Naturally, one of the issues that will arise with a longer hunting duration is that you’ll run low on heals and other consumables much more quickly this way, which is why they’re introducing Supply Crates as well to use outside of combat. Everyone has at least one, and you can deploy these to restock on consumables and even change your loadout if you’d like so that you’re not stuck with gear that isn’t getting the job done.
Once you finish a hunt or quest while out on a Hunting Ground your loot and rewards pop up as an overlay to the right, then you’re allowed to keep on hunting without needing to return to town. From here you can check out points of interests (denoted by (?) question marks or diamond icons on your compass) to find more things to do such as public events that happen dynamically across the map.During my demo we completed the primary hunt and then found a lone heroic Riftstalker to take on afterward. These creatures are tricky because they can phase in and out of portals — similar to the Phantom Ganon fight in Ocarina of Time — which makes it difficult to predict the direction they’ll be coming from. Two tough fights back-to-back like that drained our supplies so we dropped a Supply Crate to get ready for more hunting.
After you spend a certain amount of time on a Hunting Ground location, public events start to spawn as well. You’ll see a blue spire of light shoot up towards the sky. Once we arrived we realized the event was an “Aether Surge” which attracts all types of hostile creatures gradually over time. And yes, the types of creatures it can attract includes Behemoths. Sometimes even more than one Behemoth — at the same time — which is what happened to us. Somehow we survived and completed it all and used that opportunity to head back to down to enjoy the bounties of our labor, such as public events that happen dynamically across the map.The other main part of the Reforged update is the total revamp of the Slayer’s Path progression system. Instead of being a linear progression now you get to make upgrade choices every step of the way, like a more traditional skill tree, which adds more build variety and customization to exactly how your slayer plays compared to others. This even includes new features such as the Gliders that enable you to travel across islands much more quickly.
When you combine the dramatically different Hunting Ground format with the total revamp of Slayer’s Path progression plus all of the other recently released content, Dauntless is shaping up to be one of the very best free-to-play games out there. Reforged is robust enough of an update that it probably could have been saved for a full sequel, but they’re handing it out for free anyway and that’s pretty commendable.
David Jagneaux is a freelance writer for IGN. Talk RPGs with him on Twitter at @David_Jagneaux.