Is this game more or less balanced when it comes to skills and builds?

if you check the grimsheet you can glance part of the different balancing current build potential has - ofc taking into consideration not everything has been tried equally since there are so many builds for the builders to go through after each patch
some builds do “everything”, some builds do “everything” well, some builds are better at one thing than the other ex Crucible or SR, some builds get tweaked to perform better one place than the other, and some builds get designed to do 1 thing spectacularly well

suppose you could say the "everything in 1"builds are more “unbalanced” than the “weaker” builds that don’t manage exactly the same feats without ex some tweaks to a certain area for a different encounter - but that depends on which yard stick you base your criteria on like tqFan mentioned

but imo, as a casual player, whether or not a build clears crucible in 4mins5secs, 5min30, or 7min45+ i don’t care about, let the Cruci zerkers handle that,
likewise i don’t care if a build can do SR 80, 120 or 150 - because i never go higher than 76(no point imo) - so let the deep sr tank buffs make those records
and similarly i don’t care if the 5th and 7th iteration of a warlock or spellbinder can kill Celestials, when “any” build can be tweaked for such specific encounters

i do find it somewhat impressive when a builder manages an “All-in-1” build that handles all 3 areas “decently” despite not setting any records,
but whether or not the "AiO"build does both super fast cruci and +100 SR and Mog, Calla, Crate/celestials under 5mins is not really a yard stick i myself judge them by, but some builders would call it “trash” if a build doesn’t perform in XYZ fashion/time (they are little nutscompetitive some of them :wink:)

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Which is why I linked it :wink: The goal being to highlight for you that there are a lot of possibilities with GD.

Generally, if they are submitted and accepted in that guide… they tend to be considered viable, or try to be, at some assortment of “endgame” specific type of activities. Usually such is listed in their titles.

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Over the years Crate has gone to great lengths to refine the balancing of Grim Dawn, so that all the mastery skills have a purpose. Some are more niche whereas others are a must have. And you still have to find out when to choose which - some of the early skills may only shine later in the game :wink:

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Interesting. Yes, I’m aware every build has it’s specifics-and in that regard they can be deemed more or less ‘‘unbalanced’’ to eachother but like you said I would not use such word and say they just excel in different criteria. However let me explain myself even further-I don’t like BROKEN builds-you know those that accomplish better task simply because they’re not properly implemented. Let’s say you have 10 builds which do 100 dmg each with 5-10 points difference max. Then you have one build which does 500 dmg. No matter how well your first 10 builds are they’ll never be as powerful as 500 dmg one. That’s what I’m saying. Same applies to skills-if one has 500 dmg with 5 extra effects you’re never going to use 10 others in you’re skilltree (assuming they all do 100 dmg max with one extra effect). This is just example.

Oh that certainly fancies my imagination…:smiley: Personally looking forward of trying my 1st build and getting my ass kicked in first 5 secs.

Broken stuff doesn’t exist “long”, because Zantai exists :wink:

Really great to hear. Personally I like options.

Haha, I know about our master Zantai. Props to him for being this kind. And you answered my question nicely with this. Thank you.

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I wonder what’s your background. What games have you been playing and if they are balanced.
I.e. do you have bad experiences with some game being very unbalanced. Or maybe some more competitive arpgs.

Maybe we can then relate Grim Dawn balance to this other game’s balance.

Oh, and when you say ‘‘must have’’ do you mean- you’d be crazy to miss this skill but you can go without it if you wish OR without this skill you shouldn’t even bother?

Well I played D2 and D3 extensively. Hated the latter because of poor itemization (left as soon my set wasn’t ‘‘high end’’ tier despite being built very nicely+main stat being more important than gear) Started D2 on Hell difficulty but never finished it for some other reasons. There were also other ARPGs, RPGs but can’t think of them all in moment. Idk as I’m getting older unbalanced gameplay throws me off so much. I played Witcher 3 and had to quit to find some mods because skills there are beyond broken. So that’s that.

