Archive for the ‘Torchlight’ Category

[Torchlight] Not an MMO…Yet!

Posted: August 10, 2010 in Torchlight

There’s no doubt in my mind that Torchlight is one of the better single player RPGs out there on the market right now.   Take into account the fact that it’s an indie title built on the open source Ogre 3D Engine, and you’ve got something a bit more impressive.  It takes a lot go build a computer game, and using an open source engine like Ogre really lends some credibility to the OSS movement.  That’s a good thing.

Recently, Runic announced that there would be a Torchlight 2, which wasn’t going to be an MMO.  The community had been clamoring for one, but Runic decided against it.  Personally, I think that’s a good plan.  Going from single player to MMO is like going from walking to running hurdles.  You need to learn how to run by yourself first.

There’s quite a few features of Torchlight 2 that I’m looking forward to out there.

  1. Multiplayer.  Sometimes it’s just fun to beat stuff up together.  I hearken back to my days of Contra 3, TMNT and Doom.  Mowing down enemy after enemy is fun.  Doing it with a beer or two and a friend or three is exponentially more fun.
  2. Modding.  Again, I go back to my days in Doom and Quake.  Modding was almost as much fun as playing the original game.  I distinctly remember a Ghostbuster’s mod on Doom that was a blast.
  3. Retirement.  This sounds a lot like a system from a text MUD I used to play.  In that MUD, you could level up to the max level and then go back to level 1.  You’d get to keep a spell/skill of your choice to help diversify your character.  This could be done up to 4 times, leaving your character max level with an additional set of three skills.  I really want to see how this plays out!
  4. Pets. Of all the great things in Torchlight 1, Pets really don’t seem to be one of them.  Maybe I’m just bad with a pet class, or maybe they just seem too static to me.  Either way, I’m looking hard at the improvements they seem to have in line here.

You can check out the teaser site as well as some of the other features by hitting the Torchlight 2 website.

[Torchlight] The Little Things

Posted: August 4, 2010 in Torchlight

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:

  1. Complexity. The MMO world has a lot unknowns to contend with.  Lag is a bitch that can alter a normal play experience.  Ew lag.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!