The following are notes I took whilst learning the game. Thus, almost everything is useful for beginners, not players with a long TQ experience. It assumes that you’re already familiar with the game’s genre, though.
Consider it a way to make your first playthrough, on normal difficulty, faster and smoother. By that point you prolly won’t need a general TQ guide anymore.
Stuff I wish I had realised sooner
- The loot filter is off by default. Early in the game you want to see everything – particularly the breastplate that’ll drop when you save the horse, then the broken bow that’ll drop on the village’s Northern bridge during the small satyr attack.
- By level 3 or 4 you can switch to the highest level of loot filter. Grey and white equipment has become very much worthless.
- With a bow clearing the satyrs in the early game is easy. It also makes it easy to take on the first mini-boss shaman. Shoot an arrow, run a bit to the side to dodge, shoot an arrow, etc.
- Do not beeline. You’ll need the xp and loot later on, and the side areas usually are the ones with the side quests, enemy heroes and chests clusters. Just clear everything, especially the side caverns. Said side areas are frequently on the edges of the map.
- At least one source of life regeneration and one source of movement speed are two important quality-of-life features. Movement speed is particularly valuable when running back to a merchant to sell loot, then back where you were. Health regen (and mana if applicable) negates dead time between fights, keeps things rolling.
- Always scan the merchants’ inventory with your mouse to see if they currently sell equipment with a green name. This stuff is usually (not always !) powerful, scales well, and costs an arm and a leg (which is why you’re bothering to sell off loot).
- The scores needed to equip level-appropriate stuff can be demanding – in terms of attributes, *not* in terms of level. Early on, pick a class with complementing masteries – e.g., two Dex/Str masteries or two Int/Dex masteries. Hybrids are best left to those who have experience with the games (and stashed equipment for such projected characters).
- Furthermore, to equip stuff it is best to raise your masteries by about two points per level (which leaves but one point to pick talents). It’s a rule of thumb, but it gives you robust attributes to equip stuff, and health to survive lapses in attention.
- Advice about Titan Quest published before September of 2016 precedes the Anniversary Edition numerous changes. Thus, it can easily be obsolete. Caveat hoplite.
- Early on the only genuinely useful shrine is the shrine of experience, burning white. Make sure not to confuse them with shrines of frostbite. On the other hand, having so many shrines make it possible to have a deliberately underpowered build early on. Shrines also help with some overtuned heroes, and play an important role when fighting Typhon.
- Your inventory space gets expanded several times. The first is by Timon in Megara, and is easy to see. But the second happens after the Telkine fight in Crete, and is easy to miss.
- The maximum per-item payout of the merchants rises. For instance it’s 10K in Greece, but 25K in Egypt. Thus, early on, it’s worth keeping big-ticket items in an expanded storage space to sell during the following chapter. This becomes less true once you’re in Epic difficulty.
More more advice
A key skill is to know… where the merchants will be. That is, when it’s worth to keep forging ahead because there’ll be a merchant soon to sell loot, and when you do have to run all the way back. But that mostly means you have to be familiar with the zones.
The big problem with TQ is that it’s all too easy to have a build that works fine in Normal and even Epic, but will just come apart at higher difficulty levels or against some bosses on high difficulty levels. Hence the interest of following build guides, for those have been tested against tough enemies.
Even if you’re pure melee, a ranged weapon in your alternate (preferably with a DoT such as life leech) is useful to pull sometimes. Even if you’re pure ranged, a low-STR buckler of recovery in your alternate can be useful – switch to that when running around between fights. You can also pull by opening chests and using shrines not too far from monsters. This can often split a big pack.
Areas that have been cleared will have a bit of respawn while you’re away. Nothing remarkable, but do avoid blindly dashing through “cleared” areas with but a sliver of life left. You could run into a pair of djinn heroes (actual example)…
TQ doesn’t have a reverse difficulty curve. That is, the beginning isn’t the hardest part of the game. Proceed with caution for the first few levels, but that’ll be done quickly.
Certain enemy heroes are a tad bullshit even in Normal difficulty. The three-headed hound hero that sometimes appears in the caves after the olive grove comes to mind. Three non-random monster heroes in Egypt are also far deadlier than their surroundings.
