Diablo® III

For your consideration... Torchlight II

I know this thread will get flamed to death and then deleted. However, having played both games for over 100 hours now, I wanted to share my findings with those unfortunates still playing Diablo 3, or, more likely, trolling the forums and waiting for news Blizzard will fix the game.

I only just recently actually picked up Torchlight II, as it came out at the same time as BL2, and BL2 took up a ridiculous amount of time, in addition to burning me out on loot games for a while, especially when it came on the heels of D3 (Here's a hint for those who haven't picked up BL2 yet- it has all the same strengths and glaring weaknesses of D3, just in FPS form). Thus, it was only now, when I actually had 100+ hours in (the same amount of time I invested in D3) that I felt qualified to discuss the games, comparatively. What follows is my review of Torchlight 2, written from the perspective of a D2 and D3 player.

Story: 6.5/10
Torchlight II's story is basically Diablo II's story. Exposure to intense amounts of evil and corruption from the first game drives a former protagonist to pursue actions which may ultimately lead to the destruction of the world. That being said, there are some interesting twists, like when you read the notes of the alchemist and have some dialogues which at times make him out to be a sort of anti-hero. The real gems (and why it rates higher than a 5, which is all I would give it based on a well done retread of an existing, albeit very good, story) come in the form of the side quests. I don't generally read text for side quests anymore, too many games have had too many sidequests which are too trivial for me to bother. I tend to speedread what I can while I click the button to proceed. So, when I'm speedreading through my response to the latest fetch quest and see "and you shall be the first in my empire of slaves" it makes me say "wait, what?" and I wonder what I missed when accepting the quest from that guy. Since then, I've been reading the text associated with the side quests in TL2, and it's actually quite good. Comical, often, albeit understated, twisted at times, ironic at others, it's just good writing. Perhaps the best part about the plot? It's easy to skip it. So, on your New Game + run with your 12th character, you're not being fed a bunch of drivel you've heard 20 times already.
tl;dr: The story won't win any awards, but it's well done, and won't make you hate the game. The side quests are worth paying attention to.

Sound: 9/10
Between the music by Matt Uleman, the visceral and informative sounds of combat (with the amount that goes on at a time, paying attention and learning what the audible cues mean is very helpful), the background touches which are surprisingly impactful (the sounds of falling embers during a scene in which you're battling underneath a house that's burning down, for example) this game is an example of audio done right. Most of the time it will simply set the scene, which it does very well, but when you do pay attention to it, it's awesome to listen to in its own right. If there was a collector's edition to this game, I'd want it to include the soundtrack.

Graphics: 7/10
Not as cheesy and cartoony as the first game, it's still a low poly engine for system performance needs, and I can talk all day about how effectively it pulls off its style, but here in this forum, I can't rate it any higher, as D3 is the king of eye candy. What I can say is that its smooth, impossible to lag engine keeps churning along regardless of the absolutely ridiculous amount of particle effects you throw at it. Sure, for the disturbing scenes, it might have to go with ominous tendrils emerging from the red mist, instead of deeply detailed backgrounds of chains descending into infinity. But the environments are varied, well executed, and surprisingly immersive (my favorite area is the already mentioned battle under the burning house, blew my socks off), and the engine handles the massacre of dozens of enemies at a time with a silky smoothness. You routinely have 50+ enemies within sight, and routinely have multiple procs of different effects from one "attack", and depending on the auras and debuffs in play, are probably causing it to render several hundred visual effects at a time, yet I've never seen the game so much as stutter, and that's on a gaming laptop. So, for what it's worth, if you can get past the artistic style, the game really is very pretty, and at times, it manages to be downright spooky, which is saying something about how well constructed it is, considering the style.
tl;dr: If graphics are what you're looking for, D3 does it better. However, it's immersive and never lags, and we've all seen worse.

