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Darkest Dungeon 2 is overhauling progression and adding bounty hunters next

I prefer Snickers, but each to their own

The next early access update for grim roguelike Darkest Dungeon 2 revamps its progression system and brings in some temporary hired muscle in the form of bounty hunters. The Altar Of Hope update is already live in the game’s experimental branch and is coming to the main game when devs Red Hook are satisfied with its stability. You can catch a glimpse of the bounty hunter in the teaser below.

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Red Hook say Altar Of Hope is a “wholesale rework of the fundamental underpinnings” of metagame and progression for Darkest Dungeon 2. This means your current expeditions, item unlocks, and hero availability will be reset if you choose to enable the update, so be forewarned. Hero backstory unlocks and skill unlocks are sticking around, though. You’ll also get 20 of the new Candles Of Hope for your trouble.

Candles Of Hope are collected by your party on their travels and can be cashed in for upgrades and perks, as well as character unlocks and trinkets, when you rock up home safely. You’ll have Candles dished out to you when you complete objectives, work through areas, and lay an appropriate amount of smackdown on enemies. The Altar Of Hope itself is where you’ll spend the Candles to upgrade your sorry pack of scoundrels.

Being daring and pushing farther down the road nets you more Candles, but if you chicken out and choose to end your expedition at the Inn then don’t worry, you’ll keep whatever you’ve found. Make it to the Mountain and you’re guaranteed to keep all the Candles you’ve accrued along the way, even if you fail spectacularly. You can read the full patch notes for the Altar Of Hope update here.

Also coming as part of the update is a new ally, the bounty hunter. These armoured scallywags roam between Inns looking for parties to hang out with. You’ll need to pay them for that pleasure, obvs. Engage their services and they’ll replace one of your active heroes for next region. Bounty hunters won’t gain or lose affinity with your party, but they can still get stressed out by whatever you encounter. There’s more info on the bounty hunter here.

Darkest Dungeon 2 has been exclusive to the Epic Games Store since it entered early access last November. In May, Red Hook's dev roadmap said they were concentrating on three main areas next: progression, relationships, and driving. The Altar Of Hope ticks one of those off.

Brendy felt the game got off to a bumpy start when he took a stagecoach out for his Darkest Dungeon 2 early access review, although he enjoyed the relationship system. “It continues the tradition of the original Hurtiest Hellhole in which one character will become both a total necessity and complete asshole liability,” he said. “Except now a character can be such a liability, so hated by the others, that you will actually try to have them killed so they can be replaced by a new character at the next Inn.“

Darkest Dungeon 2 is on the Epic Games Store for £24/$26/€27. The game launches out of early access in February 2023.

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