Grim Dawn: Once Taken, Twice Shy (Pt. 8)

Piercing the heart of the fallen city.

You’d think that it’d be difficult to lay siege to an entire city, but it’s actually quite easy if you strategically strike from the sewers like a demented psychotic rat with murderous intent. A demented psychotic rat that binds the recently deceased to unholy servitude, that befriends cannibals, and can seemingly do the impossible. As the militia has been hiding in the tunnels beneath the city waiting for my Cabalist to arrive. Apparently they suffered heavy losses when attempting to cull the twisted nightmarish beasts of the Steelcap District, but I’d wager that they didn’t try melting everything with acid.

It works more often than not for my Cabalist.

If only the opposition understood this simple concept. Instead they had to rely on (much deadlier) Aether and Vitality damage which rapidly depleted her health, but she has the advantage of nearly limitless healing. So no matter how many times they’d beat her down she’d just get back up again.

That said, if the opposition were able to heal themselves that would be terrifying. So I’m glad that they can’t. Nor will ever be able to. Which is why the people of Cairn will triumph over any opposition, as they’ve got an unfair advantage and the outcome is predetermined with the rest being just a formality. Which is a truth that extends beyond video games. I’m just glad that I don’t need to wage an endless war to secure that promotion. I just need to realise that due to working hard and taking pride in my work that I’ll never be considered for it. At least in a post-apocalyptic society such trivial concerns have been abandoned, and instead we’re concerned with real issues like whether we’ll be eaten in the night by wolves. Or swallowed up by a Chthonic Rift when climbing mountains. These are the things that keep me awake at night.

A twisted landscape of flesh and corruption.

I was reunited with an old friend in the grotesque landscape of the Fleshworks, though. So that was nice. It was actually the highlight of my evening as I unlocked an achievement by defeating them once more. Another that my Warder seemingly missed, which is making me wonder how he managed to miss all of these areas and bosses. I suppose that they could have been added by recent updates. But I’ve found no evidence to suggest that. My only other assumption is that, due to my Cabalist experiencing the revised main campaign, she has more resources or recipes than he had at the time.

However, that doesn’t explain missing the bosses.

Not that it hasn’t been fun uncovering new locations, bosses, and quests with this character. That’s always refreshing. There are more quests to uncover, too. Some require allegiance to (or better standing with) certain factions, and will likely become available in either Elite or Ultimate difficulty.

Unless I want to grind reputation with various factions and have them available in Normal difficulty. Which I don’t necessarily want to do. The faction mechanics are one of my favourite things about Grim Dawn, but I don’t see a reason to try and rush them. I’ll be experiencing the main campaign at least twice more if I want to complete every difficulty level. So I may as well passively earn the reputation. It’s not like the faction rewards would be useful even if I did grind the reputation, as I’d need to be of a much higher level to use them. I’ve greatly enjoyed playing (and writing about) this character build, though. I’ve been inspired by the experience and can apply much of what I’ve learned to other character builds, which couldn’t possibly manifest as a several hundred hour investment into Grim Dawn. That’d be ludicrous.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Grim Dawn: Once Taken, Twice Shy (Pt. 7)

Where the plants are poisonous and the people are cannibals.

Not all cannibals are monstrous inhuman creatures, either. Some are friendly. They have a village which is peaceful, prosperous, and welcoming to succulent outsiders. I was also hoping that (as they are a faction) they would have faction rewards, too. But they don’t seem to have a faction rewards vendor. In which case, my Cabalist has made yet another questionable moral choice by assisting these cannibals in their pursuit of human flesh. I believe that my Warder made the correct choice. As I vaguely remember something about a cellar full of blood, human viscera, and cooking recipes.

I probably shouldn’t have tried their stew, either.

But there’s no use in crying over broiled human flesh. Those helpless captives would’ve been eaten sooner or later if I’d not intervened. Now it’s just sooner rather than later, and at least the friendly cannibals are likely to cook them before eating them. Those other cannibals may have eaten them alive.

John Bourbon has made some questionable decisions in his life, too. Like saving my Cabalist from the noose. Her second chance is going from bad to worse, and I’m starting to wonder whether (in a previous life) she was partly responsible for the collapse of society. Maybe that’s why they possessed her in the first place. She was already more malicious than they were. Then again, she has done several of these things by accident. So maybe she’s a good person with a poor sense of judgement. Or a very capable idiot. Only time and a mound of innocent corpses will tell. I’m sure that if she retakes the fallen city with minimal casualties she’ll still be regarded as the hero that we didn’t need (or want) but that risked their life for the lives of others. Which means that no-one will remember her questionable moral choices.

