Making Torchlight II’s Levels And Stuff

Torchlight II is due in July. That’s only ten minutes from now! Quickly, we must read as much as we can about the creation of its randomized worlds! Oh God, if only there was something to hand… but maybe there is, because Runic have published this piece on the creation of Torchlight II’s world, and this Q&A on level design. It contains gems such as this: “We do have random events! A few examples of these are, maybe you run into a injured person on the road with a broken down wagon that asks you to do something for him/her in the immediate area. Or you could be out exploring and find a campfire with bandits that have tied up hostages that you can rescue for a reward. We are still working on these, and coming up with new ideas to keep them exciting for players.” Cor!


  1. Khann says:

    Your concept of time has broken my brain. I hope you’re proud, Mr. Rossignol.

  2. Antlia says:


  3. westyfield says:

    Clearly Jim has transcended time and space. I bet he’s playing STALKER 2 already, the swine!

  4. bleeters says:

    Yes yes yes, but are there Dark Zealots?

    My interest literally lives or dies on this information.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      There might be Zork Daleks…

      …oh, wait, I thought it said “Torchwood”…

  5. Nicholas Totton says:

    I really hope they do justice with the multiplayer. Being able to co-op with a friend is the main reason I’m looking forward to this. I also hope they do some kind of side kick system like City of Heroes that will allow me to play with friends at different levels. I really don’t want to have to make more then one character for each friend.

  6. Fumarole says:

    Here’s hoping it retains Hardcore mode; that should make for some interesting co-op games.

  7. Kaira- says:

    Summarized thoughts of mine:
    * Co-op, hurray for that. Maybe I can finally convince my friend to play something else than Titan Quest
    * Random events? Nice.
    * Hopefully they’ve improved the game a lot, since I’ve never finished Torchlight the original, because around mid-levels(?) I just lose interest because of… I don’t know, actually.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      I think part of the problem with Torchlight is that after a while all the levels pretty much felt the same. In comparison, Diablo 2 had some pretty varied locations.

    • Kaira- says:


      I actually have never finished Diablo 2 either, I vastly prefer Diablo 1 because of the atmosphere and general feel of it. Torchlight, in my opinion, reached some of that atmosphere but I guess it fell flat somewhere along the line, which is why I stopped playing it. Good game though, and I’ve clocked around 30-40 hours in it.

    • Vinraith says:


      Now that’s interesting. You’ve never completed the game, but you’ve played it twice as long as is necessary to reach the end. How’d you pull that off? :)

    • Antsy says:

      I’ve played it for considerably more than 30-40 hours and never finished it. This feat is accomplished by constantly restarting and playing different classes and builds.

      It’s a bad habit and one that has hindered me from seeing the end of quite a few games now.

    • Vinraith says:


      I’m familiar with the phenomenon, and frequently guilty of it myself, but with only three classes and a fairly limited skill system I’m surprised it’s possible to sustain that kind of thing in Torchlight for long.

    • Antsy says:

      As much as I enjoyed Torchlight, especially that initial all nighter, I never actually seem to be able to stick with it long enough to finish it before getting bored and uninstalling it. Of course months later when I feel the urge to try again I’ll feel compelled to start a new character.

      I’m really hoping that Torchlight 2 will hold my interest for longer.

    • Stompywitch says:

      Straight runs through the main dungeon aren’t that long, although a large chunk is loading times.

    • Kaira- says:

      @ Vinraith

      Oh you know, the usual way. Start a new character, play him/her some time, get bored, install some mods and new character classes, make new character, play him/her some time, get bored, repeat ad infinitum.

    • Vinraith says:


      I failed to account for mods adding additional character classes, silly me.

      Anyway, it’s a shame, because it only took me 20 hours to play through the campaign, and I’m generally an abysmally slow player. It seems likely that if you’d pushed along a bit farther with one of those characters you’d probably have seen the whole thing.

    • Erebus890 says:


      You could easily put 40+ hours in to the game without beating it, just by using the random dungeon maps. There’s an infinite amount of them after all.

    • Vinraith says:


      Good point, I’d totally forgotten about those. I did very few, as there didn’t seem to be a lot of point.

    • skalpadda says:

      I don’t think not getting to the end is a big deal in any way, since the narrative is just there to give a framework to the dungeoneering and loot frenzy. It’s alway a shame when a game just fizzles out, but getting 30+ hours out of a 20$ game seems like very good value for your money in any case.

  8. Gonefornow says:

    Bigger, more random (randomish) levels?! Yes!
    They are fixing just that one gripe I had with the original, It got samey.
    It’s like they’re making the game for me.
    Goody good, goody good.

