Dauntless, Phoenix Labs’ insanely popular monster-hunting free-to-play title is making its way out of a year of open beta and into general release today. This means that not only PC players will have a chance to enjoy this amazing game, but PlayStation gamers will also get the opportunity to engage in some good, old-fashioned monster bashing.
For those readers new to the genre, monster hunting games follow a very enticing loop. Players register for hunts for monsters (known in Dauntless as Behemoths), either solo or on teams of up to four. Battles are protracted and hard-fought, with players learning the attack patterns of the monsters, dodging when needed and taking advantage of openings to attack. In many ways, the battles feel similar in strategy and length to battles in Souls-style games – though they are slightly more forgiving.
Over the course of the battle, players knock body parts off of the monster they are hunting. The end of the battle also rewards the team with various materials from the monster, which can then be taken and used to craft gear. As the game progresses, monsters become stronger, and gear becomes more powerful, pulling players forward in the endless quest to get better.
Dauntless is going to be huge as far as free-to-play games go, and we are deeply excited for its launch. While PlayStation Universe is unable to provide a review for Dauntless in time for the game’s release (spoiler: we absolutely love it), we thought we would provide some tips and tricks to tide over PlayStation players as they bravely step into The Shattered Isles to conquer Behemoths.
Party Up, Party Down
The first, best, and most powerful piece of advice we can offer new players is to party up immediately. Dauntless begins with a brief tutorial that will teach you the basic controls, but after that, it’s straight into the behemoth-slaying. While it is possible to solo some of the early behemoths (the first few are kinda easy), before long you will run into the brick wall that is the Shrike. This owl-like behemoth will stop you dead in your tracks, so it is best to get used to the teaming system early.
There are a ton of reasons to team up in Dauntless. The battles are much more manageable, for one. Instead of having a behemoth’s undivided attention, you will be sharing the damage with three others. This gives everyone the opportunity to take a breather if they need one. Teams can also revive each other (to a point), so there is safety in numbers.
The matchmaking system in Dauntless is powerful and quick (though we can probably expect the usual launch-related server issues), and you will put into a team of similarly powerful hunters in no time at all. If you aren’t feeling chatty, the in-game chat is disabled with the quick push of a button (you don’t have to go digging through a million menus to turn it off).
Dauntless was made for team play, and the barriers to getting onto a good team are extraordinarily low. Trust us, even if you are committed solo player, this is one game where you simply don’t want to go it alone.
Pick An Early Monster And Grind It
Dauntless wastes no time giving you your first set of armor and weapons, but you – being a gamer – are likely to be unsatisfied with this starting gear. The best thing to do is pick one of the early introductory monsters and grind it for a bit. Or better still, grind ‘em all a few times.
There are four basic pieces of armor to construct – feet, hands, torso and helmet – and during the early stages of the game these armor pieces share material needs with the early weapons. After constructing them, you can put additional materials into each piece of armor to level it up. Do that.
This may sound like a hassle, but the early battles are fast-paced and fun, regardless of which behemoth you are fighting. And you will be happy you have a decent weapon when you get to the above-mentioned Shrike (I hate you, Shrike!).
It’s also important to remember that many of the early armor set have elemental bonuses attached, which is going to be very helpful when you move into the larger game. Having a nice set of ice armor and some fire-based weapons is going to be very helpful when you take on your first full-strength arctic behemoth.
Are you going to bail on this early armor once you get past the opening segment of the game and open up some better stuff? Sure, but grinding out a few battles won’t hurt, and it goes a long way towards learning some of the behemoth attack patterns you will be facing later in the game. Plus, it’s more fun to be the strongest person on the team, and if you gear up, you likely will be.
What’s With This Lantern?
The starter lantern that you get early in the game is a bit of a dud, but before long you will be able to build and equip better lanterns based on behemoths you defeat. Lanterns do take materials to build, but they offer some pretty sweet power boosts, so they are well worth a look. After defeating a behemoth for the first time, go take a look at the lantern for that behemoth and see what it does. More likely than not, you will want to construct one.
Lantern powers are activated in-battle by pressing the L1 button. Don’t be afraid to crank on that thing every time it cools down. Using the lantern doesn’t take away from your stamina, so the lantern powers are nothing but frosting.
Don’t Sleep On Cores
Speaking of frosting, absolutely do not ignore cores. These prizes are doled out occasionally when you pass certain requirements, and you have to take them to a little machine in Ramsgate to crack them open (don’t worry, you’ll see it). It’s worth checking in now and then to see if you have any cores, as they are usually gained in a burst of advancement, and you might not notice when you receive one.
