Dark Side Analysis: Titles

Titles are a concept that was actually introduced in Warriors of the North, but they didn't do anything back then, hence why I didn't cover them then. In Dark Side, Titles have actual mechanical effects, but you can still only have one Title at a time and each Title is still a one-time offer, making for a bit of an odd dynamic. The game is fortunately nice enough to explain to you what your current Title is and does as well as what your new Title would be and do when you get an opportunity to switch.

Unfortunately, Titles are badly bugged, with many of them triggering inconsistently if at all. Most of the information in this post is actually derived from the .txt file containing all the Titles, rather than based on firsthand experience, since I've had very few of them actually trigger within the game. The game itself also never clarifies what prompted a given Title to trigger, so in some cases my inference may be off-base.

Since so many of these Titles I've never actually seen trigger, I don't know what their proper in-game name is. The .txt file's name is usually conceptually related to the in-game English name, but it's rarely the same and is pretty clearly programmer placeholder name-ese, so I'm not using those in such cases, instead providing an un-capitalized descriptive name ending in a question mark.

Each class has their own 'escapee' Title, but these Titles always do nothing, and will inevitably be replaced by...

Last Hope of the Darkness
Effects: +1 Morale to Orcs, Demons, and Undead.
Acquired: By completing your character's personal 'tutorial' sequence. Specifically, the Spirit of Darkness grants it to you before sending you out into the world.

This is your default Title, and if your version of the game is buggy in the way mine is it'll probably be your Title for a long time to come. It also sets a baseline expectation: the majority of Titles raise Morale on Orcs, Demons, and Undead by at least +1, biasing the player toward the core Dark races. As an extension of this point, Last Hope of the Darkness is directly inferior to the majority of Titles, and so there's really no reason to second-guess yourself on whether to switch from it when offered.

killer of dwarves?
Effects: +1 Morale to Orcs, Demons, Undead, and Zwergr. -1 Morale to Dwarves. -10% Leadership requirements on Zwergr.
Acquired: I've never seen this Title trigger, but I'd guess it's meant to be acquired by conquering Baraz-Gund.

As I've never gotten this or the other Zwergr Title, this has been a major contributing factor in why I've never found Zwergr worth using in a run. Which is too bad, as Dwarves have always been poorly-placed in this regard. Orcs on the March is the main game I tend to use them somewhat-heavily in, and only really Engineers and droids in the early-to-midgame. Warriors of the North makes Dwarves reasonably fun and relevant, but also mostly places access to them fairly late in the game, restricting how much time you have to mess around with them. Dark Side could've been an opportunity for Dwarves to really shine, but... nope.

Alas.

friend of dark elves?
Effects: +1 Morale to Orcs, Demons, Undead, and Dark Elves. -1 Morale to Light Elves. -10% Leadership requirements on Dark Elves.
Acquired: I've never seen this one trigger, but I'd guess it's meant to be acquired by conquering Galenrim.

In addition to the fact that this Title is, as far as I'm aware, impossible to acquire in actual play, it's also handicapped by how little time you realistically have to use Elves in.

Alas.

grand chief of all orcs?
Effects: -1 Morale to Elves. +1 to Attack. -2 to Intellect. -15% Leadership requirements for Orcs.
Acquired: I've never seen this one trigger, but I'd guess it's meant to be acquired by taking back the two Orc lands - Tristrem and Bear Butte. And is probably exclusive to Bagyr?

This is a nifty idea for a Title, but... never seen it trigger. Alas.

big lord demon?
Effects: -1 Morale for Light Humans. -15% Leadership requirements for Demons. -10% Gold from battle.
Acquired: I would've expected this to be a Title I've run into in Atrixus, but scouring the internet indicates otherwise. I have no idea.

In theory this could actually be amazing for Neoline, if you can figure out how to trigger it: Demons includes two female units (-20% from level 3 Connoisseur of Beauty Medal), Neoline gets an innate -10% Weapon for Demons, there's another Item that as far as I can tell is guaranteed to spawn in Helvedia that's another -15%. this Title is of course -15%, and then Neoline's Lord Skill can shave off another -17%. That's 77% percent off of Demonesses and Blood Priestesses! That means cramming more than four times as many of these units as your Leadership is supposed to allow!

Even for the other Demons it would still work out to more than doubling her Demonic army's size, which is amazing.

Too bad I've never seen it trigger.

friend of vikings?
Effects: -20% to Leadership requirements on Vikings.
Acquired: I've never seen this one trigger, but I'd guess it's meant to be acquired by handling the main quest line of Okkarland.

Note that as far as I'm aware there's no Items that lower Viking Leadership requirements. As such, even though -20% is a somewhat larger number than most of these are, in real terms it's just a very partial compensation for lacking other reductions. And it doesn't do anything else.

I mean, if you really want to use Vikings in Dark Side and somehow trigger it -I dunno, hack the game, I'm not gonna judge when the game is this buggy- go ahead, why not, but as far as 'playing to win' goes it's really bad, even considering how powerful Vikings are.

land collector?
Effects: +1 Morale to Traitor Humans and Dark Elves. +500 Leadership. -5% Gold from battle.
Acquired: I genuinely have no idea.

I have no idea how you acquire this Title, and in any event it's awful. Even if it's possible to acquire it right at the beginning of the game, you won't have access to Traitor Humans or Dark Elves for a while, so Last Hope of the Darkness will do you better... and Nightmare is accessible relatively early and is far better for using Traitor Humans. Even aside Land Collector lowering your Gold income being an awful quality to have.

If you somehow trigger this Title, you're best off rejecting it.