Notable difficulty spikes for beginners :
- The maenads have more DPS than previous monsters, but less health. Oh, and take out the sorceresses first, then the pet-throwing huntresses. The ages-old wisdom of “take out the casters first” more or less holds (“casters” including buffers, such as captains, and pet summoners).
- The centaur elders have a high-damage power that may surprise until you get how it works.
- Turtles are a dolour in the posterior for archers. Closing in with melee weapons will likely work better.
- Monsters with life leech (particularly the limos) are markedly more dangerous as similar-level monsters without it.
- The larger crocodile men in Egypt are more durable than previous monsters.
- The tiger men leaders (particularly those looking like black panthers) are way tougher and more devastating than what you’ve encountered before, as are many draconians. If you’re playing casually and with a squishy character, this is where things may start getting difficult.
- There is a notable increase in monster toughness in Mount Wusao, then in Olympus.
- There’s another bump in monster DPS in and near the Ixian Woods. Don’t be fooled by how easy the crabs on the beach are…
- In the underworld, it’s with the machae that things suddenly get more serious. They’re fast and they hit hard, a bit like maenads on steroids.
On the other hand, when you hit Epic the mob are quite more durable, but have a lower DPS than the mobs in Normal-level Hades. Thus, if you were able to correctly endure the machae, the melinoe, the gigantes, etc. in Hades, the Act 1 Epic satyrs are not going to be able to scratch you. So you may want to aim for a bit more DPS and less durability as you conclude Normal difficulty.
(That… doesn’t apply to Boar Snatcher since patch 1.42. Ouch.)
As with most AARPGs, TQ benefits from running an entire stable of characters. Assuming you want to play the game a lot, rather than run a single character through it then move on.
This is because loot is at the heart of the game, but loot tends to be specific to builds. So if you have a roster of characters, you have a much higher probability of using a particularly good item that just dropped. It also avoids having to farm relics and the like – they’ll occur as part of playing.
But this requires a small bit of organisation.
My own set-up :
- All adventurers are women, all storage characters are men (easier to remember). They also all have tunics of a different colour. FWIW, the game lists your characters in alpha order.
- The storage characters are level 1, and stop playing the game as soon as they reach the first village.
- I have one storage guy for relics, talismans and recipes. One for weapons, one for armour, one for sets. Furthermore, some speciality weapons are kept on active adventurers (the bows in the ranger’s storage, the spears in the brigand’s storage).
- Eventually you’ll need to have a specific mule for artefacts and recipes, then a guy for shields separate from the armour guy.
- Have the storage characters sell enough equipment to reach max storage space. Jewelry worth more than 1K but less than 11, and items worth 8 to 10K, can be thrown their way to sell until they have bought max storage space.
- Once you reach Epic difficulty, a separate mule for Epic-level relics and artefacts is advisable.
Jumpin’ Jack stash
The transfer space is limited, especially since it makes sense to keep the incomplete talismans and relics there. This means he logistics can get boring as you rotate to character to pick up or drop equipment in the shared stash until everything is where it belongs.
So it’s probably not worth the hassle if you have but 2 or 3 characters. But if you plan to have more, it’s worth it.
Having the game on a SSD or faster drive is recommended if you do this. So the game loads faster when switching between characters.
When deciding what to stash :
- I’d ignore yellow gear, except for boots with a particularly high movement modifier and a good prefix. Yellow stuff where the prefix works perfectly with the suffix might be worth stashing. Like a staff or jewelry with a pet-boosting prefix *and* suffix.
- For your greens, you want gear that has both a good suffix and a good prefix, going well together. If not, vendor it.
- Blue items often do not correspond to a good build. They may just follow a theme, or might correspond to a build that was good when the game was designed.
- Veteran and Reckless melee weapons are robust DPS. Hallowed head pieces have an all important +1 to all skills. For many builds, +skills headpieces is where it’s at.
It’s also worth it to have your main reach Epic difficulty without extensively dawdling. A lot of the stuff that drops there can be used by characters in Normal difficulty.
Another advantage of having a set of storage characters is to have room for a levelling pack. It is simple :
- Low-requirements boots with a +20%+ travel speed.
- A good outrider tunic (monster infrequent from centaurs).
- Low requirement green or blue staff, club, bow.
- Low-requirement offense bonus jewels.
- Miscellaneous green and blue stuff you deemed useful.