Once freed from their lootbox-like shells, cores can be attached to your armor and weapons to give you awesome battle perks. In the early game, you will be able to attach one core to each piece of armor, your lantern, and your weapon, giving you a wide variety of cool bonuses. These include stuff like automatic shields, vampiric heath boosts, and increased damage.
Attaching a core to a piece of equipment does not destroy it – you can pull it out and attach it to something else later, so feel free to mix and match to your heart’s content. There is also a dude in Ramsgate that allows you to trade cores towards stronger versions (his name is the Middleman), so be sure to check in with him as you move deeper into the game. Merging cores takes time, but the results can be well worth the wait.
Hey, Where Did He Go?
Let’s face it, one of the most frustrating parts of Dauntless is running around the instance looking for the damned behemoth. The Shattered Isles can be large and complex to navigate, and you might find yourself wandering in circles for a few minutes looking for your prey.
After you find an enemy the first time, he might stay put until the end of the fight, but he might decide that discretion is the better part of valor and take off for the hills. Then you have to find him all over again. Unless you saw him fly off in a particular direction, it’s back to running in circles.
This is where teamwork really comes into play. Spread out and look for the behemoth. Don’t go running after the first dude to take off just because he looks like he knows where he is going. He doesn’t.
Every player has a flare in their inventory, which is found in the emote menu (the L2 button). If you are the first to find the behemoth, send one of those bad boys up into the air, and your team will come running. If you have a straggler on your team who isn’t showing up for the battle, fire off a couple more flares. It’s easy to get lost, and your friend is probably stuck running in a circle somewhere looking for you.
Heals, Potions, and Materials
Every player starts each hunt with five healing potions in their possession. Use them wisely, because they aren’t coming back until the next battle. If you are the last hunter standing in a battle, your team will be relying on you to pull off some magic, and having a healing potion in your back pocket could make the difference between being the hero of the day and going home empty handed.
All other potions must be created from materials gathered during hunts (and added to your load out once crafted). Early potions are extremely helpful, but you have to have the stuff to make them. Luckily, gathering materials is as simple as tapping the “x” button as you run by flowers and rocks out in the wild.
Grab as much as you can each hunt without interfering with the battle at hand. Remember, you are there to fight a behemoth and support your team, so you don’t want to be the guy wandering around picking mushrooms while the rest of your team is two hills away being electrocuted.
Nothing says that you can’t solo a hunt later, avoid the behemoth, and wander around picking flowers. But grabbing stuff on the go ought to do you just fine for a while, so don’t sweat it too badly.
Sheath your weapons, and you won’t use stamina when you run. R3 to sheathe, R2 to run. You’re welcome.
Dodge, Dodge, Dodge
Dauntless is not the sort of game that is going to let you stand your ground and fight through the blows. That damned Shrike will stagger you, then stagger you again, then land on your head and stagger you again, and the next thing you know you are being revived by a teammate. The dodge button (o) is your best friend.
Before long, you will begin to learn the attack patterns of each behemoth. Knowing when to dodge becomes second nature, and you will quickly learn when to dash in and do crazy damage. Each behemoth has openings, and you will see them before long. Dodge until then.
When a behemoth becomes enraged, it turns glowing red (not to be mistaken for “on fire”, which turns a behemoth glowing red with flames coming out of its head). At this point, it is best to back off unless you know what this behemoth’s enraged attacks are all about.
Behemoth attack patterns change completely when enraged. Attacks come faster, and are much more powerful when they connect. There is no shame in putting an empty field between yourself and an enraged behemoth until you figure out what it’s going to do. After about 90 seconds, it will chill out and turn back to normal, so feel free just to hang in the distance while it freaks out.
Shrike Is The Gatekeeper
We may have mentioned the Shrike once or twice. That’s because it is the first behemoth in the game that presents a real challenge. Though – with some proper dodging and pattern recognition – it is beatable, even solo (Eat it, Shrike!).
However, most of the game is gated off behind the Shrike. Dauntless opens up like a flower once you beat the Shrike. Consider it the last “training” behemoth. Once you defeat the Shrike, tons of new behemoths and options appear in a flurry and the game really gets started. So if you are feeling that Dauntless is a little too linear, work towards beating the Shrike and you will see all of that linear-ness go flying out the window.
PlayStation Universe is working on a ton of other Dauntless content to celebrate the release of the game, including Some very fancy individual guides for early behemoths, and of course an eventual review (it’s a big game, y’all). We hope you found some of these tips helpful, and keep your eyes glued to PSU.com for all of your Dauntless needs.
Early access to the PS4 version of Dauntless kindly provided by the developer.