Behemoths, and Hunters, and Surprisingly Well-Crafted Gear, Oh My! A Dauntless Beginner's Guide
Set in a world of floating islands and elemental behemoths, Phoenix Labs' Dauntless is a co-op action RPG that seems to blend the Monster Hunter: World narrative with Fortnite's style. As a player, you and a group of friends are tasked with hunting down large monsters called behemoths and crafting potions or gear from their remains. However, as straightforward and familiar as the concept is, not everything about the gameplay is quite as obvious.
So to make sure you’re focused on the real prize -- wasting behemoths and taking trophies -- here's our Dauntless beginner's guide, full of some things you should know before you start.
Character Creation: Be Wary
The first challenge of Dauntless starts before you’ve even entered the game. When creating your character, you are asked to choose between 12 ancestors, both male and female -- you can choose one of each or do two of the same sex, it doesn’t matter. Your character’s initial appearance will be a combination of these two ancestors, which you can then further tailor by moving the slider at the bottom of the screen right or left. This will allow you to veer closer to one ancestor’s looks than the other’s.
Once you’ve picked your ancestors, you have the normal options, like hair style, hair color, eye size, mouth size, etc., as well as the option for makeup, facial hair, and face paint.
What’s not so obvious is the selection between ‘male’ or ‘female’ -- there isn’t one. Instead, if you’d like to change your character from the default ‘male’ body, you need to click "Change Body Type" at the bottom of the character creation page and select ‘small’ instead of ‘large.’
It’s also important that you are completely happy with the character you’ve created because there’s no turning back once you’ve decided. Dauntless currently offers no option to create more than one character, or a button to delete the one you previously created should you wish to do so. Though they may institute something in the future, emailing the Dauntless crew at firstname.lastname@example.org and waiting for a response or trying to access ‘Character Reset’ through your account on the website are the only ways to wipe a character at the present time (though 'Character Reset' doesn’t appear on every account).
However, don’t worry! If you have somehow ended up with a character design you loathe, there is a stylist in the game called Gregario, who will help you out and allow you to change your appearance.
The Hunt Begins -- Where Is the Behemoth?
After you’ve created your character, you’ll be launched into your first hunt. Dauntless does a pretty good job of giving you a mini-tutorial on battle mechanics, but it skimps on some of the details -- like how you’re supposed to find the behemoth in the first place.
If you guessed searching the area for clues, you’re wrong. The behemoths in Dauntless don’t leave tracks unless they’re hitting things mid-battle. There’s also no in-game map to check for points. So the only way to find behemoths is to walk around looking for them. If you’re in a group, this process gets expedited as there are more people to cover more ground. However, when you’re working alone, this can take a bit more time (and you only have 30 minutes for each hunt).
The best tactic if you don’t see the behemoth right away is to get to higher ground. Littered around most elevated areas are blue, glowing craters that shoot out air -- stand over these to get boosted up. You should try to get to the highest possible area so you can scan the full landscape. Hopefully, you’ll see a giant, hulking beast out there. If not, just keep wandering. If you don’t spot it visually, the music usually changes when you get close.
I Found It, Now How Do I Fight It?
The basic mechanics for behemoth fights in Dauntless are pretty simple -- hack, slash, dodge, repeat. Each behemoth in the game has its own set of specialized attacks that it'll cycle through. After enough time, it’s easy to spot the patterns and prepare.
To do this, it’s important to understand all of the skills you have at your disposal. For example, your lantern.
Each lantern in the game has a different skill -- either a health boost, an attack boost, or something else. These can be a massive asset in a fight as you’re running around dodging for your life. To use your lantern, hold down V. It should slowly auto-refill once it’s spent.
You also want to make sure you’re fully utilizing your special attack, accessed by Q. The power bar for these skills fills up every time you hit the behemoth -- kind of like ults in Overwatch.
Another thing to note is that within each area where you'll find a behemoth, there is one large, glowing blue crater, usually in the middle of the battlefield. The craters are actually health points -- you just have to be able to stand on them long enough to get through a full cycle of pressing E before the behemoth attacks. Each of these craters has at least 4 charges to help you heal up. You can find them at every spot in which a behemoth is located, even after they’ve moved across the map.
Finally, when fighting a behemoth, it’s vital to keep them in front of you at all times. Though this may seem obvious, there’s no in-game auto focus when playing on a keyboard. So if you go to dodge and then immediately attack, you might find yourself facing the wrong direction and hitting nothing but air. Though this is a small thing in short battles, in a 30-minute fight with a shifty opponent, constantly having to readjust your camera angle can get pretty annoying.
If you find you’re struggling with this, try switching to a controller. It makes battles a lot easier, trust me.
So You’ve Come Out Victorious -- What’s Next?
After your first behemoth hunt, you’ll be sent to the starting city: Ramsgate. This is where you will be able to pick up additional quests, craft potions, and upgrade/change-out gear. It’s a pretty small town, but it can be somewhat confusing to navigate without a map.
Fortunately, there is a scrolling compass at the top of the screen for players to follow. This will not only show you where you’re going, but the direction for quest pick-ups and turn-ins. If you miss the large, yellow exclamation points and question marks, though, most NPCs in Dauntless will stage whisper at you when they want your attention. There are also large signs located outside most of the city’s establishments that can help guide you.
In the beginning, the armor shop, weapon shop, and potion/crafting master (and maybe Gregario, too) are really all you need. After your first hunt or two, you should be able to upgrade all of your armor and weapons. You will also have the option of picking different weapons than the sword you start with.
It’s a good idea to at least test out each weapon separately, as they all have their own specialized attacks and can really change up your gameplay. For example, the axe is great for heavy damage, but bad if you’re looking to attack quickly, while the chain blades are ideal for anyone hoping to keep a bit of distance.
To change out your gear, press ‘L’ for the Loadout screen, or simply hit the ESC button and click 'Loadout' -- this is where you can alter your character’s appearance through their armor and weapons. There is also an option to change dyes, but this is currently permanent should you choose to dye your armor, so beware.
Setting Out Again
Once you’ve updated your gear and picked up a new quest or two, it’s time to head back out to the hunt. To access your quests and choose a hunt to participate in, find one of the hunt boards spread about town. These will give you the option to select a hunt from your quest list or to ‘find a hunt’ where you can pair up with other players. Whichever option you choose will take you to a load screen where you can change-out gear and wait for other party members to ready-up.
This is the ideal time to double-check that you have the right armor, weapon, or potions equipped! Once you land on the island, you won’t be able to change anything.
After that, it’s all about the hunt. Good luck!
Hopefully this Dauntless beginner's guide has set you off on the right foot toward decimating those behemoths. Be sure to check back with GameSkinny regularly as we dive deeper into the game with even more Dauntless guides!