The Hidden Toxicity of the Grim Dawn Community and Crate Entertainment

The Hidden Toxicity of the Grim Dawn Community and Crate Entertainment

Grim Dawn is a beloved game among the ARPG community, myself included. It is very well designed, fun, has great depth, and replayability. It’s a top-notch product, especially for the size of the small development team. I’ve recommended it for years to players who were looking for a solid ARPG. I enjoyed the game so much, I wrote a dozen detailed build guides for it to support the community, namely new and returning players.

While the game is fantastic, there is a growing problem with the core of the Grim Dawn community, namely from the Forums. While those seeking help and advice often quickly receive responses from a handful of very active players in the Forums, the second anyone starts questioning these individuals and the content they post, things get ugly. Most people just walk away and refuse to deal with it, but there’s a deeper issue that is impacting the community as a whole which not only connects to a collection of narcissistic toxic people who dominate the forums (and in some cases, reddit), but individuals who work for Crate Entertainment.

I have included a complete copy of the correspondence sent to Arthur Bruno, the founder of Crate, who responded to my initial EMail. The document outlines the issues in detail, and there are a number of quotes from these materials presented herein.


The number one complaint by new players coming to Grim Dawn is the lack of comprehensive build guides that are easy to understand and follow. This has been an issue for years, and continues to be an issue because the majority of “veteran players” on the forums who post “builds” share an end-game level 100 GrimCalc with all best in slot gear and final skill build-out. The majority of these builds provide no information on how to level a character, and new (or returning) players are left overwhelmed and confused about how to proceed. While the majority of builds fall into the above category, there are some very good build guides available on the forum, but they represent only for a handful of overall builds; and many of them are poorly written.

The reason I’m writing this overview is because the community needs to be aware of what happened (which is covered in detail below). This is important because what happened to me can happen to anyone else as long as things remain the way they are. Additionally, many players and streamers I have spoken with confirmed they avoid the Forums because of the very individuals and problems I encountered.

I love the game, have supported it for years, and have written detailed guides (and even reviews) in support of Grim Dawn, yet I was forced from the forums by a handful of toxic players, berated by the moderators, harassed by the same people on Reddit, and ultimately permanently banned by Crate for not allowing one of my posts to be edited by the moderators with injected nonsense.

I also believe it’s important to hold rotten and/or incompetent/unqualified people accountable for their harmful behavior. It is my hope this post increases awareness of an ongoing problem which has passively (and sometimes actively) hamstrung the Grim Dawn community for years, and continues to do so up to this very day.

Before I continue, I want to acknowledge the growing toxicity that is spreading throughout all aspects of the internet. Online communities with poor moderation have become havens for anti-social narcissistic, neurotic, toxic, and even evil hate-filled people who engage in behavior that would never be accepted in normal society. Unfortunately, the reason for this growing issue is the trend of tolerance of toxicity. There will always be assholes, but it’s the job of the moderators to remove these people from the community. The good news is the actual percentage of people who are “terrible” is quite low, but they cause the majority of issues. When moderators do their job, these people are removed. When they don’t, the community suffers; just as the Grim Dawn community has, and continues to.

I also want to acknowledge that plenty of people have absolutely no problems on the forums, but nearly all people who have only a positive experience on the forums have one thing in common: their interactions are almost always just asking for help and guidance, and rarely do they question anything said by the people who cause most of the issues.

If you want to find out how toxic a community can be, just challenge or question some of the most active posters.

The Story

I’ve been playing Grim Dawn on and off since BETA. When I returned to the game after the release of Forgotten Gods in March of 2019, I decided to try a number of new builds. Due to the complexity of the game and the fact I had been away for so long, I decided to follow build guides I found in the forums. As mentioned above, the problem was most of the build guides did not have proper leveling information, were very obtuse, or so poorly written it became a tedious task to either figure out the optimal way to build a character solely based on a L100 GrimCalc or wade through the bloated writings of some of the most active forum posters.

When I began to ask questions and make recommendations on enhancing guides or commenting that L100 PoBs do not help new or returning players in the Forums, I began to receive pushback, excuses and passive aggressive behavior by a handful of users on the forums (some of which were already known in the community as being “problem people”). When I pushed back in response, the passive aggressive behavior became outright hostility and even harassment.

