Phoenix Labs and Dauntless Purchased by Garena

It was recently announced that Dauntless developer Phoenix Labs has been acquired by Garena, which is the digital entertainment extension of Sea Limited.

dauntless founder's alpha

Dauntless is a free-to-play, co-op action RPG in the same vein of Monster Hunter. Early in development, Dauntless received significant hype due to being one of the first multiplayer-focused, ‘Monster Hunter’ style games of the current generation. While Monster Hunter: World did temper this hype slightly, Dauntless has still been successful on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch and it is one of the few games to feature crossplay between every system.

“Our partners at Garena have been our most steadfast supporters since the early days of Phoenix Labs, and we are excited to join forces with a global games leader,” said Jesse Houston, CEO and co-founder of Phoenix Labs. “With this next step, we’re able to ensure that we can provide the best possible experience for Dauntless players around the world. We’re extremely excited about what the future holds for Phoenix Labs, as we continue to support our ever-growing Dauntless community and explore future games.

Garena is a leading game publisher and developer in Singapore with more than 320 million active users in the third quarter of 2019.

Source: Press Release

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Dauntless Hands-On: Things Are Getting Monstrous

While Capcom’s Monster Hunter: World has taken the world by storm on the console and PC front, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for competition. In fact, ever since its debut at the Video Game Awards in 2016, Dauntless has been making quite a name for itself.

The game, which has warriors hunting down wily monsters in the midst of forests and other locations, has been moving right along in development at Phoenix Labs. There’s all sorts of great talent behind the game, including former Riot Games developers Jesse Houston, Sean Bender and Robin Mayne, along with several former team members from BioWare, Blizzard and, yes, Capcom.

The game moved into open beta on the PC front back in May 2018, where it’s drummed up a pretty respectable audience. But this year is the big one for the franchise, as the game will finally launch this spring not only for the PC front, but also Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The Nintendo Switch is also in the cards, set to get a version of the game sometime down the road.

The team was recently at PAX East, showcasing some new monstrous goodies for fans to get excited over. So what can we expect from this epic battle between the Slayers (hunters) and the Behemoths (monsters)? Quite a bit, especially if you think Monster Hunter is the only “kill the giant beast” game in town.


The General Idea

For those unfamiliar with how Dauntless works, here it is in a nutshell. In the game, you’ll select from your Hunter of choice, each with special weapons. Care to hurl around an axe that you can call back upon command? Or maybe you want to use a pair of pistols and hit enemies from afar? There are various choices here, with six in all thus far.

Once you select your Slayer, you can team up with others to see which monster you want to go after. They vary, from winged creatures that can strike from above to a strange ice beast that can summon minions to do damage on their behalf. It’s up to you to work closely with your friends, heal up when the situation best calls for it (you don’t want to be down and out with no way to recover) and slay the beast before it’s too late.

Throughout the game, you’ll find opportunity galore. If you can keep a close eye on your health and stamina, you can time your attacks pretty nicely. In fact, in some cases, you can even put together combos to land additional damage, provided they aren’t using any sort of shielding to fend off your attacks.

But strategy is the name of the game here. Each Behemoth will have techniques that they’ll use to chip away at your health or act as a defense while they shield themselves or even run away. You’ll need to dodge these with a well-timed roll or run to a safety spot, then continue striking when you’re within range. These hunts can take a good amount of time- there’s no way to kill a Behemoth in a matter of seconds. Some can take upward to about twenty minutes, so make sure you’re in it for the long haul.

Fortunately, these hunts come with abundant rewards. Not only can you upgrade weapons to make them more powerful and effective against creatures, but you can also buy new equipment and gear, which will help you as hunts become more and more insane.

Best of all, Dauntless is full of options. If you wish to take on the hunt by yourself, you can. It’s a mountain-sized task, to be sure, but it’ll help you train for when you team up with your friends. Obviously co-op is the big draw here, as you work alongside three others as a team of four to hunt your prey and collect your rewards. There are whispers that the game may support cross-play, but that’s not finalized just yet. Hopefully Phoenix Labs will have some news for us once the game gets closer to release.


