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

I love, so much, that this dude wrote a novel of an email to the Crate dudes about their forum culture (which I have little trouble believing may have problems) and then collated a ton of posts and emails and shit into some kind of exhibit to Not Letting Shit Go, Ever.

The reason I’m writing this overview is because the community needs to be aware of what happened (which is covered in detail below).

It really, really is. Covered in detail below, I mean. Woof.

I mean, I get that you’re frustrated and that you love the game, homes. But if a forum sucks, walk away. Life’s too short for that shit.

I read some of that, not all of it though–there’s a ton, as you note. It is probably the most heavily-documented and well-organized screed about forums I’ve ever seen. Though I’m not sure that in the grand scheme of things it was worth the time and effort, but hey, whatever floats his boat!

Did I miss something? Where is this screed?

Linked in a banner at the top of @abidingdude 's guide he posted just upthread.

It’s honest to goodness hilarious if you’ve any experience with nerds on the internet (cough, cough). Absolutely rager of a tempest in the tiniest teacup imaginable.

And he might well be “right” as far as the core merits of his claims! Wouldn’t surprise me a bit! But writing pages upon pages of emails to the CEO (I think? It’s unclear and I’m not that plugged into Crate forum drama, lol) and demanding public flagellation and firing of the dev who spends the most time there, bans of the people he’s arguing with, the whole thing is just crazypants.

I’m so here for it.

Ah nice. Thanks!

It looks like all his emails are to the lead designer of the game, for some reason.

Drama aside, this looks like a great guide. Pet/summoner builds are my favorite in games like this.

The high quality of this dude’s guides are essential to the drama. If he was just some illiterate low-effort rando posting My Toonz: Let Me Show You Them and being run off the forum after picking fights with the regulars, that’s dog-bites-man.

“Well-respected guide author accuses highest-profile forum members and mods of being sociopathic narcissists, memorializes claims in 20 pages of emails to lead designer, moves all guides AND DRAMA PRIMER to his own hosted site” – now that’s man-bites-dog.

Arthur Bruno/medierra (on the forums) was/is the lead designer of Grim Dawn and essentially one of the key players getting Crate up and running. It was him giving up his time to do the design, another staff member Rhys doing the programming and and a lot of other stuff was contracted out like animation. I think too they’d have other ex-Iron Lore people (from Titan Quest) jump in occasionally to help out. This was over 12 years ago, memory is a little hazy, and back in the times when they offered to pre-order the game on their website. Pre Kickstarter campaign and definitely pre Steam Early Access, both of which were resounding successes for the company, and the community grew rapidly from there. I used to spend time on the forums but I gradually stopped caring to track the development when it was getting harder to follow.

Dude raging over elitist assholes is understandable. It isn’t dissimilar to the prior discussion with Paradox forums and the community there. As far as awful jobs go, I reckon community manager for a video game company would be one, trying to keep toxic idiots in place. Little wonder no one at Crate is willing or able to step up and effectively manage it when they’ve got their own dedicated jobs to do. And he has a point which is too many guides are all about Level 100 builds with max devotions and rare gear. And no way would I ever bother going back to the GD forums now.

I can imagine. My experience, limited though it was, with online community management made me never, ever want to do it again. The first time was as an assistant sysop on the old CompuServe game forums. The head sysop was someone going by the name Nightwing I think, affectionately known as Nightie. They were great. The people on the game forums, though, oy vey. Having to monitor, delete, report on, and intervene in threads and work with irate gamers who would brook no dissent from their opinions about Daggerfall or whatever made me often wonder, why am I doing this?

The second time was as editor of Computer Games Magazine’s online mag, back in the day. As part of that I had to oversee the forums and nope, nothing had changed from the CompuServe days. I even got a death threat from someone over a review I did (or comment about, can’t recall) some now-obscure wargame from TalonSoft.

Online communication is essential these days, but the job of managing it to everyone’s satisfaction is impossible.

Yeah, hard pass on community management.

And from what I understand, Crate doesn’t have a full-time community manager of any kind, just one of the devs who posts patch notes and interacts occasionally. Like that person wants anything to do with build guide drama llamas, lol.

Grim Dawn: Still freaking awesome for when I have the ARPG itch.

