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Dauntless, the action RPG striving for the title of Monster Hunter for PC, had an outing during the recent PAX East event. In the interest of transparency, the developers talked to a number of journalists after showing them a bite-sized preview build of the game.
The casual, yet insightful interview by PCGamesN discusses the team's prior experiences, their business model, the game's art style, and many more topics. Here's an excerpt:
Where do you want the skill in the game to lie?
I would be incredibly happy if some dude who streams naked Dark Souls runs can beat the game without leveling up. That would be super dope. It's going to take that degree of skill to get there. We do want gear to be an important part, but we also want there to be a strategy and tactical component to it. We don't want it to be easy.
Drask [hardest monster in this build], two groups in two days have beaten him. At PAX South, Pangar, only 20 per cent of people beat him.
My group and I managed to beat him, but it took a long while.
That's the thing, right? We want this game to be hard, we don't want it to be trivial. It's important that it's easy to get into, but we want to warm you up into a hard game, have a high skill cap. Because then you can create that social respect of: 'Dude's in Black Dragon armour, legit.'
So you want to have that old-school WoW thing where some extremely low percentage of people have done the highest level of content?
Yeah, I'm okay with that. We should have content that is rare. I'm totally fine with that. The cool thing that we can do is [create] the turbo-hard version of Drask, who is white and has a bunch of ice abilities. We can do variants that keep a little bit of the original encounter, but we turn them to 11. Give that a special armour set and be like, 'Good luck.'
As I think about it today, I want most players to be able to experience the endgame, but I don't want most players to experience the end endgame. I think if half the folks who enter the game get to the endgame I'd be really happy.
At WCCF Tech you can read a recap of the Demo, and learn a bit about the game's progression system. For example:
Dauntless is a new free-to-play cooperative monster-slaying game that’s looking to scratch that Monster Hunter itch with big boss fights and more loot than you know what to do with. The demo I played at PAX East had me team up with three other attendees as we worked together to take down Shrike, the killer owl. Armed with large weapons and a sense of purpose, we were dropped off on this mystical island where we needed to hunt down the deadly fowl.
After familiarizing ourselves with the controls, we moved on deep into the wilderness where the warrior was able to fire off a signal flare when Shrike was discovered.
Shrike would fly around and attempt to dive bomb us. After it landed, we pounced on it using combos and built aether-charged super attacks. Figuring out Shrike’s attack pattern was quite easy and we made short work of him. We were told that that the next fight against Pangar would be more of a challenge, and holy hell, they were right.
We loaded into a new zone where our prey was Pangar, a giant armadillo covered in crystal plates. The trick to fighting Pangar was to make sure we gave him plenty of room so we can dodge his big roll attack then striking him when he fell off-balance.
If you played Monster Hunter, you’ll feel right at home with the combat here with the notable exception that there was no target lock-on. You can just reset the camera by clicking the right thumbstick. The lack of lock-on targeting makes it hard to target specific body parts, which can dynamically change the course of the battle.
At some point, when it looked liked we were doing well, Pangar entered a rage-state where he somehow gained ice attacks and would call forth large ice crystals to box you into certain zones trapping you with Pangar with no room to escape. Thankfully, after consuming some timely healing potions, we were able to conquer Pangar. Dauntless left me with a favorable impression and I’m now curious to see what the rest of the game looks like, especially the social aspect of the free-to-play MMO.
And if you prefer video interviews, early gameplay footage, and, understandably, poor audio quality, look no further than The Zero Review.
Additionally, you can read a bit about customization on the official Dauntless website. A few paragraphs on that:
ARMOUR MAKES THE SLAYER
Customizing your gear is about more than just stats — it’s about expressing yourself. Be an imposing badass in inky jet-black, project your majesty with lavish purple and gold, support your favorite team in matte green and yellow, or keep them guessing with a randomly selected rainbow. The choice is yours!
We’ll have dozens of colours to choose from as well as variations such as gradients and finishes (shiny, matte, etc.). This ensures that slayers with well-stocked palettes won’t find it difficult to stand out and create a unique look.
Slayers with an eye for fashionable accessories will also discover rare cosmetic equipment. While these items don’t have the combat prowess of behemoth-forged armour, they do make a great impression. So, what if you want the sharp look but need to keep yours stats combat-ready? You can apply the appearance of vanity armour to combat armour without changing your combat stats using transmogrification (or “transmog”) stone.
This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to gauge another slayer’s potential, though. We’ve heard from you, loyal slayers, that it’s important transmogrification doesn’t make it harder to matchmake and find slayers on your level.