Symptoms & Solutions: Why ignoring everything great about your combat is the best way to play it, and how to fix it

Or, why the community has started optimizing the fun out of your game.

Part 1: The Symptoms

Darktide has a fantastic core of gunplay, movement, and brawling that transcends the original Vermintide’s formula. However, gameplay typically boils down to one of two strategies on Heresy+, which become even more dominant on Damnation and Damnation+Modifier.

  • Players break line-of-sight with aggro’d enemies/event spawn points and hold them on a single blind corner, door, or drop.
  • Players remain behind a choke point or high ground until the team’s ranged specialists (usually Veterans with Volley Fire) dispatch all ranged and Elite/Specialist threats.

You will notice that there are several things missing here: Engaging enemies in melee and locking them down, suppressing enemies, and the explicit contribution of 3 of the 4 classes’ unique features or capabilities.

That is because those core gameplay elements have an ever-decreasing value as you ascend in difficulty. The listed strategies, which are highly encouraged by the current state of the game, also trivialize all challenges with very few exceptions; I believe this is where many complaints of a lack of challenge in high-Threat gameplay stem from.

These strategies are the result of several overlapping and problematic gameplay systems, not player-sided balance. No matter how powerful player options are (unless they are also designed to explicitly alleviate one of these issues), they are still beholden to these problems.

Newer and less experienced players are also frustrated by these issues in their own ways because they are endemic to the game, not solely a product of the difficulty scaling. These problems are arguably worse for these inexperienced players because many of the strategies that are punished in higher level play are taught to them as obvious and reliable solutions.


Part 2: The Problems

  • Issue 1: Ranged Dominance (Stun)

What is the issue?

Ranged stun overwhelms all player options but disengaging and sharpshooting.

Instances of ranged damage deal a significant amount of stun and knockback to players, which can stack and force players into immobility. Not only can shots from multiple enemies stack repeated instances of stun, but singular enemies can as well with burst or automatic fire. As difficulty increases, so does enemy density, and the frequency with which a player can and will be struck by multiple sources of ranged damage at once. Unless a player is outright immune to stagger or damage, they become inert almost instantly when shot, regardless of whatever they were doing.

Why is this an issue?

Players do not have adequate tools to deal with this mechanic, and breaking line of sight and bottlenecking/sniping them has become a dominant strategy to cope with this. Once a player has been toughness broken or struck by a full volley, they are completely at the mercy of the ranged units attacking them; and it is often the case that a small number of shooters is more disruptive to players than an equivalent number of Specialists.

Ranged Stun is overwhelmingly dominant over player options, especially those intended to be used to engage ranged enemies. It knocks players out of Ogryn and Zealot charges, it rips players out of chained dashes and slides, and it stops charged attacks dead in their tracks.

  • Issue 2: Ranged Dominance (Damage)

What is the issue?

Ranged attacks are too dangerous, to the point that most gameplay is focused on them.

Ranged attacks are an exceptionally large source of damage, especially on Heresy+. This damage is often far greater than the damage typically received from melee threats, which these ranged enemies can apply more consistently and in more situations.

Players also have a very limited number of tools to deal with ranged attackers, and none as useful as simply breaking line-of-sight and picking them off. This is made worse by the fact that ranged attacks are not only high damage but are also remarkably consistent: They are hitscan, almost perfectly accurate, can reliably target through miniscule gaps and some surfaces, can be delayed or indefinitely repeated if evaded, and can only be dodged when a player has their melee weapon equipped and is not occupied by another animation like a chainweapon rip, ability, or damage stun.

Why is this an issue?

Ranged damage is an overwhelming threat; in fact, it is the single most important threat in the game to the detriment of all other priorities. There is no combination of bosses, melee patrols, or hordes that can compare to the threat a single Elite ranged unit poses. This is not an exaggeration.

Because ranged enemies are so disproportionately dangerous, they become the focus of all combat to the exclusion of almost any other consideration. Every single high-level player must play the game with their character, weapon selection, and playstyle choices warped around preparing to deal with the high amounts of damage that even small groups of ranged units can produce; and if a player does not engage in this behavior they put themselves and their team at risk by not being able to contribute to ranged engagements and must spend the vast majority of level progression waiting in safety or acting as a buffer for trashmobs while their shootout-competent allies take care of the threats that would immediately cripple and kill them.

