Crate's Grim Dawn Related RTS Project

What’s your opinion on game speed Medierra? I loved SC2 as well, but felt the game speed was too fast for all the multitasking constantly required. Which made the game more about reflexes and multitasking speed than strategy. Though I do also agree with you - on the point about spending too much to build up before anything happens.

I find many RTS too slow, but SC2 way too fast. Will game speed maybe be an option? What are your thoughts on gamespeed?

Nice…seems like your design preferences translate well to what I love from SC2. My total career games just shy 800 but we are in same league and I’m also playing on NA. We might had bumped into each past years!

Since this will set in pre-GD Cairn, how many and what kind of playable races/faction will there be? Is it all humanoid? Will it be assymetrical matchup like SC2 or more similar races like WC3/AOE?

Are there any chances of seeing some dev streams for FF in the coming weeks/months medierra? :smile:

Interesting to hear that you worked on Empire Earth as well. One of my friends who’s big into old strategy games (Age of Empire 2, Starcraft 1/2. Kohan 1/2, Heroes of Might and Magic 3 for a few) got me into it recently and I’ve been finding it refreshing.

I think the issue is not with the speed itself so much as how fast certain units can die due to hit points relative to damage. When I decided to check out WC3 redisastered the first thing I notice, other than the clunky pathing, is it takes 10 years to kill anything. I definitely prefer SC2 now - although I think I may aim for somewhere in between.

I don’t think SC2 is all about reflexes and speed. I’m honestly a rather slow player for a hardcore RTS fan and I still find strategy is massively important and often allows me to overcome much faster players. In my mind, strategy is your build, army composition and plan of when and where to attack - most of the macro aspect of the game. Could probably lump econ in there too.

A massive part of becoming better at SC2 is experience and learning how to react to different situations. If you stay calm and react properly, you can often prevail, even if the other player is using some cheese strat and double your APMs. A good example of this is games I’ve played where someone is being hyper aggressive with marine drops or mutas (not that those necessarily classify as cheese strats), just picking me apart and, sometimes, there is just no way to be everywhere and stop every attack, so you’re constantly taking damage, getting eaten away. Knowing that’s going to happen though, you tech up and focus on building an army comp that they can’t fight. I play protoss a lot and if someone is going nuts with mutas, I’ll work toward blink stalkers, eventually adding in archons. Then you move out with that and it’s an army mutas can’t engage into.

Another example would be, someone builds a proxy stargate and shield batteries below a cliff outside your base, then starts attacking you with voids. That’s a strategy and godly void micro doesn’t really make it much deadlier. If you don’t scout or react properly, you may lose your base right off. But you learn things like, if you’re also protoss, you can defend with talkers and shield batteries, then just stay close to the batteries and fend them off until you have enough stalkers where you can burst down the voids, not allowing them to get back and recharge shields. On both sides, its much more strategy and game-knowledge than speed.

Or sometimes you do an end-run around their army with lings, a warp prism, etc, and they have zero defenses because they’re so focused on offense. A lot of these very aggressive fast players are 1-dimensional. Often they are operating on a bare-bones economy too.

Just played one the other night with Rhis where someone was picking us apart with fantastic phoenix micro and their ally was sending roaches at us. I switched things up and started just pumping out craploads of lings, because phoenix are kind of useless vs. tons of small units, given limited graviton beam energy and ran around all the roaches to the base and crippled their economy and I would not say I controlled my lings particularly well but they go the job done. Was enough turn a bad situation to our advantages and we eventually prevailed as we were then able to tech up / working on better economies. Reflexes and micro barely mattered.

If you get to the enemy’s base and, behind the hyper aggressive attacks, they have also have expanded, teched up and halt you with a solid defense, then they’re high-master / GM and you’re out of your league lol… no helping that.

The other element of the game though is tactical control, which is where the micro ability comes in more. When you’re controlling more fragile units like marines, lings, mutas, etc, you really need to be paying attention to them when you’re out on the map and be able to react quickly to sources of AoE that could wipe you out. Or really, in a big blunder, you can lose your entire army, pathing into lurkers or tanks. In this regard, WC3 and AoK are definitely much more forgiving, not so much due to speed but because units are way more durable. With WC3 hitpoints, you might have 3-5 tank volleys to react vs. 1-2 and that does maybe allow for more tactical reaction and maneuvering… but I wouldn’t say it trumps strategy / macro.


