The "Depth" of Darktide

I think this is an interesting topic, and unfortunately it was getting buried in a different thread regarding Plasteel and Diamantine. Anyway, starting with this:

So to axehilt, what would you define as the Depth of Darktide? Because honestly, I don’t think Darktide has much at all besides the “core game” of killing hordes. If you’re defining depth as the combat gameplay then sure, Darktide has more solely based on the heavy emphasis on ranged enemies.

For myself, “depth” was meaning a level of engagement.

  1. A solo-mode is often the “story” mode. And every game with a heavy multiplayer online focus handles this differently. The Halo series built an amazing world with their solo campaign. Splatoon’s solo mode was a great way to show off the complexity of all the weapons and in-game mechanics. Smash Bros gave variety beyond a simple battle royale format. So while it may not be required for you to have depth, other players like me find a different type of engagement from a solo-mode.

  2. Linearity expands on the point above. The linear progression of VT2 gave me a story to follow and become invested in. Yes, there was a story - it was the end times and the crew of 5 were investigating the origins of the hordes and the skittergate. Was this some award winning novel? No. Compared to Darktides “story,” yes.

  • L4D had a linear progression I guess. Was it amazing? No. Would I call L4D a deep game? No. Zombie Army Trilogy had linear progression. Was it “deeper” than L4D? To myself, yes. Was it engaging to myself? Yes. And I played Zombie Army Trilogy much more than L4D.
  1. Bot functionality, in my opinion, add a layer of depth because it takes away the reliance on good match-making. I have quit several Heresy lobbies and missions and closed out the game entirely simply because I didn’t want to deal with bot stupidity combined with AI shenanigans.

So, I would argue that Darktide isn’t a very deep game for myself because it’s not very engaging. I had to make up different “end games” to keep myself engaged, and I mainly play because I have friends that do as well.

Edit: clarifying L4D v ZAT depth opinion


I define the core of this game as fighting horde.

I don’t care of progression or story. I do not want more levels etc.
I just need map randomly generated with random objectives and random conditions, a crafting system and all will be perfect…
Everything else would be just bonus.


To me there is not much depth, but this said its not needed and i dont know action games with a lot If depth tbh.
Depth comes from skills/ builds systems like PoE skilltree was deeper than most other Hack n’ Slash Games when it got released. Many copies were Made until trying to have the depth of the PoE skilltree for example.
Sometimes complexity especially in action games is counter productive. Or they become more of a Simulation than an action game.
Thinking of CS, CoD, Hero Shooters versus ArmA, Squad or Insurgency Sandstorm and to some degree Battlefield at least the older titles, havent played a BF since BF3 tbh.

I dont expect DT to have great depth or complexity, its a fun horde Slayer/ Shooter with great Atmosphere and some depth to builds and playerskill somewhat.
But the depth of a Chivalry2 Combat system is Not given and this chiv2 Combat is easy to Pick Up, completely Skill based and hard to master.
You will be able to improve even after 1000 hours played, because the depth is related to PvP awarness, reaction and utilization of given tools.
Sea of Thieves has a very simple melee combat system and Ship Combat is also easy to pick up, but the depth of the ship combat especially for 4 players galleones in PvP is deeper than the sea itlsef. We fought of tons of ships simulateneously when we were at the peak of our experience and skill very few crews could harm us.
And when they did, they used exploits in melee combat, but mostly they werent able to come closer and sunk and died trying to apply their nasty cheats and exploits.

Some TBS and RTS have lots of depths.
Think about Dwarf Fortress compared to Rimworld.
It’s like 1000ft deeper.
Or compare Distant Worlds with Stellaris, even with all addons , Distant Worlds Base Game is much deeper and complex than Stellaris will ever be.

Compare Samurai Showdown to Mortal Combat.
The first is so much deeper in the strategy fighting.

Developers who go for depths are more into niches.

Mortal Online 1+2 have depths and therefore barely 500-1000 players compared to WoW or Eso what are designed to be mass products and not niche.

