The Light That Never Goes Out: Torchlight II

By Kieron Gillen on August 4th, 2010 at 3:12 pm.

A logo, yesterday.

Fantastic news. Runic have just announced that a sequel to their popular dungeon-crawl action-RPG will be coming in early 2011 via direct download. The site’s just gone live, which promises a few big changes. Most notable of this is peer-to-peer co-op, including matchmaking abilities so you can locate people with similar level of (er) levels. Also, outdoor areas – complete with weather – and four character classes. Are they all new or the originals plus a new one? We don’t know yet. We just don’t know. More details on the site. The biggest question is that what does this mean for the planned Torchlight MMO? We’ll try to find out via – er – journalism. Or at least sending e-mails and asking politely.

EDIT: And news leaks out in a hefty interview with PCG. Basically, it’s a different thing and a chance for Runic to wrestle with Multiplayer a little before progressing to the MMO.

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62 Comments »

  1. IncredibleBulk92 says:

    I could never get into Torchlight. It just seemed like a very standard Diablo clone without the online system. I did like my pet cat but it wasn’t enough to keep me playing past level 15.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Pretty much this. I bought Torchlight because of RPS’ elegy of it. I still regret the purchase.

    • qrter says:

      I did enjoy it, but I did quit playing a lot sooner than most people seem to. All games are pointless to some degree, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that Torchlight really had little direction.

      I know the point of the game is to keep wanting better equipment, but I guess that’s not enough for me.

    • LintMan says:

      “I know the point of the game is to keep wanting better equipment, but I guess that’s not enough for me.”

      Me neither. My interest starts to wane as soon as the story wraps up. I never understood the point of grinding on harder and harder creatures to get better equipment to be able to fight tougher monsters, when there’s no larger context or goal – it just feels like I’m spinning my wheels.

    • KilgoreTrout XL says:

      I stopped around level 15 (or 20?), but only because that’s when my character unlocked that “Ember Lance” spell which was a big cheat ray that destroyed everything in sight. I should have just not used it, but I couldn’t help myself. Got kinda boring after that.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      I know the point of the game is to keep wanting better equipment, but I guess that’s not enough for me.

      Here’s the thing: without the social interaction that goes with co-op to keep the game interesting, the only thing it has to fall back on is throwing new stuff (loot, levels and powers, interesting enemies, visually interesting levels) at you fast enough to keep you interested. The problem with most hack-and-slash games is that the devs don’t seem to realise how fully they depend on that “just a little bit further” sentiment; so instead of putting a wide enough variety of stuff in and throwing it at you fast enough that the game remains interesting, they dole these things out way, way too slow for you to want to keep playing without additional stimulation (i.e. a friend playing it with you).

      Basically, these games need to be condensed – Torchlight would have been great fun if they’d just had a single level per visual theme and doled out loot and XP about ten times as fast. That would have kept throwing new things at you fast enough to keep you interested.

    • Bremze says:

      If anything, they threw too much loot at you, and most of it was useless. Although making a mod that lowers the drop rate but ups the rare/unique % is trivial.

      I still believe, that Torchlight was the first Diablo-like, that managed to be better than Diablo 1/2 themselves. Only thing missing was co-op, and that will now be remedied.

    • Wulf says:

      I will say though that there is more depth to the game with a few mods tossed in there.

      I heartily recommend the puzzle dungeons, because if you’re really looking for some depth, you’ll find it there. What’s especially interesting is how Torchlight puts things together, in chunks, so you might be proceeding through walls of critters, only to stumble upon one such puzzle which would stop you in your tracks.

      There were other dungeons too which added some really interesting bosses and layouts, there was one maze-like one that drove me nuts with its three-dimensionality, leaving me wondering how I’d get to those two bridges above my head.

      All of these tossed in together, so that you find them as you’re progressing through the storyline, can make for a really different experience. I played Torchlight vanilla, and then replayed it again with lots of extra dungeon chunks. I have to say, the second replay was far more enjoyable than the first.

  2. pakoito says:

    It was just that, a quick Diablo fix for a couple of days. I enjoyed it and then moved to another game.

  3. Dyst says:

    Urgh. I just posted this on the forums literally 2-3 minutes before you posted it on here. :|

    In other news, I’m insanely excited. I loved the first game and co-op and exterior environments aswell as a new class should make it a pretty fun experience.

