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Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem

You are one of the three survivors of the slaughter of Castagath. Rescued by Grand Inquisitor Heimlock, you were drafted into the Republic’s Army of the Purifiers at a very young age to be trained in the military academy and become perfect soldiers against the supernatural. You also had the chance to benefit from Heimlock’s occasional advice and training, which led you and your childhood friends, Valeria and Edric, to be called the “Children of Heimlock”. Recently, the Brotherhood of Dawn has infiltrated the Crimson Keep, a mysterious republican fortress lost among the northern deserts known as the Red wastes. While the purpose of the attack was unclear, the republican Senate voted a retaliation act against all known locations of the Brotherhood. Led by Grand Inquisitor Heimlock himself, troops are soon deployed on the Coast of wrecks, near the city state of Stormfall, to terminate a camp of Brothers. You are, with your two childhood friends, part of operation Dawnbane, under the supervision of Justicar Maëlys.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

Solid ARPG Experience
History
This game has come a long way since its Early Access days. As reflected in the Steam user review ratings, it has been a rocky road for Wolcen Studio and their flagship title. I've played it off and on since very early in its development. I've seen it go through some major changes and overhauls. The game we have today resembles the original very little. At one point you could even build your own house to display your trophies. It seemed that Wolcen didn't know which direction to go.
They wanted a dark and grim fantasy world ARPG. Hardcore gamers themselves, they wanted to make what they thought Diablo 3 should have been, a lofty and admirable goal. It took them some time to figure out what the fans wanted, but they did, and now it finally shows. This is one of those titles that would have been better off waiting for full release rather than making it available in early access, since current ratings reflect earlier stages of the game. It's a win for players, but the devs take it by way of long-standing negative reviews that remain long after they become irrelevant.
What we ended up with here seems like a compromise between the dev's vision and what the fans wanted. The game is much more like D3 than the devs would probably like to admit, right down to the voice actors and their lines. Carla Tassara ,who apparently does all the female lines in every video game now, is still "unstoppable!"
Current
A little history out of the way, the game is currently a solid ARPG experience that fans of the genre are sure to love. If you were disappointed by the early state of the game, now is a great time to dive in and start working a build. A big endgame update is on the way this month, offering 4 new game modes, and I'm excited for that.
What makes Wolcen different from D3, Grim Dawn and PoE? The classless build system. You choose a starting weapon and from there you can adapt your build however you like. Stats are determined by items, equipment and gear. You get your 10 attribute points per level, and passive skill points, to allocate however you like. Certain gear set-ups allow you to hybridize and optimize across different skill sets. You can use both magic and melee if you want. And you can switch it up at any time. This allows for an unprecedented level of freedom in your build. So far I've made a Void Witch, a Toxic Assassin, a Blood Baron, a Holy Crusader, a Pyromancer, and more, some of them from the same character.
Skills and abilities have real impact, they feel nice and weighty, very satisfying to play. Certainly there is a difficulty curve between mobs and bosses. Clearing mobs is no indicator of your ability to take on a big boss. While I haven't had to grind over already tread paths, the option is there if you need it. If you falter at the bosses, it is 100% your build, which is easily remedied by grinding and/or trying something different. The latter is not easily achievable, if at all, in other games in this genre. In Wolcen, you can switch up gear and tweak stats a bit, and voila! a whole new class to try without starting a new character.
The game looks amazing, built on CryEngine, it is more detailed than any top-down isometric I've ever played. It is truly stunning to explore the different environments. The gameworld is a work of art, and the 3D models for everything from gear to actors are no less aesthetic. This is a labor of love and it truly shows.
If you tried it before and walked away with a bad taste, try it again, you will be pleasantly surprised. Wolcen is a must-play for any ARPG fan.
*My ReShade preset Wolcen Grit RTX

Review from Steam

I wasn't there at launch of this game so I have no animosity towards this title unlike others. My thoughts are from a single player offline experience.
Pros
-Incredible Graphics with highly detailed Items and landscapes.
-Awesome combat system
-A compelling story with epic villains.
-The boss battles
-Large variety of Landscapes and villains
-Runs quite well. Can't think of single problem I've had.
-The overall aesthetic is just awesome, a blend of Warhammer 40k and Dark Fantasy.
-Great character progression.
-Extensive campaign.
Cons.
-Not a fan of having separate characters for offline and online play.
-Extensive campaign. (It's going to suck trying to make multiple characters in a reasonable time.)

9/10 Must buy for ARPG fans.