You should also notice that Toughness Breaks exacerbated the previous problem with stuns as well—this becomes an immediate negative feedback loop in Heresy+, where a single close-range burst will immediately break the Toughness of all characters except the Veteran (who has mitigation against ranged attacks that no other character possesses).

  • Issue 3: Melee Locking (Or a lack thereof)

What is the issue?

Melee Locking is not reliable and is therefore dangerous to attempt and frustrating when you do.

Melee Locking, defined here as the act of engaging ranged units in close-quarters combat to ‘lock’ them into using melee weapons, is tied to Threat level: It becomes more unreliable and takes longer to intimidate an enemy as the player increases in difficulty. In Heresy+ enemies are so aggressive, mobile, and resistant to melee intimidation that attempting melee locking is incredibly dangerous if the scene does not have a pre-placed flank route.

Even if a player is successful in engaging in melee combat with a group of ranged enemies, on higher difficulties their area of intimidation is so low and weak that they must frequently alternate blows between nearby shooters and chase down stragglers to keep them from using their ranged weapons to immediately stunlock or outright kill them.

On Heresy+, Ranged Elites seem to outright require manually striking each of them to Melee Lock them, and in the case of Gunner Elites they can only be pseudo-suppressed. These Elites are so resilient to Melee Locking on Damnation that they will frequently continue shooting at a player with a melee weapon out even after being attacked, until staggered out of their prepared/active attack or evaded until they finish executing it.

Why is this an issue?

Melee Locking is unreliable on higher difficulties, where enemies are inexplicably more resistant to Melee Locking in addition to being much more numerous, turning what should be a potent countermeasure against the game’s most prominent threat into something that is that will result in being downed or taking huge chunks of damage if not executed perfectly or in the safest of circumstances.

Failing to capture even one or two shooters in a pack, or Emperor forbid an Elite, will reliably lead to a Toughness Break and usually a down. Enemies are so aggressive and so resilient to both damage and intimidation that slow, immobile, or weak weapons that cannot quickly strike or kill multiple shooters in succession are difficult justifying the presence of in higher difficulties.

Every step of attempting a Melee Lock becomes more difficult and less consistent as difficulty level rises. Just approaching to try to initiate melee with ranged enemies is much more dangerous because of the increased density of enemies producing more opportunities for overlapping Ranged Stun. Capturing all enemies in the Melee Lock is also much harder to do not just because of their intimidation resistance, but also because you are required to do it to more enemies that have much more survivability. Even if you make no mistakes during this process, you can still be instantly Toughness broken or downed by one stubborn Elite.

These issues are all greatly worsened when attempting to Melee Lock alone, which is becoming much more common as more players become comfortable retreating and shooting/holding from safety.

Right now, there is almost no reason to attempt a Melee Lock other than pure desperation; which is usually caused by an uncoordinated team not adhering to one of the dominant strategies in the first place.

  • Issue 4: Suppression (Or a lack thereof)

What is the issue?

Suppression is weak and inconsistent, often serving to the detriment of the team by rapidly scattering ranged enemies.

Suppression is unclear in impact, self-defeating at best, and actively harmful to the team at worst. Even if an enemy is successfully Suppressed, they will quickly retreat to cover, break line of sight, or retreat into monster closets. Not only is this a highly ineffective method of controlling enemies, but the effects of Suppression are typically so weak that by the time an enemy has reached cover they will shortly have recovered from Suppression and be ready to fire. There is no way to tell if an enemy is still Suppressed at a glance until they prepare to fire, if they are still visible at all, and several ranged enemies (Shotgunner Elites, Dreg Shooters) appear to be completely immune to the effects of Suppression.

Suppression is not only ineffective, but self-defeating. By spreading out ranged enemies to different pieces of cover you render any following ranged attacks, and the Suppression generated by them, less accessible and easy to group. As enemy density increases the consequences of scattering them become more dangerous, as it results in them pulling additional packs of enemies, more enemies being encouraged to flank you through monster closets, and enemies controlling more space and potential flank routes.

Suppression can be applied in such an overwhelming amount that enemies will cower instead of fleeing in a problematic manner, but this is typically only accessible to specific close-combat Blessings and weaponry.

Why is it an issue?

