So what is it about that "gameplay"?

I’ve been following several discussions lately about the problems of Darktide (DT). However, both sides generally agreed that the map design, music and gameplay were very well done. The gameplay was even seen as an “improvement” over Vermintide 2 (V2). I can agree with these positive aspects, the 40K atmosphere is really well captured and the music is just great, but I have to be honest… I don’t see the highly praised gameplay improvements.

Sure, the focus on gunplay is a bit more pronounced than in V2 and also implemented quite well, Melee also feels ok, but there are not worlds between the two games. On the contrary, I find the weapons in V2 much more varied, balanced and differentiated. But ok, the differences are maginal. Disappointing, however, are the variances in las and autoguns, which “feel” hardly different from each other, except for slight changes in the rate of fire.

But anyway, that’s just one point of gameplay. Because essentially what bothers me a bit more about DT is the feeling. I had constant pressure in Vermintide because there are many very lethal enemies, combined with hordes and bosses, situations can get confusing very quickly and you always need to focus on your teammates. Well, that’s not always the case in V2 either, but at least if you play on an adequate difficulty level that matches your skill level, or add additional mutators(weeklies)/twitch at some point or go modded.

In DT, however, I feel like I’m just hopping from room to room and then holding up for minutes at each door to snipe some piddly ranged enemy that are simply overwhelming in the open field, destroying all toughness in 2-3 shots (at least on Damnation it feels that way). In this respect, the game unfortunately plays like a covershooter without any coversystem…
And you’re not hindered by it either, the only melee enemies that really are a threat in larger numbers are Crushers, and they usually only come in pairs. Bullwarks can be annoying but are nowhere near as lethal. Specials are a joke compared to V2. The worst thing that can happen to you is a Trapper pulling you 3m to him, the net can be removed in a blink of an eye and this unit doesn’t do any damage either. Compared to the Hookrat which can take the player completely out of the action, the Trapper is a real joke. Hounds are just annoying and wonky, can immobilize the player, but damage is also almost non-existent, compare them to the counterpart in V2, the Assassin, or even Leeches. There is no such thing as Blightstormer. The grenade throwers of the enemies can (like all flamethrowers) remove the toughness, but they don’t pose too much of a threat either and can even be helpful (friendly fire, and yes, gas rats can do that aswell as Warpfire Throwers or Rattling Gunners). Hordes are completely trivial in this game and don’t pose a threat in principle, usually this issue is taken care of after 2 grenades anyway. And I think this is exactly the problem… you usually have handled this matter so quickly that everything else becomes irrelevant basically. There are also no good melee opponents that also appear in larger numbers, which in V2 was basically covered by the Stormvermins… I don’t even need to start with bosses, they look nice but actually, they are also rather trivial… and yes especially compared to the V2 bosses.

All in all, I can’t quite understand the praises of the gameplay. I’m missing the adrenaline in DT just somehow… :man_shrugging:t3: Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want this to be V3, but i would really appreciate some more engagement by game design.
My question would therefore be, what makes the gameplay in DT so much better than in Vermintide for those who bring up this argument more often? :thinking:


I’ve been thinking about this a bit.

I think what it partly comes down to is that there aren’t many enemies that are melee threats. The trash ranged enemies are one of the bigger threats, but the big threatening melee enemies are, conversely, way too easy to kill with ranged weapons.

I almost feel like there is a big balancing calculus that needs to shift. For example, what is armored melee enemies (Crushers, maulers, etc.) were much more resistant to ranged weapons (what if they were bullet sponges basically?) but ammo was a little bit less plentyful. Would it force a situation where you couldn’t just delete a pack of armored enemies at range, because it would use way to much ammo, ammo which needed to be conserved for dealing with ranged threats. This might force you to deal with tougher melee units up close more. Grenades could probably be toned down too, because those tend to trivialize dense armored enemy packs as well. i also think there should just be a lot more big melee units. There isn’t really the equivalent of a chaos knight or stormvermin patrol.

In DT, I rarely get that “oh ****” feeling during melee fights where we’ve stepped in over our heads. In DT, those moments are mostly when you walk into the open and alert a pack of ranged enemies and get stun locked in the open.


Even if I acknowledge the fact that Darktide hasn’t had 4+ years of patches to refine things, and try to compare it to 2018-2019 VT2, there are several things in terms of gameplay that I just cannot get used to.

