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


I feel the other characters calling out to me again. My Warder’s build has been pretty much set for a while. Going through the Four hills and now reaching the Broken Hills, it has been fun, but my character’s been set for a while. At this point I’m just adding points to existing skills. Squad tactics will need a lot more points, as will Savagery. And then some of the other things that I have points in. At this point, it’s hard to spot which of these skills is the most efficient at increasing my damage output. I like the fact that Savagery seems to add damage to all my other skills. I might be wrong about that, but it feels true. I build up my charges, and then use my other skills like Forcewave (Right-click), Blade-Arc (Mouse 4) for crowds and Blitz (Mouse 5) for single enemies and crowds.

For Devotion, as you can see in that link, I went to get Bull Rush, which I associated with Savagery. And I’ve been getting the per-requisites now to get Kraken next. Everything in Kraken should add to my damage for all skills.

Now I just have to keep playing and adding points to Savagery and Squad Tactics, since they both add damage to all my other skills, and then eventually maybe put points into other things.

So that’s why my other 5 characters are calling out to me more. Come play us! Who knows which classes you could combine us with! There’s so many possibilities! It is a shame that all the main character building takes place on the road to the Warden, like Lee was saying upthread. So many looooooooong dungeons at the end of Act 1. But creating new characters during that long slog should still be fun.

Maybe I’ll go for that Flash Freeze Arcanist Gendal mentioned upthread. After I beat the warden, I went back to the old area and found the blacksmith. So I got the Firebolt thingie. But it looks like in my game, Flash Freeze doesn’t mention anything about making things more vulnerable to fire. Maybe that used to be part of Flash Freeze in an earlier build of the game?

EDIT: Duh, it’s the reverse. My game DOES mention the reduction to fire resistance from Flash Freeze, it’s only Grim Calculator that doesn’t mention it. Sorry about that.


The constellations are daunting at first, but the fact they are organized into groups makes it much less so, once you become more familiar with it. I’m a planner, so would often plot out a rough idea for a build with one or two late-game constellations in mind, then it’s just a matter of figuring out how to get the pre-reds, picking up enough resists and such on the way.


The constellations hurt my brain. This isn’t helped by the ugly background picture that makes it very hard on my eyes to discern the different constellations before they are activated. Still, there are some crazy great synergies with them, so ignore them at your peril.

My Arcanist finally outgrew the flash freeze after beating the game on veteran easily. I mean he plowed right through it. Was getting pretty squishy near the end though so I respec’d out of flash freeze and finished the transition to Callidor’s Tempest + Blast Shield.

Blast shield is based around damage absorption, which is another one of those skills that looks like crap but is in fact almost brokenly powerful. Damage absorption is more like D&D’s damage reduction, so once I grokked that I instantly understood how powerful it really is. Anyways, I went from a glass cannon build that made sure nothing got close to a full on wade into the middle and slog my way out with explosive swings of my hammer.


I also made Gendal’s glass cannon build with my Arcanist. I got from level 10 to 15 mostly using the ice meteor strike and some flash freezing. And then I got an off hand item and started blasting away with that great fireball. It wasn’t working great until I assigned it to left click. Right click to freeze, left click to melt. Beautiful. I loved it.

Since I was killing things easily either way, the real test came when I found the documents to prove the shadiness of one of the residents of Devil’s Crossing. In exchange for staying quiet, he gives you a key to a locked door. My Warder had a hell of a time in there, especially to the boss at the end, who killed her like 20 times or something. But this glass cannon character was able to finish him off the first time, with no deaths. The game even warned me when entering that dungeon that there was enemy that was too strong for me. I didn’t even get that warning last time, and yet this time I still kicked more ass.

Unfortunately the Great Fireball damage seems to be static, so when I maxed out Flash freeze by level 16, when I hit 17 I wondered what I could put points into. That’s when I went into the Demolition tree and started pumping up the fire damage toggle ability. And each point into that increases the damage of the Great Fireball. Nice!


Also, can I just take another minute to say how awesome this game is?

The sound design is just so good. It’s amazing what a huge difference that makes coming from Titan Quest Anniversary Edition.

Now, the music in the game is excellent, but when I play ARPGs, I tend to listen to podcasts or other things like Tom’s livestream, or sometimes NFL games that are streaming from the Xbox, where I’m listening to the commentary while playing. So to facilitate this, as much as I enjoy the music, I turn the music volume down to zero.

And yet, in Grim Dawn, underneath the music layer, part of the ambient sounds in each area of the game, there’s still some music playing. It sounds like music by the band Hybrid. Just some sounds to create atmosphere, not in every area, but in a lot of areas. It forms an interesting baseline to both the game’s areas and to the podcasts I listen to.