This whole issue started due to the fact there are very few leveling guides for builds on the forums. The majority of posts are end-game min/max builds that new and returning players can’t make heads or tails of (and honestly don’t know how to level). When I returned to Grim Dawn roughly 6-weeks ago and brought up a lack of proper leveling guides in the forums, I was quickly berated by certain forum members who are some of the most active posters. So, I decided to lead by example. I began creating guides (11 in total now) specifically designed to help new and returning players, and posted them in the Grim Dawn forums. They were well-received, but as I continued to post more, certain toxic members began to berate solely for the purpose of harassment, not for constructive feedback. The attached messages document the events appropriately.

A portion of my EMail to Arthur Bruno, June 2019

When it comes to hostile people online, just like real-life, the best thing to do is just walk away and refuse to deal with them, because they never shut up, always have something so say, usually lie, misrepresent and make things up, and act to engage in drama. Most of these troublemakers are narcissists, and even sociopaths; and dealing with them is extremely difficult.

When things began to heat up on the forums and I pushed for better build guides for new and returning players, somebody (I can’t remember who) recommended if I was so dissatisfied with the builds on the forums that I should make my own guides.

And that’s what I did. Starting in May/June of 2019, I began writing build guides for my favorite builds, and as I completed them, I posted these guides in the forums.

I appreciate your response; as an individual who has administered multiple game communities in the past, I understand the difficulties that can come with your responsibilities.

I am also supportive of making the GD community as inviting and welcoming as possible to any and all players, one reason I created the guides. I hope the work I’ve produced and the way I’ve interacted with the community represents that disposition. I just have absolutely no tolerance for toxic or rotten people. I learned years ago some people will just never shut up, some thrive on drama (which they create), others have to control the content, and a few simply cannot be dealt with (and have traits of a mental disorder). Many of these people are narcissists, others are just rotten. The approach I take is to simply tune them out and ignore them whenever I can. I do think there are a few key people at the root of nearly all of the problems on the forums, and more severe discipline could help address the issue (through private correspondence, preferably). An investigation of private messages (via the GD Forums) of the people in question could also support proper disciplinary action relative to the issues tied to our correspondence.

A portion of my EMail to Medea from June, 2019

As soon as I began posting these guides, I came under hard attack by some of the most active community members (some of who had a history of posting a dozen or more times a day): Malawiglenn, Maya, mad_lee, and Xervous just to name a few. The few times I interacted with these individuals, the conversation turned into a shit-storm of drama and garbage, and they tried to pass their correspondence off as “constructive criticism” when it was an attempt to discredit and bury the guides because it was taking away from their dominance on the forums (and some poorly written guides). I engaged with these individuals just two or three times (even though they wouldn’t stop posting) and it always turned into a drama fest. It quickly became clear who the key troublemakers on the forums were, and many of these individuals had a clearly defined history of drama before these events took place.

It was clear these individuals were hellbent on attacking, discrediting and burying anything I posted, and they did not like the fact my build guides were receiving praise and thanks by new players from the community. As such, they teamed up to attack the guides any way they could; not help make them better, but discredit them. Their behavior was vindictive, spiteful, and intentional; and any qualified moderator could see exactly what was going on.

I reported these problems to the moderators and looked to cite violations of the forum rules only to find out there really weren’t any (which we’ll learn more about shortly).

The core issue is the above-mentioned subforum is monopolized by a handful of elitist narcissistic posters who flood, control, berate and harass; mainly through passive aggressive behavior, but occasionally through overt intentional harassment. This isn’t just my opinion; I’ve spoken with some of the top Twitch Grim Dawn Streamers who have told me they intentionally stay away from the forums because of “certain toxic members”. Not only are the toxic people on the Grim Dawn forums, they also carry their behavior to Reddit as well, where they’re executing their same nefarious and harmful behavior, unimpeded. They seem to stay away from Facebook; probably because they’d lose their anonymous status and quickly be held accountable (it’s been my experience the Facebook Grim Dawn community is the best out of all of them – I’ve only had a positive experience there).