  • Less enemy variety, and harder to tell apart most humanoids unless you’ve really trained your eyes for it
  • Melee combat and ranged hit registration becomes wonky on Malice+ during events and big hordes because almost everything is server-side (on a PvE game!!!) and the netcode is just not good enough.
  • Ranged enemies in big numbers slow the game to a crawl because of how dangerous they are, especially in big rooms. One reason is because cover doesn’t matter unless your whole body is hidden from them. Another reason is their pitifully small engagement range. They don’t care about the Zealot charging at them with an axe unless he’s in kissing range and actively cutting their heads off. If you step back just a little, they will run away and take out their gun again : which means that engaging a big group of gunners in melee will often result in you getting shot by their backline, through their friends.
  • Quick weapon switching is reserved for light ranged weapons. This is particularly bad because in VT2 quickly sniping stuff was essential, it felt good and fluid, and being able to multitask could make or break a run. In DT, having instant ranged switch wouldn’t even be a big deal IMO because most specials have lots of HP.
  • Aiming down sights is slow, clunky, and often uninterruptible compared to VT2’s Handgun, Longbow, Crossbow…
  • There are no sniping weapons. No scopes at all anywhere. The psyker has no long range staves, just a bad projectile with a delayed launch due to the bad netcode. The closest you can get is the Sharpshooter’s ability coupled with a long-range autogun or lasgun.
  • Melee combat is strangely more risky because every normal enemy just spams their running attack ad nauseam while encircling you, and you need to dodge twice to make sure they have stopped tracking you, while your stamina does not regen. Cleave and stagger are even more important than in VT2.
  • Sprinting is useless around melee enemies because they all have rollerblades attached to their feet, see point above. I know this is probably to prevent speedrunning, but they could instead make sprinting cost a little more stamina but be more effective.

Playing Malice or Heresy doesn’t give me the same satisfaction as a Legend Campaign mission or Chaos Wastes expedition. It’s just… tiring. Because it often turns into a peek-a-boo simulator.


Yeah the dance of the blade design with elite enemies of VT2 is totally gone. Tanking their blows was a bad idea without very high BCR and stamina, and they were very hard to interrupt. There was like 2 ranged weapons for staggering more than 1, most kept on through their attack sequence taking an arrow shot or bullet. Here you can just pull an SMG out start shooting and the Crushers that take next to 0 damage from it anyway start cowering in fear. They’re mostly just high HP sometimes armored meatbags that roll around.

I would much rather have threat from these enemies than tons of ranged shooters appearing in all corners behind me strafing.


A lot of the people who really enjoyed VT2 melee don’t see Darktide as an improvement, but to all the people who really enjoy ranged combat I think it is a better game.


Some of it might just be some kind of placebo effect because its new and somewhat different.


I think Darktide could have better gameplay than VT2 but it’s so stingy that there are no builds or variety or moments you can triumph in. The weapons have a great initial feel to them early when everything is effective at low levels, they have nice feedback, and feel fairly different. At low difficulty there is also a lot more room to breathe and take in the atmosphere.

Everything falls apart in higher difficulties where backstabs are constantly annoying you, you’re swinging or firing 100% of the time, and only a select few weapons can even be considered. When you lean that hard into your character’s mechanics, it can get stale very fast when there’s nothing to change, no builds to try.

The number of enemies shouldn’t change much across difficulties but it feels like there’s another 200 to the kill count added for each tier. I think the ‘tide’ part is a crutch Fatshark is leaning on. Huge mass of enemies works for VT, but not for 40k. As a human in 40k, you should be the underdog, one of the lowliest major creatures in the galaxy. But we’re gods here, racking up kills that would make hardened space marines envious.

I think the game would work better with on average 800-900 enemy kills per mission but if they were tougher. Poxwalkers are surely hardier than the average human, what with Nurgle’s blessing. Hivers are suppose to be pretty dangerous too I thought. It’s weird that they just mindlessly run at you. There’s no melee enemies that actually know how to fight. In VT when you fight a Chaos Warrior and he sees you charging up an attack, you can expect a punch to the face half the time if he’s focused on you. Storm Vermin would use their reach smartly a lot. I don’t recall any enemies behaving like this regularly.

Ranged enemies on the other hand are annoyingly intelligent, taking forever to uproot. I’d prefer if they had hivers or elites backing them up and they did less damage rather than being physically obscured by hordes of men. Now if Poxwalkers kept their corruption damage but also slowed and interrupted like suppression currently does rather than having suppression on regular ranged, I think the ‘rank’ combat the AI could fight you with would be very interesting. Gunners and shotguns can keep their suppression/knockback and I think we’d overall have a harder game that would probably require the roles they want more than now. Melee would be the reverse it is now with a lot of elite badasses and less saturation of bodies. I feel like I would enjoy the tempo of that game more.


Well, I guess all the answers are on the same level. Too bad, I would have been more interested in the opposite side, but thanks for the answers everyone. Maybe one of the advocates of this “wonderful gameplay” will respond later… :+1:t3:

I think I’d concede that melee elites telegraph a lot and are a bit slow. You can still easily get pressured by 2+ elites, but you just have so many more ways of dealing with them now that aren’t melee that they feel easier. Monstrosities also contribute to this feeling. There’s no Minotaur or even Chaos Spawn equivalent in the game, the kind monster you had to learn and keep your timing tight. The Ogryn and the Beast of Nurgle are just a lot easier to avoid unless you get yourself stuck in some terrain.

