Runic Games Visit and Torchlight 2

As I mentioned last week, I attended a small media event at Runic Games’ Seattle offices this week. The devs have asked that attendees not post any specifics until Friday morning, but I can say that it was a great visit, that everyone at Runic was awesomely friendly and welcoming, and that TL2 is a blast to play. Thus far I’m having trouble quantifying it, since I just want to say things like, “It’s like Torchlight 1, but so much bigger, better, faster, more complex, better looking, etc…”

While at their offices, I had the chance to record a one-on-one conversation with Max Schaefer, during which I covered most of the issues you guys wanted addressed. We talked about the early days of D2, got into some more details on their earliest plans for D3, covered RPG development in general, and much more. That interview will be presented as an episode of TDP… early next week.

I also recorded a one-on-one chat with lead developer Travis Baldree in which we focused on TL2 and discussed some of the core features, and their differences from D3. For instance (none of this is new info if you’ve been following TL2’s development), all of the classes in the game have health and mana, they all can (and must) drink red and blue potions, there are skill points, passive and active skills are mixed in the trees, there are manually-assigned stat points, respecs are quite limited, etc. As a result TL2 is actually much more like D2 in game mechanics than D3 is like D2. Which is something of an interesting state of affairs.

We’ll post that conversation with Travis on Friday, along with much more general info on the game, and we even have a special surprise delight for your listening pleasure.

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32 thoughts on “Runic Games Visit and Torchlight 2

  1. This might be a little mean to ask, but are there any aspects of Torchlight 2 that you found more interesting than D3, or vice versa?

    Never been interested in Torchlight and I’d like to know from someone who has played the newest version how it compares.

    • Heh. Well obviously there are some things I find more interesting, or vice versa. Otherwise everything would be a tie. 😉

      And yes, to both, but even that’s probably more specifics than I should say, until Friday.

    • The most interesting things for me: you can play offline and game is open for modding community, in fact the editor, Runic Games used to create whole game, should be attached, so I am expecting new classes, models, maps very soon.

  2. torchlight was really good. The only thing lacking was multi player. With multi player and their improvements, I will definitely be playing the game. $20 is so cheap as well.
    Whats the trading/game joining situation like? Similar to d2 or not as expansive as battlenet?

  3. Torchlight is the Rainbow version of Diablo’s Universe.
    If you enjoy Hello Kitty Island Adventure then Torchlight is your game!

      • interestingly I didn’t play TL2 and did play TL1, but that doens’t change my opinion about the rainbow colourfully cartoony kids version of Diablo.

        • If it looks too cartoony for you, then you can just download some mods to make any particular model look the way you want it to look.

          • I really hope that this is the case, as the screen caps and vids that I’ve seen, thus far, seem extremely cartoony, to me.  Even more so than part one.  BL:2 seems to be shaping up that way as well.

          • It’s not just the models, it’s the environment, the UI…
            It would be a huge amount of work to change the whole style of the game. You’re basically making a whole new game at that point.

          •  TL 1 has been out for about 2 years and no mod has made the game look radically different to take away that “cartoony” look.   It comes down to, if you don’t like the art style now your not going to like it later either. 

            For me it’s not about how the game looks so much as how it plays and if TL2 doesn’t fix the issues of TL1 then the game is a failure.

        • Don’t reply to the obvious mister commentator that has nothing better to say and appears everywhere on the internets with the same comments, oh snap! I just did.

  4. I might have missed it…have they announced a release date for TL2 yet?  Last I heard was ‘Winter 2011’.

    • Last time I checked, they confirmed TL2 still going for a 2011 release. Probably early december in time for xmas. I’m assuming an official release date will be announced as the nda is lifted, or shortly after.

  5. [. . . a special surprise delight for your listening pleasure . . . ]
    Awsome!  You recorded the entire TL2 team making cow sounds?  😉
    I’m looking forward to Friday and next week.  From what I’ve seen so far, TL2 DOES look pretty fun.

  6. Are they going to put more focus on balance this time around? I’m no super duper min/max power gamer, and even I could tell which skills were worthless and that two handed weapons were horrible. You could tell which skills did way more damage than listed, and how worthless certain stats were for which classes.

  7. Whether or not TL was cartoony… whatever.  They have a pretty nice defined art style.  It’s a good game, but in the end I found it rather mediocre, even if it’s a better ARPG than most.