Lots To See, and Lots To Kill

The structure for Dauntless is set up pretty quaintly when it comes to getting things done in the game. Right off the bat, you can join up with your group and decide which beast you’re going to go after. You can discuss it for several seconds before needing to make your decision. Once you do, you simply fly onto the battleground, begin using your skills to deduce where the creature is (or follow your group if your senses aren’t quite that keen) and prepare for a fight.

It’s not going to always be in one place. The creature will eventually run off if you do about halfway worth of damage to it, forcing you and the team to run after it while the hunt is still good. This is a great opportunity for you to get your health up and check on others so you’re literally ready to finish the fight.

If it doesn’t go in your favor, i.e. the Behemoth manages to wipe out your group without any hope of recovery, you can always try the hunt again or select a different beast if you prefer another favorable challenge.

Phoenix Labs will also offer up special Hunt Passes over the course of the game, set up on a free-to-play basis. So you can start off without investing anything, and then turn a few bucks around and see what’s available to select from. If you prefer, you can also check out Seasons worth of content within the game. Those plans haven’t been revealed just yet, but the developer has a lot in mind when it comes to keeping players coming back for more.

Rest assured, the game isn’t about nickel-and-diming you to death with hundreds of dollars in purchases. The start of Dauntless has more than enough to offer. However, if you feel like making an investment, it looks like you’ll get more than enough payback from it. The choice is obviously yours, and that’s one of the best things you can get from a free-to-play game such as this.


The New Beast In Play

We’ve seen a few Behemoths running around in Dauntless before. But the new one that Phoenix Labs just introduced, the Boreus, is more than a handful. We fought him across two different stages, each time facing new challenges that he managed to generate from his body, in the form of minions.

Now, right off the bat, the Boreus is a challenge in himself, mainly because he can generate an ice shield that makes him impenetrable. In fact, he’ll summon a few minions and actually cover himself in that, so you won’t be able to get any cheap shots while you fend them off. Only after you wipe out the current wave of minions will he shake loose and start attacking again.

What’s more, the minions that Boreus generates actually come in different types. First up, you’ll face the Stalkers. These are beasts that merely fly around and try to hit you with their blade-like limbs. Fortunately, they’re the easiest to hit, even for melee strikers.

Then we have the Spitters. This is a bit tougher a wave of enemies, mainly because they can drop cold, frost-charged projectiles on your team. The best thing you can do when these pop up is kill them right away. Otherwise, they may do a considerable amount of damage with their continuous bile.

But perhaps the most dangerous are the Bombers. Just as their name suggests, they live to fly close to someone and then create an explosion on command. If Hunters get caught in the midst of this explosion, they’ll take damage. Again, having a long-range attacker take these out- and maybe a few of their minions with them- is the best course of action.

Then there’s the Boreus itself. Aside from its shielding, you’ll also have to watch out for its ice attacks, as well as when it comes charging at you. It means serious business, and will take a whole lot of damage before it eventually succumbs in defeat. Be prepare for war with this one.

Once you do eventually beat it, you could earn you the opportunity to use Boreus Gear for your character, a sleek mixture of fur coat and armor that can help you in even the coldest of temperatures. Plus it looks real slick, like something out of a nouveau Viking design.


Master of Disaster

As you continue to work your way through Dauntless, you’ll find plenty of rewards awaiting you. We’ve already mentioned how you’ll be able to unlock new gear and upgrade your weapons. But you’ll also be able to take on the Master System, which will assist you in becoming a true badass of a warrior, whether you’re taking on your first hunt or your tenth.

Set to release later this month as part of the Windows 10 beta that’s currently happening, the Master System will feature a number of cards that you can unlock, provided you can complete a few objectives to do so. As you complete the levels of Mastery, you’ll be able to unlock new rewards, as well as specialized mods for your weapon and special items as well. You also won’t have to worry about Reputation tracks, as those are officially being “retired” by the team.

Essentially, this works as a tough level of the game, with a number of challenges available. In fact, it’d be safe to call it a New Game Plus, even if that’s not its official title. As the company describes it, “This brand-new system delivers a raft of challenges that you can take on to earn Mastery experience, raise your Mastery levels, and unlock a rich assortment of rewards. When introduced in the Path of the Slayer update (OB 0.7.1), the Mastery system will offer Mastery objectives for each Behemoth and weapon in the game.