The goal here is to have stuff to reach Megara (which usually occurs at about level 9). This allows you to do so so quickly, without looting much and without checking merchant. So you don’t waste time on that front, since most low-level loot is negligible. Once in Megara, you get extra inventory space and everything becomes simpler.
It also makes it easier to spend your only levels raising Masteries rather than buying talents (the 2:1 ratio).
The following are detailed notes I took as I levelled various characters. However I had to move on to other games in my queue, so they stop well earlier than I planned.
I wasn’t going to publish them, but :
- It *is* useful for beginners, and covers those levels where you don’t quite know yet what you’re doing.
- This corresponds to classic, well-trod builds that can handle higher difficulty levels. So you can find additional advice on YouTube and websites. And said advice is often for more experienced players, so the two approaches are complementary.
The petting soothsayer
This is a robust, beginner-friendly build with few buttons to use. It does get fiddlier as high-DPS monsters enter the game.
For the first 9 levels, one in Int and one in Dex, to facilitate equipping stuff. For the 9 levels after that, everything in Int (including Chiron’s points) because caster gear ain’t gonna equip itself.
Then one point in Int on every level, one in health on odd levels, one in dex on even levels. The Dex is chiefly there to keep your defensive ability up.
Pet enhancing jewelry, no question – ideally with a defensive ability prefix. Pet enhancing staff, though a staff of the wanderer is also viable. Boots with +20% or more move speed *and* a Hermes relic. Razor claw artifact or druidic wreath, and progress toward a Thoth’s Glory.
The rest is about survivability – defensive ability, resistances, armour, health, health regen… Honour Guard robes may be your best source of stun resistance.
A hat with +skill is always great. Having a total of +2 skill bonuses applicable to Nature means that you can hit 18 out of 16 for the wolves, which is where you get three wolves.
There are rare (blue) bracers with a pet boost, if you’re quite lucky (or play a lot).
Liche and Nymph on Aggressive, wolves on Normal.
In the proposed progression we keep pets relatively fragile rather than max them out balls to the wall. This allows for a more balanced progression. So don’t blindly charge in, and keep an eye on health bars. This is also why the wolves aren’t on aggressive, so they don’t run off into the pampa and end up attacking a mob.
On the other hand we advocate for merchant-mining for level-appropriate pet jewelry. These provide a lot of damage, so focus fire from your pet deals a lot of DPS. This is good against bosses, and when you pull carefully from too large and powerful a group.
Skills tree – level 1 to 7
We hit the following targets, in order :
- Heart of Oak 1 (for the speed buff)
- Call of the wild 7 (to get two wolves and clear quickly)
- Maul 1, Regrowth 1
- Extra points go in Nature Mastery, so you end up at 9.
Rule of thumb – use a bow until you have two wolves, then melee so the wolves rush in sooner. With Regrowth you don’t quite need health regen to recover between fights. Incidentally, you can use Regrowth by clicking on portraits (including your own…) unless you’re using a right click. So that’s odd.
Get a sense of whom the wolves are attacking, and assist them. You’re their pet, at this stage… We don’t take much Maul since mobs are going to live for but seconds, and they still have low HP totals so a percentage reduction achieves little.
Levels 8 to 11
Let’s grab stuff from Spirit. Mostly, we want to unlock the liche, who is quite powerful and benefits from your pet-buffing gear. A third pet will also relieve the pressure on your dogs.
So – Deathchill Aura 1 and Liche King 1.
Your Strength is still 50, so it’s time to switch to a decent spear or staff. A staff will likely do more damage due to your higher Int, and can have the prefix you want (at this stage, Beastmaster’s).
Even if you find a staff, you can still melee. Deathchill aura does help with damage input, and melee brings to wolves to bear (so to speak) quicker.
Levels 12 to 15
Survival Instinct 1, Ravages of Time 1, Sylvan Nymph 1, Accelerated Growth 1, Dissemination 1.
Incidentally, 14 is when you can equip Spiritcaller jewels. These are an enormous boost at this level.
Add a point in Lich, then get to 24 in Nature Mastery. With the Spiritcaller jewels you don’t need talents for a while.
Add a point to the Nymph, put a point into strength of the pack and overgrowth. Between these and spiritcaller jewelry (which you can mine in early Egypt, by checking the merchants, going back to the menu, checking the merchant, etc.) you are devastating.
