PAX East 2023: Wayfinder Preview

We jump into the land of the Wayfinders at PAX East to see how this upcoming co-op heavy action game plays. Read our preview to learn more!

Published: April 2, 2023 12:00 PM /

Previewed By:

wayfinder hero holding epitaph scythe

Traditionally, when people talk about wayfinding as a practice, they’re referring to how people find themselves in their physical space and navigate from place to place. This includes using tools such as a map and compass, astrolabe, and even GPS. However, developers Airship Syndicate and publishers Digital Extremes decided to turn that on its head for their upcoming game, Wayfinder, and introduce the Gloom Dagger to the wayfinding fold. While at PAX East 2023, I had the opportunity to check this game out and try out the Wayfinder preview for myself.

Right off the bat, I jumped into Wayfinder playing with two other media people who were visiting the space, as the game is an action MMO that can be played solo or in co-op mode. Co-op seems to be the encouraged way to go, and I’m not sure I would have fared as well as I did in the level if I was playing solo. As it was, we still faced many challenges playing as a team, though we had a surprisingly similar thought on which weapon looked the coolest (the Epitaph obviously. A giant purple scythe with creepy glowing eyes? Hell yes!)

We had five different characters to choose from, each with different playstyles and attributes, and I went with Senja. A warrior with some tank-ish attributes, Senja is all about melee combat and dealing massive amounts of physical damage. While I didn’t use too many of the customizing options on her looks, I ended up trying out a few different weapons, like a scythe, giant hammer, and sword and shield, to see how each one felt. The scythe admittedly was the best-looking weapon, but the sword and shield fit my playstyle best, with the shield’s damage blocking during the boss fight being extremely useful.

Our team used the Gloom Dagger and headed into the Mines dungeons to see what we could find, and the dungeons were surprisingly customizable. Using something called Imbuements that you acquire in the game, the dungeons can be given different attributes, meaning you’ll see different rewards, challenges, and enemies depending on what Imbuements are equipped. For our party, we rather, unfortunately, got hit with some nasty monsters that set everything on fire, including our characters, but we did also get to fight a Phoenix enemy which came with some pretty sweet rewards.

wayfinder three heroes go to fight boss

The boss fight was a rather nasty affair, with none of the three of us ultimately making it to the end alive, though we put up a decent showing. It definitely felt like a raid boss and I would not have wanted to tackle something like that by myself, even though it would be possible with the right weapons and a higher level. And, not to sound like a PBS special, but it was still a lot of fun even though we didn’t win, and also showed the need for tactics and teamwork in the game, more so than in the dungeon level. Randomly attacking the boss from all angles wasn’t doing the job. We needed to be on the same page with a coordinated approach to have a chance of taking it down.

Two aspects I wish we could have seen more of were the crafting and customization systems. In addition to the Imbuements customizing the dungeons you enter, Echoes can customize your character and weapons’ powers, and physical appearances are also customizable. The crafting system we didn’t see, but it allows further customization of weapons and equipment.
Wayfinder has a lot of buzz around it right now, and for good reason. The combat was smooth and fun, the characters were interesting, and the customization of dungeons and stats gives you a lot to play around with. Definitely aimed more at co-op play than solo, Wayfinder delivered a great experience in the demo, and  I’m looking forward to checking out more of it when the time comes.

Wayfinder was previewed on an early build at PAX East 2023.

Previews you can trust: To ensure you're getting a fair, accurate, and informed review, our experienced team spends a significant amount of time on everything we preview. Read more about how we review games and products.


Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? Leave a Comment or e-mail us at

| Former Staff Writer

Courtney Ehrenholfer is an aspiring novelist and screenwriter, and current journalist who greatly enjoys video games, especially those of the point and… More about Courtney