    • Hematite says:

      Ah, but as a connoisseur of randomised maps I hated the maps in Torchlight!

      One of the best things about map randomisation is you generally get a combinatoric explosion of gameplay situations built around the various interplays between adjacent random segments.

      For example, in the much loved X-COM (and notably none of the imitators) the randomisation was only about an assortment of square tiles being shuffled and placed next to each other, but the emergent gameplay was fantastic! You probably want to assault the barn tile and put some snipers on the roof to cover the rest of your advance, but you might have to approach it across an open cabbage patch, and you should probably storm the sheds to your left first in case there’s a dude their waiting to shoot you in the back after you go past. Maybe you should just blow a hole in the back wall instead of circling to the front?

      Torchlight on the other hand seemed (it was a while ago, and I got bored with it very quickly) like a selection of lovingly crafted areas (seriously, I liked the feature rooms) joined in random order by boring corridors. Oh, and some T junctions so that you’d have to backtrack if you guessed the wrong path. There was no possibility of interplay between different sections so the work of building N areas provided N gameplay situations instead of N^2 or N^6 or whatever you could manage with better arrangement.

      Of course the other extreme is roguelikes, the boringest of which degenerate into anonymous room and corridor soup. Look, a room! This one is 6×7 instead of 8×4! It has 3 exits! There are d3 low level monsters scattered around! Even though the map is entirely random, the gameplay result is the same every time because the random elements are irrelevant. Most roguelikes (at least, the popular ones) understand that though, and are careful to have gameplay consequences for differently shaped environments to keep it interesting. But this essay has gone on long enough!

      tl;dr: Torchlight had random dungeons done badly, I haven’t seen anything to make me think it will be different this time.

  9. Njordsk says:

    I need it to be released early july, otherwise my summer will be doomed games-wise !

  10. ran93r says:

    I don’t actually care about co-op, just want more sweet sweet Torchlight luvin.

  11. gallardo1 says:

    you forgot to add the “read-more” button..

  12. Vagrant says:

    It’s a bit odd, but I am looking forward to this quite a bit more than Diablo 3, despite not playing very much Torchlight, and way too much Diablo 2. It took longer to fully map a Torchlight level than I wanted to invest into the game, a problem co-op would resolve.

  13. Scandalon says:

    Alas, I was swayed by all the Torchlight love on here, and bought it. Went down through several levels, leveled up my character several times and just thought…why am I doing this? Just not for me, I guess, but I do hold out hope the co-op will be worthwhile. (And in a two-pack sale!)

    • Vinraith says:

      It’s a very good action RPG, but it’s an action RPG in the Diablo style. If loot whoring and leveling up don’t give you a thrill, it’s not going to hold your attention.

    • MD says:

      Same thing happened to me, Scandalon. The praise (not just here, but elsewhere on the internet too) was so intense that I guess my mind kind of interpreted it as ‘this game is so great that it transcends its genre’, but it really didn’t. That’s probably what was so great about it, actually — the fact that it was such a pure and focussed diablo-like. I don’t like diablo-likes though, so I found Torchlight extremely boring. Lesson learned! Although this has happened to me a few times, where I get so sucked into the word-of-mouth surrounding a game that I forget to stop and think ‘hang on, I’ve never enjoyed a game of this sort, is this one *really* likely to be so amazing as to change that?’

  14. Vinraith says:

    I enjoyed Torchlight, but it did become a bit “samey” and its long term replayability was hurt by the lack of co-op. It looks like both of those are being addressed, so I can easily foresee this being the best action RPG of the next few years (Diablo 3 be damned). Parenthetical puns intended.

  15. Toby says:

    That sounds great. I loved the first game. Having coop is something I am looking forward to!

  16. SpaceAkers says:

    Wait, we can kill bandits for a reward? A man with a broken down wagon may need some help??

    Truly, a new age is upon us in role-playing! Now i will not kill bandits at an exactly specified time, I will kill them at one of a series of times as chosen by an RNG!

    I don’t mean to be a Grumpy Gus, and Torchlight 2 will probably be a quite capable Diablo, but that quote outlined some humorously unnoteworthy (and borderline rote) gameplay. Calling it a “gem” seems a bit of a stretch to me.

    Gasp! I can partake in RPG conventions that have probably existed for 30 years? RANDOMLY?! IS THERE NO END TO THE JOY IN LIFE?! WILL THIS GAME ALSO HAVE SWORDS AND LEATHER ARMOR?!!!!!!!!?!?!?!?