Written to Arthur Bruno in June of 2019

As the problems persisted and the moderators failed to handle the issues appropriately, I began to notice the forum moderators also exhibited the same narcissistic patterns of behavior as the hostile and vindictive people on the forums, with Kamil “Zantai” Marczewski (full name included because he’s an actual Crate employee) acting as the lead and Medea trailing behind.

What’s very interesting is people are constantly praising Zantai for posting patch notes. Calling him awesome and saying how great he is … for posting patch notes. Zantai hasn’t done anything for the community except to post patch notes, occasionally show up to answer questions about mechanics, or tell people “don’t be an asshole”. He has absolutely no history of supporting or positively interacting with the community; at all.

When I approached the Moderators, asking about the rules governing the forums, I was told they followed the Wil Wheaton principle of “don’t be an asshole.” Below is a snippet of what I sent to Arthur Bruno:

While there’s no question a handful of people in the forums are causing 95% of the issues, the real reason they are empowered to do what they are doing is because of Zantai and his horrible mismanagement of the forums and culture within the forums. It’s not just my opinion; he actually posts rules that look as if they were written by a fraternity lead, such as “don’t be an asshole”. I was going to link to you the posts he made a week ago that included poorly written rulesets (which included “don’t be an asshole”) but it’s been removed from the new forums (at least I can’t find them). However, this is the “quality” of representation that Zantai brings to the community, and it’s amateur at best. I’ve also had enough correspondence with him to know he has no real ethical or moral standards when it comes to identifying malicious behavior or intent in an online community. He treats good and bad people the same and refuses to categorize their behavior and differentiate people’s intentions. This ensures a complete failure to consider and apply the motives and intent behind somebody’s actions, a critical requirement for an experienced community manager.

Written to Arthur Bruno in June of 2019

When I realized that Zantai (and Medea) didn’t have any interest in dealing with the issue, didn’t have a clue how to properly moderate forums by identifying and removing key troublemakers, and neither of them seemed to have any grasp of online ethics or etiquette (which, in my book, makes them unethical), I decided to pull my guides from the forums and host them on my website. In doing this, I announced to the community why I was doing this with the below entry:

It is with sadness and disappointment that I’ve decided to pull my builds from the Grim Dawn
community forums and move them to a different platform. This is after spending hundreds of hours and more than a month focused on creating numerous detailed build guides for new and returning players. These guides will be hosted on a private website and made available to the public through the new Grim Dawn Builds Subreddit
( where constructive feedback and discussion is
welcome, free of any drama or toxic people. My decision is due to a failing community culture in the Grim Dawn Forums that allows and even endorses toxic members to monopolize and harass posters, all without repercussion. This is not an environment I support or want to be a part of. I hope the individuals running Crate take interest in addressing these ongoing problems to build a better future for the Grim Dawn community.

The public post shared on the Grim Dawn forums as I moved my build guides to outside private hosting.

It’s important to bring up the history of the Grim Dawn Forums at this point; they were constantly down, and the community even made jokes about the Grim Dawn team not caring about the forums (for a period of years). The reality is the ongoing problems were a symptom of the simple fact they did not really care about the community or the forums. It was a burden to them that was something to be dealt with when they had time. This mentality is reaffirmed by their terrible moderation standards and unprecedented laziness of quoting an actor for the ruleset rather than writing clearly defined rules that would be enforced.

While the new forums are doing much better, it’s easy to forget that over a period of years, it was very common for the forums to be down an entire day (sometimes longer) as often as every few weeks… over a period of years. The reality is this level of incompetent community management is unprecedented for any commercial grade-game, even for an indie studio. Crate’s lack of interest in the community is reaffirmed by the fact the new forums destroyed all prior online links created over the years without creating a redirection table (which could have been done), and Arthur Bruno has always been MIA when it comes to any sort of community interaction or involvement.

While one could say my choice to leave the forums was voluntary, it really wasn’t. Zantai and Medea guaranteed I was forced out by failing to uphold any reasonable rules of discipline against the trouble makers, and each insinuated I should leave the community. They didn’t want to deal with the real problem, they just wanted it to end. This lazy and unethical stance rots at the core of what the forum culture has become, and Zantai is the root of it.