As it stands, there is almost never a situation where one would want to Suppress ranged enemies despite this being introduced as a clear counter against them. Even if players would want to Suppress enemies, there is almost no way to communicate the level of Suppression the enemies are suffering from. Even if an enemy is Suppressed, they become more of a liability than if they were simply Unsuppressed and fighting back because they will often flee the scene to draw more ambient spawns and re-engage with reinforcements from catwalks, monster closets, and other enemy-exclusive vantage points. This often results in enemies controlling more space than if they had been left unsuppressed, and with new angles of attack that frequently make flanking routes and cover unusable.

Even shooting at ranged enemies or Specialists to assist a coordinated push and Melee Lock with Suppression is entirely antithetical to those tasks, as enemies will spread out at a faster speed than players (some even outrunning the fastest speeds available, such as Zealot’s Chastise the Wicked) can approach them. All Suppression succeeds in doing is forcing those players attempting to engage in melee to retreat or rapidly overextend chasing highly dangerous ranged enemies. If the player approaching was the source of the Suppression, such as using a Braced weapon in hopes of covering their advance, they will almost always immediately be vaporized where they stand by returning fire, as only melee weapons capable of evading ranged attacks and most weapons have very limited scopes of suppression.

  • Issue 5: Cover (Or the illusion of such)

What is the issue?

Enemies can not only frequently hit players consistently behind most forms of cover (Ogryn is especially vulnerable to this), but they will also repeatedly fire at a protected position. Leaving a pre-fired position threatens immediate punishment via ranged stun and damage unless the targeted player disengages completely and breaks line-of-sight completely.

Even if a player can utilize cover adequately in an encounter, the Player-Suppression system results in non-Veterans’ returning fire being highly inaccurate and further risking punishment for leaving cover. Player-Suppression is also not specific to targeted individual but affects all of those in the path of the shot, meaning that other players can unintentionally grief their teammates’ accuracy, especially if they are trying to make shorter-ranged, less accurate weaponry work or are trying to approach shooters without a safe, preset flanking route.

Why is this an issue?

The limited functionality of cover makes the most intuitive countermeasure against ranged attacks a trap option at best and an active detriment to the team at worst, as only specific Blessings and Veterans can adequately cope with the Player-Suppression generated while in cover. It is often preferable for a player that cannot contribute to a proper firefight to go stand behind a corner or wall swinging into oncoming trash than to try to utilize cover and risk more stray shots and Player-Suppression against their teammates.

Without cover serving a reasonable purpose the threat of ranged combat is almost completely unrestrained unless you break line-of-sight completely. This also further makes Suppression and Melee Locking less viable, since initiating firefights or chaining aggro to ranged packs causes them to spread out and encourages them to control space, making an approach to alerted ranged enemies via cover suicidal without an obvious flanking route.

  • Issue 6: Enemy Aggression & The Damage Race (Players are losing it)

Enemies are highly dangerous, mobile, and not reliant on resources. Players are anything but. The two combined wear down on players, whose lackluster options and reliance on resources hedges them into passive, ranged-dominant strategies.

I do not need to reiterate that ranged enemies are dangerous, but they are also relentless and mobile. By contrast, players are cumbersome and very much at the mercy of ranged enemies if they choose to do anything but apply the dominant strategies. If players choose to engage with enemies ‘honestly’, and not retreat out of sight to feed their foes into a meat grinder, then they must contest with this disparity between themselves and the legions of fearless, crack-shot supersoldiers they intend to face.

Ranged enemies on Heresy+, with the exclusion of Specialists who have forced wind-ups and reloads, are capable of freely moving and aiming/firing continuously without stopping. Enemy mobility is not just limited to during attacks since they run incredibly quickly (faster than most sprint speeds) and can freely jump up and down ledges, sometimes to AI-exclusive cover and vantage points.

Players, however, are constrained by magazine and ammo limitations, are punished for moving while shooting, suffer accuracy penalties when firing repeatedly, and have very limited mobility options. This disparity creates a growing rift in the performance and resource management between teams that choose to progress by remaining in safe, static positions and eliminating all threats with basic ranged weaponry and those that descend into the chaos and suffer its reprisals.

Because of the limited player mobility and enemy high aggression, it is very common to find situations where, despite seemingly playing correctly, enemies have such freedom of movement and act so quickly and fearlessly that they will still wear down players. For example, Shotgunners, Shooters, and Stalkers will casually stroll out of range of sliding/sprinting attacks and immediately whiff-punish the player for potentially hundreds of damage. Another common situation is attempting to engage ambient ranged spawns in melee, only to have some of its members flee vertically and attack from routes players cannot follow.

Adding further to the frustration of trying to openly engage with enemies in an aggressive manner, players will also find that their melee weapons are worse at killing several individual enemies than ranged weapons are. Melee weapons have exceptionally high damage falloff when striking multiple targets (typically not killing a second Poxwalker on a consecutive headshot on Heresy+, let alone multiple shooters with 50% more HP and Flak Armor), often require multiple direct strikes to kill even midgrade enemies, and attack far slower than all but the heaviest of their ranged counterparts.

This all boils combat involving any sort of ranged enemy into being a ‘damage race’ in two ways; first the race to deal damage as soon as possible, since until you are actively landing hits the situation is spiraling further and further out of control, and the race to deal enough damage to wipe the ranged pack, before strays and stragglers wipe someone out. However, as the player advances in Threat it becomes clear that the best way to win the race is the never leave the starting line: Ranged weapons and passive play always give the most damage, in the easiest way, and on the player’s terms instead.

Nothing makes this more obvious than comparing both extremes of playstyle after a successful engagement or event: The players that have played from a safe position or lured the AI into a blind choke have expended a bit of ammunition and perhaps a grenade or two to complete an objective together, while the players that suppressed, melee locked, and hunted down enemies while fending off flanking and chain-aggro’d threats stand stranded apart, with exhausted abilities, far more damage taken, and more resources expended.

  • Summary

Hopefully by expanding on these issues you can see why they are so individually maligned and how they layer on top of one another to create the situations that frequently promote incredibly passive play and discourage melee engagements or aggressively taking control of encounters.

Ranged enemies are highly dangerous and shut down player options, options that are already underwhelming, self-sabotaging, or easily punished by no fault of the player. If players engage despite this, enemies are resistant to disruption and all-too-eager to scatter and pick apart melee combatants with reinforcements, especially as they try to approach. If players do engage and come out on top, they’re also far more exhausted and spread out than if they’d taken the safer option.

Everything mentioned here drives players, especially premade groups with active communication, to write off many of the systems that make the game so fun to play in favor of camping a corner, sitting under a catwalk, or waiting for the team’s lasgun militia to finish mopping up the map. It’s no wonder that so many people are decrying Damnation as so easy and too hard at the same time—players that don’t know or don’t want to play the game like a worse version of Payday 2 are punished with grueling brawls against unyielding, deadly-accurate Ubermensch that will tear into them every step of the way, while the players with a policy of sitting on a ledge for three minutes evaporating every gunman and Elite for the next three rooms is struggling to stay awake at the keyboard.

However, there are ways to address these issues without compromising the gameplay for any of the players involved.


Part 3: The Solutions

Not one to offer complaints without a solution, I have drafted several suggestions that, if implemented together, should preserve the original balance and design philosophy of Darktide while encouraging players to engage in less passive playstyles. With few exceptions none of these changes require new systems, simply new applications of existing systems and tweaks to different values.

  • 1.1 Make Cover Matter

Since enemy attacks appear to be randomly spread hitscans with arbitrary visuals they need to represent enemy attacks hitting cover more reasonably, either by making collisions much larger for enemy fire and/or by introducing an accuracy system for enemies.

One way to do this would be by rigging several points of the player’s body and having enemies ‘check’ which they can ‘see’ whenever they plan to fire a shot, proportionally having a higher chance to harmlessly miss for each point they cannot ‘see’. Enemies suffering suppression, but not reaching any thresholds (or that do not have reachable thresholds like Shotgunners), should also suffer reduced accuracy under this system by having their maximum accuracy reduced accordingly.

  • 2.1 Penalize Ranged Enemies Shooting Into Melee

Melee Locking represents one part of WH40K’s rules about shooting while in melee, but what is missing is the representation of the difficulty involved in shooting into melee seen in many editions of the game.

Whenever you are within 5m of 2 or more enemies you now gain the “Soft Cover” buff, which reduces incoming Ranged Toughness Damage by 50% (after other reductions).

Additionally, Zealot’s “Enemies Within, Enemies Without” (1-3) increases the benefit of Soft Cover to 70% for the Zealot. Ogryn’s “Towering Presence (3-1) expands the radius of Soft Cover’s check to 8m for the Ogryn.