It then taunts you by asking the question, “Ready to dig in?”

This will definitely serve as a benefit for those that have played the game for quite some time. If you haven’t- or you’re merely waiting for the console release of Dauntless– not to worry. It should already be implemented within the game once it launches, should development move along like it is.

Plus, Mastery will give you a chance to up your Slayer level, so you can build upon your reputation as you pair up with team members and improve skill accordingly. You can check your progress on these objectives as you go along, so you know exactly what you need to do when it comes to accomplishing tasks within the game. And with Seasons and new Hunts being introduced, there’s sure to be a fresh challenge awaiting you, even if you’ve managed to see it all.


The Hunt Is On

While there are some skeptics who believe that Monster Hunter: World is the true king when it comes to this particular genre, don’t be fooled by Dauntless. It has something to offer to everyone, from amateurs that are getting into monster hunting for the first time to true masters ready for their next diabolical clash.

First off, Dauntless is free-to-play, unlike World’s full price affair. That’ll serve as a benefit to many, and provided that it runs smoothly across the board, it could easily serve as a strong revenue stream for Phoenix Labs.

The hunts themselves are fun as well. Even though some foes, like Boreus, can be a real pain in the tookus, the effort to bring them down is most certainly worth it, as you can level up your Slayer of choice and unlock some new gear to be proud of. And there’s probably going to be more where that came from, as Phoenix Labs should keep the store freshly stocked.

The game is challenging but fun to play. And while the idea of playing single player can be good for those that want to train, it lives and breathes from its co-op factor. There’s nothing like getting a good group together and taking the fight where it needs to go. Plus you have someone that could heal you should you need it- and you just might.

Dauntless will drop sometime this spring for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC (Epic Games Store and Windows 10); and later this year for Nintendo Switch. No matter which way you go, you’ll have quite the fight on your hands…


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Dragon Hound – Monster Hunter Meets World of Tanks

No matter how many games with monsters and hunters you might play, there is always a name that pops out: Monster Hunter. Capcom’s quintessential series has millions of fans worldwide and very few studios dare to pick a fight with it.

Dauntless is one of the latest entries in the genre and it seems to be doing well for itself, despite the predictable competition from Monster Hunter World. Oddly enough, the free-to-play co-op game is benefiting from the ‘Monster Hunter effect,’ as Capcom’s game opened the genre up and caused a spike in sign-ups.

Now, another monster hunting game is rearing its ugly, scale-ridden head: devCAT’s Dragon Hound, currently in development for PC using the Unreal Engine 4.

Mounted Hunter Online

DevCAT is the Korean studio best known for its acclaimed Mabinogi and Vindictus MMORPGs. The latter was praised as featuring some of the best MMO action combat pre-TERA and Black Desert Online, so it could be assumed that they would build on that. A sequel, or even a completely different game improving on Vindictus’ mechanics crossed my thoughts several times, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Instead, devCAT decided to risk it all and try something entirely new – for them, at least. Originally known as Project DH and introduced to the world during G-Star 2016, Dragon Hound holds a lot of promise while at the same time leaving a bittersweet taste. The reason for this is that Dragon Hound’s battles are all based on mounted combat, without the option to get off your mount and take a different approach to the battle.

Dragon Hound dragon attack

This may be personal bias, but no matter just how tactical or mechanically advanced the mounted combat may be, being stuck with your mount all the time sounds like a cop-out. It feels as they have this hugely promising battlefield and yet you are being severely restricted in your movement. The developers say that you should see your character as a centaur, which is more than enough evidence that you will never be able to fight on foot. Hopefully the matches won’t turn into boring sessions of circling around a dragon while shooting at it.

Dragon Hound’s Game Director is keen to say that despite all the Monster Hunter comparisons, his game is more of a mix between Monster Hunter and Wargaming’s World of Tanks. As odd as it may sound, this is probably due to the use of ranged weapons and horses, making you feel like you are controlling a vehicle. A tank, so to speak.

That being said, Dragon Hound still has significant depth to it, especially when it comes to monsters. So far, there are 30 different creatures planned and while the name may give you a hint on the kind of foes that await you, it’s not all about dragons. We’ve spotted other antagonists such as a huge boar-like animal and a bizarre dragon-giraffe hybrid.

