Warhammer 40,000: Darktide Major Overhaul to Itemisation System Announced


Warhammer 40,000: Darktide had a challenging launch in 2022, but developer Fatshark has shown unwavering commitment to refining and enhancing their grimdark creation ever since. The game has seen new missions, enemies, and weapons, but the primary focus of updates has been on improving the core experience and fundamental systems, including performance fixes, crafting changes, and a complete overhaul of class progression.

Continuing this trend, Fatshark has announced its next significant project: a comprehensive revamp of the itemization system aimed at making weapon investment more satisfying for players.

Victor Magnuson, Darktide’s head of game design, emphasized their willingness to implement substantial changes: “The start of that was the class overhaul. We felt at the launch that we weren’t really happy with how we ended up with our classes. So we decided to rebuild it… and now we’re doing the same sort of idea with itemization.”

Under the current system, players are heavily reliant on obtaining the right drops, with weapons having predetermined maximum stats and randomly assigned blessings (special abilities) and perks (bonuses). A major point of frustration has been the “locks” on these attributes, which restrict rerolling blessings and perks after two attempts, often leaving players stuck with suboptimal qualities.

The upcoming overhaul will eliminate these locks and introduce new mechanics called Mastery and Expertise. Players will gain Mastery XP for all weapons of a particular type through use, unlocking blessings, perks, and cosmetics. The Expertise menu will allow players to improve individual weapon stats and freely apply unlocked blessings and perks without restrictions.

This new system aims to provide a more rewarding and satisfying progression experience, allowing players to invest meaningfully in their favorite weapons. Additionally, it sets the stage for further expansions and improvements. Anders De Geer, Darktide’s chief creative officer, highlighted the importance of creating systems that other systems can interact with, adding incremental value to the overall game.

Juan Martinez, the game’s executive producer, echoed this sentiment: “We want to make sure that if we redo this system, we do it in a way where we can expand on it.”

For long-time players, existing progress will be honored. Mastery XP will be awarded proportionally to the blessings players previously unlocked, ensuring a seamless transition to the new system.

While there are still uncertainties about how well this overhaul will perform in practice, particularly given Fatshark’s track record with item progression design, the changes are a promising step in the right direction. The lingering presence of randomness, with pre-rolled maximum stats for weapons, remains a concern, but the diminished role of chance should alleviate some player frustrations.

The exact release date for this update remains unclear. With much of the Darktide team currently on a long summer break, a release before September seems unlikely. In the meantime, players can enjoy the content from the recent “Secrets of the Machine God” update.

Stay tuned for more insights from the team about Darktide’s future and its ongoing journey of improvement.

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