Titan Quest is a hack and slash dungeon crawler set in the mythological world of ancient Greece, Egypt, Babylon, and China. While it is very similar to Diablo 2 where you click on enemies to attack in real time, use hotkeys for potions and skills, click to move, and upgrade classes and special skills with points awarded upon level-up, Titan Quest also brings its own variations to the table. One of the most distinctive aspects of the game is the way in which it handles character classes. Instead of using a number of clear-cut archetypes, as most Action RPG's do, Titan Quest allows the player to choose two sets of class skills (called Masteries) from a list of 8, essentially creating a multi-class character and, resulting in 28 possible combinations.
The game also emphasizes a skill system focused on what the developers call 'synergies'. These upgrades existing skills rather than simply replacing them with more powerful alternatives. The game has a strong emphasis on co-op play though it doesn't de-emphasize the value of the single-player campaign.
A new act was added to the game with the expansion called Immortal Throne package. Shortly after this release, Iron Lore went bankrupt because of lack of sales. A few of the original developers licensed the Titan Quest Engine and are working on its spiritual successor called Grim Dawn.
At its core, Titan Quest--mechanically speaking--brings Diablo to the Mediterranean. Clicking on a location sends your character there, and clicking on an enemy sends your character to attack it. Holding the mouse button continuously attacks whichever enemy you're targeting, while shift-clicking allows you to swing your weapons in place and without moving. The top number row on your keyboard serve as hotkeys for potions, skills, or special powers. The camera is isometric and is not player-adjustable (though it is possible to zoom in to a degree).
Before you start a game you have to first create a character. This boils down to simply choosing a name, gender, and color for your tunic (which can be changed in game by purchasing dyes from shop owners). All characters look the same, save the obvious differences between males and females. When you reach level 2 (the first time you level up in game) you get to pick the first of your masteries. After level 8 you get to pick your second mastery (though this choice can be delayed indefinitely if the player chooses to focus on just one mastery), which you level may concurrently with your main mastery. After you pick your second mastery your class name changes to accommodate your dual class. You earn 3 skill points for each level, and occasionally as rewards from specific quests, which can be used on skills in either mastery. With each level the character also earns two attribute points that can be spent on Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Health, or Mana.
Difficulty Level Progression
Much like most other Action RPGs, this game has a level system where in the difficulty of the game is based on your character's progression through the game. You start the game out on normal difficulty, and once you beat it you can move on to replay on epic difficulty with all of your character's equipment and skills fully intact. This is only available to those who have completed the game and generally starts with the characters around level 30-35. Epic can then be completed and you can take that same character and bring him into Legendary difficulty. This normally occurs around level 55-60.
Much like Diablo, this game has an inventory system that is limited by the number of total squares. Each item can take up a different amount of slots, however, weight is not taken into account, so inventory management is paramount. As the game progresses, you unlock extra bags to hold more items. Three extra bags will eventually be unlocked, so you can better accomodate your loot.
Each character has the ability to equip up to 9 items at any given time (11 if you count the two alternative weapon/shield slots accessed by the default 'W' key). These include a weapon, shield (or a secondary weapon), torso armor, arm guards, shin guards, amulet/necklace, 2 Rings, and a helmet/hood. Two handed weapons negate the ability to use a shield. Dual-wielding two one-handed weapons is possible, but can only be unlocked through a skill.
All equipment in the game is sorted according to degree of power. As with most Action RPG's magically enhanced equipment plays a major role in the game, especially at higher levels. Not all enhancements are equal, however, resulting in multiple tiers of quality identified by the color text used for their name. There are 6 tiers in all. They are:
- Damaged (Grey): Non-magical and inferior in quality to all other similar base items
- Normal (White): Non-magical items of average quality. They serve as the base items for magical equipment and have no enhancements.
- Magical (Yellow): The first and lowest class of magical items. These have the least number, and usually the lowest quality, of enhancements.
- Rare (Green): The next highest quality of magical items. These often have a greater number of enhancements of superior quality to Yellows. Some can have unique names and enhancements though they still use normal base items.
- Epic (Blue): Epic items are unique and typically superior to rares. They have their own unique names, stats, and artwork with preset enhancements (though their specific numerical values can vary).