Items: 9.5/10
I have a really hard time giving out 10s, what can I say. From sets which provide meaningful bonuses actually being obtainable (was wearing Grundig's bastion for a while with a level 30 guy, the -4.5% physical damage taken for each enemy within 3 yards was Awesome), to Uniques being common enough to have rerolling them (by combining 4 in the transmuter) be viable, to having strong, effective choices in a number of areas leading to diverse and well constructed gear. The affixes are awesome, and impact gameplay beyond bonuses to your primary attribute, the enchanters (several of which enchant in specific ways) allow you to enhance gear you want to keep for a while, the transmuter allows you to trash gear you'll never use and get something (hopefully) more useful out of the deal, the gambler gives you a fun gold dump which can at times be Very useful. My Berserker had not found really a single good belt, so he gambled on a bunch of them, and got an Awesome unique belt out of the deal. Perhaps most importantly, they're generous. Good loot is not only varied, it's abundant. It's hard to go more than a level or two without finding something you're really excited about using, and the great part about the way they handle equipment restrictions (you can qualify with hitting the level requirements OR the stat requirements) means you often have a choice: do I wait until I'm the appropriate level to use this, or try to boost my stats to be able to use it early? It's all quite well balanced, too, so running around with your "OP" gear won't destroy the game.

Perhaps most importantly in this topic are the weapons. Unlike some other games, where the choice of weapons is a purely cosmetic one as you'll never actually use it anyway, the weapons in this game are deliciously varied and interesting in their behaviors. Swords, axes and maces are all generic one handed weapons, yet of those, axes tend to have fixed damage figures instead of ranges, and maces come with a 90% interrupt chance. On top of that, they tend to have different stat requirement focuses, so they lend themselves to different builds. All of them are AOE weapons, attacking everyone in an arc in front of you, with their range dependent on the weapon involved. Claws attack crazy fast and ignore 50% of armor, but are single target weapons. Pistols have a short range, wands do elemental damage, shotgonnes and cannons deal a ranged AOE attack, when dual wielding there is a chance you will "execute" attacking with both weapons, with the chance of it based upon your focus, the list goes on and on. The point is that your choice of weapon is mechanically interesting, and directly affects gameplay.
tl;dr: There is nothing TL2 does wrong in itemization. Diverse and powerful items with a variety of means of obtaining them combined with mechanically interesting weapons leads to a thoroughly engaging and meaningful item hunt with frequent rewards.

Gameplay: 10/10
It's my kind of game, what can I say. It gives you all the information you need to support effective decisions- as an example, the monsters all have a thing next to their health bar telling you their primary element. Being beaten to a pulp by archers with poison next to them? Maybe up your poison armor, and/or increase your projectile reflection, and/or dodge them better. You can look up nearly any information you would want in the arcane statistics. As indicated earlier, battles are intense, with many times 50+ enemies on the field, with a good mix of "trash" monsters (those who are low threat, you just need to kill them) and "tough" monsters (those requiring specific tactics or abilities to defeat effectively). The game also does a good job of early on introducing representative examples of different types of monsters (big guys with slow, highly telegraphed attacks, archers who set the floor on fire, shielded enemies, summoners, etc) so that you can learn those effective tactics, and actually stand a fighting chance later on when they're all mixed together.

Related, and perhaps most importantly, the game is fair. It never CCs you and does damage you can't avoid, it never gives you invincible minions or impossible combinations. At times, it's tough, but every time you die, if you're like me, you say "what did I do wrong" or better yet "what can I learn from this". It makes Hardcore possible, and an interesting challenge, albeit still not my scene, I don't have enough time to redo all that work. But every character I make dies for the first time a bit later on, and has a lower death count by the time I'm done with them than the one that came before, and it's not just because they have awesome gear I've bequeathed to them through the shared stash. There are secret rooms and areas and even quests for the explorers out there, the ability to customize the crap out of your gear, stats, skills, etc for the optimizers out there, hardcore, elite, and self imposed restrictions (self found single pass being the most common) for the masochists out there. Intense combat which often causes me to pause and step away for a moment when it's done is balanced by relaxing fishing, and the ability to choose your difficulty level means if you're not into optimizing, or fishing, or using your pet really at all other than as another back pack, you can play on normal and be just fine. The game in no way attempts to be everything to everyone, but if this genre of game is your thing, it gives you enough knobs and levers to make it a game you'll enjoy pretty much 100% of the time.

