Torchlight 2 Arrives With Inevitable Diablo 3 Comparisons

As I mentioned on the podcast, Runic Games hooked us up with several review/media copies of Torchlight 2 to test out over the weekend. I haven’t had much time for it yet, though Rush and Tim have been playing away and even live streaming, via our Torchlight 2 site. You can see some of Rush’s first thoughts in a post here. A quick quote:

I have to say that on first impressions of this ‘preview’ build, this is one hell of an ARPG. The speed of gameplay is outstanding, you are simply driven to keep playing. The pets play a huge part in keeping the game flowing, very rarely was I finding myself on another trip back to town, it just flowed brilliantly. In around five hoursof gameplay with two players we both leveled to around 25 and that’s with skipping over some of the side quests on Act 1 to push ahead into Act 2. We are probably around half way through Act 2 at the moment confirming Max’ comments about a full playthrough taking around 24 hours of actual play time.

As we were dashing through this evening, the item variety on drops was excellent, a real mix with some great items dropping in places you might not expect which is great for item hunters. The item levels also felt right with decent items dropping just a few levels above your own level which means you had a good stock to pick from as you leveled up, and of they were of all varieties.

If you want more, Kirk Hamilton has also posted a bunch of his first Torchlight 2 observations in a piece at Kotaku, and he formats the entire thing as a comparison to Diablo III. A quote and thanks to Muriel for the tip:

If you are into loot, and numbers, then you will love Torchlight II. It’s a hardcore numbers-gamers kind of game, with vast statistics screens showing your characters’ every ability and adjustment.

Unfortunately, it’s also a lot less user-friendly than Diablo III—there’s no way to immediately tell, for example, how your item will affect core traits like damage per second and armor rating. There are also three subsets of armor types, one for each element, so you’ll have to take a ton of things into account when comparing gear. And you’ll be comparing gear a lot.

It can all be a bit ungainly and confusing – if a weapon gives you +10 strength but has a slightly lower DPS than the weapon you’re holding, it’d be great to see exactly which one will end you up with the higher DPS (since strength changes your weapon’s damage.) Ditto for pieces of armor that raise your physical armor rating magically. It’s all a little bit opaque, and while the obsessive stat-counting player may like that, there’s so much loot in the game that I can’t really keep track of it all.

…The stat stuff isn’t the only thing about Torchlight II that’s more hardcore than Diablo III—the game itself is more difficult and interesting, even at “normal” difficulty. This may be because of some mid-game tuning issues, but II’ve found that the latter halves of the second and third acts are difficult, and if I’m not careful, I’ll get wrecked even by basic enemies.

It bears mentioning that I’m only playing on normal, and I haven’t had any time at all to explore Torchlight II’s post-game—it could well be that the high-level Diablo III stuff is every bit as hardcore as Torchlight II, just in a different way. But for a more casual player, Torchlight II is harder core. And yes, just like Diablo III, Torchlight II offers a “Hardcore Mode” where death is permanent.

Interesting reads both, but I’ll repeat what I said on the podcast. Any comparisons or debates at this point are necessarily superficial, since the real key/core issue is the end game, the economy, the item system, etc. That Diablo III had problems in those areas wasn’t clear until some weeks after release, and those are the areas the D3 devs have been working to address in the recent patches. By the same token, no one can really comment on how well TL2’s item system works or how the end game difficulty curves… not yet, at least.

Soon, though. The release date is September 20th, and then everyone can get their hands on the title and really put it through its paces. If you are planning on playing then make sure you head to Torchlight: IncGamers for the forums, news etc.

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    23 thoughts on “Torchlight 2 Arrives With Inevitable Diablo 3 Comparisons

    1. Check this article out. How did get get her job? She is clueless

      They’re both B-rate, point and click, substance-less, feel good experiences just approached differently. Props have to go to Blizzard’s “Diablo” for really establishing the genre for which Runic Games’ “Torchlight” would never have existed without.

      • Two points:

        – The original Diablo wasn’t the first top down dungeon crawler. It was executed very well and became popular, but it wasn’t exactly original.

        – Many if not most of the core Runic developers working on TL2 were from Blizz North, so they should thank themselves I guess?

        • Actually, only three people at Runic ever worked at blizzard north. The Schaefer brothers and Matt Uelmen. Which isn’t going to change the fact that TL2 will most likely be great.

