I love Diablo 3. As I sit writing this, three weeks after launch, I have already put over 150 hours into it. Although it is definitely not perfect, I believe that all the Diablo 3 haters are ignoring the places its design approaches brilliance. While you are busy playing Diablo 3, though, Torchlight 2 (another Action RPG) is currently available for pre-order on Steam and Perfect World. Here are some of the reasons why I think any serious Diablo 3 fan should pick it up as well.
#1 - You will actually find Unique and Set Items
I have played over 150 hours of Diablo 3. Question: How many items have I found that were better than something I found off the auction house? Answer: Two. I think most of us understand how bad the Diablo 3 economy would get if it was easy to find really good items. These items would flood the auction house and completely break the game. That being said, after killing the Inferno Siegebreaker countless times and never finding a single serious character upgrade, I get tired of waiting for my lucky day. I haven’t found a single legendary item (even a crappy one) and am starting to feel the only way to get ahead is to play the auction house.
Part of the reason I’m looking forward to playing Torchlight 2 is that I will find my own set / unique item (probably in the first thirty minutes). There is just something satisfying about actually using the awesome gear I just wrest from the hands of a monster I vanquished. Also, the legendary items in Torchlight 2 are amazing. There are over 2500 of them, they are focused and they sport some really cool unique modifiers. For instance, I found a pistol that leveled up after I killed 100 zombies with it. Finishing this mini-quest unlocked the ability to raise creatures I killed as flesh eating zombies.
Question: Will I continue to farm Diablo 3 after getting Torchlight 2? Answer: Yes. Question: Will being able to log into Torchlight 2 and farm some cool items after hours of frustratingly farming in Diablo 3 save me from repeatedly throwing my mouse across the room in nerd rage? Answer: Also yes. Torchlight 2 is like Diablo 3 therapy. Honestly, I think I will have more fun playing both side by side than I would have playing either exclusively.
Reason #2 – Adjustable DifficultyConfession time… sometimes I wish I had an easy button in Act 3 / 4 Inferno. My gear still kind of sucks and I sometimes feel like I am hitting a wall after getting owned by the same champion pack multiple times before I kill it. Unfortunately, whenI go play a Normal, Nightmare or Hell character and it feels like too much of a big roflstomp. I believe that there is such a thing as a gaming sweet spot - something that is challenging, but doable if the player is skilled. If a game is too easy, I get bored. If a game is too unfair, I get frustrated and rage quit. An example of a game I believe hit this difficulty just right is Dark Souls. It was difficult, but felt fair and hit the middle ground just right for me. Unfortunately, only parts of Act 1 of Inferno currently feel like that in Diablo 3 with my current gear. I’m sure once I get better gear I will be owning face in Inferno, but right now everything past Act 2 feels wildly imbalanced. What I wish I could have is an Oblivion-style slider that allowed me to adjust the difficulty on the fly. Luckily Torchlight 2 has this.
Unlike Diablo 3, Torchlight 2 is not constrained by secure servers and an auction house. This means that there is no need to pipe everything through a common difficulty curve the sake of fairness. Each time you create a game, you are able to select your difficulty level. Since there are no real benefits for picking hard difficulties other than fun (you don’t get better loot), you are free to play the game how you most enjoy. If you like being overpowered… you can play normal mode. If you like a serious challenge, play elite (which is much harder than very hard in TL 1). If even Elite is not enough for you, you will be able to easily download a difficulty mod and challenge yourself further.
#3 – Offline / LAN / Internet PlayWhile this is not as big a deal for me as it is for some people, the fact that you don’t need an active internet connection to play Torchlight 2 is a huge bonus. There is no need to wait for server maintenance and you will be able to play it even while traveling in areas without service. Perhaps even more awesome is the ability to hold throwback LAN parties and connect to your friend even if you are behind a firewall or in some other area without easy net access. Heck, you could buy Torchlight 2 just to play while waiting for the inevitable Diablo 3 server maintenance or content dead zones.
#4 – So Much Better than Torchlight 1I liked Torchlight 1. I thought it was a good Action RPG that showed a lot of promise. That being said, I was disappointed in several ways. Reading gamer online message boards, I know many other people felt the same way. Luckily, Torchlight 2 not only fixes most of the grievances I had with the first game, but almost feels like a different game. Here are just some of the highlights.
(In every way that matters)
(In every way that matters)
Items / Classes
- Way better itemization (more focused, better design, better graphics and they go all the way to level cap)
- Enchanting now actually enhances the item game rather than detracting from it
- More interesting skill trees (No shared passives / much better skills overall)
- Each class has a ton of support options if that is your thing
- The spell system has been improved significantly
- Each mode is more challenging (Elite Difficulty is actually really hard)
- Pet functionality is expanded
- Art / Animation / Sounds all have much higher production value
- There is a New Game+ mode (like Diablo 3 Nightmare) as well as an end game quest system that will take you all the way to level cap (And keep you busy afterward)
- Champion / Boss packs have a variety of challenging attributes
- There is actually a real story / lore (Runic hired a writer)
- Quest / Event variety is good this time around. I find myself wanting to read the dialogue
- Level design is much more varied than Torchlight 1
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