More Dauntless

Now for some good news.

We’re on the other side of 48 hours of downtime to apply a major patch in Dauntless.  OB 0.7.1 (rolls off the tongue).  I was really looking forward to the new systems, mastery in particular.

The good news is that all the changes appear to have taken place, and the new behemoth hunting order is dramatically improved.  The less good news is that anyone that had a high level character prior to the patch likely experienced a significant downgrade in their gear.  In practical terms, it means that new players are going to be just fine.

Mastery

This replaced an odd reputation system.  Instead, you have multi-tiered achievements called Mastery.  One that’s player level (Slayer), one that’s for the enemies (Behemoth), and one for Weapons.  Slayer is more of a meta, and goes up while the other ones go up, and a bit when you kill Behemoths.

Behemoths are trickier.  You need to kill them, naturally.  You also need to break lots of parts, kill them while wearing their equipment, deal damage, avoid damage, and similar related activities.  Most of this is quite doable without a lot of focus.  One card to fill per Behemoth.  The reward tiers are not in game… but on the wiki.

Weapons are the long game.  There’s 1 card per class of weapons (5 of them), then 1 more card per specific weapon (e.g. Inferno Hammer).  The class cards are really generic – mostly just about dealing damage, the weapon’s special attack, or elemental damage.  Elemental bits are going to be less fun… since there are 5 elemental attacks and 8 tiers of damage (starts at 50,000, adds 10x each tier…).  Rewards here include alternative special attacks, and a higher power level per item.

Specific weapon cards… really simple.  Craft them, upgrade them, use them.

The whole system provides wide horizontal growth.

Behemoth Power Rankings

Same amount of Behemoths, just finally triaged into logical groupings.  There are more training wheels at the start, which is quite appreciated.  Instead of just throwing you to the wolves, you now get to learn about resistances, wounds, stagger, dodging, and a few other items that make life a lot easier.

The graduation from one tier to another is gated by your own power level.  That appears to be at 275 and 350, which is related to the gear levels you can craft/equip.  In practical terms you need to hunt enough pieces at a lower tier in order to have a chance for a higher tier.  Now, this existed prior but the overlap between two tiers was much wider (meaning you needed to farm less).  From what I can tell now, having 350 power against Behemoths with 425-500 power is just a walking disaster.  Mathematically, the best you can upgrade to seems to be around 400 (in the middle tier), which provides next to no overlap.  You’d need to be “carried” through at least 5 battles at the top before being able to get to the needed power level.  In practical terms, this means there’s a rather big wall of challenge going from middle to top tier content.

I really think I’m missing something here.

Bugs

There are a few.

  • Items that were +10 before are now +5/6.  Refunded items to get them upgraded again are coming.
  • Items perks have been moved around.  I need to craft 4 new pieces to get back the perks I had before.  I don’t think this is a bug exactly, but it is very noticeable.
  • Items cells (cells are like gems, each has a perk) for items have changed.  My Hammer with  Power/Technique slots is now Power/Power.

Again, all these things only impact existing players.  New players wouldn’t notice any of this.

Hunts

With the changes to Mastery and the Power levels, this has had a larger impact on getting into hunts.  There are still options to target a specific monster, but now there’s only a single generic type of patrol, with a few sub-categories.  This directly impacts lower level hunts, as they are the only target for specific crafting items, making queues super fast.

This also impacts higher level hunts, since there’s only “Heroic Patrols”, again for crafting materials.  People will always be queueing for this generic queue, which in turn feeds those players as backups to specific Heroic hunts.

Long story short, these changes are going to significantly reduce Hunt queue times, for all Behemoths.

Overall

I wouldn’t even call it a day in, just a few hours testing out some parts.  What’s there so far is really making the game ready for prime time.  There’s more to do, more clarity to new players as to how the various systems work, and better queue management.  The core systems all appear to be in good shape (with likely a few balance tweaks here and there).

Looking at their published roadmap, that’s a lot of things delivered in this patch.  The console launch in the summer will hit a wide swath of others.  Next “feature” would be preset loadouts, which given the sheer amount of gear options is more than just QoL at this point.

Color me impressed.

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