Watch as we attempt to poison each other unsuccessfully.

Travelling through Gloomwald towards Ugdenbog reminded me of how threatening (and beautiful) these locations are. Besides the cannibals. Those are mostly manageable if you offer to exchange human flesh for your own continued existence. Not that I would advise that you attempt to eat my Cabalist, as she probably tastes of acid and decay given her time spent around poisonous corpse beasts. You’d most likely need to add a little seasoning before she’s considered edible. Then again, if you’re eating human flesh you’re probably not too fussy about how they taste. On my travels I also took the time to explore the Ancient Grove, which I’d missed (or not completed) with my Warder the first time around. I earned a few unexpected achievements in that dungeon, too.

I also uncovered the Den of the Ancient.

Another location that my Warder seemingly didn’t access. I’m guessing that I didn’t have very much Dynamite at the time I found the bridge, as I don’t know why else he wouldn’t have fought the boss. Unless he tried and failed. That’s entirely possible, but I doubt that I would’ve given up so easily.

With the completion of Act 5 this series is nearing its conclusion. Naturally this would be the exact moment in time that the developers decided to implement a massive free update, which makes numerous changes and even introduces a new dungeon in the Korvan Basin. I’ve no plans to write any additional posts for any attempts at either Elite or Ultimate difficulty, nor any plans to cover this particular update. As these posts would kind of be recycled content. We’d be covering the same locations and events as we’ve covered previously, while the changes are so extensive I’d need a new character build to see them all. I may write an additional post or two explaining other builds I’ve enjoyed, though. But I can’t guarantee anything. It’s mostly dependant on when I revisit Grim Dawn again and for what reason.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

From the Ashes

Greenish tints are common in post-apocalyptic wastelands.

Devil’s Crossing has seen better days. Mostly the ones where they’re not under siege from a fallen city overflowing with horrific monstrosities. But, seeing as they are under siege, and their militia is more or less useless, you’re going to be busy for a few days. Or weeks. Assuming you aren’t immediately swallowed up by the void. Ashes of Malmouth is the utterly fantastic continuation of Grim Dawn, which features both new Masteries and new story content (alongside a heapin’ helpin’ of new items legendary and otherwise).

It’s a good ol’ fashioned expansion.

The two new Masteries alone are worth the price of admission, as they can either be used on their own or with any of the other Masteries which opens up myriad possibilities. I’ve been trying the Death Knight (Necromancer/Soldier) and the combination of summoning with close combat is pretty fantastic. Having a menagerie of unholy beasts and skeletons is pretty neat.

That said, the new story content is excellently introduced through a series of breadcrumb quests which take you back to Burrwitch and then to heart of the void. From there you journey to Malmouth and (quite literally) fight your way to the heart of the city. Gaining ground and losing it in equal measure as you push forwards. It’s a surprisingly extensive journey which will introduce you to new factions nestled deep in marshes and crumbling cities, and will require you to make choices, as your actions will dictate who will welcome you and who won’t, and those interactions will help you understand the true nature of these factions. As expected from Grim Dawn there is a wealth of choice and consequence that’ll keep you busy for hours to come.

Crown Hill definitely has an infestation problem.

I’ve had a few pangs of nostalgia while playing through this expansion, too. It gives me similar feelings to those I had when I first experienced Diablo II Lord of Destruction, wherein the snowy plains of Act V kept me company while I adjusted to the innumerable challenges that lay ahead. I’m also quite excited to see how the Death Knight develops. I’ve mostly experienced Ashes of Malmouth with my Warder (Shaman/Soldier), which, besides being my first character, doesn’t have a particularly strong or effective build.

It has great burst potential but terrible survivability.

However, despite the build drawbacks, I’ve greatly enjoyed all that I’ve experienced so far. I’ve still got to find those new dungeons, too. I would say that I’ve seen the majority of what this expansion has to offer, but I know that isn’t true as it is so incredibly content dense. I’ve definitely missed quests and NPCs along the way. Not to mention the results of different choices.

It’s an incredibly easy recommendation to make if you love ARPGs. Grim Dawn is an expertly crafted and beautifully complex yet intuitive and easy to learn ARPG, which only becomes better (in every way) with this expansion. That and you can raise skeletons. All the cool kids are doing that. I’m not really sure what the Inquisitor does- but I’m sure that’s neat as well. I’m quite excited to see what’s coming next for Grim Dawn, but, until then, I’ve got to roam the fields of Wightmire with my Death Knight. She’s due to loot something really cool any day now. Or maybe I’ll try to make sense of the Devotion screen and pick something out for her. I don’t really open that screen much. It’s big and confusing.

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie