Wolcen: Lords Of Mayhem

Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem debuted in 2020 to a mixed reception. It’s the newest hack & slash we’ve seen, so it’s a shame this action RPG title is not better.

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Wolcen Studio’s dungeon-crawler has about 6/10 scores on both Steam and Metacritic. If you ask me, a lonely critic, I’d say it’s worth a try, but not the extra time investment other A-RPG games deserve.

You need some convincing, though. You need to see for yourself whether or not you should play Wolcen: Lords Mayhem.

The last part of our article has a Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem starting guide if you become interested. We’ll cover the first build you can do as well as general advice to get you going.

I hope this is your one-stop Wolce: Lords of Mayhem review and guide.

Wolcen is only for Windows PC. It requires a 6-core processor, 8 GB of RAM, and a 2GB dedicated GPU.

Table of Contents

Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem ReviewWolcen: Lords of Mayhem GameplayRotating Class SystemWolcen: Lords of Mayhem Starter Guide

Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem Review

In February 2020, Wolcen premiered as a dynamic hack & slash title with the potential for greatness. It takes what it needs from Diablo 3 and Path of Exile at the same time. Thus, it delivers a game that’s easy-to-learn, with just enough complexity to replay it a couple of times.

What it lacks, though, is end-game variety. After the classical main story campaign, you’d expect an ARPG title. Wolcen becomes repetitive quite fast.


Elsewhere, it has all of the elements of the genre. That means loot, gear, gear quality, skills, levels, quests, quest rewards, crafting, and dungeons.

You can play both online or offline. The online mode awards extra loot as you play around with your friends. However, it’s often buggy. The offline mode is the straightforward experience you’d expect. You can’t play your online character offline or vice-versa, though.

Gameplay is fast-paced combat where dodging, dashing, and combos are the core features. On top of this, you need to customize your skills to make your characters powerful.


Distinctive Elements

Every ARPG title must have something that makes it different from the rest. Otherwise, they become just another of the bunch.

For example, Path of Exile shines because of its complexity and open class system. The last Epoch‘s highlight is the time-traveling feature. It’s a core mechanic of both the main arc and the endgame.

Choosing the defining feature of Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem is easy. It’s the gameplay. It does feel different, faster, smoother, and great-looking.

There’s another distinctive element here, though, which is how the stats work. You get four stats, each one with particular functionalities that work nothing as you’ve seen on other ARPG titles.


A Flawed Start

Even though it has just enough to stand on its own two legs, defeating its own negative reputation is more of a challenge.

Its negative reception is due to a flawed launch plus immense expectations. Whereas fans were expecting Wolcen to be the “Diablo 4” killer, it turned out to be “just another ARPG game.”

Nevertheless, Wolcen gathered around 5,000 concurrent players on launch. Those were impressive numbers in the first game of an indie studio. Unfortunately, though, the developers couldn’t handle the success.

Hence, serves became unstable, and imperfections became clear. Suddenly, fans realized the title needed more time in development.

Over the next months, developers were able to iron out the issues. However, the negative first impression was already here.

Still, the time developers needed to flesh out their game has passed. As a result, Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem feels much better. Nevertheless, the end-game is still underwhelming.


Don’t Skip the Tutorial Section

Finally, the classic ARPG isometric setting is there to greet you. You’ve reached the tutorial section, where you’ll realize characters have four basic movements.

You have your basic attack on the left click, a dodge on your space bar, and a dash attack. A dash attack makes you reach an enemy with your left click automatically by dashing forward.

You’ll see your HP bar on the left and your Willpower/Fury bar on the right on the lower side of the screen. There’s also a dash meter on the left; it resets each time you dash. Lastly, there’s a dodge counter on top of the HP bar.

It’s a simple functionality that evolves as you customize your deadly powers. And, as far as powers go, there’re 21 classes within a rotating Passive Skill Tree. The options range from minions to elemental powers.


A Modern Take on A-RPG Gameplay

After the tutorial section, you’ll get your first skills on the action bar. There’re seven spaces here to place your skills.

By now, you’ll see the game feels and moves differently than other titles of the genre. SKills have more weight, and your weapons are something you use.

Overall, battle animations feel smooth and come with sweat animations, sound FXs, and music. It seems like you see and understand everything you and the enemies do. It works like this because you need to have time to dodge and dash enemies.

Weapon combos, in particular, showcase the refined gameplay Wolcen delivers. Your weapon combo is available in the left click, the attack button. You can’t change it, but these combos are usable even in the end-game.

That means you’ll be actually swinging your weapons all the way through. Notably, different weapon configurations work differently. For example, dual-wielding axes make enemies bleed. Or two-handed hammers have a larger range and the ability to bypass enemy armor.

With the appropriate attributes and passive skills, you’ll enhance the weapon combos.

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So, no, Wolcen is not about exploding enemies like Path of Exile. Is more about wielding your weapons to unleash destructive forces in-between dodges and dashes.

These destructive forces will never cover the entire screen, though. Similarly, creatures will never cover the entire screen. Instead, your foes come with different abilities, a smart AI, and strategies that depend on the enemy family they belong to.

You could even be facing packs of two and three highly specialized enemies. You’d need to face encounters with strategy and fast movement if you want to succeed.

Also, Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem is a challenging game. It’s tough from beginning to end. You’ll never reach a point where it becomes a breeze. Boss battles during the campaign are particularly long and painful. Luckily, other NPCs (Templars like yourself) will often travel with you.

A Story-arc With Clear Inspirations

I haven’t said much about the story; most players are not coming to an ARPG because of the plot. Unless it’s a Diablo title, cinematics and narrative are often not very significant.

In Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem, the plot is somehow interesting. There’re just enough cinematics and dialogues to understand what’s going on. However, you have to see the scenes and hear the dialogues repeatedly if you replay the game.

What I like, though, is how Wolcen takes cues and inspiration from other powerful RPG games. It does so with respect, and it even takes elements from The Lord of The Rings universe.

You play as a former officer of the Human Republic’s army. You’re also an orphan, fleeing from the Human Republic as they hunt you for your hidden magic powers. The mysterious Templar organization comes to your aid and makes you a part of their group.

The Templar organization is similar to what we saw in the Dragon Age franchise. It takes care of controlling and eliminating dangerous magic users and demons.

There’re further similarities with the te lore here. Notably, your character slowly awakens magical powers akin to what the demons wield. The Templar order, fanatics as they are, is not very happy about it. Not even your own system

If you made Hawke a Blood Magician on DAII, you know what I’m talking about.

Either way, it’s a simple setting that won’t bother you, but it won’t excite you either. It has a couple of cool cinematics here and there, though. If you’ve played any Warhammer titles, you’ll notice the similarities here in terms of graphics and tones. The developers are Warhammer fans!

With its nods to other exceptional and classic RPG games, the narrative is something most gamers can easily enjoy. As I said, though, it’s nothing new.

Lastly, the main arc goes along three acts, aside from the prologue. These chapters feature both main and side quests. According to the Wiki, there’re 11 side quests and 15 main missions. The developers intend to expand the main narrative on further expansions.

Following secondary quests is quite easy. You access isolated areas during the main progression through green doors. Blue doors mark the main quests.

If you make a mistake, you can reset your passive tree by paying Primordial Affinity.

General Build Advice

Lastly, Wolcen builds are nothing more than mixing these classes together. After you plan your path, you must also choose your attributes and follow your blueprint.

Then, as you find Enneracts, simply use the ones you like the most. Use the proper kind of active skill for your character, though.

Modifiers are even easier: you can make it work with anything you choose. However, do plan ahead.

More importantly, you should focus on a single damage type and then complement it with a secondary one. All of your passives should revolve around the single damage type.

Elemental Mage Example

The classic mage build is the easiest pick on Wolcen. It will allow you to understand the game before going towards more difficult options.

The idea is to use high-damaging magic spells and then use Bulwark for health recovery. Your secondary utility spell is Aether Jump, which allows you to jump away from enemies.

For classes, you will pick Scholar, Warlock, and Oracle of Trinity. You can then pick the Ranger as well if your spells are projectiles.

Overall, you’ll go for elemental damage, force shield, and DoTs.

Pure Melee Example

The pure melee character focuses on the Wings of Ishmir skill for damage and Bleeding Edge. For taunting enemies, you can use Sovereign Shout and Juggernaut.

The Gates of Destiny path goes like this:

Soldier: The Wild CardWarmonger: Feast for the Crows, Gods Amongst Men, and surrounding passivesSiegebreaker: Salvatory Anchor, Disallowing Vessel, and surrounding perksChild of Fury: Furios Appetite

After these picks, you can go towards the Sentinel and then the Praetorian for stamina and defensive bonuses. Lastly, go towards the Arms Maester to choose Virtuous Stance.

As for attributes, you won’t need Wisdom. Instead, aim for 5 Ferocity points for every 1 Toughness point.

Poison Build Example

The Plaguelord build is one of the best builds available. It comes from YouTuber Vulkan.This build combines Anomaly and Plaguburst skills to create poisonous gases.

The passive tree path looks like this:

Scholar: Thirst for Knowledge and Attrutrion StrategistWarlock: Resilience to Corruption, Duty to Exterminate, and Reining in the DarknessPlaguebringer: Toxic Emanation, Undertaker

Then, you’re going towards the Soldier for the Wild Card passive. Then, choose Power of the First Men and Immortal Offering from the Cabalist.