- Legendary (Purple): Legendary items are of the highest quality in the game. They are unique, with their own names, stats, and artwork, but have enhancements superior to those of epics. Legendary items only appear in Epic and Legendary difficulty levels.
Some equipment (typically Epic or Legendary in quality) also comes in sets and when worn with even just one other item from the set, gives you an additional bonus increase to your stats. Charms and Essences can be collected throughout the game and grant minor permanent buffs that may be added to gray, white, yellow, or green items only. Charms and essences are only allowed on specified types of equipment stated by the charm/essence (i.e. helmets, certain types of weapons, torso armor, etc.) and add any number of different effects.
Character Classes and Masteries
Each mastery has its own skill tree as well as a separate bar representing your generic skill level in that mastery as a whole. Spending points in this bar increases your overall skill level in that mastery and grants bonuses in that mastery's main attributes (i.e. Strength, Dexterity, or Intelligence) and increases to max health and/or energy. In order to advance in the skill tree you must first level up your mastery bar. As you increase a Mastery's level more skills become available to be purchased and upgraded. Each individual skill can be leveled up a number of times (this number is different for each skill) making it more effective and occasionally changing its animation.
Most skills also have what are called 'synergies.' Synergies are direct upgrades to existing skills which add new capabilities (such as adding small orbs of rock and fire that break off of a fireball upon impact to hit other nearby foes) or enhance ones it already has (such as increasing the amount of fire damage the fireball inflicts upon an enemy). Like skills, synergies have a limit to the number of skill points which can be spent on them that varies from one synergy to the next. The stated purpose of the synergy system by Titan Quest's developers was to prevent skills from becoming useless later in the game.
All skill points (with the exception of those spent on increasing mastery levels) can be redistributed at any time by finding and paying a mystic in the game. Mystics can typically be found in most of the larger towns and cities in the game. The price for this redistribution of points is fairly reasonable and ramps up the more the player uses it, but rarely becomes excessive. This encourages players to experiment with different skill combination so that they can find ones they like. However, skill points spent increasing mastery levels are permanent meaning that players cannot change their classes.
There are a total of 8 different Masteries in the original Titan Quest; Immortal Throne adds another one called Dream to these but will not be covered here. These classes are:
The Storm class deals mostly with Lightning and Ice elemental based attacks, many of which have secondary effects that slow, stun, or blind groups of enemies. Its main attribute is obviously intelligence. Most of its skills are active rather then passive making it a very aggressive caster and a bit of a mana hog. As such, it may be a wise choice to pair it with another class that has more passive based skills and extra mana and intelligence boosts.
As the name implies, this class is built to take as much damage as possible. While he doesn't deal out much damage, he can take nearly as much as a screen full of enemies can dish out. The Defense class is also the only class that is capable of taking advantage of shields' damage dealing potential, effectively turning shields into an occasional dual wield weapon. Many of the shield attacks are passive skills the trigger randomly and soften enemies up by reducing defenses, slowing attacks, or disrupting skills. To boost Defense characters' damage absorbing ability the class also includes multiple healing skills, both passive and active. The class is best paired with melee classes, although a benefit can be had with any class really.
The Earth class deals almost exclusively with Fire elemental based damage. Like the Storm class, its main attribute is intelligence . The Earth class is also similar to the Storm class in that most of its skills are active rather than passive. However, whereas most of Storm's powers emphasize secondary effects, Earth is more concerned with shear damage output. The other significant trait of the Earth class is its Core Dweller summon, which is one of the best in the game. The Core Dweller has a very high health and defensive rating making him very useful as a diversion for enemies, especially for players who have low defenses of their own. The Earth class is very adaptable, suiting both melee and spell casting oriented characters very well.
This is essential a ranger class emphasizing hit and run tactics somewhat similar to the Rogue class (further down the list). It focuses primarily on specialization with the bow or spear, various piercing damage bonuses, and dealing extra damage to beasts and beastmen. The weapon specializations mitigate those two weapons' primary drawback, speed, by giving sizable attack speed bonuses when wielding either weapon while also providing boost to damage output. Spear skills enable powerful, focused charging attacks with bleeding DoT on singular targets. Bow skills grant very effective group damaging skills through firing multiple projectiles coupled with shrapnel damage. There are also some minor battle field control skills designed to constrain or distract enemies.
