Join us, varlets, to talk Warhammer 40,000: Darktide in today’s RPS Game Club liveblog

By admin Apr2,2024

Hello, just checking this thing works. See you back here at 4pm GMT!

James Archer

Gooood afternoon, rejects, and welcome to another RPS Game Club live chat for live people. In honour of first commenter Pigrotto, let’s whack on some music and get started.

James Archer

(My favourite track will always be Disposal Unit, but I’ve been loving Light of the Imperium post-Traitors Curse)

James Archer

Before you added that, I was going to interrupt to say “The song you’re looking for is Disposal Unit” but kept skipping through and “No, Imperial Advance! Ooh but the bounce and roll of Offworld Auspex! Although…”

Alice O’Connor

A good question/point from DWilliams via last week’s call-to-chat post:

“Basically, I feel like from the perspective of someone outside a fanbase, ‘performative fascism in service of roleplaying a character in a satirical universe’, just… looks a lot like ‘performative fascism’, when it comes to videogames. (Which isn’t the fault of the satire in question: this is more about fandom – and just my own perceptions – than the game itself, I think.)

“So I guess my question boils down to ‘how comfortable is everyone with the notion of roleplaying a fascist?’ That’s… a bit overly broad (and significantly more accusatory than I would like, and I’d like to put in that I’m an enthusiastic fan of Darktide), but I can’t really think of another way to phrase it.”

James Archer

For me personally it’s a combination of a) the Imperium’s shittiness being so exaggerated that it no longer resembles reality and b) deep, deep irony. Though I suppose the fact that you’re always fighting something worse than a zealot in Darktide probably helps?

James Archer

I’m actually more uncomfortable with the Helldivers 2 equivalent jokes because that game’s satire feels more like actual satire, ie. based on the now. 40K obviously takes cues from various regimes/belief systems but not ones that at least I would encounter in 2024. Unlike the kind of nationalism that H2 riffs off, which is just…*waves hands*

James Archer

As a multiplayer game, Darktide does have the added frustration of other players roleplaying and following disappointingly predictable and boring paths.

“I’m Alpharius,” one players says. “What a coincidence,” adds another, “I too am Alpharius.” Ah what the hey, you join in and declare yourself Alpharius too. Ha ha, a full squad of the Alpha Legion’s hydra-like primarch, what japes! Everyone’s having fun. Then one gets a little too enthusiastic about purging and others follow suit and two minutes later, you are wishing you had never ever spoken to anyone.

Alice O’Connor

On a lighter note, and if you haven’t already, do read Alice0’s bit on authoring her own “underequipped wretch” difficulty. Have YOU ever made Darktide life more difficult for yourself?

I kinda do, as I refuse to unequip the Bolter on Veteran after Fatshark nerfed it into scrap, though I’m not sure that’s the same thing. I just like my Bolter, y’know.

James Archer

Alice, naming one’s Ogryns with monosyllabic caveman-speak: yes or no?

James Archer

Though I will tell you about the 40K roleplaying I will always do in Darktide: pretending the books from scripture and grimoire bonus objectives are joke books you can read. Next time you have a book and a quiet moment in a lift, whip it out and improvise a bad 40K joke. At the very least, you will entertain yourself. At the very most, too.

Alice O’Connor

I mean, my Ogryn is named Dent. This is one of the few times where I have used a game’s built-in random roller for names and stuck with it. A few clicks out of curiosity and then YES, THAT’S MY GUY. Another player once asked me if I was a Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy fan. I sheeplishly replied “No, like a dent in metal.” That’s my boy. Dent. Who’s yours?

Alice O’Connor

Mine’s named Oog, after one of my favourite morons.

James Archer

OOG! Goodness me. I can respect your commitment to the Bolter, because Bolter, but have you tried the revolver? You should try the revolver. I adore it. It’s ended up being my gun on… well, even on my Psyker while I was working on a particularly tough Penance to win a nice pair of trousers (Warp Battery, “While on Malice Threat or higher, in a single session maintain maximum Warp Charges for 300s”). But you need a good roll or it just feels terrible.

