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!

Moggie

Knosass – 2015 – Pencil – click for full view on site!

“The monsters have tooth and claw! But, you- you have Zeus like bolts you can throw and I have things to sell you.”

The voice acting is definitely one of the highlights of Titan Quest. Y’see, often in ARPGs, it’s like watching one of those 50s science fiction movies where the lead character is a rocket pilot called Chad Daring or somesuch. Where every other word is combobulator this or astro that. Where every possible science fiction trope is thrown in and you are half way between laughing yourself silly and cringing with every other line. Titan Quest raised the bar to actually provide themed, well delivered, interesting, and emotional dialogue. Where NPCs like shop keepers aren’t mute gold sinks. It’s cool. Well, at least I think so.

That said I will never forgot Gharbad from the first Diablo. “Gharbaa~ad no kill!” Great, great times.

But! I digress. This is not what we’re here to discuss and discuss it we shan’t! Even though we kind of already did. During my time playing Titan Quest with my newest character (in a push to actually finish the game this time) I became slightly enraptured with the character design. Well, what character design there actually is.

I broke the tradition of playing every game for the first time as a warrior to switch to a magical character. However, in a way, the tradition still holds as this isn’t my first character per se. This meant I saw the world in a whole different light- spells, pets, light armour, really big sticks referred to as staves- all this wonderful stuff. Though I’m not too green with mages in ARPGs as I had many a successful Sorceress in Diablo II, I’ve tried a few in Grim Dawn, I’ve played around with the ones in Sacred, and so on. Still a nice side step from fully armoured and stabby.

Knosass - 2015 - PencilOne really funny thing about this character is his name.

I was thinking about what I should call him. I didn’t want to pick any particular kind of name like Roman, or Greek, or the like which is why I chose as I did. Yet it was always in the back of my head that I’d heard that name- or something similar to it- before. Turns out one of the places you go is called Knososs. So, uh, yeah- I guess I had heard it before.

I would say that this piece is probably coming back into the kind of level of work I want to produce. I’m probably running at 80% capacity as it were. Not entirely going as I wanted but it’s close enough that I can patch up the problems as I go and experiment all the while. Which is something this piece features quite a bit of as I wanted to try some new shading styles for the anatomy, for the clothing, and generally everything. Posing and the composition therein is a bit shaky but I can’t have everything. Not yet, anyway. Then again the posing and composition issues are purely down to the fact that I kind of leapt into the piece.

I should have really played around with the angles and the options I had before committing to any one thing. Still, can’t say I don’t like it. It’s also the best piece I’ve done in months.

The second in a short while, too. Couldn’t be more opposite in terms of subject matter! Aliens and ancient warriors with mythical powers who slay dangerous Telkines. Though, again, I’m not complaining about this- it’s like my brain- all over the place!

Have a nice week, all!

Moggie

Art, design, and the like found herein (unless otherwise specified) is drawn and owned by David Wilkshire (also credited as Moggie) from 2006 to present date.

Titan Quest, Telkines, that guy who sells you things before the first Act boss, and all associated trademarks and devices are owned by Iron Lore.

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!

Moggie