It was the year 2006; the year of The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion. According to the 2006 in Video Gaming Wiki it was also the year of many other games, but for me there was only one. Oblivion. It was also the game that taught me to obsessively quick-save every two minutes, before entering a cave or portal or city, initiating a dialogue, alt-tabbing... eek.
But then, I was introduced to another.
I was 19 years old, out of school, out of home, working 8:30am to 5:30pm. Independent. Living my own life. Having my friends visit without the Law of the Parents taking precedence. Staying out all night if I wanted to. Surviving on $2-a-day-lasagne while saving my money for more important things... like a better computer. 😀
When the day arrived to clean out my savings account, it was a bittersweet moment. Hooray, new computer / Boohoo, where's my money gone? But when the boxes arrived, I was so excited to get them open and the computer assembled that I accidentally cut into my thumb with the knife I was using to cut through the tape. My thumb and thumbnail is permanently scarred. See:
Soon after this disgraceful wound and glorious acquisition I was invited over to a friend's house. "Stop killing Daedra. Come over and bring the computer with you," they demanded. "Okay!" I cheerfully agreed. Of course, I didn't have a car -- I still don't -- so I called a taxi to take me and my computer a mere 400metres away. I'm sure the driver loved me and my $4 fare.
That night, I was given two games to install. Unreal Tournament 2004 and... Titan Quest.
We -- myself, my friend, and his girlfriend-now-wife -- played the hell out of these two games. The instinct of a twitch shooter still lives within me all these years later, an instinct that has gotten me killed in many unrelated games. 😂 Lookin' at you, Minecraft and your sneaky appearing-out-of-nowhere Zombie Pigmen.
But when it came to Titan Quest... I had never played an Action RPG before and I was hooked. I had no idea what the heck was going on. What the story was. What quests we were doing and why we were doing them... but we were killing ALL the things, getting ALL the loot, making ALL the gold... well, I was anyway. 😉
In Titan Quest the default keybind is L, not T. But it was something I would do every 5 minutes. We would barely clear a cave when I'd triumphantly shout, "I must return to town!" or "Who else needs a portal?"
My friend and his wife would shake their heads and wait for me to sell all the broken and common items I had picked up, and I would pick ALL of them up. It wouldn't be til much later that I realised yellow items were better and aqua items were even more betterer and that I really didn't have to pick up every tiny little thing to become a millionaire.
And then... I discovered that sometimes, some creatures drop certain things that, when combined, could give gear benefits. AND I discovered if we all closed the game and then re-opened it, things would come back to life so I could kill them AGAIN in the hopes of obtaining their special things.
I don't know how they put up with me. 😂
Many turtles roamed this beach. Turtles that would occasionally drop bits of their shell as a special token. I demanded that we killed these poor turtles many, many times.
Their shell gave a shield bonus.
Was I wearing a shield? Did I care about defence? Did I have any actual use for such a token?
I was a dual-wielding warrior with the spirits of the earth at my bidding! Clearly, I needed a shield boost. 😉
(I have a shield in the screenshots. These screenshots were taken yesterday! Haha!)
I would just like to note here that WoW's Burning Crusade wasn't released until January 2007. Draenei weren't released until Burning Crusade. And here, in 2006, we have a clear depiction of blue Draenei looking things, WITH a fallen meteor crystal thing nearby.
Dun dun dunnnnnnnnnn.
With friends by my side, thousands of creatures to kill, thousands of items to loot, music blaring and alcoholic beverages nearby, Titan Quest ended up being one of my favourite games, and playing it paved the way for my enjoyment in other games.
There was once a time where I had no interest in playing multiplayer things. I was a recluse, happy with my single player RPGs: Morrowind, Oblivion, Neverwinter Nights, Final Fantasy X, Kingdom Hearts! But thanks to my time in Titan Quest, I discovered the joy of The Multiplayer and soon found myself dabbling in things I never would have before: Borderlands, Puzzle Pirates, and World of Warcraft mostly, which led the way to my Star Wars: The Old Republic and Elder Scrolls Online obsessions!
I chatted with people and made friends from all around the world! It was glorious.
Nowadays, while I still enjoy a good single player game, I'm also happy to heal dungeons in Elder Scrolls Online, chat to people in Discord or Skype while PVPing, play fancier, newer ARPGs like Grim Dawn and Path of Exile. Even Diablo 3.😅 And it's all thanks to the year 2006 and Titan Quest. And I suppose, my friends who demanded I drag my computer over to their house on one fateful night. 😉