Alice O’Connor

I’ve been thinking about it for my Psyker, and even have a decent-looking one in my stash. But I’ve already got the “bowling ball” warp staff for big burst damage and a laspistol that kills most mooks in one headshot, while having some ridiculous 60-round magazine that means I’m not punished if I miss. Am I even good enough for a revolver? I’m not sure.

James Archer

(Though speaking of guns not feeling right after changes from Fatshark, I do half-miss when the plasma gun effects were broken and it didn’t display the giant ball of searing hot plasma. You would click, it would go VWOOP! and suddenly a giant wet hole would appear in a horde. Not the same.)

Alice O’Connor

Maybe the plasma just went through the man so quickly you couldn’t see it.

James Archer

Do you play Psyker much? I have one with good gear but just can’t find a build which works for me. I can see their power, and do understand their importance to a squad at higher difficulty levels, but it never feels that fun. I just think wizardry has less satisfying feedback than the shake and buck and roar and thunk of crushing skulls with hammers and throwing rocks and punching holes through faces with revolvers and… stunning little fellas and plooting tennis balls isn’t what I most want in Darktide.

Alice O’Connor

Only recently yeah, it’s the last class I need to get up to 30. I’m specifically building a support Psyker so my lack of rampage potential is kinda understable, but yeah, I do often covet my neighbour Zealot’s Heavy Eviscerator. Like, even the massive chain lightning spell doesn’t achieve much unless you have multiple teammates ready to mop up? How can lightning hands feel weak?

James Archer

Also, I’ve been wondering about how the promised crafting/unlock overhaul might pan out. “more agency and a steady manner to progress” sounds like you might have to pick a gun or blessing or whatever and then you get a Melk-style challenge to unlock it? That still seems pretty grindy.

James Archer

I would enjoy lightning hands more if they set people on fire or made them violently burst or… it’s a shame when the other classes are capable of such magnificent messes but you turn away from the the horde you’ve been zapping for ten seconds and they stand back up. Handy, certainly! But violence, please.

Alice O’Connor

I fear the gear overhaul will remain more annoying than one might desire because Fatshark clearly see grinding as an activity to enjoy, a thing you will seek to do, a reason you are playing, rather than a means to an end (the end being: having a cool revolver). The way they demonstably view loot’s role in the game will require any overhaul to leave some lousy limitation, some randomness, some room and reason to always chase a better roll. They fear you will lose interest if you are ever done with loot, as if playing Darktide weren’t enough of a joy in itself. How terrible it would be if Darktide were just a game you played with pals when you felt like it rather than a part-time job you felt obligated to perform, a job you found tedious enough that you considered buying some skins to spruce up your cubicle because god knows you’re not getting long-term satisfaction from your work. God, I hope they change their perspective. I just want really nice revolvers for all my wizards, okay.

Alice O’Connor

This is probably true. If anything I find the current better-roll-chasing quite immaterial – some drops are so drastically better than anything else in the shop, or will appear in the shop for the next week, that I just buy that and stick with it for ten levels. If I have to actually work for better stuff, oh Christ, no.

James Archer

Oh! I wanted to ask you. I really enjoyed your bit about how “Darktide’s melee combat is a rhythm game in disguise” because yes, absolutely. But how do you get on with weapon variants, the several different types of the same sword or shovel which offer different movesets? How does that work with your rhythm? How do you find your groove? Can you switch between them or are you locked into one?

Alice O’Connor

It’s all trial and error – I’m sure someone, somewhere out there has written out all the different attack patterns for each weapon but it’s more fun to learn by doing. ‘Doing’ being the starting of fights. From there it’s just committing them to memory, like learning a drumbeat, and the ones with more ‘fun’ beats are the ones I gravitate to!

I have sometimes gone for straight stats but these only bring fleeting pleasures. Like one of my psyker swords does as much damage on light attacks as heavy ones, so it’s easy to clear waves with mindless clicking, but the game becomes a measurably worse one because the combo/rhythm aspect goes missing.

James Archer

Also, oop, it’s gone 5 which means we need to wrap this up. Thanks to Alice0 for joining and to anyone who’s been reading!

James Archer

Alice O’Connor

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