Dauntless: Free-to-Play Preview

A four-party RPG to keep your peepers on.

If you’re familiar with free-to-play games like World of Tanks, Warframe, League of Legends, or Hearthstone, you know that free-to-play games nowadays are almost on par with AAA titles. Some of these franchises have millions of players over several years. Sharpen your sword and ax because you’ll go monster hunting with friends in a new free-to-play called Dauntless by Phoenix Labs.

The story behind the game is that a massive cataclysm has broken the world into small floating islands. A magical energy called aether keeps the islands suspended in the air. Giant monsters, or behemoths as they are called in-game, feed on this energy until none remains and the island plummets creating a catastrophe below. You and up to three friends must band together as Slayers to defeat these behemoths before it’s too late.

The developers released pre-alpha gameplay at E3 this year. At its core, Dauntless is a co-op action RPG with plans to include a massive crafting system, skill-based mechanics, and monsters with adaptive AI. While the current version of the game feels rather empty, it only supports demos of the combat system.

What sets Dauntless apart from your average hack and slash RPG is your weapon choice determines the move set you’re allowed in battle. Choose a sword, and you will be capable of chaining together moves faster than if you select an ax, or a shotgun infused hammer (that’s right a shotgun. infused. hammer.). Executing attacks with these slower weapons makes you strategic and intentional in your attacks.

Monsters are strategic in their attacks as well. If players are far away, they will pummel you with a ranged attack. If players are spread thin, they will attempt to attack you while you are alone. And if you attack as a group they will perform large area attacks to destroy you all at once. Some monsters can even create large ice structures which serve to trap players so they can’t escape the monster’s attacks.

The world of Dauntless will contain dozens of behemoths upon launch. Starting out the player will spawn on a hub island where you will team up with your friends or randoms. Islands will periodically move close enough to this center to allow players to travel to them. This rotation will limit the time players will have in slaying targeted behemoths. Once a monster is killed its parts can be collected and used to craft better gear to tackle larger, stronger behemoths.

The developers at Phoenix Labs are actively listening to the player base. President Jesse Houston cited that the studio has been tweaking aspects of the game like pacing and weapon balance. He even stated the studio wasn’t considering ranged weapons as part of the core gameplay until the player base asked for it. Phoenix Labs wants to make the best game possible without locking essential content behind monetization.

Currently, the game is in closed alpha with plans to begin alpha testing for Founders on August 18th with a close beta to follow sometime afterward. The game is in its early stages but looks very promising from the basis of the combat to the responsiveness of the studio to its players. If you’re interested in finding out more about this game you can visit their webpage: playdauntless.com . There you will find more information about its creatures or buy pre-release packages ranging from $40 to $80. The largest package (Founder) grants you access to the closed alpha in August.

What do you think about Dauntless and the direction its going? Hyped? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think.
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