Lastly, there's the mods. Some of them are purely cosmetic, some of them are obviously game breaking and infantile, some of them literally break more than they fix. However, there are some gems out there, and there's more on the way. On the small scale, they allow you to tweak the game to suit your preferences. I run with a higher max zoom out, 25% faster base move speed, and a larger draw distance for monsters. All of this leads to "shrinking" the world, which is great because I'm a completionist who has a hard time leaving nooks or crannies unexplored, while not wanting to invest a ton of time. On the large scale, there's complete replacement mods. Synergies is essentially a different game entirely, giving 16 new classes and completely altering itemization and monster balance. If you're bored of the vanilla game, it might be worth a look. The best part? They're all free, and you're given all the tools you need to make your own.
tl;dr: The gameplay is great. It's fast, it's fun, it's fair, and it has elements which appeal to a variety of gamers, while giving them the tools to tweak it further and ensure it's the kind of game they'll enjoy.

Replayability: 8/10
The longevity of this game doesn't come from its New Game + modes (they're not really my thing, past hitting 100). Though those exist, and the masochists among you can see how far you can go (sure, NG+ is pretty easy, but what about NG+++++?), and though there are the mapworks, offering you random challenge portals, which again gives the ability to keep playing with a single character nearly indefinitely, for me the longevity of this game comes from its replayability. Hit 100 with your Embermage? Cool. A completely different gameplay experience awaits with a different class, or build. In D3, I rolled a Barb, and then tried a Wizard, only to find much to my chagrin that the game actually still played exactly the same, so I stopped. In TL2, so far I've rolled a frost embermage, a prismatic bolt embermage, a shadowbind berserker, a shotgun outlander, and an AOE magic engineer. Still on my list of classes to play are a fire embermage, a magic outlander, a frost berserker, a cannon engineer, a summoner engineer, and a burning leap based outlander. Once I've tried all of those, if I can't think of anything else which would be significantly different and fun to my playstyle, I'll probably try synergies. The point is, I've got several hundred hours of play time in front of me, all of which will be diverse, enjoyable gameplay, and at no point will I be grinding for gear in order to advance. Again, if that's your thing, there's NG+++++, but that's not my thing. In addition, new classes and options come out all the time via mods, so I literally can't envision a situation in which I'll actually run out of things to do in this game. At some point, I might even try out a Berserker Passiveist, who uses no active skills, just passives and auto attacks. The only thing that would be better is if I could with new characters alter the order of the acts, or randomize the quests, or something, so it's not just a different gameplay experience, but a different game each time. If I had the time and cared enough, I could do that as well via a mod, but I don't. As is, though, not just the variety of builds possible, but the actual difference in how they play, is stunning, and enough to keep me coming back for more.
tl;dr: There's tons of stuff to do, and the variety of characters and builds possible make this game very replayable.

Overall: 9/10
I highly recommend this game. It's not perfect, but it is like Diablo 2, but better in every way. Better graphics, better itemization, better gameplay, etc. If you liked Diablo 2, I'd highly recommend playing this game, at least through Act III. If you still don't think this is your kind of game, fair enough. But I will say, having waited to play it for 6 months and playing BL2 during that time, I regret that decision, as this game is far superior to that one, and far more fun to play. You don't know what you're missing until you try it, and of all the games released in this genre in the last 12 months, this is the only one which actually lived up to and exceeded my expectations, and it is the only one I'd recommend to a friend looking for a loot based ARPG. At $20, it's a tremendous value, and in my opinion, highly worthy of your consideration.

Thanks for your time.
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Agree. Loved me some TL2.

Seriously, D3's graphics and combat with TL2's itemization would have been something indeed.
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Very thoughtful and insightful post about an awesome game! I, too, would highly recommend Torchlight II to any and all fans of the Diablo series. Anyone who loves Action RPG's in general owes it to themselves to give Torchlight II a try.
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I don't like Torchlight II combat. It feels too old. The rest of the games beats anything present on Diablo 3. though.
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Tried TL2, couldn't make it, bored to death in 40-60 hours.
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To me TL2 due to it's mods is a cheaters paradise. If you are wanting a max level character with max gold, skill, points, stat points and the BiS gear for your chosen class and spec. All you have to do is use the editor program and bam you have all of that in an instant. So you can keep your cheaters paradise to yourself.
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What's funny is that said "cheaters paradise" is entirely free of dupes, bots and spam, for exactly that reason. When you can already get whatever gear you want, why would you dupe or bot for it? Due to this, if you play multiplayer, it'll never be with a bot, and you'll never get a message spamming for the sale of gold. Due to the mostly offline play and easy access to cheating materials, you neatly avoid all the problems Diablo 3 was purportedly trying to avoid with its "always online" DRM (which, in case you hadn't noticed, it did not successfully avoid).

