Dauntless is easily one of the best free-to-play games currently available not only on PC, but on consoles too with its recent launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. Developer Phoenix Labs even has a mobile version in the works, potentially introducing an entire legion of would-be slayers into the fray.
There are plenty of comparisons to be made between Dauntless and Capcom’s mega popular Monster Hunter. In fact, many have labelled Dauntless a “Monster Hunter Lite” and it’s easy to see why.
However, although more streamlined than its inspiration, Dauntless can still take time to wrap your head around especially if you’re completely new to this grind-heavy genre of roleplaying game.
Dauntless Tips & Tricks for Newcomers
1. What do players actually do in Dauntless?
Sometimes, with a game like Dauntless, it’s worth taking a step back to talk about what’s expected of you, the player. This isn’t a game you can “beat” in the traditional sense – it’s about running the same boss battle-like hunts over and over, reaping resources, upgrading gear, and unlocking tougher Behemoths to take on.
As you progress, a more dynamic web of features will slowly reveal itself. You’ll find yourself caring more about you Slayer loadout, mixing and matching armour types, honing your favourite weapons, and learning more about the advanced RPG mechanics Dauntless has beneath the hood.
2. Choose your weapon, but experiment with all of them
Dauntless currently has seven unique weapon types, each with their own purpose and playstyle. What we enjoy most about the game is how easy it is to pick up a new weapon, frequently swapping them out in between hunts for some refreshing gameplay variety.
They’re loosely divided into two types – those blunt weapons that excel at stagger damage and those that can wound and even sever Behemoth parts. In truth there is no best weapon in Dauntless – try them all and see which ones you like most. All the information you need (including combos and mechanics) can be found via the “move list” option from the main menu.
3. Dauntless combat basics
Each weapon may have its own moveset and advanced features though there’s some combat advice that applies to them all. Dauntless has a back-and-forth combat style that rewards accurate, well-timed combos though punishes Slayers who are too offence focused.
Your first encounter with a new Behemoth should be spent reading their attacks – the damage they deal, how far they can reach, and whether they have any nasty side effects such as disabling your dodge or freezing you on the spot.
In Dauntless, a Behemoth’s health is displayed in the top right corner and upon dropping to 50% they will usually retreat to a different area of the map. You’ll also notice these big beasties glowing red, indicating that a Behemoth is enraged. This makes them more deadly and unpredictable so you’ll need to be alert and employ a defensive strategy.
4. Dodge, Dodge, Dodge
Without a block button, dodging is your only way of actively avoiding damage in Dauntless. Like many aspects of the game it’s easy to learn but tough to master if you want to become an expert Slayer.
There are two ways to dodge. The easiest method is to roll in the opposite direction of an incoming attack, putting some space between you and Behemoth. The second method is much riskier but can put you at a significant advantage. You’ll notice that dodging gives you a split second of invulnerability – if you dodge into an attack at just the right time this is called a perfect dodge and is signalled by blue aura and sound effect. Perfect dodges not only allow you to get back into the fight faster, they can also trigger numerous passive abilities.
Again, you’ll need to carefully research each Behemoth, knowing their attack animations and exactly when to tap that dodge button.
5. How to restore health and stamina
Health and stamina are represented by the green and yellow bars in the top left of the screen. If the health bar depletes then you will be knocked down until a fellow Slayer revives you. Meanwhile, running out of stamina in Dauntless will prevent you from dodging or performing certain weapon attacks.
Stamina will regenerate over time but health is a finite resource. To restore health you can use your health flask (this has five charges per hunt) and a variety of other items such a Transfusion Grenade or Lifespring Pylon. Some weapon, lantern, and cell abilities can also restore health. Interacting with the large blue fissures that appear during hunts will also restor a portion of health.
6. Watch out for the Danger Meter
It’s easy to ignore this Danger Meter gradually filling in the top right corner of the screen as you play. You’ll want to take notice however as hitting 100% will suddenly make your hunt a lot harder – Behemoths deal more damage and party members can no longer be revived.
The exact mechanisms behind this meter are unknown but in a nutshell you can expect it to rise the more reckless you and your party become. Collapsing and failing to revive teammates will increase the percentage so be aware.
7. Dauntless damage types and how they work
Pummeling a Behemoth and watching the numbers pop out of each hit is fun though mastering Dauntless requires that pay attention to these coloured digits. It’s something you won’t have to worry about during your first dozen or so hunts though you’ll want to learn the ins and outs when facing the game’s tougher adversaries.
Basic damage (white) is self explanatory with part damage (yellow) appearing each time you strike a Behemoth’s head, legs, or tail. Deal enough part damage and these will break, stunning a Behemoth and dropping loot – you can tell when a part is broken as it will appear differently and yellow numbers will stop popping when hit.
Stagger damage (blue) won’t reduce a Behemoth’s health. Instead, it wears down an invisible bar that, once depleted, triggers a stun that can leave your target open to a coordinated barrage of attacks. Naturally, blunt weapons excel in stagger damage.
Wound damage (red) will eventually tear into body parts, leaving them exposed to increased damage from all attacks. Caused by piercing weapons, you’ll know a part if wounded when you see cut-like marks oozing with Aether.
8. Don’t ignore your Lantern abilities
During a hunt in Dauntless it’s easy to develop tunnel vision and focus purely on attacks and dodges. One essential tip is make effective use of your equipped lantern. These come in a variety of flavours each carrying two abilities that can be activated by pressing or holding the lantern action button.
Lanterns can play a vital role in battling Behemoths so make sure you equip the right one before each hunt. A great lantern for newcomers is Skarn’s Defiance. This happens to be one of the first lanterns available, granting a 250 hit point shield for 4 seconds. It can soak up a considerable chunk of damage and doesn’t require precise timing to use.
9. Where to go in Ramsgate
Ramsgate will serve as your base of operations and it’s here where you’ll interact with NPCs, take on quests, and craft a growing spread of items and equipment. Upon your first (or returning after a break from Dauntless) it can be confusing mire of map icons though you shouldn’t be worried about this on-screen clutter.
In short, you’ll want to investigate any “!” symbols on your compass to fill out your quest log, coloured “?” symbols signalling quests that are ready to be completing. The other icons pinpoint the various vendors but at first you should only focus on Bosun Markus (items), Wils Bormen (Weapons), and Moyra Heigsgetter (Armour). Once you’ve run a dozen or so hunt and begun to fill out your armoury, explore Ramsgate and see what the other characters have to offer.
10. Slayer progression and Mastery
Newcomers will notice the Dauntless doesn’t have a conventional progression or levelling system. Instead the game tracks your hunting career via the Mastery log which charts just about everything you do, feeding into an overall XP level.
Each Mastery rank will unlock new items and bonuses so it’s definitely worth exploring this menu and setting yourself some goals to track.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, make sure you read out Dauntless Hunt Pass guide.