    • Ian says:

      Where do you think Kieron gets news? He just sits around hoping somebody posts stuff on the forum. He usually swiftly deletes the post after copying it and disappears into the night with an ungodly cackle.

  4. Dave says:

    I love that I can see “The Light That Never Goes Out” as the title of an RPS article in my RSS feed and KNOW who wrote it.

  5. jon_hill987 says:

    What has happened to the MMO?

    • bob_d says:

      @ frightlever:
      In a sense, yes; as I understood it, the MMO was going to be free-to-play (for everyone).

    • DrGonzo says:

      I think Mythos coming back may have made them realise a Torchlight mmo is a bit pointless.

  6. nickylee says:

    I’m less interested in the MMO now that there’s gonna be a sequel with co-op. I’ve been playing the first game again for a few weeks now after Starcraft II brought Diablo III to mind, and the one thing I truly miss is multiplayer.

  7. Wulf says:

    GLEE!

    Oh, and once again, I lament the average gamer not being into mods. Torchlight has a modding community that easily rivals any of the Bethesda games, and they’ve cranked out some truly interesting stuff. Even brain-busting puzzle dungeons.

    80% of what made Torchlight so bloody fantastic was in the modding community and the mods. It’s a crying shame to miss out on that, because almost all the fun in past (pre-Fallout 3) Bethesda games was added in by modders and their incredible ingenuity. Torchlight is just like that.

    Torchlight vanilla is plenty fun, and great for a few days play, but if you pay attention to the mods then you’ll get so much more out of it. Considering that the mods are free, if you don’t at least give them a look then it’s your loss, and you’re the only one missing out.

    I see that TorchEd is being updated for Torchlight II, I expect the modding community to be a cornerstone of that game, too.

    • nickylee says:

      Actually, I use mods in Torchlight and am even working on a few of my own, but I wouldn’t say there’s anywhere near the level modding activity I was expecting. I thought there’d have been full replacement towns or total conversions and so forth by now, but if such overhauls exist I haven’t been able to track them down. I’d be more than happy if I could be corrected on that score though.

    • Wulf says:

      Partial conversions exist, and total conversions are in the making if you follow the WIP subforum.

      Town changes though are irrelevant, since the town is just somewhere where you to to drop off loot, it’s an almost irrelevant part of the game. The community rectified this a bit with town upgrades, even adding a mineshaft-dungeon to the town, but a complete redo of the town would be pointless.

      Most modders of that level of talent instead went with creating incredibly complex and amazing new dungeons, which I fully support.

    • nickylee says:

      When I say town changes I just meant more of an overland map overhaul. I know that gameplay-wise it’s just a place to stop, retool, and continue from but I wanted to see people do more with it. It feels very like Tristram from the first Diablo, small and cramped and totally disconnected from any sense of a world. Unlike, say, Diablo II where the towns are connected to outland areas. I’m glad to see Torchlight II will have this though. Very exciting.

  8. Nick says:

    Isn’t early 2011 the same release window as Diablo 3? Is that wise?

    • nickylee says:

      It’s a fair point, but as you may well know many of the people responsible for the first Diablo games are Runic’s founders. They even have Matt Uelmen who composed the Diablo scores (including the still amazing Tristram theme). So they have a good shot of crafting a game that’s more Diablo in feel than even Diablo III might be.

      Besides, if they go in the same direction as they did with the first Torchlight, it’ll be a lower price point, slightly more casual title which means there’s plenty of room for both.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Yeah if Diablo 3 does come out then, I’d pretty much forget about Torchlight 2. But I could very well see Diablo 3 being delayed.

    • Nick says:

      Oh, I have no doubt there is room for both, but it still doesn’t seem a good idea in terms of potential market being the same and the longevity of the games means people may not bother with it if they have Diablo 3.

      Of course if it comes out first it’ll likely be a good stopgap purchase for those hungry and impatient sorts.

    • Choca says:

      I wouldn’t expect Diablo III before 2013 actually.

    • Janxer says:

      Yeah I’m not gonna touch the game if it comes out within the same six months as Diablo 3.
      Torchlight was a good effort. but it had a lot of problems. In the end, Diablo 2 is still a better game to me, even when you apply mods to Torchlight.