DT comes from a niche maybe, but trying to establish in the Mainstream.
L4D2 , VT2 already tried that.
Soon we will see Redfall trying the same and maybe do better than DT, because of Bethesda isnt Fatshark and vice versa.
But DT has one plus when it comes to Depth and that ja beeing set in the WH40k Universe. And FS doesnt even need to do much about it, because the Background Lore is already there and doesnt need to be in the game that much as long as it grasps the WH40k Atmosphere the depth from it is somewhat aligned with the game.

1 Like

It will be a lot needed if it s continu like that, when you see the unfinished game with 0 com in 1 month and 0 new information in the last letter, + the community wich want to nerf evrything for nothing. It will not be more a 40k game soon, and dont wanna play with guys ruining the community anymore + the fact FS laugh of us.


But, lets ask for a steam workshop for sure.

Thank you for this! And your insights all together. I forgot about that aspect of depth in combat (mainly because I’ve been playing this game so much for the past month).

But I agree with a lot of what you said, and how depth/complexity can completely change a games tone. I think this is one of the arguments about Smash bros not being a “real” fighting game (I’ve heard people say. IDK I think it is).

That aside, I do agree that Darktide’s core are the missions and combat. And I do feel that beyond that there’s not much substance to Darktide, however, it doesn’t need much substance to shine because it’s core (the horde slaying) is just that good.

I wanted to bring this thread out of the original 'Plasteel and Diamantine and crafting balance" thread because I think it’s an important aspect of this game and how we enjoy it

1 Like

Why never?
VT2 has it. And it was discussed on this forum, it is possible to do as we have lift and rooms that split the parts of maps. So it can be done…


I think there is a difference between skill and strategy.

You can get more skilful at fps games but the strategy aspect of the game is limited.

If there where multiple different ways to complete a mission or traverse a map and much larger choice of skills and weapons then maybe you could choose a different way to go that I would describe as strategy.

Dark tide maps are fairly linear you just travel along clearing mobs of heretics and dealing with the waves or random in capacitators now and then.

Not enough different builds and not enough of a difference between the way builds and loadouts play. No choice of which route to take to objective no different ways to accomplish objective. Very limited map pool limited heretic types.

I’m not bashing the game I enjoy it even with its faults but I wouldn’t call it a strategic or deep game. Just my opinion.


agree, to have it depth in strategies it needs to be more way more sandboxy and less linear to say not linear at all.
The classes and builds would allow some tactic aproach, but its just not needed. Even if the Spawnmanager would give us a wild mix of things available, the levels are too linear and play very much the same each time.
And i dont think thats bad at all, because its just fun to fight and purge heretics.


I was hoping game will go more towards Destiny way:

  1. More equipment depth in Fatshark’s third game like armor with stats, not just cosmetics as it is in V1 and V2.
  2. More interactions with NPCs. Dialogues with story characters, taking quests in hub, rescue/convoy NPCs during missions etc. Prologue mission in Darktide was awesome.
  3. Extra hard types of missions like deep dives in DRG

But they are not randomly generated, in chaos wastes there are 12 maps. They just randomly chained in expidition.

Does Darktide have depth?

I mean, Yeah?

I play a lot of FPS games, compared to 99% of them, Darktide has the depth of the mariana trench… It’s also effectively two games in one due to the melee and gun play being fully fleshed out and not something that was just tacked on like 99% of games, it genuinely has a dynamic flow. This is layered on top of the interplay of it being a team game, and how weapons inform different play styles, for example I don’t play close to the same way as I do with the plasma gun vs a autogun vs a bolter.

This is depth imo.

Throwing RPG progression on top doesnt necessarily = depth, nor would a hundred more classes/weapons honestly, there’s such a thing as spreading the puddle with extra content, but that doesn’t necessarily make it any deeper.

I feel like people have built up expectations and disappointments that are colouring how they view the game.

A matter of opinion. In my opinion the melee and gunplay isn’t fully fleshed out. It kind of feels forcibly mashed together. The way that 1) Many ranged enemies refuse to enter melee combat (a reported function that’s supposed to occur) despite being in melee range, 2) The immaculate cover mechanics and target acquisition of ranged enemies, 3) The lack of a cover system for players, 4) The disparity of effect with suppression on enemies vs players and 5) The increased difficulty of ranged enemies isn’t tactical, it’s just the AI manager spamming ranged enemies all around you in obscene amounts.

