Darktide has captured the brutal and gritty universe of Warhammer 40k, and its hybrid combat has something for everyone. Warhammer 40,000: Darktide elevates the groundbreaking hack-and-slash melee combat of its predecessor, Vermintide 2, while adding many new ranged features and mechanics that make ranged combat a more prominent threat.
Whether you enjoy a Lazgun or a Chainsword in your hands, there is something for everyone. Yet, mastering Dark Tide’s combat will take time once you know the fundamentals. In this article, we will show you the basics of combat in Darktide and provide you with some tips and tricks to master the rhythm of carnage.
The Unique Style of Combat in Darktide
Combat in Darktide is extremely similar to other Fat Shark Warhammer titles, mainly Vermintide 2. Unlike Vermintide, Darktide is a balance of ranged and melee combat, requiring you to master both while overcoming thousands of enemies on every mission.
The Challenges of Ranged Combat
While the difficulty doesn’t reside much in using guns or other ranged weapons, their difficulty comes from the lack of ammo reserves and making effective use of your ammunition.
Like most video games, headshots deal more damage, especially when facing elites like the Scab Mauler or monsters like the Plague Ogryn. One interesting note about ranged weapons is that some gun reload animations pause if canceled by sprinting or from swapping weapons. It’s a great addition since it saves precious seconds when reloading.
Tips to Besting Melee Combat in Warhammer 40K: Darktide
As for melee combat, it follows a very similar style to Vermintide, and we are thankful that Fat Shark has kept a critical part of what made their previous games so addicting. If you have yet to play Vermintide 2, you will find that melee combat is broken down into utilizing your weapon’s light and heavy moveset, managing Stamina, blocking/shoving, and dodging consistently. We will briefly summarize melee combat and why it’s vital to master.
Weapon Movesets are More Complex in Darktide
Every weapon has a light and heavy attack chain, which modifies every weapon’s strengths and weaknesses. Typically, in Vermintide, weapons of light and heavy attacks are set in stone, but in Darktide, some weapons can come with Mark I, II, and III variants that change their combo chain.
For example, the Katachan Knife has a few variants that change the weapons attack chain into wide cleaves or single target overhead strikes. Inspect your weapon before deploying on a mission to see if the moveset fits your gameplay style. This tip can help prevent you from taking a weapon you’ll later regret into your next Darktide mission.
Beyond checking out the movesets that each weapon has, you should also make the weapon stats on the item also work well in your build.
You Must Manage Your Stamina to Survive Darktide’s Combat
Stamina is used for Sprinting, Blocking, and Shoving, but it needs to be managed in order to survive against hordes of enemies. If you’re using a melee weapon, you can block, which prevents several hits from striking you, equivalent to how many Stamina pips you have. The minimum of Stamina pips you have to block is three, but many weapons can give you more. You can only block attacks in front of you, so it’s best to move around a horde to avoid constantly being surrounded.
Blocking also consumes a Stamina pip, but it shoves all non-heavily armored or gigantic enemies back, mainly used for pushing the front line of a horde away from you. Chaining a block between your melee chains will stagger enemies back, interrupting their attacks and keeping the fight in your control. Blocking also has a limit to how many attacks they can block, but stronger attacks, such as heavy overhead swings from a Scab Mauler, will break through multiple Stamina pips.
Stamina is drained through prolonged sprinting, so it’s best to sprint only when you’re not surrounded or outside combat. Stamina is regenerated passively whenever you’re not sprinting or spamming shoves. Manage your Stamina to utilize your crowd control and defensive blocks to ensure your survival. You will find that Darktide’s combat has a rhythm if you are successful.
Tips to Maximizing Darktide’s Toughness, Coherency, and Health
Darktide provides three resources for your character that you will need to manage in order to win in Darktide’s hectic combat.
Toughness is your first line of defense and another resource that should be maintained. It is replenished by sticking close to your teammates; the more your allies are in your Coherency in Darktide, the more Toughness you will passively regenerate. Traits will also help replenish your Toughness in Darktide, but those change based on what class you are playing.
Speaking of Coherency in Darktide, each class has a unique bonus they grant to their allies in their Coherency aura. For example, the Zealot’s aura grants themself and their allies a buff that decreases Toughness damage taken. Sticking close to your teammates will provide you with multiple buffs and Toughness replenishment, which can save your life.
For those used to more conventional FPS games, sticking together at all times may seem unusual. Yet, in Darktide, one of the best Darktide tips we can provide players is to stick together! Darktide’s combat mechanics are geared for co-op combat and team play, especially the Coherency mechanic.
Health is also important to manage since it’s not a naturally replenishing resource, but that’s somewhat common in video games nowadays. However, if you take too much damage, your maximum HP is semi-permanently reduced. Your maximum Hp can only be replenished at a medicare station with limited use, making Toughness that much more important to maintain.
