With the release of the class update in Darktide comes many more options for the player. Multiple grenade types, different abilities besides the default one that each class always had, and a keystone passive which significantly enhances an aspect of your class. So, today I am covering my main character: the Zealot. Starting with why you should even play the character in the first place.
In case you weren’t certain, Darktide is a warhammer game. So, a big part of the appeal of each class is how they fit into the setting and suit the specific flavor of the player. The flavor of the Zealot is for those who love the zealotry of the imperium. Maybe not in the most literal sense, of course, but charging into battle with the Emperor’s hand gracing your blows does have some fun aspects to it.
From a gameplay perspective, the Zealot will probably appeal to you if you like getting up close and personal. The Zealot is mostly a melee class, and what range the class does have is not much. Though you can be surprisingly tanky with the right abilities.
The Zealot’s Arsenal
Now before we get into more specific class characteristics, it would be good to know what is available at the core of the class.
The main one is the thunder hammer. This in my opinion is your bread and butter weapon. It knocks over most regular enemies with a strong hit, and can deal massive single target damage with the empowered attack. Other melee weapons work well since most of the Zealot class is based around making your melee better, but you will get the most value out of the thunder hammer. The only disadvantage is that the weapon is slow.
As for ranged weapons, there is more fluidity. I personally use the flamer, because who wouldn’t? But none of the Zealot’s ranged weapons give a significant advantage. over another. So, pick something that suits your playstyle.
Making a Zealot Build
There isn’t really a bad way to go with the Zealot as far as your class build, and even if there was, you can reset your talent points at any time. So, there’s no commitment problem with choosing your build. What I think would be the most useful then, is to explain the largest, most pivotal parts of the build and you can decide for yourself which you think will work best for you.
The stunstorm grenade is an upgraded version of the default grenade and it is just improved in every way. Essentially it stuns every enemy in a large area and allows for easy killing. This includes large enemies, like the crusher.
Next, the immolation grenade does what its name implies. It explodes and sets a large area on fire. Though, unlike environmental fire in the levels, this fire does not harm you are your allies. So, if you wanted, you could throw the grenade at your feet and fight within the blaze. It does damage over time to enemies and explodes in a very large radius.
Blades of Faith is the odd one out here, as it is a throwing knife and not a grenade. It is meant to deal large single target damage on a priority target, like a mauler or a mutant. Can be useful for downing fast approaching enemies if you have the aim.
Fury of the Faithful, like the stunstorm grenade, is an upgraded version of the default ability. This is what you pick if you want to go full melee and cut down everything as efficiently as possible. You dash forward and gain a significant damage boost for a little while. Good for rushing ranged enemies that would otherwise keep their distance, or for getting yourself out of a sticky situation.
The rather long winded Chorus of Spiritual Fortitude is a deceptively strong ability. You hold out an imperial sigil which pulses with holy energies. Each of these pulses stuns all enemies surrounding the Zealot, and this includes bosses. Every single enemy around you gets stunned. It requires a bit of setup with your team, but if they follow up, pretty much any group of enemies will quickly fall.
Finally, Shroudfield. This one has the most niche application of the three, but nonetheless seems to have its use cases. You turn invisible briefly and gain a large damage boost. The first enemy you hit when you break out of invisibility takes essentially double damage. If you combine this with the empowered attack of the thunder hammer, you can kill everything save bosses in one hit.
Blazing Piety is straightforward. You gain damage when a lot of enemies die around you. Just generally useful, as most of the keystones are.
Martyrdom is the most thematic of the three keystones. You gain more damage the lower you are on health. Useful for getting stuck in melee and just whacking everything around you. You may go down afterwards, but probably every enemy will be dead by then, so your team can get an easy revive.
Inexorable Judgement is useful if you’re trying to stay on the move. You gain damage and attack speed the further you move. The buff is expended once you hit something, but if you charged it for enough time, then whatever you hit is in for some hurt.
Combine at Your Leisure
The best thing about Darktide’s class update is that any of the above mentioned things can be combined in any order. So, you are not locked into a specific path once you choose your first thing. While it doesn’t have the same complexity as an RPG as far as build variety goes, it will give the player many more choices for tailoring their playstyle.
I assume since you’re reading this article that you’re interested in playing Zealot, but the other three classes share the same amount of options. Explaining the other three would take a lot more time. If you were interested in a more general look at each class, there’s plenty of resources on Youtube.
Hopefully this article gave you an idea of how to go about building the Zealot. At the end of the day, the game is about hitting things with a bludgeon and enjoying the steep warhammer atmosphere, so don’t trouble yourself too much about your choices and just have a good time.
Onwards for the Emperor!