Another thing that’s been bugging is that blocking just doesn’t feel right to me a lot of the time. I feel like the block mechanics break down and become hard to read or understand versus VT2. I sorta knew when I was taking too many blocks in VT2. The lack of shields, the stagger, the partial blocks as your stamina is trying to keep up. Doesn’t feel like that in DT. Which is why I think the Daemonhost is hell for most people since the combination of blocking + dodging isn’t often enough to keep you alive. The Daemonhost is like on the other extreme of the scale from the monstrosities, which you’re actually meant to fight.

So yeah. While I enjoy the melee and I think it’s done a lot of things right, there isn’t the polish in some places for all the things that support and connect to it. The Horde killing feels about right, if a little too predatory about back spawns and encircling. But the 1v1 melee experience feels like it could be tighter. Ragers are the only enemy I feel where you actually have to pay attention and understand their moves to fight them effectively. Most other enemies you can read what they’re going to do and just react, there’s few surprises there like the Chaos Warrior’s sneaky underhand axe attack, or kick.

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I agree that ragers are the only melee enemy that requires a bit of skill to fight.

Crushers and maulers are only a threat if you literally can’t move, you could probably dodge away and dodge back into his range before he starts swinging.

Plague ogre is just walk backward while fighting and dodge his one longer range swing. His charge is not that dangerous either unless you are near an edge.

Beast of nurgle presents a little challenge bc he can swallow you and he can protect his rear very well, but with guns its just a matter of time.

I’ve recently stopped playing Darktide and have gone back to VT2 and my god, the combat in vt2 is infinently more fun. The weapon design is great, being able to push block attack WHILE spamming dodge is amazing, the weapon combos are so much more varied, each weapon feels completely unique to the next.

People saying DT has great gameplay often say it as a suffix to ‘Darktide has a lot of problems, but…’ IMO I think they’re just saying that to try and find something, anything, positive to say about the game.
Combat is a flat downgrade compared to vt2. It’s a real shame.


I kinda miss having weapons that benefits from attack pattern manipulation. Only weapon i have found that requires it in DT so far is the eviscerator.


@scrot I wouldn’t say darktide is a straight downgrade.

Darktide’s melee is a downgrade, but the combination of ranged and melee and lots of disablers and area denial leads to a much more intense combat experience.

Vermintide packmaster is nowhere near as dangerous as a netter.

With a netter the horde tears you apart while you’re in the net, and the netter has a longer range and can net multiple allies so it must be prioritized.

Vermintide assassin was very easy to stagger and easy to spot and hit bc of his bright coloration and tendency to leap high into the sky to attack.

Darktide’s dogs are a nightmare to spot in a horde, are not easy to stagger, and their movement is much harder to follow. They also seem more durable than an assassin, I remember killing or interrupting an assassin with almost any ranged weapon, but darktide’s dogs can take a few bolter rounds, I hope you aren’t using a lasgun.

Darktide vs vermintide’s flamers are about the same.

Darktide’s grenadiers are massively more dangerous than Vermintide’s globidier, the poison gas did not instantly remove all temp hp.

Darktide’s flame grenadier throws from farther away, is incredibly dangerous to be in, and he retreats to other enemy groups very often.

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I mostly agree, but I think in theory the specials are kinda equal. Sometimes a little bit beefier but less lethal or vice versa. BUT, the missing melee threat makes the specials in almost every situation kinda trivial. And that’s my point. Without that, it’s just like aroth68 said:


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What gameplay?

Oh you mean… Checking the armoury store for those 1:11.000.000 to 1:170.000.000 chances that you get the right weapon or… Spending hours upon hours rerolling perk to get the one you want EVEN THOUGH IT IS FREE.

That gameplay?


I think that’s kind of the issue. Stormvermins were high threat, armored, large in number, and one-shotable if you managed to git gud. There aren’t any equivalents in DT.

Crushers also aren’t a good substitute for CWs, it might be a skill issue but I find them way more tanky/bulky than their VT2 equivalent and there isn’t too much skill expression fighting them in melee.

Melee enemies are not a threat, they are just an annoyance. Same goes with Monsters. They are just there to waste your time. The REAL BOSS and threat in this game are the ranged enemies. Period.
It’s like they pushed so hard to make a Tide game focused in ranged combat that they made ranged foes extra hard and the rest very trivial. This game suffers heavily from balance issues (and many more!) and until that’s fixed, the “feeling” we had with VM2’s gameplay just won’t be there.


The issue with crushers is that you cannot sufficiently damage them with headshots while using a non armor piercing weapon. In VT2 every armored unit either requires a weapon with ap or headshotting. The fact that headshotting always is an option creates more room for skill expression. Darktide very strictly dictates what you can do through gear, VT2 offers more leeway.