Written to Arthur Bruno in June of 2019

After I made the announcement about leaving the forums, my post was modified by the moderators (not sure who) to include a statement from Zantai, which really didn’t belong; but the core issue is this violated the cardinal rule of forum moderation – you don’t modify people’s posts. You either delete them or reply to them. That wasn’t good enough; Zantai wanted his statement injected as part of mine. This paints an even broader picture of how far gone he is relative to what is considered proper or even ethical behavior when it comes to forum moderation; especially when that injected content berates the original poster’s content for the purpose of discrediting a valid complaint (which made the moderators look bad; because they were).

Not only did Zantai delete all my build posts but one, he edited and amended my initial post with his berating statement, talking about “ego wars”, etc. To be clear, he actually edited my post to include his statement inside my post. This was rather alarming as it’s common knowledge among community moderators that you do not edit people’s posts. An administrator responds or deletes. For him to have edited my post is another sign he simply doesn’t understand the unspoken rules of administering forums. Note I deleted his edits to my post and returned it to the original state.

Written to Arthur Bruno in June of 2019

After leaving the Grim Dawn Forums, I began to post the build guides on the Grim Dawn subreddit. As soon as I began to do this, I became the target of a downvote campaign. New build guide links to my website were downvoted (sometimes to -10 or lower) “out of the blue”, and each and every post I made in the grim dawn subreddit was target. This is very important to emphasize as it confirmed the outright vindictive and harmful unethical people who were behind the issues I had on the forums – they went out of their way to go to a completely different community and continue their campaign to discredit and cause problems. The campaign was so obvious, other people commented, asking (along the lines of) “what’s going on? That’s a great guide. How come it was downvoted so bad?”

Additionally, because your staff have completely mishandled these issue, I am now under constant harassment on Reddit (in the GrimDawn subreddit) by these individuals as well (note this started only after the 10th build post). I cannot post anything relative to Grim Dawn without being downvoted into the negative, or receiving statements with the sole intent on discrediting and harassing. These individuals are executing a personal vendetta to silence everything I say and do because their behavior goes unhindered. While I understand this particular example is a Reddit issue, the origins come from the mishandling of problems on the Grim Dawn forums. This happened because Zantai did not do a reasonable job of identifying, determining and then properly acting on behavior any rational person would identify as harmful, malicious and/or harassing. As such, these individuals have been taught by Zantai and his staff that their negative, harassing and harmful behavior is allowed. So there’s no reason for them to stop.

Written to Arthur Bruno in June of 2019

What these individuals were doing was a violation of the Reddit Terms of Service. They were reported, and a few weeks later, the campaign stopped. I believe some of them were permanently banned as a few of the accounts went “quiet”. Thank goodness the Reddit moderators enforced their terms of service.

It was at this point I reached out to the founder of Create, Arthur Bruno. While Arthur responded in a concise and professional fashion, it was quickly apparent he was completely disconnected from the community and really had no interest in investigating or understanding the issue to properly resolve it. He even recommended I engage in a “fresh start” and create a new user account to avoid the issues. This reinforced the fact he didn’t have a clue as to what was going on, nor did he understand what accountability was. He basically said “hide under a different user name to avoid these terrible people”. This proposal was simply shameful and absurd.

Your “fresh start” recommendation also shows a complete disconnect from what it really means to be an active member of online communities. Insinuating an individual who has an established user name and account should abandon it and start a new one to avoid people who are engaged in behavior inciting such an abandonment merely misplaces the real problem and responsibility. Failure to identify good from bad, right from wrong, and take action is the root of this problem.

I’ve seen the impact of horrible and toxic people going unchecked online; they spread like a virus and slowly destabilize communities while pushing good people out and spreading misinformation and inciting bad behavior by example. Yes, the size of the active GD forum community is only a fraction of the entire playing (or active) base; however as I mentioned, it should be about quality, not quantity. It’s important to have a positive and supportive environment for the players looking for such a place.

Part of the response to Arthur Bruno in June of 2019

Out of professional courtesy, I am not sharing Arthur’s responses to my correspondence (we had a few EMail exchanges). However, I can say this: Arthur doesn’t care about nor does he want any involvement in the Grim Dawn community. At all. He just wants to work from home to make a game. I also confirmed he has no community-based experience at all (my interpretation was he avoids communities). This reaffirms why an unqualified and ethically void person like Zantai is in charge of the community; Arthur simply doesn’t have the interest or experience to understand what it takes to run an online community properly.

