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Elovia

Grim Dawn

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There are certain game types I enjoy playing, and ARPGs are one.  I probably spent too much time back in the late '90s and early 2000s with Blizzard's Diablo, Diablo II, and all variants thereof.  I've posted here (or at least on the old forums) various other (more recent) ARPGs that caught my attention.  More recently, I've been looking at Grim Dawn (over at GoG, naturally) and thought I'd throw it out to all of you for consideration.  Has anyone played it or have experience with it?  Is it fun?  Or does it become a slog-fest farming operation just to acquire decent goods?

I read a lot of comparisons of it to Titan's Quest - a game I don't own or have played except for a brief demo prior to its release - so I have no personal knowledge as basis of comparison.  I remember the TQ demo, which really didn't knock my socks off and which (at the time) I considered a cheap knock off "me too" title trying to enter the ARPG venue.  Maybe it got better ... dunno.

/discuss  B)

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So I took the plunge and purchased it, then spent the day yesterday downloading and playing it.  Around 1:30am, I forced myself away and to bed.  I purchased it for several reasons:  1) it is a relatively new release, 2) it was on sale for ~$20 (US), 3) it is an ARPG which is a genre I generally like, and 4) online reviews (note; self-select bias) seemed to be highly favorable.

The download was ~3GB, so it took a couple hours on my slow 4Mb connection.  I spent the time making and eating breakfast for/with the family, and then ran an errand or two.  As soon as it was done, I installed and started my first (trial) character to explore the game.  That character lasted roughly an hour ... not for any fault of the game or dis-satisfaction on my part, but I knew that first was disposable just so I could see which character development option choices were permanent as soon as they're made and which were more flexible; knowing that information, I delved into creating my second and more serious attempt in game play.

There are tons of ways to develop your character, many of which are described in reviews and on the game's website.  In fact, the game didn't come with a manual (the latest trend??), but does include an in-game codex and also through splash screen tips points you to the same website I just linked in the previous sentence.  As your character gains experience and levels, (s)he is given attribute and skill points to spend.  How you distribute attribute points will determine what kind of gear your character can equip, how much damage (s)he can take or give, and other stuff like that.  If I recall correctly, at level 2 you can choose an archetype profession under which to develop your play style; you can  add a second archetype profession at level 10 to make a new hybrid.  Skill points are spent in skill trees for each archetype profession to provide ... umm ... skills related to that archetype, both active and passive.  This is where, for example, if you want to be able to summon a familiar, you would develop that particular branch of the associated archetype skill tree, or if you want AOE attacks, what type and how powerful those might be. But attributes and skills aren't the only way to develop your character ... oh no ...

The game has a robust item matrix that includes relatively standard fare affixes, along with quality divisions (e.g., common, rare, epic, etc.) which determine how many affixes an item may have.  Items can impart skills to your character.

Also, as you wander around in the world, you will run across the opportunity to "cleans corrupted shrines" (note that is a paraphrase, because the actions are different for different kinds of shrines).  Once a shrine is "cleansed", your character will gain a devotion point with can be used to further develop your character in one or more of five different devotion areas.  These are harder to describe, but in general, the skills are passive like adding more damage abilities, or improving health and mana pools.

Not quite finished ... there are also factions with which to develop relationships, and which can provide unique set of items if you're favored high enough, or who can sent out "heroes" to hunt you down if you're favored low enough.

I haven't checked them out, but according to the game guide at the website, fans have made character planning tools ... so if you're of mind, then you can pre-plan what sort of character you want to create by knowing all of the choices even before you start.

I went with a hybrid Demolitionist and Occultist ... which results in a Pyromancer archetype.  As of my quitting time yesterday (or was it earlier today?) around character level 21, I had just killed the first serious "chapter boss" to end the first main quest line for a particular area of the map.  My character's primary weapon is a rare shotgun (i.e., ranged) and I soften waves of enemies with the equivalent of a molotov cocktail (i.e., fire explosion with damage-over-time element)  ... so lots of kiting, large area explosions, and ranged sniping when needed; all of that from the Demolitionist archetype.  I developed my Occultist second archetype to provide me with a Raven familiar who casts ranged lighting ball type attacks (for fire resistant mobs), and who also has the option of throwing a heal or two my direction if I need it.  Crowd control consists of kiting swarms and killing them with area explosions and damage-over-time fire effects; this works for bosses too since they have a higher defense to mitigate or block direct attacks.