This should reduce the excessive danger ranged enemies pose in many situations, especially ones where you are already striking them at close range. It would also alleviate the frustration many players have about being shot directly through other enemies.

  • 3.1 Reduce Enemy Ranged Disruption

Many steps have already been taken to reduce the overwhelming displeasure of being stunlocked by overlapping attacks, but a few small changes can still help by removing hitstun and knockback’s presence from inappropriate areas of gameplay.

Hitstun will now no longer interrupt Sprinting or Sliding if you have Stamina remaining. Dodge speed and distance is now unaffected by the slowdown from hitstun. A player’s movement speed can never be reduced below their crouched walk speed solely by hitstun slowdown.

In addition, all enemies have had ranged knockback or ‘push’ effects completely removed. This should resolve issues where players would become locked in place when they should otherwise be invulnerable or uninterruptible.

  • 3.2 Give Tools To Counter Ranged Stun

Class abilities being overwritten and snuffed by hitstun feels very bad, and classes would benefit from more options that would allow them to move aggressively. Some classes are disproportionately affected by hitstun, especially ranged hitstun, and need options or accommodations to cope with it.

Ogryn is now completely immune to the effects of hitstun. Ogryn’s “Lead the Charge” (3-2) now grants Ogryn’s immunity to hitstun to all allies for 4 seconds, in addition to its other effects.

During the effects of Zealot’s “Chastise the Wicked” they are now completely immune to hitstun and knockback.

Psyker’s “Kinetic Shield” (5-2) now grants complete immunity to ranged hitstun, so long as the Psyker possesses at least 1 Warp Charge.

  • 4.1 Cleaving Damage Buff

Currently, almost all melee weapons in the game have a dramatic falloff on consecutive targets. These weapons are directly competing against ranged weapons that hit faster, harder, and more safely than they can. This should be changed to give them more value and efficiency for their heightened risk, especially slower weapons which struggle to cleanly dispatch consecutive enemies.

Cleaving damage now falls off at a much slower base rate, from 100% → 45% → Minimum Damage to 100% → 90% → 60% → 30% → Minimum Damage. (This is a simplified example but demonstrates the level of change I am looking for.)

In addition, all Blessings that buff “Cleave” now apply a portion of their effect to the Cleaving damage.

  • 5.1 Melee Locking Consistency Improvements

To combat the inconsistency of Melee Locking that makes it so frustrating, a series of important changes are needed.

First, all scaling of intimidation resistance has been completely removed; the enemy behavior regarding Melee Locking on Malice difficulty will now remain consistent from Malice onwards.

Second, ranged enemies struck by a melee attack will immediately cease any readied or ongoing shooting and prioritize switching to melee combat.

Third, ranged enemies intimidated into melee combat now have a minimum period of 6 seconds before they can switch back to their ranged weapons. This weapon lockout is reset each time they receive damage from any source.

Finally, enemies will no longer flee from the effects of Suppression if they are within or come within a 5m radius of a player, instead choosing to cower in place until they regain their composure or engage in melee combat.

  • 6.1 Suppression Improvements

Suppression is currently poorly communicated and ineffective. To reduce instances of Suppression being unclear or harmful, the following changes should be made.

First, a new, optional accessibility feature is introduced where all enemies suffering from meaningful amounts of Suppression are now outlined with an intensifying soft white highlight. When Suppression expires the outline vanishes, and the highlight visibly fizzles out to signify that the enemy is now a threat again.
The visibility of this highlight at minimum and full intensity can be tuned in the settings by a slider bar.

Second, Suppressed enemies will no longer treat doors to AI-exclusive areas as valid retreat paths, and will prioritize routes that do not involve jumping or climbing when able. Suppressed enemies can no longer use teleport triggers, such as those inside monster closets.

Third, Suppressed enemies will no longer alert other enemies until their Suppression expires. This should subdue situations where exceptional Suppressed enemy activity, and not player actions, would immediately wake and chain other ambient spawns from large distances.

Fourth, Suppressed enemies that are fleeing will not recover from Suppression naturally until they reach their destination (unless interrupted, such as being staggered or locked in melee) or are forced to cower in place. Enemies will begin to cower in place if they cannot reach their destination after 3 seconds of travel.

Finally, Dreg Shooters now have normal Suppression Resistance again.

These changes should also be followed up on with bugfixes and buffs to the area and effectiveness of Suppression for most weapons, as well as Blessings that invoke Suppression (ex: Terrifying Barrage).

