Grim Dawn Articles RSS Feed | Grim Dawn RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network 11 Great PC ARPGs to Play Instead of Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem Tue, 25 Feb 2020 16:01:20 -0500 Ty Arthur


We've barely scratched the surface of what's available in the hack 'n slash action RPG genre with these entries. Inquisitor, Divine Divinity, Siege of Avalon, Path of Exile are also fantastic picks filling out a genre with too many games to list in one place.


What's your personal favorite action RPG, and what did you think of our list of the best games to play while waiting on Wolcen to get patched up? Sound off in the comments below!




It's hard to believe, but Nox is somehow 20 years old. In ARPG years, I think that makes this the great-granddad of the genre.


An extremely charming piece of ARPG history, Nox features three different stories, all dependent on which class you pick. Of course, it has plenty of hack 'n slash fun whether you want to play the warrior, the summoner, or the spell-slinging wizard.


Playing Nox is a great way to look back at how gameplay norms have changed in the intervening decades (you can wildly cheat the game by playing the wizard and just standing next to mana-recovering crystals). It's also an excellent pick if you want a game that doesn't take itself too seriously.


Aarklash Legacy


Aarklash is a unique entry on this list because it melds two usually disparate genres into one: turn-based strategy and hack n' slash. It's worth checking out for that fact alone, but it has some other unique factors that make it a must-play. 


Instead of making your character from the ground up, Aarklash starts off with four pre-generated characters coupled to specific classes. There's also a tactical level added to the game's combat encounters because party members must work in tandem to survive, forcing players to pause to issue orders.


That might not sound much like an ARPG, but trust me: the rest of the experience, from the loot system to leveling and how combat plays out, is everything you're looking for in a Diablo clone.


Plus, this crew of hardened mercenaries is just plain fun to follow around as they valiantly try not to die. 


Dungeon Siege 2


Upgraded in a number of important ways from its predecessor, Dungeon Siege 2 is still a good time 15 years later. This follow-up to the classic still sees your party leveling skills by using them, but it improves nearly everything else.


With a better story, more interesting characters, and less repetition, this is a fantastic way to lose 40 to 50 hours.


As with Sacred, it pains me to say that there's not much reason to try the third entry in Dungeon Siege series, even though it was developed by the normally-good Obisidan Entertainment.




This old-school ARPG takes you across the lands of Ancaria, and while the graphics are dated, they aren't without their charm.


Sacred is one of the first games I truly remember being wowed by. Some of the effects, like craters left in the ground after casting meteor spells, are still damn good looking.  


Sacred's gameplay is solid, squarely falling into standard hack 'n slash archetypes. However, the game's class options are more varied than you might expect, from an angelic seraphim to a blood-sucking vampiress.


While the sequel to Sacred is still a good time, don't bother with the third one. It pretty much killed the series.


Victor Vran


Does that guy above make you think of Van Helsing? Well, he should, because he's saving the people of Zagoravia from a horde of demons overrunning the land. 


Despite the clear inspiration, Victor Vran plays quite a bit differently from the Van Helsing games. For starters, there are no classes in this unique take on the ARPG style, and you can radically change your playstyle just by switching weapons, similar to how Wolcen's class system works.


Every area also features specific challenges that will force you to tackle levels in different ways, which really adds to the overall experience and replay-value of the game.


The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing 3


The fabled vampire hunter has seen three main ARPG titles already, and all of them have fairly similar gameplay that will please fans of Grim Dawn or Diablo.


I'm personally a fan of the third entry as Helsing and his ghost companion Katarina explore Borgovia with more class options and some fun tweaks to the crafting and pet systems.


Got a couple of hundred hours to spare and want to play the whole thing from beginning to end? The Final Cut version on Steam puts all three titles together into one massive ARPG journey.


Warhammer Chaosbane


Those Gotrek And Felix novels made it very clear that the Old World is ripe for a frenzied hack 'n slash experience, with millions of demons, skaven, and other beasties needing to be destroyed. Warhammer's latest excursion into action RPGs might work off the Age Of Sigmar update, but it takes its cues from those classic action stories.


While the enemy types are unfortunately repetitive (before you get to the Tomb Kings DLC, anyway), Chaosbane is an otherwise fun way to kill a few dozen hours while hacking apart thousands of fetid nurglings and crab-clawed daemonettes.


Book Of Demons


While ARPGs typically stick to a tried and true combat formula, some entries buck those trends and try something different. Book Of Demons goes that route, starting with a typical Diablo story before taking a number of major twists and turns.


Book of Demons deftly incorporates deck-building elements and interestingly puts procedurally-generated dungeons on rails. It gets extra points for graphics done in the style of paper tabletop minis.


If you've played every other hack 'n slasher out there, be sure to give this refreshing entry a try.


Torchlight 2


Improving on the original game in just about every conceivable way, Torchlight 2 is great for those who aren't fans of the overly-dark and bleak tone found in Grim Dawn


It's colorful, fun, and addicting. TL2 features compelling pet upgrade mechanics and is infused with an exploration element that pushes your forward to "just one more area." There's nothing quite like getting a better piece of loot for that perfect set of gear.


After years of waiting, there's another entry in the series finally coming soon, and it's got genre fans buzzing. If you weren't excited about the F2P model of the previously-announced Torchlight Frontiers, then you are in luck: the developers have shifted gears, making Torchlight 3 a full game unto itself. 




There's no question the ARPG genre is heavily skewed towards fantasy, and there aren't that many sci-fi action RPGs that take advantage of the Diablo style. Other than Space Siege and maybe Hellgate: London, I can't think of anything better than the forgotten gem that is Harbinger.


Coming out at exactly the wrong time in gaming history, Harbinger was quickly forgotten as other titles crowded it out. Luckily, this underappreciated ARPG still holds up with a captivating story and Diablo-esque dungeons. That's even when you consider the shooting mechanics are a tad clunky and there are only three classes to choose from. 


Sadly, Harbinger hasn't yet made it to Steam or GOG, but you can still find discs floating around on Amazon and eBay. It's also a good bet that some abandonware site has the files if you're willing to go that route. 


Grim Dawn


Until Wolcen gets the patches it deserves, I have no reservations in saying this grimdark action RPG is currently the king of the genre. It's everything Diablo 3 should have been, and then some.


The number of possible Grim Dawn builds is staggering between the game's dual-class system and the devotion constellation paths. That's not to mention that the lore is a genuine pleasure to dig through.


If you're a fan of cosmic horror, you'll dig the background story of an apocalypse centered on blood-drinking Lovecraftian horrors duking it out with ghostly atherial monstrosities summoned by overly-confident wizards.


While the base game and its multiple expansions can be played repeatedly at different difficulty levels, there's an even bigger longterm investment available in the game's truly diabolical "uber bosses."


Those challenges are for committed players who have considerably more devotion to maxing out character builds than I do. After four years of playing Grim Dawn, I still can't beat Mogdrogen on normal difficulty. The thought of tackling him on in ultimate mode causes eruptions of insane, uncontrollable laughter.


If you've done it, then my hats off to you.


Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem, touted as the next big thing in the ARPG universe, launched in pretty rough shape. Despite being in Early Access and making its presence known in Steam's top-selling games category, Wolcen is full of bugs and glitches. 


For what it's worth, the game is actually a fantastic entry in the ARPG genre — when it isn't glitching out. To its credit, the Wolcen team is working hard to fix the game, with a plethora of issues slated for tweaks in the coming weeks and months. 


As it stands, though, it's probably better to wait on Wolcen and start playing it after all the bugs are fixed. You don't want to get soft-locked out of your character, after all.


So if you're itching for a new ARPG experience but don't want to take the plunge into Wolcen, the good news is that you don't have to look very far. There are dozens of action RPGs to try out on PC, and they cover all kinds of subject matter and just about every sub-genre. 


For our look at the 11 best ARPGs to play while Wolcen gets patched, we'll stick (mostly) to games you can grab easily through digital platforms and start playing today. We won't cover the likes of Diablo because, well, you've probably played that already. 

Grim Dawn The Sacred Ashes Quest Guide Tue, 17 Dec 2019 14:28:14 -0500 Ty Arthur

Looking to complement your Demolitionist or Nightblade build, or just want to earn some extra faction reputation? The Grim Dawn Sacred Ashes side quest is a great way to kill two birds with one stone, if you can figure out how to finish it!

This Act III quest can be initiated regardless of whether you team up with the Order of Death's Vigil or Kymon's Chosen. There are different reasons to go either route, as the bosses change between the quests for either faction so you have access to two distinct infrequent weapon drops.

How To Complete The Sacred Ashes Quest

         Finding the Tomb of the Archon for The Sacred Ashes quest

Here's who to talk to start The Sacred Ashes quest for either faction option in Act III:

  • Kymon's Chosen: Talk to Father Kymon in Kymon's Sanctuary after completing the Enemy Of My Enemy quest given by Brother Elluvius
  • Order of Death's Vigil: Talk to The Keeper of Tomes in the Bastion of the Order, after completing the quest A Catalyst given by Varuuk

After initiating the quest, head southwest from the Fort Ikon rift through the Fort's southern gate (you are at the right spot if you get mobbed by Fleshwarped on the way out). Keep heading south across the bridge, then follow the wagon tracks southwest.

When you see a big stone staircase and the wagon tracks break south next to a wood sign post, stop following the tracks and instead keep going west through the gate to find the Tomb of Archon Barthollem.

The Tomb will be filled with enemy members of whichever faction you didn't side with during the main campaign. Proceed through the dungeon to the bottom of the second level (the stairs down are at the far northwest end).

Head through the iron gate to find the boss guarding the item you need to complete the quest.

Although you don't need it for this quest, note that the second level of this area has a loose torch near the northern end that offers access to the secret Lost Tomb of the Damned area.

         Tomb of Archon Barthollem map location

Death's Vigil Sacred Ashes Boss

If you are with Death's Vigil, the battle is with Archon Barthollem. He makes extensive use of fire damage, and when using a glass cannon or a melee build, watch out for his area effect Ring Of Fire ability.

The boss has a low chance to drop Archon's Warmaul when defeated -- a two handed mace that deals fire damage and gives +3 to the Demolitionist skill Fire Strike.

Archon Barthollem is farmable after completing the quest, so you can return repeatedly and fight him to try to get the Warmaul later.

After the battle, pick up the Desecrated Ashes of Empyrion from Barthollem's corpse, then return them to The Keeper Of Tomes in the Bastion of the Order to complete the quest.

Kymon's Chosen Sacred Ashes Boss

If you sided with Kymon's Chosen, the battle is with Malkadarr, Champion of Death's Vigil. Be on the lookout for Ice Crystal summons and be prepared to face extensive use of cold damage.

The boss has a low chance to drop Malkadarr's Dreadblade -- a one handed sword that increases cold damage and gives +2 to the Nightblade skill Execution.

Like with Barthollem, Malkadarr is farmable after completing the quest, so you can return repeatedly and fight him to try to get the Dreadblade. Following the battle, pick up the Sacred Ashes of Empyrion from the corpse and return them to Father Kymon to complete the quest.

      Fighting Archon Barthollem in the Tomb 

Unlike most other quests, this one doesn't come with a random item that increases in effectiveness on harder difficulties. Instead you always get XP, some Iron Bits, +500 faction reputation, and a random level 35 relic blueprint.

Need help putting together the ultimate build to smash through quests like The Sacred Ashes and get into the rogue-like dungeons? Check out our best Grim Dawn 2019 builds here, or if you just getting started and need a start to finish guide, head over to our beginner's walkthrough to Grim Dawn builds.

Grim Dawn Getting Epic Fantasy Makeover With Loyalist Pack DLC, New Patch Wed, 19 Jun 2019 14:48:26 -0400 Ty Arthur

After the release of Forgotten Gods, fans have worried that the expansion may have signaled the end of development for ARPG Grim Dawn. However, good news on that front just arrived this week, as we're getting some new content sooner rather than later.

While there's no official word on any sort of major release to follow Forgotten Gods and Ashes Of Malmouth, both a minor DLC and a new patch are set to arrive shortly.

The new Loyalist Item Pack arrives tomorrow June 20  offering aesthetic changes to make your character a little less grim and more epic.

The $8.99 second loyalist pack will include the following vanity items:

  • Sinister Black Knight’s Full Set of Armor
  • Black Knight’s Sword and Shield
  • Sacred Silver Knight’s Full Set of Armor
  • Silver Knight’s Sword and Shield
  • Venerable Dragon General’s Helm, Chestguard, and two-handed Spear
  • Enigmatic White Wizard’s Hat, Robe, and Staff off-hand
  • Crate companion pet

Those skins will also be available to apply as illusions. Developer Crate Entertainment had this to say about the new pack?

The items in this collection will bring out the classic fantasy hero within you. Always wanted to vanquish your foes dressed as a royal knight or a mighty wizard? Well now you can! To top it off, you can show off your support for Crate with your very own companion pet (PTSD warning for those that have faced the mighty Crate of Entertainment secret boss).

Yes, the pet is, in fact, a Crate logo that follows you all around the world of Cairn.

The previous Loyalist Item pack was released back in 2016 and featured historical themed items like a George Washington powdered wig and southern general's hat, in addition to a will 'o wisp pet to act as a light source.

In addition to the new Loyalist pack, a host of updated spell effects are due to land with the V1.1.3.0 patch in the next few days, providing visual changes to Amarasta’s Blade Burst, Blackwater Cocktail, Lightning Strike, Maelstrom, Primal Strike, Reckless Tempest, Ring of Steel, Eye of Reckoning, Righteous Fervor, and Savagery.

That patch will also bring four brand-new anomalies in the Shattered Realm section of the Forgotten Gods expansion.

Just getting started with this love letter to classic ARPG titles? Check out our guides to jumping in with the best mastery builds here:

Let The ARPG Wars Begin: Warhammer Chaosbane vs. Other ARPGs Mon, 27 May 2019 07:00:01 -0400 Ty Arthur

2019 is a very odd year for the ARPG fan base, with one major franchise apparently wrapping up and several huge name titles set to arrive to something significantly less than triumphant fanfare.

Grim Dawn just released what may be the game's final DLC (I'm not crying -- you're crying!) while Diablo Immortal is going mobile and Torchlight Frontiers looks like it may be a free to play MMO.

Amid those... questionable... design decisions, hardcore ARPG fans are probably wondering where to get their fix of new content coming soon, and the answer is very likely in the chaos of the Old World. 

  All I can think whenever I hear the words "Diablo" and "mobile" together 

An Unlikely Hero... Games Workshop?!?

Only a few weeks from launch, Warhammer: Chaosbane had the distinct possibility of ending up an absolute disaster, like many Games Workshop titles to come before.

You don't have to reach far back into history to see where the Warhammer license has gone wrong. Previous ARPG Inquisitor Martyr was an absolute flop, Wrath & Glory just got yanked from Ulisses and handed off to Cubicle 7, while Space Hulk: Deathwing had to come out with a fully revamped enhanced edition... which still sits at "mixed" reviews.

Just by looking at the previous release history, Chaosbane seems like a notable departure for Eko Software, which is an established developer with a long track record, but the company isn't exactly known for big AAA titles. Eko was responsible for How To Survive: Storm Warning and a whole bunch of French PS2 and 3DS titles from Woody Woodpecker to Best Of Board Games.

In other words, this isn't a developer with a history involving anything remotely like a Diablo style action RPG, and Chaosbane easily could have been another in a long line of Warhammer game corpses left on the wayside. 

How Chaosbane Stacks Up Against The Competition

Thankfully, that hasn't turned out to be the case for a multitude of reasons, but we'll start with a big one that will have console players leaping off the La-Z-Boy for joy. There is in fact local 4 player couch co-op available on the console versions!

Yep, you get to team up with your buddies directly next to each other and slaughter hordes of nurglings, beast men, and all manner of foul chaos beasts by the thousands.

That's fabulous news for those who don't like the impersonal nature (and constant abuse from 12 year olds) inherent to online matches, but there are other ways Chaosbane breaks from the ARPG pack, and some of them are less welcome.

Chaosbane Class Options

 Classes cover the classic wizard, archer, tank, and frenzied barbarian.

Here's the big one: there are only four classes, which obviously is a major limitation compared either to the seven classes from Path Of Exile and Diablo III or the 36 possible combinations with the dual mastery symbol of Grim Dawn.

Those four classes -- the classic dwarf slayer, wood elf archer, high elf mage, and empire soldier -- are incredibly distinct from one another however, both in overall direction but also in special ability.

Everyone has a role to play. Whether manually moving a protective dome spell to cover a friend as the mage, using the grappling hook to re-position yourself as the dwarf, dodge rolling as the elf, or using a shield bash for stunning with the soldier.

How you use skills and the means to regenerate energy as any of those four classes are where Chaosbane diverges strongly from most other ARPGs. Instead of mana potions, you need to be constantly attacking to recover to energy, which leads to some truly frenzied combat (particularly for the dwarf slayer, who is stronger the longer he fights and more injured he becomes).

Aside from the typical click spamming to cleave through enemies, you'll need to make effective use of area effect banners and magic domes for maximizing your combat bonuses or damage prevention against overwhelming numbers.

Skill Options: There Are More Than You Think

Aside from the main class ability differences and energy regeneration mechanics, the one huge element you'll immediately notice is how you can respec your character on the fly at any time, and I have to wonder if that's going to be the future of the genre.

At first the skill tree seems overly simplistic and straightforward. You don't choose most of the skills to take as you level -- with only a few exceptions, they just automatically unlock in a specific order. However, you can only have a limited number active at any one time, with more powerful skills costing more points to utilize. 

Since you can change what skills are equipped at any point -- even in the middle of battle -- that effectively means you get to try any build anytime you want without having to start over and make a new character. 

The customization options don't end there, however, as near the end of the first Act you unlock the extra God skill tree, which is separate from class skills and basically functions like the constellation devotion path from Grim Dawn. That's where you really tweak your character and make your own choices so your dwarf slayer will be different from your friend's dwarf slayer.

Finding a skill combination and God tree path that works for your build is crucial, because the game's higher difficulties aren't messing around. Even if you think you can clear Ultimate in Grim Dawn without any problem, you'll get annihilated by the higher difficulty tiers in Chaosbane without a whole lot of grind for leveling and better equipment.

All Aboard The Loot Train

If there's one element tying all the various ARPGs together, its the endless stream of loot as you try to find the best equipment combos. That's another area where Chaosbane is noticeably different from the competition, in both good ways and bad ways.

Thankfully, the very clunky equipment UI we saw from the first beta got a major overhaul in the second beta, so now its more inline with what ARPG players would expect. In an interesting twist, you don't really sell unnecessary equipment for money, but rather for influence to unlock extra skills.

So what about the equipment that you do keep? This is the less than ideal part. Much of the gear looks the same and has similar naming schemes, so there's less visual customization than other games in this same style.

That's bad news for co-op when two players are using the same class, and its particularly noticeable on the dwarf slayer, who has to stick to the lore of going into combat unarmored while seeking death.

 These are the exact same Grim Dawn character with different equipment -- you can't get close to this level of customization in Chaosbane.

Sadly, that problem is exacerbated by the lack of gender diversity, as you can't pick whether the character model is male or female. That may be fitting with the themes of Warhammer, but it sill feels lacking in a modern title where people are used to picking those sort of options.

The Future Road Map For Chaosbane Content

One way we can't compare Chaosbane to other entries yet is on how much new content is coming down the pipe and how frequently it will arrive. Those questions will directly determine if the community stays alive, or if this is something that people will re-install from time to time to play single player when the urge strikes.

At the moment, we know there's at least one DLC that will add a new zone and alternate God skill trees for each character, but its very up in the air as to whether we'll see constant ongoing development like with Grim Dawn or Titan Quest that are still getting updates years later. 

The interesting part about that planned DLC is that the new zone isn't about fighting chaos at all (despite the game's name), which means we're probably going to see skaven, green skins, or vampire counts.

Aside from the big question mark of the DLC, we do know the game will get Expedition Mode after launch as part of a series of end game updates.

Expedition mode will let you play randomly generated maps to earn fragments for upgrading equipment, and that will significantly increase the longevity, calling to mind the Shattered Realms or Crucible sections of Grim Dawn.

Whether it dethrones Path Of Exile and Grim Dawn to become the king of the current ARPGs or ends up just another blip on the genre's radar, Warhammer: Chaosbane is due to drop June 4th, 2019 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Will you be picking it up, and what class are you planning on playing?

Grim Dawn Ultimate Beginner's Build Guide Tue, 14 May 2019 13:49:15 -0400 Ty Arthur

For those who were disappointed by Diablo 3 and just can't sink anymore hours into Path Of Exile, the ARPG you want to devote the rest of your waking hours to is unquestionably Grim Dawn.

Unfortunately, it has a bit of a reputation for being difficult to penetrate for new players due to the huge number of potential builds and the wide range of attack and resistance types.

Want to jump into this grimdark, post-apocalyptic fantasy world but feel like you're out of your depth? We've got you covered with a full run down of everything the beginner needs to know, from picking your dual class combo, to placing attribute points and navigating the massive devotion point constellation.

Choosing Your Mastery Combo

Which two masteries you pick will determine how your character plays for the rest of the game, but rather than thinking of what mastery represents, to make this choice properly you are really deciding what kind of damage you want to deal: 

  • Physical
  • Pierce
  • Bleed
  • Internal Trauma 
  • Life Steal
  • Fire
  • Cold
  • Lightning
  • Acid
  • Vitality
  • Aether
  • Chaos
  • Burn
  • Frostburn
  • Electrocute
  • Poison

That seems like far too many choices already, but here's the thing: to get maximum DPS potential for your character, you need to stick to one or two main damage types rather than trying to become a jack of all trades.

All your other decisions will revolve around that damage type, which makes it much simpler to know what kind of equipment to use, which constellation stars to pick, and so on.

Browsing through the list, you may be wondering why Frostburn is separate from Cold, Electrocute is separate from Lightning, Internal Trauma is separate from Physical, and so on. Those sub-types are damage over time effects that keep hurting an enemy after the attack lands.

That's an important distinction, because items that boost Cold damage don't boost Frostburn, but Frostburn can be more useful since it will continue to erode enemy health after the first attack.

Which mastery deals which type of damage is usually self-explanatory (Demolitionists focus on Fire, Soldiers on Physical and Internal Trauma, and so on), but make sure to take a look at the full skill trees ahead of time, because you can come up with some interesting and less than obvious combos by taking the right skills.

The only mastery that may not be immediately obvious in its purpose is the Occultist, which focuses on debuffing enemies so they take more damage, in addition to dealing a variety of damage types such as Vitality, Acid, Poison, and Chaos.

 This guy can actually be one of the best "pet" builds... his pets are just grenades

Before landing on the specific first mastery you want to pick based on damage type, next you need to decide whether you want to either:

  • Use summoned pets as fodder to engage enemies
  • Or go solo either as a glass cannon caster or a melee powerhouse

That will help narrow down your options considerably, but don't discount masteries that seem like they aren't focused on summoning spells. For instance, the stunjacks, thermite mines, and mortar traps available to the Demolitionist mastery essentially serve the same purpose as summoned pets.

Now that you've got a general idea of which two masteries you want to play with on your first character, you need to focus on what skills to take and then stay on those paths as much as possible.

In general, you want to stick to one primary attack skill (other than your basic attack) that you can utilize constantly rather than cluttering your skill bar with a bunch of different options.

After picking that primary combat skill, go with skills that either:

  • Improve your basic attack or primary skill
  • Or instead go off automatically when using either of those attacks

For instance, in the screen shot above I've maxed out Brute Force on the Shaman side of my Shaman / Necromancer build. That skill automatically deals extra Lightning, Physical, and Internal Trauma damage when wielding a 2 handed weapon, so my build revolves heavily around 2 handed weapon basic attacks.

To dovetail my other skills into melee combat, on the Necromancer side I maxed out Reaping Strike, which has a 25% chance to drastically boost default weapon attack damage.

When picking your mastery combo, be on the lookout for this sort of synergy based on how you plan to play your character.

Still not quite sure what to play and want a more comprehensive guide on picking specific combos and skills? Check out our top three best Grim Dawn builds after the release of the Forgotten Gods expansion for inspiration!

Placing Attribute Points When Leveling

Now that you've got your mastery combo sorted, soon it will be time to start placing attribute points when you level.

Unlike the dual class combo choice, this is an extremely easy pick -- physique is literally the only attribute that matters. Yes, that's still true even if you are playing a straight spell caster. Physique ties directly to health and all damage types, and with how many elixirs of spirit you'll have to refill your energy bar, you just flat out don't need points in Spirit.

You only ever need to put points in the other two attributes if you aren't meeting the minimums required to use your preferred equipment.

The over usefulness of physique compared to the other attributes is a well known issue with the game's design that's been brought up by the fans and the developers many times, but at this point its too baked into the system to be changed. 

Navigating The Constellation Devotion Paths

 Yeah... it's big

After the mastery combos, this is where players get tripped up because there are so many options, and its easy to end up with a sub-optimal build. The devotion constellation is where you get to fine tune your build and add in extra abilities to round out your character.

Your best bet here is to take some time to plan out a devotion path ahead of time, rather than randomly putting points and hoping you end up with a viable build.

To break this down into manageable chunks, here's what you should ask yourself before picking a devotion path:

  • Do I want devotion abilities that enhance my pets?
  • Do I want devotion abilities that increase my main damage type?
  • Do I want devotion abilities that increase my health and resistance so I survive longer?
  • Do I want devotion abilities that give me more abilities like ranged attacks, extra summons, or random powerful melee attacks?

With those major types of devotion paths in mind, its easier to pick a direction to go.

For instance, taking my 2 handed Shaman / Necromancer above, I went with Rhowan's Scepter -- deciding to stick solely with maces to deal extra Internal Trauma damage -- and then Hammer to further increase that damage. Because of its increased Physical damage, then I went with Falcon, which ends in the Falcon Swoop ability that has a 15% chance to shoot out Physical damage projectiles with every basic attack.

That's just one potential path though, and there are many, many others. Shepherd's Crook for instance is a must if you want to beef up your pets, while Magi can be critical to any Fire / Burn based build.

Not sure how to get new Devotion points? You need to restore shrines scattered across the world, and remember that you can complete shrines multiple times on each difficulty level. Here's where to find them all:

Using Relics To Complete Your Build

Relics can be crafted at the blacksmith in Devil's Crossing after completing the Tale Of Two Blacksmiths quest in Burrwitch Outskirts.

Like all the other item drops, relic blueprints are totally randomized, so unfortunately I can't tell you "build this relic then that relic" for the most DPS based on your mastery combo.

Instead, there are two main routes to go here when deciding what to craft:

  • Build relics that complement your existing build
  • Or build relics that increase your options and round out your build

For instance, if you are playing a melee focused character, building a relic like Arbiter gives you a reliable ranged attack to use against bosses who can easily take out close combat enemies.

If you tend to get hit a lot because you don't have a ton of pets, relics like Corruption or Equilibrium might be worthwhile instead as a form of crowd control.