Review from Steam

I avoided this game up until a few weeks ago (when it went on one of its sales) because of the mixed reviews. I was craving an arpg, but felt like I played most of those that I wanted. I noticed the the reviews were still mixed but going up since the release and looked into it more as the devs seemed to be still active and trying to turn the game around. I decided to take the leap, and honestly, I'm glad I did. Although this is definitely not the best arpg I've played, I had a good time playing through the story and currently doing a little end game content. That being said there are definitely some criticisms, but it does appear that the devs are keen on fixing most of the issues I have in future patches. Even with only having a fun time going through the story, I played around 30-40 hours, which alone was good enough to justify the 20 something dollars I paid, although maybe not full price. Here are the list of positives and negatives for me:
Positives:
-Best graphics in an arpg so far
-Combat is satisfying and and fun
-Story I thought was pretty good and kept me interested (people are mad about the ending, but I don't mind the cliff-hanger knowing they plan on adding it later especially when I got a lot out of what was already there)
-I like the passive talent trees
-I also like that you can customize each skill to fit different builds
Negative:
-I wish there were more skills available. I was a little disappointed with the limited selection despite how customizable they are. A part of me was also disappointed that you can basically get all the active skills you will use for the rest of the game really early, as you can just buy them.
-Uninteresting gear. I've had a few legendary and unique pieces of armor and weapons so far, but none of them were really that interesting, just better stats than the other gear, with sometimes a small twist on something with the unique armor. I would really like to see this area fleshed out more in future patches.
-Although I'm enjoying the end game so far, I can definitely see it getting stale in the near future (particularly with no really interesting gear to "switch things up").
Neutral:
-I know another gripe of people were glitches in the game. I know this will vary between systems, but I had only 3 glitches that I noticed, one of which was a crash. The other two were minor. It seems like they did a great job cleaning them up, at least from my experience.
-Kind of mixed on having the skills completely determined by the weapon. I wanted to make a pally type character only to realize I couldn't use some of the skills I wanted to do (although I did google and find out there is one shield that allows spells with a shield, but it still kind of bugged me). I also had a rogue character that I feel would be perfect with 1 or 2 of the spells, but can't unless I don't duel wield daggers (have to do one dagger with a catalyst in the other hand), which makes it feel like it isn't the rogue anymore.
-No Act 4. Currently, the story leaves you on a cliff-hanger as I mentioned. I don't find it necessarily a bad thing as I it makes me want to stick around to see what happens. That being said I understand people's point that it is a full game and it should have already been in it.
Overall, it was definitely worth the price I paid ($24 I think) (on the fence at full price). It has its issues, but the devs seem active and I hope they truly make this into an even better game.

Review from Steam

cool game. visually amazing, worth it if you like games like diablo or path of exile.
Just beware that you have to play this game in offline mode otherwise its pretty much unplayable due to only 25% of your attacks actually hitting and lag walking all over the place, this will probably never be fixed either.
Your progress is also wiped when you switch to offline mode.
So if your reading this it might be best to put it in offline mode right away when you start.

