Skirt Wearing Weather

The adventures of one man and his spiritual wolf.

Which will one day be three wolves. I’m not entirely sure how one wolf magically splits into three- but I’m not asking questions! I’m surprised I can even conjure living beings out of thin air. Or, in the case of the nymph, out of some otherworldly bulb. But that’s the path I chose to take and it certainly helps to have covering fire. Yes, you guessed it- it’s time for more Titan Quest adventures. These were brought on by the recent release of the Titan Quest Anniversary Edition. Which is really just an excuse to spend several hours clicking on mythical creatures and monsters.

Not that I’m entirely opposed to the revival of a classic ARPG.

For this build I decided to combine the close combat benefits that Warfare Mastery brings with the pets (and buffing capability) of Nature Mastery. I was thinking about Defense Mastery for a while, but it doesn’t really have any damage capability. Nature Mastery also lacks any decent damage capability outside of Plague. So I decided to take Warfare Mastery and (one of my favourite abilities) Onslaught. Trying out War Wind for the first time, too. Hoping to get that upgraded soon so that it can bleed multiple targets. I’ve also taken Battle Standard to further increase his versatility and to allow him to easily take down bosses, take on hordes of enemies, or simply have another buff.

It’s unlikely he’s going to use any of the healing abilities that Nature Mastery offers. Mostly because he doesn’t have the energy to use them. That said, he doesn’t really need them as pets are surprisingly good even with only a few points of investment. Just a singular wolf and nymph bolstered by Heart of Oak is a considerable damage increase.

Bigger than the ones back home.
Bigger than the ones back home.

The wolf also gives the enemies something else to attack. The nymph can snipe enemies from a considerable distance, while, if they close the distance, she actually runs to a safe distance before continuing to attack. It’s quite amazing. As I’ve known many AI companions who would simply stand there and get beat on if the enemies approached them. She also has ranged attacks- which his build lacks- so she’s able to pin down retreating enemies. The nymph has some great passive abilities, too. I just need to spend more in Nature Mastery for them.

It’s incredibly tempting to invest the points just for the passive abilities.

I’m quite impressed with the Anniversary Edition so far. I appreciated the character import process which allowed me to bring all of my older characters over to the new version. Complete with any required updates to make them work properly with this version. Likewise, I’m pleased that it doesn’t feel that different at all. It still feels like Titan Quest- which is good- as it should. I’ve had no issues running it, either. Not that I ever had any issues running Titan Quest. But, if you did, the Anniversary Edition may resolve those issues. If it doesn’t, they’re still actively patching it so they might resolve them at a later date. Overall it’s an incredibly solid update of an incredibly enjoyable ARPG.

I was thinking about writing something closer to release. That said, I wasn’t really sure what I could say about it without having spent several hours with it first. An enjoyable several hours at that. The Titan Quest Anniversary Edition is probably one of the best releases I’ve ever seen- new or old- and it’s worth your time if you enjoy Titan Quest.

Have a nice week, all!


Titan Quest: Immortal Throne

Love ancient mythology? Love travelling the world? You do? Awesome!

Titan Quest is a game I could rave about for hours. Hours and hours, posts and posts, on and on. It’s a title that I feel pushed the envelope with many of the mechanics ARPGs typically had and blew other ARPGs out of the water because of it. There’s so much to enjoy here- the quests, the story, the classes, the class combinations, the skills, the equipment, the locations, the scenery, the graphics, and just about everything else that you’ll encounter along the way. Even the fights! Those are great, too.

First and foremost (and arguably most fun) is the class system.

You could say I have a frosty disposition.
You could say I have a frosty disposition.

Instead of picking a singular class at creation you start classless and when you level up for the first time you make the move to whatever discipline(s) interest you. At first you are only able to unlock a singular class, yet later you can combine it with another class, or remain singular for more specialisation. While this may not seem too exciting the skill system also has a lot to boast about. Namely, a rarity for ARPGs, and perhaps RPGs in general, the lack of replaceable skills. When you take a particular skill you won’t be replacing it with a more powerful clone later- instead several passives unlock to empower that skill to make it even more awesome.

If you should happen to make any mistakes in the classes you choose there is a respec option available as soon as you reach the first major town, which at a gold cost can erase those mistakes. You can’t, however, undo mastery choices, so if you pick Warfare/Nature you’re stuck with it. All choices within either are reversible, though.

