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  • Motivation to back the game if you didn't like Titan Quest

    Hello there.

    I'm pretty impressed by all these new Kickstarter projects that are currently popping up everywhere. I just backed Shadowrun Returns and when I read that there's a Diablo killer project out there it immediately gained my interest.

    That is, up until the point where it became clear that this game was a spiritual successor to Titan's Quest, which I didn't particularly like (read my gamersgate review here: gamersgate.com/DD-TQ/titan-quest, scroll down to user b0n3m4n).

    So I thought that while there might be a lot of Titan Quest fans out there who do not need to be convinced to back this game, there is a number of TQ dislikers like me who might be won over by addressing the main complaints (possibly this has been done already and needs to be communicated better).

    To make this clear: I have been a huge fan of the Diablo series since the day it came out and I am shocked what Blizzard is currently doing to it. So I'm generally in favour of the genre, and I am very critical since there are so few worthy incarnations.

    The purpose of this thread is to collect all the things that were amiss in TQ to help the developers in their decision what elements might need improvement in Grim Dawn. In the end, I really want to like GD and I am considering backing the game, but I don't want to be disappointed like I was with TQ.

    So without further ado, my personal issues with Titan Quest, please bear in mind that this is only one person's opinion so take it for whatever it's worth:

    Lacking storyline/atmosphere: A great game needs to pull the player in from the very first moment. This tension needs to build up to each and every sub boss which should be presented according to its significance and end with the final climactic boss fight. This is something that was very well done by Diablo I, where bits and pieces of information about the different bosses were revealed before facing them. Another perfect example for a game that causes immediate immersion (although from a different genre) was Bastion by its brilliant voice acting.

    Boring conversations: The NPC conversations were very bland and almost none that I can think of really furthered the story in a way that made me want to play the game more. A an avid reader I object to arbitrarily scattered characters with nothing to say. Each and every person you meet should be a fleshed out character and have something important so say. I read on the forums that there won't be any NPCs to interact with but there will be a journal, and that might be a good decision on the other extreme of the spectrum, but I hope that this will be an adequate mechanism to further the story. I really like reading a well written yarn, even in an action oriented game (I immensely enjoyed the text-based sections in Nier), but I cannot stand meaningless chatter.

    Unsatifactory Skill Tree: This one was pretty unforgivable to me. A well-designed skill tree should be filled with so much cool stuff that the player is hard pressed to make a decision whenever there are skill points to be attributed. This is part of the motivation of leveling up. When playing TQ however, the skills were useful but not breathtaking. Maybe it's just me, but there were a lot of mediocre skills but almost none that would pique my interest so much that I would consider working towards it.

    So these are my personal main points. I would love to hear from other people who had issues with TQ.

    And finally, one request: This thread's purpose is not to bash an existing game, but rather to improve a future one. So please keep it civil and on topic.
    Last edited by eisprinzessin; 04-30-2012, 07:50 PM. Reason: set link

  • #2
    Not going to bash your opinions since of course everyone is entitled to them, but I do feel a response from someone who did like the game is in order

    Lacking storyline/atmosphere

    I think this point probably is a pretty valid criticism, specifically with NPC's and atmosphere since other games in the genre (notably Diablo) have done a much better job in this department. I think the setting in TQ was great though, but agreed the atmosphere could have been a bit more compelling. Perhaps TQ's 'brighter' graphics and tone was to blame, at the very least Grim Dawn is much darker and grittier.

    Boring conversations

    I definitely do not agree each and every NPC needs to be an interesting and fleshed out character. This is not a traditional RPG and even other ARPG's in this genre that did conversations/NPC's better did not have this. What could be improved maybe is the dialog between the 'main' NPC's. Beyond that I think the other main improvement is making secondary NPC's do something other than just stand around. Basically they don't need extensive dialog for these characters, but they could act a little more real. So a blacksmith pounding on their anvils, herders tending to their flock, ect. I think that would go a long way to help with the first criticism as well (atmosphere).

    Unsatifactory Skill Tree

    This point I gotta disagree with almost entirely. I won't say there's no room for improvement over TQ, but the skill system in TQ was imo one of it's greatest strengths. Even within the same mastery combinations I found many instances of different builds around different main skills. Lots of great skills that not only simply got more powerful numerically, but also changed in more tangible ways. Compared to the other games in the genre I think TQ's skills system is the best, even over Diablo 2.

    Anyways that's just my take, I'm sure your feedback is appreciated by the devs non-the-less.
    "I've always felt that a person's intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting points of view he can entertain simultaneously on the same topic."

