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[OFFICIAL] Torchlight 2 Information and Discussion Thread

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Useful Links:

Official Runic Games Forums
Official Torchlight 2 FAQ
Unofficial Torchlight 2 FAQ (credit goes to Webbstre, who created and regularly updates this, and kindly gave me permission to link this useful information)

 

 

 

Unofficial FAQ (Click to show)
Release Date and Platform Questions
When will the game be released?
When it's finished! There isn't (and never has been) a specific release date, but the release estimate has been pushed back several times. The current estimate is June-July 2012, but this date is not set in stone and is not official! Mac Schaefer said at PAX East 2012 that an ideal time would be roughly a month after Diablo 3, but that was not a release estimate.

Why has it taken so long? The original announcement said Spring 2011!
Multiple reasons: The XBLA Port of TL1 put in a few months delay, but mostly it's just been that they have the income and time and resources to make the game as great as they want it to be, and they are under no pressure to push it out within a specific time frame. In comparison, Torchlight 1 was released when it was because they were literally out of funds, and as such they were unable to polish it to the level they wanted to.

Why can't they give us a hint as to the release date?
Because they don't know! It's literally an "it will be done when it's done" situation. Once they finish polishing and testing their network code in as many firewall, security software, etc systems as they can, they'll hold a small closed beta, and once the multiplayer is deemed to be satisfactory and as little hassle as possible for the average user to set up, they'll make the final release preparations - like contacting any digital distributors they want to work with and making release date press releases.

Will there be a beta test?
Yes! The current likely chain of events are (in order):

A small, closed, No Press, Friends and Family beta test.
Next there will be a small, Closed Beta, which likely will include press and a few hundred randomly selected people.
Soon after that comes full release!


It has been said that the beta will consist of the entirety of Act 1, or roughly 1/4-1/3 of the game. For official announcements follow this thread on the official forums.

Where can I buy the game?
Pre-Purchase for Digital Download copies have begun for Steam and Perfect World, and you will be able to buy it directly from Runic Games at the time of release. Customers who buy the Steam version will also gain access to the Mac version after it is ported at no additional cost. There has been no word about similar offers for other distributors for Mac users. *Boxed copies have been confirmed for Europe (German and Russian) but not North America.

How much will Torchlight 2 cost at release?
$19.99 US, as a one-time purchase. It should be available at a similar price in other currencies. There will be no additional subscription fees, paid DLCs, microtransactions, etc for this game. You pay, you buy a copy of the game, and you can use your account to log in to the peer-to-peer online service that Runic will provide. (More details on the online capabilities later in the FAQ) . In places where US currency isn't used the price will be comparable in terms of currency conversion rates.

What platforms will the game be released on?
Torchlight 2 will start off exclusively on the PC, followed by a Mac port. At some point boxed copies have been confirmed to be planned for release in Europe, with North America unconfirmed. Current generation consoles will not see a Torchlight 2 release, as they do not have the hardware capabilities (RAM and Graphics memory mainly) to run the software.

What are the system requirements?
The system requirements according to Steam as as follows:
OS: Windows XP SP3/Vista/Windows 7
Processor: x86-compatible 1.4GHz or faster processor
Memory: 1GB System RAM
Hard Disk Space: 1.2GB free space (subject to change)
Video Card: DirectX compatible 3D graphics card with at least 256MB of addressable memory.
DirectX®: 9.0c

Annoying Questions
Why didn't they release it before Diablo 3 is released and crushes their company?
Runic doesn't see Diablo 3 as a problem for Torchlight 2's existence, for multiple reasons. Here are a few:

Diablo 3 is online only and costs 60 dollars, while Torchlight 2 has Single player, LAN, and Peer-to-peer connections, and only costs 20 dollars
Torchlight 2 supports mods, with the developer's own tools to be released shortly after the game is released. Diablo 3 cannot be altered in any way without getting a ban for battle.net
Torchlight 2 has many more traditional systems, with stat points, skill points, identify scrolls, etc. Diablo 3 has no skill or stat points, has a completely different skill system, and multiple other differences from traditional ARPGs. (This is not saying one is better than the other, only that the gameplay styles are different)
Torchlight 2 has only been in production for about 2 years of development time, with less than 35 developers to create, while Diablo 3 has taken over a decade and requires huge teams of developers and budget. This means Torchlight 2 doesn't need to make as much money as Diablo 3 to turn a decent profit.



