Warhammer 40,000: Darktide Class Overhaul Hands-on Preview

Build your dream team to fight the Plague God's hordes thanks to Game Pass!

by J.R. Waugh
Warhammer 40k Darktide Class Overhaul Preview
Image: Fatshark

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide may have been released almost a full year ago, but that hasn’t stopped the developers, Fatshark, from cooking up a new structure just in time to welcome new players. Just a little over a week before the game was scheduled to release for Xbox Series X|S, I attended a 20-minute presentation given by Fatshark’s team. They discussed a class overhaul via the game’s talent system, joining Game Pass on Day 1 for the Xbox, and afterward, we were given the opportunity to try a hands-on preview of the Patch #13 build.

Talent Tree Revision

Right away, I was enticed by how they presented the Talent Tree in Darktide. Fatshark had acknowledged their initial plans to introduce a new class each quarter, but after seeing how the game was played by the masses, they wanted a bigger change. The result is a shift away from the Vermintide-esque setup and veers more into a modular, agency-driven talent system allowing you to customize how each character plays.

  • Warhammer-40k-Darktide-Class-Overhaul-Preview-Talent-Tree-Zealot
  • Warhammer-40k-Darktide-Class-Overhaul-Preview-Talent-Tree-Veteran
  • Warhammer-40k-Darktide-Class-Overhaul-Preview-Talent-Tree-Psyker
  • Warhammer-40k-Darktide-Class-Overhaul-Preview-Talent-Tree-Ogryn

This talent structure allows for the following set of options:

  • 24 abilities, 16 new, 6 per class.
  • 12 new passive talents (3 per class)
  • At Max Level, you have 30 Talent Points to spend, each node in the tree costing 1 point.

This allows your character to be tweaked exactly to your playstyle. It will certainly mean locking out other abilities, but it also means things like, if you want to create an Ogryn specializing in drawing in the enemy with taunts, tanking their hits, and wrecking serious face, you now have that option. Additionally, this means you can coordinate with a friend, such as using your tank alongside a Veteran player who specializes in picking off the deadlier enemies threatening you from afar. This Talent Tree allows you to do exactly that, and I had plenty of fun experimenting between the event and now.

Each class had a narrow scope of what they could do, and this opened up nodes for blitzes, combat, buffs, and team buffs. The best part about this is a really easy ‘respec’ mechanic, where you just refund the last skills you unlocked in sequence if you’re not happy after testing out a build.

Built for Xbox, With the Series X Poised to Shine

Image: Fatshark

I’m a huge fan of 40k. When I first got into this game, I had an inferior PC and that was my only option to play the game at the time, so I didn’t get to truly appreciate the game’s visuals. But now, with an improved rig and my trusty Series X (and Series S!) getting access, I’ll be able to bust up heretics and the chaotic forces of Nurgle infesting the Hive City of Tertium with low compromise.

Image: Fatshark

The Xbox Series S will run the game at 1080p 30fps, while the Series X will have 4K along with 30fps in graphics mode, along with a performance mode boasting 60fps along with the impressive visuals largely retained. After all, what other game can you play where slicing and dicing up enemies results in clusters of maggots bursting from the wound?

The game is ostensibly the same regardless of platform and performance. There is content parity between the Xbox Series consoles and PC, meaning what you can get on PC, you get on Xbox. There is crossplay as well on Day 1, however, it’s only between Series X and S.

A Multiplayer Shooter That’s Perfect for Game Pass

Image: Fatshark

A game like Darktide is meant to be enjoyed between friends online, and Game Pass facilitates this wonderfully. While it’s already on PC’s subscription, the console players will get to enjoy this benefit immediately, meaning lots of prospective players for October 4, 2023. While it’s not fully cross-platform between console and PC due to Steam, members of the Xbox ecosystem will get to enjoy the game immediately.

A Vermintide Successor Tailor-Made for 40k Fans

I played Vermintide and Vermintide II pretty frequently with friends and was impressed by how much this game feels similar to the thrill of fighting off Skaven and Chaos, while still feeling fresh. The roleplaying elements being opened up with Patch #13, the “Class Overhaul”, was a welcome surprise.

But it still feels as good as you can imagine, especially at the chance to play stand-ins for the Imperial Guard faction, often the Imperium’s last line of defense against mankind’s threats. Their lasguns are jokingly called flashlights and laser pointers by 40k fans as they play second banana to the Space Marines, but in this game, it’s all you get against the hordes of Chaos. It rocks when you see what they can do when given focus.

If you’re a fan of busting up daemonic insurrections in a techno-gothic dark fantasy vision of the far future, this is a great title to check out with your friends. It’s also got some lethal industrial music infused with choral and organ tunes, and impressive sprawling visuals of an Imperium in severe peril. Be sure to get your system ready for when the game releases at 3 PM PT / 6 PM ET on October 3, 2023!

About The Author

J.R. is a Staff Writer with AOTF and has been covering gaming and entertainment in the industry since 2022. Along with a B.A. in History from the University of Cincinnati, he has studied at the University of Birmingham, UK, and part of his M.A. at the University of Waterloo. You'll find J.R. particularly at home writing about the hottest manga and anime. He is highly passionate about horror, strategy, and RPGs, and anything about Star Trek or LOTR. When not ranting about fan theories or writing guides, J.R. is streaming his favorite RPGs and other forgotten gems.