We obviously have differing view on these issues based on our background and experience. All I can say is because your moderators failed to identify and act on bad behavior and malicious intent by a handful of vindictive users, I’m now dealing with regular (often daily) harassment on reddit by the very same people I left the forums to avoid; something I’ve never had to deal with in 11 years as a redditor. These individuals have teamed up with the simple goal to push me out of the Grim Dawn community any way possible, and I have done nothing to interact with them since my last forum engagement – yet they persist because they are narcissistic and vengeful individuals who are going unchecked (thus believing their behavior is acceptable). One of them even said in your forums it was their personal mission to stop me from posting build guides. We’re talking next level crazy. Their behavior violates every rational online rule and qualifies as harassment, vote manipulation (for reddit) and bullying. By doing nothing to stop this behavior, your team has endorsed this behavior. This is completely unethical. Once again, I left the forums because of these people, and they followed me to reddit to continue their deplorable behavior. This is an ongoing problem I now have to deal with almost daily.

Part of the response to Arthur Bruno in June of 2019

Since I began posting my guides in July of 2019, they have become the #1 resource of Grim Dawn build guides outside of the forums. With more than 500,000 unique hits since their posting, I’ve received more than 500 positive comments from players thanking me for the guides, many citing how they couldn’t find anything well-written on the forums.

Over the past few months, I’ve occasionally checked in on the Grim Dawn forums and manually deleted Zentai’s injected statement from my public statement. I did this three or so times over a period of three months.

I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but as of January, 2020, without any message or warning, I have been permanently banned from the Grim Dawn forums for “Interfering with Moderation”. Apparently they did not like me deleting their injection of Zantai’s ridiculous statement into my post.


The issues with the Grim Dawn community have been around for quite some time, yet are fairly unique in the industry. This is because Crate Entertainment is so small but successful for creating a great product. However, it’s obvious they really don’t care about supporting or interacting with the community; their sole focus is to make a quality product that sells. That’s it. They are also a virtual company where the staff all work from home and their product is sold solely through online digital stores. Arthur Bruno has been successful because he knows how to make a solid game with great mechanics; but he’s an introvert and never interacts with the community.

In the end, refusing to address the issues covered herein encourages abusive behavior and produces a toxic environment that ensures the forum community’s purpose of bringing people together is undermined.

There is an opportunity here. Hiring an experienced and capable community manager would remove the burden of forum administration from Zantai (so he can focus on game design) while also enriching the forums (and community as a whole, including Reddit and the Facebook community) with a dedicated and focused individual who knows how to lay out proper rules, support good, and remove bad behavior. I think such a decision would only enhance the Grim Dawn community and product line.

I hope this correspondence entices some sort of change and/or shift at Crate to make the Grim Dawn community a better and welcoming place for all gamers.

Part of the response to Arthur Bruno in June of 2019

Unfortunately, I’ve lost all interest in playing Grim Dawn anymore. To be banned solely for standing against a handful of vindictive bullies after providing numerous guides to help enrich the community is simply ridiculous; but this isn’t any surprise as the result simply reinforces the real incompetence and unqualified nature of Zantai and the rest of the Crate staff haphazardly running the community based on rules uttered by an actor while turning a blind eye to vindictive, toxic and hostile forum members.

I can only hope Crate decides to do something about the ongoing issues in the Forums and Arthur finds an individual who cleans things up and really starts building a solid foundation of supportive players, not only for Grim Dawn, but the next project they release.

  1. Hey David, thanks for all the great guides you do, have not followed the Grim Dawn guides since I lost interest in that game a while ago (played it for years though). Looking for POE guides I found your website and followed it since Incursion league and never had more fun with that game (the poe forums are a pretty mess for new players too).

    So, I hope you don`t get frustrated too much by this mess and continue your great work. Thanks.

  2. Mr. Allen –

    Thank you for your guides. YOU made this game fun for me. I had tried to figure out builds by myself but came uyp lacking. I have three of your builds to level 60 and I am enjoying each one. In fact I think I am about to start build number 4. I stay away from most “forums” because fopr the most part, people hiding behind internet names suck. I played WOW from Beta up to the current exapnsion, all the Diablo games and sledom if ever went to the offical forums for help. Again because people hiding behind internet names are most often a**hol**.

