Required Stats from Equipment during Levelling


I’ve been asked about which stats to prioritize during levelling Korvaak knows how much, so I guess that’s another guide that is long past due. Especially since not understanding the importance of some stats and overvaluing others is a major reason for frustrated posts asking for help with their builds.

The guide only deals with stat considerations during levelling, when it comes to level cap setups, not even mentioning full decked builds, things are a bit different.

Also, I’m not mentioning skill bonuses, skill modifiers and conversions here. If these are build defining then ofcourse they aren’t something you could trade off for anything but Mandatory Stats, and sometimes even Mandatory Stats can be compromised. But every case like that is essentially unique, so putting it in a guide is simply pointless.

Mandatory Stats

  1. Armor.

    The most common source of frustration for new players. A large chunk of damage you’re receiving is physical damage, and armor is a mechanic to mitigate it. Naturally, all the damage enemies inflict upon you scales with their level, which is adjusted to your character’s level, limited by a cap set for given location and difficulty. Simply speaking, the higher your level is the harder enemies will hit you. It isn’t a problem because armor value of gear you find also grows with your character’s level, but unlike the enemy scaling it’s not an automatic process. You have to proactively update your equipment with items that have higher armor value.

    The number one noob trap is to find a shiny piece of gear with skill bonuses, resistances, damage bonuses, etc, and get attached to it because it is just such a great fit for your build. Unfortunately, if it’s a gear piece with armor value then after 10-15 levels it will become outdated, even if other bonuses look alright still.

    The tricky part is it isn’t possible to update your gear pieces in any given moment, because the updates usually come in waves. There can be situations where your armor rating is already on the lower side for what the game expects out of you, but the next tier of gear didn’t start dropping yet. Crafting is a good solution to that, because you can get some gear that didn’t start dropping yet this way.

    Also, while it’s certainly a very important stat you need to be discreet. To begin with, gear slots aren’t equal – there is a 26% chance to get hit into chest but only 12% chance to get hit in boots, so it’s obvious which slot is going to be more important to keep up to date. It also means you can keep good boots for longer before you’ll have to update them. Light and especially caster armor should be updated to next tier in a timely manner, but you can afford to be more lax with heavy armor pieces.

    How much armor you should have at each given level? As much as you can reasonably get without compromising other stuff too much. If you’re just paying attention to your gear and replace the pieces you’ve been wearing for more than 10 levels you’ll likely to be fine more or less.

    Keep in mind that having high armor is absolutely pointless if you don’t have high armor absorption too. Armor Absorption is a stat that exists mostly on components and not on gear so it doesn’t belong this guide, you can check out that one instead for some cookie cutter recipes.

  2. Resistances.

    Same as Armor it’s an important set of stats to keep you alive. These days it’s fairly easy to have all resistances capped, but on another hand it’s mandatory. Very early levels aside the game is balanced around the idea of players capping their resistances.

    How much of resistances you should have on each given level isn’t even the right question, you should want to cap them as soon as reasonably possible and keep them that way onwards.

    Keep in mind that while you can most of the time guess what type of damage is killing you, sometimes it’s not so obvious. What looks like fire may come with hidden physical damage part, so you’d need armor to mitigate such spells too. What looks like aether often comes with fire or lightning as an extra. Chaos is commonly a package deal with fire or vitality damage. Guns, crossbow shots and some monsters with pointy body parts typically have pierce damage. And you can be sure that enemies that look poisonous will deal acid or poison damage to you too.

    So you can either have a very fun time figuring out what’s killing you, or you can simply cap your resistances and don’t worry. It isn’t even unusual to overcap your resistances by 15-30% because some enemies have resistance reduction skills too.

Important Stats

  1. Crowd Control resistances

    Similar to damage resistances they are capped at 80% and ideally you want them at the cap too. In practice though they are much, much more scarce, you’re unlikely to have them all capped even in full slotted builds. Due to their relative rarity on gear it’s best to pick up some from skills and devotions, but as that is often still not enough finding gear with CC resistances is always nice. I’d say if you have about 50% stun resistance during levelling you’re already doing fine, being precious and scarce doesn’t mean you have to go overboard with it forsaking everything else.

  2. Speed

    In short, any build that scales with attack speed should use gloves with attack speed, and any build that scales off casting speed should use gloves with casting speed. Rare exceptions aside you’re better using boots with movement speed.

Nice to Have-s

  1. % Damage

    You might wonder why such a crucial thing is so low on the list. This is because %damage is a stat that you’ll be actively collecting from class passives and devotions during levelling. Out of the minimum 2000% damage stacked necessary for endgame about 700-1000% should come from that, the rest is gear. So while gear that boosts %damage is the way to double or triple your damage output it’s not something you should consider if you’d compromise your armor or resistances otherwise. Consider it carefully.

  2. Offensive Ability

    Situative. There are two cases when you’d want to have high offensive ability during levelling. The first is if you’re levelling with a skill that has high in-built critical damage, like Shadow Strike, Trozan’s Sky Shard or Albrecht’s Aether Ray. The second is if there’s an on-crit devotion procs that plays an important part in your build (all physical and pierce builds, for example). For everything else there’s no particular advantage in above average offensive ability, you’d be fine with just 100% hit chance & 10% crit chance.

Least Concern

  1. Health.

    Common advice is you need about 100 health per character level. I more or less agree with that. But the most of your health needs to come from your attributes, mastery bar, skills, devotions, perhaps components and augments too. It’s super awkward to have to rely on actual gear drops for health.

  2. Defensive Ability.

    Defensive ability is an important stat, but it’s main source should be from your level, attributes, skills, devotions and components. It would be somewhat awkward to rely on gear for decent DA during levelling, especially since it comes in lower quantities than OA. Thankfully it isn’t necessary.


Hope it helps. Based on my vast experience levelling characters in Grim Dawn. There’s perhaps some personal bias since I have my own habits. You’re free to share your experience.

Another guide that might help you either troubleshooting or optimizing your characters during levelling:

Component Setups before Endgame


Nice and helpful guide! :+1:

I agree with % damage is not very important earlier levels, when numbers are really small. Skill ranks are doing the heavy lifting, with some help eventually from devotions/passive boost.