Dragon Hound landscape

Getting Under Your Skin

Dragons are fire-breathing winged creatures with thick skin, but sometimes you will need to get under it to be successful – or at least, to pierce through it. Dragons and other creatures include internal damageable organs such as heart and lungs, weak points that don’t need to glow bright red for you to realize just how important they are. If you manage to hit these vital organs instead of aimlessly shooting around, the battle may be over sooner than you think. Obviously, it’s easier said than done.

Eyes are also noticeable weak points, so if everything plays out as expected, the creatures should have a lot more trouble finding out who and where to attack. The same goes for limbs, as a focused attack should severely limit a creature’s movement or ability to strike back. Each battle is expected to last 10 minutes on average, with larger creatures requiring around 15 minutes. It’s all very enticing on paper, but let’s see how it effectively turns out when all these features are properly implemented.

Dragon Hound bow and arrow attack

By now you are probably thinking which class to pick and what kind of weapons each one gets to use. DevCAT has decided not to include a restrictive class system, meaning that whatever your decision, you will always be able to equip the weapon that your heart desires. Dragon Hound’s arsenal is said to be comparable to the one used during World War 1, but there is clearly some thrilling steampunk imagination at work, as it is shown by the gigantic vehicle used to drag the fallen creatures and where your hunts begin. Long range weapons such as Gatling guns and shotguns evidently play a vital role in the gameplay, but you can also expect some melee weapons for those moments when you need to get up close and personal with the creatures.

It will certainly come as a big surprise to you that Dragon Hound won’t feature any PvP modes. In current days, this almost sounds like shooting yourself in the foot, but that is the plain truth. My guess is that the developers have fiddled and toyed with the idea until they decided that it wasn’t viable or that it wouldn’t add significant value to the game.

Far from considering Dragon Hound an actual MMO, they are labeling it a team-based multiplayer online game. There is no word on the maximum number of players that can participate in a raid, but there are other features such as a tower defense mode that requires a larger number of players.

Dragon Hound stable

Up in the Air

Intentionally or simply a remarkable coincidence, Dragon Hound seems to borrow Dauntless’ concept of the floating isles. The villages in devCAT’s game are floating and they are prone to rotation, switching positions on a weekly basis. Apparently, this was designed with the intention of creating some sort of artificial limitation to the way that players burn through content. By restricting the window of opportunity to attack certain creatures, it will delay those specific encounters for some days. If this is as linear as it was explained, we can’t say for sure, but let’s hope that there is always something to do while you wait for your next big hunt to open.

Dragon Hound is one of the few high-profile PC games coming out of South Korea’s G-Star 2018. In a sea of mobile releases, it’s always great to discover a new and exciting game that dares to think outside of the box. Considering Nexon’s penchant for western releases, we would say that Dragon Hound is highly likely to reach North America and Europe, but we are probably a couple of years away from that. In the meantime, I recommend you to keep an eye out on this one, especially if you are a fan of Monster Hunter and… World of Tanks. Because we have seen stranger things.

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Dauntless Prepares for Halloween as the Ostian Repeaters Go Live

We’ve already covered earlier this week how Dauntless is getting some fresh firepower with today’s arrival of the Ostian Repeaters weapon, but additional Dauntless updates have also come along for the patch announcement ride; namely, the return of its Halloween-themed event.

dauntless updates

Details on this year’s Dark Harvest – what Dauntless’ lore calls Halloween – are a bit on the scant side, as the announcement mostly focuses on today’s new weapon update. That said, players can look forward to a few new this time around. The announcement teases a Behemoth-worshipping cult known as The Unseen, a “terrifying” new Behemoth, limited time store offerings, and “hidden secrets strewn throughout the game world.”

As for today’s update, it’s not only a pair of customizable pistols. The islands of the Maelstrom no longer run on a bi-weekly rotation, meaning all Dire Behemoths are available at all times. The Thornbound buff added to certain monsters with The Coming Storm has also receded for now.

The patch notes for today’s update can be found here, while the 2018 edition of Dark Harvest is set to arrive on Wednesday, October 17th.

