Free-to-play co-op monster hunting game Dauntless will move into its official 1.0 launch on September 26 on PC (Epic Games Store), PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. If you’re thinking “didn’t…
Dauntless, the free-to-play Monster Hunter-like, is getting its first major content update, called Fortune & Glory, next week on July 16. The update will add Trials as a new high-challenge gameplay mode, as well as ushering in the next season with an all new Hunt Pass of unlockable goodies.
If you can’t already tell by the name, Fortune & Glory adds a swashbuckling pirate theme, beginning with the arrival of the pirate queen Lady Luck. Lady Luck has brought an entire island to the edge of the city Ramsgate. The island is home to the new Trials gameplay mode. Trials will feature stronger, modified behemoths with unique environmental challenges and a ticking clock.
Trials are split between Normal and Dauntless. Completing normal trials rewards Steel Marks, which can be used to purchase unique rewards added in the Fortune & Glory update, such as alternate weapon attacks. Dauntless trials reward Gilded Marks which can be redeemed for even greater cosmetic rewards. These rewards can only be earned through completing trials.
Trials also feature their own leaderboard on the Wall of Champions near Lady Luck’s new shop. Trials rotate every week, giving slayers a chance to get their name emblazoned on the wall.
The Fortune & Glory update also starts the next Hunt Season, called High Skies. High Skies features two consecutive 50-item Hunt Passes. The first bears the same name as the event itself, and is tied to Lady Luck. The second Hunt Pass is called Zephyr Strike and will start sometime in August. Elite Hunt Passes cost 1,000 platinum to purchase, and include 50 unlockable cosmetic items to progress through (think Fortnite’s Battle Passes).
Dauntless is available on PC (Epic Games Store), PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, and features cross platform play and progression. It’s rated T for Teen.
Phoenix Labs announced that over half a million new players joined up to hunt monsters in the Shattered Isles in the first 24 hours of Dauntless’ release on May 21. This brings the total number of players for the free-to-play monster hunting game to over four million worldwide, following a year-long stint in beta. Those numbers equate to over 2 million hours played and 3 million hunts.
Dauntless is a free-to-play co-op action-RPG. Players take on the role of slayers to join forces and hunt large monsters, known as behemoths, choosing from several different weapon styles. The free-to-play game is supported by seasonal hunt passes, which can be purchased to unlock a seasonal progression system full of cosmetic items. If this sounds like a cross between Fortnite and Monster Hunter, you’re on the right track.
One of Dauntless’ biggest perks is cross-platform and cross-progression between PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The developers refer to it as One Dauntless. By linking an Epic Games account you can play with anyone on any platform, and your progress and characters will carry over between devices.
“After a year in Open Beta and a ton of great feedback from over 3 million Dauntless players, we’re proud to bring our game to console and expand our PC audience through the Epic Games store,” said Jesse Houston, CEO and Co-founder, Phoenix Labs. “When we first started talking about ‘One Dauntless,’ we knew it was a truly audacious goal. No one has ever launched on console with full cross-play support from the start, but we believed in our vision and, thankfully, our friends at Epic Games, Sony, and Microsoft did too. Keeping the community connected is one of our top priorities, and with all the new players coming in at launch, there’s never been a better time to be a Slayer in Dauntless.”
Dauntless is available for free on PC (Epic Games Store), PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It’s also coming later to Switch and mobile devices.
After several months in closed beta testing, Indie studio Phoenix Labs has launched their co-op action-RPG Dauntless into open beta. You can download and play the beta for free at…
Dauntless either has terrible timing or brilliant timing. Indie developer Phoenix Labs had one of the largest booth at PAX South to show off their free-to-play monster hunting game. The booth lie in the shadow of the even larger Capcom booth, whose gigantic Rathalos statue beckoned people to play one of the biggest releases of the year: Monster Hunter: World. Dauntless offers a much more streamlined – and more importantly free alternative to the niche hunting genre.
