A game I've really been enjoying lately is Dauntless, a free-to-play multiplayer online action role-playing game by Phoenix Labs and Iron Galaxy, and distributed by Epic Games. It's available for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. This monster-slaying game is great for families with kids over age 10.
I started playing Dauntless about two years ago with a friend from college. I had just bought my PlayStation 4 and a couple of games, but I was on a budget. The two games I had bought my friend didn't have and didn't want to play. He suggested we play Monster Hunter; I told him I could not afford another game. He then suggested a free game, Dauntless, that was similar to Monster Hunter. I downloaded it shortly after and went through the tutorials. My friend had already been playing for a while, so together we finished the beginner quests quickly. We tried other multiplayer games, too, but kept coming back to Dauntless.
This game is not like other action RPGs. In Dauntless, you create a character called a Slayer and then team up with other Slayers to hunt down powerful creatures called Behemoths. The story behind defeating the Behemoths is to keep from them eating the life force of the islands. The game also involves common MMORPG features like quests, crafting, and fights against increasingly difficult foes. The current way to level your Slayer is through a branch system called the Slayer's Path for earning and using progressively higher-level equipment.
Escalations are leveled hunts where you defeat a Behemoth or two depending on the level leading up to the boss. Each Escalation is centered around an element. So far, the elements that have been represented are Shock (electric), Terra (earth), Umbral (darkness), and Blaze (fire). The next element coming soon, and just in time for those of us in the winter season, is advertised as a Frost (ice) Escalation.
An exciting part of the Escalations is seeing a variety of Behemoths in the hunting grounds, such as an Embermane (Blaze) that changes to a Sporemane (Terra) in the Terra Escalation. The monthly updates are exciting not only to see the new Behemoths but also the new weapons, armor, and abilities they hold. My favorite part of each update is seeing the new Escalations and what a big boss Behemoth will look like and learning the patterns to defeat them, like that Embermane I mentioned.
If you're someone who likes to grind for supplies to craft better weapons and armor, I suggest the hunting grounds. A variety of different Behemoths spawn there in their natural habitat. Also on hunting grounds are various flowers, stones, and chests to craft consumables.
Another thing to look out for are events that can give out monthly or weekly rewards through the Hunt Pass tier system such as season-specific armor. The more you do quests and bounties, the better reward.
It's not just about the excitement of finding out what the new Behemoth is in each Escalation, it's also about time spent with family and friends. For me, it's become a family activity: recently, my mom's fiance got a PlayStation 4, and I suggested Dauntless. He doesn't play, but his grandson does. Now, whenever his grandson is visiting my mom's house and I'm home from work, we play Dauntless. We've found it to be a great way to get some energy out of our systems. If I've had a long day at work and need to get some negative energy out, Dauntless is there. He has a lot of energy already, and some things don't hold his attention for long, but Dauntless has so many different Behemoths with different move sets and patterns that it's hard for him to lose concentration.
During this pandemic, this game has been a great way to connect with others online and slay some monsters while looking badass. Sometimes friends ask for my help on some Dauntless quests that they're having a hard time with. Even when I am streaming on my Twitch channel they come into my chat, while I'm playing other games, wondering when I am going to play Dauntless with them again.
Speaking of streaming, I struggled to find the right thing to stream before Dauntless. I started out by streaming some artwork, but that didn't get much traction. One of my friends from work suggested I stick to streaming video games until I got a little bit of a following. Given my personal experiences, I decided I would start streaming video games that people could afford. Many streamers played games that were expensive simply because they were new. I started with Dauntless because it's free and, as long as you have something to play it on, you were golden.
So streaming Dauntless started to be an extension of enjoying playing the game with friends.
The friend that introduced the game to me would join in the streams, too. And, as I met new friends and introduced them to the game, we would stream together.
Dauntless also became a vehicle to do more with my stream. I had started watching that same friend from work doing charity streams. I still had few people following me, so doing a charity event didn’t seem feasible, but it was something I wanted to do. Once I joined Retro Replay, I became friends with Pagan, Kessie, Sam, and Dean who also streamed, and I saw a couple of charity events through their streams. I extended my connections in the Replayer community, and I met a few people who also played Dauntless after watching Dan's stream. Now I stream Dauntless every Wednesday and sometimes Tuesday, and I dedicate my stream to raising money to support animal shelters. If you want to help out a shelter, come check out my stream sometime and donate - 7whitewolf15 on Twitch.
Have you played Dauntless before? What did you think? Or are you a fan of Monster Hunter and similar games and want to know more? Drop your thoughts in the comments and let's talk about it!