Asking for suggestions for a good "first character" build

Greetings! As a completely new player to Grim Dawn, I wanted to get some opinions on what the best first build might be. I know that variations of this question probably come up from time to time, so let me add a bit more detail to mine. Maybe this can even be of use to other newcomers.

My goal is to start with one character and push that character as far as possible–ideally reaching level 100 and the end of Ultimate, farming for gear, evolving into an end-game build, and then taking on and taking down some (all?) of the superbosses if possible. If that last point proves beyond my reach, then I’d at least like to end up with a good base to use for farming items for another character that could go through all of the content. Whatever classes I play on alts after that will likely depend on what kind of gear my first character acquires for storage. So let’s roll with the following assumptions for this first character:

  1. I have the base game, AoM, FG, and Crucible (if that last one matters at all for this).

  2. I will be playing exclusively Solo Self-Found, with no items already waiting for me in a shared stash.

  3. I have at least surface-level familiarity with (i.e. I may have skimmed once or twice) some of the excellent beginner’s leveling guides published by the great build creators/theorycrafters/testers here on these forums, and would like to start with one of those builds.

  4. I’d like to be able to eventually farm the Lokarr set on my first character to help with leveling subsequent characters, so a build that is inherently strong enough or somewhat naturally tuned for defeating Lokarr would be a plus.

  5. The RNG hates me, so as I start farming for end-game gear, I’d want to be able to perform well enough with only items that can be found or bought without having to rely too much on low-chance random drops.

  6. I don’t have any preference as far as damage type or play style goes, as long as piloting the build doesn’t feel too much like performing a classical piano recital while simultaneously taking dictation with a stenotype machine.

So given all this, a few builds stood out to me:

  • Deathknight, for Krieg’s set.
  • Vitality Ravenous Earth Cabalist, for Dark One’s set.
  • Pet Conjurer, for Dark One’s set (and birbs)

At the same time, I’ve also heard that Warlord is a very strong starter class, and that the relatively easier availability of the Kreig and Dark One sets isn’t as big of a deal with some of the features added in Forgotten Gods. Not to mention several other interesting looking starter builds (AAR, Blademaster, etc., etc.) from a handful of well-known beginner guide creators around here, as well as other builds I may not even be aware of.

So, to sum it all up, I’m not so much asking “Which starter builds are good?” because they all look good from my vantage point, but more “Knowing what you all know now, if you were to start Grim Dawn completely fresh, which one of the many great starter builds/classes would you chose as a first character to push as far into the end-game content as you could?”


welcome to the game & forums & to GD community.
my advice for a new player in GD is just creat a character and play look at the game learn few things finish the first act try some classes and then you know what to do .
what build can help you a lot for ur first time is summoner (pet build )

I’d strongly suggest to choose one of the following

  1. Oathkeeper - spin2win paired with either nightblade or soldier (for easier endgame gear farming)

  2. Demolitionist - conflagration- either with soldier or arcanist

  3. Pet builds (ritualist, cabalist, conjurer)

Warlord or Dervish would be my favourite leveling spec via Acid 2H EoR. Very fast and tough. Hard to beat.

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Honestly for first character. try to play something that is the most fun for you. For example I don’t really like to play casters, but the grenado-canister bomb bomberman playstyle was fun for me so it was one of my first characters. But I would obviously start with melee sword and board, and the Soldier + Oathkeeper = Warlord is probably the best for that now. Not because it is beginner friendly or such, it is just the most fun to play for me. (And if you check builds on the forum, it has some other build possibilities as well.) But if you don’t care about this and you really just want a straightforward beginner friendly build that is able to farm for future characters, the Raveous earth cabalist seems to be a good choice.

But I have to say that I’ve played a lot the Krieg death knight, so I would recommend it of course as well. But I wouldn’t say it is such a great starting character, because it requires some specific gear outside the Krieg set.

It’s true that Krieg and Dark One are the easiest to collect end game sets but there are multiple characters that can shine even without top tier fear. Key is adjusting to the drops.

Dark One is great set and vitality casters provide both damage and survivability. So you can start with Cabalist/Ritualist or Oppressor. The common thing amongst them is Ravenous Earth/Bat constellation for easy start and Dark One set for end game.

I also can recommend if you like DW melee pierce Blademaster or cold Infiltrator - both can be farmers with little amount of gear.

Warlord is very strong defensively class and versatile too.

Also many different options. Find what style suits you the most and have fun! :slightly_smiling_face:

As it happened, I did a complete restart 3 times in the last few years, including one very recently. If we focus on efficiency to level and farm gear, I do the following

Grab an Oathkeeper, get one level in campaign. Put points in Aegis.

Switch to crucible, beat 10 waves, get reward.

You should now have enough points (if not, do another run of 10 waves) to grab :eye: of reckoning.

From this point on do several more rounds in crucible to get 10-15 devotion points for easier campaign start.

I’d focus on 2H weapons and acid/poison damage as it has nice early support both in terms of resistance reductions, devotions and gear.

Once EoR, Path of the Three and Celestial presence have been maxed out, grab soldier as the second mastery and aim for Blitz, Warcry and Field command.

If you happen to drop a 58 level Dreegal’anore - you will be set till 94! If not, go by what you find and you still should be ok.

Grab Ulzuin’s Torch (Meteor shower) regardless of which damage type you choose. Both phys/fire and acid/poison synergize well with it after some conversions.

Once you reach 94, lots of options become available. I’d probably stick to (acid) EoR as its core setup requires only three items to be strong enough to farm rogue dungeons and low SR right away and very efficiently.

You can actually gamble (Etram Fald for level 50-75 gear, Bella Fald and her sibling for level 94). While you may not be able to get specific items easily, it’s quite possible that something very useful drops unexpectedly, changing your entire build!

