Hints, tips & tricks for Grim Dawn beginners

As you probably know, I am a huge ARPG fan, and my latest obsession has been Grim Dawn by Crate Entertainment. So far I’ve put in around 200 hours into the game and have levelled multiple classes, during this time I’ve collected some helpful hints, tips and tricks that may be of use to beginners to the game.

If you want to try Grim Dawn for yourself, the game and DLCs are available on Steam.

Check out the build compendium for class combos and builds

It can be very daunting picking what class combo and build to play, luckily the Grim Dawn build Compendium has every class and build covered, whether you want to play a dual-wielding rogue, a spellcasting mage or an unstoppable tank the compendium will help you choose the right build for you.

Put components in your gear as you get them, don’t save them for later

As you level up, you will start collecting lots of components, these can be put onto armour and weapons to add extra damage, armour, resistances or even new abilities. If you find a component, don’t be afraid to use it straight away, you can always take off a component using the inventor NPC.

Grim Dawn components stash

It’s best to keep your extra components in your stash, some you will need to unlock devotion shrines, while others will be needed for crafting gear and other higher level components.

Always activate every devotion shrine you find

On the world map you will see rough locations of devotion shrines and you’ll no doubt run into these on your travels. Activate them whenever you can, you will need to supply either a component (that does not need to be on your inventory) or fight a boss or small wave of mobs. Once the shrine is cleared, you will have a devotion point available to spend in the devotions screen.

Be smart with your devotion points

Chose devotion points that will benefit your class/build. If you’re dealing fire damage then it makes sense to put points into fire/burn constellations.

Grim Dawn devotions

If you find yourself dying a lot, it may make sense to put points into more defensive constellations, this is a good way of getting your resistances up, too.

Don’t spread your attributes too thin

Each time you level up you can put a point into either your physique, cunning or spirit. It may be tempting to spread your points around, but don’t do this! Unless your build specifically requires otherwise you should put most of your points into physique.

Physique all the way (mostly)

Just to reiterate, you will almost certainly want to put most, if not all points into physique, you cannot re-assign your attribute points until much later into the game!

Don’t be afraid to explore and uncover the map

Grim Dawn is full of secrets to uncover that require lots of exploring, sometimes you will find treasure hidden in a tree stump or under a rock, sometimes you’ll find secret rooms hidden behind destructible walls. It pays to explore and click on everything in this game!

Grim Dawn world map

Choose an ability to base your build around

Choose an ability in your class you really like, for example Righteous Fervor or Cadence and build your character around it, put as many points into that ability as you can and gear to complement the damage type of your main ability, for example if you’re using Righteous Fervor then you will probably want burn damage on your gear. Note that certain abilities have passive skills which modify the damage type into another, for example, ‘Dreeg’s Reproach’ converts the physical and fire damage of Righteous Fervor into Acid and Vitality damage respectively.

Focus on one or two abilities

It’s tempting to put a point into every ability in the class tree and spread your points around, although you should avoid doing this, instead focus on one or two key abilities and put as many points into them as you can.

Level more than one character

In every RPG I play I always like to level alt characters, the same goes for Grim Dawn, I find if I farm for gear on my main, I always have gear I can funnel down to my lower level characters, making the levelling process much easier the second, third or fourth time round. It’s also fun to find out which class/build is more overpowered or easier to play. Click here for a list of my Grim Dawn characters.

Kill every champion/named mob you find

Champions are powerful named mobs marked with a star, while they are much tougher to defeat than normal mobs, they can drop epic and legendary (after level 50) loot, as well as a good amount of XP and faction reputation.

Loot as much as you can and sell the stuff you don’t need

You’ll need currency (iron bits) to craft and buy items, a good way to earn iron is carry as much junk as you can and vendor it back at town, you’ll want to do every quest you can to ensure you unlock your extra inventory bags along the way.

Learn any plans you loot

There are lots of crafting plans to loot from bosses and shrines, as well as plans that can be bought from faction vendors. Once you’ve learned a crafting plan on one character, the ability to craft that item is unlocked for all your characters - no need to farm the same plans over and over!

Don’t be afraid to play on normal difficulty

This will be up to you, but I prefer to kill stuff quickly, the way I see it any loss in experience is made up for in speed, but if you want to play with veteran turned on go for it.

Grim Dawn veteran mode

Mobs will have much more health but reward you with increased XP per kill.

If all else fails, try respeccing!

All is not lost if you think you’ve truly bricked your character. An NPC can reset your devotions and skill points for a fee. Each time you do this the price increases.

Build around a damage type

Have an idea in your head what kind of damage you want to be doing as your chosen class, for example on my tank Warlord character, I deal physical and internal trauma damage while on my Pyromancer I deal fire and chaos damage. Choose a damage type that gels well with your chosen offensive abilities.

DPS score doesn’t matter (that much)

On the character sheet (by pressing ‘c’) there is a value for your character’s DPS. This is calculated from your main (left-click) ability and any damage bonuses on your gear.

Grim Dawn character sheet DPS

While this goes some way to showing how powerful you are, don’t worry too much about it, the DPS value will vary wildly from character to character.

Resistances are everything!

This is perhaps the most important thing to remember about this game, especially if you find yourself dying a lot - resistances matter hugely! Capping your resistances to at least 80% is essential to surviving out in the world of Cairn, especially in higher difficulties!

Grim Dawn resistances

You will be able to increase your resistances three ways - by equipping gear with resistance stats, using components with resists on your gear and choosing resistive devotions. You’ll find some boss fights are impossible without specific resistances which vary from fight to fight, at end-game you should be aiming for that magic 80% value across all resistances.

Look for hidden NPCs

As I mentioned earlier, explore the map! You will sometimes run into NPCs you can interact with offering XP or rewards for rescuing them.

Pick up and keep the dynamite

From act 2 onwards, you will begin collecting dynamite, it’s a good idea to carry some in your inventory at all times, as you will need dynamite to clear certain passageways or blow open loot chests! Good places to farm dynamite are the mines in act 2 (Arkovian foothills) and Cronley’s hideout.

Save blues and purples for alts

Grim Dawn has epic (blue) and legendary (purple) items that are the best quality items in the game, as you kill mobs you will no doubt begin to collect some of these and I recommend keeping as many as you can in your stash for alt characters, alternatively you can just sell these items if you’re sure you won’t need them.

Grim Dawn legendaries

Use the inventor to salvage gear and components

Once you’ve rescued Darlet in act 1, you have her available to remove components from your gear. You have either the option of keeping the piece of gear or the component, like I said earlier, don’t be afraid to put components on your gear as soon as possible!

Check the blacksmith for better components and gear

Some components can only be crafted and can’t be found in the world, so check in with the blacksmith and see what components you can craft.

Pick a second class at level 10

At level 10 you can choose a second class to spec into, it may be tempting to stick with the single class, but you’d be hindering yourself if you did, the best builds make use of two classes, you can always check the build compendium for class combinations that work well together.

Grim Dawn class selection

A dead character does zero DPS

I made the mistake of prioritising my OA (offensive ability) and putting all my points into cunning on my first character, this was a huge mistake as I wasn’t alive long enough to actually do any damage! Remember that your character does zero DPS while dead, so put your points into physique, use defensive cooldowns, wear armour with higher defensive ability and of course get your resistances up!

That’s all I think for now, I’ve been having so much fun with Grim Dawn, it’s quickly becoming my favourite ARPG, definitely up there with Diablo 3 and Wolcen. Anyway, thanks for reading, I hope this was helpful, please feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram!