If you’ve been playing Dauntless over the past week as much as I have, or you’re thinking about jumping into this free-to-play cooperative hunting experience, you might notice the perks that modify the abilities and stats of your character, and they’re well worth paying attention to. In the latter stages of the game, modifying and improving perks is key to bettering your loadout.
But how do these perks work? How can you tinker with your loadout to make your hunts much easier? Will my parents ever be proud of my career choices? Well, we can answer at least some of these questions with this here article, so let’s break down how you can make the most of your perks in Dauntless.
How Do Perks Work?
We’re not going to sit here and insult your intelligence with an overly long “what is a perk?” explanation, but we will explain how they work. There’s two main ways that you can equip perks: your armour & weapons, along with equippable cells. Each piece of armour and your weapon comes pre-loaded with its own perk, along with the space for more that can be filled with cells.
Cells are what you might expect from an RPG, as they augment your weapons and armour to provide new perks. These perks can range from improving the amount of damage you deal out when a Behemoth is enraged, or increasing the likelihood that you’ll half the amount of damage you take from an attack, making them incredibly useful.
We won’t go fully into how many cells there are and what they do. That’s what a wiki is for, but let’s cover the basics. Each cell fits into one of five different categories: Defense, Mobility, Power, Technique and Utility. While the first two are fairly self explanatory, the other three aren’t so simple.
As you might expect, Power is about dealing more damage, but the majority of the perks concern dealing Stagger damage, making them perfect for any hammer builds. Meanwhile, Technique cells mostly improve Wound damage, making the two categories feel like the differences between a strength and dexterity build. Lastly, Utility perks improve your Lantern abilities, along with improving your healing capabilities.
We need to also mention how rarity factors into perks and cells. Each cell, and thus perks, comes in a Common, Rare and Epic flavour. Common perks give you a +1 bonus, Rare offers a +2 and Epic grants a +3 bonus. Basically, the rarer the perk, the better the bonus you get.
How Do I Improve Perks?
So now that you’ve got your perks, you’ll want to know how to improve them, and there’s a few ways of going about it. On the armour and weapons front, upgrading your equipment will naturally improve their attached perks to boot. Upgrading your equipment to +6 will make the perk Rare, and +10 will make it an Epic.
Just be aware that, aside from having to own the materials needed to upgrade your Behemoth killing tools, you also need to be a high enough Slayer Level to do it. We’ll explain how to go about that in a separate Mastery Guide, but suffice to say, you need to hunt everything and craft everything.
As for Cells, you can earn some as loot during hunts. You can also open Cores, which come in Bronze, Silver and Gold varieties. These Cores, which you can earn for completing quests or through progression in the Hunt Pass, will contain new Cells of varying rarities, with Silver and Gold Cores guaranteeing at least 1 rare and epic Cell respectively.
On top of that, there’s an ominous figure located in Ramsgate by the name of The Middleman, who can take your already acquired Cells and fuse them together, creating rarer and subsequently better Cells as a result. We’ve covered more about how he works in our beginner’s guide right here.
So you’ve learned how to earn perks, how to upgrade perks and how rarity improves your perks. Now you need to learn how best to equip these perks as part of your loadout. Yes, there’s a bit more to it than simply sticking cells on your randomly assigned weapons and armor and just hoping for the best when going out on a hunt.
Your equipped perks can stack up until a bonus of +6, with some perks offering additional bonuses if they’re stacked high enough, but your bonuses will not exceed +6. If you’ve got two epics and a common equipped of the same perk, your common perk is essentially being wasted, and you should swap it out when you get the chance.
With additional bonuses on some perks, it’s worth stacking these perks to reach the +6 level. Take the Nine Lives perk. At +6, you have a 20% to halve incoming damage, but you can also instantly revive if you lose all your health once per hunt; an incredibly useful perk to have, but the revive is only available during those later levels. Basically, it pays to focus on building your perks instead of spreading yourself totally thin. Having a few +6’s in your arsenal can really turn the tide during a hunt.