Warhammer 40,000: Darktide was one of my most anticipated games of 2022. I couldn’t wait to play Fatshark’s first-person shooter evolution of the rat-infested melee frenzy that was Vermintide 2. Unfortunately, it had its fair share of issues at launch, from performance frustrations on PC to a lackluster progression system and loot economy. Now, the studio is working on one of those fated live-service game turnarounds, and it apparently starts with a big revamp of its RPG skill tree.
Fatshark told PC Gamer it’s currently working on releasing a major update in October that will add more nuance and customization to character builds. Darktide is a dark fantasy loot shooter about repeating the same missions over and over again as they get remixed through procedural generation, random spawns, mutators, and your own arsenal. But with only four classes at launch and a smattering of skill upgrades, the squad-based dungeon crawler ran out of gas real quick. The October update is supposed to add a bunch more passive and active abilities with new options for how to mix and match.
“We wanted players to get a bit more agency into the classes, a bit more experimentation, support a lot more different play styles,” Darktide game director Anders De Geer told PC Gamer. “Basically what we’ve done is reimagine what a class in Darktide is. This is our huge update: we’ve expanded the talent trees, added a ton of new options and abilities, passives and actives.”
Instead of getting one perk point to experiment with every five levels, each level-up will let players progress through the new skill tree and tinker with something as they progress. Examples of new abilities include a dome shield for Psyker (the mage class) and additional taunt and grenade options for Ogryn (the tank class). From the look of the skill tree it seems like a more Borderlands approach to build crafting, with alternative paths that augment the underlying class role in more ways. Bottom line: leveling up should feel more rewarding and give you more ownership over your character.
Whether or not that ultimately ends up being the case remains to be seen, but hopefully it can help pave the way for a Darktide turnaround. The co-op shooter was supposed to come to Xbox Series X/S sometime in 2023 after being delayed. It’s currently free to try with a paid PC Game Pass subscription, though at this point it’s probably worth waiting for the October update.