On top of that layer of sound in certain areas, I love how much the sound levels vary for your abilities. The sound levels in Titan Quest were, for the most part, pretty flat, no matter what abilities were being used on the screen. In contrast, in Grim Dawn, sounds can vary from very quiet to REALLY loud, depending on what’s going on. So if the sound is very quiet, sometimes it can get drowned out by the podcast I’m listening to, while some abilities like a meteor strike or lightening are so loud and boombastic, with a deep bass reverberating, it can completely drown out the podcast. And that’s good, because the podcast is not as important as the game in my little hierarchy of simultaneous activities, you know? That’s also accompanied sometimes by a screen-shaking effect that also adds to the Ooomph that Grim Dawn gives you with some of those stronger activities.

Anyway, I just wanted to gush for a bit. Grim Dawn is so good, you guys.


Yeah, I think GD is my second favorite ARPG. It really is fantastic and I hope to see them continue and support the game.


Yes, the Greater Fireball will eventually peter out, but it can take you all the way through veteran, letting you invest in other skills until then. I would actually recommend going straight for Devastation instead of trying to keep Fireball relevant. Devastation is your boss killer key, it will drop almost every one of them like flash freeze does the yard trash.

Lots of good stuff in the pipeline like this:

Last week, patch v1.0.0.6 entered the testing phase, and it is on track for our late-September/early-October release timeframe. With this update, you will have 28 brand new items to hunt for as you battle across Cairn, or within Lokarr’s devious Crucible. In addition, over 90 Epic set items have been revised to better serve you as you hunt down Grim Dawn’s toughest foes. Beyond, we have an Aetherial roguelike in the works for v1.0.0.7 that will introduce new challenges, new items and a veritable ton of new lore to discover. All this is coming to all owners of Grim Dawn for free.

But that’s not all we’ve been working on here at Crate. An entire expansion has been in the works for some time now, and today we are pleased to begin unveiling some of what’s in store for you in Grim Dawn’s first expansion.


Patch preview - changelog is expected to be final or close to it, but they are still testing.


Last night I got to the point where they gave me a key that would temporarily open a dungeon door for a short duration. And also a recipe for how to make more keys. But unfortunately the main ingredient in the recipe was something I haven’t encountered yet. So I knew going into the dungeon that this was my one and only shot at it. This was with my Warder character. I was doing okay, but when I encountered 3 bosses at the same time, I killed all their minions and killed two bosses, but the last boss got me right as I got him. So there was all this loot on the ground, including orange, yellow, green, and blue loot that I couldn’t pick up since I was dead. Even the nearest portal was not even close to that dungeon, so I said fuck it, and called it a night.

A very interesting prospect though. Limited time areas, where you only get one shot. Sort of a pseudo-hardcore mode just for that dungeon. I like it.


Yep, that’s the Steps of Torment dungeon. I had a tough time with those dungeons at first (there is another keyed dungeon in Act IV(?)). Sounds like that same room killed me as well with my first time in there. I came back at that difficulty much later and it was easy. Of course my Warder couldn’t dream of doing that dungeon at Ultimate difficulty. Needless to say, the first time in there you have to have a strong character build to make it to the end. That’s probably one of the hardest dungeons in normal/veteran difficulty.


Ditto! I played it again last night after not touching it for awhile, and it’s now smooth and super polished! One of the best ARPG’s out there right now, IMHO. Good stuff.


Ever since reading this post, and then trying that Flash Freeze build, I’ve been obsessed with this idea of “reducing resistances is better than increasing damage”. So for the last couple of days, instead of playing a lot, I’ve just been coming home from work, turning on my favorite podcast, and then just going into each of my 6 characters and just exploring the skill trees and the devotion star chart, looking for ways to reduce resistances instead of increasing damage.

The Arcanist obviously has the Flash Freeze, which reduces Fire Resistance.
The Demolitionist has the Hellfire Mine which reduces Chaos Resistance.
The Nightblade has Night’s Chill, which reduces Pierce and Cold Resistances.
The Occultist has Curse of Frailty which reduces Bleed resistance.
The Occultist also has Vulnerability which reduces Poison/Acid, Vitality AND Elemental Resistances (HOLY SHIT! Right?)
The Shaman has the Devouring Swarm which reduces Vitality and Bleeding Resistances.