Aside from relics, you can shore up your weaknesses and increase your damage potential by buying augments from the quartermaster for each faction.

Those augments are locked behind reputation tiers however, so go out of your way to increase reputation with each faction so you can buy the items that give extra resistance to equipment and damage types to your weapons.

This is particularly critical in Elite and Ultimate modes when your resistances get knocked down automatically.

What To Do After Planning Your Character

So now you've got your build planned out and have an idea of where to go with with your devotion points, attributes, and relic crafting. There's still plenty more to learn if you want to truly master Grim Dawn and make the best possible character.

First up, make sure to talk to the inventor Kasparov in the destroyed building directly next to the rift gate portal at Devil's Crossing.

It's easy to miss that area because of the light of the rift gate, which you don't want to do, as he offers quests, provides a free extra skill point early on, and lets you pull components off equipment you no longer need. 

Note that you get that skill point on all three difficulty levels, so make sure to repeat Kasparov's quests when you play on Elite and Ultimate.

Next up, learn where to farm the components you need for the items you want to craft or the completed components you want to add directly to your equipment.

Most of these components follow a logical progression -- claws and fur come from beasts, obviously -- but some only drop from special types of enemies. For instance, Tainted Brain Matter only drops from specific types of aetherials and only if they are close in level to your character. Check out our full rare item farming guide here

As you play the game, make sure to keep components even if it seems like you don't need them. They will become useful (and in some cases necessary) for crafting relics and for restoring devotion shrines. If you start to run out of room, put excess crafting components in the smuggler's stash found at the northwest end of the top floor of Devil's Crossing.

While farming for components and completing quests, always look for the hidden sections found on most maps to get extra loot. With indoor locations these sections are walls that can be broken. With outdoor locations, these are paths that lead off the visible portion of the map.

For instance, there are four breakable walls in the Warden's Cellar, marked by the red circles above, that lead to areas off the map with extra chests. Once you know what sort of areas tend to have hidden rooms or unmarked paths, finding them becomes second nature.

Even after finding hidden locations and farming areas repeatedly, you may find some bosses are simply too hard to beat with your current build. In that case, your best bet is to bump up to the next difficulty and play the first Act again to level and get better loot, then go back to previous difficulty and you'll find the later parts of the game aren't nearly as difficult.

If you've made it far enough into Normal mode but haven't beaten the last boss so you can increase the difficulty, instead you should craft Skeleton Keys to access the sealed roguelike dungeons found in these locations:

  • The Steps of Torment
  • Port Valbury
  • The Bastion Of Chaos
  • The Ancient Grove

While you can't use rift gates in these dungeons and the challenges are much harder, you will find better loot and higher level enemies.


Have any other questions on what to do or how to build your Grim Dawn character? Fire off a comment below and we'll help you out! Check out our other Grim Dawn guides as well to help ease your way into master.

Grim Dawn Best Builds Of 2019 Wed, 24 Apr 2019 16:39:16 -0400 Ty Arthur

The sprawling grim dark fantasy ARPG Grim Dawn has seen quite a few changes both to existing masteries and loots drops in recent patches, but also with the addition of whole new masteries in the latest expansions.

With those changes in mind, its time to update our guide to the best Grim Dawn builds. If you want to take a look, our previous version of the best build still has some solid tips if you want to try out a Warder character, although some of that info is now outdated.

Before diving into specific mastery combos and skill load outs, first let's clarify what we mean by "best". Our best builds have these qualities:

  • Less squishy and more survivable in most situations
  • High damage output potential
  • Ability to make it to later waves of Crucible or the Shattered Realm
  • Can tackle the sealed dungeons
  • Have the potential to defeat secret god boss Mogdrogen (with the right equipment and at level 85 - 100)

Up until the release of Forgotten Gods, one of the top damage dealing classes was easily the Cabalist (Necromancer + Occultist) with a focus on pets and chaos damage. Unfortunately, the latest patches have heavily nerfed chaos damage and items that boost chaos pet damage. 

While that's still a potentially viable build just for fun, we can't recommend it as an actual "best" build anymore at this point. Instead, we're going to look at three classes focused on melee attacks, undead pet summoning, and poison / acid damage.

Ritualist (Shaman + Necromancer)

Based on personal play style preference, this is my current favorite build, although your mileage may vary if you don't care for melee combat or using a ton of pet summons.

There's a dual focus here, first on summoning creatures to keep the enemy busy, then on two handed weapon attacks with internal trauma damage. It may seem strange to have two caster classes focused on physical attacks, but trust me, it works wonders.

Internal trauma damage bypasses armor and continues dealing damage over time, making it very helpful with big tanky bosses. In terms of devotion points, Hammer gives you bonus internal trauma, while Shepherd's Crook is a must for the bonus to pets. Be sure to pick a devotion constellation tied to whatever 2 handed weapon type you end up using (Rhowan's Scepter gives a ton of internal trauma damage for maces).

The goal with this build is to always have 8 skeletons, a briarthorn, a blight fiend, and a primal spirit to thin out the enemy while you go to town with a 2 handed weapon.

Ritualist Skills

These are the preferred skills out for the Necromancer side:

  • Reaping Strike 10 (bonus main hand damage)
  • Necrotic Edge 12 (bonus default weapon damage)
  • Raise Skeletons 16
  • Undead Legion 12 (upgrades skeletons)
  • Will Of The Crypt 12 (upgrades skeletons)
  • Call Of The Grave 4 (upgrade all pets for limited time)
  • Summon Blight Fiend 16 
  • Rotting Fumes 1 (upgrades Blight Fiend)
  • Blight Burst 1 (upgrades Blight Fiend)

These are the preferred skills for the Shaman side:

  • Brute Force 12 (increase internal trauma damage with main attack)
  • Feral Hunger 10 (heal yourself on melee hits)
  • Summon Briarthorn 16 
  • Ground Slam 4 (upgrade Briarthorn)
  • Emboldening Presence 4 (upgrade Briarthorn)
  • Primal Bond 12 (additional internal trauma damage and upgrades pets)
  • Conjure Primal Spirit 6

Of course there are ways to tweak the skills if you want to focus more on pets than melee attacks, as Reaping Strike and Necrotic Edge can be swapped for maxing out the Blight Fiend and Briarthorn upgrade skills instead.

So long as you buy faction items or equip items that that increase poison resistance, you'll even do very well in the harder Ashes Of Malmouth content like the Ancient Grove sealed dungeon.

There are really only two main weaknesses to pay attention to here.

First up, the only place you are really going to struggle is with Father Kymon near the end of Forgotten Gods, who will be difficult to overcome with this build on epic and ultimate modes.

Since Kymon can one shot many players with melee hits, you want to stay far away and let your pets do the work, or equip an item that gives you an extra ranged power to use while you hide in the area's entrance.

Second, while this build will see you surrounded by a horde of pets, unfortunately it doesn't have quite enough summoning potential to actually unlock the Pet Hoarder achievement... unless you manage to find a significant number of loot drops that give you bonus summoning powers.

Dervish (Oathkeeper + Nightblade)

As a brand new mastery, the player base is still trying to figure out the best secondary class and skill load out for the Oathkeeper, and many players are convinced only Soldier or Demolitionist are viable options.

They are dead wrong (at least for the moment before any future patches).

The Oathkeeper has excellent synergy with poison and acid when paired with the Nighblade mastery. To get the most use out of this build, obviously you are going to want to equip any items that increase your overall acid damage.

In terms of devotions, make sure you pick up Rat, Eye Of The Guardian, Scorpion, Manticore, Murmur, Abomination, and Yugol The Insatiable Night for maximum acid damage output. Ghoul also works well, since it gives you some healing while attacking capability for survival.

Dervish Skills

These are the preferred skills out for the Oathkeeper side:

  • Righteous Fervor 16
  • Dreeg's Reproach 1 (converts physical damage to acid damage)
  • Consecration 12 (bonus attack speed and defense)
  • Retribution 5 (adds internal trauma damage)
  • Presence of Virtue 12 (bonus retaliation, bleed, and internal trauma damage)
  • Haven 2 (bonus health and shield block chance)
  • Rebuke 2 (bonus damage reflection)
  • Resilience 2 (increase resistance when low on health)
  • Ascension 2 (bonus to all damage for limited time)
  • Clarity of Purpose 2 (reduced debuff time and big resistance bonus)
  • Summon Guardian of Empryion 2
  • Scion of Dreeg 1 (convert Guardian's damage to acid)
  • Celestial Presence 12 (Guardian gains big acid damage bonus)

These are the preferred skills out for the Nightblade side:

  • Amastara's Blade Burst 16
  • Lethal Assault 12 (bonus acid damage)
  • Dual Blades 5
  • Belgothian Shears 3 
  • Nidalla's Hidden Hand 8 (bonus acid damage)
  • Shadow Strike 16 
  • Nadalla's Justifiable Ends 12 (bonus poison damage)
  • Veil of Shadow 10 
  • Night's Chill 10 (bonus resistances)
  • Merciless Repertoire 12 (big bonuses to acid and poison damage)

Switching between Amastara's Blade Burst and the Righteous Fervor attacks can result in crazy damage to just about any enemy as poison and acid eat away at health. Don't forget to summon your Guardian so he can also go out and perform area burst acid attacks!

The main downside here is a lack of crit percentage, but with how much poison, acid, bleed, and internal trauma damage you will be dealing, it isn't that much of a weakness.

For maximum damage output, don't forget to grab those Dreeg-focused faction items that add in additional poison/acid damage to whatever dual wielding weapons you are using.

Conjurer (Occultist + Shaman)

A lot of the pet builds were sadly diminished with the Forgotten Gods expansion, but this one remains viable if you play it right.

A counterpoint to the Ritualist, this mastery combo is mostly about summoning creatures and letting them do the damage, while then lowering enemy resistances so your summons can tear at them with damage types like acid, cold, lightning, etc.

For devotion points, Ulzuin's Torch is a great idea that can be bound to any of your summon skills, as it eventually gives you the chance to randomly call down a high damage meteor swarm with any basic attack. Other than that, Behemoth, Jackal, and Rhowan's Crown are all critical for the bonuses to pets.

Finally, don't forget Modgrogen the Wolf, as the final star on that devotion constellation gives you Howl Of Mogrdogen for a big bonus to your pets.

Conjurer Skills

These are the preferred skills out for the Occultist side:

  • Summon Familiar 16 
  • Storm Spirit 10 (grant area elemental attack to Familiar)
  • Bonds of Bysmiel 12 (big health and energy buff to all pets)
  • Manipulation 12 (big damage buff to all pets)
  • Summon Hellhound 16 
  • Curse of Frailty 5
  • Vulnerability 10 (greatly reduce enemy resistances)
  • Blood of Dreeg 16
  • Aspect of the Guardian 12
  • Dreeg's Evil Eye 6 (extra attack option for poison / acid damage)
  • Focused Gaze 1 (increase poison / acid damage)

These are the preferred skills out for the Shaman side:

  • Summon Briarthorn 16
  • Ground Slam 4
  • Emboldening Presence 12 (this is critical for upgrading your other pets)
  • Modgroden's Pact 4 (increased healing opportunities)
  • Heart Of The Wild 7 (extra health and resistance)
  • Oak Skin (retaliation damage)
  • Wind Devil 5
  • Raging Tempest 12 (Wind Devil deals cold damage and reduces elemental resistance)
  • Primal Bond 10 (bonus to all pets)
  • Conjure Primal Spirit 12

Your focus here is on getting as many pets on the screen as possible that all deal elemental damage, while you then use your Occultist abilities to lower the resistances of any enemies.

The main weakness is that your character won't be directly dealing a ton of damage, and of course you don't have a ton of defense. Just make sure to always be on the lookout for any equipment that gives pet bonuses, elemental damage bonuses, or debuffs the enemy.


Want to see what builds other players have come up with? The Grim Dawn build compendium over in the game's official forums are a great place to start.

However, keep in mind that many of those builds revolve heavily around using very specific equipment, which you may not be able to get since loot is random.

What Is Illusion-Be-Gone in Grim Dawn? Wed, 24 Apr 2019 10:25:16 -0400 Ty Arthur

As development on Grim Dawn has been active since the game released in 2016, a huge amount of new equipment and loot has become available to perfect your character build (if you have the patience to grind for it).

With a host of new items and mastery classes arriving in recent patches and DLC content, anyone coming back into the game after a lengthy period away may not know what everything is meant to actually do.

Much like the transmogrification from Diablo or similar effects from a host of other ARPGs, Grim Dawn added in the ability to change the appearance of equipment with the Ashes Of Malmouth and Forgotten Gods expansions.

Your perfect equipment lineup may give the stats you need but not give you the visual aesthetic you want, which is where illusions come in handy. But what about when you no longer want an illusion in place? That's where you need to grab yourself an Illusion-Be-Gone.

What Does Illusion-Be-Gone Do?

Adding illusions to your inventory in Grim Dawn is fairly expensive at 6,911 iron bits a pop. That's a total of more than 50,000 iron bits if you put an illusion on every piece of equipment and are using a shield or dual wielding.

The newly added illusionists are now found in two main locations on Cairn:

  • Paulia: Inside the gates of Devil's Crossing (near Ellis the Quartermaster)
  • Wevala: Near the eastern exit to Coven's Refuge (near the shrine where Matron Malostria is standing)

Rather than spending more iron bits to change the illusion back to its original appearance, you can use the Illusion-Be-Gone item to automatically remove a single illusion on any piece of equipment. This works on weapons and armor. 

To use it, just right click the Illusion-Be-Gone jar, then left click whatever inventory item has the illusion you don't want to use anymore (just like if you were adding a component to a piece of equipment).

