Roll up, roll up, The Butcher's Circus is (about to be) in town. Merciless RPG Darkest Dungeon is set to launch its PVP mode later today, letting you pit your band of stressed out adventurers against those of a stressed out person in the real world. The new mode is completely separate to the singleplayer campaign, and comes with new trinkets and reworked Heroes.
The Dungeon's first free trial weekend also kicks off today, so you can get all cross without spending a penny.
Many of the specifics are murky, which is at least thematically appropriate. You fight in 4v4 battles, and unlock new banners as you climb up the ranks. You unlock "new gladiatorial trinkets" as you play, and those aren't lost on death. Developers Red Hook Studios assure us that heroes now "inflict stress with many of their skills", and that you'll "be able to cause afflictions to hamper and demoralise your opponents". It sounds horrible, but that is very much the point.
This is interesting, because Darkest Dungeon isn't built around the sort of fighting I presume this involves. Normally you'd be building for the long haul, mitigating the impact of long-term debuffs and catering to your party's overall well-being. The singleplayer is about keeping your party alive through a daunting series of fights, not chucking everything at one big one. I'm not saying this won't work! Just that it is weird.
This is only available through Steam for the time being, and only on Windows. You'll need to grab the free Butchers Circus DLC.
Red Hook say they're "targeting 10am PDT" (6pm British time) for the update, which is also when Steam trial weekends usually kick off. Red Hook also mention there will be a "deep discount" for those that want it for keeps.
If your tastes are anything like Joe Donnelly's, you may well want to. "You’ll cry. And cry and cry and cry", he says in his Darkest Dungeon review - "But I think you’ll love it."
You can grab the main game here.
Oh, and Red Hook say don't worry - this isn't delaying Darkest Dungeon 2.