Warhammer 40,000: Darktide is currently in beta, open to anyone who pre-ordered it. That means everything about it can change. A lot of change, if the step-by-step plan to get started is something to go by. Yet many people are already playing and we are one of them. Here are some of the potentially heretical things we’ve already learned that will help you survive in Tertium Hive, at least a little longer than you otherwise would.
You can buy items that you cannot use
Jody Macgregor, Weekend/AU Editor: If there is something for sale in the armory, but it’s grayed out, it means it’s beyond your current trust level and can’t be used. That doesn’t mean you can’t to buy the. If you see a really cute package and don’t want to risk it being cycled out of the shop (which refreshes every hour) before you can earn enough tokens to pay for it, pack that thing up now.
And if you’re running low on tokens, you can always earn some by salvaging old stuff you don’t want anymore. Select something in your inventory and hold x on your keyboard to recycle it for hundreds of grimdollars.
If you’re not feeling the Psyker, you’re not alone
Fraser Brown, Online Editor: After seeing how much fun Sean had with the Psyker in the previous beta, I absolutely had to give this brain-bending killer a try. Conceptually, the Psykinetic class is brilliant. You are a psychic sniper who is always on the verge of losing your shit and exploding, because every time you use your power, you generate Peril – a deadly resource that you want to keep low, low.
Unfortunately, the Psyker was deemed way too powerful last time around, and Fatshark overcompensated, taking the damn out of it so popping a brain generates more danger, and your ultimate only discharges half of it. A recent hotfix (opens in new tab) has rebalanced the Psyker a bit, and the class can shine in certain situations, but it definitely needs another pass.
Remember that each weapon has a special action
Wes Fenlon, editor-in-chief: This is an easy point to forget in Darktide’s fast-paced training mode: each weapon has an alternate ability, associated by default with one of your extra mouse buttons. With my Ogryn’s starting loadout, I can launch a bash attack with the muzzle of my shotgun or a big blow with my palm on a whole bunch of enemies with my melee weapon. For some weapons, this alternate ability is especially useful, such as powering up the blade of a chainsword for more damage. You gotta keep your chainsword spinning, man.
Jody Macgregor, Weekend/AU Editor: Some of the Ogryn’s hand-to-hand weapons perform an uppercut on mouse-five that staggers enemies, making it easy to get into a heavy attack and take them down. It’s great for taking down melee elites.
Meanwhile, the Veteran Sharpshooter’s guns have a light that turns on when you press the special action button. It’s a running joke in 40K that lasguns are basically flashlights, but in the dark levels that light comes in quite handy.
Rise and (meat) grind for weapon practice
Jody Macgregor, Weekend/AU Editor: After the psychic tutorial is over, there’s a menu called “Meat Grinder” that you can’t access until you reach trust level 2. Return to Sefoni in the Psykhanium if you do, as the Meat Grinder is where you can safely test the new weapons you’ll unlock against enemies that don’t fight back. Learn every new combination of ax and sword, practice your grenade throw and get used to the thrill of big guns. You can even see the DPS (damage per second) number appear after each hit.
While you’re at it, practice firing at armored enemies to see which parts are most protected. Scab Maulers, the guys with chain axes wearing welding mask helmets, don’t take much damage if you aim for the head. Unless, of course, you’re a Psyker, in which case no amount of metal will stop you from popping their brains. (We haven’t encountered any enemies hiding hexagrammatic division tattoos underneath.)
Stay close… like, real close
Sean Martin, guidebook author: In Vermintide 2, sticking together was always important – you never knew when a sneaky hitman would jump on your back and need to be wiped out by your teammates. Darktide has even more special enemies that can grab and pin you down, from attacking mutants to net-firing trappers that wipe out your entire team if left to their own devices. You have to watch each other’s backs. But sticking together plays an even more important role in Darktide: replenishing toughness, which is basically your shield against damage. While melee kills can supplement this shield, Darktide is significantly more difficult when going it alone, so stay close to your team and keep your Toughness up.
Jody Macgregor, Weekend/AU Editor: By staying in coherence, your aura performance also keeps working. For example, the Veteran Sharpshooter’s quest hands out free ammo for every elite kill to someone in Coherency range, and other classes have similar passive auras. On the subject of passives, take it away, Wes…
Learn your passives
Wes Fenlon, editor-in-chief: Each character class in Darktide comes with a number of passive abilities that should dictate how you play your character and your role on the team. For example, the Ogryn has an innate 25% buff to melee stagger damage, making it an ideal close-and-personal powerhouse. But more important is his Loyal Protector passive ability, which allows you to take damage while reviving allies without being disturbed. Being the one to revive an ally in an intense firefight can make the difference between loss and survival.
The veteran deals more damage to weak spots, causing them to cling to big boss enemies. The Preacher can survive a deathblow and become momentarily invincible once every 90 seconds. Whichever class you play, remember how these passive skills can benefit you and the team.
Wounds are different from health
Jody Macgregor, Weekend/AU Editor: Your health is represented by a row of white bars, and you get fewer bars on higher difficulty missions. (Toughness, the protection replenished when you score melee kills or maintain coherence with allies, is the blue bar above that.) Those bars are called “wounds,” and each time you come back after being resurrected by an ally , is one of those wounds turning purple and being lost. Corruption, which you can get by wearing grimoires or being hit by certain attacks, such as a Pox Hound’s attack or a Pox Burster’s blast, also destroys them, gradually turning your health purple.
If all your wounds turn purple, or if you don’t revive in time when you fall, you will be captured. The other players can still get you back, but they’ll have to fight off some guards and break you free after finding where you’re being held. Healing at a medicae station ends corruption, so be nice to your local surgical clerk.
Don’t go after penances
Jody Macgregor, Weekend/AU Editor: I get it, you want to take off your prison pants. However, chasing cosmetics and achievements by trying to earn every penalty is a bad idea. Some of them are a distraction from achieving the goal and are best dealt with with friends (or bots when the single player mode arrives) instead of a poor bunch of randos. Others are wasting time hunting until you reach level 30 and unlock endgame achievements.
Take the Veteran Sharpshooter’s penance that requires you to kill five tagged enemies by targeting their weak spots in a single volley. (Please, take the etcetera.) One of the Veteran’s level 30 options is called counterfire and it lets you tag base rifle toting Scab Shooters, plus it extends the duration of the volley fire ability when you kill one. We all want the Killshot’s Duty pants right now, but if you can’t get it, you’re better off waiting until level 30 instead of wasting time and effort now.