  • 7.1 Mobility, Evasion, and Control Changes

Currently, player movement and evasion are too limited and enemy mobility is too excessive. These changes will rectify this without significantly disturbing the existing balance.

First, attacks made while sprinting no longer subject the player to forced slowdown but maintain the additional ‘lunge’ gained during sprinting melee attacks. This includes all melee attacks and ranged attacks made with the “Run ‘N Gun” Blessing.

Second, the base speed of Sprinting is increased by 13%, and the friction of Sliding is reduced by 30%.

Third, all weapons and held items (including Brain Burst, grenades, deployables, and optional objectives) can now dodge ranged attacks normally.

Fourth, melee weapons now have a small window (0.33s) after Dodging or completing a Slide, during which they will continue to evade ranged attacks. This should allow evasive actions to be properly chained to avoid ranged fire.

Fifth, the first dodge performed will no longer stop Stamina from recovering. Consecutive dodges performed before they reset will stall stamina recovery as normal.

Sixth, the movement speed of Zealot’s “Chastise the Wicked” and Ogryn’s “Bull Rush” have been increased by 25% and 15% respectively.

Seventh, enemies performing or preparing ranged attacks now move 50% slower.

Additionally, multiple keybinds should be allowed for individual commands, especially ones such as crouching or sprinting, to make inputting complex movements more comfortable. “Toggle Sprint” should also have an additional toggle for if the player would like remain in the Sprinting state after completing a Sprinting Slide or not.

  • 8.1 Toughness Melee Regeneration Improvement

Currently, all enemies give the same static amount of Toughness back. This disproportionately puts more importance on Toughness feats and starves some classes, like Zealot and Psyker, of much-needed recovery during pushes and events.

All Toughness gained from killing enemies in melee now scales based on the type of enemy slain.
Horde enemies (Groaners, Poxwalkers) give 5% Toughness.
Midgrade enemies (Brawlers, Shooters, Stalkers) give 8% Toughness.
Elite enemies (Maulers, Ragers, Shotgunners, Gunners) give 15% Toughness.
Humanoid Specialists give 12% Toughness.
Non-Humanoid Specialists give 18% Toughness.
Ogryns give 20% Toughness.

In addition, Zealot’s “Purify in Blood” (1-1) now grants an additional +50% Toughness Regeneration on Melee Kills to herself and all allies in Coherency, doubling its previous effect for the Zealot.

Final Words

I believe that with these changes Darktide’s core gameplay loop can continue to flourish. Each of these suggestions is relatively small and based on existing design decisions that I’ve observed, but when combined they ought to relieve many of the most frustrating interactions with the game’s systems while promoting the smooth and satisfying gameplay that you’re trying to deliver and that we so desperately want. And I know that I’m not the only one that is feeling this way about how combat is developing.

There are certainly some bumpy months ahead for the game’s continued development, but I appreciate anyone and everyone that took the time to read this and would love to discuss any feedback you have on my breakdown of the issue and these suggestions.


I personally think that Tom Clancy Division 2 that one of the best cover system.
While I don’t think the devs should copy and paste from Division 2.
But have some indicators is the cover is not good enough like having the character shouting “This cover is pathetic!”

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Despite its other flaws, Cyberpunk 2077 had a very nice first person cover system, the mouse movement you did to peek over/around cover felt very natural and all you had to do was stand near the cover or crouch if it was low cover.

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Excellent feedback, you’ve really grasped the situation and presented it in a structured and constructive way, I hope the devs see this.


I actually had to log in and comment on this. This is excellent. There is really not much i can say that has not already been said better in this write up. I really just hope more people and especially people at fatshark do read this.


This is a brilliantly detailed writeup. Good job, my guy.

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I would also add that ranged enemies’ movement is instantaneous and thus very unpredictable ; a gunner running away from you can change its mind and immediately stop, turn around, and take aim at you in about a tenth of a second.

Excellent compilation of all these gameplay issues. I had truly nothing to say against it.


The unpredictability and instant nature of enemy movement and attacking is definitely something I forgot to address, and helps feed into how frustrating it is when Melee Locking won’t stick. This goes doubly for Shotgunners, who can take a hit and continue to back up through other units and continue firing at you without stopping.


Just FYI volley fire already does literally all of those things at base. Yes the description of it in game leaves much to be desired.

