.

IDK what you are talking about here. It wasn’t weak on Zealot at all. I run Caxe + Boltgun sometimes and it was incredibly strong, arguably stronger than braced Autogun which was my go-to pick.

This is again a bad argument. We have shared melee weapons between human classes that doesn’t mean that Caxe or knife couldn’t be balanced.

Bolter being stronger on Vet in a ranged-focused build is balanced. If FS can do it with an axe or a chain sword, they can do it with a Bolter.

Again, Vet getting an instant reload doesn’t mean the Botler will be broken, it’s a false argument. All I hear is you do not want it in the game, a very fun ability mind you, that is already available on another class (Ogryn) because it might break something.

The point of going for Zealot is to make OK melee weapons great, like martyrdom build does it with a Caxe. The same should be true for the Vet ranged build, it should make an OK ranged weapon Incredible. Be it a lasgun or a bolter.

PS: I wasn’t trying to nitpick your argument, just trying to reply to what matters, cutting some of the fat. Let me know if I left anything important out.

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