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Cerno View Post
      So I thought that while there might be a lot of Titan Quest fans out there who do not need to be convinced to back this game, there is a number of TQ dislikers like me who might be won over by addressing the main complaints (possibly this has been done already and needs to be communicated better).
      might be hard to get the dislikers on board so early, if we get everyone who liked it, that would already be amazing

      Lacking storyline/atmosphere: A great game needs to pull the player in from the very first moment. This tension needs to build up to each and every sub boss which should be presented according to its significance and end with the final climactic boss fight. This is something that was very well done by Diablo I, where bits and pieces of information about the different bosses were revealed before facing them. Another perfect example for a game that causes immediate immersion (although from a different genre) was Bastion by its brilliant voice acting.
      has been forever since I played D1, but I guess for some bosses they did that better agreed. In TQ you came across a boss in many environments, but the environment was not a lead-up to the boss, he kinda popped up in it (for the most part).

      Boring conversations: The NPC conversations were very bland and almost none that I can think of really furthered the story in a way that made me want to play the game more. A an avid reader I object to arbitrarily scattered characters with nothing to say. Each and every person you meet should be a fleshed out character and have something important so say. I read on the forums that there won't be any NPCs to interact with but there will be a journal, and that might be a good decision on the other extreme of the spectrum, but I hope that this will be an adequate mechanism to further the story. I really like reading a well written yarn, even in an action oriented game (I immensely enjoyed the text-based sections in Nier), but I cannot stand meaningless chatter.
      How is that different from Diablo ? Admittedly it has been a while since I played that, but I do not recall great conversations in that (or found any in D3 beta).

      Also, I disagree that everyone has to say something useful / meaningful. I am fine with almost no one saying anything meaningful, as long as the ones that do are easily identified. If everyone had to say something meaningful, the only way to accomplish that were to get rid of most NPCs

      If you cannot stand meaningless chatter, don't talk to them - it's what I did

      Unsatifactory Skill Tree: This one was pretty unforgivable to me. A well-designed skill tree should be filled with so much cool stuff that the player is hard pressed to make a decision whenever there are skill points to be attributed. This is part of the motivation of leveling up. When playing TQ however, the skills were useful but not breathtaking. Maybe it's just me, but there were a lot of mediocre skills but almost none that would pique my interest so much that I would consider working towards it.
      Do not get this at all, imo the skill trees were better than in any other ARPG I played. Yes, there are skills which are more useful than others, so there probably are some you never pick because of that - and that should be improved - but there clearly were good skills, just not all of them were.

      Comment


      • #4
        About a week ago I had a conversation (via Kickstarter messages) with Arthur Bruno (lead designer) about pretty much those exact issues.

        I can't literally quote most of it because he spoke quite frankly and in the real world there is still a difference between what everyone knows and what you can say publicly. =P

        The bottom line of why Grim Dawn is better:
        • better feedback from skills / actions through better (physical) reaction to hits,
          nice, crunchy impact sounds,
          blood is allowed to leave bodies

        • Difficulty.
          In Grim Dawn this is not a 4 letter word.
          If you run right into the middle of a horde of monsters, you'd better know what you're doing.
          Without difficulty no amount of content or skill system can be interesting. Why bother when the standard attack is all you'll ever need?

        • Fair share of active skills so you're actively influencing what's happening.
          This, too, can be overdone but Arthur is aware of little facts like not everyone being able to do 250 meaningful APM.

        • "More emphasis has also been put into building enemies with skills and AI that keep the player moving and require a more tactical approach to defeat them."
        totus vestri castrum es nostrum possessia

        Comment


        • #5
          yes the storyline and the NPC dialogs were a bit shallow, but TQ's skill tree was the reason i dislike many games. TQ's way of representing and combining skills made it possible for even the most uncommon builds to be effective, and sometimes excel in their task. what i think should be improved are the 1 point wonders. they should make them worth investing more points into, but on the whole, the skill tree was what kept me playing it all these years. although the class combinations are finite, the builds are in fact infinite. you could choose to make a character focusing on a damage type, making him a hybrid to equip also melee gear, and each require their own skills to be effective, sometimes devastating. imo, the skill tree limited the players only by their imagination.