      Also, I put very little stock in the whole “Runic games basically made Diablo!” thing people seem to say.
      From interviews with Runic, they only seem to claim that the two lead developers and composer of Torchlight is from BlizzNorth.

    • Jimbo says:

      Torchlight 3 will be out before Diablo 3.

  9. Lobotomist says:

    Exactly.

    With Co-Op , question is do we really need a MMO aswell?

    But regardless. Excellent news. Torchlight is high quality game from high quality team.
    Game that you can play over and over. And with co-op it will become even more addictive.

    • id says:

      Hell, I never wanted the MMO in the first place — all I ever wanted was co-op. Co-op is about a billion times more fun than massively multiplayer, scientifically speaking.

  10. Fumarole says:

    Good news everyone! Co-op is just what this game needed.

  11. toni says:

    I’m up for another funny dungeon left-click crawl.

  12. Jason Moyer says:

    I kind of wish someone would marry the awesome click-click-click combat of Torchlight/Titan Quest with a sort of Obsidian-esque branching storyline (I’m assuming Dungeon Siege 3 is more Icewind Dale than Alpha Protocol).

  13. Soundofvictory says:

    @Nick

    In regards to Torchlight 2 going for sale around the same time as Diablo 3, IIRC Starcraft 2 at some point was marked down as a late 2008 release. I seriously doubt Diablo 3 will actually be out early 2011. Especially since SC2 just dropped and Cataclysm is also dated for this winter. Three major games out within six months? That is simply not how Blizzard has operates and they have little reason to change now.

    I think just like the original this will be a splendid morsel, albeit more substantial (hopefully), of diablo-like gameplay that will keep us distracted for a little while longer until Diablo3 drops in 2015.

    • Lobotomist says:

      Rumors put Diablo 3 release to begging of 2012

    • nickylee says:

      So it’s even less of a concern than I point out then.

    • pakoito says:

      Last thing I knew Blizzar said “one game a year”, so it’s Cataclysm 2011, D3 in later 2011/2012, SC2-2 in 2013, etc etc etc…

  14. Oliver says:

    I’m quite certain that the MMO is still under development and will be formally detailed/announced after T2. The only “fact” on which I can substantiate this is that their description refers specifically to an ‘Overworld’ – a term Travis used a lot during the Mythos beta to describe the newly-developed umm… ‘overworld’ just before it shut down. Previous to that, everything was shard/instance based.

    So this, to me, seems like a network/overworld testing stage for the MMO. But hey, I’ve been wrong once before.

    Players journey through the perilous Overworld, enjoying all new weather features, time of day events, and a rich and cunning story to drive gameplay.

  15. Po0py says:

    This is awesome news. Torchlight was a brilliant little game. I was kinda wondering why they never bothered releasing any dlc. Now we know why. I suspect that the original Torchlight was such a financial success that they couldn’t resist having another pop before the push the MMO. This is something to look forward to.

  16. Garg says:

    Looks like PC Gamer have an interview with the devs up on their site.

    From that it seems the MMO is still planned, but the impression is that it’s still a good few years off and so they’re making this to fill the desire for co-op from the original now.

    • nickylee says:

      On Runic’s official twitter feed they state “the MMO is still going to be made after the sequel.”

  17. LintMan says:

    Torchlight was extremely well made but IMHO terribly shallow, like a revamped Diablo 1 but without the cutscenes. It was fun for the few hours of the first playthough, but I couldn’t muster enough interest for a second playthrough with a different character.

    If Torchlight II was just mainly new classes and gear, I wouldn’t be too interested. But if they added more single player content: better story, more/better quests, more “stuff” to do, that’d be pretty nifty.

  18. Vinraith says:

    Fantastic news. The only thing Torchlight badly needed to continue holding my interest was co-op, and here it is.

  19. mcnubbins says:

    Oooh, there goes another 30 hours of my life … actually, it’s probably lots more with added co-op!

  20. Freud says:

    Any multi player game like this is basically doomed without something like battle.net. You can only play with close friends because everywhere else games will be full with players with duped and hacked items.

    I did enjoy Torchlight and played through several times with different classes. But right now I have no urge to play the sequel. Hopefully Diablo 3 picked up on the good ideas in the first game (especially having a way to sell items without leaving the dungeon).

