While not an MMO in the classic sense, Dauntless brings together some of the social constructs of MMOs to the action RPG genre. At PAX East, Phoenix Labs had a large booth on-hand with a long queue for its game that’s still in early access. There, I had the chance to join a four-person team as we tried to tackle one of the fearsome Behemoths that are plaguing the locals.

In the Dauntless world, players are called Slayers, and they have come to the frontier town of Ramsgate to help the locals with their big monster problem. Armed with various melee weapons that draw on aether for increasingly powerful attacks, players can take various bits from defeated Behemoths back to Ramsgate and use them to craft even more powerful weapons and armors to help them stay alive.

The game features several different brightly-colored biomes on various floating chunks of landscape called the Shattered Isles, and these could be anything from a swampy forest, snowy mountains, a dusty desert, or even a night-time forest. The Behemoths themselves are varied, tailored to their landscape, and their abilities come fast and furious.

My pickup group team on the show floor managed to unlock the Moonreaver, which we were told was the toughest Behemoth currently in the game. Its attacks came fast and furious, and it’s no surprise that it pasted us. Granted, we were all new to the game and unfamiliar with the controls and abilities. One thing I noticed during gameplay was that the only way to tell how close you were to beating it was by visual damage on the creature. There was no health bar to watch, so the pressure was on the whole time to keep whacking at it. Most of the combat in-game is pure melee, with only the wielders of chain blades having a proper ranged attack.

Dauntless is good for a romp for an hour or so with a couple of friends. While the action itself is pretty hardcore and you have to work together and make sure you take on foes suitable to your level to succeed, it’s casual enough that you can take on a few Behemoths and then go do something else after awhile without feeling like you’re losing ground.  Dauntless is due for open beta to begin on May 24th and features both a controller or keyboard/mouse controls.

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Jean "Druidsfire" Prior

Editor at MMO-Central
Jean got her start writing for a SWTOR fansite, then progressed to writing for an internationally known MMO press site. Her red pen has been far too idle, and thus she now accepts the responsibility for editing here. All your grammar and tone corrections are belong to her.
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