5 Reasons Torchlight II Will Be a Better Game than Diablo III
Since its release back in mid-May, Diablo III has come under fire for a number of reasons. Some were justified (Error 37), while some were a little out there (Jay Wilson is anti-fun!). The frustration appears to stem from the perception that Activision Blizzard had the game dumbed-down to make it more appealing to a wider audience (read: WoW players). It’s a good thing that Action RPG fans will soon have another option; one which is shaping up to be a far more faithful spiritual successor to Blizzard North’s Diablo II.
Like Diablo III, Torchlight’s visuals adopt a painterly aesthetic.
We previously gave you guys the low-down on Ruinic Games’ Torchlight II, but today, we’re going to go into a little more detail. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll be as excited about this title as we are.
1) Online & Offline Modes
Torchlight II will feature co-op play via LAN and over the internet for free. It will boast a free matchmaking service allowing you to find friends, start new games, and join existing games. On the flipside is the much-welcomed ability to play through the entire game on your own… OFFLINE. No draconian always-online DRM here.
2) Truly Customisable & Unique Characters
Since the days of Diablo II, character customisation has come a long way. Games such as Skyrim and Mass Effect have released games with rich character editors, so gamers can experience a true sense of ownership. It’s rather baffling that Diablo III offered gamers a single option in determining their character: gender. No worries with Torchlight II. Players will be able to create and customise a character from one of four brand new classes. Male or female. Gorgeous or fugly. The choice is yours. Add to that the tried and tested skill tree system, which has been peppered with loads of new skills and loot… and you have a recipe for loads of unique character builds.
The game will come bundled with TorchED, an editor which grants players the ability to create their own mods. Mods have been a part of PC gaming culture for as long as there have been games and the creators of Torchlight II recognise this. Cleared the campaign and outfitted your character with an obscene amount of powerful loot? Nice. Now, create your own content.
4) Pets, Fishing & the Kitchen Sink
The first Torchlight offered its own take on the follower mechanic found in Diablo II. Players could create a pet which would serve as both a mobile stash and support in combat. The pet could also travel to town independently of the player, selling off loot so you didn’t have to. By sticking your canine/feline companion with this mundane task, the game allowed you to focus on the fun aspects of Action RPGs: killing and looting. Building on the pet mechanic is the fishing feature. When fed to your pet, the fish would transform them, bestowing new abilities which could aid you in your adventure. Both these popular features will return in the sequel. Ruinic has promised ‘more choices and better effects’. Intriguing.
Torchlight II is shaping up to be the true spiritual successor to Diablo II… and that’s a good thing.
5) Fun VS Balance
I thought I’d leave you with this quote on the value of balance in ARPGs. It’s taken from a recent interview with Erich Schaefer, Co-Founder of Ruinic Games. He was VP at Blizzard North during the development of Diablo II, so the man knows what he’s talking about.
‘…I think balance is boring. I specifically want you to find a weapon that’s just too good. I want you to discover a skill combo that makes killing certain monsters seem too easy, and I want your summoned Nether Imp to feel “way overpowered.” But these imbalance spikes are designed to be temporary. A few levels deeper into the game, you might be struggling to find a replacement weapon, your skill combo won’t work as well against the new monster varieties and your pet will start to seem weaker. The multiple, overlapping systems and heavy randomness work to my benefit in this respect. I just stand back and try to manage the chaos. So all my spreadsheets and assumptions become less important as we finish development, and I concentrate on playing over and over again, getting tons of feedback, and ironing out the really crazy peaks and valleys. Fun always trumps balance.’ – Erich Schaefer, Co-Founder of Runic Games
Anyone who has spent some time with Diablo III can attest to the fact that the developers’ quest for gameplay balance has sapped a measure of fun out of the proceedings. It begins with ridiculous drop rates and extends to the insane stat bumps seen throughout Inferno difficulty. There’s something fundamentally wrong when a character feels more powerful at level 1 than level 60. You can read the full interview here.
So there you have it. Five reasons to keep an eye on Torchlight II. Pre-order it today. You can thank us later.
Look for our Torchlight II review when the game drops in late 2012.