May 21, 2012

Torchlight 2 (and another Diablo 3 comparison)

I managed to get signed up just in time (few days prior) for a Torchlight II beta/stress-test weekend. So, looks like I can continue the thread of Diablo-like games for another round.
Not sure why this was a stress test- you could only set games to host 6-8ish max players. Could only do internet-based games, but it was easy enough to set to friends-only and/or password protect and that kept things quiet for solo gaming. Lots of games going over the weekend, though, and no problems joining a few. I guess maybe the host listing info might a problem, but it wasn't.
So, more general commentary:
  • Three skill trees, with skill points each level and two or three choices in each tree for a range of 5 or 6 levels. Lots of choices for customization, including some passive abilities and some active ones. Mix & match, too- you could pick a second tier skill from any that were available- you didn't have to unlock X points in tier 1 in a section to get those tier 2 skills, so you could definitely customize any way you wanted.
  • You REALLY feel the fighting, both when hitting enemies (a crit kill leaves a nice burst of blood) and being pounded by enemies, too. Smashing urns/etc. feel like a very satisfying smash.
  • Definitely not a push-over. I died several times on Normal difficulty, even playing a smashy-smashy character. Took some getting used to dodging the heavy attacks from mobs, but still difficult. I like the option of paying more to spawn nearby or choosing to go back to beginning of level or back to town for cheaper/no costs.
  • There were a number of swarms- usually with a few boss mobs; got surrounded more than once, and that almost always meant death. Eventually got an ability to shadow-step through mobs and heal on damage dealt, which did help, but was still a battle. These rarely offered any reward- not even gold.
    /The first main boss summoned mobs at several points. After dying to the boss, it waited at the transfer point, so it was very hard to get out of the mob alive to be able to go back to kiting or whatever other strategy.
UI commentary:
  • Biggest confusion comes from the slight tweak to the usual RPG item progression- grey>white>>blue>green>gold . Got my qualities confused a few times there. Also, same dark blue for stat text... why? So many other colors that would be more visible on a black background.
  • The game has built-in loot settings as menu options- you can set, for example, white items to not show to be picked up. Always wanted the gold, but nice to e able to blank out stuff I might not want.
  • No gamma control and the default setting was a bit bright. There was a radius of brightness around the character (edges of screen were darker). Managed to calm a bit of it down by turning off bloom, but still took a while to get used to.
  • Cursor was very small and I lost where it was several times. Small buttons for pet and character tabs on the sides of the screen; if I moused over too far, I'd open them on accident, especially in the heat of battle.
  • Hotkeys were listed in most places ( Skills (S) ), but weapon and secondary combat slots both had dual quickslots to change, and no indication of what the commands were for these. I've also gotten spoiled with separate hotkeys for potions- in this case, they take up space on the hotbar.
It's pretty obvious (just like with the first) that some of the Diablo team was involved. This feels more like what Diablo 3 should've been, and at a third the price (including a copy of the original Torchlight), it's such a shame that D3 got so much more attention. Guild Wars 2 is a little different experience, this is more the Diablo III experience the way I want it. I'll probably toss my money at it, though I don't know how often/when I'll play one vs. the other. Hopefully a few others will join in and it could make for an interesting multiplayer diversion at some point.