Warhammer 40,000: Darktide has many combat mechanics that deepen the investment into optimizing playstyles and builds. Unfortunately, as stated in my review of the game, the game leaves many mechanics and keywords unexplained. For example, some blessings may grant additional Power, Critical Hit Chance, Brittleness, or other mechanics and stats. This guide will cover all keywords in Warhammer 40K: Darktide.
All of this information comes from players who have datamined Darktide’s API and compiled the information here.
What are Keywords?
“Keywords” is not an official term, but it refers to certain mechanics and properties weapons and abilities can have or gain. They are noticeable by how they are capitalized in perk descriptions, such as Cleave or Brittleness. They can augment how a weapon works, or determine certain interactions in-game.
Hidden weapon and ability keyword stats in Warhammer 40,000: Darktide are usually noticed from two sources: Blessings and Feats. Blessings are abilities on higher-rarity weapons that augment a weapon’s capabilities when certain conditions are met. For example, Thrust is a Blessing that grants Power when charging a heavy attack with the melee weapon. Feats may also give certain buffs. For example, the Zealot’s Bloodletting Feat applies Bleed to an enemy on a Critical Hit.
Understanding from where these buffs and debuffs come, as well as when they activate, is just as important as knowing what they do. Having that knowledge will allow you to not only optimize your builds, but your playstyle as well.
Buffs and Weapon Keywords in Warhammer 40K: Darktide
Here is a list of effects that will improve your weapon’s capabilities. Some of these may appear on a weapon’s stat bars, such as Damage or Cleave, but it’s still worth going over for the full context. This is because these buffs can still appear in Blessings, and their values may be confusing.
This property affects how many targets your weapon can hit during a single attack. A higher Cleave also allows your weapon to pass through enemies with a higher Mass value (see Mass below). Moreover, it determines how much damage secondary targets take from the cleaving weapon. Blessings such as Savage Sweep for the Eviscerator, Devil’s Claw Sword, and Cleaver increase your Cleave.
Cleave is great on wide-sweeping melee weapons, as well as the Ogryns and Zealots that wield them. Look for Blessings that increase your Cleave if you want to hit as many enemies as possible in fewer attacks.
The chance for your weapon to score a critical hit. This is different from hitting a Weakpot. While your hit marker becomes orange upon hitting a Weakspot, critical hits have no such visual feedback. A critical hit will deal 25% more damage, and every class has a base 5% critical hit chance. Certain weapons, such as the Combat Knife or Heavy Stubber, will have an additive — or subtractive, respectively — crit chance alongside the base value. For example, a Zealot with a Combat Knife will have a 20% chance to land a critical hit with each strike. Blessings such as Headhunter for many of the Lasguns increase your critical chance.
Any class, weapon, and playstyle will benefit from greater Crit Chance.
This property increases the effect of Stagger on enemies. A higher Impact stat translates to both how big of an enemy you’re able to Stagger, as well as the intensity of that status effect. See the debuff below for more information on how Stagger works. Blessings such as Trauma for the Thunder Hammer and Crusher increase Impact.
Impact synergizes well with Cleave. This trait combo makes for a great crowd-control weapon. Otherwise, use high-Impact weapons to stagger Gunners and Reapers laying down suppressive fire.
This buff is an all-rounder, as it increases Damage, Impact, and Cleave. Think of this like a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none keyword in Warhammer 40K: Darktide. While it increases three stats at once, it does so at a lesser degree than single-stat sources. Blessings such as Blaze Away on various automatic ranged weapons increase Power in Warhammer 40K: Darktide.
Because of its spread application, use this stat as a cherry on top of your build, rather than its foundation.
Rending increases your ability to penetrate armor. This differs from Brittleness in the debuff section, as Rending only applies to you, rather than weakening the enemies’ armor. Blessings such as Can-Opener for the Ripper Guns increase Rending.
Rending weapons are great in the hands of most classes, especially if you find yourself struggling against armored Maulers and Crushers. Psykers may not care much for this buff due to their Brain Burst ability.
A Salvo in Darktide refers to the shots fired from a gun before the recoil fully resets. This means the size of a Salvo is limited only by your trigger discipline. It can be one shot or an entire magazine. Certain Blessings, such as Sustained Fire on many ranged weapons, will buff Salvos. This will encourage trigger discipline and weapon swapping to reset the recoil and trigger a new Salvo as often as possible.
Because of their obvious application to ranged weapons, Blessings that improve Salvos will be best suited for certain Veteran builds.
You may notice during a mission that your health is separated into multiple segments. The term “Wounds” refers to those segments. The purpose of a Wound is for added forgiveness when you’re downed. When damage causes you to go down in Darktide, an ally reviving you fills a Wound with Corruption (explained under debuffs). If you only have one full or partial Wound left uncorrupted, and you go down once more, you instead die instantly.
The number of Wounds you have at base is determined by the difficulty of the missions in which you play. Tier 1 difficulty grants you an extra wound, whereas tier 4 and 5 will remove one Wound. It’s worth slotting a Curio with a +1 Wound Blessing for those higher-tier missions.
Debuffs and Enemy Keywords in Warhammer 40K: Darktide
Enemies in Darktide can deal and receive different status effects than what the players can deal and receive. Furthermore, enemies also have various properties that interact with many of the above weapon properties. This makes for dynamic combat experiences, and allows for players to build for different effects to overcome their enemies.
Enemies can gain stacks of Bleed damage from certain sources, such as Feats and Blessings. Bleeding enemies lose health over a period of 2 to 5 seconds, and Bleed can be stacked up to 16 times for additive damage. Armored enemies will take less Bleed damage than other enemies. Blessings such as Lacerate on the Combat Knife will inflict Bleed on enemies.
Bleed is especially useful for a particular Zealot build, as mentioned in this guide for the Zealot.
In the same vein as Rending, Brittleness causes the enemy with this debuff to have less-effective armor, and thus take more incoming damage. Unlike Rending, this is a debuff applied to the enemy. This means allies will also deal more damage to the enemy. The Blessing called Thunderous, found on various melee weapons, can apply this debuff.
Much like Rending, use Brittleness if you struggle against armored enemies. Psykers again may not find value in this type of perk.
Similar to Bleed, a Burning enemy takes damage over time, and Burn can be stacked up to 16 times. A weapon with the Burn stat, such as the Flamer, will vary in how many stacks of Burn it can apply. The Infernus Blessing can also cause the Lasguns it appears on to apply Burn stacks.
Burn will come naturally for Zealots who use the Flamer. For Veterans who use Lasguns, this will be another bump in your overall DPS, and is good for chipping away at beefier targets.
Certain enemies, such as Pox Walkers, Pox Hounds, and Plague Ogryns can apply a debuff to you called Corruption. It’s also acquired from you or your team holding Grimoires. The purple segment of your health bar represents this status condition. Corruption reduces your maximum health for the rest of the mission until you heal at a Medicae station. Medipacks will only heal you up to the reduced cap. You also gain one Wound’s worth of Corruption when an ally revives you.
Above is a video explaining Corruption mechanics with Grimoires, posted by GamerMasons on YouTube. If you find yourself constantly overwhelmed by Nurgle’s most infectious enemies, it might be worth slotting a Curio with a Corruption resistance perk.
This is a property all enemies in Warhammer 40K: Darktide possess. Mass determines how easy or difficult it is to cleave through an enemy. Your weapon will keep traveling through enemies until the total Mass of the enemies hit is greater than the weapon’s Cleave value. For example, if your weapon has a Cleave of 5, and you attack 3 enemies, each with a mass of 2, then you will Cleave through two enemies and stop in the third.
Certain Blessings with reduce or ignore enemy Mass when conditions are met. If you want to artificially increase your Cleave, those Blessings are the way to do it.
The special type of Burn is similar to its sister status effect save for a few key differences. Only the Psyker, through certain Staffs or Feats, can cause Soulblaze. Moreover, the damage is multiplicative, rather than additive. This means that lower stacks deal low damage, but higher stacks deal tremendous damage.
Soulblaze is useful for Psykers who want powerful, scaling damage against hordes.
Suppression has two different effects, depending on whether a player or enemy is receiving it. When you Suppress an enemy, they will stop shooting and seek cover. On the other hand, a Suppressed player’s weapon will bounce while aiming down sights, as well as reduce weapon accuracy. Near-miss gunfire usually causes Suppression, but certain Blessings, such as Terrifying Barrage found on numerous ranged weapons, can also Suppress enemies.
Suppressing enemies is great for ranged Crowd Control. If you want to take a more supportive role as a Veteran, consider building into this mechanic.
An enemy’s Weakspot is a point on their body to which weapons deal increased damage. This increase varies from weapon to weapon. Typically, this is the head on most enemies, save for the Beast of Nurgle, whose Weakspot is the yellow mass on its back. Various effects, such as the Veteran class’ passive ability, Make Every Shot Count, increases Weakspot damage, or otherwise trigger effects upon hitting a Weakspot.
While any class can benefit from hitting Weakspots, the Veteran gains many benefits against Weakspots at base. Therefore, the best Weakspot-bane builds will be on the Veteran.
This guide should have given you a general idea as to what effects occur in-game, and what happens when they occur. Hopefully Fatshark will add some sort of info tabs or codex on these keywords. This will allow players to better understand what they do, and may give even more detail than what’s available on these keywords in the API of Warhammer 40K: Darktide.