I’m not a fan of farming or merchants mining, but in this case it’s worth your while.
Which means that it’s time to get some masteries done as you don’t need power. Raise Spirit Mastery to 24 so you don’t have to do it later. The two extra points come from the man-scorpion quest.
Plague 6, Fatigue 6. This is an important aspect for your survivability.
You don’t really need it before Chang’an or so, when monster DPS gets harsher. But by taking it at a useful level now you get to practice, and it’ll help with tough heroes and the like. Deciding which enemy to target with the Plague and when isn’t rocket surgery, but it still benefits from experimentation and experience.
Plague + Fatigue will redirect a lot of aggro toward you. This is good since it increases the survivability of your pets, but we raise Fatigue quickly to debuff monsters so you can survive the increased attention.
Level 28-31, then 33-35
It’s not super-interesting, but for each level let’s have one point in Permanence of Stone, one point in Heart of Oak, and one point in Susceptibility. This bolsters everyone’s durability.
Susceptibility is an important DPS boost (when Plague is active, of course). So we’ll rely on that for a while instead of bolstering our pets.
During this span or a bit earlier you’ll get two bonus points from the main quest. These can go to Death Nova and Wraith Shell for the lich.
Levels 32 and 36
Raise the wolves, lich and nymph by one point each so they can keep it real.
Cap Plague, Fatigue and Susceptibility. Also, put three points in the wolves on the level where you’re about to fight Typhon
Heavy petting ritualist
Another pet build, but that one dives in the thick of it and has a robust — but not gigantic — following of pets clearing the opposition.
For attributes, everything into Strength – with enough Dexterity to equip stuff. Some health instead of Strength from time to time if you can equip the armour you need.
For equipment – beastcaller, spiritcaller, summoner, etc. rings, artefact and amulet. Warrior-type shield and Strength-based armour that will gradually become more tanking-centric as your pets represent a rising percentage of the DPS .
You can keep the pets on Average aggression. In this build aggro is your business, not theirs.
This is a daft and direct pet build. Run in, have aggro focus on you, fight as your pets come running in and clear the field. To that end:
- Melee durability.
- Health regeneration to chain up fight without wasting pots.
- A good, buffed array of attack pets.
- Decent melee damage output.
- Movement speed because we always want that.
All points into Nature Mastery save for one point in Heart of Oak, Call of the Wild, Maul and Sylvan Nymph. We start there to get the +10% speed from Heart; and because the nymph’s laugh is relaxing.
Once you have the Nymph, all points into Dream Mastery save for one point in psionic touch, lucid dream, premonition, summon nightmare… and three points in trance of convalescence.
The transe mean your equipment doesn’t need that much health regen, and will keep the health and energy of your whole crew topped up.
Your level 1 wolf will be useful early on, but gradually get a tad pathetic. It’s okay, the nymph and nightmare will pick up the slack. As long as the opposition is weak, we’re focusing on raising masteries.
And yes, there’s no right-click ability for now. You could divert a point into Phantom Strike if that bothers you, but we’re trying to stay focused here mate.
Call of the wild to 7 for dual wolves, then one point in survival instinct and two in maul. Now the doggies are up to speed.
By this point the nymph and nightmare are starting to feel pathetic, but for now they’re just here to get DPS from your beastmaster jewelry. Consider them your friendly mop-up assistants. Emphasis on “assistant”, as they’ll stop being able to clear minor monsters on their own.
Everything in Nature Mastery (to 24), so we can put one point in Strength of the Pack. It’s a good buff.
The extra two points from the man-scorpion quest go to Dream Mastery, to enshorten the 27-32 stretch. If you’d prefer to put them into more short-term things, keep a stiff upper lip and check merchants for spiritcaller jewelry instead. That’s a good fellow.
Okay, let’s consolidate a bit. Now on every level we put one point in Sylvan Nymph, one in Nightmare and one in Permanence of Stone. The last is because splash damage is usually what kills pets.
With the pets thus enrobustified, we can commit to another dry spell as we continue to favour masteries. Let’s get Dream Mastery to 32 then put one points in Master mind.
A robust melee build with few buttons, a good mix of DPS and survivability, a fun opening move and an anti-boss mode.