“We’re big fans of the hunting genre,” said Reid Buckmaster, combat designer for Dauntless. “We wanted to bring together elements of games we all enjoyed to build the ultimate co-op game that we at the studio always wanted to play. We’re using elements from Monster Hunter, but also gameplay loops from Destiny.”
After several crashes on the demo PC I finally loaded up into a mission with a group of three other hunters, called slayers. Four weapon loadouts were available, and I chose the war pike.
Dauntless uses an easy to understand combo system with two attack buttons, as well as a special attack that varies depending on the weapon. My war pike could focus a laser beam, while the dual blades could either be hurled to close the distance, or used to vault away from a monster to avoid danger.
Combos are quickly accessible from the pause menu, teaching me basic strategies for getting the most out of my weapon – button mashing only gets you so far.
“We want to push players to switch between the weapon types,” said Buckmaster. “Players should want to feel like they have a main weapon, but be able to quickly switch out depending on their party composition or the encounter.” There are five weapons currently available: sword, hammer, axe, dual blades, and the war pike. A sixth weapon is being planned for open beta.
The four of us landed on a floating island to begin our hunt. The islands are relatively small zones and contain a number of gatherable resources and plants, which can then be used to craft potions and items back in the hub town of Ramsgate.
As in Monster Hunter we were given a time limit to hunt the monster. “We’re shooting for an average hunt time of about 15 minutes,” said Buckmaster. “If you have the right gear and really know your way around, you could finish one as quickly as five minutes.”
We stuck together and soon found our prey: Skarn. Skarn was a large four-legged dinosaur monster equipped with giant plates of rocky armor. It could knock the armor off and use it as a weapon, or slam the ground and cause rocky spires to jut out and impale us. The four of us surrounded it and began hacking it up, getting knocked around in the process. A big part of the strategy is learning to read a behemoth’s attack patterns and weaknesses, and a live demo on the show floor isn’t the ideal way to tackle it.
Skarn retreated to a different area, giving us some breathing room to apply healing before chasing after it. There were some glowing blue outcroppings on the ground we could activate for an additional healing font. We also came equipped with several healing potions. If someone went down we could revive them, provided someone else distracted the monster away.
Sadly the behemoth ended us before we could take it down, though we gave it a valiant effort. Monsters scale with the number of players, and Skarn represented a Tier 2 behemoth. Normally it would not be the first monster you face.
Skarn is one of 18 behemoths currently available in the closed beta, spread out over five different difficulty tiers. The starter monsters at Tier 1 are easier versions of other behemoths, while a few later behemoths repeat the base monster designs but with different coloring and attack patterns.
Fighting behemoths is more than just trying to kill them. Targeting specific body parts and destroying them will nullify some of the monster’s attacks, as well as rewarding you with that body part. Body parts are used to craft more powerful weapons and armor, which in turn allow you to hunt more dangerous prey.
Dauntless is currently in closed beta, with an open beta arriving this summer on PC. Since it’s going to be free to play, Phoenix Labs admits that the open beta will essentially be a soft launch. “For open beta we’ll have the outline of our campaign,” said Buckmaster. “The goal is to have a full story campaign with voice acting and cutscenes. It’s not unlike Destiny where the 10-15 hour campaign shows you the ropes and gets you into the universe. Beyond that you’re grinding out for better stuff and going for the top accolades.”
Phoenix Labs promises the game will remain free to play, with no pay-to-win elements. “We are very firmly against pay-to-win type mechanics,” said Buckmaster. “You won’t be able to purchase anything that will affect your gameplay. The only things available to purchase will be cosmetics, like designs for flares and armor.”
Dauntless is planned for a PC launch initially, but Phoenix Labs are eyeing console releases for the future, though no consoles have yet been announced.
Can Dauntless survive now that many hunting fans are knee deep into the recently released behemoth of the genre, Monster Hunter: World? “The hunting genre has been pretty niche and sometimes difficult to get new players into,” said Buckmaster. “That’s something we wanted to do focus on with Dauntless – having a really inviting game that has depth, but easy enough to jump into and start hitting buttons.”