I only recently saw the original “Gameplay Trailer” pushed out by FatShark 2 years ago, and that seemed like they were working on fleshing out a system. One important thing I got from that video was how you never saw Dregs and Scabs mixed with Pox Walkers/Groaners. Right now, to me the interplay of Melee and Ranged feels pretty fragmented. On Heresy+, in my experience when teams fragment melee and ranged (have one or two designated marksman to take out the ranged while everyone melees the horde) they have a higher success rate.

I’m not too sure that this is very informative of depth either. Going back to Halo, there were different weapons for different play-styles. In combat-simulator type games a sniper rifle is different from an automatic rifle is different from a rocket launcher. All require different play styles.

If this game is the Marianas Trench, then Aliens Fireteam Elite must be the core of the earth because that had a lot of depth with the way they handled different playable classes, different armaments, and all the abilities that had noticeable effects on weapons and special abilities, truly changing the dynamics not only of the different playable classes but also the weapons within the classes.
It also doesn’t help that some weapons are much more effective than others. In my mind the burst-fire infantry guns and some of the headhunter rifles just don’t have much to offer, and I rarely see them in use. The burst-fire rifles are probably the worst offenders because of their relatively low magazine capacity/damage ratio and the amount of recoil that makes them ineffective at hitting weakspots.

This could be another metric of depth. Darktide doesn’t implement it. I guess closest thing is feats being locked behind levels.

I’m fine with saying Darktide doesn’t have depth. I still enjoy(ed) the game. The core of it is great. The lack of perceived depth is okay to me and wouldn’t impact the way I review this game. Just for my end, I’m not too sure if Darktide has any depth beyond slaying the horde.

1 Like

It’s like I quoted in the other thread.
" A multiplayer game is deep if it is still strategically interesting to play after expert players have studied and practiced it for years, decades, or centuries…" -David Sirlin

So depth is essentially a measure of how long a game takes to fully solve/master.

That means your points about story/narrative don’t really affect depth. Most often, games focused on narrative are “one and done” where you aren’t going back to replay the same story, and that indicates shallowness (though I wouldn’t say narrative automatically makes a game shallow). As I pointed out in the quote, it’s weird to even say V2 had a linear story, because it didn’t! There were two missions (prologue and final boss) that related to the main story, and at most you could argue two more were connected visually (Against the Grain took part at a farm and Empire In Flames began at the edge of that farm, but there was no actual story connection between the two).

L4D was somewhat deep, but wouldn’t be an example of a very deep game to me. It involved things like twitch skill for aiming, managing/optimizing resources to kill zombies efficiently, and learning how to prioritize or avoid disablers. Basically “depth” is a measure of every bit of skill that separates the newbie from the expert, and there are expert L4D players! It’s just that the breadth of skill in L4D is less than in the 'Tide games, due to 'Tide games having very deep melee combat layered onto most/all of those same sorts of decisions L4D had.

Bots don’t really affect depth too much, except when there’s some level of depth to managing them well. A medium-depth example would be that today I happened to watch a Mechwarrior 5 campaign video from a streamer I enjoy (Baradul) and there aren’t many ways to optimize use of your fairly-dumb AI lancemates in that game, but several times Baradul set up ambushes outside a city. He did this to take advantage of the enemy AI trickling out of that city (due to having to pathfind slowly through the buildings), and meanwhile his own AI were told to stay in reserve until the enemy emerged, then they were given attack orders. Now that’s not a lot of depth. It’s a fairly straightforward, simple strategy. But the fact that it’s just one more skill/knowledge you can leverage to be better at the game is what makes it deep.

