Grim Dawn has three difficulty levels: Normal, Elite and Ultimate.
As with Titan Quest and other games of the ARPG genre, the game must be completed in each difficulty before progressing to the next.
In addition, there is the option of Veteran mode to provide additional challenge and difficulty for those who desire it.
On creation of a new character the player has the option of selecting Hardcore mode. In this mode a character's death is permanent and is no longer playable.
On the character selection menu, hardcore characters are shown with a golden aura, while dead HC characters appear as a ghost in black and white with a grey aura.
The Crucible is a Downloadable Content (DLC) that introduces a challenging new arena gameplay mode to Grim Dawn.
The Crucible was conceived as a stretch goal during Crate's successful Kickstarter campaign. Originally called Survival Mode, it was described as follows: “In survival mode players will fight to stay alive against increasingly difficult waves of monsters.” The DLC was made available for free to those who purchased the game prior to or during the Kickstarter campaign.