    THNAK YOU for your build guides. They got me back in to Grim Dawn and have me enjoying it.

  3. As a new player to Grim Dawn who has really fallen in love with it, I can say that I literally only use your guides to try new builds because they are understandable and well designed. I have looked at other guides and within 30 seconds I’m in WTF land and I just move on. You are 100% correct about this being a major issue for the community. As a business professional I have often thought about how it would be incredibly easy for Crate to set a standard outline template for build guides or even better, they could build a simply interface to make it easy to create AND understand the guides. Anyway, I agree completely with your thought process on all of this. Thanks for putting the time in.

  4. Thanks for the support Jonathan, I appreciate it! I certainly hope Arthur decides to make some changes to enhance the community for the game; but I’m not holding my breath 🙂

  5. Thanks for the guides and all the work, your guides are literally the only decent build guides for a new player i have found, without them i wouldn’t be playing the game.

    Your hard work is really appreciated

  6. Hi David,

    Thanks for your guide and all the hard work you had put in so that even I, who was new to Grim Dawn, can follow and actually understand the game better. Keep up the good work, and I do look forward to see more cool and interesting builds from you.

  7. Unfortunately not; at this time, I don’t really have any interest in playing Grim Dawn again. I simply cannot support a company that has an unethical Community Lead who is responsible for a rotten community environment (and banning me for no legitimate reason). If Crate removes Zantai and puts somebody else in charge, I might consider it, but we’ll see. I’m not holding my breath 🙂

  8. Sorry, but I just can’t in good faith support a company that has created and endorsed such a toxic community. But I won’t abandon the people who come here and post questions; I’ll continue to support my builds as best as I can, I just won’t be making any new ones.

  9. David, speaking as a new user, I want to sincerely thank you for your guides. Without them, I could not have enjoyed the game to the extent I do now. They are among the best guides I have ever used. Further, I want to thank and applaud you on your efforts to improve the GD community. Bullies need to be faced head on but like most, I would just walk away. It is refreshing to see someone with your moral courage willing to fight the good fight for the rest of us. I am disappointed that Crate is so obviously disinterested in their GD community. Forums and game communities play such a vital role in the overall enjoyment of an ARPG. Let’s acknowledge that such games are complex by their very nature. It’s part of their appeal. That said, to keep frustration levels low (hints, advice etc) and to provide like-minded people the ability to share experiences only heightens a player overall satisfaction of the game. To ignore the community makes very poor business sense. I am saddened that this has ruined your desire to play Grim Dawn. As you have said yourself, it is good game. The community will be lessened by the loss. Rest assured, that the campaign to discredit you by lesser folk has not in any way diminished my opinion of you and I am certain that goes for anyone who has followed you. Bravo.

  10. Thank you for your supportive feedback, Larry. I really appreciate it. The reason I wrote the overview was to make the community aware of what was going on in the hopes that Arthur decides to make some very necessary and positive changes to the community. If that happens, I’ll come back and support the game and community in full. Fingers crossed!

  11. Dear David

    I can not thank you enough for your guides. I had played Grim Dawn a while back then lost interest in it and when I came back with the Forgotten Gods expansion there was so much content it was overwhelming. It has been your guides that kept me playing. I’m sorry the forums are so toxic. I have found through years of playing that even a well-moderated game forum can easily become so and I tend to avoid posting there, although I do read them often. I’m too old to get involved in the drama and ego building that some posters/players subsist on.

    That being said I’m sorry you have had to leave. You have been a bright spot in my gameplay and the game is lessened by your leaving.

  12. Thank you for the kind words and support, Hali. In reality, I didn’t “leave”, I was perma-banned from the Grim Dawn Forums for no reason other than removing Zantai’s injected nonsense in my post. As mentioned in the review, the issue is with a Crate Employee more than the people on the forums that would be quickly banned if Crate had a competent and ethical moderator. Regardless, thanks again for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it!

