Grim Dawn, Better Than Diablo?: (Action Role Playing Game) (2024)

I *absolutely* consider Grim Dawn better than D4 or D3. It's up there with D2 LOD (NOT, mind you, D2R, which is little more than a reskin cash grab).

First off, your character is not some 'grand destiny' fated individual. They are just a normal person who got possessed, then the possessing entity took off. As a result, your character is, objectively, Built Different(tm). As a result, you don't technically get a class until you hit level 2, when you get to pick one. And at level 10, you get to pick a second class to pair with it. This gives you a truly staggering amount of possibilities, each with viable strategies and synergies.

Second off, it has a loot filter built in. It isn't as robust as, say, Last Epoch's, but it's infinitely better than no loot filter which Diablo possesses. And it is certainly better than relying on a third party site for a loot filter like PoE. It is simple and straightforward, permitting you to filter for things you are actually looking for (i.e. you have no need for a 2h ranged when you're dual-wielding melee) and rarity.

Third off, it has a metric ton of lore for an ARPG. Like, we're talking almost Dark Souls level environmental storytelling. You get tons of lore notes sprinkled across the realm which sheds further light on what is going on (which are worth xp to read). While the base maps are hand-crafted, there are random obstacles sprinkled in procedurally. This gives you both replay value and quality maps.

Fourth off are MI's, or Monster Infrequents. Basically, they're similar in concept to legendary items as they can be build-defining, except they also can get a prefix and a suffix on top of it. But what I really like about them is how they can be target-farmed. With the 1.2 patch, loot drops changed, and for the better IMO. Basically, any named guy that possesses an MI will guaranteed drop it. So at that point, all you are really farming for are affixes. Now, MI's that are dropped by mobs that aren't named elites aren't guaranteed, and immediately following the 1.2 patch their drop rate got extremely nerfed (Grobel off-hand for Eye of Dreeg builds...), but that has since been fixed somewhat. You still might have to grind a specific zone to get an MI to drop, but again, it's a far cry better than Diablo where you just had to grind over and over and over again hoping for the specific item you are wanting.

Grimtools is a third party website resource with all the information you could ever want. There is a build calculator, a database of characters made by other players, an item database and whom or what drops it, and more. It's an extremely useful resource for players of all experience levels, and something D4 and D3.. well, I wouldn't say they lack it, but they don't really need it much either given how simplistic the games are, unless you're just wanting the latest details on the meta builds for the season.

Now, let's talk Devotions. These are passive abilities that will augment how your character plays, similar in concept to PoE's passive tree. Unlike PoE's passive tree, however, instead of trying to make it as obscure and intimidating as possible, it's actually quite logically set up in a Constellation format. Each constellation has a theme. If you want to lean into that theme, that's the constellation you want to get, and generally for the most part you want to finish it. This makes it much less confusing without reducing complexity all that much. They're obtained by finding shrines out in the world. Clearing a shrine (either by giving it an item or defeating monsters that spawn from it or, rarely, by completing a quest surrounding it) gives you one Devotion point. Most Constellations have five or six points worth of investment, with some of the later constellations having more complex prerequisites to enter and tend to be larger. There's also a search function in-game which lets you look for certain key words relevant to your build such as 'physical damage' or 'regeneration' or 'retaliation', which will then highlight all nodes that have that word or phrase in it, making planning your constellations even easier.

As far as the skill trees themselves, I really like them. You have a horizontally scrolling 'tree', plus 'the bar' at the bottom. You put points in the bar to unlock access to skills and their modifiers. Putting points into the bar *also* gives you stats, hp, and mana (exact amounts depends on the class, Arcanist will get more mana than Soldier, for example), so it is never 'wasted' points. So, let's use a very common first build, the Forcewave Fighter. With one point put into the bar itself, you unlock the base skill Forcewave, which is a line effect AoE that deals respectable damage. So this is a skill you can unlock at level 2 (you gain 3 skill points per level up to level 50, then it starts tapering off). From there, you could put more points into forcewave, more points into the bar, or some combination of both. At five points in the bar, you unlock the modifier for Forcewave that requires using a 2h weapon, reduces the total amount of damage it does per swing, and entirely removes the cooldown which permits you to spam it. At 15 points in the bar, you unlock access to the Rending Force augment, which increases the length of the AoE and adds some flat and percentage damage when you put points into it.

As of the 1.2 update, there's also now an evade button which gives you a dodge-roll on a cooldown, and removed healing/mana potions as items and just have them also on a cooldown instead. Buff potions still exist, however.

There's eight different resistances to concern yourself with, and three tiers of difficulty which, just like in D2, offer a penalty to all saving throws. So gearing needs to factor these into account, because walking into a poison boss with a low poison resistance is a great way to die.

Combat can be fairly dynamic, there are only a few builds that can truly facetank, and even then, standing in the puddles of damage is generally never a good idea. This offers a much more enjoyable experience than, say, 'hold down right mouse button to win' of D3.

I could go on, but I believe I've said enough. I strongly suggest it to anyone who likes the ARPG genre.

Grim Dawn, Better Than Diablo?: (Action Role Playing Game) (2024)


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