Normally, when we do one of these Dauntless update previews with the Phoenix Labs team, the focus is on how awesome the new Behemoth is and how much it kicked my ass. The new Behemoth in Update 1.6.3: Echoes of the Future is pretty awesome, and it did kick my ass — but as they say, getting there is half the fun.

The Chronovore resides in the Paradox Breaks, the first new Hunting Grounds introduced to Dauntless since the feature was implemented in December. It’s a brightly themed environment, brimming with radiant crystalline structures and shining topography that’s reminiscent of ancient Greece, if it had been struck by some kind of otherworldly disaster. Gleaming marble pillars are set amid a white-sand landscape, occasionally interrupted by colorful crystalline structures and gold-trimmed pools. It’s very different from the typical wilderness areas that Dauntless usually offers and is a tribute to the efforts and creativity of the art team.

As you fight Behemoths on the isle, you’ll acquire Chronostones. Collect eight of them and you’ll be able to bring the Chronovore into our timeline to fight it. To do that, you’ll have to visit the arena/temple at the heart of Paradox Breaks, which is another feast for the eyes, with its blend of ancient architecture and futuristic purple floor tiling that looks like a kind of computer network. Warm up with a pair of Behemoths there and then you’ll get to face the Chronovore, the first signature behemoth introduced outside of an Escalation.

The main event is as challenging as you’d expect a battle against a top-tier, time-traveling manta ray to be. The Chronovore darts and teleports around the arena, making it tough to pin down. It has all the usual close-up attacks, as well as a number of ranged ones, including one that sends a large number of slow-moving radiant bubbles out around it that you’ll have to dodge, bullet-hell style. If you get close, or even moderately close, you might be subjected to its whip-like tail which, I’m told, uses the sound of an actual whip. (As Marketing Director Andy Burt told me, someone asked in their Slack chat one day, without any context, “Hey, does anyone have a whip?”)

While I fared surprisingly well against our first two foes, the pinnacle Behemoth, as usual, wrecked me, and it was only thanks to dev cheats that we were able to persevere. This was even with my Slayer having completely maxed out abilities and the best possible gear, so suffice it to say that you’ll need to be at the top of your game to take it down.

This update also celebrates the two-year anniversary of the launch of the game on consoles, and Phoenix Labs is commemorating the event with gear that resembles the developer’s logo. That’s available in quests that will only last until May 24, so get them while you can. There’s also a new Echoes of the Future Hunt Pass, which runs until July 8, and offers gear from the Hidden Blade set, offered way back when the game was new, in the Reward Cache vault.

As for the Chronovore’s Ultra Armor set, you’ll be able to unlock that by defeating it – easy, right? – which grants you a never-expiring event pass that will let you progress through and craft the four armor pieces. You just, uh, might need to beat the Chronovore a few more times to do so. Easy, right? Still, if you can manage to do all that, you can deck yourself out in some radiant duds that are sure to impress, and possibly cook you alive if you stand too long in the sun.

That covers all the main points that were presented in my preview session, and it was a lot to pack into an hour. Patch 1.6.3 also arrives today with new dyes, quality-of-life changes, balance changes for legendary weapons, and the usual assortment of bug fixes. You can get all the details on the Dauntless site.

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

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