The Star Chart doesn’t seem to be as good about reducing resistances. Assassin’s Blade has an ability that reduces pierce resistance, so that will be a good one for Nightblade who already has some points in Night’s Chill. But I think it only goes into effect when Assassin’s Mark actually hits? It’s unclear. There’s also some person’s Witchblade, which has an ability called Eldritch Fire, which reduces Fire and Chaos resistance, and also does Fire and Chaos damage, but only when that ability actually hits. I don’t know if the reduction in resistances lingers for even a micro-second longer than just that enemy getting hit with that ability that might proc every once in a while. Similarly there’s an ability called Rend that reduces Bleeding resistance while doing Bleeding damage.

But really, the Star Charts don’t add much to this idea.

So here’s my plan:

I’ve already got that Sorceress with Flash Freeze who reduces Fire resistance and does fire damage.

I’ve already got a Nightblade that does Cold and Pierce Dual Wield damage while reducing Cold and Pierce Resistance. I was looking at this very closely last night. A Nightblade is all about doing Cold and Pierce and occasionally Bleeding damage. I’m tempted to make the second class for this character an Occultist, where Curse of Frailty would reduce bleed resistance, and Vulnerability would reduce Elemental resistance, making my cold damage even more potent. I’m really excited about this this build. It could be a killing machine.

Apparently a Nightblade/Occultist is called a Witch Hunter. My only concern with this character would be survivability. Doing beaucoup damage sounds awesome, but if I can’t live long enough to do that damage, it would be pretty demoralizing.

I’ll have to think of some other combinations which incorporate reduction of resistance. Thanks again for this idea! I love nerding out on skill trees looking out for this kind of stuff.

Suddenly the Occultist looks like an awesome second class to take for every character, since the Occultist provides the widest variety of reduced resistances.


I think you know this, but just checking since you mentioned the portal. You couldn’t have gotten back in, anyway. These are referred to as “roguelike” dungeons. Once you enter, the door locks again after about ten seconds and you can’t portal out. And the dungeon resets if you use another key. The NPC at the door explains all that.

Reducing resists is really complicated. Before you get any further and then realize it won’t work here’s the general rules afaik (unless something changed in the last few months:

(Also note: this isn’t important in normal/veteran. It only starts to become a big deal later when enemies have bigger resistances, so if this seems daunting, don’t sweat it)

To simplify further, focus on effects with -x% resistance because they stack.

Stack those with one x reduced if you can.

I think x% reduced is applied after the others iirc and is thussituational and won’t do much at all unless an enemy has crazy high resists or you are able to bring it to a sizable negative value with the others, so focus on the others.


They do the same crap with damage absorption - there is at least two different styles. I love this game but I don’t like this particular aspect. It makes theorycrafting overly difficult.


I agree it is needlessly fiddly. It’s something I wish they had dispensed with during early access, at least reducing it to two types, one for powerful non-stacking effects, and one for more minor things.

What happens with design sometimes is that you have a system in place, then a problem crops up (“people are stacking too much resistance reduction”) which leads them to make systems more complex to prevent that. But when you do that, it is important to take a step back and see if you could simplify and solve the problem instead (hard to do when working at a furious pace). This is one of those cases that would have benefitted from taking a breath, IMO.

#1616 is out on Steam.


From the patch notes:

I was wearing a Shaman set, where I’ve found two out of the three items in the Set. Finding the second item and wearing both used to give me a couple of nice bonuses that I don’t remember anymore. I checked last night after the patch, and the only thing it gives me is +3 to Storm Call, a skill I don’t use and never plan to use with this build.

Bah. I guess it makes it easier to not bother wearing this set anymore and to look for other items that are better.


This actually brings me to a different topic about ARPGs in general. Has anyone ever played an Action RPG where they actually finished any good sets?

I don’t recall ever finishing any sets in any ARPG except maybe some crappy low level sets in Diablo 2. And we played the SHIT out of Diablo 2. We played on LANs and hundreds of hardcore characters. We always looted corpses for the person who died and always carried that loot forward for years and years. And yet, we never managed to find items to complete sets. None of us. Just speaking for myself, I think I played at least 50 characters in Diablo 2 who got through Normal difficulty to the next difficulty level, maybe more. And some of my friends did more. And yet, we never finished any high level sets.

Other ARPGs I didn’t really play nearly as much as Diablo 2, but it does make me wonder, if the odds of actually finishing a set are sooooo low, why even have them in the game?


Sets pretty much just drop into your lap now in Diablo 3. They’re extremely powerful, but the ease of which you get them now diminishes the excitement for me. I agree that in most ARPGs they’re too hard to put together, though. I wish there were some middle ground.

For Grim Dawn, I don’t think I had a complete set but I at least had a few pieces, enough to provide nice bonuses.


Nope, never completed a set.