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You? I see you have d4 sorceress as prof pic…:wink:

(Brief tangent on the PoE comment)

The idea that PoE only has a couple viable builds both is and isn’t true. To understand why people say that, you have to understand where they’re coming from. If you look at the spectrum of “class” (Ascendancy is the term) selections in the final days of the current league, you’ll see that two of the game’s nineteen possible “classes” (Ascendancies) make up 50% of all characters within this league:

This is indicative of strikingly poor overall balance (…and, maybe, a bit indicative of the game’s problem with botting, but there are no good measures of that available to players). In PoE, speed is king. The game is economy-centric, and builds that can contribute the most to that economy in the least span of time are inherently more favorable than others, and likewise will be more narrow in the scope of their design. However, if you are not interested in the game’s economy, things change considerably. Here’s the same “class” breakdown for the non-trading portion of the same league:

Slightly better balance, and indeed, all 19 of these “classes” can handle all content in the game (some easier than others) with perfect viability. If “can I kill X boss” is the only question you’re asking, PoE is alright when it comes to balance. If “can I kill X boss quickly” is the question, it’s a different story.

Rolling this back to Grim Dawn, there is no economy. There isn’t any more competition beyond that which the community has made for itself (Crucible/SR Speedrunning, the occasional community-driven PvP event or League, etc.). The only real question to be asked when it comes to builds in Grim Dawn is whether they can “clear X content” - where X may or may not have a speedrunning component to it. In lieu of this, hundreds - perhaps even thousands by now - of builds have been proven to be very viable.


I played D3 a lot (on PS3, PS4 and PC) but not competitively / in multiplayer so balance / GR didn’t bother me (although it’s sucks when you play with a friend in local coop and suddenly you deal 10 times more damage than him/her because of stupid mechanics).

I also don’t remember games with broken skills making them too easy
(which I assume was the case for you with Witcher 3).

The way I enjoy games (more process oriented) doesn’t require them to be very well balanced I think.
I dislike the word “viable” when it limits the perspective on what builds can be made in an arpg.

There are plenty of viable skills and builds in both leveling phase and endgame. 100% balance between them is impossible to reach but I feel with game progressed, diversity increased dramatically. I still hope for some more changes inb4 final patch.

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@dragonlike To answer all your question; first you should need to know these concepts;

  • Shattered Realm : An area that scales endlessly. You kill 3 map of monsters then go to a boss room of that level, then next-repeat. There is a timer but if you consume it or die a lot; penalty is just less loot. Monsters and bosses in each level are mostly random but their strength is not. You decide to go on or get reward after every boss room. There are ideal farming levels and there are higher levels which is done only for glory, no loot.

  • Crucible : An area that you challenge with waves of monsters repeatedly. There are certain monsters in every waves. You decide to go on or get reward in every 10 waves. There is a max level which is 170. People do 130-150 for farming or 150-170 for build testing/glory. It also provides you certain buffs for a time so veteran players use rules like 3 buffs and 1 banner and depend on timing rather than if build finish it or not.
    Edit/PS: Crucible times/records are more dependent on player skills than other contents. When you see a good build with good crucible time, the credit might belong to the pilot more than the build. And that kind of piloting can be gained with practice and experience.

  • Main Campaign : It’s basically the acts and quests but after finishing ultimate main campaign, there are challenging farming areas. Totems helps beginners to get items/blueprints but there are also rogue-like dungeons and other secret quests. There are Nemesis creatures you can encounter after you reach certain degree with enemy factions.
    Edit/PS: So called ‘‘End-game content’’ actually starts within the ultimate main campaign since there are optional areas and bosses that you don’t have to do to be able to finish the questline/act-line.

  • We, veterans mostly do not care for normal/veteran and elite difficulty, we try to pass through them just for fast level-up and to reach ultimate because the only level that matter is ultimate. Finishing things in normal level doesn’t mean anything. Though for a beginner it’s all steps, so when you started you should take time and do all content slowly to learn the game. Learn the game, have fun with the campaing before considering end-game

  • So for most of us; ‘‘Useless builds’’(as you put it) are only the ones that can’t even finish ultimate main campaign, can’t deal ultimate rogue-like dungeouns nor any nemesis. And that’s caused by mostly wrong building. When you learn game mechanics well, any build can finish those. Ofc good builds can do blindfolded :slight_smile: So skill or class choice doesn’t matter much if you have the knowledge to build around them.

