Preview: Island Gameplay Enhancements

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Callaway was half way down the dock when he remembered that his War Pike was still sitting at the foot of his bunk. Running back to grab his weapon and then sprinting to make the departure, he soon found himself enduring a friendly ribbing as he was catching his breath while the ship pulled out of port.

Even after almost being left behind for his job, Callaway was having trouble entirely focusing on the task at hand. He’d always been a daydreamer and had earned more than his share of bumps and bruises exploring the streets, rooftops, and sewers of Ramsgate as a lad. He’d dreamed of joining the Orrery or becoming a Wayfinder; charting a course across the Shattered Isles and discovering mysterious manifestations of Aether.

But, when his aptitude for numbers or studying couldn’t keep pace with his curiosity, he’d had to rechart his future. He’d found a place for his tenacity and agility with the Slayers. And while it was dangerous work, it meant that he was also making voyages to the far reaches of the frontier, seeing things that he’d never imagined. There was a deadly job waiting for them, but any fear he felt was buried by the thrill of discovery.

As his mother used to say, “Some are just born with their heart in the clouds.”


The Shattered Isles is a place made of equal parts danger and discovery. While none of the Slayers who have been participating in the Closed Beta can deny the hazards of hunting, we’ve heard your feedback that sometimes exploring islands isn’t as engaging as it could be. We’ve taken this feedback to heart and are making improvements to your relationship with the island.

The Island Gameplay team has invested its efforts into creating new experiences that reward exploration. Islands should have an impact on the way you play, the way that Behemoths behave, and how you experience the Shattered Isles.

We are pulling back the curtain on aspects of how Dauntless will grow and change in 2018. Here is your first preview of our prototypes for new elements of island gameplay.

We believe in an open and transparent relationship with the Dauntless community. This means sharing early concepts, keeping you updated on improvements, and interacting with your feedback.

Destructible Environments

When an Embermane is charging your hunting party at over one-hundred-forty kilometers per hour, the last thing on its mind are obstacles. There are more than a few Slayers with broken bodies that will tell you that nothing gets between that much fury and its prey.

So, if a Slayer decides to make a strategic retreat into the forest for a breather — what should a Behemoth do? Wait patiently? Leave a message? Or, should it do what Behemoths do best, and bring it crashing down?

Take that, trees!

Featured above is a wild Gnasher in its native habitat, laying waste to its mortal enemy — the tree. It’s small touches like this that add up to bring an island to life. While forestry will still act as an opportunity to regroup, it will no longer be the bastion it currently is in Closed Beta. This means Slayers will need to stay on their toes as they adapt to changing battlefields.

Creating environments and systems that respond to both Behemoths and Slayers leads to more hunt variety and memorable experiences. These systems are still in the early stages of development, but we’re eager to continue pushing the boundaries of what both Behemoths and Slayers can do.

New Points of Interest

Ramsgate is home to cartographers, scientists, smiths, explorers, and other citizens who have needs and curiosities that demand satisfaction. You’re in a unique position as a Slayer to discover and source the rarities that keep Ramsgate operating smoothly as a scientific and commercial hub.

We’re introducing new opportunities for memorable moments that will impact hunts and make the Shattered Isles exciting to explore. Enhancements to existing gatherables, new points of interest that expand the world of Dauntless, and opportunities to discover items and extra crafting materials are all being explored.

That'll buff out

When you come across a destroyed village, you can expect to find notes, potions, and even hints of what caused the devastation. Groves of special mushrooms will stand out in the night sky with a blooming, eerie glow. Who knows what you’ll find in the wreckage of less fortunate ships?

Experiments and prototypes are underway, so don’t be surprised to see early tests of these points of interest in the Closed Beta. Change, if anything, is the only constant in the Shattered Isles.

New Traversal

The smiths and scientists of Ramsgate are always looking for new uses for Aether. If the volatile material can let airships fly, and you’ve got a group of Slayers willing to risk life and limb for an edge while hunting — why not try something crazy?

Beats walking

Slayers will soon discover new ways to capitalize on the natural features found during their hunts. One such emergent example are smaller vents of Aether that, after some experimentation and a few abandoned 3D maneuvering gear schematics broken bones, now allow Slayers to reach higher elevations.

We’re experimenting with new methods of traversal that make exploring islands more fun and unique to the world of Dauntless. Expect to see more examples of these features in the Open Beta and beyond!

New Islands

The transitory nature of the Shattered Isles means that nothing stays in one place for too long. Slayers might have the deadliest jobs, but no one envies the cartographers of Ramsgate. Keeping track of the world’s geography means a dedication to discovery and the dogged pursuit of elusive, subtle orbital patterns.

Island concept

We’ve taken your feedback, and the data from countless hunts, to create experiences that reward exploration. This means more variety and discovering new ways to build better experiences. New island concepts are in the works as you’re reading this, and we’re excited to share more detailed previews in the future.

Beyond the Horizon

As set out in the Shape of the Horizon blog and the Dauntless Road Map, you can expect to see more frequent updates and previews in the lead up to the Open Beta. In addition to exploring other topics (including combat, UI, and customization), we’ll continue to keep you updated on our progress on island gameplay and design.

You can look forward to more information on:

  • More new islands
  • Details on new ways islands will impact gameplay
  • Additional traversal mechanics
  • Updates to destructible environments

We also know that many Slayers are eager for an Open Beta date. We are working hard to determine a date that we are confident we can deliver on. Thank you for patience and continued enthusiasm in the interim!

From all of us at Phoenix Labs, thank you for joining us on this journey. We can’t wait to show you more!


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