    • It had the feel, pace and sound of combat completely nailed. It fell flat on the balance and itemisation.

      Most ARPG’s struggle with the former, which is really the most compelling part of the experience. It is why I rate TL above, say, TQ – TQ had a much better item system, but there was a disconnect in the animations, pacing, and sound effects that made combat always seem a bit surreal, and a bit of a chore.

      TL (and TL2, it looks like) also had strong art direction and crisp visuals. The only things that really worry me about TL2 are the things that the Devs seem to love:

      1. Manual stats when there are no interesting secondary attributes.
      2. Health/mana poitions and a battle system based around their use. (I don’t mind mana for everyone, I like it a bit better than Blizzard’s everyone-is-different-for-the-sake-of-it, but I prefer the quick-regen low cap mana pool to the slow regen large mana pool).
      3. Passive skills instead of active skills.

  8. I bought torchlight about a year ago looking for something to bring back some of the fun I had with D2 (which I hadn’t played in a few years). Lots of people seem to love the game, but I really didn’t enjoy it after 5 hours in.

    Some sticking points: I constantly felt like I had wasted points on skills that turned out to be bad. It wasn’t easy to switch between a handful of different skills (keybinding was very limited), so it didn’t seem beneficial to invest in more than a couple. The end result was that I basically had just one skill that did a lot of damage, and even though it worked, it wasn’t very fun. That’s basically the same reason I never played a Barbarian in D2, but every class seemed like that in TL.

    The damage calculations were confusing and sometimes buggy (yea, similar to D2 in this regard).

    The loot didn’t seem very interesting. In D2, you would get something once in a while that seemed AMAZING. Like, ‘I didn’t know an item could do that!’ Everything that dropped in TL seemed to just be an incremental improvement over the previous items. Like, ‘Oh great, a little more defense than before. Cool?’ 

    The quests weren’t very interesting. Yes, they were in substance basically the same as D2, but not in style. In D2, within each act there were very different environments. In TL, you had 4 levels of caves, then 4 levels of jungle, etc.

    I’m super happy that someone else is trying to get into the market– hopefully they push each other to greater heights. But I’m doubtful that TL2 will do much more than chase the tail of D2. Would love to be proven wrong though. By the way, if someone thinks I’m totally wrong because I didn’t give TL enough of a chance, please let me know. I stopped playing because I figured the rest of the game didn’t really change at all. But if it gets better, I’d gladly pick it up again.

  9. I tried to get into Torchlight but found it to feel shallow and unsatisfying.. For the price, it wasn’t *bad*, and at first I was excited with Matt Uelman’s town song going, it felt kinda like home, but after the initial glow wore off it didn’t keep me interested. I definitely played more Titan Quest/IT than TL. I doubt TL2 will change much for me, but at $20 it’s hard to pass up for a go through

  10. I bought D1 and D2, and both expansions. I have played most of the mods as well.
    I will not be buying D3.
    My reasons for that are personal, and none of your business. They also do not require your approval.
    I will be purchasing 3 copies of TL2.
    I will wait patiently until the game is released, and perhaps after the first patch as well.
    I will look forward to Flux’s interview on Friday.
    I will welcome other players that are reasonable and enjoy playing other titles to try out a game that will be 1/3 the price of this one.

    My life does not revolve around gaming, competitive play, ladders, or any type of e-peen.  TL simply fits my style of casual play more.  In between running a business and raising a family there’s only so much free time, and I choose to spend it doing other things.
    I hope other gamers find D3 to be an enjoyable and rewarding title, for them.
    You’re welcome. 8)

    • So Max, when you buy 3 copies of your own game how much of that goes back into your own pocket? 

      You’re welcome 😈

      If you didn’t need to tell us why your not D3 then why did you need to tell us you are buying D3?

  11. I’m actually looking forward to both games.  T1 was fun for me for a first play thru. It got old super quick though.  Hopefully they have fixed that.
    D3 vs TL2 is gonna be an interesting thing to play out.  Everything many people are deriding the D3 team for doing (skills, stats, RMAH) vs keeping those aspects in T2.  It will be very interesting in the end to say, hey, you know, stat and skill points really aren’t that important…or vice versa.   We are also going to see the benefits or lack thereof of a game that has taken years and years to make versus a game that has taken 2 years to make.
    I’m also eager to learn what comes on Friday.  Didn’t even know that it was a press event that carried an NDA.  Are we likely to finally get a release date?

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