    • Vinraith says:

      It’s seldom discussed, but there are really two distinct types of online multiplayer: the kind between friends and the kind with random internet people and acquaintances. Some people are only concerned with the first one (like myself, for me a direct IP option is all I ever need), some people are only concerned with the second, and some people enjoy both. It all depends on your priorities, tolerances, and so on.

      So, in shot, Torchlight 2 is great for people with real life gaming friends, not so great for people that enjoy gaming with internet pick up groups.

    • Xercies says:

      Things like co-op is a must for local friends/friends on the internet and not random groups. random groups + co-op is a horrible horrible experience.

    • Jad says:

      I have to say, all the duping and hacking in my (admittedly limited) playtime with old Diablo 1′s multiplayer was quite a blast.

      I entered multiplayer with some trepidation, my only previous experiences being the far different Quake 1 deathmatches and getting griefed in MUDs. Some dude walks up to me and immediately says “Here you go!”. A huge mass of armor and weapons fall at my feet, some of the best in the game (I seem to remember something about “Godly Breastplate of the Whale” or something). He then says “Lets go down to Hell!” I had never gotten that far in the single player game, and was way too low-level for it, but I donned my ludicrously powerful new equipment and off we went. We rampaged through Hell and eventually fought Diablo in an epic battle — the other guy hung back and constantly healed my pitiful reserve of hit points while I waded into the center of a completely screen-filling army and whacked away at the Prince of Evil with my puny low-level arms until he died. It was game-breaking and cheaty and utterly exhilarating, and stands as one of my favorite gaming memories.

      Anyway, no reason for the above post, really, I just wanted to share that story.

  21. Daniel Carvalho says:

    Runic are clearly stupid. The sequel should be called Torchlights.

    But seriously, co-op mode? Now I might actually give it a go. Some of my fondest gaming memories were playing Diablo II multiplayer.

  22. jackflash says:

    Maybe I’ll pick this one up, then. The first one seemed far too simplistic, and with no coop, not terribly engaging. Hopefully they’ll add a little more complexity to the mix this time around (though I’m not going to hold my breath).

  23. JohnnyMaverik says:

    They’re being extremely cleaver about this, in Torchlight they provided a good game and got the basics all working and fine tuned, with this they’ll provide a good (hey possibly even great) game and get some multi player elements all working and fine tuned, then who knows, Torchlight 3, Torchlight MMO? I don’t care myself, take their time, keep working on it, they’ll get there eventually and we’ll keep getting tasty stuff to play.

  24. jvempire says:

    Will it ship with fight.net 2.0?

  25. Tavil says:

    I love Torchlight so im definitely looking forward to this…
    I just hope they get it out before Diablo 3 though. Otherwise it’ll be ignored/forgotten quick.

  26. cjlr says:

    If, like the first one, I only have to pay $5 for it, it will be more than worth it.

  27. MD says:

    If I ever look like I’m about to buy this, please, talk me out of it. I bought Torchlight when it was on sale after hearing a lot of praise for it, both here and elsewhere. But it’s really not my kind of game at all, I found it extremely boring. The thing is, I should have known! People were going on about how great it was, sure, but they didn’t pretend it was anything other than a polished hack-and-slash with a couple of nice design decisions and a whole lot of hacking and slashing. I’ve never liked those games, but I bought it anyway because I’m a chump. It’s like the time I bought Championship Manager after reading a really positive review of it, without stopping to think about what the game actually entailed, and the fact that I was interested neither in football nor in abstract management games.

  28. Daniel Carvalho says:

    Haha, those are better.

  29. Rane2k says:

    This has the potential to be very good.
    The added multiplayer is something that the first one really needed, but there were also a few other flaws that they hopefully do not repeat.

    My main gripe was that the skill descriptions and item description were very vague and it was not very clear what certain attributes did and how things worked together.
    Also a few balance issues, some of which were obviously bugs (It´s not very cool if people have to make mods just to fix things that are obviously not working as intended.)

  30. Gna says:

    I wish devs would mix darksiders combat into RPGs like this already. It’s waaaaay overdue for point and click. We have the technology and stuff.

    Back in the days point and click was acceptable due to technology constraints, but now it’s about something else I dont get.