Review from Steam

This is one of those moments where I hate binary voting systems, because this game deserves something much more accurate than a simple yes or no.
Where to begin... This game has a setting and a feel that I've not really found in many games. Even given the commonality to other CRPG experiences, this one has a style that feels, for lack of a better word, "chunky." The hits feel big and heavy, the action is bloody and explosive, and some of the abilities really do have a huge payoff.
The resource system works on a give-and-take between "rage" and "willpower" When you spend willpower, that amount of rage slowly fills on the other side of the bar. When you spend rage, the same happens for willpower. Here, though, there is an inherent flaw that does make the vast skill tree far more limiting than it needs to be.
See, physical abilities spend rage and spells spend willpower, but the only resource that is naturally generated is Willpower. This forces you to rely on auto attacks or to use willpower abilities to generate rage if you want to be able to use your rage spenders. This leans heavily in favor of playing a mage/physical hybrid or a pure mage as you almost always have willpower at the start of a fight... unless you take ONE skill in ONE specific tree that flips your natural generation into rage. This almost feels like a requirement if you want to be able to play a pure physical ability character and really limits your builds and... that sort of thing is unfortunately present throughout the skill system. A lot of decent ideas not fully realized that seems to lend toward I'd say one of three builds.
THE HAMMER - in which you take the hammer slam ability and pump into making it as strong as you can, requiring that your natural generation be rage so you can just walk up and one-shot a small group for massive damage and walk off, letting your rage regen to the next fight.
THE GUN - In which you take the sniper skill and do the same thing, but at range. This also requires the rage generation talent, railing you into taking that and little else.
THE MAGE - There's a TON of spells that can really ruin a group, but few that can eat a single target for 1 mil crits like the other two builds can.
Afflictions - this game's DoT abilities - leave much to be desired as they do not seem to be able to compare to the game-breaking nukes that are the pure damage shots from the hammer and the gun. While they can be effective, they take much more time to execute. Of course, I may just not grasp this part of the game, but I found that building a material damage sniper with a few ot the material damage boosting legendaries that are had just totally breaks everything to pieces.
That in mind, the story is also incomplete. You get the first three acts and then jump into some post-game area that feels like Diablo 3's adventure mode with a hair of running rifts thrown in. The city upgrading and all that is nice, but it feels almost... spoilery to be there. Like you just hand-waved an entire part of the story and appeared somewhere you don't belong. There also seem to be a limited number of uniques to go for and many of them aren't that special nor do they have immediate apparent synergies with each other.
All in all, though, I'd rank it very middle-of-the-road. A three out of five so far and I'd still recommend it... just... maybe catch a sale or play a friend's copy before committing to it. It *is* worth the $40 to me, but I'd recommend anyone find a way to try it first before buying.
I've sunk my time into it, but it loses its endgame lustre fairly quickly once you get to that point of critting in the millions. Give it a try and see for yourself! Wouldn't have 100 hours in it if it was bad. If you like the idea of a victorian eldritch isometric gunfest / hack and slash, then this MIGHT be for you.
Otherwise, if you're looking for a complete story and an endlessly replayable end game, then this may not be the game for you.

Review from Steam

Just finished the campaign (thus far) in ~18 hours without having played during the dark times:
Reasons to buy Wolcen:
- It's graphics are top notch in the arpg genre atm
- The story isn't written by a 12 year old like D3 or PoE (I was particularly happy with act 2's "charming" antagonist)
- Combat packs a punch. You will find a strange balance between feeling OP and overwhelmed by numbers on occasion
- Customization lands somewhere between Diablo and PoE
- Individual glove/shoulder gear combined with free cosmetic skinning makes for stylish characters
- References to inspirations let you do fun stuff like use Kratos' Chaos Blades
- Oshit mechanics prevent you from dying cheap deaths: when you die it's your fault
- Several mechanics like attack combos, AoE attacks, loot drops are satisfying to use or are nice QoL-wise
- Relatively bug free from my solo online experience (only found 1 minor bug)
Reasons to hold out on Wolcen:
- The game is still in active dev if you like playing only the finished product. The story appears to be 3/4 done with a final act left from what I'd venture. Some supplementary mechanics like crafting seem to be on the back burner while they focus on priority features.
- I admittedly haven't gone into endgame (I'm waiting to come back and finish the story first) but I imagine it's fairly minimal and so outside of multiple characters, there's not a huge time sink awaiting players just yet.
Overall: Wolcen is short, charming, and improving. I look forward to coming back, checking out new content, and updating this.

Review from Steam

At launch, this game was not so great -- bugs, server issues, poor balancing, and ultimately an unsatisfying end game progression. But by now (early 2022), the game is everything I want out of an ARPG -- polished, wide variety of interesting skills, intricate yet not PoE-level-complex passive skill tree, fluid and challenging combat, and L O O T. Lewd loot to ogle at. It's almost silly how much time you spend picking up loot and examining it to see if you got something good, and almost every run you do get something that's at least worth chucking in to the crafting system.
There is a lot to do here yet, and I could see myself sinking a few hundred hours in to this yet.
Compared to other ARPGs:
-Grim Dawn with expansions has a ton more content. Progression is slower, compared to the almost frenzied pace of finding upgrades in Wolcen. I like the combat and skill systems about equally.
-Last Epoch is a long way from done, but shows a lot of promise and could be as good
-Diablo 3 set a nicer standard for fluid combat with MMO elements like CC and party buffs and defensive skills becoming important. But the loot system in that game is F tier; this game is leaps and bounds better.
-D2R is very grindy and there's no crafting and a very simple skill system. The appeal is mostly in the trade economy and the large player base.
-Path of Exile is absurdly grindy. I love the skill system and variety of scenery and content in the endgame, but the pacing of finding gear upgrades gets slow and I lose interest.
If you like ARPG games, I think this is one of the best ones out there right now.