Darktide classes guide: Should you play as an Ogryn, Psyker, Veteran or Zealot?

Darktide classes - Skullbreaker, Psyker, Sharpshooter, and Preacher
(Image credit: Fatshark)

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide (opens in new tab) won't officially be out until November 30, but a pre-order beta means you can start playing now, so it's time to pick one of the four Darktide classes. With five operative slots, you can take them all for a spin, but you'll really want to focus on one class. 

Be warned, though, that changes and potentially even wipes may occur, as this is still a beta. There have already been some significant changes since the last beta, and this has also created some inconsistencies when it comes to the official class spotlights, tutorials and tool tips. 

With that disclaimer out of the way, onto the class guide!

Ogryn Skullbreaker

(Image credit: Fatshark)

Ogryns are behemoths that tower over normal humans, and with all that size comes plenty of strength. The Skullbreaker lives up to his name by charging into fights and cracking heads with his trusty club. Unsurprisingly, this is a class that shines in melee, but you'll also get your hands on a devastating close-range cannon straight away. With your size and strength, you'll feel invincible at first, but even a mighty ogryn can become overwhelmed when they are trapped in a Chaos mosh pit.

While it's a lot of fun to go on the offensive, you're also a protector. Your size alone can block enemies from getting to your squishier allies, and you're an even more effective tank once you get your hands on a shield—it's just a shame you don't start with one, especially since you'll quickly encounter enemy ogryns wandering around with a bit of extra protection. Why do they get the fun toys straight away?

Counter-intuitively, this bruiser is also something of a medic. Everyone can throw down healing items to help their teammates, but your skills come into play when someone has already been downed. You won't be getting your medical doctorate any time soon, but your thick skin means you won't be interrupted while reviving a fallen ally.

Strengths 

  • Melee powerhouse
  • Effective against hordes
  • Skilled at staggering and suppressing enemies

 Starting loadout

  • "Brunt Special" Mk I Bully Club: versatile, strikedown
  • Lorenz Mk V Kickback: spreadshot, close combat

Tactical action 

  • Big Box of Hurt: Throw an entire box of grenades at a target for some high damage. 

Passives 

  • Excessive Force: A 25% buff to melee stagger makes it easier to disorientate enemies.
  • Loyal Protector: Taking damage while assisting or reviving allies won't interrupt you.
  • Thick Skin: Your natural armour reduces toughness and health damage by 20%.

Class ability 

  • Bull Rush: Charge at enemies to knock them back, giving you 25% more attack and movement speed for 5 seconds.  

Coherency bonus 

  • Allies get a 10% bonus to heavy melee attack damage. 

Psyker Psykinetic

(Image credit: Fatshark)

Psykers are simultaneously one of the Imperium's best weapons and biggest threats, always on the cusp of being overwhelmed by Chaos. Psykers have all sorts of exotic skills in 40k, but Darktide's Psykinetic class is mostly interested in making heads pop. There's something very special about watching an elite enemy's brain explode. 

Watch out, though, because your sanity will keep being tested, and if you generate too much Peril by using abilities like Brain Burst, you'll be the one blowing up. Some tweaks since the last beta also mean that you generate a lot more Peril—there's been a 20% bump. When you're in danger, you can use Psykinetic's Wrath to reduce Peril by 50%, which is nice, but not as nice as the 100% that it used to be. It does at least create a shockwave that knocks back groups of enemies. You can also hold down your Quell ability to lower your Peril, but it actually seems faster to just let it go down passively. 

The Psykinetic is one of the trickier classes to play thanks to the constant threat of Peril and their general squishiness, though veterans of Vermintide 2 who played the Pyromancer should feel right at home. That said, it's been significantly nerfed and now feels comparatively ineffective in combat, so you might want to hold off until Fatshark has done some more tinkering.

Strengths 

  • Effective against elites
  • Blowing up heads and getting buffs

Starting loadout 

  • Catachan Mk I "Devil's Claw" Sword: flurry, crowd control
  • Accatran MG Mk II Heavy Laspistol: mobile, high capacity

Psychic ability 

  • Brain Burst: Target an enemy and unleash this ability to watch their head go "pop!" 

Passives 

  • Warp Siphon: Killing with Brain Burst generates a stackable Warp Charge, up to four, each increasing your damage by 3%.
  • Battle Meditation: On a kill, there's a 10% chance to reduce your Peril by 10%.

Class ability 

  • Psykinetic's Wrath: Warp Charges can be discharged, creating a wave of Warp energy that knocks enemies back and reduces your Peril level.  

Coherency bonus 

  • Allies get a 10% damage boost against elites.  

Veteran Sharpshooter

(Image credit: Fatshark Games)

The vets of the Astra Militarum know how to take down a foe: stand your ground and use overwhelming firepower. The Sharpshooter class—and there should be no surprises here—specialises in ranged combat. You hang back and pick off the choicest targets, like dangerous specialists, with your precision skills making you a headshot machine. 

Now, the nature of Darktide means you'll often be facing teeming hordes of enemies, where precision doesn't really matter. Thankfully, you're still deadly when you spray and pray, and in a pinch you can whip out your shovel and start smacking things.

If FPSs are where you're most comfortable, then this is probably the class for you. Like all the other classes you've got passives and special abilities, but they are all centred around simply shooting things and lobbing frag grenades. Nice and straightforward!

Strengths 

  • Ranged combat
  • Headshots
  • Straightforward

Starting loadout 

  • Standard-issue Munitorum Sapper Shovel: versatile, crowd control
  • Kantrael MG Ia Infantry Lasgun: versatile, high capacity

Tactical action 

  • Frag grenade: Throw a grenade on a short fuse timer, then enjoy the explosion. 

Passives

  • Make Every Shot Count: Damage to weak spots is increased by 15%.
  • Be Prepared: All ranged weapons have an increased ammo reserve of 40%.

Class ability

  • Volley Fire: Instantly equip your ranged weapon and enter a ranged stance for 5 seconds, where you can set all specialists and elites (except for ogryns) as priority targets. The stance increases your ranged damage by 50%. 

Coherency bonus 

  • You and your allies will receive a small amount of ammo whenever you take down an elite.  

Zealot Preacher

(Image credit: Fatshark)

The Imperium's zealous Preachers are holy warriors who gladly rush into battle to slaughter heretics in the name of their undead God-Emperor. These angry eccentrics love putting themselves at risk, and the more they fight and take a beating, the more dangerous they become. 

With your impressive melee capabilities, you'll always want to be in the fray, but it's not all about charging into the biggest group of enemies. You can also serve as a ranged enemy hunter, identifying dangerous targets, and blitzing ranged enemy positions with your stun grenade before charging  them. They won't stand a chance. 

To better purge heretics, you'll eventually get access to flamers, purifying foes by burning them to ash. Preachers know how to have a good time.

Strengths

  • Hard to kill
  • High damage melee attacks

Starting loadout

  • Rashad Mk II Combat Axe: strikedown, armour piercing
  • Ius Mk III Shredder Autopistol: mobile, torrent

Tactical action

  • Stun grenade: Throw a grenade that stuns every enemy in its blast radius.  

Passives

  • Martyrdom: For every 15 health that you lose, gain 5 damage, which you can stack up to three times. 
  • Until Death: Taking damage that will kill you instead makes you invulnerable for five seconds. This passive only activates every 90 seconds. 
  • Swift Exorcism: Your attack speed is increased by 10%. 

Class ability

  • Chastise the Wicked: Charge towards an enemy, replenishing your toughness and increasing the damage of your new melee attack by 25%.

Coherency bonus

  • Allies receive 7% toughness damage reduction.
Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.