Where To Find Illusion-Be-Gone

Want to grab an Illusion-Be-Gone? They don't cost anything and are available for free from Kory The Keeper, who stands in front of the main gates to Devil's Crossing (right next to the salvage dealer). This is who previously handed out backer rewards to players who supported Grim Dawn's development on Kickstarter.

After approaching Kory The Keeper, choose the dialog prompt "I'm tired of these illusions" followed by "Receive Illusion-Be-Gone" and Illusion-Be-Gone will be added to your inventory immediately.

Unfortunately, you can only grab one at a time from him, since you need to following a dialog prompt to get them. He also won't give you a new one until you use the old one. Weirdly, you can't buy them in bulk anywhere at the moment, so you have to remove illusions one by one.

An Illusion-Be-Gone takes up four squares in your inventory, so I recommend dropping it into smuggler's item stash until you actually want to use it to ditch any given illusion.

Note that since Illusion-Be-Gone is a soul bound item, it can't be placed in the item transfer chests in the smuggler menu for transferring to another character. That's not a problem though, because you can just grab another one for free from Kory with your other characters at any time.

 My shaman/necromancer is wielding a two-handed mace
with an illusion to look like a scythe

What's your favorite illusion to apply to your weapons or armor? For more tips and tricks, check out our other Grim Dawn guides here:

Grim Dawn Ultimate Tainted Brain Matter Farming Guide Tue, 23 Apr 2019 15:35:10 -0400 Ty Arthur

As an action RPG filled to the brim with random loot drops, building the perfect Grim Dawn character is a heavily RNG-focused prospect as you hope for the best weapons and rare crafting materials to magically appear after slaughtering a horde of creatures.

Tainted Brain Matter is one rare material that players have trouble finding, especially as they level up and outpace the starting normal mode difficulty.  There are three main ways to acquire Tainted Brain Matter, which we'll cover in depth below:

  • Random chest drops
  • Farming specific aetherials and aether corruptions
  • Trading at the Gates Of Necropolis

Random Chest Drops

All of the rare crafting materials such as Tainted Brain Matter, Blood Of Ch'thon, and Ancient Hearts (very) occasionally drop from heroic chests, end boss chests, and one shot chests.

In particular, I've had success finding Tainted Brain Matter after defeating The Master Of Flesh and opening the chests labeled as The Master's Trove at the end of Ashes of Malmouth.

The locked chests that have to be opened with dynamite in Deadman's Gulch also occasionally drop them.

Frankly, the percentage chance on chests is low enough that its more of a "Hey, cool, it finally dropped," than anything that can be reliably farmed, however, so this isn't the best way to go about finding rare crafting ingredients.

Best Spots To Farm Tainted Brain Matter

 Battling a star marked heroic atherial.

Instead on relying on chests to effectively farm Tainted Brain Matter, your best bet is to go anywhere where aetherials and aether corruption creatures spawn at a high level. Tainted Brain Matter will drop randomly from these creature types:

  • Heroic creatures: These aetherials and aether corruptions are marked with the star next to their name and typically have extra titles such as Azar The Wrathful, Aetheron The Plaguebearer, or Kamladris the Rimeheart
  • Bosses: Such as Commander Lucius, Warden Krieg, Herald Of The Flame, or The Amalgamation
  • Nemesis spawns: These rare, high level atherials and aether corruptions won't spawn until you hit the lowest reputation with those factions, which won't happen until much later on a 2nd - 3rd playthrough on a higher difficulty

The best spots to find plenty of these are types of enemies are The Hidden Laboratory (Act I), the Gates Of Necropolis (Act IV), Port Valbury (the roguelike challenge dungeon in Act III) and any area in the city of Malmouth (Ashes Of Malmouth expansion).

Warden Krieg in the Hidden Laboratory near the end of Act I is by far the best boss to farm at lower levels, because you get plenty of potential aetherial hero spawns along the way to fighting him.

No matter where you go to find aetherials for farming Tainted Brain Matter, it is critical to note that this rare crafting component will not drop from creatures that are 10 or more levels below your character level.

Why does that matter? Because each difficulty level of the game has level caps for creatures in specific areas. This is easily the top reason why new players can't ever seem to find Tainted Brain Matter no matter how many aetherials they kill.

If you've already hit level 65 - 70, then you simply can't farm Tainted Brain Matter on normal mode any longer. At that point, it's time to move up to epic difficulty and replay the campaign until you reach areas with aetherial and aether corruption heroes.

Trading For Tainted Brain Matter

Horrus the Cursed Smith found to the north of the rift gate at the Gates Of Necropolis (near the end of Act IV in the base campaign) will trade items for Tainted Brain Matter, which sounds like the quickest and easiest way to get them, right?

Well, it's less easy than you may think, because he will only trade other rare crafting materials, which obviously also drop very infrequently. If you've been playing through areas heavy with chthonic enemies however, you may have extra Blood Of Ch'thon for trading.

You can trade these items on a 1 for 1 basis with Horrus:

  • Blood of Ch'thon for Tainted Brain Matter
  • Ancient Heart for Blood of Chthon
  • Tainted Brain Matter for Ancient Heart

What Is Tainted Brain Matter Used For In Grim Dawn?

In addition to completing the Tainted Brains faction bounty in Devil's Crossing, the main usage for Tainted Brain Matter is crafting legendary equipment and relics.

Note that you unlock the Relic From The Past achievement when first crafting an empowered relic (which will probably include Tainted Brain Matter, since that's the earliest rare crafting material to drop).

Those empowered relics are then used as materials for crafting transcendent and mythic relics. Tainted Brain Matter can be used specifically in these crafting recipes:

  • Agrivix's Malix (mythic relic)
  • Bloodsworm Amulet (empowered relic)
  • Bloodrager's Cowl (legendary helm)
  • Calamity (empowered relic)
  • Clairvoyant's Hat (legendary caster helm)
  • Desolation (transcendent relic)
  • Elixer of the Aether (consumable)
  • Equilibrium (empowered relic)
  • Fortitude (empowered relic)
  • Iskandra's Hood (legendary caster helm)
  • Juggernaut (transcendent relic)
  • Gunslinger's Talisman (empowered relic)
  • Maw of Despair (legendary heavy helm)
  • Mortality (transcendent relic)
  • Ruination (empowered relic)
  • Scourge (mythic relic)
  • Specter (empowered relic)
  • Whisperer of Secrets (legendary helm)

Have you found any other treasure chests or locations that seem to drop Tainted Brain Matter more frequently? Let us know in the comments!

Still need more help navigating this post-apocalytpic grim dark fantasy ARPG? Check out our other Grim Dawn guides here:

20+ Great Online Co-op Games Currently on Steam for Less Than $30 Sat, 30 Jun 2018 19:32:38 -0400 Ashley Shankle

If your group of friends is anything like mine, getting them all to both agree to and pay for a particular game is harder than herding feral cats. Maybe you're in a similar situation or maybe you're just on the prowl for some good multiplayer games to play in Steam Remote Play. Whatever the case, we've compiled a sizable list to help you out.

The good thing about Remote Play is that only one player in the group needs to own the game; the rest can try it out for free — at least in its current beta period. 

Let's choo choo on through, and hopefully, find you and your friend(s) a game you can play.


Price: $9.99
Steam Store link

You'll see this game mentioned on just about every list of co-op games. This co-op sandbox-adventure has loads of content for any group of friends to go to town on. Terraria has stayed on the top played Steam games for 7 years for good reason.

Grim Dawn

Price: $24.99
Steam Store link

If you're looking to scratch your ARPG itch, you could do a lot worse than Grim Dawn. Even without the expansion, you can find dozens of hours of whackin' and lootin' in Grim Dawn. If you're not too keen on its darker aesthetic but do want an ARPG, the next option may be more down your alley.

Torchlight 2

Price: $19.99
Steam Store link

It may be older than Grim Dawn, but Torchlight 2 still has a lot of staying power if you've never given the game a chance. There is more content to be found in Grim Dawn but Torchlight 2 has a robust array of mods available, including content, quality of life, and classes. This is still a solid buy today in 2018, and it can be modded for up to 8-player multiplayer.

Castle Crashers

Price: $14.99
Steam Store link

Another staple co-op game sure to be on pretty much every co-op list, Castle Crashers is the poster boy for co-op beat'em ups. This is an easy one for all ages and kill levels to get into and have fun with.

BattleBlock Theater

Price: $14.99
Steam Store link

Another game from The Behemoth, the same studio behind Castle Crashers. BattleBlock Theater's campaign is completely co-op and it also features a healthy selection of hectic PvP modes, for when you want to prove your better than your friends once and for all.

Rocket League

Price: $19.99
Steam Store link

Before you say, "Ugh, no. Too mainstream," take a breath and consider Rocket League as a co-op game with a low barrier of entry and a whole lot of speed. Rocket League may not be your first choice, but it's an easy game to get a group of people to agree to hop onto for a quick round.

Risk of Rain

Price: $9.99
Steam Store link

Risk of Rain is a co-op game with an unquenchable bloodlust. Though not for everyone due to its extreme difficulty, Risk of Rain is an easy buy for roguelite fans or groups of friends who hate life. It's a hard game and it will knock you down a peg with ease, whether you've got 1 hour or 300 hours worth of gameplay logged.

Risk of Rain 2 is pretty good, too. It's currently $19.99 on Steam

Beat Hazard

Price: $9.99
Steam Store link

This one always seems to slip through the cracks since it's been blessing Steam with its presence for eight years now, but despite its age, Beat Hazard continues to be a recommended purchase for co-op play, providing you and your friend(s) are good at shmups. Beat Hazard lets you use your own music or one of many radio stations to generate enemies, which is what makes this one so unique.

Ultimate Chicken Horse

Price: $14.99
Steam Store link

Playing this game with a group of friends is an exercise in sadism. You and up to three other friends will be tasked with creating and completing the stages in Ultimate Chicken Horse, and you can bet at least one (or even all) of you will make them nearly impossible to beat, in the name of being the better platformer player. Ridiculously fun and honestly not as enraging as it sounds.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

Price: $14.99
Steam Store link

An outlier among the other games in this collection, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes only requires one person to buy the game. There's a reason for that: Only one player is allowed to see the screen at a time, so only one can directly defuse the bomb. The other players must tell the defuser what to do based on the instructions in the manual.

If it sounds a little convoluted, that's because it is by design. Can you and your friends defuse a bomb? Maybe, maybe not. But you can certainly yell at each other trying.

Don't Starve Together

Price: $14.99
Steam Store link

Don't Starve has stood as one of the more accessible survival games over the years, and the multiplayer expansion Don't Starve Together may be an even more enjoyable game than the base with the Reign of Giants expansion. Together contains both, plus the ability to die in the forest with your friends. If  as in my case — you tried the original game but didn't enjoy it much, you may still find this fun.

Left 4 Dead 2

Price: $9.99
Steam Store link

You may be dissuaded from picking Left 4 Dead 2 up based on its age. It's been out for 11 years now, it seems like everyone's been through the game. Why bother? If you haven't played it yet, this is your reminder to pick up L4D2 to play with your friends. It's still fun to this day, but it's best played with friends. Any community for a decade-old game is bound to be elitist and this game is no exception.


Price: $9.99
Steam Store link

If you don't play PAYDAY 2, it's possible the only thing you've heard about it was the hubbub about microtransactions a few years back. It's been a long time since then though, and the game is a solid heister. You don't need to play the first game to dive right into this one and, provided your group can cooperate, there are hours upon hours of heists for you to tackle.

Dungeon of The Endless

Price: $11.99
Steam Store link

How about something a little different? Amplitude's Endless universe has expanded this way and that, with "that" being Dungeon of the Endless, a pseudo-tower defense roguelike. In this, players must hoard resources and expand based on the ever-increasing threats of the depth of the dungeon. A single round in this game can take several hours and it is very hard, but if your group's into roguelikes you could do a lot worse.

Borderlands 2

Price: $19.99
Steam Store link

Borderlands 2 is another old staple that still holds up today, especially multiplayer. Pushing through this game with friends is satisfying as firefights are intense and the weapon system is a ARPG-style lootfest. Not many games age as well as this one -- you can come back years later and still have a ton of fun.

Golf With Your Friends

Price: $7.99
Steam Store link

If you just want a game to pay a little attention to while chatting, this is an easy choice. Golf With Your Friends isn't exactly rolling in content variety and only contains 7 levels with 18 holes, but things are kept fresh through golf ball shapes and game modes. A very easy game to just sit back and play while having a couple beers and a laugh.

Human: Fall Flat

Price: $14.99
Steam Store link

How about something a little less-in-your-face about its silliness? We've got some pretty quirky games listed here, but they're all a bit more obvious about it than the cooperative physics-based puzzle solving found in Human: Fall Flat. The one downside here is that there are not a lot of stages, but it's a good deal at this price. 

Project Zomboid

Price: $14.99
Steam Store link

Don't let this game's graphics and the year it entered Steam Early Access fool you: Project Zomboid is a fleshed-out survival sandbox with hundreds of potential hours of gameplay, with continued support from its developer as it slowly shambles toward full release. If you and your group can accept the high learning curve, you can have a great time with this game.

Portal 2

Price: $9.99
Steam Store link

The Portal games are famous for a lot of reasons and one of those reasons is (Spoilers!) the stellar co-op campaign. If you haven't played Portal 2 and you want a game to play with a friend, you may as well throw the $2 at Valve and see what all the hubbub is about.


Price: $14.99
Steam Store link

An other roguelike to add to the pile, Barony is the closest to a traditional roguelike of any of the games listed here. It looks old, it feels old, and it plays like an old game. That's perfectly fine: You'll be hard-pressed to find another game that takes the classic roguelike formula, turns it 3D and realtime, and allows for online co-op. This one's pretty niche but you're in for a good time if you're comfortable with classic roguelikes.

