Last night was the very first night since February 15th that I have played no Anthem. Up until this point I had attempted to get a little bit in every night even if that just meant doing a single contract. Since the drop of Elysian Chests I had been trying to earn a key every night regardless if I actually ran the Stronghold to spend it on. After yesterdays post I realized that my frustrations were reaching a level where I simply needed to let it drop for awhile for my own peace of mind. For awhile I had contemplated playing some Destiny 2 given that it is theoretically in a pretty good state right now… however my fear would be that I would spend the night comparing it to Anthem and still wind up frustrated. I have been playing a lot of Diablo 3 on the switch, but again… there is the whole comparison problem seeing as we all compare Anthem loot to that game. Instead I decided to zig and zag off in a similar but different direction and spend some time with Grim Dawn. The game was announced in 2009, went through a successful kickstarter campaign in 2012, entered early access in 2013 and finally officially “launched” in 2016. Since then it has released three major content drops… The Crucible which is a sort of horde mode arena thing and then Ashes of Malmouth and Forgotten Gods that add new story and additional functionalities.
In spite of liking the game quite a bit I have never really made it terribly far because I have never played it as a primary game for any length of time. This has been my “go to” for moments when I feel like playing something LIKE Diablo but not Diablo. The game does not do much hand holding or explaining of anything… which is to its detriment given that some of the systems are less than clear. Effective you are thrust into a Victorian era world where demon like creatures called Aetherials have taken back the world is a Shadowrun awakening sort of event called the Grim Dawn. Magic the Aetherials and the Chthonians began flowing back in the world and as a survivor and formerly possessed you are trying to do your best to fight back for the sake of humanity. It is somewhat or a madlibs style remixed version of a bunch of different tales, but the long and short is you are in a world with both magic and guns and playing a game that sits somewhere between Diablo 2 and Diablo 3 as far as feel. You fight zombies and demons and weird floating not-quite-beholder things for the purpose of getting loot and progressing your character.
When first starting the game you are asked to choose one of six masteries: Soldier, Demolitionist, Occultist, Nightblade, Arcanist and Shaman. At level 10 you get to pick a second mastery and effectively set what “class” you are going to be as a whole. For example I chose Soldier and Shaman which is apparently a combination called the Warder and known for its tanky goodness. I somehow arrived at this conclusion without ever actually doing research… it just seemed like the class combination that fit me the most. There was a terribly unreadable diagram on the Grim Dawn site with a really unfortunate font… so I decided to cobble together something more manageable real quick in Google Sheets. The Ashes of Malmouth campaign adds two additional masteries in the Inquisitor and the Necromancer and the Forgotten Gods campaign adds Oathkeeper. The names are rather evocative and honestly make me want to try playing a handful of those specific specs at some point or another. I am almost always deeply drawn to anything called a Death Knight.
Last night I managed to finally finish the first act of the game, in part because some of the quests are less than helpful in their directions. It is a game largely without modern quest advisement, so you have to sort of wing your way through most of them. There will never be an arrow pointing you in a direction other than maybe marking what general zone something takes place in. I still have a ton of side quests to knock out in the Act One areas, so tonight I might spend some time trying to clean those up before moving forward. Some of them I have PART of the things done… like I have managed to gather up 2 pieces of fabric but I need 3 total to turn in with the person in Devil’s Crossing which serves as the main quest hub. Occasionally Diablo style you might rescue someone out in the wastes that will turn into an NPC that either grants you quests or serves a functionality back in town. I seem to be missing whatever NPC allows me to craft things because I have picked up some blueprints but have nowhere to use them as of yet.
Ultimately Grim Dawn does a really good job of being an Action RPG without being a Diablo clone. It definitely has its own ideas about some things and while complicated… serves to be way more approachable than Path of Exile. I guess for the forseeable future I am going to spend my evenings in this game and see how far I can manage to get. I greatly enjoyed last night and found the whole thing super relaxing. I do however also want to play some Magic Arena with Tam and Mor over the weekend, so that might be what is actually on the docket for tonight. The biggest challenge I have right now is the fact that I cannot be on voice chat while playing over parsec. There are some cludgy workarounds that only work for Discord but getting Tam on Discord is a massive challenge. Even at that it forces me to try and relay through a second account which is a mess that I have just not dealt with. Essentially if I am downstairs on the laptop streaming through Parsec… then I can’t be on voice. Last night I started upstairs but Kenzie screamed at me until I went downstairs so she could in my lap while I gamed. Cats are like that.