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      If you hadn’t noticed, a whole lot of old RPG conventions have fallen by the wayside in recent years. Markov process, increasing homogeneity, mumble mumble…

      I think I commented a few weeks back that you could re-release the Quest for Glory series with slightly updated graphics/interface and be hailed as an innovative genius.

    • SpaceAkers says:

      I think that traditional party- and turn-based cRPGs have fallen by the wayside, if that’s what you are referencing (where’s Wizardry?) Fantasy cliches certainly have not.

      I have nothing against killing bandits. It’s just when you are talking about your game, you have to go a little harder than “you can do an uninteresting thing you have been able to do in probably 200 other games.”

      I don’t mind the Tolkien-ripoff, astonishingly uncreative worlds many game developers gift upon us. However, I find it somewhat frustrating that we have a medium where you can create ANY scenario, and create ANY way to interact with it, and yet OH MY it’s Europe in the middle ages and there are goblins and spells. Does the blacksmith have a beard?!? It’s ironic how a genre called “Fantasy” can be so unimaginative.

      I say all this and I’m currently loving The Witcher 2. Like I said, I don’t hate traditional Fantasy, I just don’t think saying “you’ll randomly be able to rescue someone from bandits” is really a newsworthy moment. Indeed, I found it humorously NOT newsworthy, which is why I commented.

    • Wilson says:

      I was playing Quest for Glory I on DosBox a while back (I want to finish it actually) and I was amazed at one sequence where I was sat in an inn, and I was chatting with a guy while being served a meal and then coffee afterwards. I actually played a meal. Nothing especially happened, but it gave a wonderful sense of actually being there. There are so many old games which do fantastic things that I wish some new games would try.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      You’re talking about the specific content, I’m more interested in the mechanic. “Minotaurs invading a village” in GW2 isn’t a particularly exciting scenario in itself, though how it works is.

      As it’s a game, the most mundane scenarios can become interesting (The Sims) and the most exotic can be awfully dull, depending on how it plays.

      It’s funny how mundane details like eating can hugely increase immersion in a game world. It’s a big part of why Ultima Online is such a classic; it wouldn’t have been half the game it was without cooking food, dyeing clothes and dressing up, decorating houses, etc.

    • bill says:

      “gem” = joke

  17. paterah says:

    This is a great year for diablo-esque RPGs; Grim Dawn, Path of Exile, Torchlight 2, Diablo 3, let the battle begin.

    • Martha Stuart says:

      So i put years of my life into Diablo 2 and am a total loot and level whore, but i have never heard of Grim Dawn or Path of Exile. Are they any good? and do they have co-op?

    • Vinraith says:

      Neither is out yet.

      Grim Dawn is a new ARPG by the Titan Quest guys, it looks very promising:

      link to

      Path of Exile is some online-only thing, meh:

      link to

      I trust you are aware of Din’s Curse?

    • Pamplemousse says:

      I was rather put off Dins Curse by the starting town. It seemed as if everybody was getting into debt at all possible moments in time and me, the gallant hero on a quest of self redemption and discovery, must give them a few coin to go buy bread.

      Probably just a bad experience that you can get with a game thats randomly generated, but it certainly made the game seem a bit tedious.

    • Martha Stuart says:

      I played the hell out of Titan Quest and the Exp pack, so thats Brownie points for Grim Dawn. No i have never heard of Din’s Curse. is it any good?
      P.S. thanks for the links

  18. Jumwa says:

    Who needs Diablo 3? Gimme Torchlight II, baby!

  19. Nicholas Totton says:

    OH! I hope to high hell they work on the pet path finding. As someone who played the alchemist with a pet centred build it was a dam nightmare. Every time I went down a set of stairs half my pets would get stuck and I would have to re summon them. Again, and again and again and again. That’s why I stopped playing the first one. It just drove me nuts.

  20. cannabis says:

    I had to register just to ask: Why would anyone be more excited about Torchlight 2 than Diablo 3?

    The only reason I can think of is you haven’t kept up with Diablo 3’s development. Diablo is just a much bigger and better game. A triple A title compared to torchlight’s almost XBLA-like status. Are you guys aware of the skill rune system? The newly announced follower system? Have you seen the detailed and brutal death animations? The huge bosses?

    Can someone explain to me what Torchlight 2 has over Diablo 3? Cause my mind is boggled.

    • skalpadda says:

      Well for me, Torchlight managed the best mix of dungeon crawling and obsessive looting in years, with a nice, colourful, imaginative art style, excellent interface and some really fun ideas. It was a little gem of a game and a bargain at 20 american pesos.