Attribute points to STR and DEX. Favour STR when you can, but on most levels you’ll have to raise DEX. Still, it is going to fall behind, which means that you’ll be unable to equip level-appropriate bows, spears, and eventually swords. Hence the “clubber” name.
Total speed and attack speed are good for this build. A Talisman of the Cat with 12% total speed is worth merchant-mining in Egypt, and you should focus on bracers and weapons with attack speed bonuses (plus an Achilles relic, ideally with an attack speed completion bonus).
As with all builds I advocate for boots of journeying or better (20%+ move speed) plus an Hermes relic.
For the rings, lots of offensive powers and or +% strength. For the artefact, a Deathrattle can last you 40+ levels. Keep and ankh of Isis artefact on a ring, as it greatly enhances the health regen you’ll be famous for.
The rest can focus on physical DPS, armour and resistances. You don’t need stun resist, sleep resist, etc. - your skills will handle that.
Dream mastery – two points per level, to 16. That leaves us with 9 points (with the bonus one from the Leonidas access quest) to take psionic touch 1, lucid dream 1, phantom strike 3, dream stealer 1, premonition 1, psionic burn 1, trance of convalescence 1.
This build has a slow start, so expect a lot of tactical work with a bow early on (or burning through lots of healing potions). Do note that Psionic Touch works with bow attacks.
It picks up with the point in Dream Stealer, which gives you a big boom… on a cooldown. But phantom strike with dream stealer will be your one signature move for a while.
Defense mastery 1, battle awareness 1, armor handling 1.
We have to take battle awareness but the effects are minuscule so heh, might as well take it at low level when the bonus is observable. It wasn’t taken at level 8 since getting that point in trance of convalescence was far more important.
Trance of convalescence 3, phantom strike 4.
Trance of convalescence at 3 and a decent source of health regen are a tremendous asset at low levels. You’ll just keep going on. So find something with about +3 health regen and a high percentage (+30/40%) of health regen.
Dream Mastery 24, Premonition 5 (going 2:1).
Premonition now provides a fixed bonus, which means it’s chiefly useful for early levelling. Which is exactly what we’re doing.
Temporal flux 6.
This may be a personal thing, but I much much prefer characters who run quickly. Temporal flux provides that, and quite a bit more. Taking it relatively early means that we’ll benefit from this land speed asap, as well as attack speed and other goodies.
Premonition 6, Phantom Strike 6.
This is the firepower we need to endure the following stretch.
Keep at it with two in Defense Mastery, and one in Lucid Dream (the latter so we don’t fall behind in DPS). When you get the two bonus skill points for the scorpion man, off they go in Defense Mastery.
We do this dry spell to Defense Mastery 16 as long as we still benefit unfairly from Premonition and the health regen from Trance of Convalescence.
When you reach Focus in Defense Mastery, point a put in that rather than in Lucid Dream. One point in Trance of Convalescence instead of Lucid Dream may also be necessary during that stretch.
And then it’s time to juggle
By that point, it becomes better to assign points depending as whether you feel like you need more defensive ability or more offensive ability. Which depends in no small part on drops, and your skills.
Psionic touch helps with DPS, but only with every third blow. It helps DPS, but not that much. As to psionic burn, you’re clearly not geared toward elemental damage magnification. Thus, one point is enough.
Phantom strike is a big part of your DPS. Yes, long cooldown – but the area of effect and that the damage is applied as an opening strike make it way more valuable than it looks. And it certainly helps with stunning, too. And with hit-and-run strategies with bosses.
Dream Stealer XXXXXX
Distortion field helps with durability, but you have better options. Still, put a point in.
Lucid Dream, Premonition and Temporal Flux are your big DPS providers, and they require relatively few points. They also have mobility and defensive applications.
Trance of convalescence is your primary durability tool, since it’s always there and reliably ticking.
The rest of the tree you can leave untouched for a long while.
It’s less distinctive than Dream, but it has a lot of stuff you definitely want. The trick is is that the high-priority stuff is all the way up the tree.
Colossus is your boss-and-bullshit-heroes killer. It makes long, repetitive fights go so much faster. One point is sufficient for most applications.
Disable means slowing incoming attacks. This is a fantastic durability boost against tough melee opponents.
One point in battle awareness will be sufficient for a long while since Dream already boost your defensive ability. But Focus and Iron Will are two big, big durability boosters. With Iron Will, make sure that you don’t waste points by going over 80%.