          Comment


          • #6
            i guess his last point could be illustrated by a comparison of titan quest and diablo 2:

            in titan quest you've got 'volley' as high level passive skill that adds a chance to fire 3 arrows in quick succession, whereas in diablo 2 the amazon has 'multi shot' very early on that lets you fire up to 20 arrows every pull of the bowstring.

            not that i agree with the assessment though because you've got to put that into the bigger context:

            what titan quest did (if i were to justifiy it) was to escape the inevitable working towards two/three high tier skills that defined your built (at least for most classes) leaving a lot of the skills in a tree completely unused and indeed useless (for balancing reasons and besides the 1.1 synergies). you've got so much more viable possibilities in titan quest it's not even funny, the power of a built is split up across the whole tree/pane to mix & match for what you have in mind.
            Last edited by durruti; 04-30-2012, 04:41 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks all for the very constructive points you brought up.

              Some comments to what you said:

              Atmosphere

              I agree with Renevent that TQ's atmosphere problem was for a great part due to lighting, and I can already clearly see that GD goes in a complete different direction, which looks very promising.

              As mamba said, there was little to no lead up to bosses in TQ, which is kind of realistic, but also kind of boring. I think it is important that a sub boss is more than just a different looking guy that's bigger and harder. In my opinion a sub boss has to be introduced properly so it leads to a better sense of accomplishment after defeating it. An outstanding example of this would be the classic Vagrant Story (for those who were around in the Playstation 1 days). This game had a ton of sub-bosses and each was properly introduced by a little cut-scene with some really nice camera work.

              Storytelling and Dialogs
              This point is probably moot by now, since as far as I know there won't be any NPCs in this game. Anyway, I probably didn't phrase it right. What I meant is that each NPC should have something interesting to say or at least something worth your while. Good examples are some of the better JRPGs which also have a lot of folks running around with nothing to say that's important to the story. Often you talk to people who give you their take on the state of affairs in the country or small personal stories that are in some way connected to the global picture. I think the main reason I ignored the conversations in TQ was that too many of them were too long with too little content. As I said, I'm an avid reader and I don't mind reading texts in games, but they should be entertaining in some way. To sum it up: Good writing is never to be underestimated in a video game, be it NPC text or journal entries. Neverwinter Nights has pages after pages of text and there was some garbage in it, but there were so many well-written stories hidden in all these tomes, that it was fun to take a few minutes to browse the books you found. I just hope that Grim Dawn can get some good writing done. Does anyone know whether there are any samples available?

              Skill Tree
              I am not sure why I found the Skill Tree lacking as I believe that many of you consider it a strong point of the game. Maybe I chose a bad build or I misunderstood the system, but for some reason it didn't work for me. If I remember correctly, often I didn't feel the impact of my decisions. I think in Diablo whenever you upgrade or open up a new skill, you immediately felt that it altered the way you played or monsters were easier to defeat, but maybe that's just the fond memories speaking. Maybe I just had a problem with the fact that I didn't feel that I was growing as a character.

              @Gazz: I think the physical feel of attacks is one of the most important gameplay factors and often overlooked. Titan Quest was (to me) clearly lacking in that department. Together with what I said in the previous paragraph I hope that improving a certain skill will also increase the feedback from it. It might be a lot of work to give each skill level a unique animation and sound but it would be awesome if such depth was available. Anyway, make me feel that I'm progressing as a character and I'm a happy panda.

              Thanks again for the very positive discussion here. I'll lurk around some more and chances are good that I'll back this thing if there's nothing that absolutely turns me off (which there isn't at this point).
              Last edited by Cerno; 04-30-2012, 06:00 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Grim Dawn has NPCs.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm sorry, I thought I read in some discussion thread that there weren't. Anyway then that point isn't moot and I would like to reiterate that every line delivered by an NPC should be part of the story.

                  If a girl tells me that her parents are upset all the time because people keep vanishing from the village, that's perfectly fine as it helps setting the mood. But please don't let some random guy drone on and on about some legendary sword if he can't put it in an interesting context.

                  For my tastes, long stories belong in books to be found along the way or should be scattered among different NPCs so that the story can be pieced together bit by bit.

                  Maybe my memory of TQ is a bit clouded, but I think what mainly went on my nerves was the amount of slowly scrolling long boring text passages to read.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Regarding TQ's skills - often I found it difficult to make out from the skills's description how it actually works or how much skill points I need to investigate before it becomes useful, especially if I activated a skill later in the game, where 1 or 2 points are insufficient. So, my first build was rather ineffective, but I still enjoyed TQ despite/due to the increased challenge. May I assume this is where TQ's skills failed you?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Cerno View Post
                      I'm sorry, I thought I read in some discussion thread that there weren't. Anyway then that point isn't moot and I would like to reiterate that every line delivered by an NPC should be part of the story.