It turns out that, as with most things, the way to minimize people doing something undesirable is to allow them to do it to their hearts content, and make it unnecessary in the first place. There's no taboo of the forbidden to draw people to it, and no competitive advantage to be gained from doing so. Therefore, no one does it. Or, if people do, they keep it to themselves and don't bother others with their activities.

Finally, as you need the same mods as the people you're playing with, it's literally impossible for others to mess with your game with their cheated gear, as any modded gear will flag their account and you won't be able to play with them, unless that's something both of you have installed, in which case, if that's your thing for both of you, same principle applies- you do your thing, it will have no impact on me doing my thing.
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This might be considered weird by some, but I actually enjoyed playing TL more than TL2. Maybe it's because D3 burned me out of the genre for awhile...idk...

Anyway, I might actually try picking it up again soon, just don't know what class I will try next.

On a completely unrelated note: The graphics of D3 underwhelm me for being such a relatively new game. The character models are surprisingly low poly, and the textures could've been a lot more detailed. Really wish blizz would put the same amount of care into their games as their CG sequences for them.
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What's funny is that said "cheaters paradise" is entirely free of dupes, bots and spam, for exactly that reason. When you can already get whatever gear you want, why would you dupe or bot for it? Due to this, if you play multiplayer, it'll never be with a bot, and you'll never get a message spamming for the sale of gold. Due to the mostly offline play and easy access to cheating materials, you neatly avoid all the problems Diablo 3 was purportedly trying to avoid with its "always online" DRM (which, in case you hadn't noticed, it did not successfully avoid).

It turns out that, as with most things, the way to minimize people doing something undesirable is to allow them to do it to their hearts content, and make it unnecessary in the first place. There's no taboo of the forbidden to draw people to it, and no competitive advantage to be gained from doing so. Therefore, no one does it. Or, if people do, they keep it to themselves and don't bother others with their activities.

Finally, as you need the same mods as the people you're playing with, it's literally impossible for others to mess with your game with their cheated gear, as any modded gear will flag their account and you won't be able to play with them, unless that's something both of you have installed, in which case, if that's your thing for both of you, same principle applies- you do your thing, it will have no impact on me doing my thing.


Modding in TL2 is not the only thing, unless you say that their editor can only make mods. If their game editor cannot take a level one character and give them max level, max gold, all stat and skill points, and the best gear in the game. Then what kind of game editor is it. If you can do that then, what do you think that duping is. All that any player has to do is know what item that they want. Then presto they got that item in an instant along with any other piece of gear, level, etc.. that they want. That is why I call it cheaters paradise.

It is there for those that want to be able to dupe on their own. And believe me, unless the game just hands everything to you on a silver platter. Where the best gear in the game for your class and spec drops like rain out of the sky with perfect rolls. Players are no doubt duping those items as we speak.

Also the so called freedom from bots and gold sellers is not due to being able to mod. It is due to the lack of the popularity of Runic Games. Their popularity and the value of their virtual goods are not very high. That is why you will not see those things. Because if modding was the answer then WoW would never have had a single bot at all. But we know it is loaded with bots from time to time.

Also the only duper here is Blizz themselves. The rest of the dupes that are not coming from Blizz rollback account dupes. They would be either found by bots, give enough bots enough time and they will find the same items. Also you have any other possible glitch in the item generation system that might still exist. Those are the three sources of dupes in this game.

The fact that something is against the rules does not mean that players will do it because they want to break the rules. Hmm, so then botting is legal in that game. Interesting, then in time you will be playing side by side with bots. Come on do you really think that everything is so easy to do and to obtain that no one will ever bot. If there is the least bit of a grind in that game to get anything I guarantee you will find bots.

