How to earn cosmetics in Warhammer 40K: Darktide

Darktide cosmetics
(Image credit: Fatshark)

I spent my first few hours of Darktide slumming it in a prison uniform. The cut-off sleeves did help show off my Ogryn's bulging biceps, but otherwise it's a pretty drab look. Where's my cool chestpiece? Some funky goggles? A pair of tactical cargo pants I can fill with shotgun shells? Until I hit level five, I didn't have a single piece of cosmetic gear to my name, and had no idea when or how I'd unlock any.

Now that I've figured it out, I'm here to share my wisdom (and the good word about our lord and saviour, the God-Emperor) with every other raggedy Darktide convict looking for a fresh shirt.

How do you get Darktide cosmetics?

Darktide's hub area, the voidship Mourningstar, has an equipment shop called the Armory Exchange. As of update 1.0.8 it sells cosmetics as well as gear: weapon skins and character skins can be bought for Ordo Tokens. It's all strictly cosmetic, but if you've got coins to throw around you can buy your way into a nicer shirt if you want. 

The other way to earn cosmetics is by completing Penances, which are essentially Darktide's challenges/achievements. The first pieces of cosmetic gear you'll likely unlock will be rewards for reaching level five and level 10—those two earn you a new shirt and a pair of pants, and simply require putting time into Darktide. But some of the other cosmetic Penances are more specific.

If you hit Esc in the hub and open up the Penances menu you can find a complete list of challenges. Most of the cosmetic rewards come from class-specific Penances. For instance, with my Ogryn Skullbreaker I can earn myself a spiffy new pair of pants by interrupting a Plague Ogryn enemy's charge with my own special move.

Some of the non-class-specific challenges award other cosmetic items like Frames, which are little borders for your character portrait. But they don't offer up character-specific outfits.

You can also get some cosmetics from the deluxe Darktide Imperial Edition, if you want to pay real money for them. They won't be accessible until full launch on November 30, however. 

Darktide cosmetics

(Image credit: Fatshark)
  • Loyalist Pack: Purge heresy in style with these four unique class outfits, eight weapon skin patterns, one set of headgear as well as an Ogryn body tattoo.
  • Mortis Veteran Portrait Frame: A cosmetic portrait frame used to pay tribute to the fallen defenders of Tertium Hive.
  • Caducades Backpack: A cosmetic backpack for human characters. Scavenged from the fallen troops of Cadia, this backpack has been repurposed to serve those still alive and fighting.

One final option: you can earn some Darktide weapon skins via Twitch drops, which reward you for items for watching streams. Follow this link to connect your Darktide account to Twitch to earn drops.

Here's a schedule of when you can earn Darktide Twitch drops in its first few weeks: 

  • Fri, Nov 18, 4:00 AM - Sat, Nov 19, 4:00 AM PST · Watch for 45 minutes and claim the reward Lasgun (Camo Skin)
  • Sat, Nov 26, 4:00 AM - Sun, Nov 27, 4:00 AM PST · Watch for 30 minutes and claim the reward Sword (Camo Skin)
  • Sat, Nov 26, 4:00 AM - Sun, Nov 27, 4:00 AM PST · Watch for an additional 30 minutes and claim the reward Ripper Gun (Camo Skin)
  • Fri, Dec 2, 4:00 AM - Sat, Dec 3, 4:00 AM PST · Watch for 30 minutes and claim the reward Autogun (Camo Skin)
  • Fri, Dec 2, 4:00 AM - Sat, Dec 3, 4:00 AM PST · Watch for an additional 30 minutes and claim the reward Lasgun (Camo Skin)
  • Fri, Dec 2, 4:00 AM - Sat, Dec 3, 4:00 AM PST · Watch for an additional 30 minutes and claim the reward Sword (Camo Skin)
  • Fri, Dec 2, 4:00 AM - Sat, Dec 3, 4:00 AM PST · Watch for an additional 30 minutes and claim the reward Ripper Gun (Camo Skin)

(Image credit: Fatshark)

Will there be a premium cosmetics shop in Darktide?

Darktide will have cosmetics you can buy with real money. The Imperial Edition comes with 2,500 Aquilas, which are a premium currency in Darktide. But there's currently no word on when the premium cosmetics shop will be added to the game—it seems likely to be sometime after launch.

Here's what Fatshark said earlier this year about its plans for a premium shop: 

What’s in the premium store?

The premium store is focused on cosmetic items, that is, character skins, weapon skins, and other smaller customizable items, as well as DLC content.

How does premium currency work?

Aquilas are the currency used in the Premium Store to purchase any of the items available in it. Aquilas are currently only obtainable via in-game purchase.

How does in-game currency (Tertium Twins) work?

Twins are a currency earned by doing activities in game, such as completing missions or selling salvaged items. This currency is used for other ingame activities such as improving equipment. This currency is not usable for acquiring cosmetics from the premium store.

How can I get cosmetics?

There 2 ways of getting cosmetics: progressing through the game or acquiring them through the premium store. Progress cosmetics will be given out as the player progresses through the story and the different challenges the game offers. Premium store cosmetics can be acquired as long as they’re available and can be equipped by any character of that class, account-wide.

How can I manage my cosmetics?

Cosmetics are parts of sets, which means they usually have matching parts that make for some really cool looks, however, players are free to swap around each part independently and make their own looks.

Um, so how do I use my cosmetics in Darktide, anyway?

Darktide cosmetics screen

(Image credit: Fatshark)

Easy! Press Esc to pull up the main menu, then click Operative to go into your character menu; you can also press the "I" key as a shortcut to go straight to your inventory. From there, click the Cosmetics tab to see your available cosmetics slots: Head, upper body, lower body, accessories, frame, and insignia.

On the Cosmetics page there's also a Stances menu on the bottom-right that'll take you to another page, where you'll eventually see a variety of character stances for pre/post-mission cutscenes.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).