Grim Dawn - An ARPG from Crate (ex Iron Lore aka Titan Quest devs)

If you own the Crucible DLC, doing a single abortive run right away is a nice way to speed up the very beginning of a new character.

I just play on Normal. Shall I up it?

Depends on what you’re looking for. I typically play on Veteran, because if you know what you’re doing with your build and gear and relics, Normal is generally pretty roflstompy. I prefer the game to put up some resistance, you know? I’m not playing Diablo III over here.

But like if you’re fucking around with a weird build or don’t want to have to really care about gearing yet, sure, play on Normal.

Yeah that’s how I feel, this is really my first time getting this far in the game so I figure keep it on normal this time.

Yeah stick to normal. Veteran really won’t add much. The loot cycle of the game really opens past level 60 when the blue and purple items start dropping. And by that stage you should have enough devotion points to start making some meaningful decisions, loot gets more interesting and character development really starts taking off. But getting there means running through the game once. Grim Dawn is great, but I can not ignore the fact that the loot and skill stuff feels almost locked behind a level barrier.

My usual path on a new character, is using Arena to get to 5 shrines, then just starting on normal. The early game is pretty devoid of decent skills, barring some notable exceptions, and I like being in easy mode until I get my character set up a bit. I also really tend to hate bullet sponge mobs as a game design.

Starting in Vet is really not bad at all, I just didn’t like the extra hit points on boss mobs, I find it a bit tedious. It’s not like anything is likely to kill me on vet, it’s just that it takes longer. I should really look into exp mods for this game, because for me, the game becomes desperately slow post 50.

Yep, I recently tried to jump back into Grim Dawn with a new character but playing on Veteran and ouch that was a slog. Opponents would have so many hp and it’d take me so long to whittle the mobs away that it got tiresome fast. I switched back to normal but then got distracted by something else and dropped the run. I would not recommend Vet for starting, no matter how good you are, unless you like that sort of time-eating punishment.

The great fun of Grim Dawn is in the balance of leveling and powering up, and having just enough difficulty to make smashing and exploding your enemies a festival of win. As I’ve said before, that lower level gameplay (pre-50/60) is so much more interesting than the scraping for something new in the high levels.

I agree with this 100%. 98% of my characters never make it past 55. That’s about the level that your “proof of concept” has had enough testing to prove viable.

It depends on what you’ve got in the stash for the new character. Both my softcore and hardcore stashes have at least one tab that’s filled with great stuff for starting characters. It really makes Veteran a breeze. It does somewhat depend on the build itself, of course. If it’s a build where I’m only putting in points to get to higher levels so that I can invest in high level skills, then yes, you won’t be doing enough damage to kill things really fast on Veteran. But if it’s a build where you’re investing in skills along the way and using your good items from the stash, the enemies melt like butter on Veteran.

Bah. I started my current dude on veteran with no stash to twink from and it’s fine for the most part.

You absolutely do have to build somewhat carefully though and know what you’re doing with skills, equipment, and devotions, though.

I think that’s the key. I’m not much of one to analyze builds or try to optimize my character and equipment. That’s not what I want to do in the game. I just want want to choose what feels like I’d enjoy for skills, and make them work as best they can with what I have, and that’s a perfect strategy for Normal. For vet, then, good stash or good build or both, but neither isn’t going to cut it.

I agree with all of that.

So I’ve been starting over because new machine and no cloud saves (which is fine, journey before destination). Cold Nightblade (Blade Burst) is very strong and fast through Homestead at 39. She’s pretty good. The regen+speed skill is so great.

But then last night I was moved to obliterate act one with a vitality shaman relying on Devouring Swarm for now who just got totems Storm and Wendigo right before Warden. My goodness I love this build. It’ll be even better with Oathkeeper support later for the invincible resist-debuffing summons and the ridiculous ultimate aura.

No twinking with this dude other than the level one Crucible run, which effectively just means he started at level 8 with yellow equipment and a devotion point. Absolute murder factory on Veteran.

Swarm is hilarious with devotion procs, btw. It pulses every two-ish seconds, and each pulse can proc in this case Twin Fangs from Bat. It’s yuuuuuge.

I love devouring swarm but whenever I play it it usually seems that at the end of act one it starts not being quite strong enough. I have nightmares about fighting the act one endboss, hitting him with the devouring swarm and then having to run in panicked circles like a headless chicken because it only took a teeny bit of his health off.

Oh no doubt, it’s a support skill against hard targets. But the vitality debuff aspect of it makes it a massive boost to e.g. totems.

This is my dude who just killed Warden on Veteran: https://www.grimtools.com/calc/pZrknj3N

Probably killed Warden faster than most of my characters thanks to not losing DPS when dodging. Pretty much “keep Swarm and totems up and dodge,” which is a delightfully safe playstyle especially given all the drain from Swarm (and heal from Wendigo Totem if you’re forced to park it).

Wow, nice, you have Swarm up to 16 points. The limitation there is always mana. 16 points into Swarm takes way too much energy if you do it too early, but you have your energy built up really high by this point by investing in the base Shaman leveling. Well done.

Devouring swarm proccing Twin Fangs is something that remains powerful and useful all through the game, due to the scaling on Twin Fangs. DS itself tends to fall off once mobs have a billion hit points, and really sucks in certain places (necro). When enemies are resistant to it, it really hits a brick wall. I have made many a vitality build, there are some really fun/powerful ones.

Depending on what your second class is, you can make builds that can face tank literally everything, including bosses, until pretty late in the game. Making me want to go start a new vitality character again.

Out of all the classes, Shaman is by far my favorite starting class. There are several builds that are just flat out OP as a starter, lightning being the other one. Which reminds me…I need to get back to my lightning/vitality hybrid…

Honestly the way to go with most characters early on is to slam points into whatever active skill and gear whatever regen you need to support it. The increased power is well worth it.

Spreading yourself too thin is a recipe for disaster in Grim Dawn.

Without a doubt. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started a shaman because they’re awesome!

I just started playing the Reign Of Terror mod again…it’s so so good. It brings a smile to my face every time I play it. Probably my favorite mod in history, across all games.