Warhammer 40,000: Darktide – Combat Guide

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide – Combat Guide

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There is a lot to Warhammer 40,000: Darktide, in and out of the safety of your prison block. Sure, exploring the big hub is fun, but eventually you’ll want to go on suicide missions to deliver the Emperor’s justice with some buddies (or randos). Combat is the focus of the game, after all, and it happens to be a lot of fun.

It’s also pretty complicated for a game that, on the surface, is mostly about moving through levels and killing literally hundreds – if not thousands – of enemies in short 15-20 minute play sessions. It’s fast, chaotic, brutal and a total blast once you get the hang of it – and that’s where we come in.

More Warhammer 40,000: Darktide content:

Beginner’s Guide | New trailer | Darktide Banter | Release date

Combat cycle

Fight in Polar Night very similar to Fat Shark’s previous work – namely Vermintide. By this we mean that it is a mixture of melee and ranged combat. But where Polar Night really different, is in the balance between the two. Polar Night which is set in the distant future of the forty-first millennium has a lot more weapons involved.

This means you’ll have to resort to shooting if you want to make it out alive. But that doesn’t mean shooting is all you’ll want to do because melee is still a huge aspect of the game – especially when you consider the sheer number of enemies shooting at you and the limited nature of most classes’ ammo stocks. Generally, you want to blow up as much as you can, and when the hordes reach you, whip out a big old shovel and crumple their heretic skulls in.

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Know your strengths

Each class i Polar Night is unique and understanding how each class works is pretty important if you want to survive. For example, the Sharpshooter, as the name suggests, is excellent at holding back and unleashing devastating firepower. The Zealot, on the other hand, loves to get stuck in with his powerful chainsword and rapid-fire autopistol.

Outside of these polar opposites, you have the massive Ogryn who acts as a literal meat shield and crowd control, and the mysterious Psyker who uses incredibly powerful magic to eliminate key targets from a distance. Know your strengths, avoid your weaknesses and have a good time.


An interesting mechanic i Polar Night is oppression. Unlike your typical co-op shooter, you’re not just fighting zombies here (although there are hundreds of zombies here too). No, there are also Heretic Guardsmen with all sorts of ranged weapons who will be more than happy to lasgun fire at you.

What makes them particularly dangerous is their lack of need to hit you, affect you. Suppression occurs when you are exposed to fire for too long. Everything changes when this happens. You move slower, your aim is deep, and you are very vulnerable to being rushed. The back side? Your enemies can also be suppressed. Even if you can’t hit an enemy, spraying in their general direction is enough to scare them into cover. Well worth considering in a hectic match.

Recognize enemies

There are many enemies in it Polar Night, and they all have their own unique quirks. Your basic Poxwalker (zombies basically) just run aimlessly at you, while Guardsmen move in teams and take up defensive positions. Some heretics carry melee weapons and wear rough armor. Others are still covered from head to toe in thick metal and carry giant hammers.

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Then you have special and elite enemies, such as the monstrous plague Ogryn, sneaky snipers, evil dog and more. Each enemy has a unique sound cue as well as a unique visual design that allows you to pick them out from the crowd – and you’ll get good at this. These enemies are far more dangerous than your regular mooks and must be killed ASAP.

Polar Night

Health, toughness and coherence

IN Polar Night, characters have two resources that govern their health. First, you have a non-regenerating HP bar. If this drains to zero, you are down. If you take too much damage, it is reduced semi-permanently. Above this you have your toughness, and this acts as a regenerating shield. Provided you have the toughness, you should be fine.

Not all characters are created equal, and different classes have different amounts of health and their toughness decreases at different rates. There are many ways to improve your toughness, but the primary one is consistency. The closer you are to allies, the faster your Toughness regenerates – and this scales with the number of allies you’re standing next to.

This motivates to stick together as you are harder to kill when working as a team. Not to mention all the unique Coherency buffs that each class passively grants.

Focus target

Assignment i Polar Night is quite rampant. You’ll fight your way through all sorts of grunge locations in an attempt to complete your overall goal. However, each mission will also have smaller objectives that you can complete along the way. For example defending a location while hacking security doors etc.

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As a general rule, you want to focus on these goals at all costs. Just killing enemies isn’t enough, especially when you have to work as a team to escort important items to drop zones. You have to work together to protect your carriers, and your carriers have to play smart if you want to get there in one piece. Always. Focus. The. Objective.

Friendly fire!

Shooting guns is fun, but that fun is stifled when an Ogryn accidentally unloads a shotgun into the back of your head. That is correct, Polar Night has friendly fire and it’s not fun. Health is an important resource in Polar Nightand if you accidentally take away your allies, you are a major hindrance.

This makes shooting much more stressful as several classes like to get stuck in melee, meaning you need expert aim to avoid clipping them with a plasma bolt or revolver round. Fortunately, this does not apply to melee attacks, so feel free to swing wildly with whatever weapon you have at hand.

It’s battle in a nutshell! Keep an eye out for more Warhammer 40,000: Darktide guides. For the emperor!

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