Each segment of your HP bar is referred to as a Wound in Darktide. These Wounds earned their name from the tabletop game. If you see that one of your Wounds has turned purple, that means that it has become corrupted.
Corruption in Darktide is one of the few things that can really bring down your character over time, despite your best efforts. It essentially makes that health unrecoverable unless you make it to a Medicae station.
Know Your Strengths
Every class in Darktide is unique and has various weapons, abilities, and strengths. Understanding your class’s strengths will help you fill the role that fits your team and aids in your survival. For example, the Veteran: Sharpshooter is primarily a ranged class. This great jack-of-all-trades character blasts through hordes of enemies or elites but doesn’t perform extraordinarily well in melee.
The Ogryn is also a tank class that specializes in staggering enemies and knocking hordes down while protecting their allies. Yes, you can build your characters any way you like with a mixture of Traits, weapons, and a varying playstyle, but at the end of the day, you are still playing an Ogryn.
Stick to your class’s strengths; they make the different weapons and gameplay styles feel so different that each class makes the game feel like a breath of fresh air, despite the combat boils down to being very similar.
A great tip for friends playing Darktide together is to pick their classes based on their preferences but also in a way as to cover each other’s weaknesses. In the examples presented here, a Veteran: Sharpshooter build and Ogryn would make a decent combination where one covers and protects for the damage dealer.
Bigger Foes. Bigger Threats.
There are a lot of enemies in Darktide, you will often see hundreds or thousands of enemies per level, but elite and special enemies spice up combat encounters. While clearing through hordes of enemies, dodging, blocking, and weaving in and out of the fight, you will inevitably deal with a mini-boss or elite enemy.
One of the most terrifying mini-bosses in Darktide is the Daemonhost. These can be found during Power Supply events and should be avoided at all costs. In addition to the rare mini-boss, you will face many elite and armored enemies in each fight.
Dealing with Armored Enemies
Armored enemies are much tougher to take down than the more fragile hordes. Many elite enemies will be armored. When in melee range, make sure you use heavy attacks to break through their armor and deal solid damage.
Tag Elite Enemies During Combat to Help Your Darktide Allies Prepare
These enemies can be tagged as a tip to your Darktide teammates of the nearby threat, allowing you to coordinate your efforts. Most elite enemies will have an outline or a visible difference that sets them apart, but due to how dark the lighting is in most maps, it can make some enemies hard to see in the middle of hordes.
Tagging or listening to special sound effects cues is the best way to prepare for a sudden threat. For example, you will always hear the low ticking of a Pox Burster, which speeds up the closer they get to someone. Another example is the Pox Flamer, which doesn’t have a constant noise they emit, but you can hear a Pox Flamer spawn by the clicking of its gas flamethrower igniting.
Suppression is a New Mechanic Introduced with Darktide’s Greater Focus on Ranged Combat
Suppression is another new mechanic that was slightly introduced in Vermintide 2, but it plays a more prominent role and happens more often than you might believe. This occurs when you or an enemy fire an automatic weapon at a target, causing them to be disoriented while smothered by a hail of bullets.
Suppression can keep you, or enemies in cover, but if you are caught out in the open turning suppressive fire, you will find it extremely difficult to maneuver or aim while taking constant damage.
On the other hand, Suppression in Darktide can be used to your advantage as well. It brings more immersion into the game and is an excellent way to actively suppress enemies before they can overwhelm you and your team in a hail of gunfire. You will commonly find enemies such as the Traitor Guardsmen, who will take cover after being shot at once and won’t peek at you while they are under fire.
Ranged Weapons Can Cause Friendly Fire
It almost goes without saying that in a game with a mixture of melee and ranged combat, there is likely to be friendly fire. Thankfully melee weapons don’t cleave your allies in two, but your bullets will still take chunks out of their health, so be mindful of where your friends are.
It’s tough if you have an Ogryn Skullbreaker character in your party since their gigantic size can block off a lot of sightlines, so if you are playing as an Ogryn, we offer an important Darktide tip: do not stand in your allies’ line of fire.
Summarizing our Darktide Combat Tips and Tricks
That’s our short guide covering the most important tips and tricks of Darktide’s combat. As we previously mentioned, the difficulty of the combat will spike based on the type of weapon you are using, your character, and how many resources you have left.
Mastering Darktide’s combat will take time, but once you learn the basics of dodging, blocking, shoving, and mastering your weapons combo chain, you can take on hordes yourself if you need to. For more advice on getting started in the game, especially with the game’s other mechanics, feel free to check out our comprehensive Darktide beginners guide.
Of course, this merely scratches the surface, and it’s a lot simpler on paper, but it becomes far more complicated when put into practice. Try and take our Darktide tips and tricks and implement them in your next deployment. They’ll become second nature before you know it. Good hunting, Rejects!