      I’m sure Diablo 3 will be great, but I can also see why a lot of people would be more excited about more Torchlight, especially those who haven’t played the previous Diablo games.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Actually, if you’ve been impressed by anything that has filtered on D3 atm, you must be very easily impressed. Up until now the title is living on the hype of D2 and the faith of its fanbase.

      Torchlight 2 on the other hand is impressive if only because of the ambition and quality of the project(s) (hunting on blizzard ground) compared to the size of the devteam and the selling price of the game.

      Also, we actually know when T2 will be out, which isn’t the case with D3. We’ll have the time to play the shit out of T2 and we’ll still have no news of the D3 release, that’s for sure.

    • Jumwa says:

      Well said, Great Wayne.

      None of the news about D3 seems all that exciting or interesting. In regards to my reaction most seems to fall into the category of “Oh, okay”. The list of features given to impress us just sounds so mundane and ordinary.

      All tacked onto the fact that D3 still kinda just floats there in the ether as some mythical “someday” game, it’s hard to get excited when Torchlight II is just around the corner and seems to be lacking in nothing we want.

    • mwoody says:

      Maybe if you mean by “news” just what you’ve heard, I guess. Go check out the official site for Diablo 3; there’s a lot of info on there about the classes, the abilities, etc. Lots of flavor text, too, pointing towards one thing Diablo has that Torchlight sort of lacked: a strong backstory and sense of atmosphere.

      Though, Torchlight prided itself on having a useful and interesting pet, while Diablo 3 is doing away with its version of that (the mercenary), outside of a singleplayer-only vestigial remnant. I’m excited for both.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Sorry, we’re not used to that kind of underground information sources known as “official website”. What an epiphany.

      As far as backstory and atmosphere goes, Diablo 1 was nice, dark fantasy. Diablo 2 was already on the slippery slope, because its interest lied elsewhere, but it did ok. Diablo 3… well, let’s just take a video for for example, as Blizzard has always been very good at installing an ambiance through CGIs:

      link to

      Seriously, glowing-eyed girl dual wielding uzi-xbows ? how can you call that a proof of strong backstory and sense of atmosphere ? It’s just too cheesy to be any good.

    • mwoody says:

      Again, read the site – which is done in an in-universe style, providing some backstory on the characters and locales – don’t just watch the trailers.

      But if you didn’t enjoy Diablo 2, then it shouldn’t be a surprise you’re not excited about Diablo 3. And really, if you didn’t enjoy Diablo 2, we don’t share any gaming interests, and my recommendations can be safely ignored.

    • cannabis says:

      So the only reasons I got were:

      1. Diablo 3 has no set release date. FYI the beta was announced to come out between July and September.

      2. You’re impressed that Runic is trying to compete with Blizzard.

      D3’s skill rune system alone looks like it took more work to create than the entire torchlight 2 game. Seriously, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, go watch some of the blizzcon videos on youtube. Each of the characters 24-ish skills will have 5 different variations. That alone allows for a crazy amount of character builds, not to mentions traits(passive skills, separate from the active skills), the talisman(holds charms for further customization), and all the gear(certainly more than torchlight).

      I’m not saying torchlight is going to suck, but if you like torchlight, a simple ARPG, you should be ecstatic about D3. I’m simply just not getting why someone would think torchlight > D3. Torchlight seems fun for a weekend or two, Diablo 3 will take up all of my gaming time for the next 5 years.

    • Jumwa says:

      Complexity doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. Frankly, I’ve been finding myself turned off by overly complex (or difficult) games more and more these days.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      @mwoody: you can’t discard one fluff material and praise another one, it’s either both or none at all, for it just draws the creative line for the background. Especially considering D3’s action got more chances to be set in the tone of the vids than the one of the written material, if blizzard history tells…

      @cannabis: If you just discard the release date point, then you keep on comparing apples to oranges, much like the people who a few weeks ago kept on comparing Rift to GW2. Same genre, of course, but they’re on two different timelines (and one being in the blizzard time continuum, beta or not, it will be quite something).

      Seriously, turning any discussions about a game that happens to be in the genre of your next game-of-choice into a pro/con fight is getting old quick from a non-fanboy point of view. Like I said: Torchlight 2 is going gold in July, while Diablo 3 still won’t exist, and I bet won’t exist for one good more year still.

      If you acknowledge that, then any further discussion about gameplays, features, etc… is just theorycrafting. The truth is that you don’t know how the game will play and if it’ll be appealing. It just validates my point: D3 is living on D2 legacy and the blind faith of its fanbase.

      You want to have a constructive discussion about “D3 vs T2” ? Meet me here when D3 is out. Until then, I’m out with this shenanigans.

  21. The Great Wayne says:

    Reply fail strikes again.