Dauntless Reforged Preview: Why Doesn’t Every Game Have A Hang-Glider?

Whoever is behind Epic’s decision to make massive free-to-play multiplayer games must be a damn genius. Not only does it have Fortnite, but they also have the highly popular Behemoth-slaying adventure, Dauntless. If you’re a fan of Dauntless, then you must be excited about the launch of the biggest batch of brand new content in the game’s history. The Reforged expansion is going to bring new locations, new ways of leveling up your characters, and a new way to fly around the maps while hunting down massive Shrikes and Embermanes.

I got to experience just a taste of what’s coming to the game, and even for a Dauntless newbie like me, it looks pretty exciting.

The first and most immediate change to Dauntless is the overhaul of the game’s progression system. The new system – which is called Slayer’s Path – lets you reach milestones by leveling up your weapon skills. These milestones unlock a series of branching paths full of upgrades and abilities. This allows you to brew more potent potions, craft better weapons and armor, or gain new sets of passive buffs and other skills to make your Slayer more effective on the battlefield.

One of these new paths involves something called the Reforge, which as you might have guessed by the title of this expansion, is going to be a rather important new feature. Once you’ve unlocked this skill tree within the Slayer’s Path and reached level 20 with a weapon skill you’ll then have the option to reforge your weapon to give it new passive abilities. So if you were playing Dauntless and thought, “man, I wish this hammer could smash things harder,” then you’re in luck.

Reforging weapons also gives you a chance to do something called a Power Surge, which improves your weapon by increasing its damage output beyond its maximum level. You use a new form of currency known as an Aetherspark to bring your weapon back to level one and then level it up all over again. In a nutshell, the Reforge is going to make your weapons much deadlier.

Another cool new feature that’s unlockable within the Slayer’s Path is the Glider. Let’s face it, games are better when you can fly. Once you reach Milestone III, you can get yourself a fancy new hang glider so you can jump off of cliffs and sail gracefully towards your target. Honestly, I’ve always been disappointed by the lack of hang gliders in modern games. So it’s nice to see that the team behind Dauntless understands the value of getting to soar through the air like a flying squirrel.

The idea behind this overhaul of the progression system is to give players more choices in how they develop their characters rather than follow along a linear path of upgrades. It also gives players an alternative way to progress through the game as it can unlock new places for you to visit and new kinds of hunts to take on. Having access to more options seems like it should greatly improve the overall experience for both Dauntless veterans and newcomers.

Perhaps the most tantalizing new bit of content is the addition of The Hunting Grounds. Hunts in Dauntless have usually had a pretty straightforward formula. Players arrive at one of the game’s floating islands, fight whichever gigantic beast is causing trouble there, and then get whisked back to Ramsgate with whatever loot and materials they managed to scrounge up from a Behemoth’s corpse.

The Hunting Grounds work a little bit differently. They’re a series of 18 brand new islands that have been each handcrafted by the team at Phoenix Labs. They’re brimming with various monsters for you to fight and the mission doesn’t end after you successfully defeat one. You can stick around the island and continue to fight whatever comes by, which means you can farm for more and more loot.

These new islands also host a series of timed events. Similar to how Destiny does public events while you’re out on patrol, these island events will pop up every 15 minutes and allow you and your fellow Slayers to take on an altered hunt. These fights will be more difficult as there will be additional effects or stipulations in place, but you’ll also receive more rewards for completing them. For example, the one event I encountered was called Shards Of Chaos and involved fighting a Behemoth while frost crystals appeared around the battle area. These crystals would freeze players if they were left unattended but also gave a temporary damage boost if they were destroyed. It wasn’t an easy fight, but the inclusion of these modifiers changes things up even when fighting familiar Behemoths.

While I’ve only played a bit of Dauntless prior to this expansion I can already see how Reforged is going to improve the overall experience significantly. The Slayer’s Path feels like a much more engaging and intuitive way to progress through the game and customize your play style. Getting to further improve your weapons, choose which areas or hunts to unlock, and which abilities to specialize in is going to dramatically open up the game for players. Plus, that Glider is just plain fun to play around with, so that’s an added bonus.

The Hunting Ground also feels like a game-changer. I often felt that the stop-start nature of Dauntless’ hunts could interrupt the flow of gameplay. Now you can run around these islands to your heart’s content until you voluntarily decide to head back to Ramsgate. I can see these new locations adding some major gameplay value, especially with the timed island events appearing periodically. I just hope there’s a wide variety of them on each island to help keep things fresh.

Dauntless’ Reforged expansion is launching this week on December 3 along with the Cold Front battle pass, which will include two new armor sets for players on the Elite Track. So if you’re a faithful Behemoth Slayer, get ready to do some gliding.

NEXT: Is Fall Guys Dying?

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Jamie Latour is a writer and actor based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. From his hyperactive childhood to his….Well, still hyperactive adulthood, he’s been writing and performing in some capacity for practically his entire life. His love for video games goes all the way back to the age of 4, playing Mega Man 3 for the first time on his NES. He’s an avid gamer and can be found nowadays either messing around in Red Dead 2, or being cheap as can be as Reaper in Overwatch. He’s still starting out when it comes to making online content, but aside from his writing he can found on his Twitch page under the handle SpontaneousJames. You can also find him on social media as @SpontaneousJam on Twitter (because Spontaneous James was too long apparently).

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