                      If a girl tells me that her parents are upset all the time because people keep vanishing from the village, that's perfectly fine as it helps setting the mood. But please don't let some random guy drone on and on about some legendary sword if he can't put it in an interesting context.

                      For my tastes, long stories belong in books to be found along the way or should be scattered among different NPCs so that the story can be pieced together bit by bit.

                      Maybe my memory of TQ is a bit clouded, but I think what mainly went on my nerves was the amount of slowly scrolling long boring text passages to read.
                      I agree that the long scrolling text was annoying and didn't really add to the feel of the quest it self. I'm personally really looking forward to seeing what they do with the story and factions etc. They have a lot they can work with here.

                      As for the bosses, another thing I agree with. They seemed randomly placed in the area sometimes with a random NPC or specific NPC stating "watch out for the gorgon sisters they turn you to stone." Diablo certainly has the bosses down to a tasteful level they all seem meaningful, as well as getting to them felt like a real challenge in terms of the setting. However I think that's just due to the atmosphere and dark gritting feeling. With Grim Dawn the direction certainly seems to be on par.

                      The skill tree is something to this day I still love and praise as one of my favorites. That's not to say it could sure use improvements, however I loved the fact that you had to post points into the tree itself in order to unlock the skills and then get those skills. It made me want to push even further to get the abilities. Some of them however where not as satisfying as they sounded mixed with the fact nothing in that game had blood really took away from the impact of the abilities.
                      Blood for the Blood god!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Yes, Eisprinzessin, that was part of the problem indeed. I think the more time you spend with figuring out different character builds, the more rewarding the skill system becomes.

                        I guess in the end, it simply was not accessible enough for me. That doesn't mean it should be dumbed down, I think the magical words "easy to learn, difficult to master" apply pretty well here.
                        Last edited by Cerno; 04-30-2012, 06:59 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Cerno View Post
                          Skill Tree
                          I am not sure why I found the Skill Tree lacking as I believe that many of you consider it a strong point of the game. Maybe I chose a bad build or I misunderstood the system, but for some reason it didn't work for me. If I remember correctly, often I didn't feel the impact of my decisions. I think in Diablo whenever you upgrade or open up a new skill, you immediately felt that it altered the way you played or monsters were easier to defeat, but maybe that's just the fond memories speaking. Maybe I just had a problem with the fact that I didn't feel that I was growing as a character.
                          I just looked up your review of TQ you spoke about in the first post. I really have no idea what you are talking of here "And most abilities seemed to have a severe downside that made them utterly unappealing.".

                          What downside ? I can see some not being as powerful as others, but I can't think of any skill that had an actual downside.

                          Also in TQ, you can improve the same skill multiple times, so a one time investment is not necessarily making a big difference, but repeated investments certainly do.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mamba View Post
                            I just looked up your review of TQ you spoke about in the first post. I really have no idea what you are talking of here "And most abilities seemed to have a severe downside that made them utterly unappealing.".

                            What downside ? I can see some not being as powerful as others, but I can't think of any skill that had an actual downside.

                            Also in TQ, you can improve the same skill multiple times, so a one time investment is not necessarily making a big difference, but repeated investments certainly do.
                            I have to apologise for my wording in that review. I remember being pretty upset at the game because I expected so much more from it, so I might have been a bit too judgemental. I even finished it but was kind of glad that it was over. To back up my review, here are two skills that I remember having downsides:

                            - Stone Form: Boosts regeneration but prohibits movement
                            - Freezing Blast: Immobilize enemies but make them harder to damage

                            I know, not really "most skills" as I wrote, but I guess that kind of exaggeration was just the rage talking. I think it would have been more accurate to put it like Eisprinzessin. The descriptions often made it difficult to guess the impact of the skills, so may that's why I couldn't find anything that piqued my interest.

                            Maybe I was lacking imagination but honestly, I was looking over the tree several times and was hard pressed to decide which skill to take, but not because there were so many good ones but because I didn't find anything that I wanted.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think it's pretty safe to say that I think if you're a member of this forum you're either

                              A)Someone who liked Titan Quest who wants to get a game made by some of the folks who made it or

                              B)Someone who might not have liked Titan quest who has reasons of your own for thinking Crate is going to make a decent game, in which case it's unnecessary to convince you why you should give Grim Dawn a chance, despite your dislike of Titan Quest, since you've already decided that it isn't a factor in your decision to come here and support Crate.
                              http://www.furaffinity.net/user/zidders/
                              "Shared pain is lessened.Shared joy is increased.Thus we refute entropy."
                              -Spider Robinson

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