Titan Quest: Immortal Throne Designer Diary #1 - Overview of the Expansion

Producer Michael Verrette introduces us to the new features in the expansion to the hack-and-slash action role-playing game Titan Quest.

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When Titan Quest was released earlier this year, it allowed gamers to plunge into the mythological past. You created a warrior of the ancient world and traveled around the Mediterranean and the Far East to battle all sorts of mystical foes. The action, similar to that of Diablo, required you to hack-and-slash across a detailed and beautiful virtual world, using magic and weapons to slay your foes. Now THQ and developer Iron Lore Entertainment are busy working on Titan Quest: Immortal Throne, an expansion that will continue your adventures in the past by introducing a number of new locales and features. Immortal Throne will ship early next year.

Overview of Immortal Throne

By Michael Verrette
Producer, Iron Lore Entertainment

Return to the ancient past in the Immortal Throne expansion for Titan Quest.
Return to the ancient past in the Immortal Throne expansion for Titan Quest.

This developer diary series will take a look at some of the new features you'll find in Titan Quest: Immortal Throne, as well as preview some of the new levels, skills, monsters, and items. When we set out to design the Immortal Throne expansion, it was important for us to build a game experience that is not just a continuation of Titan Quest, but rather full of unique situations and encounters. We added a ton of new content, but we also wanted to improve the game in areas that would benefit the original worlds as well. Also, we hoped to address some of the wonderful community feedback on the original Titan Quest, and do what we could to give the players the additional features that they had been asking for.

In Immortal Throne, players return to the Mediterranean and are eventually sent into the underworld to combat an evil advancing army. We raised the level cap to 75 to allow for natural character growth throughout the expansion levels. Players will journey through historic Rhodes and Epirus, transverse the famed river Styx, cross the Plains of Judgment, and clash swords with the generals of the dark army on the famed fields of Elysium. These levels comprise 15 hours of new gameplay at each difficulty level, as well as more than 30 new quests.

The expansion will still feature the fast-paced, action-oriented gameplay found in the original Titan Quest, and the loot-collecting is better than ever. We have added over 400 new pieces of equipment. There are new affixes for weapons, new relics and charms, and 20 new monster types to hunt for rare loot. Caravans now travel between all the major cities providing players with added storage space for collecting items they may not wish to carry with them at all times. Additionally, caravans will enable players to transfer items between their characters.

The battle shifts to the underworld, where you'll battle a dark army.
The battle shifts to the underworld, where you'll battle a dark army.

Enchanters are another new type of non-player character that can be found in Immortal Throne. These characters serve two main roles. First, they will allow players to separate relics from items, and players will have to choose which of the two they wish to recover. They will graciously do this for a fee of course, and the rarer the item or relic, the higher the cost. Enchanters will also allow characters to create powerful items called artifacts, should the player become lucky enough to acquire any of the highly coveted "arcane formula." These formulae are a recipe of sorts--bringing the recipe as well as the required relics to the enchanter will allow them to create an artifact. More-powerful artifacts require rarer and more-powerful ingredients. Eventually players will even be creating artifacts made from artifacts themselves. Once created, these artifacts can be equipped on the player and will bestow powerful bonuses and skills.

Scrolls have also been added to the game. Scrolls are essentially one-shot spells and buffs that the player can use to complement his or her mastery skills. They can be acquired from merchants found throughout the ancient world and come in a variety of flavors. The more powerful the scroll, the higher the price tag. Players will be able to assign the scrolls to their hot slot bar and then fire them instantly while in combat, just like a regular skill.

The new dream-mastery skill tab adds an additional nine player classes to the game. This new skill tab was designed from the ground up to be a solid choice as a primary skill tab for both melee and ranged characters, as well as function as a strong secondary support tab. It features a wide array of direct damage, crowd control, and buff-type skills. We will be exploring the dream-mastery skill tab in more detail in the next developer diary.

The expansion should arrive in early 2007.
The expansion should arrive in early 2007.

In addition to adding all of these new features, we spent a considerable amount of time improving the existing game systems. The game economy is completely overhauled in Immortal Throne, and with the enchanters and scrolls there are now more options for players to spend their hard-earned gold on. Other improvements include auto-sort buttons in the inventory, a second hot slot bar, enhanced pet artificial intelligence and control, and a redesigned multiplayer lobby, plus tons of additional features that we will discuss in future articles. Under the hood, we have also rewritten our save-game system and added numerous performance tweaks that will provide an improved gaming experience.

As we wrap up work on Immortal Throne, we are very excited to get the expansion out into the hands of the players. For us at Iron Lore, Immortal Throne doesn't just provide more gameplay, more equipment, and more monsters, it redefines the entire Titan Quest experience.

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