Specials are terribly designed

Alright lets start this off positive. I was really enjoying the game and I put several hundred hours into VT2 so I have plenty of experience in these games and I truly enjoy them for what they are but Dark tide has so many flaws with it that I’m draining quickly and losing interest to keep playing fairly fast because of so many poor gameplay design decisions.
My first introduction to games like these was Left4Dead as I’m sure many other people began with too and what that game introduced and perfected in this genre were in my opinion, specials. Zombie hordes were basic, fast, aggressive, and simple the main meat of the game but simply dealing with a wall of meat that runs at you is surprisingly easy once you get general combat spacing and teamwork down and that’s where specials come in.

Specials in my opinion are designed to stir the pot, each one should be a mini boss battle, proficiently dangerous in a specific field with a major flaw to balance out an overwhelming power point. However, where Darktide falls flat on its face and down a flight of stairs is two primary points.

  1. Specials are not strong in just one respective field, they are overwhelming, they do not lean into a specific trait each of them seems more like a well balanced decent murder machine and that’s what makes them significantly more dangerous and frustrating to deal with then in games like VT2 and left4dead.

  2. Spawns are completely, utterly, indefensibly, horrible. There are too many specials at once, they spawn in the worst positions, they are free to run off and hide in the spawn rooms like trolls waiting for you to stop looking so they can pop out and hit you with a cheeky one shot, and there is no limit to concurrent special spawns meaning me and the mates can get eaten by a pack of four dogs together ain’t that swell. This point above the general design of the specials needs to be addressed first and foremost because holy mother of mercy there is no level of skill or ‘get gud’ that will save me from 3 ragers 2 crushers 4 dogs 2 trappers 2 flamers and 2 maulers + a plague ogryn or beast of nurgle leading the charge all simultaneously in a single corridor. Like listen, I know God of war Ragnarok just dropped but I’m not trying to 1v99 all of Asgard, I’m not Kratos I’m Larry the failed wizard reject, come on for real its rejects will rise not the gods of mount Olympus.

Now onto each specific special design and their flaws along with how I believe they could be improved to provide a more pleasant gameplay experience. This by no means is a be all end all I’m sure others can think of finer points than me this is just what popped specifically for me and what I think would make these challenges more fun and reasonable to interact with or simply special interactions that I think would make the general gameplay more dynamic.

First on the list is the Poxburster, the failed boomer reject who fails to do anything boomer oriented besides being a heavily armored suicide bomber that is far too tanky for a SUICIDE BOMBER enemy. The effect of this enemy is devastating one good pox burster can launch you or multiple of your team mates into lethal positions, ruin group formation, and deal extremely heavy damage. Now this wasn’t an issue with the boomer yet the boomer from left4dead had an extremely interesting effect that made killing him at close range or not being able to snipe him from a distance punishing. This was his ability to MARK you, an ability I believe should return in Darktide. After being marked hordes could rush you as well as an extremely dangerous gascloud that would force a retreat but naturally this buff in lethality could be offset by making him squishier and easier to take out so that players would have to prioritize this enemy and treat it more like a landmine that you have to avoid rather than a tank that’s just going to run through your shots because your veteran is too busy to pop him for you. Taking out a special should never fall to a single class, each class should be able to do the job, some just better than others. Other than, I really like the sound and visual design of the burster its just a shame his gameplay does not reflect his look in the slightest. This half dead rotting corpse with no armor an anvil strapped to his back and his eyes sewn shut in extreme agony ignores gun shots like a charging bear and that is not ok.