So what game engine are you planning to use for the RTS? I assume the Unreal one mentioned on FB a while back will be for the horror survival?

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Nice…seems like your design preferences translate well to what I love from SC2. My total career games just shy 800 but we are in same league and I’m also playing on NA. We might had bumped into each past years!

Hah quite possible. Although I have not played much 1v1. Probably only like 200-300 games are 1v1 and most of those were vs. Rhis when I was learning the game.

After diamond, I found trying to advance was so grindy I just lost interest. That and, these days, you get into even low diamond and suddenly you’re getting matched against masters and occasionally GM players. Or worse, you’re getting smurfed by master/GM players who are “gold-level” and trash your MMR. It’s pretty obnoxious when you advance 50 MMR in 3 wins, then lose it all to one game vs. a smurf. I don’t mind that as much in 2v2 since then, I’m playing more for fun.

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Hmm good point about durability. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. Always interesting to see a game developer`s view on other games in terms of mechanics and balance as to how they might have done things different.

Personally not a fan of “miss something for 2 seconds and it can cost you the game”. But falling asleep while units battles it out is also a bad extreme in my book. The reason I like GD (I play HC only) over other ARPG’s, is because I feel your game is more focused on preparation and character building, while still requiring skill through knowing your enemies, having to position correctly, desicion making (fight or flight, skill priority/rotation etc.), but most importantly - that one mistake most often won’t ruin you. You have to make several misplays in a row to die. While in, say PoE, you can play the tankiest build, make no mistakes, and just get deleted by something random and arbitrarily.

I feel like game balance on a fundamental level (like base stats, damage, resistances, monster types and abilities) is very well done. As if lots of work went into it. Diablo 3 was a case of - the game is always too easy or too hard. It felt like monster balance wasn’t even tested. Me and my friends got bored to death it was so easy, showing a huge flaw in basic work towards monster Vs player balance.

I think that, no idea if you agree or disagree, when you make a game you need to look at a scenario from the monsters’ perspective. In that “If I controlled the monsters against the player here, would I have a chance to kill the player?”. Anyway… just thinking loud/ranting at this point so I’ll stop.

Oh I think Medierra would agree with you. From an old Archon the Wizard GD stream back in 2013 which Medierra took part in, he had this to say about some monsters in TQ.

“Basically at night, after I had done my work for the day and needed to relax, escape, I would put more stuff into the game. So one of the things I would do is basically devise especially heinous heroes and champion monsters. So I think two of the most dreaded enemies in the game in Titan Quest Immortal Throne were Toxeus and the Dactyls in Immortal Throne which were things I thought up in after hours, you know because sometimes you have to punish people.”


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I just wanted to chime in and say how much I love the fact that you guys (Crate) decided to put the RTS in Cairn as a setting. I am completely amazed by the lore, visuals and atmosphere of Grim Dawn, and I think Cairn has a lot of potential as a setting, for different game genres, RTS being one of those.

Naturally, what I ultimately hope for is Grim Dawn 2, but I am very enthustiastic about any game you make, especially if it’s in Cairn.


Medierra dropping more info.

“It’s funny because there’s a number of deities in the constellations that exist purely to provide constellations to put points into - but some of them we’re now taking to expanding on for lore / backstory in the RTS.”

First off, I think a GD related RTs will be amazing.

Second, why won’t there be Aetherial Shenanigans?

Yes, this takes place pre Grim Dawn, but we know from lore blurbs and flavor text from items that Aetherials did manifest on Cairn prior to the GD. There would be no Aetherial corruptions, abominations or the like as those seem to be the result of trial and error leading up to the Grim Dawn, but Aetherials still existed.

We could also presume that at least some Arcanists in the past had been possessed by Aetherials. This aspect of the Aetherials always reminds me of possession and Psykers in 40k.

One such example would be Samuel Drake, the only Arcanist King of Cairn. The Nether Crown with the flavor text gives Aether related bonuses and mentions that the king was later stripped of title and executed for Heresy, I believe. It would not be too far fetched to presume that dabbling with the Aether and Aetherial possession occurred pre Grim Dawn.

I find it strange that Aetherials will not be involved/present at all, even pre Grim Dawn.