Our Thoughts

We’ve been really eager to see how these new weapons work, but we’re even more eager to see what Halloween in the Shattered Isles will look like this year. We expect there will be more details on that front in the coming days, but for now we’re going to build us a pair of in-game guns.

Source: press release

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Monster Hunter Film Locks Down Actors and a Director

As Monster Hunter World and Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate continue to make impact, Capcom has decided to spread the IP to other sources. Among those projects is the Monster Hunter film adaptation, which today confirmed actors and its director.

monster hunter film

Writer-director Paul W.S. Anderson, who is known to video game fans as the man behind the Resident Evil films, has been confirmed to take up both writing and directing roles for the upcoming Monster Hunter film. On the actor front, Ron Perlman and T.I. Williams will join the cast, with actress Milla Jovovich also due to star in the film.

While the overall plot for the film is still not known at this time, the report confirms that Jovovich will be playing a character named Artemis, Perlman will play a hunter crew leader named Admiral, and Harris will play a sniper named Link.

Shooting for the film is set to begin in South Africa next month and has an estimated budget of $60 million. The film is being released by Screen Gems in the U.S. while Sony Pictures International will handle distribution of the film in other territories around the globe.

The iron for Monster Hunter still seems pretty hot, with the recent release of the excellent Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate for Nintendo Switch, the newly-launched mobile edition of the 3DS RPG Monster Hunter Stories, and word from SuperData that Monster Hunter World has sold 2 million units on PC in the month of August.

Our Thoughts

We’ll wait on a trailer to make judgements on this film, but the overall vibe and setting of the games certainly lends itself to a summer blockbuster/fun popcorn film. For now, we’re likely not going to learn more about this one for a few months yet.

Sources: Hollywood Reporter, SuperData

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Capcom Keen to Create a Switch-Specific Monster Hunter Title

So we all know that Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate’s arrival to Nintendo’s latest console will be happening. That said, it’s not a totally new Monster Hunter title, just a port of a 3DS game. So what are the odds of a Monster Hunter Switch title developed just for the console? Pretty good, actually.

monster hunter switch

According to a translated tweet from someone who attended Capcom’s recent shareholders meeting, the company is looking forward to having more Monster Hunter on Nintendo Switch, but seems to be considering creating a new, console exclusive title in the series instead of doing another port.

Speaking of ports, will there be a Switch version of Monster Hunter World? Not possible, according to that same tweet. “Regarding MH World, they said that it ‘can’t be done on Switch,’ so it’s futile to ask,” reads the translated tweet.

It’s important to bear in mind that, as of right now, this is just a remark made during a shareholder meeting. There are currently no hard details about when such a Switch game would be released or even if such a title is in the works. That said, Monster Hunter World has been Capcom’s biggest selling game overall, let alone the highest grossing entry in the series proper even before its release on PC, so more games on more systems seems like a foregone conclusion.

Our Thoughts

Considering Monster Hunter is first and foremost a Japanese game series that suits players who like to game while on the go, the Nintendo Switch would be an absolutely perfect platform for a new, “proper” entry in the series. It’s likely going to be a while before we hear anything about the next Monster Hunter title, but we’ll be looking forward to MHGU in the meanwhile.

Source: Twitter via GearNuke

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Dauntless Debuts its Intro Cinematic

With a mere few days left before the online monster smacker makes its way into open beta, the devs at Phoenix Labs have premiered the Dauntless intro cinematic today, offering a bit more window dressing to the setting of the title.

dauntless intro cinematic

The world of the Shattered Isles is one fraught with danger. Civilization tries to come to grips with survival on these floating islands, the power of a force called aether, and the fearsome Behemoths that feed on the energy. It’s up to Slayers – AKA the players – to stem the tide and protect the town of Ramsgate from the threat.

If you’re interested in joining in to the proceedings of Dauntless open beta once it kicks off this Thursday, May 24th, you’re welcome to head over to the official site to sign yourself up. In the meantime, you can take in the introduction cinematic in the embedded video below.

