Titan Quest: Immortal Throne Designer Diary #2 - The Dream Mastery

Designer Ian Frazier tells us how you'll bend the fabric of reality using the new dream mastery in Titan Quest: Immortal Throne.

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Titan Quest, last year's Diablo-style action role-playing game set in the mythological ancient world, will get a bit bigger this year with the Immortal Throne expansion. Set in the ancient Greeks' idea of the underworld, Immortal Throne will have you battling demons, spirits, and more on the famed Stygian Plains, which is where spirits go when they die. You'll also be able to play around with new skill masteries, which will offer up new abilities and powers at your command. To introduce us to the new dream mastery, we have gameplay designer Ian Frazier. Immortal Throne will ship early this year.

The Dream Mastery

By Ian Frazier
Gameplay Designer, Iron Lore Entertainment

In this installment of our developer diary series, I'd like to talk about one of the biggest new additions in Titan Quest: Immortal Throne: The dream mastery. The dream mastery presents you with an assortment of 20 new skills, all of which are focused on the power of the mind. A dream character (called a seer) has the power to warp and distort the natural universe through sheer willpower, bending the very fabric of reality and even time itself. Having mastered many modes of meditation and lucid dreaming, these warriors have unlocked the entirety of their minds. They see beyond what we know as reality, and can alter the waking world to their will.

The new dream mastery sure has some, well, dreamy effects.
The new dream mastery sure has some, well, dreamy effects.

Among the first skills you will gain as a seer is the trance. Seers have the ability to go into a trance state, during which special benefits are conferred. Three unique trances are available in Immortal Throne: the trance of empathy, which forces enemies to share in the pain that they inflict upon you; the trance of convalescence, which allows you to heal at a remarkable rate and absorb damage in the heat of battle; and the trance of wrath, which weakens and burns all enemies around the player with dark psionic energy. Trances are extremely powerful, but only one can be active at a time, so the player will learn which trance is best for each situation and use it accordingly.

In addition to trances, the seer may call upon the sands of sleep, sending foes into a deep slumber that removes them from combat, allowing the player to either flee or smite them down at his leisure. Another exciting early skill is psionic touch, which grants the seer the ability to attack multiple enemies at once, regardless of his chosen weapon, and also increases all damage dealt, either physical or elemental.

Skills like distortion wave let the seer attack large numbers of monsters at once before charging in to destroy them by initially harming them or "debuffing" them--that is, de-powering them by removing any protective magic they might have and reducing their strength and skills. And what better way to charge in than with phantom strike, a new dream mastery skill that grants the ability to slip into the dream world and become invisible, only to resurface and strike a chosen foe with devastating force? With the dream stealer modifier, this skill will let the seer strike an entire group of enemies and siphon energy from them as they die.

Once in the heart of a monster camp, a seer can use the distort reality skill to send forth a ripple of reality-bending mental energy that does tremendous physical and vitality damage to all foes. With the temporal rift modifier, the skill does even greater damage, and can halt the flow of time for all enemies in the area.

Finally, the dream mastery makes a new pet available to you: the nightmare, a creature born from the darkest dreams of men. The nightmare can burn enemies with beams of psionic energy from its hideous eye, and confuse entire crowds of monsters with its hypnotic gaze. Its greatest power, though, is called mastermind. With mastermind, the nightmare can buff itself, as well as all other pets under your control, turning your small band of creatures into a veritable army.

Fans of Titan Quest won't want to miss out on the Immortal Throne.
Fans of Titan Quest won't want to miss out on the Immortal Throne.

With these and other unique new skills, the dream mastery stands strong on its own. However, it also serves as an excellent complement to any of the existing eight masteries in Titan Quest. It has been designed to be the ultimate hybrid class, equally good with either a melee warrior or a spellcaster. If you're a fan of pets, the nightmare pet and its mastermind ability will make you much, much more effective. If you like to wade into melee combat, skills like psionic touch will make you much more deadly, and skills like distortion wave will allow you to weaken a camp of monsters before you take them out. As a pure caster, the trance of empathy will provide you much-needed protection from ranged attackers like archers by returning their damage back to them. No matter what your character build, skills like sands of sleep and distort reality are enormously valuable for crowd control.

Another great thing about the dream mastery is how well it is suited to cooperative multiplayer. First of all, your trances benefit your allies in addition to yourself. Next, your very formidable crowd-control skills help to keep attacks from large numbers of monsters from becoming overwhelming. Your nightmare pet helps with the crowd control by confusing large numbers of monsters, and, more importantly, its mastermind ability allows it to greatly strengthen not only your own pets, but those belonging to your allies as well. Combined with the damage output that you'll be capable of with skills like psionic touch and distort reality, the seer is exactly the sort of character you'll want to bring along on your next multiplayer adventure.

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