Questing and combat are the two core parts of the title and you’ll spend most of your time doing either.

Rarely for ARPGs there are a range of side quests available (but these are not randomised like the quest system in the first Diablo), there are a number of main quests, and the story flows with an almost open world feel. You’ll find many additional optional dungeons and locations to explore, too. This is one of those titles where you’ll find yourself investing easily over 20 hours if you take the time to soak up the content. Given that, like many ARPGs before it, this is repeatable on higher difficulty settings- that’s a lot of time in total.

Immortal Throne does add some notable improvements, too. Including Act IV, the Dream mastery, new items to craft, and many improvements to the base game as a whole. However, if you are a purist, and happen to have bought Titan Quest: Immortal Throne, you’ll more than likely get the two as separate games. So you can play Titan Quest classic should you wish to.

While I would like to talk about the many other wonderful things that you can do, that you will see, and that you probably will experience- I just haven’t the space in one post. It’s an absolutely huge game that has a lot of content and can be replayed several times. It is also an older game so it’s usually really cheap on Steam, GOG, Humble Store, and so on even when not on sale. Moreso when it is on sale. If consider yourself a fan of ARPGs but have yet to play it- give it a go! If you’re looking at Grim Dawn- give this a go. (As the engine that powers Grim Dawn is a modified and updated version of the Titan Quest engine.)

Have a nice weekend, all!


First Impressions of… Grim Dawn

I don’t always spend money on Early Access titles- but when I do they’re RPGs.

So, recently I was on the Humble Store looking at all the deals which were available this week and one title caught my eye- Grim Dawn. I’ve unofficially followed it for quite some time as it promises gritty, challenging, diverse ARPG action using a modified (and updated) version of the Titan Quest engine. While Titan Quest doesn’t hold as much importance in my ARPG history as Diablo II- it’s still an amazing game. One that I must finish at some point, too!

You get fire, you get fire, you get fire- everyone gets fire!
You get fire, you get fire, you get fire- everyone gets fire!

Grim Dawn has some really tasty skills and passives which give you an edge in melee not unlike the one you would get while playing ranged or magical classes. In short, in most ARPGs, playing a melee class is usually incredibly good early on as your gear gives you quite a bit more damage and your higher than average health pool gives you good survivability. However, as you progress, usually about a third through the main story, you drop off dramatically in terms of survivability compared to your ranged counterparts. Mostly as your health doesn’t scale well enough to compensate heavier damage and your ranged counterparts need not worry about that, as, well, they don’t get hit.

The combat features a range of enemies which are high priority. From stepping out of the gate the first time I began to identify enemies that hurled painfully damaging attacks, vomited acid (or bile), and some that froze you solid. It’s insanely fun as you’re always thinking on your feet. Yet, the enemies do have patterns, they do have general clusters of abilities, so not everything is new- just new enough for you to feel each encounter is unique. Also that each encounter is challenging, fun, and possibly going to show you something you haven’t seen yet.

To be honest, if I didn’t know this was an Early Access title, I would swear it was a fully completed game. The environments, character animations, character models, graphics, GUI, and just about everything else feels really polished. It’s obvious that a lot of love, care, and attention went into creating something that feels good to play and more than likely fun to design and test.

Not to draw too many comparisons as these two titles take different design directions. But the Diablo III Open Beta was perhaps the worst beta I’ve ever been a part of. The servers constantly crashed, the locations were limited, the quests were few, the actual range of content was quite small, the characters didn’t feel particularly good to play nor did they have many of their unique skills (or any way to access them) yet, and so on. To the point that I felt that the game needed a lot more polish. One month before release and I wanted to cancel my pre-order (and I wish I did).

Grim Dawn, I think, is set to release at the end of 2015, but that could change. Yet at this moment in time it already feels complete. It plays beautifully. It’s, well, there are no words. It’s amazing.

While I most likely won’t exhaust the content that is available to play, I will be trying different classes, and different builds, as this looks like it’s going to have an awful lot. In short, if you have a passion for ARPGs and enjoy the days of Diablo II or Titan Quest- invest in the Early Access. You won’t regret it.

Have a nice weekend, all!