Our Thoughts

I’ll be speaking from personal experience in this section. After following the development of Dauntless from some of its earliest stages to the last update before open beta, I have to say that it’s been awesome seeing this online multiplayer title pull together. Here’s hoping that open beta goes about as smoothly as open betas can go and that players enjoy their time hacking at big beasties in the Shattered Isles.

Source: press release

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Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate Announced for Nintendo Switch

Looks like the console arrival of Monster Hunter World was more than successful enough to warrant a Monster Hunter Nintendo Switch title. That title is Monster Hunter World Generations Ultimate, which has gotten details including gameplay features and a release date for North American and European players.

monster hunter nintendo switch

Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate (or MHGU for short) will let players on Nintendo Switch take advantage of the system’s portability to play with three others in local multiplayer or with online friends in addition to a single-player mode.

MHGU is essentially the same game as the 3DS Monster Hunter Generations title with all of the same trimmings including Hunter Arts, G-Rank hunts, and Hunter Styles including the Brave Style that grants new moves for landing successive hits and Alchemy Style that lets players craft items on-the-fly during hunts. What’s more, players of the 3DS Monster Hunter Generations can transfer their save data over to the Nintendo Switch edition.

Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate will launch on Tuesday, August 28th in both physical and digital editions. A trailer for the game’s announcement can be seen below.

Our Thoughts

For old vets of the Monster Hunter series, this game’s reveal is most definitely going to come as a happy surprise, we suspect. The added layers of strategy that Hunter Arts and Hunter Styles bring to the game cannot be understated and we’re ready to see this one arrive very soon.

Source: press release

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Open Beta for Dauntless Begins May 24

After what’s felt like a pretty lengthy round of closed beta testing, the PC multiplayer monster masher Dauntless has announced the date for its next step. Dauntless open beta will be kicking off on Thursday, May 24th, which promises continued development on new behemoths, new quests, and new weapons.

dauntless open beta

Open beta for Dauntless will mark a potentially significant increase in the game’s population, as the current 100k players in closed beta will balloon to include the 800k registered Dauntless accounts once testing begins. As a nod of thanks to those who have participated in closed beta, special cosmetic items and rewards are due to be revealed soon.

As for open beta itself, there are no official details on any major content updates, but Phoenix Labs stated the team’s commitment to adding new content to the game. As of this writing, the Dauntless development roadmap shows a number of features filed in the “In Development” section, including UI changes, destructible environments, high-tier hunts, and the “Evergame” end game system among others.

For those who are currently in the Dauntless closed beta, there are a pair of full wipes planned: one on Wednesday, May 2nd to coincide with a “major” progression and Evergame update; and one on Tuesday, May 22nd in preparation for open beta.

Our Thoughts

It’s exciting to learn that Dauntless is nearly ready for its next big step and we’re certainly eager for open beta to begin, but we’re more curious abut these new progression and Evergame changes that are planned in early May. We’ll definitely be curious to learn more.

Source: official site

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Dauntless Pushes Open Beta Back to 2018

The monster slaying online action title Dauntless has outlined a roadmap for its development moving forward. Unfortunately, part of that roadmap has included a turn into Delaysville. Yes, it appears that Dauntless open beta testing will have to be pushed back into sometime next year.

dauntless open beta testing

“At Phoenix Labs we believe in a ‘When It’s Ready’ philosophy,” explains the most recent developer blog post. As a result of that philosophy, OBT will be instead kick off sometime in early 2018. “Those waiting to join us in the Open Beta can look forward to more polish and more content. For players who are already in the Closed Beta, this means that you can look forward to more improvements and seeing your feedback make a tangible impact on the game that you are playing.”

Part of those improvements include more dynamic differences between variations of the same Behemoths, working to alleviate what is described as conflicting feelings between wanting to gather materials and hunting a monster, the addition of the game’s fifth weapon, and several other adjustments and refinements.

The entire roadmap has been shared to a public Trello board which will let interested players see which features are currently in development and which are being delayed.

Our Thoughts

Can’t fault Phoenix Labs for taking the “ready when it’s ready” approach. While those who are curious about Dauntless but not curious enough to spend money on a Founder’s Pack could be let down, especially with Monster Hunter World looming on the horizon, we’d rather have a more complete and stable game open its doors to masses of players than rush a half-completed MMO out the door.

Source: official site

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