Unless I misinterpreted and the Aetherial Exclusion only applies to playable factions/civs/races/species.

Though as I type this I ponder the thought that maybe the reason for the Aetherial sneakiness leading up to the Grim Dawn is because they had tried to possess those in power or the like but failed in their goals.

Third, I demand an Uroboruuk hero unit/cameo, jk.

I feel that going with the SC2 approach is not a bad thing. As much as I love AoE2, it was and still is pretty janky, like the AI walling themselves in if their gates were destroyed.

One of the things I liked about SC2 was the breadth of playstyles/variety of units the factions could mix and match.

Would that be present in this Grim Dawn RTS?

I apologize if any of this seems ranty, incoherent or both. Just after waking up is perhaps not the best time to post in forums.

Anyways I eagerly await news on this concept as I feel that the Grim Dawn setting has great potential for lore usage.

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One of the great RTSes as far as I am concerned; would pick this over AOEII any day.

The campaigns are somewhat unbalanced though. There are some funny videos on youtube where people struggle with the Alexander campaign.

Wasn’t much of a Rise of Nations fan. It’s a good game and I played it a bit but just not really my preferred style of RTS.

I find it difficult to describe why certain RTSes work for me while others don’t. Couldn’t get into anything outside of AOEII, AOEIII, Rise of Nations and, to a certain extent, Empire Earth I. There was one gorgeous game called SunAge that I really wanted to enjoy, but didn’t.

Anyone played Majesty? :wink: Google says it’s an RTS though you couldn’t control units much. I remember I had it on CD and played it a lot as a kid. Some vague memories of building military buildings all over the map and rat enemies from sewers haha.

I think that’s just human nature; if the same thing appealed to all of us we’d just be playing one or two games and that would be it.

After I played Two Worlds and got interested in the ARPG genre I tried several different ones: Morrowind, Oblivion, Sacred Gold, Divine Divinity, Fable and a few others. Nothing really clicked with me, Sacred Gold I played most, but even then I only finished it a couple of times. Then I tried Titan Quest. I wasn’t that good at it, but something about it made me want to keep trying. I went looking for help and found the old Titan Quest forum and the helpful people there and that was it. Never looked back. Then there was a post about GD on the TQ forum so bought into that as well and here we are. In all the years since I haven’t seen an ARPG that I want to try. I’ve seen people playing other games like Torchlight, PoE, etc, and I have the occasional look at what’s on Steam, but nothing’s called out to me enough to give them a try.


My ARPG experience has been somewhat similar, except that I started with Torchlight and then moved on to Torchlight II, TQ and Grim Dawn. Have tried a few other ARPGs (including D3) but none of them have felt right.


I loved Diablo II, played it around year 2000 a lot, then took a hiatus from gaming for several years. Somewhere around 2008 or 2009, due to various reasons, I started gaming again, and wanted to play an ARPG, and I took on Dungeon Siege 2. After finishing that, I actively looked around the web for similar games and came across Titan Quest. I played that, and I read somewhere that some of its creators are working on a new ARPG. I saw a short gameplay video, I think it featured an Occultist and the Demolitionist in Burrwitch. Once I saw the Sigil on the ground, I was hooked. I started following Grim Dawn’s development closely, and bought it before release, but haven’t actually started playing it before fall of 2016.

It’s not easy to say what exactly is so good in Grim Dawn, in contrast to other similar games. Some of the things I like are: serious and dark atmosphere (unlike Torchlight), normal pacing of the gameplay, and not a chaotic swirl of colors on the screen (like in D3 and POE), abilities and movements somewhat grounded in reality (unlike the oversized weapons and dramatic animations in Asian ARPGS, like Lost Ark), the visual style (unlike the cartoony Torclight and D3).

Those are the things that attracted me from the start, but over time I really liked other aspects: I think Grim Dawn has just the right amount of complexity, and the best itemization I’ve ever seen.

I really hope that the eventual sequel, if it happens, will preserve those aspects of Grim Dawn and enhance them.


Bit of a nerco, but did you play any ARPG’s before you started working at Iron Lore on TQ @medierra? Or was it a completely new genre for you from the RTS games you were used to?

As so often many of medierra’s old posts were removed / not carried over, when we switched to Discourse, but here you go:

I believe he played D2 before working on TQ.