Next are mutant and pox hounds because my god I like the fear of dealing with a fast enemy but these two are JANKY. Dogs can fly into the sun, visit papa nurgle for some headpats, and come back to eat me all in the span of 3 seconds when they aren’t awkwardly clipping around cover structures and teleport/diving back and forth across my screen like a kid suffering from 300 ping in a COD lobby. And whose genius idea was it give the charge enemy the ability to turn on a dime. This is a tanky suppression enemy that doesn’t go down quickly. You should at the very least be able to use cover and smart positioning to abuse this one in particular. I know the grab can be dodged if timed correctly but the window is extremely miniscule and when your fighting a swarm and your stamina won’t regenerate and your dodges are shrinking because of “genius combat design mechanics” and this enemy can instantly run through the swarm without affecting them, knocking any of them down, or hurting anyone besides some poor player. These chargers should have to push down or through the hordes themselves in order to reach the player. If a mutant busts through the swarm to instagrab someone then the swarm should be downed like an ogryn just used his ability. Dogs should also need a clear line of site to leap on a player which they don’t because I’ve seen these dogs trick shot themselves around corners in order to catch some poor person who didn’t want to have their booty eaten by a Pitbull with jaundice that day but the dog just watched the wanted movie before this round so he’s about to curve like a bullet. In terms of strength and health I have no beef with these two, I think the scaling and strength of these two is wonderful, they are just extremely JANKY. Dogs need patches to improve their movements, mutants need to impact the hordes with their charges and they shouldn’t be able to instantly turn and abuse players as much as they do. A straight charge can be just as devastating as this one without the added BS factor of him having better footwork than Floyd Mayweather.

Next is a personal favorite, the Ragers. Ragers, while not the hardest enemy to take out and by no means the most annoying but definitely one of the hardest to deal with when they are ripping you a new one from the safety of the swarm. I know these enemies are meant to act like a suppression unit that locks you up and prevents hyper aggression but unlike the well designed plague rats from vermintide 2 who had a combo that locked them in place so you could dodge away and zip back in to finish them off instead they remain FIRMLY GLUED to your buns. No amount of blocking, parrying, or dodging will save you from these poorly designed spam factories in a 1v1 because YOU CAN’T PARRY. In VT2 focusing your guard on the target swinging at you provided a relatively high amount of defensibility in Darktide however if an enemy sneezes on me my guard is likely to break leaving me stunned and my cheeks wide open for a rager to ruin my life. The only way to justify the stickiness of this spam swinging enemy is to either make him less sticky so I can actually dodge and disengage to avoid having my guard smashed open or give me back a guard that actually works so that I can defend myself from the spam city reject. Or, perhaps to mitigate the extreme strength of this enemy in swarms make it so that while he rages he also hits his allies leaving the players opening to put him down.

Demolishers and maulers in my opinion are perfect in their current state, I have no issue. You can avoid their attacks and they act like the wall armored heavy hitters they are. They fill the role they were made for without over stepping into other roles that would make them frustrating.

As for the shooter specials they could use some QOL enhancements like flamers should have explosive backpacks which can detonated with precision shots or strikes, gunners should have to rev up their miniguns and plant themselves before unloading on you, trappers should have better distinct warning noises like the poxburster to mark them out as the dangerous mission ending enemies they are. Toughness shouldn’t instantly vanish when you graze a fire so that you can actually mitigate some of the unavoidable damage created by bombers, either that or reduce the explosion radius for bomber grenades since in most of the areas these can cover the majority of a platform. Lastly, the gunner enemies need to more consistently switch to melee when they are engaged the amount of times where they just ignore you and continue to rail you at point blank makes fighting and actually getting the drop on a pack of gunners extremely ungratifying as they turn and all unload in your face shredding your health bar instantly for something you can barely avoid or can’t avoid at all due to the general nature of the game.

These were just how I feel about the game and how specials and shooters need some tuning before the game can actually settle into a comfortable enjoyable skill based scenario. In its current state the game is too unbalanced to be truly enjoyable especially on the harder difficulties, no amount of skill mitigates the unreasonable garbage hurled in your face, from the ridiculous spawns to the lack of options to deal with the challenges you are presented. They either need to make players and their weapons stronger or they need to make specials and their traits weaker.


Every post here always starts with: As a VT2 vet with 1000 hours…

Just say what you need to say. We don’t need your “credentials” lmao


You have some arguments that are valid and I’m not going hit you with the “muh skill issue”.

I agree Poxburster are lazy design that is kinda of a buggy mess, dude can spawn right in front of you and theres no real interaction between him. Even if you kill him he can still damage you if he’s too close and his hitbox is rather wonky, since he can damage you close by theres a simple acceptance you have to have when he is too close and there was nothing you could do about it. I had a time where I was in the scan room where you need your entire team and moment door opened a Poxburster blew up damaging us all. Not only that but his spawn location is also terrible, its always behind you meaning if u hear it you just got chill for a minute to kill him when he finally comes. Truly believe he should be removed, he’s lame and everyone know its. You need a psyker to push him back if he comes to close and you can’t outrun him if you get a bad close spawn so he will always damage you.

The flamethrower enemies: grenades, 2x flamer thrower colors are fine I believe after they deal with the issue of them doing full toughness deletion + stagger + damage from fire + slowness + pushback in it. There has to be a change to it as its an instant loss in hordes since you get staggered instantly due to full toughness loss. Could you imagine if VT2 poison gas and flamers just removed all temp health.

Dog is a buggy mess and rather tanky to range attacks suprisingly unlike assassin rat, but thats a coding issue+balance issue. He also runs away really fast unlike assassin rat giving you no time to actually deal with him. However, his concept design is fine he’s just super unbalanced due to jank. I dont want sound lame, but if he was coded better he would probably be fine.

Sniper fires too fast and sometimes his line [ermanently doesnt even show up meaning he can no scope you two before you realize whats happening. He also has a bug where his first shot doesn’t show line, but rest do after.

The rest are fine…I know that kinda just means the gunner specials, ogryn, ragers, and mutant, but yah…
Mutant is fine you just have to dodge the other hand that is out like a football player and do it at last second. Gunners are obviously fine, same with ogryn, and ragers as well.

They balance this game way tooo hard on the “team gameplay aspect”, which is fine…but you’re kinda forced to have you’re teammate kill the ragers off you while you block to take 0 damage. Truly feels like in VT2 you could solo carry a team and make a clutch play unlike this game, which personally is always more enjoyable knowing you can skill a game. This game I dont feel so, as the game actively tries to make you lose the moment 1 person is left by throwing elites/specials everywhere to end game like multiple far away snipers and #x dog/mutants. Simply more elites/specials than if there were 4 people. Had a game where the last zealot was alive and then the game decided this is the time to spawn 5 snipers across the map, 2 dogs, 1 mutant, 2 ogryn breakers, a horde, and 30+ range units at the same time, thats just lame. Dude survived for surprisingly long time until he got sniped by 3 invisible sniper laser sights in a row.

TLDR: Most elite/specials are fine, but they are held back by how buggy the game is currently making it so the enemies feel unfair. Also game feels entirely team based with 0 skill expression to clutch in solo situations due to how the game director spawns enemies when 1 enemy is left.


I agree that on paper the specials seem ok but almost all of them have one or two factors that lean them into being a bit overbearing.

They can fake you out with a fake firing and then immediately net you after you dodge on reflex from the sound. The nerfed dodge cooldown is very apparent when trying to deal with this behaviour.

They run away really quickly, really far, a lot of times back into inaccessible areas.

Almost completely silent, no special audio cue to alert players, especially when in hordes or dropping down behind you.

Too tanky, too resistant to stagger and push, push is inconsistent (even with pskyer ability), no weakspot or stagger location (legs) or feedback (I have killed a burster once without it exploding).

Bomber/Flamer/Tox Flamer:
Making the flames break toughness immediately makes them a proper threat (it’s good!) but the health damage should ramp up like the spitballer from L4D2 to give people a better chance to get away, since recovering health in this game is much harder in between med stations.

Laser sight blends in too well with a Scab dominated map segment, maybe making it green would be more visible and thematically suitable.

Their movement speed can be handled but it’s able to corner and circle on a dime, and clip map doodads and fly when it’s going for a target. The movement is way too erratic and the only momentum it has is when it dies and the body sails off into the distance.

In general:
When specials/elites spawn too close to you there’s almost no time to respond and the audio cues sometimes don’t play as their attacks were already primed when they drop down/come out the door.


But of course you should - who’d listen to a mere pleb with no credentials!
I’m a well-established no-lifer rat slayer and I support this message.

I agree with the majority of the gripes, so eloquently put on top of everything.
Dogs and muties are usually undodgeable due to varying latency.
Them being able to turn 180° and cc another target is a hilarios idea, but usually it’s more enraging as it ruins successful runs.

I don’t really have problems with ragers or bombers: there’s usually a cover you can los them behind and deal with them after the horde’s been deal with.
Bombers are a bit too tanky I agree and do cause too many untimely deaths or psykers and veterans. However I’d just slightly nerf them - maybe a slightly longer fuse before the explosion or slightly less hp, because even at d3 killing them is not a done deal if you have something slow or very accurate.

Regarding doors, I think I actually like them.
Of course triple bomber suite is never fun, but if you know it can happen you can prepare for it. Or after you’ve learned that it exists.

I’d say (one of) my major gripes with DT are the absence of friendly fire (hence the problem with muties or other enemies clipping through hordes) and that all the specials (ogryn excluded) look just the same. In VT2 if took you a couple of hours to learn who’s who. In DT even after 100 hours ofc I can identify snipers and trappers, but all the gunners and flamers and the rest look positively the same.


Gunners (and shotgunners, I think), flamers, snipers and bombers can cause friendly fire, but the most egregiously explosive of all of them, the poxburster does not, which also adds to how unfun it is to deal with it.

Oh yeah, another one for the trapper is how they can shoot through hordes and 1cm wide gaps which combined with how large the net particle is make it seem like they’re shooting through walls/floors.


Are you sure? I didn’t notice.
AFAIK they usually just all shoot you through their buddies.
And it’s really hard to see anything that’s happening inside the flame.

Yeah, they get set on fire and I’ve seen a line of terrors get obliterated by snipers

I mostly agree but generally feel like specials are adequately designed and just need tweaks:

I think the mutant and its happy feet makes it one of the most fun enemies in the game. They can be frustrating to deal with sometimes but usually they’re not much of a threat and have decent counterplay. They also are not a hard-lockdown enemy so they aren’t as punishing when you miss a dodge

I think its a bug that these guys sometimes just pop into existence and shoot without any warning. The laser sight is pretty noticeable otherwise and they are easy enough to deal with once sighted. When I play my Vet I don’t even bother with my F anymore, I just aim at laser sight origin and pop them. Maybe bait out the shot if I cannot get clear LoS and dodge just before they fire.

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Specials in general seem too tanky and there’s way more of them even in missions without endless horde. I agree that enemy spawns are kind of bad right now, and not just for specials.

Dogs and bursters are buggy as shet. Bursters in particular are boring and should harm other enemies when they explode like most suicide bomber type enemies do like @zaygr said. It would make them actually 100x more fun to go against.

Mutants recover from their charge a little faster than feels fair, even when you dodge them and they run into a wall. Maybe have them take a breather in between hucking around my teammates. Also if you stand around a corner they probably shouldn’t be able to 180 and grab you.

Specials in general are WAY faster than they were in Vermintide. Bomber and Trapper and the Flamers got those mfing legs on them. It makes catching them on the approach much more difficult and sometimes nearly impossible in a horde.

Overall enemy design could use a lot of tweaks across the board.

Smaller complaints but like semn007 said, flamers and all of the human gun elites look nearly identical in silhouette. In hectic situations when you’re trying to locate the flamer by mashing tag, this can be an issue.


Specials are definitely too tanky.
The reason the bolter is seen as the only viable option compared to its competitors is because of how much damage Specials and Elites soak up. If they were weaker, other weapons would actually be able to compete because they would have the utility of being able to better deal with trash mobs while also competently handling Specials, while the bolter would continue to be the de-facto Special hunting weapon.


Having had little time to myself to actually study the game, the only thing I can say I definitively agree on is how stiff poxbursters are.

The exploding enemies in the shooters I’ve played are generally frail, and usually have some kind of counterplay inside their blast range.

  • Spike mines in Quake detonate immediately when shot with a ballistic weapon, and careful movement can slam them into corners where they’ll explode to no consequence.

  • Boomers in Left 4 Dead detonate almost immediately when shot, and you can shove them to buy some room.

  • Exploders in Deep Rock are made of tissue paper, and you can hit them with a headshot to safely disarm them. If they do manage to start their detonation animation, you’ve still got time to run away.

Meanwhile, it feels like bursters take concentrated fire from most of the team to put down before they can reach the line. When they do get there, you can’t really do anything; shoves don’t work, and there’s no way to keep them from exploding.