This is the closest class to a healer in the game. Nature skills allow for the healing of multiple targets, which makes it a valuable multiplayer class as well as complimenting Nature's other primary focus, summoning. The Nature class is able to summon multiple wolf companions and a bow wielding Sylvan Nymph. Both summons are able to create temporary buffs for their party members that increase damage output (the wolves) and defensive ratings (the Nymph). The Nature class itself is also capable of creating its own long term buff which increases allies max health and resistances.
This is primarily a damage dealing class, while it can't take many hits, a little down the line it have the potential to become one of the heaviest melee damage dealing classes. Unlike the Warfare class (next on the list), Rogues mainly focus their damage on one target, since they do not have any skills that attack multiple targets. In addition to their instant damage attacks, Rogues also use damage over time (DoT) skills to increase their damage output. This includes poisons that slowly drains life, and bleeding damage that saps life over time. Rouges are also known for heavily emphasizing piercing damage which subverts enemy armor.
This is the opposite of the defender class, instead of taking damage, it deals the damage. This is the straight forward warrior class of the game. The main focus of the Warfare class is to deal as much direct weapon damage as possible. A useful feature of the Warfare class is that it can damage multiple opponents simultaneously while still dealing massive damage to the primary target. The warfare class is also the only class that enables dual wielding weapons. Complimenting its heavy focus on damage output, the Warfare mastery also includes buffs to increase speed and damage for all party member.
Spirit is, in essence, the Necromantic class of Titan Quest. The class is a bit eclectic in its focus with many skills that serve various purposes. It has a direct attack spell that drains enemy vitality and restores health. There is also an aura that weakens enemies by reducing their max health and speed. Spirit characters also have access to a skill that boosts damage dealing ability of staves significantly and causes them to shoot three projectiles rather than one (though as of the most recent patch many have argued that the increase in manna cost makes this skill's usefulness suspect). Most significantly, however, the spirit class has access to the Lich King summon. The Lich King has substantial damage dealing potential in its own right as well as the ability to cast several damaging spells.
Famous is the anti-piracy 'bug' the developers had build into the game and which bit them eventually in the tail. The game was protected by entering a game-key during installation. A common practice for pirates was to produce a key-generator for a game, or to supply a patched executable to circumvent this security feature and to play the game without restrictions (and paying for it). The developers however could detect this situation, and have the game crash after you exit a certain dungeon.
This backfired on them as during the first days after launch a storm of messages about this flooded the internet, basically saying the game was flawed. Of course if you nicely bought the game nothing happened, but it showed how many people were actually playing a pirated version of the game. The buzz on the internet however was that the game was no good, and because the developers did not respond on the problem during that period, it actually made things worse and it actually stopped people from buying the game. In the end this eventually made the developer go bankrupt because the game sold far less than expected.
Town Portal Controversy
This game features the Teleportation concept, which in comparison to the Diablo games, is a bit different. Instead of having teleport scrolls, you don't have any, you just have a button on the HUD that you click to create a town portal. The controversy between this and Diablo II is not the concept, but the actual image. Seen to the right, the UI image for the scroll is an exact picture of a Town Portal from Diablo II.
On a sidenote, when the late Ryan Davis (of Giant Bomb's own Bomb Squad) reviewed Titan Quest for GameSpot, he entirely missed that it was possible for players to fast travel back to town, and complained about the lack of such a feature in his review. When he realized his error, he amended the text and slightly improved the score.
PC System Requirements
- 1.8 Ghz Intel Pentium 4 equivalent or AMD Athelon XP or equivalent
- 512 MB RAM
- 64 MB NVIDIA GeForce 3 or equivalent or ATI Radeon 8500 series with Pixel Shader 1.1 support or equivalent
- DirectX 9.0c compatible 16-bit sound card
- 5 GB free harddrive space
- 8x or faster CD-ROM drive
- Keyboard, Mouse
- Windows 2000 or XP
- 3.0 Ghz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent
- 1 GB RAM
- 128 MB NVIDIA GeForce 6800 or equivalent
- Soundblaster X-Fi series
Required for Multiplayer:
- 1 set of disks per computer
- Internet: Cable modem, DSL modem, or better for online play
- Network: LAN or better broadband WAN