There can never be other RPGs when a new Diablo game is out.
Some of these should be questions, right? In any case, despite the belief that some people hold that a Diablo game destroys all other competition, Torchlight 2, Diablo 3, Path of Exile, and Grim Dawn are all on the horizon with some excellent and experienced developers behind them. Each game is very different from the others, and appeal to different gamers. (Opinion following) This is not a time when a Diablo game is going to destroy everything, it's a time when the ARPG genre is finally growing again, and that can only mean good things and progress for all of the games involved. After all, there is more than one RTS in existence, it's not like people are limited to only one game in a genre.

Is this the team that made Diablo 1 and 2?
Ooooh, fancy question, let me give you a fancy answer. Max and Erich Schaefer, founders of Blizzard North and the heads of the Diablo 1 and 2 (including LOD expansion)'s development teams, are among the founding members of Runic Games, with Max being the CEO. Matt Uelmen did the music for the original Diablo games and is doing all the music and sounds for the Torchlight series, including using the same orchestra. Peter Hu was the man behind the Diablo 2 1.10 patch, but left Runic Games some time ago. However, the other 30 or so members of Runic Games hail from different places, so it would be inaccurate to say that Runic Games is the original Blizzard North development team. However, the other members of those original Diablo teams are no longer at Blizzard, and are not involved with Diablo 3. Extrapolating, neither team is Blizzard North, and thus each teams' work should be judged on its own merits, not their histories. (My personal opinion)

Game Specific Info
What classes are there?
The Torchlight 2 classes are as follows:

Engineer (formerly the Railman) - Wears an ember-powered armored suit, which builds up charges by smacking things and can power up attacks.
Berserker - Fast, furious, and partially insane, this class is damage dealing melee attacker.
Embermage - The caster class, who simulates the power of ember to create elemental attacks.
Outlander - The wanderer, a ranged class with various crowd control abilities.



Can I customize my character?
You better believe it! Each class can be either Male or Female, and you can further customize by altering the hair style and face model and color.

What pets are in the game?
The officially announced pets as of today are:

Ferret
Chakawary
Cat (Not the original Lynx animal from Torchlight 1)
Bulldog
Hawk
Panther
Wolf (Also not the dog from the original Torchlight)
Falcor



What kind of multiplayer will there be?
Torchlight 2 has two currently announced multiplayer features: LAN play and Peer-to-Peer Matchmaking. There are no official closed servers with server-side character saves, as Runic does not have the resources to run that kind of system under this price. However, mods will be allowed over multiplayer, so if you want to install a new dungeon or class and play with your friends you will be able to all install and enjoy it together. Additionally, it was been suggested that some time after release player-run private server functionality might become possible in a patch or official expansion. You will of course be able to play the entire game single player and off-line as well.

Will there be mods?
You better believe it! Once again Runic is releasing their development tools for modders to create new content or alter existing content. You will only be able to play multiplayer with mods installed if you all have the save mods installed at the same time.


General Info
Is this the MMO?
No, this is not the Torchlight MMO. The Torchlight MMO will still be released some time after Torchlight II.

Is Torchlight II an expansion/add-on to the single player game
No. This is a full-fledged sequel, with new areas, new classes, a new story, and more. Don't forget Multiplayer! It will not require Torchlight I to function.

Will there be an Expansion or DLC for Torchlight 2?
What happens after Torchlight 2 is released will depend entirely on the initial launch's success. DLC has already been said to not be planned, because it would not be profitable to make something that can be simply modded in for free. An expansion is possible, which could introduce things that are not possible without hardcoded changes, but this will not be determined until after Torchlight 2 is released on the PC and Mac.

Why did they decide to do this instead of hurrying up with the MMO?
To quote Max Schaefer, Runic Games' CEO and one of the three creators of the Diablo franchise:
We still are going to make the MMO, but it became apparent that Torchlight II was the logical next step for us given the phenomenal enthusiasm of gamers petitioning us for multiplayer.
In addition, Runic Games felt that it would benefit both themselves, and the community by doing a Co-op Multi-player version in between. [1]

Final note on the topic: Making an MMO is kind of like climbing a mountain, in that it takes a lot of time, resources, preparation, and devotion. Once they start the MMO they will be stuck on that project for years to come, so they may want to take a short break first before making the first step.

Will I be able to import my old characters?
No, the original characters will be in the game as NPCs, as will other NPCs of the Destroyer, Vanquisher, and Alchemist class types. Additionally, due to various changes in gamplay systems the old character files will not be able to be imported as-is, as detailed below:

Along with the story the game will use a new wardrobing system opposed to the one in Torchlight. As a result they did not reuse the Torchlight character assets. [1]

Will my old mods work?
No. Late in 2009 it was mentioned by a Runic dev that they had re-written the way their game (then assumed to be the MMO) kept track of and encoded files. This meant drastic loading time reductions, but it was also said that this could not be implemented in "Torchlight 1" due to it breaking every mod released for it. Assuming these changes are a core part of Torchlight II's engine, then it would require making entirely new mods for the new game.

Update 2011:
Around the New Year, Patrick Brown, Runic's lead level designer revealed on the forums that basic layouts may be able to transition over to TorchED 2. However, this does not mean old mods will immediately work on Torchlight II, but mod makers may be able to transition some of their work.
Source
Levels with just basic actors should be ok. But if there's a lot of scripting then things might not work. Greg would have to give some better examples on what would cross over. From a non technical standpoint, a lot of the scripted trap scenarios that were in TL just don't fit gameplay wise now because of co op. Things like trapping the player in a room until they complete an objective to let themselves out for example. All of those would have to be removed, or seriously reworked


I heard that Torchlight 2 won't be ported to the XBox360/XBLA?
To try to keep a technical explanation simple, Torchlight 1 for the PC required 512 MB of RAM and 64 MB of dedicated Graphics memory. This is less memory than exists on either the XBox 360 or the Playstation 3. For the XBLA port of Torchlight 1 they had to seriously revamp the game to optimize it to the point so that it could just barely fit under the system's hardware limits. In Torchlight 2's case, which has those optimizations built in already, it is already using more RAM than Torchlight 1, and because of that Runic Games has stated that if they were to port the game to any console it would require a lot of work to even attempt to get it to work.

However, by the time the next generation consoles are released it may once again be feasible to port Torchlight 2, so we'll probably get a final word around that time.

Multiplayer
What is the maximum number of characters in a multi-player game?
They are currently testing anywhere between 4 and 8 players, but with modding it will be possible to raise the number of players to as many as you want (hardware and software limitations aside).

Will there be PvP?
So far Runic Games has only confirmed that it will be possible to set an area as open PvP area, but currently there are no vanilla PvP areas or options in the game. However, in the past Runic has stated their intention to include a duel system or arena, or some other form of PvP in the release, so final details should be expected close to release.

Will there be ladders?
Unlikely, as staircases provide the same function and don't require extra character animation to accomplish. Ohhh you mean ladders, as in a ranking of players based on things like level, experience, gold, etc? No, because it would be too easy to mod an exploit or hack a character save since the character saves are local-only.

Will there be item trading between players?
Yes! An item trading interface has been officially implemented.

How will item drops work?
Each player has their own item drops, which will not be visible by others. Items dropped from your inventory become open to everyone. [1]

How will mods be handled for online play?
Final details on how modding will work will come by release, but this is what we know: There will be an in-game interface of some sort to let you choose what mods are enabled or disabled. It will be possible to turn on or off mods when choosing a multiplayer game to join, possibly requiring a restart if necessary. Steps have been taken to make sure the game should not crash if a mod is disabled or removed that is necessary for it to load. Mods will not be hosted by Runic, and will instead be hosted by the fans (you can find them here on RGF!), and there will be no form of mod transfer directly between players, likely for security reasons.

Will monsters become more difficult or appear in larger numbers with more players?
Monsters will become more difficult depending on the proximity of players in-game. Being in different acts or areas will not affect difficulty, but being within range to join a battle definitely will make things scale.

New Features
Will there be alternate resource mechanics?
Yes! All classes are being developed with some kind of charge mechanic. The Engineer class builds charges by attacking enemies, which then can be used with skills or special attacks. The Berserker is planned to attack things until it builds itself into a frenzy, which results in faster attacks and more critical hits for a limited time. The Embermage may cast spells until she hits a trance state, at which point all skills costs half mana and have zero casting recovery time. There is no word on the Outlander's charge mechanic, and none of these are finalized.

How big will the game be?
The entirety of Torchlight 1 is equal to the 2/3 of the first Act of Torchlight 2. There are three full Acts and one Boss Act in Torchlight 2. If you were to rush through the entire game, ignoring all side quests and exploration, it is estimated to take about 30 hours to complete the story, as opposed to the relaxed 6-8 hours it took to beat Torchlight 1 on normal.

What are the features of the overworld?
The player will move through at least three distinct geographical areas, each with its own hub town. The world will include large outdoor areas, which will be randomized at the start of each game, but remain constant throughout that character's game. The overworld is said to include more side paths than the linear levels of the first Torchlight. Random dungeons and random events - such as coming across a caravan being attacked - are planned. The outdoor areas are divided into large, wide zones, and small "passes" that connect the zones.

