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One Year Later – Has Darktide got any better?

Is Darktide finally where it should be?

It’s been a year since the much-anticipated sequel to Vermintide was released. Unfortunately, Warhammer 40K: Darktide did not live up to its own hype, and was yet another game with a rocky launch that would stain and stunt its growth. It’s been a full year – has Darktide improved?

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Darktide’s Rocky Beginnings

Warhammer: 40K Darktide had huge boots to fill, considering the success and popularity of Vermintide 2. However, upon release, the game didn’t hold a candle to its predecessor. Many promises went unfulfilled, there was much less content and many technical issues. None of which seemed to affect the expensive premium items shop in the fully priced game.

People were unhappy, to say the least, but since then the game has improved. To refresh your memory of why Darktide was so controversial upon launch, I’ll list only some of the issues that disappointed the players.

Darktide Tips 1
Screenshot: PC Invasion

First, the game only released with four archetypes, each with only one subclass. This wouldn’t be an issue if Vermintide 2 hadn’t been released with five archetypes, each with four subclasses. Such a gap in content in the playable characters alone was shocking.

Also, the crafting system wasn’t fully implemented upon launch and the RNG mission and loot systems frustrated players, as they removed player autonomy. Crashes were abundant, the game wasn’t balanced, and there was a noticeable lack of story and mission types.

Overall, Darktide fell short on every front. Fans of Vermintide 2 were naturally underwhelmed by the experience, and those who looked forward to everything Fatshark promised were disappointed and even upset.

However, Cyberpunk 2077 had a virally rocky launch, but has since improved its issues and has become an absolute gem of a game that I hold very dear. Can the same be said for Darktide?

Related: Best Zealot Build for Darktide 2023

A wave of overhauls and patches

On its path to redemption, Darktide has in fact gone through a number of changes, overhauls, and fixes to improve where it fell short.

The classes have finally been overhauled, recently, in fact. Instead of shoehorning players into subclasses, each of the four classes now has a complex talent tree for players to blur the lines between subclasses and make something unique to themselves. Fatshark wants the players to create more personal characters as they play Darktide.

Darktide Change Cosmetics 2
Screenshot by PC Invasion

So even though the game is never getting subclasses like the community wished for and as Fatshark hinted at from launch, this new system provides a way to have almost infinite varieties of each class. This is the direction they want to go in, so whether this is an improvement or not is down to personal preference.

I personally think it’s fine, although I did really enjoy the idea of different hard subclasses of Ogryn to enjoy. Boy, do I love playing as the Ogryn.

Aside from that, a smattering of patches have been released, focusing on improving crafting, progression, and rewards. These changes have been welcome, and the crafting system and mission board changes have definitely benefited the players and the game.

There have also been many other smaller tweaks and changes that improve the quality of life and optimization.

With the mission board, rewards, progression, crafting, and subclasses getting reworked, tweaked, and improved, you’d think that the game has achieved its redemption. However, Darktide still isn’t where it promised to be at launch. A full year later.

The Traitor Curse Anniversary Update

I would be remiss not to mention the Anniversary Update, The Traitor Curse. This is actually a rather exciting update, that implements new content as well as a long list of tweaks and fixes.

Carnival In Darktide
Image via Fatshark

The update adds additional story beats to the game, and an accompanying new zone and mission. This is welcome news, as Darktide players have been particularly starved for this kind of content since the game was released. The story seems interesting as a new threat has set up shop, and the new map appears unique.

It’s just a shame that this content update still has the shadow of the game’s rocky launch hanging over it. The Anniversary Update isn’t just a content update, as it is accompanied by patches and fixes that shouldn’t be a problem at this stage of the game being released. It takes away the limelight from the new zone and the new story.

Still, I’m excited to hop back into Darktide and play the new content when the Traitor Curse update is fully implemented.

Is this enough?

The one-year anniversary of Darktide crept up on me. The memories of all its problems were still fresh, but all the while hopped the issues would have been smoothed out since. While the improvements are much better than if they had done nothing, it’s a little sad realizing that some games aren’t officially ready for release, or even close to it, for a year after the official release.

Warhammer 40k Darktide

This is a worrying trend. Games can be released with poor optimization and hardly any of the promised features, but can simply work away drip-feeding all of the content that it should have had at launch. All of the mad reviews will come piling in as people who have bought the game are disappointed and making the game’s inadequacies go viral.

From those ashes, however, the game will rise anew with patches and some minor content additions. When the game is finally where it should be, players will be more willing to give it a chance, as they’ve come oh so far from where they started.

Instead of a year of new development and content, they get to work on everything they should have already, extending its shelf-life and earning more money for less work.

This may sound conspiratorial – maybe it is – and this is not said to knock the team actually working tirelessly to create the game. These cheap tricks, however, have been plaguing the modern gaming industry. Integrity is severely lacking, and it’s upsetting.

Despite my pessimism, Darktide is a fun game to play. Sure, its problems severely affected its staying power, but that doesn’t take away from the strong core it had from the start. Or maybe that’s just because I only play as the Ogryn.

I am also grateful and pleased with all the work done to the game since it was released. It just shouldn’t have been in this position in the first place. So despite the improvements since launch, it’s simply still not where it should be.

Other Darktide guides

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Aidan Lambourne
Aidan Lambourne is a contributing writer for PC Invasion, with almost a couple years of experience in the industry. He has written about Roblox extensively, although has keenly covered new releases and indie games. A passionate writer and gamer, he still can't really believe he gets to indulge in both for a career.