The game is not for young children ... fair warning ... it is more teen/adult oriented.  The environment is as identified in the game's title ... grim.  The environment is not as over-the-top as in Paths of Exile where blood and gore was liberally painted across the landscape.  No, this game has plenty of dead bodies and destruction, but the landscape is not coated with it and there are plenty of pleasant areas (e.g., peaceful-ish forests with river waterfalls - it is a combat game, after all).  The main story premise is that the character "enters the world" right after an invasion where the local populace of humans is virtually wiped out ... so having village clusters burnt and with death and decay as the character encounters them makes sense.  Again, these scenes may not be suitable for young developing minds.

YMMV.

3 hours ago, Lasraik said:

You are a bad influence.

I aim to please.  B)

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Not really had much chance to look at it to be honest.  Also the whole 'Grim' thing is putting me off at the moment, finding it all emo teen at the moment.  Just a phase I'm sure.

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6 hours ago, Jazz said:

finding it all emo teen at the moment.  Just a phase I'm sure.

I think that's why Elo likes it. Elo Emo

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50 minutes ago, Pasanda said:

I think that's why Elo likes it. Elo Emo

Elo...Emo...ELMO!!!  Elo is really Elmo! :o

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Not ticklish so don't get any ideas ... :angry:

Having played it a couple days, I don't get the emo vibe.  It is dark, not unlike Diablo I, but not Gothic like Diablo I.  (Don't give me the whole South Park difference between Goth and Emo)  Combat has a mix of melee (e.g., swords, axes, hammers, etc.) and modern ranged (i.e., pistols, muskets, rifles, etc. - crossbows, yes; regular bows, no), so I'm not sure what time era the developers were going for ... Victorian?  Character art leans toward Van Helsing ... or the witch hunter of Warhammer fame, but there is plenty of magic and associated sparkly affects.  I haven't seen a tricorne yet, but you never know ...

I suspect it can be hard to pass oneself off as a champion of justice while walking around with a pet raven and a pet hellhound ... :huh: Oh, btw ... I forgot to mention I am now able to summon a hellhound to join at my side during my misadventures.

The story takes some leaps but eventually gets you to the point where "Grim Dawn" is described and commonly referred to as a planned event (by others, of the bad sort) - a reconnaissance cultural moment ... just not the heretofore favored and familiar culture. Because of the leaping storytelling, I wonder how much was left on the cutting room floor.

There really is a lot to like about this game, and I'm sure my description of it doesn't do it justice.  Quest moral question and decisions make a difference in the world.  While game play is isometric (or orthogonal?) view, the camera can be rotated freely to more fully appreciate the hand-crafted environment; the developers claim rotating the camera view isn't essential to game play and is purely optional.  It's a nice option.  :)

YMMV

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I did take a look at this last night.  Seems interesting.  Only about 10% off on GOG at the moment, so umming and ahing about it.  Definitely sounds interesting, especially with the firearms and steampunk stuff.  Now you mention there is actual decisions that affect the world I am more interested, is it actual choice and consequence or just the illusion of it a la Bioware?

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14 hours ago, Jazz said:

I did take a look at this last night.  Seems interesting.  Only about 10% off on GOG at the moment, so umming and ahing about it.  Definitely sounds interesting, especially with the firearms and steampunk stuff.  Now you mention there is actual decisions that affect the world I am more interested, is it actual choice and consequence or just the illusion of it a la Bioware?

Only 10% off, but it isn't a $60 base retail game either; it is a $25 game that already has paid itself in gaming value to me for that low price of entry.  If it were a $60+ base retail game, I would encourage to wait for bigger sale.  Not that there's anything wrong with the game ... quite the contrary ... I think the game provides a lot of value given its relatively low asking price.  I've played high priced AAA games that were shit and regretted the purchase.  I thought about waiting for this game to get a deeper discount (because I'm cheap), but I certainly don't regret purchasing it at its current price point.

I know some in-game decisions I've made had unintended consequences.  But since I haven't played through more than once to make different dialog choices, I haven't experienced first hand the different results of those decisions.  I can give an example of decision/consequence, but I don't want to spoil it.  Suffice it to say, when I thought I was doing the right (i.e., good) thing, I ended up causing far more suffering than I hoped to cure; the quest wasn't nefarious about my choices ... meaning had I thought through the consequences of my actions, I would have realized I should have solved it differently ... this was a case of knee-jerk social justice on my part ... and I got punked because I took the obvious bait.

I'll leave comparison to Bioware to you.  Does it all get you to the same end anyway?  Maybe.  Only multiple runs will tell.  I am, for the most part, enjoying play and trying to avoid spoiler sites ... so I can't answer your question directly.

