So I’ve been playing Torchlight for a little while now. Enough to get too far ahead of the level curve. Damn those side quests!
I’ve never been a real RPG fan myself, unless it is the MMORPG genre. I love me some MMORPGs. I was in a dark time in WAR, my current addiction, so I figured why not look on Steam. They were having their killer summer sale and I figured any one of those games would help me balance out my free time.
For a whopping $10, I managed to pick up Torchlight. They’ve kicked the price back up to $20, but even then… you get quite a good deal in here. There’s three archtypes to play with, tons of gear, random levels, and a great deal of depth to everything.
One thing that really stands out, and one thing that is generally overlooked on MMOs for various financial and programmatic reasons, is polish. This game looks great. It plays well. With dozens of hours logged, I’ve not come across a single bug. I’ve not crashed to desktop. I’ve not experienced any frame-rate issues. The game just works, and works GREAT.
Why doesn’t this not happen for a MMO? Here’s a couple hypotheses:
- Complexity. The MMO world has a lot unknowns to contend with. Lag is a bitch that can alter a normal play experience. Ew lag.
- Balance. With only three classes to pick, you’re narrowing the balance margin by a ton. You can set a metric for a Time to Kill and move that career around until you hit it. Without PvP, this is infinitely simpler.
- Investment. The time and money investment into a RPG, especially an Indie like this is considerably lower than a massive release such as WAR. Staff is smaller, and I’m pretty sure the office is smaller. All those contribute to being able to get more time into the build and more time to polish the game before release.
I love MMOs, don’t get me wrong…but Torchlight is making me a believer in the single-player RPG. To boot, I can take the game with me on the road, sans internet connection. Winner!