Endless Legend

Price: $29.99
Steam Store link

Though Endless Space is currently also on sale, I would recommend Endless Legend over it for its similarities to the Civilization series and its overall fun factor. This is a more traditional-style 4X game. Expand, form alliances, wage wars -- it's up to you. A worthy strategy addition to most gaming groups on a budget.

Resident Evil 5

Price: $19.99
Steam Store link

You don't hear much about Resident Evil 5 or 6 for a few reasons, but none of those reasons equate to them not being fun with friends. Resident Evil 5 is often overlooked in favor of 6 for co-op play because it retains the semi-tank controls found in its predecessor, but if you and a friend can adjust to that control style this is an intense and worthwhile co-op action game.

Resident Evil 6

Price: $29.99
Steam Store link

Like its predecessor, Resident Evil 6 is best played with a friend. Unlike its predecessor, it's got more modern, fluid controls and a whole lot of QTEs. This one is over-the-top in about every regard, to the extent I can't help but find it silly each playthrough. If you like classic Resi games, go with 5. If you can't deal with the antiquated controls, go with 6. The decision is as simple as that.

7 Days to Die

Price: $24.99
Steam Store link

One of the first titles in the survival game wave that paved the way for games such as Rust and ARK: Survival Evolved, 7 Days to Die still stands as one of the most played games on Steam and is just as fun now as when it came out. As with the two mentioned, 7 Days to Die allows you a great deal of freedom in your efforts to survive. Break, use, and do whatever you want to ensure your survival in a world overrun by over 50 types of zombies.

Orcs Must Die! 2

Price: $14.99
Steam Store link

The original Orcs Must Die! set off a chain reaction of action-tower defense clones, some good and some bad, but none really hold up to the sequel. Orcs Must Die! 2 is an improvement over the first game in almost every way, and has the added bonus of online multiplayer. It's easy to get into, easy to wrap your head around, and easy to spend too many hours in.

Tabletop Simulator

Price: $19.99
Steam Store link

This is a bit of a strange one since Tabletop Simulator itself isn't a game, but a mini-platform for tabletop gaming. The amount of games available via Tabletop Simulator are nearly endless, making this a fantastic purchase for any static group of friends who have trouble deciding on what to play or want to play board games without having to pick up after themselves.


These are definitely not all of the co-op games you can get for relatively cheap on Steam, but these are some I can personally recommend. I hope you've found at least one game you find worthy of your Steam library.

Grim Dawn -- The Lost Elder Quest Guide Wed, 14 Mar 2018 14:41:58 -0400 Ty Arthur

It's hard to believe that the full version of crowdfunding success story Grim Dawn has been out for more than two years now (and much longer than that if you count early access).

This classic ARPG experience is still going strong, with the Forgotten Gods DLC now announced and slated to land near the end of the year, which follows 2017's Ashes Of Malmouth expansion.

There's still plenty to do in the base game and first expansion, though, from finally wrapping up those optional Skeleton Key dungeons to snagging a few remaining quests that only appear when you reach higher reputation levels with Cairn's factions. Below we cover how to find and finish the Lost Elder quest given out by the Rover faction.

Grim Dawn Lost Elder Quest

There's more than one Rover camp, so make sure you go to the right place to begin this quest. You want to take the Arkovian Foothills rift (not the Old Arkovia rift leading to the main Rover area with the faction bounty table) and run just to the southwest to find the right camp.

Talk to Greven (the guy standing on the eastern side of the camp) to kick off this quest. If he doesn't immediately offer it, finish a few other Rover quests first and then come back, and eventually it will pop up.

Finding Greven at the Arkovian Foothills Rover camp Finding Greven at the Arkovian Foothills Rover camp

This is actually a really short Fedex quest that just has you grab an item and bring it back to Greven. After getting the quest, head to the northwest corner of this area of the Arkovian Foothills past the Staunton Mine entrance to find the dying elder Mathias lying inside a broken tower. 

There's a possible bug here where you can't pick up the talisman off the body. In most cases, this means you already have an instance of that item in your inventory (since you can only have one of this particular quest item). Check your inventory to see if it's already there, or just restart the game and then grab the talisman.

Finding the lost elder in Grim Dawn Finding the lost elder

From there, return to Greven by walking back or just by opening a personal rift, and return to the Arkovian Foothills main rift.

Now you have a choice to complete the quest: lie and keep the talisman, or choose to give it back. Either way finishes the quest and nets you the 2,500 experience (on Normal difficulty).

As a quest item, the talisman doesn't reveal its stats until you choose to lie and keep it. On Normal difficulty, you get the Bone Talisman, which gives a 5% boost to the three main Cunning/Physique/Spirit stats and also has a unique ability to increase damage and energy regeneration for a short time.

On Elite difficulty you get the Ivory Talisman instead that is just an upgraded version of the same item, while on Ultimate, you get the Sacred Talisman. That one gives a 20% bonus to ALL damage and should absolutely be kept!

Taking either option is valid, depending on what you need at the time. If you keep it, you won't gain any Rover faction reputation for completing the quest, but it's not hard to make up the reputation points just by killing undead or finishing bounties. 

On the other hand, you will find much better items as random drops later on in Normal difficulty (and you can get boosts of this same nature using components), but if you need an increase to your attributes at this point in the game, there's not much downside to keeping the talisman rather than returning it to Greven.

Information related to the Sacred Talisman The Sacred Talisman is worth it, though (thanks to the Grim Dawn wiki for the stats)

Need help picking a build or finding the devotion shrines to enhance your character? Check out our other Grim Dawn guides below:

What's On Your (Game) Playlist This Month? Tue, 07 Nov 2017 17:36:42 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Have you ever wondered what the awesome writers and techies at GameSkinny play in their spare time? Well, wonder no more! We've asked everyone that same question and compiled some of their responses for your viewing pleasure. Don't think this piece doesn't include you, though. We want to know what you're playing this month, too!

Stephen Johnston

GameSkinny founder Stephen Johnston found an October-appropriate outlet for his love of strategy gaming.

I'm playing Dungeons III quite a bit. Good solid game, a tad easy, but it has  funny, if a bit childish, banter, fun gameplay and dungeon builds, light RTS elements, and quality graphics.

Ty Arthur

Halloween also helped featured contributor and lover of shooters Ty Arthur's choice of game.

The Ashes Of Malmouth DLC has me back into indie ARPG Grim Dawn again, freezing and electrocuting Chtonian horrors from beyond and Aetherial ghost creatures by the thousands! Couldn't ask for a better Diablo 2 style game, and it fit my October preferences for horror games perfectly, with its heavy focus on the Cthulhu mythos and a grimdark, post-apocalyptic setting. Enjoying trying out new Necromancer builds in the base game and taking my Arcanist / Soldier combo through the new game acts added with the expansion.

Jonathan Moore

Senior editor Jonathan Moore took the opportunity to check out one of the year's biggest releases -- purely for professional purposes, of course.

I'm currently indulging in Destiny 2, much to the sheer surprise of anyone around the office. Having put some 300 hours into the original, I'm finding more and more that Bungie mostly learned from their mistakes and corrected course into what we currently have in Destiny 2. My primary takeaway after a solid month of playing is that the game respects your time, which is increasingly important for me. Sure, there's grinding and sometimes-"unfair" RNG, but overall, it's a game that I can pick up and play and then put down when I need to, not feeling as if my clan is going to leave me behind because of it. The gunplay is tighter this time around and activities more varied. It's a solid improvement over the original in almost every way.


Katherine Zell, contributor and fan of 3D exploration games, also found herself pulled into another highly anticipated release.

I bought Super Mario Odyssey for my husband for his birthday. I played it with him for a little while, but then he continued without me, since I was busy doing other things ha. But the bit that I played was awesome.
Two player mode is great fun as well. My husband doesn't like using the Joy-Con sideways, but I think it is just fine. For those of you who haven't played it in 2 player mode, here's a breakdown of how it works. As Mario in two-player mode, it is a bit of a pain to deal with the camera angle, especially if you've already gotten used to playing the Switch normally. But if you are just jumping in as a spare and controlling Cappy, it's a blast. As Cappy, you don't have to worry about the camera angle as much, so the awkwardness of controlling that is irrelevant. You also feel like you are still useful, and you don't get bored. The boss battles we did do were really easy because whoever was controlling Cappy could focus just on projectiles and getting the enemy ready for Mario's attack, and then Mario just attacks. there are a few things Cappy can't help with, though, not to mention he gets kidnapped for a short time, and that is really sad if you're playing as Cappy. Suddenly useless, ha. Anyway, it has been a lot of fun. Both one-player and two-player are great. It has met all of my expectations of a 3D Super Mario game.

Brandon Janeway

Destiny 2 is proving to be quite popular among the site's writers, with contributor Brandon Janeway also enjoying it -- if not so much as the original.

I am playing Destiny 2. The game just has visuals that I love, and I like the RPG and FPS mix as well. The story is the not the same as the first and does not strike the same grand atmosphere I got with the first but nonetheless, it is still very satisfying.

Kieran Desmond

Mentor and contributor Kieran Desmond's choice of new release is more on the lighthearted side of things.

I just finished South Park: The Fractured But Whole. It 100% lived up to the hype and my expectations after theThe Stick of Truth blew me away when it came out. Clocking in at 26 hours, I felt that it maybe went on a little long, considering it's essentially just a long South Park episode. Also, after hearing it was a little easy, I cranked it up to the highest difficulty from the get go and still never lost a fight. But it was hilarious all the way through. Awesome game.

Rothalack (Brian Schaaf)

There's still plenty of enjoyment to be had in older games as well, as bug master and support guru Rothalack shows.

I've been playing Factorio. It's a rabbit hole of complexity that makes me feel exhausted after playing. 10/10.


Site contributor Spacechaser is balancing new and old, while also planning on working through a sizeable backlog.

I was replaying Ocarina of Time, but that was cut short with Super Mario Odyssey's release. I'm enjoying it so far; Nintendo heard the term "open world" and really ran with it! I'll probably finish up my OoT playthrough after I'm done, and after that, I have a couple more games I need to, ahem, finish up. Mainly Hyper Light Drifter, Cave Story+, and Song of the Deep.


From the biggest and best of the year to some hidden gems and classics of days gone by, if you've got a favorite genre, chances are, a GameSkinny writer is playing it too.

Drop a comment down below and tell us your favorites and what you're playing this month too!

Grim Dawn Ashes Of Malmouth Guide: Helping or Defeating Ugdall Fri, 20 Oct 2017 11:08:45 -0400 Ty Arthur

Ashes Of Malmouth offers essentially more of the same Grim Dawn experience you already know and love, but for fans of this exceedingly grim fantasy ARPG, that's very much a good thing!

With new areas come more factions, and of course, more ultra difficult bosses and rare loot. Along the way, you can pick up some quests... or turn those quests down and annihilate the quest givers.

That happens to be the case with Ugdall, an ancient spirit trapped beneath the Ugdenbog. Below, we cover how to find Ugdall in the twisted bog's labyrinth, as well as your options for taking his quest or setting it aside to banish the restless spirit.

Looking for help with builds using the new Ashes Of Malmouth mastery classes instead? We've got you covered here:

Finding Udgall's Tomb in Grim Dawn

Just getting to Ugdall's tomb in Ashes of Malmouth is sort of a quest all on its own. The entrance to the tomb is found through Ugdenbog in Act V after kicking off the Ashes Of Malmouth questline by talking to Inquisitor Creed in Fort Ikon.

Use Creed's pendant to quench the fire blocking off the north road out of the Burrwich Estates (which is best reached through the Burrwich Villiage rift, not the Warden's Cellar, even though its closer on the map).

After you've reached the new Ashes Of Malmouth area, kill the giant Carraxus beast in the underground segment of Gloomwald to take his heart. Offer up the heart and Creed's pendant to the witches at Coven's Refuge, and then you can finally get into Ugdenbog. From there, you have an obnoxiously long walk through the gigantic swampy forest.

 Finding Ugdall's Tomb

The entrance to Ugdall's Tomb is a long trek past the Ugdenbog rift further north, beyond the section where you find the three captured Coven sisters.

Annoyingly, the entrance isn't actually marked "Ugdall's Tomb." You are instead looking for an open cave entrance in the brambles marked "Ruins Entrance." Just look for anything like a cave with some broken statues, because it may spawn at a different point than where it appeared in my playthrough.

Accepting Ugdall's Quest or Defeating Him

For all your traveling efforts, there's a ruined shrine to be found immediately after the entrance. You can restore the shrine and get yourself a new constellation point in the tomb there, but it requires a full 3/3 upgraded Ectoplasm and full 4/4 upgraded Chilled Steel to restore.

After the shrine, break through the crumbling walls to fully explore the tomb. There's a bunch of skeletons and ghosts here, but they are pushovers and will barely offer any resistance. In the final room is a chest with some rare loot, and the ghost, Ugdall.

 Meeting Ugdall

If you agree to Ugdall's quest, you need to go back into the huge Ugdenbog and slaughter Ancient Wendigos across the area (regular Wendigos won't cut it) until you get a Wendigo Spirit.

You are in for a long haul on that front, as Wendigo Spirit is a rare drop and there aren't a ton of mobs around that drop it either. When you finally get the drop, bring it back to Ugdall, which you can trade for Aetherial missives. 

Now you're asking yourself... what happens if I say no to Ugdall? Don't just pick the "I Want No Part In This" option as it ends the dialog but doesn't do anything. Instead, say you want to attack him and get ready for a battle.