So then are good bots good or bad for DT’s depth? There’s no straightfoward answer:

  • Human teammates are dynamic (unpredictable), which means playing well with them requires dynamic decisions, and that by itself requires more skillful play. So it adds depth.
  • Really good bots could consistently be better than human teammates…but remember that depth is about the difference between bad and good players, so if these bots are so perfect that they basically hard-carry you through any difficulty then clearly that makes the game really shallow, right? (After all there would be no meaningful difference between good and bad players at that point. Everyone would succeed equally.)
  • But with bots that allow you to make a lot of bot-related decisions, some good, some bad, then conceivably they could add quite a lot to the depth. Basically it all has to do with the number of “tricks” you can use to optimize how those bots are used.
  • There weren’t zero tricks in V2. Even something fairly shallow like having bots carry your tomes/grims still qualifies as a trick, and represents a little depth.
  • But I definitely don’t think there were many tricks to V2’s bots. Like be honest: how many players in V2 would you look at their bot use and say “man, that guy’s a pro at using bots!”? That question should seem like a joke to people familiar with V2’s bots, because you just couldn’t do much with them, and that’s what indicates they were pretty shallow overall.

So if you want things like narrative or bots, that’s fine.

Just don’t call them depth. Depth is a separate things relating to how long a game takes to fully master/solve.

1 Like

Thanks for this, I missed this clarification in the original thread.

I’ll concede this point for this specific discussion of depth.

That being said, I still fail to see how Darktide has depth. Character builds can be varied, but there doesn’t seem to be much work to figuring out the game. There are many different weapons and blessings, but many of them aren’t represented in heresy+. And skill doesn’t seem to matter as much as whether or not the AI goes bonkers. I’ve been on some very skilled Heresy teams that have failed due to the AI being very upset, and then I’ve been on Heresy and Damnation teams of lower skill that have done well due to a sleepy AI (neither High or Low intensity active).

So strictly in terms of the combat system, I’ll still hold the opinion that this game isn’t very deep. But that’s also what makes this game so enjoyable–you don’t need a lot of skill to kill the horde and win, even at higher difficulties.

Well depth is a measure of every bit of skill that separates the newbie from the expert.

Would you take a new player into Damnation in DT?

  • We aren’t interested in progression, so assume they start with L30 characters, and a good mix of near-maxed weapons.
  • They aren’t given a good loadout. Meaning nobody has given them good answers to that particular skill/knowledge-based problem, they have to figure it out themselves.

Well that question demonstrates the game’s depth:

  • they have to figure out what feats work well together
  • they have to figure out what weapons pair well together (including which of the duplicate weapons to even use, because they’re given a bunch of random ones and many of the blessings aren’t great)
  • they have to learn dodging
  • they have to learn aiming (though if they’ve played a FPS before probably they’re carrying forward some skill)
  • they have to learn pushing
  • they have to learn the swings of the melee weapons, including which swings are good against certain enemies
  • they have to learn to prioritize different threats like specials
  • they have to learn where it’s good to fight, like near cover or guarding a chokepoint with melee, etc, and this alone is a very layered problem (as are many that I’m rushing by in this ridiculously-brief-but-ridiculously-lengthy analysis)
  • they have to learn they can dodge ranged shots and specials…
  • …except when they need to learn to hug a corner and push against hounds (and not try to dodge them).
  • they have to learn that they can slide to avoid ranged shots and to mitigate damage.

This is not even close to an exhaustive list of the skills your new friend will lack, and the full list of skills needed to excel in any given game is the measure of that game’s depth. Depth being defined as, “A multiplayer game is deep if it is still strategically interesting to play after expert players have studied and practiced it for years, decades, or centuries.”

Sorry I grabbed the wrong Sirlin quote. I’ve fixed the original post to be the right one, “A multiplayer game is deep if it is still strategically interesting to play after expert players have studied and practiced it for years, decades, or centuries.”

As for what makes DT deep, see the post above this one. I’ve listed about 10 types of skill in DT, and that’s really just barely denting the surface of the myriad of skills you’d need to fully master the game, and those are what makes a game deep.

A new player into Damnation on DT? No.

A player who’s had maybe 4 hours to figure out the basic mechanics of the game? Get a few missions under their belt and get used the controls. Yes.

I wouldn’t take someone with 4 hours total game time into damnation, what a silly thing to say.

No depth, it is a simple game with simple story, which is fine.

1 Like