If they were more fragile, or had more options for the players to escape them, I’d be able to overlook them spawning right next to the team - awful as that is.


Honestly trappers have screwed me over far more times than any other special on Heresy. And that’s just because I don’t know they’re there until I hear the net noise and I’m knee deep in heretics so there’s no room to dodge left or right. I feel like the most important thing to help with difficulty is that ranged enemies hit their teammates, or don’t shoot until they have a clear firing line. It’s frustrating that allies can block my shots, but their allies don’t.


Trappers can shoot though solid geometry like walls and even ledges and stuff that should completely block the net but it will go through anyway, Snipers can spawn behind gates that block psyker brain burst targeting and just sit back there sniping through a gate you can’t open… they can also sit behind railings that block brain burst targeting and block most gun fire too but they can shoot right through it just fine.

The Behavior of certain Specials to spawn into inaccessible areas and sit in plates that make them immune to counter targeting is a serious problem. Bombers do this also sometimes spawning on very high ledges where you can’t get LOS on them and just sit up there throwing grenades down at you and never move to where they can actually be shot at.

One of the biggest issues with this is In the final room of restarting the water system with the three growths. It seems like a Sniper almost always spawns behind the gate that leads to the evacuation zone which isn’t open yet, and then sits there sniping through the gate immune to brain burst targeting and very hard to even see because the area is in pitch black darkness making targeting him with guns difficlut as well and requiring you to pretty much run right up to the gate to be able to see where he is.


This feeling usually comes from not using the “correct” damage type.
The difference between chopping ogryn down with an axe and chainaxe is astounding.


There is a special place in hell for whoever thought spawning specials in a triggered state from a door 2m behind you would be fun.
Notably when the elite just peaks out, messes with you,and then scurries back in, but ESPECIALLY when a suicide mob just jumps out.

Also a special mention for enemies teleporting out of range thanks to those, or sniping/bombing you through cover or out of sight…


I agree with everything in this post. The game isn’t really hard, it’s frustrating, because every special has the same bullfrak ”take you out of the fight with one shot” mechanic.

Yes, even Mutant, who I, as a Psyker, will take ages to solo kill as it constantly and repeatedly grabs me every three seconds.

I’d be fine with every dreg on higher difficulties being a shotgunner.

What I don’t want is ”dodge or die” mechanics.

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I think it would be interesting to know if these experiences come from people that play mostly in PUGs or with a team using voice comms.

We usually group up with at least 3 people on Discord, so many of the issues described here don’t seem so problematic because we can communicate them and everyone in the group knows their role.

But I will agree that dealing with some of the specials is much, much harder for PUGs -maybe harder than it should be; because of many of the reasons listed here.

Mutants having no downtime is a real bummer.
When two mutants just chain grab and toss you, it’s not fun. It’s frustrating.
They have better precision than GMLRS rockts

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Sometimes I feel like i’m playing a different game than the people on this forum.
I think the Hound flies and clips around a little too much and the pox burster can spawn in awkward places and I completely agree he’s too tanky (nearly same time-to-kill as Maulers which is not good)

Other than that I have no gripes with the specials

Ragers fall down pretty fast and i’m not sure what you mean by “they can’t be parried”. I’ve had a devil’s claw for 7 levels and i spam parry and take them out without taking damage - they also get interrupted by most heavy hitting or automatic ranged weapons.

Crusher’s & reaper’s fit their aesthetic

Flamer’s fall easily and the earlier you notice them, the better.

Bomber’s run away but usually when you can hear them priming their grenade they should be in your FOV (Note; Usually)

Gunner’s and shotgunner’s are also more like “captain units” than game-changers. Deal a bit more damage and are a bit more tanky than regular ranged troops. no problemo

Charger (mutant) also dies with just a tad bit of concentrated effort

Sniper’s get bullied by Vet players

Both bosses can be killed in around 1 to 2 minutes if the team is prepared.

I’m not saying “skill issue” I’m just saying it feels like I’m living in bliss compared to people on this forum. Like I feel genuinely blessed that my experience with most aspects are positive, cus I know that I’m in the minority.

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