Probably too generous for high mobility weapons in light of the other suggestions you’ve made.

Pretty sure you meant these to all be percentages since it’s currently 5% toughness on kill (except vet who gets 7.5%).

Not much else to add, it’s a good write up though I think making all of these changes would be too much. Hope the devs read through and at least consider some of them though.


Don’t worry. They’ll slowly, hesitantly cherry-pick some of these changes and we’ll get the game to a decent state in about a year :roll_eyes:


This is a very detailed and thoughtful post that demands further consideration from FatShark. It stands in grand opposition to the squalling tantrums polluting the forums so Immah bump.

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Good summary. Fatshark has a lot of experience with melee and not much else, and it shows in DT.

The most foundational issues are probably related to toughness and suppression. Or more specifically, how easy it is to take damage and not recover it, and how overpowered ranged enemies can become - especially against melee players.

I get that they probably want players to get downed regularly to show off the mechanics and create dynamic encounters. Part of that then becomes creating lots of unfair damage players can’t avoid. Often in the form of ranged hits and little turdlings that spawn out of closets and slap you in the back after you’ve already cleared an area.

But that also means this toughness system - since it won’t outright prevent damage - creates impossible scenarios for players later on, because there’s no secure buffer for making decisions. There either needs to be innate ways for each class to restore health, or toughness needs to be much, much tougher. It should be preventing damage entirely before it’s depleted, like any shield mechanic in any other game would. Having it function almost solely to slightly reduce damage totally falls apart as a design when the incoming damage is insane.

Melee cannot function in many circumstances. Nor can ranged in many cases, because cover is so meaningless or nonexistent on most maps.


Credit to the OP for taking time to really get into the nuggety-heart of the problem and typing it out so succinctly. I’ve been trying to find the energy to write something like this but you’ve done a masterful job.

The players are funneled into hiding in a doorway and clearing a room. Running to the next doorway in a bundle, repeat.

This is not fun, doesn’t encourage players to use enfilading fire, outflank gunlines, split and “pincer movement” enemies or holding higher ground providing cover while team members move forwards. The situation described by the OP of breaking LoS is rapidly becoming the only viable way of increasing success rates in Heresy+ missions.

I even tried building a Shocktrooper Style Veteran with Shotgun, max grenade recovery and speed/sprinting with the intention of grenading/Focus fire charge into a room and break the enemy line for melee classes to mop up. Firstly enemies don’t break into melee properly when you’re in range (another issue) but once you get supressed it’s a grinding halt and pointless tactic. Then a reapr or gunner just pins you in place and downs you.

Ranged needs a fundamental rework otherwise players will simply play whack-a-heretic from ranged in heavy cover.


I believe this is correct, I even had notes on my part indicating as such. Oops.

It may seem like that at face value, but this isn’t even undoing a third of the Dodge Nerfs from the PRB Week 1 update.

Correct. I originally had %s and brought up the Veteran’s bonus Toughness gain, but cut it to make the point more immediately clear.

I appreciate the feedback. While I agree that these changes would pose a significant reduction in overall difficulty, it would ultimately be healthier for the game even if it would be easier (and at least there are other ways to address that).

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These seem like good suggestions. I especially agree with creating more consistency with suppression mechanics.

Do you think that ranged target acquisition time could be tweaked also? Ranged enemies can aim with perfect accuracy very soon after being alerted, and switch from one player target to another in a split second. If they took slightly longer to become alert/readied and aim at a player it would make it easier for melee classes to close the distance.

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You are spot on with enemy reactions being almost instant and unpredictable, as another poster mentioned.
However, this is a very difficult thing to test, quantify, and formulate feedback for so I left it out-- there’s not a lot of constructive criticism you can offer about AI behaving poorly that is easy to implement. I would like to see something like you have suggested, where they have dedicated states for reacting to different stimuli and animations or reasonable delays between different actions; it isn’t very fun to see a Scab Shooter run out of reach, turn on a dime, shoot, then leap twenty feet straight up to a catwalk (I’m looking at you, start of the train siege mission).


you deserve a medal


Another great write up on the ranged issues that Darktide is dealt with. I appreciate the academic analysis and time taken to propose sensible solutions to the problem. Furthermore, I agree with all of the above and don’t see any issues therein to critique. In summary this is a fabulous write up. You deserve a pat on the back for the effort expended on this.

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