    2. Kirk Hamilton sounds like a bad Diablo 2 player who constantly needed his hand held (D3) in order to figure out how to play an ARPG.

      Also, Jefestone is right, game reviewers/etc. need to stop sucking.

      • I could not agree more. I always smell the stench of nerd rage when ever this site catches a whiff of hate at Blizzard’s Direction. It’s like Gamer’s Source Network all over again.

    3. I want that game reviewer in front of inferno ghom; or maybe a fast fire chain pack…
      Back on topic, will definitely try out T2 though the graphics are turning me off. It takes activision-blizzard kind of money to pay for polish I guess. There won’t be an rmah in T2 but will there be an ah in some form in the internet games?

      • ” though the graphics are turning me off. It takes activision-blizzard kind of money to pay for polish I guess.”

        so just because you don’t like the graphics means the game isn’t polished ?

        and no, there is no AH of any kind

        • By ‘polish’ I only referred to the inferiority of graphics, not gameplay or item-stat structure or anything else. And this inferiority is subjective, you may well feel they are better than d3s. 🙂
          No ah will be refreshing. How many acts and difficulties does it have?

          • 3 1/2 Acts

            the don’t call the 1/2 a 4th Act because they say it’s too small

            it has 4 difficulties; I think they’re Casual, Normal, Veteran, Elite

            you can start with any difficulty you want; they say anyone who has played any Diablo game before should start with Veteran

            once you finish the game (they say around level 50) then you can restart the game like you do with D2 and D3 (keep your level, your items, your skills and so on, but you redo all the quests; the monsters also reset and start at appropriate levels)

    4. I’m very excited for Torchlight 2. I hope people will support this game and give it a try.

      From all the reports I’ve read from people, the “feel” of combat is rated above D3. All of the pitfalls of D3 aside, it managed, like all Blizz games, to get visceral, meaty combat to the “t”. If Torchlight 2 is better, than it will be amazing.

      • TL2 is a no-brainer auto-buy for the regulars here. I’ll certainly be playing it on day 1. Very curious to see how it plays out long-term though.

      • Really? Maybe I should give it a try then, because personally I really like how D3 combat feels. In the original Torchlight I felt they overused the shaking of the screen when hitting an enemy, any idea if that still is how they handle impact of blows/spells?

        • I’m also surprised to hear that TL2 supposedly has better combat feel, since that’s definitely one thing D3 completely nailed.

          As for the TL2 shaking, it’s the same engine as TL1 so i would expect the same kind of effect. If you give feedback that it’s overused they might consider toning it down.

    5. From what I’ve read TL2 combat and pace feels a lot better than D3.

      Also, I hear that the items are very cool from the get-go, with lots of different item types/uniques/sets dropping as upgrades throughout the game. Sounds like D2. Who would’ve thought that actually finding unique items would be fun?

    6. Did Flux just question the quality of the end game economy for a game that will be about as secure as open

      • Thats a strange statement indeed… :-/ Since when does economy make a game good ?

        I hope TL2 will be rich enought in the build category to keep me a long time playing it. 😀

    7. I’ve watching the streams there and TL2 looks good but as you say end game is where it will matter. That won’t be apparent for a few days yet.

    8. not interested in tl2, do not know why. just not appealing to me.

      maybe one day i will give it a shot.

    9. No dynamic changing rooms or destruction or collapsing walls etc makes TL2 look very pale against Diablo 3

      Clearly the TL crew lacked resources in desgning the world and they used cheap looking art.

      Which boils down to questionable itemisation and huge balance problems.

      Because if you don’t have the resources to build an animated dungeon, you’ll certainly run behind in the end game play which is even more time consuming to design.

    10. I was put off by the graphics as well, but I am still considering giving it a try. There is something about it that I like, I can’t quite put my finger on it. I think it has to do with the fact that Runic is the little guy, and sometimes something smaller has more heart in it. I really don’t care for the ability to mod the game, that just does not interest me. Since Uelman done the music, I know that part will be good. I guess I could say I am on the fence about it.

    11. Torchlight II will be so awesome because there is no auction house and it will have modding. Buy the download for 20 bucks and enjoy the hell out of it. No gimmicks no scams no no altering classes to make money off of an auction house.

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