Once you have farmed a lot of gear, time to finalize the build. You should have a better idea what you want at that point. Tons of options from various retal flavours to Warborn, Octavius, Markovian, the list is long!

Warlord is a very solid starter char for sure.
Good luck!


Honestly, I would recommend just focusing on what kind of archetype you prefer to play and just do that. With the recent changes in it’s even easier to level through the game with what you find and faction gear.

If you like sword&board, do that! Or if you like to DW 1h weapons or DW pistols or 2h rifle or caster or whatever. It really doesn’t matter so long as you enjoy the gameplay. :slight_smile:

You’ll find that with GD, you will play through and get some items that get your mind working thinking, “What kind of build could I make with this?!” and then you’ll want to do it. So don’t fret, just play and check out the items you find along the way. GD is about making multiple characters with the loot and getting new ideas on how you can get the different classes to interact and work well. Alt-itis is very real with GD…

But definitely get the Crucible and play as @Contragor said through to get loot and at least the first 10 Devotion points - it really makes a difference in starting strength when playing fresh.

Good luck and have fun! :sunglasses:

I’ve started without any friends and pure solo self found on SC and a pet conjurer was the most easily to gear up IMO.

If im not wrong, theres a build around here that reached endgame content with just faction gear.

Edit: this one.

might be many options if you go through the beginner guides. I like the vitality option basically shaman with either occult(conjurer) or necro (ritualist) which can also be pet builds so you can be like meh im gonna do pets meh im gonna do this awesome darkone worlddestroyer

pets are lame btw

Shaman is great for vitality caster but your OA/DA are hidden behind Savagery.

Pets are lame? Don’t let :bird: hear you.

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is warlord spin2win or ritualist RE better for first timer?
i saw in malawiglynn guide, its both begineer friendly?

personally im kind of a fan of occultist. Blood of dreeg is just such a good skill. But i recommend to go through the beginners guides and search what you like. How i leveled my shaman:

  • get devouring swarm kill everything until lvl 20 ish save all good 2 h weapons
  • switch to primal strike with any twohanded weapon take the modifier on it
  • when enough skillpoints pick your ultimate skill it will help with leveling further
  • start combining primal strike with savagery particularly the boost to oa and da from the second skill
  • get as much attackspeed as possible. Sort out your devotions
  • once level 94 completely change if possible to a vitality spec. Look up conjurer or ritualist vitality build either the one with the offhand but you can also go with a 2h weapon

warlord spin to win is good but i dont trust it. It is a new skill its likely gonna change i dont know man RE is just saver i think and you have much more options than just RE, you can go PB or just savagery and some other vitality spells supported by sets or weapons, but look at already made and tested builds and try to aim for that if possible.

Im fairly new to GD but I have a lot of experience in the other 2 major top down games.

The Barbarian- Soldier+Shaman 2 hand.
The Necro- Necromancer+Occultist
The dual blade- Nightblade+Soldier

The barbarian and dual blade both make use of force wave from soldier in order to clear out trash mobs. The necro just has lots of pets.

NOTE! These are not meta builds and Im not even sure if they are sustainable builds. They are “get to learn the game” builds that are fun to play and survive well. At lv 60 on normal, the Barbarian struggled against the super bosses.

My rule of thumb for any first build is a barbarian 2 handed weapon or a Fighter S&B build. Those are braindead to build and will get you thru any game till you know what’s going on.

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I just deleted my save files to start a clean and fresh journey. Going pure pets this time. It’s pets or Bust! You know what’s lame? Ravenous earth! The ugliest abomination of a skill. And who cares if it’s efficient really. I wouldn’t use even if it oneshot Calla! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::smiling_imp:

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i dont like RE either. But yeah basically the pets things imo is unfinished and unclear.

-Look for classes that have resistance reduction of the same type on both classes.
-Dont worry too much about the endgame build that you’d may end up theorycrafting
-Find a skill in either of your classes that deals aoe consistently. and focus mostly on leveling that up first (shaman has primal strike, soldier has forcewave, nightblade has amarastas blade burst, etc)
-ding at least one point in every skill so that you can at least see the mechanics of the moves at your disposal. You might find that you like what a move does or how it plays more than you like how it sounds.
-As far as devotions go, find an tier 1 attack devotion proc that matches with the damage type you are focusing on (physical takes bull or falcon, fire takes fiend, cold/lightning take tsunami, aether takes imp, bleed takes falcon, vitality and piercing take bat)
-Your next goal for devotions is to acquire a resistance reduction proc that matches with your primary damage type as well. (lightning/aether get widow, fire/chaos get eldritch fire,cold/ poison go for rumor, pierce/physical go for assassins blade, bleed goes for huntress, vitality goes for rattosh)

Honestly, just those tips alone are enough to get you to about level 75. From there you should have enough of an idea as to what youre trying to accomplish with your own build, and respeccing is cheap enough for the first hundred or so respecs that you can try things out along the way. Make mistakes! Experiment! Everything works in normal and most of elite. As long as your damage types synergize and your resistances stay relatively healthy, you’ll be fine.


Best do-it-alls are pets, though they lack severely in AoE DPS department. Then Dark One which is one of the strongest builds capable of doing the three challenges of GD endgame - fast Crucible, deep SR and superbosses - on the same setup without tweaking. Retaliation warlords are also known for being able to withstand almost anything under SR100 without a sweat.

However, in fact almost every solid endgame build can do superbosses if tweaked correctly. I’d recommend surfing the forums, reading some build threads and also watching vids. And choose whatever playstyle tickles your fancy.

Simple answer: pet conjurer

That’s good answer. Pet Conjurers are very sturdy and Birds build are flexible when it comes to gearing.

Plus when you got bored (if) you can switch to Dark One build :slightly_smiling_face: