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Old 04-26-2012, 02:30 PM   #1
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Why you should play Torchlight II (and comparison with Diablo III)

I've played Diablo, Diablo II, Lord of Destruction, and Torchlight since the day they were each released (that's over ten years now for the Diablo series). I also played through the Diablo III open beta several times. Here are my thoughts (both facts and opinions) regarding the upcoming competition between Torchlight II and Diablo III, starting with a brief history of the two franchises.


Diablo (Developed by Blizzard North, published by Blizzard Entertainment)

Blizzard Entertainment acquired by Sierra Online/Vivendi Games

Diablo II (Developed by Blizzard North, published by Blizzard Entertainment)

Diablo II: Lord of Destruction (Developed by Blizzard North, published by Blizzard Entertainment)

Blizzard Entertainment shuts down Blizzard North, citing that the development of Diablo III was not meeting the expectations of Vivendi.

Activision acquires Vivendi, forms Activision Blizzard. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said in 2009 that he only wants to create franchises that "have the potential to be exploited every year on every platform with clear sequel potential and have the potential to become $100 million franchises".
Runic Games is formed by former employees of Blizzard North (Diablo series), Flagship Studios (Hellgate: London, Mythos), and WildTangent (Fate)

Torchlight (Developed by Runic Games, published by Perfect World Entertainment)

Diablo III (Developed by Blizzard Entertainment, published by Activision and Blizzard Entertainment)
Torchlight II (Developed by Runic Games, published by Perfect World Entertainment)

Torchlight Series

Torchlight, the first game developed by Runic Games, was modeled mostly after the original Diablo, featuring three classes in a single town with multiple dungeon levels. The game used existing engines for video and audio (including the OGRE graphics engine), but was mostly a ground-up development process for a brand new title. For this reason, the game didn't include multiplayer or other advanced features. However, the exclusion of multiplayer allowed the developers to focus on the core product and finish the game's development. While Torchlight had its flaws, most of the critics forget that this was the debut release for Runic Games, and that it served more as a testbed for Torchlight II and the Torchlight MMO (which is still in Runic's plans). Torchlight provided huge amounts of feedback for the design, features, and desired content of the series, which the developers have used to plan the development of Torchlight II.

Torchlight II adds multiplayer and several other features (see below), and is due for release this summer (and is now available for a $19.99 pre-order).

Character Customization

Torchlight II has four playable classes with three unique skill trees per class. You can also customize the gender, appearance, and facial features of the classes. Diablo III has five playable classes (possibly six in the final release), but none of these classes are customizable. One blogger put it this way:

"[There exists a] lack of talent trees and automatic leveling in Diablo 3. This means that every character of the same class and level has the same unlocked skills and the same attribute points. The only customizable options are gear and which six spells you choose to keybind to 1-4 and the right and left mouse buttons. Therefore, there is no value to creating two characters of the same class with the exception of questing with a lower level friend. Sadly, I can understand why Blizzard made the game so simplistic and limited the only true customization to gear choices. In Diablo 3, there will be a real-money auction house where players buy/sell gear to/from one another using real money, and Blizzard gets a cut of each sale. So if the only way to improve or differentiate a character is through gear... well, you get the picture."
Connection Requirements

Torchlight II lets you play without an Internet connection for single player or LAN modes. Diablo III requires a connection for all game types, and has no LAN mode. This means that if a server-side error occurs (one out of your control), you could lose items, experience, or quest progress since the server last saved your data.


Matt Uelmen, who composed the music for Diablo, Diablo II, Lord of Destruction, StarCraft, and Torchlight has also composed the music for Torchlight II. Diablo III's music was composed by Russell Brower, who worked on StarCraft II and the majority of the World of Warcraft titles.

Graphical Style

The Torchlight series takes a comic-book approach to graphical style, which allows the game to run on a wider range of hardware. Diablo III, on the other hand, is a mix between bright and cartoonish like World of Warcraft and dark and gothic like the former Diablo games. The video performance of Diablo III could be an issue for those without powerful systems.


Like Torchlight, Torchlight II will be $20 when released. Diablo III will likely cost $60.

Voice Acting

Torchlight's voice acting featured Lani Minella, who is a well-known voice actor in the video game community and has also worked on Torchlight II. Diablo III still has Michael Gough as Deckard Cain.

Opinion: The dialogue in the Diablo III is rather cheesy. For example, the Skeleton King's line before his boss fight is "You will never defeat me!", which seems more fitting for a World of Warcraft title than a Diablo title.


Torchlight II has seven pets to choose from. Pets help fight enemies, and can also make runs back into town to sell items for you (so you can spend more time playing and less time traveling to town).

Modding API

Torchlight II will come with TorchED, the official modding toolkit for Torchlight, making it easier to create, share, and install mods.

Social Environment

Torchlight II will support 4 to 8 players by default (currently not specified), but mods will allow games with an arbitrary number of concurrent players (16, 32, 64, you name it). Torchlight II will also allow directly trading items with other players, and will also include a moddable PVP component. Diablo III caps games at four concurrent players, and the auction house could reduce the amount of direct bartering, trading, and communication between players. Their PVP will take place in an 'arena' environment.

What does Diablo III have that Torchlight II doesn't?

Diablo III's lore is much more rich than Torchlight's story, which was very thin in Torchlight (though this could be improved in Torchlight II). Diablo III also has a "Cash For Items" shop called the "Real Money Auction House", along with the larger support and community that you would expect from a Blizzard title (though I don't see support or community size being an issue for Torchlight II).

Last edited by wdroberts: 04-26-2012 at 04:04 PM.
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