Idol of the Orcs, Demons and Undead
Effects: +2 Morale to Orcs, Demons, and Undead. -10% Leadership requirements on Orcs, Demons, and Undead. +2 to maximum Rage and Mana.
Acquired: According to this Steam post, this is a Title you're offered for retaking Atrixus... and have no time to actually accept it, or even read it.

I was offered a title in a Neoline run where I conquered Helvedia first and Atrixus second, and was unable to accept it or even read it before I was kicked through a loading screen. I'd guessed it was 'big lord demon', but apparently not? And I wasn't offered it in a Bagyr run where I made sure to conquer Atrixus first and Helvedia second.

This would actually be a pretty awesome Title if you could get it in real play. It's really sad the game shipped full of bugs and patch support stopped. I don't think there's any dedicated fans making a fan-patch, either. Alas.

horror of the underground kingdoms?
Effects: +2 Morale to Orcs, Demons, and Undead. +1 Morale for Zwergr. -1 Morale for Dwarves. -10% Leadership requirements for Dark Dwarves.
Acquired: I've never seen this one trigger, but I'd guess it's meant to trigger after conquering Dragandor.

The other Zwerg-specializing Title, though curiously the only difference between it and the other one is that it boosts the core Dark races' Morale more. I'm not sure what the thought process there is, though it's not like it matters since I'm not aware of a way to trigger it.

conqueror of elven lands?
Effects: +2 Morale to Orcs, Demons, and Undead. -2 Morale for Elves. -1 Defense. -15% Leadership requirements on Dark Elves.
Acquired: Conquer the second Elf island.

It's worth pointing out that Dark Elves means Dark Dryads, which also benefit from the Connoisseur of Beauty Medal. While you can't stack Leadership reducers as crazily as I described with female Demons earlier, there's supposed to be a Dark Elf newspaper that shaves off 10%. This plus the newspaper plus Connoisseur of Beauty would already be 45% off on Dark Dryads, and for Neoline you could add another 17% off for a total of 62%. That's just under three times as many Dryads as your Leadership is supposed to allow, which would be pretty darn impressive.

And yes it doesn't boost Dark Elf Morale. Oversight? Intentional? I have no idea.

Regardless, it's a cool Title if you want to use Dark Elves... hampered a bit by how much of a pain it is to actually acquire, and how late in the game you'll be. And also by Dark Elves not being that impressive in practice. And also by being impossible to acquire as far as I'm aware.

Still, it's a pretty solid Title if you can overlook all those problems.

Nightmare
Effects: +1 Morale to Orcs, Demons, and Undead. +2 Morale to Traitor Humans. -1 Defense. -15% Leadership requirements on Traitor Humans.
Acquired: Conquer Monteville.

Nightmare is (mostly) reliably-coded and solidly decent, but it's even better once you've conquered Inselburg, causing a shop on Inselburg to generate an Item that slashes another -20% off of the Leadership of Traitor Humans while further boosting their Morale and Gossip will provide a Newspaper that slashes another -10% off. Put all three of these together and suddenly your Traitor Human forces out-Leadership your other forces by nearly 2-to-1! While Traitor Human units mostly don't impress compared to core Dark options, and you'll still need to cover the Gold costs of hiring these people, this is an impressive leap in power if you're willing to take advantage of it, finally giving Humans a game in which they get to just plain shine. And it's not like there aren't good Traitor Human options or anything.

This whole thing is a big part of what makes the 'Teleport Dark Knight into middle of enemy group for Circle Attack' so solid a strategy, as you'll just have an astonishing number of Dark Knights to dish out the pain.

It's worth mentioning that in one run I was actually offered Nightmare when I should have been offered Last Hope of the Darkness. Dark Side is really, really buggy.

dark lord of the seven kingdoms?
Effects: +2 Morale to Orcs, Demons, and Undead. +1 Morale to Traitor Humans, Dark Elves, and Zwergr. -1 Morale for Dwarves. -15% Leadership requirements for Traitor Humans, Dark Elves, and Zwergr.
Acquired: I've never seen this one trigger, but I'd guess it's meant to trigger after taking over every island that's associated with a relevant species.

This is obviously nearly completely superior to the prior three Titles, and indeed is probably one of the most generally great Titles in the game.

Now if only I had any idea how you actually get it.

dangerous seas?
Effects: Leadership +500. -5 max Mana. -15% Leadership requirements on Neutrals.
Acquired: I've never seen this one trigger, but I'd guess it's meant to be acquired from Sandy Island.

This is a cool Title idea, hampered by the twin points that I have never seen it trigger and that the game largely avoids providing Neutral-affecting Leadership modifiers, except occasionally affecting a specific sub-section of Neutral. (eg dragons) It could still potentially combine nicely with Connoisseur of Beauty to give you a lot of Amazons and/or Dragon Riders, among other possible strengths, so if you can get a hold of it it's got possibilities... but it's still probably going to be outshined by stuff like properly-supported Nightmare builds.

Alas.

Lord of Netana
Effects: +3 Morale to Orcs, Demons, and Undead. +1000 Leadership.
Acquired: I think this triggers if you conquer all the locations that you can actually conquer per se, though I'm not entirely certain of this. I've gotten it before, for sure.

Lord of Netana looks pretty cool if you just pop into the .txt file and look at it, but by the time you get it 1000 Leadership is barely anything. The Morale for the core Dark races is nice, but honestly it's just a disappointment of a Title. If you're intending to wrap up the endgame using core Dark races... I guess you might as well take it, assuming you didn't manage to actually accept the Idol Title.

But... eeeeh.

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Curiously, there's no Undead-themed Title.

And yes, out of 14 Titles I've only had 5 actually trigger. Ouch. And that's five if I count the 'you don't actually have time to accept it' Title!

Dark Side is buggy as all heck and it sucks.

Next time, we check out Medals in Dark Side.

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