  13. David,
    Thank you for posting this explanation. I guess the Discord chats are basically an extension of the forums. I don’t know much about how they work, but I mentioned appreciation for one of your guides on GD’s Discord chat and (I guess it was a bot) responded “Requnix is persona non grata in this community” or something like that. It really didn’t make sense, because it’s very clear how excellent your guides are for the game. I understand your decision to quit playing. If you had decided to continue, one other general guide I found helpful that I might have recommended linking to was about using Crucible very early in the game to earn Devotion points and “jump start” a build’s early power. It is in the Steam forums here:

    Returning to your critique of poor forum management – I haven’t been involved enough to see the issue you describe first hand, but I can easily believe your experience. If you need an example of a very well moderated forum, the forums related to Traxxas RC trucks are thorough, well organized, and especially, firmly monitored by (mostly volunteer) moderators to maintain a family friendly atmosphere. Just a reference point – I haven’t been involved in them in several years, but when I was they were a very well organized and maintained forum community.

    I also agree with your criticism that it is incredibly unprofessional and _lazy_ of CRATE to simply allow all links to the old forum to become unusable and “die” – an ethical company would take steps to redirect existing links to a new forum site.

    Again, thank you for explaining, and thank you for the build guides you did create. They are very well written and very helpful for new players and even experienced players looking to take their game from “casual” to powerful.

    best of luck

  14. Thanks for the feedback and support Olorin! If I recall some of the key toxic people hang out in the GD Discord, so it wouldn’t surprise me. But I agree; because Crate (Arthur in particular) doesn’t really care about the community, that’s why things are so mismanaged and “lazy” as it relates to anytime associated to the community. It’s sad, because with a bit of community support and cleaning out the Toxic people, I think they could raise the sales of Grim Dawn. Sadly, I don’t think it’ll ever become a priority for them.

  15. David, I’m a casual older player and I’ve only ever used your builds on your site when playing Grim Dawn. Before your site, I did look at Crate’s forum for builds but after reading a few posts under a few builds, I was turned off of their forums. No big deal though because your website had exactly what I needed. I’m not involved with their forum and I don’t have a dog in this fight…but please know that you provide content that the Grim Dawn community needs. Thank you very much for your time creating these builds.

  16. The forums are a place best avoided. The few times I checked it was usually a mix of “git good noob” or some other nonsense to berate players. I made the conscious choice to avoid the forums as much as possible which has worked perfectly.

    Your website combined with grimtools provide me with most of the needed information. Keep up the good work and I enjoy your builds for the same reasons others already listed here. I also enjoy your reviews of NMS and GD, they are much more in depth and detailed compared to the “professional” game press.

  17. When I started playing this game last September I was overwhelmed by the Crate forums and their builds. Nothing seemed to make sense and it all seemed gear for endgame hardcore players, whereas I am a casual “occasionally after work and weekend” type of player. Thank goodness I found your guides which ignited a serious addiction to Grim Dawn. I don’t think I would be playing this game today if it weren’t for this site and your guides.

  18. Hi David,

    First off, thank you for all that you do. I started playing GD around the first of the year and your guides have been very useful. The thing that impressed me the most is your attention to answering questions about your builds. Even as a noob I didn’t understand a lot of what you were saying at the top of your build page, but when I scrolled down, others had similar questions and I’ll be durned if you didn’t answer each and every question that I saw patiently and competently.

    It’s unfortunate that you were banned, and I say that not only for the knowledge and passion that you clearly brought to the game in the past, but also on a personal level. It sucks when you put your heart into something for so long only to get kicked to the curb.

    I think you do great work and will continue to peruse your guides (and encourage my kids to as well, two of them are now playing). When the time comes to move on, there’s a decent chance I’ll see what games you’re throwing your passion into at that point.

    Thank you for your care, Crate could use someone like you.


  19. Thanks for the support, Tom. Many people have reached out to me (publicly and privately) in support of what I wrote (also confirming the toxic nature of the forums) that it’s definitely a real issue for the community that has impacted a lot more people than me; but I honestly don’t think Arthur cares. My guess is things will continue as they have for years to come because it works to generate revenue and keeps them in their comfortable positions. The crew at Crate truly seems wholly disinterested in making the community ‘better’ when the game is selling just fine, even though a stronger community would entice better sales. But they just don’t get it. The pros and cons of having a company of only a dozen people pushing out a commercial-grade game. 🙂

  20. I find it funny that it seems as though you feel the GD community is more “toxic” than PoE’s community.

    Any input on that, if you dont mind.