What are the new pets?
The pets have not been finalized. At the Fansite Event in November 2011 the following pets were available to play with: Cat, Dog, Bulldog, Ferret, Chakawry, and Hawk. The original cat and dog are likely to be replaced, but be available via fish transformations.

What do the day/night cycles and weather do?
Certain areas will have themes that will load when you enter the area, which will determine the time of day and weather. These themes can cause many things to happen, such as different quest events, or different monsters appearing.

Other Questions
Will there be another endless dungeon?
At PAX 2011 it was said that for multiplayer it is more likely that there will be some kind of Gauntlet-style dungeon, with set dungeons and bosses to complete before moving on. It is not known if this is meant to completely replace the endless dungeon mechanic or if it will still make an appearance somewhere.

Will it be possible to replay the campaign with the same character?
Yes, you will be able to go back and farm bosses, or once you beat the game you can choose a New Game+ mode, which starts your character over in a harder difficulty, similar to Nightmare mode in the Diablo series. Retirement has been scrapped in favor of this.

What level will the campaign go up to?
It is estimated that you will be around level 50 when you beat the game, with items appropriate for your level all the way until the end of the game, and additional unique item tiers beyond in New Game+ mode.

Will there be destructible environments?
Runic Games has talked a lot about it internally, and its something they would like to do. [1] In the Gamescom trailer there are destructible barricades[2], and in a forum response Lead Level Designer Patrick Blank commented that they are trying new things with destructible items this time. [3]

Will there be achievements?
This has not yet been announced. It is assumed that there will be Steam achievements, but no word on whether other vendors will include achievements in their copies.

Will there be enchanting? Will it be the same?
Enchanting has been entirely overhauled. Now enchant wiping only happens when you pay an enchanter to purposely clear out your enchantments on an item, and it leaves the original enchantments. The number of enchants per item has been limited, and there are multiple enchanters who have different capabilities within the game.

Will the camera be fixed into the same position as before?
It has been stated that the camera view will not change from the original game. It will be zoomed out farther to allow you to see more at one time.

Will mods be easier to remove without potentially crashing the game?
Yes, steps are being taken to make sure mods don't break the game.

Physics Engine? Yes? No?
No
.
Will the class or skill system be changed?
At the moment there are no plans to change the skill system. However, there is a lot of focus to make more useful and interesting skills than Torchlight 1. There is also no plan for shared passive skills between classes. The goal is to have roughly 30 unique, useful skills for each of the four classes.

Will the spell scroll system be changed?
The spell scrolls will make a comeback in Torchlight 2, but this time with an effort to make them more useful, especially later on in the game. It is also expected that most of the spells that would be useful for a party will be in the Spell system as opposed to being tied to a class' skills.

Will there be graphical improvements?
Some, yes! The engine running Torchlight II is newer and improved from the original engine.

Will there be new music?
Matt Uelmen will return with new music, including a session with a live orchestra recorded in August 2010 in Bratislava. [4][5]

Will there be mounts?
There will not be mounts; they are saving this for the MMO. [1] However, it MIGHT be possible to mod mounts in in some form.

Will there be shape-shifting?
As far as we can tell shape-shifting skills or monsters will not be in Torchlight 2.

What changes have been made to the user interface?
The entire interface, including all menus and the HUD have been changed multiple times during the game's development process. It will also be much easier to mod a new interface using TorchED2. There are also multiple tabs of entirely new stat read-outs that display just about everything affecting your character.

Has the inventory system changed?
Although it was originally announced that a bag system would be implemented, it was tried and found to not be as much fun as expected. Instead, inventories have been made much larger, and now divide into Equipment, Consumables, and Spells. Equipment includes all weapons and armor and other valuable loot. Consumables include potions and fish. Spells obvious include spell scrolls. This is duplicated for your pet.

What will the level cap be?
Level 100, although this can be modded as high as you want.

Will manual stats return? Will the bonuses be revised for stats?
Manually assigned stat points will return, this time with some changes to make some take the place of passive skills, and to provide other bonuses.

 

Torchlight 2 Armory

 

Awesome Mods:

 

SynergiesMod (adds 108 Elite monsters, 6 Rare dragons, 28 Raid dungeons, 11 unique World Bosses, 4 Sets of Legendary Armor, 16 new Tier-1 Legendary Weapons, brand new Quest lines, a new World hub for ACT5, and a whole new class: The Necromancer.)

