What the latest patch tells us about the design philosophy of Darktide, and why it's sh*t

So, the notes for the patch that was foretold in the dev blog last week are released. And I have to admit I’m pretty miffed, all things considered, about this confirmation of the direction of Darktide’s design. In addition to the patch notes, both @Aqshy and @Fatshark_Hedge have also engaged with the community and acknowledged and replied to some of the community feedback. In particular the point that the chance of getting any good gear is quite low was commented upon, and it was said that FS is now internally discussing this. In one post on this forum Hedge has also commented the following regarding FS’s design philosophy of the itemisation system of Darktide:

But the reason the current system is bad isn’t because it doesn’t give out perfect weapons quickly and freely, but because there is no player agency involved in whether you eventually get good / near perfect weapons. It’s not as much a “hunt” or a “grind” as much as it is a karking lottery. And - to stay with this comparison - you can’t even do anything to buy extra lottery tickets or to improve your chances otherwise. You either get a really good base item and you get lucky with RNG-upgrading it, or you don’t. The fact that the lottery also has really shïtty odds is another bad thing, but it’s only adding insult to injury. The main issue is that loot is something that passively happens to you instead of something you work for. In near all of its aspects.

And all the dev blogs, design choices so far including this next patch, and everything else FS has communicated so far does not even acknowledge this point. It’s nice that FS recognises that the chances of getting good stuff is unreasonably low, but FS doesn’t seem to understand that the complete reliance - nay; dependance - on RNG is the main issue here. And the fact that FS doesn’t acknowledge this, makes it look like FS doesn’t understand it. And if they don’t understand it, it means that they absolutely aren’t listening to the ample feedback the playerbase is giving, even in just the last few days as a reaction to the dev blog last week. The fact that the intended “crafting” recipe for re-rolling one perk which will lock the other one in place will be implemented without further comment after the massive negative feedback over all channels on that intended change is another reason why it seems that FS really doesn’t give a kark about community feedback.

If the design philosophy really was just that players needed to have an effectively endless hunt for perfect gear to entice them to stick with the game, there would be no need for the egregious RNG-aspect there is now. And the ubiquitious RNG could have easily been toned down, or even acknowledged. Just to spitball a few suggestions: The restriction where one weapon perk gets locked in place when re-rolling the other one would not be nescessary, as it does nothing but build in another layer of RNG-restriction. A way to increase or re-roll weapon stat bars could be introduced, so there would still be some RNG but a part of the grind would at least be active instead of passive. Or whatever else; there’s a thousand other possible changes. You want a perfect weapon to be a rare thing: Fine. But there’s no need to make it fully random. And nothing FS is saying or doing is pointing towards them even intending to reduce RNG. So we have to conclude is that FS’s design philosophy is something else entirely. And it sure looks like that philosophy is: Trap the players with a glorified slot machine.

I mean, everything sure is pointing in that direction. From the way gear is aquired, to the way it is upgraded with a heavy emphasis on RNG which can easily work in players’ detriment, to the selection (or lack thereof) of the maps and difficulty you play: It’s all RNG, RNG, RNG, with only the bare minimum of player agency to it. And that agency basically comes down to the choice to “take it or leave it”.

Cynical voices in the playerbase have already repeatedly stated that the game is designed as it is because layers upon layers of RNG is known by game developers to be a good way of increasing the “time spent in the game” metric as much as possible (because the only thing you can do if you want specific or better gear is checking the shop every hour), as market research is said to show that that metric correlates to the “money spent” metric. Now, off course I can’t claim to actually know what FS’s motivations for the design of Darktide are, but from everything we know so far this explananation is sure is more likely than FS designing a karking skinner box by accident and just “missing” all the feedback the community has given so far.

Especially because the latest communications by FS seem to show that the layers of RNG will be piled up further without any comment, and instead people are distracted with promises / allusions that the slot machine payout rates will maybe be increased…

So yeah. I’m out of patience, mainly because the core of the problems with Darktide’s systems aren’t even being acknowledged, and with the appearance that it’s all done deliberately as well. Even if the slot machine spits out only 380+ weapons; It’s still a shït system. I know it won’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, but this is one negative review that won’t be changed until these things at least get adressed. Until then FS can stuff it with their karking “DeSiGn PhIlOsOpHy” of a mobile game.


It’s time to stop caring and put the game on the shelf. That’s what our group is doing.


At least in Vermintide, once you unlocked the weapon, you could immediately craft it for next game.

Not having a store option to buy a grey tier of each weapon, while we hover in-game on a planet that’s sole purpose in the universe is to create weapons for the imperium, makes no sense.


Who cares if it makes sense. No need to explain it as making weapond from scratch. Explain it as custom ordering from the armory or whatever.


I normally don’t post much negative stuff just ways they could rebalanced the really unused weapons or make weeklies challenges a challenge and not a grind.

But the main problem I got with the game is I have stopped doing loads of stuff the moment I hit end game.
I don’t check the shop every hour while on the computer then quit out and could do it but I don’t.
I also don’t aim for any of the weeklies.
I have not upgraded any weapons besides 2 eviscerators and still use a blue flamer and blue shot gun even on heresy and damnation.
And I completely stopped looking for crafting mats I just grab what’s on the way.

I just got no interest in anything but the solid game play or leveling up other characters now.