When I talk about duping I mean take Mempo of Twilight. Now take any helm in that game that is similar to Mempo of Twilight made by Runic Games. A helm that all players are wanting. Now let's say it takes an extremely long time to get. I can guarantee you that you will find players that will use the editor to give themselves that item, as well as players botting to find that item. So since that item is part of the game world created by the devs. You could wind up playing with a bot trying to find that item or someone that used the editor to give themselves that item.
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Played it on release. Honestly there is no need to dupe or cheat, I had collected everything for my Embermage at lvl 100 after about 200 hours. I was just left farming for the socket and stat enchanters. That was my issue with the game and I didn't want to level up another character, plus I got stuck in NG+++ where there weren't many multiplayer games available. I came back to D3 for awhile and decided to play it again but the damn steam cloud save set me back to level 70...
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D3 killed ARPGs for me, my account now ghosts the forums. lol,

tried to enjoy TL2 more and PoE but nope, i jsut get a bad memory of D3 altogether due to genre association, so that genre is kind of out of the picture now, though i did beat both TL2 and PoE,, definitely better gameplay altogether from boht of them compared to D3. D3 is just an arcade basher. what RPG is there.
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I fully agree, I love TL2. Im waiting for D3 to catchup so to speak. D3 is fun and all but its still lacking.
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This might be considered weird by some, but I actually enjoyed playing TL more than TL2. Maybe it's because D3 burned me out of the genre for awhile...idk...

Anyway, I might actually try picking it up again soon, just don't know what class I will try next.

On a completely unrelated note: The graphics of D3 underwhelm me for being such a relatively new game. The character models are surprisingly low poly, and the textures could've been a lot more detailed. Really wish blizz would put the same amount of care into their games as their CG sequences for them.


I agree with you. I liked the 1st one better. Graphics, while cartoony, didn't seem nearly as bad as the 2nd one, and the ranged class was 100x better. Had a far more ranged feel to it; in TL2, the Outlander has more of a summoner/wizard feel.
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All that any player has to do is know what item that they want. Then presto they got that item in an instant along with any other piece of gear, level, etc.. that they want. That is why I call it cheaters paradise.

When I talk about duping I mean take Mempo of Twilight. Now take any helm in that game that is similar to Mempo of Twilight made by Runic Games. A helm that all players are wanting. Now let's say it takes an extremely long time to get. I can guarantee you that you will find players that will use the editor to give themselves that item, as well as players botting to find that item. So since that item is part of the game world created by the devs. You could wind up playing with a bot trying to find that item or someone that used the editor to give themselves that item.


By your definition of cheating, buying gear or gold with real money isn't cheating? It is just clicking of few buttons and wait for the items you want to be listed. The only difference is you need to wait, and you used real money.

You may continue to lie yourself that Torchlight II is a cheaters paradise and thus avoid playing, while I can say you're cheating in D3 as long as you traded since you never found the items yourself.
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TL2, not that good..

it is a decent game.. but.. its a bit boring to be honest. and Im suppose to be a huge fan of the original designer.

there are only a few things, I like in TL2, is guns , robots and pets. but the rest sucks.. the fishing minigame is just okay.. the best fishing minigame I seen in action RPG, is in DarkCloud2 and Okami
Edited by Mitchysan#6745 on 4/3/2013 9:33 AM PDT
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Personally, I like TL2. A lot. I like the "soul" of the game more than D3 and certainly more than POE. D3 has the aesthetics down well, but as someone mentioned if it had much of the qualities (in specific, itemization) that TL2 did then it would be amazing. My only problem with TL2 is that the multiplayer runs off that horrible Open Battle.net server option where you'll see hacked items or decked out characters regardless. If it had dedicated servers then this game would be my favourite ARPG out there right now.

Still, I feel much of the qualities that TL2 has could be enlisted in D3. TL2's problems are a little more complicated to deal with, while D3's may not be too difficult to address when that time comes. But as an instant solution to just wanting to see gold lettered items drop where they should? TL2 is the game for those people.
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