But to be more specific; I believe we can categorize builds in three section;

  • Low-tier builds. Those are mostly self-founded/unsynergized weird builds that can finish main campaign, and do rogue-likes with careful playing. They also can do SR and Crucible up to a level but not efficiently. Some beginner build are in this category but they consist only vendor gears.(There are also much better beginner builds) For example my first successful build was something like this. It could finish all content in campaign and do SR 50 or so, was a weird one I admit, then I re-specd it after I learned about the game more :slight_smile:

  • Mid-tier builds are one step further in end-game. For me it’s basically, being able to do farming range SR. Which is 65-66 or 75-76. Though there is a big power difference with 66 and 76 levels, 65-66 farming is more efficient because it’s faster and provides enough loot. So mid-tier builds can do 65-66 without having too much trouble. They also can do crucible with buffs and banner if you don’t care about timing but won’t be consistent enough. Main Campaign contents are not problematic for this kind of build. Some of these builds can also kill celestial bosses.(not all but don’t wanna spoil that part for you so won’t give you names that matters in build proving)

  • Top-tier builds; These builds can do Crucible with certain speed and atleast SR 75-76 with some consistency. Some do much higher SR levels, some do much faster in Crucible. Some veteran players care Crucible more than SR since it’s monsters are specific and there is not much randomness except the mutator debuffs in every wave. These builds also can do serious celestial bosses(but there are certain archetypes for those monsters depending on their damage type)

  • So there are also builds that can do SR 100+ and sub 4 min Crucible at the same time. They are kinda extra top-tier. They usually get nerfed by Z after a few patches. I guess they let us have fun with those for a while :stuck_out_tongue:

  • And ofc some playstyles are luckier than others in end-game. So as @Nery said, there is no such a thing %100 balanced game. Grim Dawn is not a game that you pick a build randomly and do everything as same as other builds. There are differences between builds, damage types, playstyles etc. But there is also huge diversity. When I created a character and level it to be 100; if my theorycrafted build was sucks I can easily change it to be something else. Most class combo have atleast 4-5 viable builds supported by sets and atleast 1 really good build option.

  • So; now you have some information about game difficulties; Build Compendium as @powbam linked before and check the builds from class by class, decide for yourself. And believe me, compendium has several builds for each class, but there are much more out there, unposted in forum or not sended for compendium.

Last PS: Having fun is much more important than completing the campaign or exploring the end-game content. So just give the game a shot, improvise at start, have fun and try to discover it’s unique features.


This is my 2 cents. Grim Dawn is the most balanced and diverse ARPG in the history of ARPGs.

Aslo as many has pointed out, what does endgame actually mean? And it also comes down to how skiller player and theorycrafter you are, Grim Dawn does not play it self.

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Well, some veterans may see it that way. Others of us prefer not to rush through to what people call endgame because for us it’s playing through the game to end of Ultimate and that’s it; the “endgame” stuff doesn’t interest us.

Welcome to the forum dragonlike. A compendium is simply a collection of something; here it’s made up of mostly endgame builds, though there are some beginner builds in there as well. And then there are all these as well

some are beginner collections, others endgame, etc. It’s not that they’re not as good as the ones in the compendium, simply that the creators didn’t decide to provide the info that Stupid_Dragon requires for inclusion in the compendium.

You might want to peruse the Game Guide to give you more of an idea of how the game works.



Believe me, I spent time much more in main campaign than SR or Crucible. And I don’t use the speed leveling that you reach 100 within 10 hours. I take my time, I usually have revered all factions and nemesis status all enemy faction when I finished elite. I do level as not the efficient way but the way my character gonna be. Like if I’m gonna make a melee demolitionist, I don’t level with Blackwater Coctail as most people do, I level as melee just from the start. I do start with veteran because I like it better but normal is faster. I do finish all content in atleast veteran or elite before jump into Ultimate so I usually just skip one difficulty. But while mentioning veterans as ‘‘We’’ not ‘‘I’’; I clearly meant to be generalize things for a new member who asks about end-game balance in the game so I can explain him that end-game starts within the ultimate main campaign not after that.