Back in 2010, when it was first announced, I was as excited about Grim Dawn [official site] as I was about any other game in production. It’s the work of Crate Entertainment, a studio made up of Iron Lore Entertainment veterans, and Iron Lore were the team behind one of my favourite ARPGs, Titan Quest. When the other kids were slaying demons in Blizzaro-Land, I was carving a path through myth and legend. Despite Grim Dawn’s availability in alpha form for some time now, I still haven’t played. The latest release, which adds a deity Devotion system and the first part of the final act, is awfully tempting though.
You won’t see Act 4 in that trailer but it’s the latest official video available, showing the state of the game in January 2014. Since then, a new character class has been added, along with the complete second and third acts, which expand the world enormously. There’s also a faction system, allowing you to track your reputation with various groups, and the level cap has been raised all the way to 60.
The big addition in the latest build is the beginning of the end. Since I haven’t played the game, I have no idea if this description of the world’s geography is meaningful in any way but it sounds like the opening of the kind of D&D campaign I would have written during The Goth Years:
“Hearken to the call! The time has come to leave the confines of Homestead, pass through the Darkvale gate and venture on through the unforgiving wilds of the Asterkarn Mountains. Within the desolate Fort Ikon, further mystery awaits and troubling events unfold…”
Grim Dawn’s world is a kind of Dark Victorian Era, with added ethereal beings and Chthonians. The former want to keep humans around so they can use us as batteries, Matrix-style, while the Chthonians just want to have us for breakfast. It’s a rum do.
The full, hefty changelist for build 28 is here; the other big feature is the arrival of the Devotion system:
“Devotions provide a new layer of skill customization, changing the feel of character progression, greatly expanding build diversity and adding hours of theory-crafting! Devotion points are earned by restoring broken or corrupted shrines found throughout the world and then spent among a giant sky map of constellations. Each constellation has its own lore, adding to the flavor of the world, stat bonuses on each star and the potential to unlock Celestial Powers, which are attached to your class skills and triggered in different ways. Access to higher tier constellations is unlocked by accumulating devotion among 5 different affinities: Chaos, Order, Eldritch, Primordial and Ascendant.”
Time to jump in, or should I wait for the final part of the final act? Probably the latter, given how much else there is to play at the moment. The worst thing about writing this post is that the mention of Chaos powers in an ARPG has left me wondering why there isn’t a Warhammer ARPG yet. Given that everything else Warhammer seems to exist, a Diablo-like seems inevitable.