We caught up with the Dauntless team from Phoenix Labs at PAX East, and got the date you’ve all been waiting for - Open Beta is coming May 24th. It’ll be basically the “soft launch” of the monster slaying MMO, available for free through the official site, and no more progress wipes will happen after that date. For all intents and purposes, the game will be out in the wild for founders and everyone else to enjoy. Strap in.
We tried our hand first at the newly remade Quillshot hunt - this massive spined boar-thingus that shoots you full of shards as you try to hack away at him. The cool part? If you work on parts of him, like his tail, or the quills on his legs, you can break them and they can no longer be used against you. Mobs in Dauntless are meant for groups, and while you can solo, it’s just infinitely more fun with at least one other friend joining the hunt.
Garrett and I both used the War Pike - a sort of bladed bo staff that also can be used to store energy and fire it as a high damage projectile from afar. This is it’s special move, and it really comes in handy as you can get far away and use it from a distance safely avoiding all the shards the Quillshot lets loose. The hardest part is storing up enough energy - you lose any you’ve been collecting if you’re interrupted, so it’s probably best to store it often. The more you store, the stronger the shot. You can also slot orbs into your warpike at Ramsgate, which change the special effects of the weapon - making it cause more wounds, daze your foes, etc.
The game still controls best on the controller to me, and I’d highly recommend using one while playing whenever you can. It’s not bad with Mouse and Keyboard, but I felt far more agile and able to dodge attacks using the joysticks.
The devs also told us that there’s a brand new cinematic story coming to really delve into the lore of Dauntless with the Open Beta launch, a reworked tutorial and early mission system to work players into the combat, hunting, and strategies you’ll need to survive. The UI has been overhauled a good deal, and it reacts to whether you’re using Mouse and Keyboard or controller too. Overall, the Dauntless we played at PAX East was a very polished and tight experience. The key for Phoenix Labs is going to be how quickly they can add new content, new features, and keep the world growing once Open Beta lands... the shadow of Capcom’s own PC monster hunting title looms ever large. But F2P definitely has its perks. Dauntless’ free open beta begins on May 24th.