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Grim Dawn has three difficulty levels: Normal, Elite and Ultimate.

As with Titan Quest and other games of the ARPG genre, the game must be completed in each difficulty before progressing to the next. In addition, there is the option on Normal to select Veteran mode, which provides additional challenge and difficulty for those who desire it.

Characters on Elite and Ultimate difficulty incur a resistance penalty.

Resistance Elite Ultimate
Fire -25% -50%
Cold -25% -50%
Lightning -25% -50%
Poison & Acid -25% -50%
Pierce -25% -50%
Bleeding -25%
Vitality -25%
Aether -25%
Chaos -25%

Difficulty Merits[edit | edit source]

Elite Merit.png
Ultimate Merit.png

The Forgotten Gods Expansion allows the player to start a new character the higher difficulties. Champion's and Savior's Merits can be purchased by a character after finishing Elite or Ultimate respectively, and used to unlock that difficulty for another character, allowing the player to tackle the extra challenge and rewards from the very beginning and avoid repeating the main campaign. Monsters will scale from level 1 on each difficulty but will have additional health, offensive ability etc, and the player will be subject to the relevant resistance penalties.

Merits will grant all Skill and Attribute point rewards from the previous difficulties, as if all respective quests had been completed. In addition, they will unlock all Inventory Bags and all Riftgates on those difficulties.

Forgotten Gods also features additional Devotion Shrines on all difficulties, so the maximum of 55 points can be gained on Ultimate difficulty without ever visiting Normal or Elite.

Hardcore mode[edit | edit source]

On creation of a new character the player has the option of selecting Hardcore mode. In this mode a character's death is permanent and is no longer playable.

On the character selection menu, hardcore characters are shown with a golden aura, while dead HC characters appear as a ghost in black and white with a grey aura.