  21. Actually, I never compared the two or commented that I think one is more “toxic” than the other. However, to answer your question, GGG has some very good Community Managers that do a solid job given the scale and scope of the user base, and they have a set of rules that they enforce. I personally find most of the toxicity tied to PoE in the subreddit; where GGG doesn’t have any management authority.

    The fundamental difference is PoE has a community base easily 10x larger than GD, GD has no set of “real rules” they follow or enforce, and Zantai is a toxic narcissist himself (nor is he qualified in any capacity to be a community manager).

    The Grim Dawn community is rotten because of Crate, whereas the PoE community has rotten people because it’s an online game – but it’s managed by some good administrators.

  22. Just wanted to say that your guides (as they are more than just a “build”) are put together extremely well. I’ve gotten several people into Grim Dawn and recommended the guides on this site for their ease of use. Hope to see more of them!

  23. Thank you for the support, Bogdanoff; it’s appreciated! Unfortunately, I won’t be making any more guides as I no longer play nor support Grim Dawn – at least until the community management changes, but I don’t think that’ll happen because Arthur simply does not care about the state and quality of the Grim Dawn community.

  24. Dear Mr.Allen

    I’m from Thailand and I love every build that you create. I understand your feelings because I feel like when I try to translate the game language into Thai. I didn’t get any PM responses. I was ignored for almost a month. I felt like being racist. I regret not seeing your wonderful build anymore. But I understand and ready to support you forever. Sorry for language because I use google translate from Thai to Eng

  25. Hi David,

    I know you no longer support Grim Dawn, but I wanted to say thank you for your hard work putting these guides together. I read through your story here and while I never posted on the forums, I did read through the guides as a new player and what you said about them being confusing were spot on. Posting a max tier character and pretty much saying “figure it out” is not a guide at all.

  26. Thank you Mike, your support is greatly appreciated! And yes, that’s part of the core problem; many of the people who post the end-game builds have a mentally of “figure it out and if you can’t, go away”. These individuals tend to be the narcissists who fester at the heart of the broken forum community and ultimately drive people away. It’s quite unfortunate. I hope it will change in the future, but I’m not holding my breath.

  27. Thanks for all the guides, they’ve helped me enjoy the game immensely. I have tried to follow some of the forum guides but have also found them extremely difficult to navigate. I’ll definitely continue to follow you’re guides here for PoE if you intend to continue posting them. Thanks again!

  28. Thank you for the support! I’ll continue to play and post build guides for PoE, but per the article on Grim Dawn, I won’t be playing it again unless they find a new Community Manager and clean things up.

  29. Well I hope at some point you reconsider coming back to GD. Starter builds are great. Step by step and makes it easy and fun leveling process. After seeing the mess that Wolcen is, one can appreciate how good GD is. There is a mini content patch coming out between now and month’s end that introduce monster totems and legendary item drops tied to those totems for GD.

    Although I didn’t have the experience you did, I can understand your stance. Many of those duckweed’s that cause all the problems on the forums are of praetorian status. Those are the original kick starter backers and some of those have spent thousands if not tens to support Crate. They are also the beta content and feature testers. It’s kind of like a mini cult. It’s the same mentality with their discord.

    I remember long ago I once told a date I wasn’t going to be able to make it, because I was busy arguing on the internet. She said, okay well give me a call when you’re done. I never called. Because you can always find someone to argue with.

    Crate doesn’t have a studio. They are all remote users out of their homes. Introverts basically. They may have great game creation skills, but their people skills suck. Once I figured that out, I let them create. I play and enjoy. I don’t try to have conversations with them.

  30. Thanks for the support; I definitely appreciate it! Sadly, there’s no way I’ll return as long as Zantai is in charge of the community. He’s a rotten person and has no place running the forums. But you are correct, the key troublemakers have been around a LONG time; they’re like a tumor (and as such should be cut out and removed). I agree with your summary the people at Crate lack people skills, but it’s more than that – they endorse toxic behavior, which is unethical and inexcusable. As such, I have no interest in supporting Grim Dawn or Crate. If they make some changes, I might reconsider, but I won’t hold my breath 🙂

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Stories
Path of Exile 3.4 Delve Best Builds