Beginners initial problem with skills and quickslot assignments

In your early immersion into Grim Dawn you will find yourself overwhelmed with all the mastery skills available when you choose your first class.

I am not even going to address Devotion points here as this is another whole design concept that will actually make you feel like a “Shark in a Paddling Pool” :grinning:

You start with the first mastery tree and go WOW, I want all of that, and it gets even worse when you select your second mastery and you want all that as well.
Exactly what I did - I wanted it all.

There is nothing wrong with this. Allocate and open as many of the mastery skills as you can initially, as it will give you a nice feel for what each one can do, and I really DO ENCOURAGE you to do this in your first run through in Grim Dawn. EXPERIMENT as much as possible and see what each skill does and how it affects your build. You will eventually be able to respec the skills later anyway, so nothing is going to be a disaster with whatever you choose.

The problem you will start to encounter is that you almost need the fingering skills of a “virtuoso pianist” and if you then utilize the second quickslot bar, Beethoven’s ability comes to mind.

Like all things in life you cannot have all the cake and eat it ALL!

I have years of play in Grim Dawn since it’s launch with some 70 characters and when going back to revamp some of my earlier builds I too realised that maybe I was also aspiring to be a concert pianist. Too much, too thin and just not efficient.

The other issue with this is that you actually lose a lot of game play visuals as you are so focused on the keyboard with the myriad of key combos that you miss most of the action on the screen, and if fact can end up getting you one-shotted because you did not see the big bad boss launching a killer attack because you were fumbling around with the keyboard.

Once you get a good understanding of the class builds you are looking for, the FEWER keys you need to assign is better. Most builds will focus on just a few aspects of each class and these will be where you will start to max your points and define your bullds key features.

I normally try to limit my offensive / defensive quickslot keys to 1…5 if possible with 3 being the health giver, jumper, special or other main skill you need at fingertip. The toggle skills from items I usually assign to the alternate quickslot so my normal bar is not cluttered. I find this helps in the case of an Arcane mob attack which strips you of ALL your toggle buffs. I jet out of danger and switch to alt quickslot - press 1,2,3,4 etc. to get my buffs back and toggle back to main bar.

With fewer and more effective skills assigned to your bar you will get a lot more visual and interactive enjoyment from the game.

Yes, I know, a lot of the player base are going to say that certain builds will use many of the mastery skills from both classes and are essential to the build and will require adept keyboard skills to utilize their full potential. The caster builds typically require this sort of quickslot assignment range, and they are killer builds if you can “can chew bubblegum, walk and phone text blindfolded at the same time”

I find the easiest is to focus on the 1-2-3 combo keystrokes whollops of my builds prime skills and I can then keep 100% attention to what is happening on screen.

I am not a touch typist or a piano player so I prefer to keep my key interaction as efficient and simple as possible for each of my builds.

To all you multi keyed adepts out there - I do salute you - but my preference is simple good old 123 keys with the skills that count. :grim_dawn:


or not limit yourself to the non-piano builds and just use

sorry for chiming in but it perfectly solves the issue you’re having. That was my problem too

but AutoHotkey is a great solution to this.


I did do a search Discord for this this topic and could not find any results, but a nice one @tqFan

in the beginning you only have a few skills. But grim dawn is different from many others that many skills have their use in a layered system. I like this about grim dawn.

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How I used AHK with Primal Strike Warder (not really a piano build though):

  • Wind Devil cast automatically whenever when you hold Left Click (I had also Primal Strike and Movement on Left Click)
  • Totem and War Cry when you hold Shift in addition to holding Left Click
  • War Cry whenever it was possible
  • Totem only every 15 seconds unless I moved to another mob pack then clicking shift again made Totem be recast quickly again

So two buttons for movement + 4 skills used pretty much optimally, no performance/dps lost imo.

It’s very chillilng when you don’t have to think about casting support skills like Pneumatic Burst, Blood of Dreeg, Amarasta, Ring of Steel…

Also lots of other stuff like hiding items on the ground when you fight, automatic camera following your character, super fast keyboard/scroll manual camera (not the slow native one), Inquisitor Seal cast on your character, casting all buffs at the start of the game (or after an enemy dispelled all your buffs) with one button and many more… All without installing anything/playing in custom game with mods.

Some of the goals are:

  • not having to look at the cooldowns at all or reduce it to a very large degree

  • having skills be cast with 100% chance, reliably (in GD when you sometimes cast too much at once, not all skills are cast)

    • this is achieved by spamming the skill when you hold the button or when it’s toggled to be spammed automatically
  • having the skills with cooldowns be cast optimally, that is whenever they are ready and not when you press the button

Now I’m levelling a Shadow Strike Trickster toon with more skills than Primal Strike Warder and I think it will still be possible you use like 2-3 buttons (I’m at low level now so I don’t use all the skills, cannot say for sure)

  • Left Click for movement + Savagery probably, bound in-game
  • Shadow Strike, Amarasta, Ring of Steel, Pneumatic Burst and Wind Devil also bound to left Click
  • space for movement skill or you can add the movement skill to the pool above and require one more button for it
  • for some reason it’s possible to i.e. have Shadow Strike be cast first and Ring of Steel next when you’re already near mobs, so no stupid cast of skills [this is fortunate unexpected behavior of the program]

Even when sometimes some behavior cannot be achieved in AHK, just reducing the number of buttons you need to press is already a huge improvement. However I think any logic can be done but it can sometimes require a lot of (group) thinking and brainstorming

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The most simple solution is to buy an MMO gaming mouse. My mouse has a 12-button ‘numpad’ on the side. This sometimes resulted in 12 to 24 keybinds to the sidebuttons alone in MMOs I used to play (which I actually would call piano builds :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:). I trigger all skills with only my thumb, except for auto-attack (LMB or RMB) and certain spammable attacks (scroll down to spam).

I can quite literally play GD with one hand tied behind my back with this;


Best 30 bucks I ever spent. :ok_hand:

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Playing the piano with just your thumb :wink: it must be very muscular
Personally, despite having a ~6-button mouse, I only use LMB while playing Grim Dawn.
Prefer the keyboard much more. What I dislike the most is precisely clicking the buttons under your thumb. To be honest, I haven’t tried it for long though. Seems weird to me to “dance with your thumb” and tire it when there’s a whole keyboard for your left hand.
However, I’m glad that it’s working for you. Everyone’s different in this regard.

@tqFan I can only do it with the layout on the image of my mouse that I posted. The weird 6-button layouts and other configurations, I can’t deal with. But a numpad is very predictable and took me less than a day to get used to. Mostly because it’s where your thumb would rest anyway and you don’t have to perform any unnatural movements. Because of that, I don’t get tired.

But as you said, everyone is different. Personally, I can’t get used to using a keyboard for more than a few keybinds. Simply because I end up staring at my keyboard instead of my screen (while blind typing is no problem for me).