An interesting design decision (and one I'm seeing more frequently in recent releases) is that progress saves, or having multiple saved games at different points in time, doesn't seem like an option.  When you quit, the game is saved ... end of story.  I don't know if the game constantly saves, or episodically saves (e.g., during loading screens when transferring from over world to dungeon).  It was a bit jarring at first, but now I just quit to desktop and then when I want to play again, I double-click my character in the selection screen and I'm back in the starter town and all the mobs have reset in areas previously visited (not uncommon for this genre), but quest progress is the same as when I left.  Right ... so that brings to mind the fact that you can kill main story quest mobs once for the quest, and then revisit the area after a reset to kill them again.  This is not unlike Diablo II where you could restart an area with the same character and then work your way to (and through) the final "level boss".  The advantage to the player in metagaming is that your subsequent run-ins with the boss mobs will be easier and you'll have more and better opportunity to farm better gear (also not uncommon for this genre).

 

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Interesting, fair appraisal.  It's about £20 here, which in the pretend money is I dunno $30?  We usually end up paying more for it for the privilege of being British.  Anyway, I probably won't get it this weekend as I am away and so won't get a chance to play it anyway, but will definitely take a look more, it seems to be growing on me.  Any multiplayer?  The talk of Diablo qualities implies to me yes.

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Yes to multiplayer ... both co-op and pvp.

Pro tip: don't pvp with a hardcore-mode character unless you don't mind forever losing it.

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So I've been punching away at it and, just yesterday, finally found my way to (and through) the end boss.  The game says that my character was played 2 days, 18 hrs, and (I can't remember how many) minutes; I'll guarantee that wasn't all in one sitting ... more like a couple hours here and there with longer play sessions over weekends.  My character was level somewhere between 50-52 (can't remember), and play style involved having pet hellhound taunt tank while I played the glass cannon DPS role with ranged AoE explosives (two kinds) and ranged weapon (think: triple-barreled shotgun) - pet raven for support ranged lightning damage and group buffs, including the occasional heal.  Kiting was/is a must when encountering mob Heroes and Bosses since the hound doesn't hold aggro well nor has the health to soak up crowds.  My goal is to thin the crowds of trash mobs as rapidly as possible and then focus burn down the harder ones.  Suffice it to say that my fights all devolve into the same pattern: I start by launching a huge series of explosions into the crowd of mobs surrounding my hellhound (the camera shakes when I do this ... so you know they rock) followed by me running away madly in a panic while occasionally dropping fire bombs and grenades behind me as the tougher mobs give chase; it helps if there is a pillar, sarcophagus, or pile of debris to run circles around (and like Rincewind, I can scream in terror in many different languages) ... anyway ... I got through the end boss on Normal difficulty and started up a new run-through on Elite difficulty.  My character is already quite weak compared to beginning Elite difficulty mobs ... and I'm already seeing weaknesses in the build.  No matter ... the game does let you reconfigure skill point distribution (for small cost) so those can be corrected.

Already started two more characters: a pure pet Shaman+Occultist class (I'm the ring master in a frikkin' 3-ring circus) and a two-handed nightblade (sneaky assassin type - of course).  I've got good starter gear saved from my Pyromancer but unfortunately most of it has high level requirements for use and I'll likely find as good or better on each of these character's journeys.  I've been feeding all crafting recipes to my Pyromancer, so eventually that character will be support for all that come after.  Yeah ... maybe I forgot to mention characters can "craft" items for themselves (and others) with recipes found throughout the world, and characters have access to individual and shared vault space.

I say characters can "craft" items, but that summary is too concise.  Characters can read and learn recipes found as loot out in the world.  The actual production of a crafted item requires the use of a blacksmith NPC character.  There is a decision (quest) point in the game where you have to choose between one of two blacksmiths ... each having a certain specialty in what they can make (e.g., one makes general magic items like rings, amulets, runes, potions, etc. whereas the other is better at making weapons and armor).

I discovered that when I "graduated" to Elite difficulty and started anew in that world, I could still go back to my Normal difficulty world with all incomplete quests, world status based on my in-game decisions, and whatnot.  So if I need certain materials for crafting, I can go back and farm them easily enough.  This is a subtle but really cool feature.  So ... I can choose one blacksmith in the Normal world, and the other blacksmith in the Elite world, and then ... with the shared vault space ... I only need one character to do all of my crafting.

To revisit a moment about the game environment after having seen it all at least once through ... Yes, there are still plenty of dead bodies.  Combat is fast, furious, flashy, and plenty of gibs ... so I'd easily rate it Teen+.  I'm not sure on what specific theme that the developers were aiming for, but it seems to me the game feels more western (US, minus the horse riding) ... maybe early 1800's with a magic twist than it does a more traditional fantasy setting.  I dunno ... maybe it's that iron bits are the currency rather than gold ... or maybe it's all the industrial-era trappings lying about (e.g., steel mining carts on tracks, early prototype armored cars, rifles/shotguns/pistols of all types) and a number of crumbling fortifications (from an era past) that, while still occupied, indicate their usefulness may be waning. Maybe it's the style of armors tend toward reinforced leather dusters rather than traditional chain or plate mail.

Spoiler

Without giving away too large of a spoiler (you could Google it on YouTube if you want a Let's Play), the end boss and bad guys tend toward being Lovecraft-ian and whose campaign to revive the old god is fueled on blood.

The lands to explore - not counting subterranean - are huge and would probably take a very long time to traverse from one end to the other ... not because the character running is slow ... but because there is just so much of it ... from swamps to mountain canyons to alpine forests to desert wastes and all in between.

Other nice touches such as a scale-able UI, gamma controls (the game does get dark in ... erm ... dark places), and game controller support (if you're into that sort of thing).

Definitely still a 4.5 / 5 star game ... easily.

Why are you not playing this already ???  :huh:  :D   B)

 

p.s. for Jag ... the game will soon officially support mods.  I'm looking forward to what the game community will do and what they develop.  An interesting hint: in the main menu, one of the game setup choices is "Main Campaign" or "Custom Game" (currently locked).

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Thought I'd throw a couple images your way.

My character at Level 55 (from the character selection screen) ...

Note: this character is best viewed while listening to Iron Man by Black Sabbath.

GDElo55.jpg.ef898910d9f325073c573ca03b70

The A-Team in town .,. Grim Dawn League of Justice ...

(sparkly aura provided by the raven; some assembly required; batteries not included; some parts sold separately; YMMV)

GDElo55a.jpg.08b4e98e4106d507a24fbb8ddeb

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Other classes/professions/archetypes (whatever-the-F-they're called) ... masteries ... yeah, those ... also have pets available.  For example, the shaman can summon a briarthorn (nasty piece of work in early levels).  Check out this site ... GrimCalc ... for the different skills available to each mastery (or combination of masteries).  The GrimCalc site is best used as a character planning tool, but you can also save and share any particular build.

My personal opinion is that the Occultist is more of a support line (used as a secondary mastery), but I suppose it could be OK as a main.  I chose to develop the raven and hellhound skill lines from the Occultist mastery because both of them enhance my primary damage types as a demolitionist ... i.e., fire and lightning - and secondarily provide a meat shield for my ranged glass cannon ... but the Occultist also has bleeding and poison damage skill lines available that could otherwise be developed.  The Occultist's Blood of Dreeg skill provides a nice emergency self heal for those times when you stick around just a wee bit too long in a rapidly degenerating (re: unsafe) situation.  Curse of Frailty is also nice crowd-control for slowing the mob's advance (that's "mob" in both senses of the word); I've since switched from using CoF to using the Demolitionist skill Flashbang and its support Searing Light to provide a small measure of crowd control.  Flashbang causes confusion ... which sometimes leads to the mob fighting itself or others of its kind.

I chose the Occultist second to my Demolitionist, so don't let my opinion sway you and your preferred play style. That's the beauty of this game is that there are so many different ways to develop  your character ... and, for example, no two characters of the same masteries will be alike due to vastly different ways to develop the numerous skills in each mastery.

And recall that items can also grant skills to the character.  I recently acquired an item that will allow me to summon (forgive me because I'm not in game at the moment and can't recall its actual name) an undead knight type minion that scales with and benefits from pet bonuses.  This summon skill isn't available to either of my character's masteries, but I can certainly enjoy its use regardless.

2c

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Do you want to know how stupid I am?  Completely and utterly.  Here's an example!  I was going through my emails that I have been ignoring for, well, months if not years and guess what?  It turns out I backed this game.  It was like the third game I ever backed.  I'm even supposed to have a copy of this game as a reward.  Trying to claim it now, fuck me I'm retarded!

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Getting forgetful are we? 

And they say smoking pot for years has no negative effects.

Edited by Jag

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6 minutes ago, Jag said:

Getting forgetful are we? 

And they say smoking pot for years has no negative effects.

Me smoke pot?  Haven't touched the stuff in years, I think you are mixing me and Wolph up, though that's understandable considering your condition.   

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4 hours ago, Jazz said:

Me smoke pot?  Haven't touched the stuff in years, I think you are mixing me and Wolph up, though that's understandable considering your condition.   

In other words ...

4 hours ago, Jag said:

Getting forgetful are we? 

And they say NOT smoking pot for years has no negative effects.

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6 hours ago, Elovia said:

 

In other words ...

In other words Jag is demented and getting old?  I was trying to be tactful but yes!

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