Edit just to clarify I still play a ton of heresy high intensity “endgame” on my level 30 zealot since the games are really fun.

It’s just progression I don’t care about since I can do the content and don’t care about perfect rolls since it would only stress me out.


Yeah, I also will shelve it until next year (aka for 2 to 3 weeks) and come again with a fresh view and clear head.
But even beside that, I think I will continue the next year with Horizon - Forbidden West. Just awesome in every regard - even better than Zero Dawn, really no reason to get frustrated about Darktide ;D


You could even use the blueprint of it, if you could no craft it.

It is just baffling that they did not use ANY of the great things done in Vermintide.
Okay, I have to correct myself, because the overall game (killing, shooting, art, …) is awesome, otherwise nobody would keep up with this… whatever FS does right now.


They say that crafting doesn’t fit the lore but every single weapon in this game is customised. It’s just done at random and forced on us by the devs. The devs love crafting, but only when they do it for us.


I would like to point out what they said in their post ‘Dev Blog: Crafting in Darktide’ 19 days ago:

The nature of randomization and repetitive actions sometimes seen within crafting is something that we are steering to avoid in the crafting system within Darktide. Meaningful choices will be made with strategy and goals behind them, as you set your eyes upon that perfect combination of melee and ranged weapons for your class.

Which means one of three things.

  1. They had no idea what they are doing or talking about,
  2. They changed their design philosophy within the last 19 days, or
  3. They lied to us and never intended on reducing the RNG component.

Given what they’ve said with this last community post, I’m most inclined to believe they lied to us.


This is about where I am. I haven’t yet stopped, since my friends are still playing, but I’m finding it harder and harder to last through even a single match. I’m more and more ready to risk the party disintegrating by asking if people want to pivot to MechWarrior 5 or Deep Rock Galactic instead.

The only progression I have left is full of nothing but absurd and unlikeable penances. I’ve played all the maps, and none of them change between runs save for enemy composition. I’ve played plenty of games like this, and several that do the idea better. There’s no gripping story, no lore to explore or notes to find, and that it’s all in Warhammer 40,000 means none of it would come across as novel or inventive either way.

Good gameplay doesn’t make up for a lack of variety or purpose.


I don’t know. Maybe you can give them the benefit of the doubt and don’t explain with malice which you can explain with mistakes. One could assume the devs and PR people simply don’t communicate well, or that the devs don’t really understand how their systems play out in reality. Or things really did get changed in the last minute. Wouldn’t be the first time for FS either; Remember the dev blog about thd original SotT and such.

It’s more like miscommunication between their departments. Or they literally didn’t finish the design of how they are gonna give item to players. So they told something that players would like, then boom.

The perfect solution that people play this game more to get better gear. (looter game philosophy) But the thing is vermintide player never expect these kind of thing. Even new users didn’t play vermintide series feel it’s weird since you should kill something to get items in looter games, not 1 hour exchange shop.


Can’t agree more. I think the core gameplay in a mission is just amazing. It’s just all the outside stuff, what quests you get, what’s available in the armory, what 's available for the tokens from the quest and RNG DECIDES WHAT MISSIONS ARE AVAILABLE!!! There’s just too much RNG. I wish I could have a wider pool of missions for each difficulty available instead of 1 or two maaaybe 3 for one difficulty. I’m tired of games becoming more like phone games. I just want to feel rewarded for my time and not feel like gaming is a job. I want to keep playing darktide but then I remember how toxic of a relationship the rest of the game has with me. I have a full time job, sure it’s from home but I can’t be on 24/7 to see a shop rotate and nor do I want to do that. I have a dog, I have roommates, I have obligations and other things I do outside the game and if the game expects more than 5 hours a week out of anybody then it’s target audience is not you or I, it’s the few people who’re probably younger with a lot more time they might be able to pour into a game.


There are too many layers of RNG everywhere with arbitary restrictions everywhere except in areas where you can pay cash (and the barber, but there’s more arbitary/technical restrictions there than RNG) that only serves to pad time and remove player agency.


I hope they’re not going to wait until they’ve got a solution in production to release an announcement. By then a good deal of people may have shelved the game. During the last few days, you’d think they have internally acknowledged it but they should quickly tell us that they’ve heard us and they’ll make positive changes similar to what the community have been requesting. Even if it won’t come out in the next patch due to rework, at least there’s a silver lining for us.


Why grimoires do not give a higher chance of loot/better loot, is beyond me.
Why the arent working like they did in VT is mind baffling.
What am I gonna do with the extra money? Buy stuff from the shop that isnt even stocked? Im swimming in money.
What good is exp for me when Im max Level?


Please don’t give them any good awful ideas.


Its very simple. The people advertising are not the people creating the features. It two different departments in fatshark not on the same page. Unfortunate.


As soon as I get a character to 30, I stop playing them. I’m not going to waste my time checking some RNG every hour to pray I get an upgrade… And I’m running out of characters to get to 30 so that tells you how long I’ll be playing… And locking items with a single rerollable is an abysmal idea. If your intent is to reduce player retention, well… Bravo.

I can’t for the life of me understand why FS just didn’t admit this game isn’t done and either release as EA, or delay. Calling this 1.0 is insulting.


Great post. Perfectly sums up my thoughts.

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