Grim Dawn’s one of my favourite ARPGs—and it just had a massive update, despite releasing in 2016. While I’m really excited for its upcoming expansion, Fangs of Asterkarn, I figured Crate Entertainment would save its big overhauls for that. Boy oh boy was I wrong.
You can see the full patch notes here on the game’s steam forums, and they’re huge. The changes therein are a genuine attempt to modernise Grim Dawn—it’ll never be as flashy as something like Diablo 4, sure, and that’s part of its charm. Doesn’t mean the more sensible upgrades from modern ARPGs can’t be worked in, does it?
There are two massive changes to the core experience. First off you have dedicated health and spirit (mana) potion skills now—no more stacking vials in your inventory. That’s one modern design choice I’m glad has made its way into our current ARPGs—if a game like Grim Dawn doesn’t make health potions cheap, then it becomes frustrating to play. But if they’re cheap, what’s the point of needing to buy them?
Now you just have two dedicated buttons which are infinite supplies of both, though the health potion has a 12 second recharge and the spirit potion has a 25 second recharge. Both scale off percentages of your current health or spirit, so they’re not something you have to upgrade.
Secondly, there’s just a straight-up Diablo 4 style evade button now. You can hit the space bar (or a keybind of your choice) to dash in the direction you’re facing. It even has invincibility frames. There are movement abilities in the game, sure, but this is a huge upgrade. I jumped in to test it, and I mean—look at this thing. That’s a straight-up modern day ARPG dodge in a game from 2016.
Sure, it might make the game feel a little less ‘classic’, but in a genre where your movement is also tied to whacking the swarms of monsters surrounding you, being able to get out of trouble without risking a misclick is great.
Aside from these two major tune-ups, there’ve been some big quality of life improvements too. For example, if you start a character on a higher difficulty—think “World Tier” if you’re only familiar with Diablo 4—you’d be skipping rewards for certain quests, since you can do them multiple times on each difficulty. Now you get the rewards from lower difficulties, too. Plus, if you just want to zone out and smash monsters, each of those difficulty levels scales to level 100 now, as well.
Honestly, Crate Entertainment knocked it out of the park back in 2016—so to see it doing the same in 2023 is genuinely awesome. The only downside? There are so many games I need to play this year, and now I’ve gotta add one that came out like seven years ago to that list. I need a cloning machine.