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Dauntless Reforged hands-on preview: Revamped adventures

Dauntless' new expansion is the most ambitious yet, adding new features and big overhauls. I got to spend some time with it alongside the developers.


Phoenix Labs put its own spin on the beast-hunting format with Dauntless. This free-to-play action-adventure RPG allows players to team up with friends via cross-platform play to go on dangerous quests in pursuit of some sweet rewards. Phoenix Labs has continued to tweak the Dauntless experience since its release, and is gearing up for the game’s biggest update yet. The Reforged update will not only add a crop of new content to the game, but will introduce new mechanics and changes to the game’s interface. I got to play a build of Dauntless Reforged with developers from Phoenix Labs to see what the team has in store. 

A new pathway

One of the immediate changes that Dauntless fans will recognize following the Reforged update are the tweaks made to the game’s user interface. In regards to player progression, the developers are introducing The Slayer’s Path, a branching progression system to help players better visualize how far they’ve come, as well as how far they have to go in order to achieve a desired skill/ability. The branches represent different weapons and abilities. It’s a much cleaner way to break down and plan out your progression path.

Dauntless’ Reforged update also adds more quality of life changes for players. One of the biggest, is that players are no longer forced to head back to Ramsgate after slaying a behemoth and completing a quest. Now, they can simply opt to stay in the area and seek out further challenges or rewards. It’s a small change, but one that fans had been requesting for a while.

Soaring in style

As for gameplay, Phoenix Labs is adding new ways for players to approach combat and traversal in Dauntless. The Strikers are a new melee weapon class that lets players get up close and personal with behemoths. During my time with the game, I used the Strikers to see how they fared in battle. They were incredibly exciting to use, as chaining together devastating blows at close range always felt really satisfying. For longtime players, the new weapon class will also be a great way to shake things up. 

Phoenix Labs is adding gliders to Dauntless with the Reforged update, as a means to improve traversal. Using the gliders was one of the most exciting parts about my time with Dauntless. They control so well, as I would dive to pick up speed and then blast off across the map. There’s even vents placed around the world that will launch players into the air. The developers and I spent a good 10 minutes simply flying from vent to vent just soaring around and chatting. It’s a feature that I’m sure the community will really take to. 


Dauntless Reforged is the game’s largest expansion yet, and looks to address longtime issues noted by the devs, while also acknowledging some popular community requests. Fans won’t have to wait long at all to give it a try for themselves, as the Reforged update and its slew of changes are set to hit Dauntless on December 3.

News Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

From The Chatty
  • reply
    December 2, 2020 5:00 AM

    Donovan Erskine posted a new article, Dauntless Reforged hands-on preview: Revamped adventures

    • reply
      December 2, 2020 5:58 AM

      I really wanted to like Dauntless. But, starting in that game is a chore. You have so many new players that don't want to learn the game. All they'll do it just throw themselves at the fight giving no thought to tactics or timing. And, since no one talked in the game it was hard to find people to play with as a group or to add to a friend list. This meant all I could do was random pick-up groups, and that goes about as good as most other MMOs in the early levels.

      I thought if I pressed on and got passed the starter monsters it would get better. It didn't. There probably is some line to be crossed where those that aren't serious about the game fall off, but it is possible to just keep doing zerg tactics and eventually get mats for higher end weapons. It'd be a slow go, but it's possible.

      Oh, and people dropping out after you land on the island. That was the worst. The monster's lvl was elevated but then you were down players to handle the increased difficulty. At that point you just give up. I uninstalled it. I should just get a copy of Monster Hunter and play single player since that's mostly the same thing.

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        December 2, 2020 6:07 AM

        For making a free-to-play MH-like game from scratch they did a great job, and that they have an active player base despite the pervasiveness of MHW is great to see. But yeah, the mechanics didn't hold me as much, perhaps as the monetization facets were just a bit too strong in it.

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          December 2, 2020 6:12 AM

          I saw where it was headed, and I was okay with that. I don't mind some pay wall if I'm having fun and feel I should throw the dev a few bucks. But, I don't want a treadmill of always having to do that.

          I should have put MHW on my wish list for this year. I'll catch it on the next sale.

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            December 2, 2020 6:13 AM

            I meant the single player game, not the online MH

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            December 2, 2020 6:16 AM

            Yeah, the game isn't well suited if you just want to hunt solo. (I applaud Warframe for figuring out a good balance and means of implementing a game that has content for both single player and multiplayer that doesn't feel too gated for either).

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        December 2, 2020 3:07 PM

        These changes could help since the behemoth will now scale to the folks actually fighting it, and there are multiple per island as well as other activities on the island. So hopefully you can find your own behemoth or activities if other are being uncooperative or simply drop.

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