Quick recovery is great when taking on bunches of melee and archery opponents. Which happens a lot, since you will focus first on casters. But it needs to build on good Focus levels and a non-shitty shield to genuinely work.
The adrenaline line may seem so-so, since you already have health regen. But it’s the second and third skill that turn it into a big DPS boost, though the third needs the second to make good sense. And eventually you can increase the first when Convalescence suffices no more.
Pulverize and shield smash aren’t as impressive as Disable, but they provide a robust mix of durability and damage you don’t have to think about.
One point in Concussive Blow is a valuable asset, especially once swords become too high-dex for you to use. And it does synergise with your stuns from the Dream Mastery talents.
Armour handling is a good one-pointer. More will become a decent durability boost, but you need a high armour value for it to really make sense.
Rally helps with bosses, but that’s a 30-points branch. Still, one point in Rally and one in Inspiration provide a good speed boost at little cost
One asset of Defense mastery is that it’s easy to find a +1 Defense Skills shield in Normal, and a +2 in Epic. So once you have a point in Colossus and a few in Disable, spreading around one-pointers is a good strategy
This is a Brigand, as a fairly fragile archer with more DPS than a constipated machae. Personally, I find it more interesting than a Ranger when it comes to archery. It sure involves a lot of footwork.
Ideally we’d go all Dex, but one needs to equip armour. Thus, reluctantly go 1 STR/1 DEX every level (bonus points in DEX) until you can land about 250 STR. You *can* try to go for less STR, but it’s going to be complicated and you do need all your slots for poison-related bonuses.
Poison damage rings. Bow with poison damage and a useful suffix and a venom sac enhancement with a poison completion bonus. Amulet that boosts poison damage (like a charm of guile). You get the idea. Everything should be poison damage, +% poison damage or + skill.
The boots should give you good mobility even if you have to sacrifice damage. You need to be… quite mobile. One good source of attack speed (likely the bracers or weapon) is also necessary.
A damage-to-health melee weapon and a life regen buckler go into the alternate slots. Switch to the alternate whilst between fights, or when cornered like a poison rat. Especially by a poison resistant monster like Rot Bone. The boss below the Parthenon is also so not your friend, having a huge poison resistance.
A Shroud of Eternal Night is a good first artifact for this build.
Start with Rogue mastery. Raise it to 24. Whilst so doing we put one point in Envenom Weapon, Nightshade, Toxin distillation, Poison gas bomb and Open wound. These are the bases of our toolkit. One point should be enough, since I assume that you have a pair of rings that do poison damage (20 points over 3 seconds are easy to find even if just mining merchants) and poison bow (ditto).
Open Wound is there because we have excellent bleed synergy, but we don’t focus on bleed. There are too many undead and constructs out there.
One point in Calculated strike. It’s fun to line up targets for that piercing shot !
When stuff starts not dying with one arrow, put a second point in Envenom weapon.
On the Hunting front, raise it to at least 4 – we’re using the early levels to get the masteries done. Get one point in Art of the Hunt, but more importantly max wood lore before level 10. The attack speed with a bow is a very important edge. It makes the aforementioned footwork much easier and enjoyable.
One point in Herbal Remedy to keep moving. Later on it’ll help deal with negative health regen from toxic gear.
Once you reach Delphi, spec out of Calculated strike and put the point in Marksmanship instead. You have little mana and no mana regen, so intensive use of Marksmanship can be rough. Put an Hecate enchantment on your best poison ring so it’s not a problem.
Tactics are simple – stay at range, shoot everything once and have it die withins seconds. If mobbed or taking on a mob, poison gas bomb drop. The slowing effects from nightshade, and move speed on the boots, should help you stay clear of ’em negative waves. Train to stay at range even if you can easily take the hits – that’ll be handy later.
With Rogue Mastery at 24 we can drop one point in Shrapnel (yay !) plus one point in Anatomy and Nightshade. The later two aren’t as big, but they’re good to have.
Now let’s arc back to Hunting. Specifically, raise it to 16. Again, we stick with raising masteries since two poison rings, a poison bow (ideally the turquoise bow rare) and some other bits can still carry us on thin talents. If your gear sucks and you don’t want to mine merchants, raise Envenom weapons from time to time to keep up.
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