Also, this Vitality/Bleed Archon (Oathkeeper/Shaman) is an absolute monstro. Only put the core skills in the build; season that to taste. The important thing is that Devouring Swarm + Twin Fangs is an absolute lawnmower for trash, and the two totems give a crazy amount of passive damage once you slap 'em down. Lots of resist debuffing between the minions and devotions, tons of regen, absolute fuckwombles of drain. Good times. I like to roll with a shield for maximum tankiness.

Forgot how much I dislike the Ugdenbog slog. Here, do five laps around this stupidly enormous landmark-free dark bichromatic map! Fuck off already. Malmouth maps are similarly annoying to navigate, they just don’t take several trips through to clear out the dang quests. I should go do Forgotten Gods instead.

I like Ugdenbog and Malmouth maps better than Forgotten Gods area. Malmouth is very fun to navigate with the controller (though it is hell with the mouse, which is how I did it in my first playthrough, because they hadn’t added controller support yet). Ugdenbog succeeds at being big and sprawling and confusing, even though I’ve done it a dozen times, which I really respect. That’s not an easy thing to design. And finally the Forgotten Gods area is too punishing. I’ve never finished it without dying with my immortal characters, so I’m too nervous to even try that area with my hardcore characters. And god knows Hardcore characters are just more fun to play, so I resent the Forgotten Gods area for that.

GD is my “chill out and murder some things” game, so I don’t mess around with hardcore. I don’t remember FG being particularly deadly, but then I’ve only completed it I think once.

I find Malmouth obnoxious with either controller or mouse. But then I have a particular hate for ground-effect damage in ARPGs, which Malmouth really leans into on top of the annoying multi-level aspect of the maps (which targeting/radii in GD deal with poorly), so that explains that.

Forgotten Gods kicked my butt with one character. Don’t remember his name, I do remember the lightning. Might have been this guy https://www.grimtools.com/monsterdb/1875/skills It was actually because of him I put the game down for a bit because it meant I needed to spend some time grinding out better gear.

I’m looking forward to returning home in a couple of weeks so I can play me some more Grim Dawn.

I started playing this with friends over the weekend. It’s a lot of fun, but I don’t know how anyone looked at certain aspects of the multiplayer design and decided “yep, let’s ship it.” In particular, why are players able to complete other people’s NPC quests for them in their session? I was hosting tonight, and I had multiple instances where I was given a quest and had another player finish it for me without realizing I had accepted a quest, and even a case where a player came across an NPC I hadn’t encountered yet and killed them. I know these quests are ultimately just ARPG fluff, but it feels less like “hey, let’s make a game people will play together” and more like “hey, let’s make a game where people shouldn’t play with each other until they’ve gone through the game once on their own.”

That’s a really nice convenience feature for me, my friend or I can turn in the quest depending on who happens to be in town. We all don’t need to take a trip to have the game convo with the NPC. Especially given I’ve been through the same quests approximately 7 million times for all my new characters, normal/elite/ultimate difficulties, etc.

Yep. If I miss something, I can always pay attention next time I do it with one of my solo characters.

I actually Kickstarted Grim Dawn back in the day. (It may have been my first ever Kickstarter.) But I’ve put maybe 5 hours total into it. I’m looking for a mindless ARPG to mow through baddies. Would this be a good way to dip my toes back in? Is GD going to punish me for not paying attention to it all these years?

No, it will lure you in with a false sense of security on the easier difficulties and get you hooked on character development and choices, and then crush you like a bug with its difficulty spikes. Great game, and well worth playing.

Oh my yes. Highly recommend.

It’s much more inviting after a big rebalance patch a year or two ago where they ditched a bunch of busywork in terms of collecting bits that turn into cool mods for your gear. You no longer collect bits, the cool mods just drop from mobs.

As for gameplay advice, the big difficulty spikes are actually “boss or elite enemies that deal heavy damage of some type, and you’ve been ignoring that resistance because nothing has dealt threatening amounts of that kind of damage for the last few hours of gameplay.” For my money, that’s the vast majority of the punishment GD doles out these days (outside of like intentionally murderous secret bosses and such, which can and will absolutely paste you).