Ugdall's base level is 55, but he's not as tough as some of the Chthonian bosses from the base game. He throws out attacks in an outward star pattern that need to be avoided, occasionally creates a cursed blood circle around himself, and summons frost undead. You'll want to be at least level 50 to tackle him.

If you say no to Ugdall and kill him, you are rewarded with a Wendigo Spirit (which is odd, since he wanted one but apparently already had one), which is used in another quest line later in Barrowhelm. Killing him ends the Wrath Of Ugdenbog quest early, however.

 Claiming your Wendigo Spirit reward

Which path did you take with Ugdall in Ashes of Malmouth, and what strategy did you employ to kill him or farm Ancient Wendigos to complete his quest? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check out the rest of our Grim Dawn guides here.

Grim Dawn: Ashes Of Malmouth Inquisitor Purifier Build Guide Mon, 16 Oct 2017 15:58:48 -0400 Ty Arthur

With its dual class system, Grim Dawn already had a staggering number of mastery combos for creating a wide range of builds. Now that the Ashes Of Malmouth DLC has arrived, that number has significantly increased with the addition of the Necromancer and Inquisitor base classes.

The holy Inquisitor is a ranged, combat gun specialist that employs rune abilities to augment his skill loadout. While there are seven possible mastery combinations to tinker with, at the moment, the best Inquisitor build is easily the Purifier, adding in the fire damage and crowd control abilities of the Demolitionist.

Below we cover everything you need to know to build an unstoppable Inquisitor Purifier!

Looking for Necromancer mastery class combos instead? Take a look at the best Grim Dawn Necromancer builds here!

Grim Dawn Purifier Build (Inquisitor + Demolitionist)

For the Purifier build, you want to focus exclusively on pumping up your ranged pistol attacks (to absurd levels) and on making them burn with righteous fury.

While Word Of Pain and Storm Box Of Elgoloth seem like they would be the main Inquisitor skills to focus on, we're actually going to ignore those two abilities entirely. With a few exceptions, the Demolitionist side of the build will take care of those area effect, hit chaining, and crowd control skills, so don't even worry about them here. The Inquisitor runes can be useful, but they aren't quite what we're looking for on this particular build.

For the Inquisitor half of the build, we'll focus almost exclusively on the top layer of the skill tree. Continuously pump points into Ranged Expertise to increase your firearm damage and attack speed. When it becomes available, trade between putting points into that skill and Bursting Round for fire damage that can hit nearby foes.

Since this is a ranged combat-focused build with no pets, you want to eventually spend points on Word Of Renewal for healing and the burst to defensive capability. This will be critical because Demolitionist doesn't offer much on the defense front either.

When you get to 10 points in Inquisitor, Deadly Aim will be your next attack skill to focus on, giving you huge boosts to damage every few seconds. As the end of the Inquisitor skill tree approaches, Storm Spread is a great option for groups of enemies, although it does break our fire theme and bring in some electricity.

 Purifier Inquisitor Skill Breakdown

On the Inquisitor side of the build, obviously, the main focus is going to be Fire Strike, as that stacks with Ranged Expertise and adds bonus fire damage to your attacks. As you get to higher levels, don't forget to upgrade to Explosive/Static Strike to make your attacks even more potent.

As with most Demolitoinist builds, don't skimp on Flashbang. Since you don't have a ton of healing or defense-boosting abilities (or a summoned minion to take the damage), you want anything that keeps hordes under control.

Flame Touched is another must-have skill, dealing fire damage when enemies get past your bullets and close to melee range. Vindictive Flame is another good option for fiery retaliation, and when you reach higher levels, Thermite Mine will become your big damage, area effect skill to focus on.

 Purifier Demolitionist Skill Breakdown

Following this skill breakdown, you can keep enemies at bay while sniping them down with ranged shots -- and any who get through will get burned for their trouble!

This is just one possible way to assemble the Purifier, and of course, there are plenty of other viable builds for the Inquisitor, from the Vindicator (Shaman + Inquisitor) and the Mage Hunter (Arcanist + Inquisitor) to the unexpected Apostate combo (Necromancer + Inquisitor).

What's your favorite Grim Dawn Inquisitor build so far, and what tweaks would you make to our Purifier skill breakdown? Let us know in the comments section below! If you're looking for more builds and ways to master the game, be sure to check out the rest of our Grim Dawn guides here.

Grim Dawn: Ashes Of Malmouth Necromancer Build Guide Sun, 15 Oct 2017 11:00:34 -0400 Ty Arthur

More than a year after the game's official release (and following a lengthy Early Access period), we're finally getting an actual real expansion to Grim Dawn that adds more than just a new combat mode.

In addition to the game's storyline moving forward with two, full new chapters in Ashes Of Malmouth, the level and devotion caps have both been increased, offering new build opportunities with extra skills and constellations.

We've previously looked at some of the best builds available in Grim Dawn, but it may be time to revise that category as two whole new mastery classes have arrived: the Necromancer and Inquisitor!

Grim Dawn Necromancer Builds

Here, we're going to take a look at some of the undead mayhem that can be unleashed with killer Necro builds across the base game or in the expansion areas.

It should come as no surprise that the Necromancer is primarily a pet-focused build, with the main ability to summon several skeletons at once that can be upgraded over time. It's like being back in the glory days of Diablo 2 all over again!

Your pick for the second class will determine how the class plays and whether you want to go full steam ahead into summoning mastery or augment that ability with other power.

 It's finally here!

Necromancer + Soldier

The Deathknight (Necromancer + Soldier) seems like the most obvious mastery combination, but sadly, this doesn't have the synergy you'd expect.

Other than the ability to intermittently deal extra damage and heal yourself a bit with physical attacks, there's not a ton of overlap between the two classes for min/maxing purposes.

It's not a completely nonviable build by any means -- a Necromancer with tons of health and armor who can attack while using pets isn't useless -- but there are builds that work more smoothly together. More than likely, this won't be your first pick. 

Necromancer + Shaman

You can get some crazy powerful builds by adding the Shaman to just about anything, and the Necromancer is no exception. Our Shaman/Necro build is all about letting other creatures do the work for you, so don't even bother getting into melee -- unless the situation has gotten dire.

On the Necro side, fully upgrade the Raise Skeletons, Undead Legions, and Will Of The Crypt branch of the skill tree. When it comes available, fully upgrade the Summon Blight Fiend, Rotting Fumes, and Blight Burst path. We want tons of skeletons and zombies, and they need to be in top shape!

Don't even bother with Reaping Strike, Drain Essence, or anything of the sort, because we aren't planning on hitting things ourselves -- that's what minions are for!

On the Shaman side, upgrade the heck out of Devouring Swarm straight away, which is essentially going to take the place of your main attack. Summon Briarthorn should be your next priority, for even more summoned pet action. Other than that, just put some points into Heart Of The Wild so you have a means to heal and buff yourself when someone gets through your summoned army.

 Necromancer / Shaman Build Path

Necromancer + Demolitionist

Flaming skeletons? Yes, please! There are a lot of different ways to go about this combination, but for maximum focus we're only going to take a grand total of four Demolitionist skills.

Flame Touch and Temper on the top branch of the Demolotionist skill tree imbue allies with fire damage, and who doesn't want their undead army to be lighting everything aflame all around them? Pump these up to max as soon as you can.

From there, we jump way down to a lower branch for Flashbang and Searing Light, which will be your crowd control abilities so you can keep enemy hordes manageable while your flaming skeletons deal with them.

On the Necromancer side, anything from the middle branch on down will be helpful to you, but obviously you want Raise Skeletons and Undead Legion.

Call Of The Grave and Soul Harvest offer great extra bonuses to those flaming skeletons, and if you want some retaliation ability, Spectral Wrath isn't a bad way to go.

Necromancer / Demolitionist Build Path

Necromancer + Occultist

Yet again we're going to play to the pet summoning strengths of the Necromancer, so just like with the Necro/Shaman combo above, we'll max out the Raise Skeletons and Summon Blight Fiend skill paths.

The difference then will be on the Occultist side, where at first your focus will be on slowing and weakening enemies with Curse of Frailty and Vulnerability. While slowed and hexed, your summoned minions will make short work of the monstrous creatures trying to kill you.

When it becomes available, shift to the Summon Hellhound path for an extra pet to play with. In the later levels, make sure to use Bonds Of Bysmiel so your minions have loads of extra health!

 Necromancer / Occultist Build Path

These are the Grim Dawn Necromancer builds we're having the most fun with since the DLC's release -- what did you think of our picks, and what combinations and skill paths do you recommend we try out?

Let us know in the comments below, and if you're just getting started with the game and need help with this deadly post-apocalyptic ARPG, be sure to check out the rest of our Grim Dawn guides.

The Absolute Best Grim Dawn Build Tue, 27 Jun 2017 16:33:38 -0400 Ty Arthur

Current master of the ARPG throne -- especially for fans of grimdark fantasy and horror -- Grim Dawn is about to get a major update with a whole new mastery class to play.

Before that highly anticipated Necromancer becomes available though, there are still dozens of potential mastery combo builds to try out. We've previously looked at some of the more fun mastery builds, but now its time to get down to the real goods: what's the single, absolute best Grim Dawn build available?

Picking The Best Mastery Combo

The answer to that question is that there's at least five "best" builds, depending on your play style: melee, ranged, caster, hit and run, or the tank. Among those five varied styles, there are still two different ways to approach which is the "best" -- either the highest damage per second output, or the best survivability.

There are plenty of mastery combos that can deal ungodly amounts of damage (the Nightblade mixed with just about anything immediately comes to mind) but they are also quite squishy, making it difficult to survive after you leave Normal difficulty behind and head into later stages of the game. The Sorcerer combo for instance (Arcanist + Demolitionist) can deal huge damage to large groups, but requires quick reflexes as you run around the screen like mad to avoid getting hit back.

For our best Grim Dawn build, we're going to focus on the survival aspect, with respectable damage output, for a tank who rarely goes down and will allow you to survive the most devastating enemies at the highest difficulty levels.

Keep in mind that most builds can be drastically altered by your equipment choices, since there's a very random element there in what weapons and armor you'll find you in your playthrough, as well as what path you are taking along the constellation when you unlock Devotion Shrines.

Best Grim Dawn Build - Warder

We're going with a Shaman + Soldier combo to create the Warder. The focus here is on high health, massive defense, quick regeneration, and equipping absolutely any item with reflection or retaliation so you never go down and always take out enemies when they hit you.

We're going to eventually max out the Soldier mastery bar entirely. The Shaman mastery bar will end at 25, but we're actually going to start on the Shaman side as the first class.

First up, grab Devouring Swarm on the Shaman side as your primary attack at low levels (this is costly on energy, but well worth it). If you want to branch out, Savagery and Grasping Vines are decent, but don't go too far on those.

At level 10, switch to Soldier and focus on Menhir's Will to keep you alive (don't forget you need a two-handed weapon or shield for this skill to work). This is the skill that keeps you alive for longer periods. When it triggers, get out of the throng of enemies and wait to recover so the cooldown period ends.

Around level 15, switch back to Shaman and work on Modrogen's Pact and Heart Of The Wild. Next, fully upgrade Wendigo Totem and Oak Skin for huge bonuses to healing while draining enemies of health.

    Shaman Projected Build

Around level 29 - 30, switch back to Soldier and pump up the mastery bar, while maxing out Military Conditioning, Shield Training (if you are doing a shield instead of two handed), Overguard, Decorated Soldier, Field Command, and Veterancy. These will keep you up at maximum health and defense while doling out decent damage.

When you're around 40 - 45, its time to let go of Devouring Swarm, which won't be as helpful anymore, so respec and put all those points into the Soldier mastery bar and maxing out the previously mentioned skills.

From there, focus on Menhir's Bulwark (with a shield equipped and this skill maxed out, you will absorb and retaliate huge amounts of damage). Now finish off the build with maxing out Scars of Battle and (on the Shaman side) Modrogen's Pact.

    Soldier Projected Build

Tweaks To The Build

This Warder build is extremely effective against melee combatants, but it does have one Achilles Heel: ranged spellcasters are a problem. So get close to them to force them into melee. And of course putting a few points into the Soldier skill Break Morale can rectify this to a degree.

In terms of equipment, a full set of Perdition items vastly builds on the Warder's strengths -- but in general, pick up anything that adds reflection or retaliation.

For the Devotion constellation path, Tortoise and Wolverine are both excellent choices, since they even further increase your defense, and Scales Of Ulcama is another great choice for upping health and regeneration.

 Surviving a brutal boss with the Warder

Of course, there's other possible routes to take to reach an invincible killing machine, such as switching up which class is the primary or connecting a different secondary to the Soldier.

What's your preferred build, and how could we tweak this best Grim Dawn mastery build to make it even tankier? Let me know down in the comments! And be sure to check out the rest of our Grim Dawn guides for even more tips to help you get through the game.

Rolling the Dice: Do Modern RPGs Miss the Point of Team-Based Play? Mon, 13 Feb 2017 08:00:01 -0500 SpaceGamerUK

"Online" is the God of All Gaming. Playing alone or with a couple of friends in the same room is passe. Nobody really does it any more.

It seems it was long time ago. A bunch of friends spending hours on end playing RPG games, sitting around the table with the box of cold pizza. Excited about the story, listening to the Game Master, they were completely engaged in the worlds only visible to them and their imaginations.

It was the Age of the Dice

The dice were everything, deciding every second of life and every potential death of its players. There were no re-spawns or second rounds. Wizards killed by Manticore were dead for a game's eternity.

How exciting it was, and what a truly real experience it was for all the players. Sadly, it's now forgotten -- except for a bunch of nerds still playing somewhere away from the online civilization -- like the young heroes of Stranger Things, a series on Netflix.

With time and civilisations expansion, table and dice was replaced by technology. RPG maniacs evolved.

It was the Age of the LAN Party

The dice was replaced by the zero or one code of the computer processor but still (regardless being hidden behind low resolution monitors) Wizards and Sorcerers were feasting on the same cold pizza, sitting in the same room wrapped in LAN wires.

The principle did not change -- it was all about the team effort given to win the game. There was still some sort of Game Master throwing the dice, although right now his fantasy and creativity was measured in bytes.

From social point of view this was very similar to classic RPG evenings and nights. To win, players needed to communicate and use the imagination as the graphics was not the strongest feature of the computers of late nineties. 

It seems that the most legendary title amongst RPGs played on LAN was Diablo II -- truly classic fantasy story which was mostly testing micro switches of the mice used by players. Chopping with sword or axe was the main activity although thanks to playability through LAN network, it was given the true excitement of team-based RPGs. What is probably even more important is it was designed to lead players right to teamwork.

It seems that whole purpose of classic RPG is to build up situations testing cooperative play skills more than so popular lately competition.

Regardless of overall popularity Diablo II, the RPG LAN genre wasn't destined for a bright future in computer gaming.

According to the database of LAN games available on the market -- between 1998 and 2016 -- only 21 RPG game titles were released with the option of LAN party.

Apart of Diablo II it is worth to notice Baldur's Gate (1998), Baldur's Gate II (2000) and Torchlight 2 (2012). The newest title, only one released in 2016 , Grim Down is available on Steam and has very positive opinions from players.

In overall though, LAN Party RPG is the melody of the past like table top RPG's of early eighties.

What rules the world now is much more worldwide.

It is the Age of Online MMORPG

Globalisation is everywhere -- also in the gaming world. No wonder that small LAN Parties suddenly became massive and online, transforming classic RPG idea into the MMORPG.

One could ask: so what? It is still about team based play.

Yes, it is. In principle. But certainly a modern MMORPG has much less connection with the rolling dice of classic RPGs. What modern MMO based RPGs are actually missing is this cold pizza being eaten by the members of the same team; Wizard, Swordsman, Archer, and Spy. Everyone sitting in the same room and exchanging energy of their own fantasy. What modern MMORPGs are also missing is the spontaneous ability of people to get together and find solutions to the problems. Modern games almost heavily moderate reality -- they don't allow enough space for team play by leading players exactly where the game wants them to be.

Of course we are still deciding where to go, which quest to take. Of course we are the ones creating clans, corporations and factions. But we are not the ones who are throwing the dice!

Perhaps MMORPGs are team based. Many games do have very big teams playing; like in Star Wars The Old Republic, where the teams can even have a hundred players.

There is no direct connection though which is part of what makes RPG ruled by dice so specific.

While communities of players are bigger and bigger, actual person to person connection and cooperation are not so important any more.

Tabletop RPGs really allow us to build our own charactors and stories, where the MMO took the ability to to mould an RPGs reality according to our fantasy and imagination. We are more the followers than creators now, which we were when the dice was in use.

Competition, economy, politics and influence. These replaced Game Master and the dice. We are waiting for what is going to happen and all the while are barely ever creating more than un-significant micro connections in modern RPGs.

Of course like with everything else -- it all depends on people. There are very good teams in every known MMO game, bringing back the feeling of proper team based play. Lore is finally being used for the actual creation of worlds, with background stories giving the feeling of role playing. One of the examples could be lore stories behind Elite: Dangerous or EVE Online which are driving huge communities of players, regardless that in reality both games are not dependant on the RPG behind the main storyline. You can take lore from the main missions, but players will still fly around and do random, or side missions. These games are still MMOs, although their lore does became a bit 2D due to the lack of truly deep background stories.

The good news is that the people playing massive multiplayer titles, deep down, are still the same nerds throwing the dice. They like to see the story behind the algorithm and refuse to follow line of computer systems.

It is also likely that some of them are still keen to bring their computers and put them in the same room to grasp the feeling of classic RPGs, while sharing opinions, food, and drinks. Nowadays seating in the same room is often replaced by communication, channel such as through TeamSpeak or Discord.

Perhaps this is why from time to time, regardless of the overall trend to make everything massive, developers introducing nice examples of the games which can be played by few players.

A very good example is the Astroneer, recently released as an early access game on Steam. Certainly it is not a classic RPG, but this space game is classified as sand box. Thanks to an implemented Co-Op option, it brings back an idea of team based play, with teams of 4 people being able to play. 

There is no competition between players, instead they need to cooperate to achieve success -- exactly the point of classic team-based games. Astroneer is easy to grasp, and the old feeling of tabletop co-op that there is actually dice is back! Members of the same team of Astroneers can create the future and decide where and how they will go. They can also decide what kind of the reality they will create. It feels like coming back to the core of team-based play, it feels that being part of team matters again. It feels that all depends on us again!

Do you know other titles on the market which could bring an idea of classic RPG based on team play? 

Git Gud or Git Easy: Will Darkest Dungeon's Radiant Mode Update Catch On? Fri, 13 Jan 2017 03:00:01 -0500 Ty Arthur

Unlike a rabid (and vocal) online fan base that likes to rag on all us "filthy casuals," in general I am not a fan of the Souls-like games. Call me crazy, but I'm of the opinion that games should be fun, and not anger-inducing. Why go out of your way to play something you know ahead of time will be unduly frustrating?

One of the few exceptions to that Souls aversion is Darkest Dungeon, which managed to draw me in with its grim aesthetic, highly unusual RPG mechanics, and heavy focus on the darker side of fantasy to the point of essentially being horror.

Darkest Dungeon's upcoming Crimson Court DLC even made our list of most anticipated horror games of the year, and it really showcases how this game turns convention on its head, adding in a deranged ex-priest vampire hunter who is hunting down your party.

Aside from that DLC release, there's another big change coming to Darkest Dungeon soon in a free patch that has the possibility of totally changing this entire genre.

Hard Enough Or Too Hard?

Darkest Dungeon's main selling point (other than the tentacled mythos madness in the cove or unknown horrors found out in the woods) is that it's relentlessly hard, but also incredibly well balanced.

Trinkets all give a serious drawback in addition to a minor boon. Combat is always a gamble, but you can mitigate the risk through proper lineup placement and bringing the appropriate camping skills. Your limited resources must be carefully balanced between upgrading lower level heroes and healing the spiritual and physical afflictions of your existing high level heroes, and so on.

In other words, the game really does exemplify the adage of "making the best of a bad situation." It does have a big problem, however -- since total party wipes are expected and only heroes of certain levels can take on specific areas, there's a lot of re-grinding to get back to a previous point.


Beating the game from beginning to end takes about 80 hours, and that can be deal breaker for a game that has such a small world to explore.

The issue was addressed to a minimal degree in a previous patch that let you recruit a handful of new heroes who don't start at rank 0 (if you spend a lot of money to upgrade the caravan), but the problem still persists overall -- until the upcoming Radiant Mode option arrives and offers a different way to play.

Evening The Odds

While there's typically always the ability to upscale the difficulty in more casual gaming experiences -- think hardcore mode in the ARPG Grim Dawn -- very rarely is there an opposite ability to downgrade the difficulty level in games that are designed around being incredibly hard to beat.

That's what Radiant Mode aims to fix, and it can't arrive quickly enough. In fact I'm gonna let you in on a little secret: after about 25 hours of playing Darkest Dungeon as intended, I got tired of rebuilding parties that were just going to all die again anyway, so I went into the game's code and made some tweaks myself.

After finding the right files housing all the settings (spread out across a ton of different locations naturally), I increased the amount of health healed by spells and upped the damage of higher level equipment, in addition to increasing the amount of gold received for selling back unused items.

Now if you wanted to be mean you could call this "cheating." I'm going to refer to it as the more pleasant term "modding." Either way you slice it, suddenly I found myself playing the game for longer stretches without getting frustrated.

10 damage? The gods smile upon us today!

Darkest Dungeon's Radiant Mode

So what exactly is Radiant Mode going to do? Based on what information has arrived so far, it would appear Radiant isn't actually going to significantly reduce the difficulty, but just simply reduce the amount of grind and attempt to erode some of that frustration of having a high level party get totally wiped. Here's what the developer had to say:

Radiant will have balance changes and rule tweaks aimed at bringing the completion time down to approximately 40 hours. Rest assured that even in this alternate campaign ruleset, we won’t be compromising on some of the core ideas that make DD what it is (e.g. permadeath, autosaving). However, we will flex here and there on some things and generally structure it so that a reasonable investment of time and effort can see things through to the deepest parts of the Ancestor’s trail.

The essence of Darkest Dungeon is still there. Your party will still be doing small amounts of damage, your healer will still provide pathetic amounts of health gain, your characters will still go mad and get terrible diseases, party member placement will still be crucial to tackling different types of encounters, you will lose party members on long quests, and so on.

In other words, Radiant doesn't appear to be offering an “easy” mode, but rather what we're going to call a “no Hulk smashing your screen” mode.

Why Go Easy On A Hard Game?

More so than many other purposefully hard games like Necropolis (and, it could be argued, even Dark Souls) Darkest Dungeon has an unfolding story to be learned as you progress further, with the doomed adventurers learning more about what terrible things their ancestor did to lead to the current sad state of affairs.

For many players, they will just simply never see that end screen or find out the full depths of the ancestor's depravity short of checking out a YouTube video of someone who had more patience than they did. Radiant Mode offers that possibility legitimately now.

So here's the question: if it draws in more players to Darkest Dungeon, will this idea catch on with other games in the same style? It may be a bit of a moot point now that Dark Souls is done with, but it's not inconceivable to think of an HD remaster of the first game arriving with a blessed and long overdue "no-controller-throwing" mode.

It wasn't long after this point that I said "no thank you" to Dark Souls

The Casual Is Spreading!

While Darkest Dungeon's design allows for Radiant Mode to reduce grind without significantly altering the difficulty, other games like the upcoming Ni-Oh or any other Souls-like might need some tweaks if anything resembling an easy mode were to arrive.

Obviously there would need to be a change in the rewards available at the lesser difficulty, whether that's simply cutting off access to certain achievements or instead making some equipment (or even whole level areas) only accessible when playing the game through on its intended difficulty.

Another possibility would be to only allow a less brutally hard experience after reaching a certain point in the game, like a 25% or further mark where you've gotten the full brunt of the difficulty long enough to really appreciate it.

I really don't want to see this screen 900,000 times

It's time for you to sound off: what do you think of Darkest Dungeon's impending Radiant Mode update, and would you like to see this same idea implemented in other incredibly difficult games like Dark Souls or Nioh?

The State of RPGs in 2016 Sun, 20 Nov 2016 09:34:36 -0500 Sergey_3847

Last year was huge for the RPG scene with such releases as The Witcher 3 and Fallout 4. The year of 2016, on the other hand, has really only one AAA title worth talking about -- but there are plenty of smaller games that kept the fans of the genre glued to their computers.

There also have also been some solid expansions for some of 2015's titles coming out this year and just as many remastered versions of even older cult classics. What's more, the future of RPG gaming looks super exciting, as there are some huge releases coming up at the end of the year and the first half of 2017.

So it looks like there is much territory that needs to be covered here, and without any further ado, let’s begin the analysis.

The Biggest RPG Releases of 2016

RPGs of 2016

Dark Souls 3

Undoubtedly, the best and the biggest RPG game of the year is Dark Souls 3 -- the last installment in a series of games that enriched the genre with precise mechanics, multifaceted progression system and hardcore bosses. And all this was encapsulated in a world of ever-growing gloom and doom.

Undoubtedly, the best and the biggest RPG game of the year is Dark Souls 3.

From Software is not scared to pull out a series of games that has no clear story and that makes new players run away from their PCs or consoles after a few miserable deaths. You can't do anything but respect such a developer in the current state of the gaming industry. Hopefully, Hidetaka Miyazaki and co. will deliver some more goodness in the future, albeit perhaps not in the Souls series.

Deus Ex: Mankind Evolved

Another game worth mentioning here is Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. The game has delivered exactly what it promised and there is really nothing to complain about. It builds upon every aspect of its predecessor, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and adds greater scale, more freedom, infinitely interesting quests, weapons, stealth mechanics, and of course, better graphics.

The Technomancer

But before we move on, there is one more AAA title that cannot be ignored -- The Technomancer. It wasn’t received too well by the community, and understandably so. It was presented as a grandiose AAA project -- with the corresponding price tag too! -- but the final result was mediocre at best. Spiders Studios tried really hard this time, but the game just didn’t do it  for many gamers, either in terms of story and gameplay or graphics and animation.

The Remastered RPG Releases of 2016

RPGs of 2016

Skyrim: Special Edition

Talking about graphics -- here are some of the finest remasters of the year. This section must be launched with a discussion on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Special Edition, which has been both praised and cursed by fans, with many critics saying the game doesn’t need a remastered version on PC and that it already has tons of cosmetic mods available for free.

However, console players have been more than happy to lay their hands on this gem. And to be honest, Bethesda planned this version mostly as a present for owners of current-gen consoles, anyway. 

JRPGs to the Remastered Rescue

A few classic JRPGs, such as Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen and Disgaea, have also been remastered and ported to PC for the rest of the world this year, with the latter having significantly improved textures and UI.

On top of that, all Final Fantasy fans could once again experience Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster on their computers. The FF port was released on May 12, and finally implemented an auto-save feature, five game boosters, three parameter changes and the option to skip FMVs and Cinematics.

The Biggest RPG Sequels of 2016

RPGs of 2016

Final Fantasy XV

It took ten years for Square Enix to deliver one of the most anticipated sequels in the history of gaming -- Final Fantasy XV. Finally, on Nov. 29, Final Fantasy XV will be available worldwide. (However, some gamers have reported that it is already possible to find a copy in a few countries of the world, such as Peru. So beware of spoilers!)

Up to this point, Final Fantasy XV has had many different reactions, some of which have mentioned that it will ruin the franchise once and for all, while others have actually put some faith into it

The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine

Although technically not a sequel, the “Blood and Wine” DLC for The Witcher 3 can easily be called a sequel because of its scope, secrets, quests and new NPCs, some of which are arguably the most diverse and interesting in the series. More than that, the developers have updated the game's UI and skill tree system. 

The Banner Saga 2

If you haven’t played the original Banner Saga from 2014 -- a small indie project started by the three former BioWare developers -- then you should halt before playing its sequel, Banner Saga 2, as they are tightly interconnected. The first game has already become a classic and the only thing that needs to be done is to finish the third one in the series – which will close the grand trilogy of the Vikings’ adventures.

Baldur's Gate -- Siege of Dragonspear

Last but not least, we have to mention the brand new expansion for Baldur's Gate -- Siege of Dragonspear. It unveils the mysteries behind the fight with Sarevok and the escape from the Irenicus Dungeon from the very first Baldur's Gate, released in 1998.

Siege of Dragonspear is a sort of bridge between the first two games, which is a really cool way of serving the old fans of the series, but completely confusing the new ones, thus evoking lots of unnecessary negative comments from the community -- that could’ve been easily avoided. Hopefully, the developers from BeamDog will try to redeem themselves next time with a completely new story that will satisfy both new and old players.

The Best Indie RPGs of 2016

RPGs of 2016


Many people have treated Tyranny from Obsidian Entertainment as an intermediate game that would fill the gap between Pillars of Eternity and Pillars of Eternity 2. However, little did they know that it turned out to be a truly great game. As a result, we now have an original title that allows you to turn to evil means in order to finish the campaign successfully It's refreshing to not have to save the world for the millionth time! 

Grim Dawn -- A Kickstarter Success Story

Early this year we could experience the results of another Kickstarter project success story -- Grim Dawn,  a game that clearly nods to the times of Diablo 2 and pays all respects to it. The classical RPG gameplay is supported by large locations full of secrets and dangerous traps. Give it a go and you will thank us later.

Darkest Dungeon

2016 has been a fantastic year for the RPG scene, and the future seems to be just as bright as ever.

No mention of Darkest Dungeon yet? Yes, of course, we couldn’t forget about this little masterpiece – a game with a perfectly dark atmosphere and visual style. The game is full of unexpected events and the gameplay is at times so hardcore that you can't but gasp in frustration. Darkest Dungeon is a unique product on the market, so if you never had the chance to play it -- now is the time.

Stardew Valley

But enough with the dark and broody games -- let’s talk about Stardew Valley instead. Imagine that this little farming simulator with RPG elements competed against such giants like The Division and XCOM 2. But two months later, the game had over a million sales on Steam, which is mind-boggling for an indie project that had been developed by one person -- Eric Barone. Stardew Valley definitely has the bright future with all the upcoming updates and fan-made modifications.

Looking Ahead: The Future of the RPG Genre

RPGs of 2016

Mass Effect: Adromeda & Horizon: Zero Dawn

Two big games are currently nominated for the most anticipated RPGs of the year at The Game Awards 2016 -- Mass Effect: Andromeda and Horizon: Zero Dawn. Let's look at Mass Effect first, undoubtedly the most recognizable brand here, since the other title is a brand new IP from the developers of the Killzone series.

Those who had the chance to play Mass Effect: Andromeda say that it is the best game in the series. That’s a pretty bold statement, but it probably would be wise not to jump aboard the hype train too soon, and instead just wait for another 4-5 months before the game is officially out.

But what about Horizon: Zero Dawn? This game is totally new territory for Guerilla Games. The developers have stated that they always wanted to make a game in an open world, but they never considered it as an RPG title. However, after a long period of testing, it turned out that all their ideas worked best exactly within the action RPG genre, and that’s what we all should expect from this new title… oh, and giant dinosaur robots, too.

Divinity: Original Sin 2

What other RPG games can’t do, Divinity: Original Sin 2 can. It’s the game that is proclaimed to be “the last hope of the RPG genre,” which may be a bit of an overstatement, but nevertheless, Larian Studios showed that they can do no wrong after the release of the first Original Sin. The newest installment of the franchise introduces a brand new co-op system, which sounds awesome, but the developers also promise a lot will return from the original, so there’s a lot to be expected here.

RPGs of 2016

South Park: The Fractured but Whole

South Park: The Fractured but Whole keeps getting delayed over and over again, and now the game that was originally planned for 2016, will only be released Spring 2017. Trey Parker and Matt Stone said that the new combat system developed for the sequel was inspired mostly by classic table-top role-playing games. Also, they said it will let you play as a girl character from now on, which is a really neat addition that, to be honest, should have been available in the first game, too.

Kingdom Come: Deliverance

Another highly anticipated RPG that keeps suffering from the constant delays is Kingdom Come: Deliverance -- it will be available Summer 2017. The developers promise 30 hours of gameplay for the main campaign, and an extra 100 hours for the rest of the side quests.

Torment: Tides of Numenera

Lastly, the long-awaited Kickstarter project Torment: Tides of Numenera should be delivered early next year. The first mission of the game has been available at Steam Early Access since January 2016, and currently, the developers are adding a few final touches to it and some more quests, as well.


2016 has been a fantastic year for the RPG scene, and the future seems to be just as bright as ever, showing that indie games can be just as good AAA titles. And apart from single-player RPGs, next year will be full of excellent massively-multiplayer releases, too, so don’t miss on those.

The only thing left is to find out what other projects we can expect from Hidetaka Miyazaki -- the definitive king of the RPG gaming. If one of them is going to be at least half as good as the Dark Souls series, then it will prove that he is a true master of his craft.

Other than that, let us know what RPG releases should have been mentioned in this article, and what games do you expect to see in 2017? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

5 Best Fantasy RPG’s You’ve Never Heard of But Should Play Thu, 07 Jul 2016 05:14:15 -0400 Jack Einhorn (skullkid)

As gamers, many of us have played quite a few fantasy RPGs -- The Elder Scrolls, World of Warcraft, and Dark Souls to name a few. These epics are the front-and-center, the in-your-face, RPG options that anyone not living in a cave the past decade or so could probably tell you about.

But, these mainstream titles are not the only adventures this genre has to offer. There are tons of RPGs that are either glossed over by more popular titles or just never quite reach the limelight. So, if you’re looking for something a little less mainstream to play, pay attention to the following games.

1. Golden Sun

To ease you into the list, we’ll start with a rather popular title from the Gameboy Advance, Golden Sun. Well-known and well-loved in its prime when released in 2001, I’ve only included it here because of the fact that I just never hear about it anymore. People on the internet seem to have loved it, but I think the fanbase at this point is a cult-following if anything.

Golden Sun takes you on a fantastical adventure as a group of young “Adepts” whose goal is to defend the world from “alchemy”, a destructive magical force that knows no bounds. One of the most memorable parts of the game were the quirky little creatures that you adventured with, called “Djinns.” These cute little guys were elementals, and so you have your air Djinn, your fire Djinn, etc. Djinns were effective for both combat and maneuvering environments, so they were truly a unique mechanic.

Golden Sun is a unique and exciting adventure that, at least to me, seems to be a little on the forgotten side. If you’ve got a GBA lying around, try to snag yourself a copy!

2. Baten Kaitos

Although still not the most obscure I could muster, Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean was a relatively well-known JRPG released on the Nintendo Gamecube. Set in the sky amongst a floating island-city, Baten Kaitos is incredibly unique in its gameplay mechanics, meaning that you don’t actually play as the main character, named Kalas. Nay, you actually play as a guardian spirit who guides Kalas through the adventure, even maintaining a relationship with him for the sake of your quest.

The game also makes use of a game card mechanic for things like items, combat, and quests. These cards are called “Magnus”, and are integral to both the lore and the gameplay. For instance, combat is based on the drawing of these cards.

Baiten Kaitos has an incredibly complex story, something that is not all too uncommon for JRPG’s. Like I said for Golden Sun: if you have the hardware to run the game I would seriously recommend doing so. I mean come on, who doesn’t have a Gamecube?

3. Dragon’s Dogma

Ah, Dragon’s Dogma, a game I consider to be one of the most overlooked action RPG’s of our time. Released in 2012, it came out just a few short months after our beloved Skyrim, and its fate was sealed. This poor release timing coupled with a console-only release (until this past Winter) unfortunately led to Dragon’s Dogma being all but completely overshadowed. Well, I’m un...overshadowing it? That works.

If you’re not a fan of the more formulaic route the Elder Scrolls series has taken, then you might want to consider giving Dragon’s Dogma a go. The combat controls similarly to Dark Souls, and the game’s camera is exclusively third person as well. You play as “The Arisen”, a fated hero whose heart has been removed by a nefarious dragon. In your quest to get it back you explore, battle, and uncover secret magics. Pretty standard for an RPG, however there are two major things that make Dragon’s Dogma stand out from most other action role-playing games.

The first of these is the Pawn system. Pawns are non-human entities that inhabit the world around you, they serve no other purpose than being hired mercenaries. You can round up a bunch of them and they travel with you and fight with you in battle. The really cool thing about Pawns is that they are player-made, and operate similarly to the creatures in Spore. Other players’ Pawns will appear in your game, and you can hire them to work for you. The money you spend on them then goes back to the player who created them. It’s all pretty neat.

The other really cool thing that sets Dragon’s Dogma apart is the combat system, which combines Dark Souls with Shadow of the Colossus. Much like the bosses in SoC, you can jump and latch on to larger enemies and climb around their hides, hacking at weak points. It’s incredibly satisfying to climb up an ogre’s back to chop at his neck. The way they worked this into regular combat, and not just boss battles, is pretty damn cool.

Dragon’s Dogma saw a PC release this past winter -- go buy it on Steam! Or don’t, I mean, I’m not your mom.

4. Aidyn Chronicles

I know we jumped forward with Dragon’s Dogma, but now we’re going way back, before the Gamecube, before the Gameboy Advance -- because who cares about chronological order. Aidyn’s Chronicles: The Last Mage was a lesser-known fantasy RPG on the Nintendo 64, focusing on a strategic combat rather than straight action.

The game focuses on Alaron, a squire who finds himself wrapped up in classic fantasy adventure after being poisoned by goblins. Despite mixed reviews, Aidyn’s Chronicles is a worthwhile foray into the olden days of console RPGing, (well, not NES or SNES old) and if you can get past the less-than-stellar graphics it will be worth your time. 

5. Grim Dawn

And, we’re back to the future again! Grim Dawn is a brand-spanking-new action roleplayer from some ex-developers of Titan Quest.

Released only on PC, Grim Dawn has the same kind of top-down camera as Titan Quest, or even the more notable Diablo series. Set in a dark, victorian backdrop, Grim Dawn tells a story of two otherworldly entities both intent on destroying the human race. Well, the Aetherials intend to use humans as a resource, with the Chthonians just wanting to destroy humanity. In the wake of this, small groups of surviving humans lay scattered across the grim landscape, as surviving these supernatural beings has naturally become the top priority.

Traversing the terrible world and surviving numerous attacks will prove to be challenging, but Grim Dawn’s DOTA-inspired crafting system will help you along the way. If you like dark fantasy, and especially if you’re a fan of Diablo or Titan Quest, you should probably check out Grim Dawn.


Well, that’s all of 'em. I hope this list turned you on to a couple new old games; even if you’re a hardcore RPG-er, I hope you can at least find one or two things here that are new to you. For those of us that love a good story, may we continue role-playing.

Grim Dawn Finally Gets Mod Support Sat, 30 Apr 2016 04:40:31 -0400 Ian Ilano

Grim Dawn fans can finally rest. Mod support, the game's number one most wanted feature, is finally available.

Released yesterday, the newest game update includes a bunch of changes. It fixes some small visual errors and balance issues that have been present since the start. More importantly, however, the update finally adds mod support.

The update includes the same tools the development team used to create the actual game. And with them, players can create an endless amount of in-game content.

For example, with the packaged modding tools, players have the freedom to create:

  • new items
  • new masteries
  • new maps
  • and even entirely new worlds

Grim Dawn

The possibilities are endless. 

If you didn't follow the game's early development, you may not know that the creators of the game are the same ones who worked on a similar title, Titan Quest. 

Released in 2006, Titan Quest is, in my opinion, one of the best hack and slash RPGs I've ever played. 

While some would argue that Titan Quest's most defining feature was its unique bosses and talent tree, I would argue that it was the abundance of user-created content that made the game so memorable.

Titan Quest

I think I spent more time with player-created content than the actual content. 

From the start of the game, the development team gifted players with the tools to create their very own mods. You could create maps, items, and even add new powers and masteries to the game. I remember spending countless hours just breezing away through random user-created dungeons, spawning inside maps that were nothing more than a collection of all the rare items in the game. 

Considering Grim Dawn's current state, mod support is a blessing.

One of Grim Dawn's most prevalent issues is the lack of a story. Yes it's engaging, but frankly, it's pretty short. And the amount of replayability and content is small because of it. Thankfully, mods can fix that.

I'm never one to underestimate the creativity of the player-base. Player-created content can add in some spice that the game originally lacked. It could make the game more enjoyable, and increase replayability.

I'm expecting to see some crazy content up on the Steam Workshop page in the next coming week.