 

Other Pre-GUTS/Torched2 Mods list (credit to Webbstre for the fansite)

 

TFL Replica's SweetFX graphics mod (Click to show)

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TFL Replica View Post
 

It's sad to see people being put off this game because of the default colors. Here's my updated SweetFX config for Torchlight 2. Guaranteed to kill 99.9% of all cartoonish rainbows and make the game look like the gritty ARPG you always wanted.

 

 

SweetFX_Torchlight2.zip 223k .zip file

 

 

1)Disable the game's built-in AA

2)Extract contents to your Torchlight 2 folder (default is C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Torchlight II)

3)Play the game! You can toggle the effect with scroll lock and take screenshots with print screen

 

 


 

Torchlight is another game I am very passionate about and since it did not have a dedicated OCN thread yet I decided to make one which I plan to add useful content to and keep up to date.
With TL2 on the horizon, I thought a thread to arrange games, discuss strategy, balance, builds, and make new friends could come in useful.

If anyone has any questions that is not covered in the FAQ under the useful links feel free to ask away and i'll try to answer the best I can.
If there is anything you would like to see added to the thread, please mention it!

I would prefer if D3 comparisons were kept out unless they are constructive and add a positive contribution to the thread.

Why is TL2 only $20?
I have been asked this question by more than one person: "surely a $20 game can't be good?" since many games these days cost $50-60 on release. I can assure you some of the best games I have bought within the last year or two were $30 and under at release, but here is Runic's response on the choice of pricing in case anyone else has this question:

 

Quote:
We sell for $20 because we want a bigger community, and for people all over the world to enjoy our game. Not everyone has $60 lying around. Plus, digital distribution, like on Steam, makes this more economically viable for a company like us. We couldn't make money selling $20 boxes only, but we'll do fine with this price because of the trend towards digital distribution.
With respect to piracy, a small company like ours isn't going to solve it. And the last thing we think is appropriate is to punish our honest customers for something other people are doing. We believe that if we put out a quality game at a fair price, there will be less incentive to pirate the game, and that those who do pirate it may decide to buy it down the road. That's our approach and we're sticking to it!

 

Help! My Character is stuck! what should I do?

No idea if this bug is common, but it has happened to me so this is one of the solutions:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoystickMonkey 
If you start a LAN game, you'll start the game in town. Sorry about that!

Edited by Sainesk - 3/24/14 at 4:49am
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Winter Heater
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HTPC
(9 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 2600K GIGABYTE GA-H61M-S1 Galaxy GTX 460 768MB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1333 2x4GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingPower
64GB ADATA S596 Turbo SSD WD Green 1TB Antec Kuhler H2O 620 IN WIN Commander 650W 
Case
COOLER MASTER RC-690 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X6 1055T  ASUS M4A87TD EVO XFX Radeon HD 5850 1GB AMD Performance Edition DDR3 1333 2X2GB  
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingPower
32GB ADATA S596 Turbo SSD WD Blue 500GB Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B OCZ Fatal1ty 550W  
Case
COOLER MASTER HAF 932 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Athlon II x2 240 ASROCK M3A770DE POWERCOLOR HD 4850 1GB G.SKILL F3 DDR3 1600 2x2GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingPower
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post #2 of 480
I'm actually looking forward to this game more than D3. Co-op dungeon crawling through randomly generated levels with LAN, $15 price tag (4 pack), and Mod support? Yes please.
post #3 of 480

I am playing Torhcligh 1 at the moment. I am on Floor 30.

 

Truly good game. I will have a review of it soon.

post #4 of 480
Read this interview with Max Shaefer the other day, it's pretty good and I'd suggest it redface.gif
http://eat-games.tumblr.com/post/24969892500/max-schaefer-interview-torchlight2

I'll put it in a spoiler just in case:
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Last weeks I got to check off something on my bucketlist—land an interviewed Max Schaefer. For a man who changed the world of video games he sure is quite the humble one. He’s so easygoing going in fact the fellow answered all my questions—even the annoying ones concerning Diablo 3—then shook my hand and handed gave me a copy of the Torchlight 2 soundtrack(!).

What a guy!

We ended up discussing the future of the Torchlight series including the MMO, Diablo 3 and why its release has been very good for Torchlight 2, the now infamous Error 37 and why Max hopes Runic is fortunate enough to experience it, Torchlight 2 on Xbox Live Arcade & Macs, how Minecraft could meet Torchlight, plus his overall inspirations in games design.

Oh and if you’re interested, you can find my impressions of the Torchlight 2 beta here.





“When I was working at Blizzard a million years ago we were working on Diablo 3 and it was an MMO. We were going to do the Diablo version of World of Warcraft.”





Mark: Ok Max, I’ve got to get this out of the way—What’s the anticipated release date for Torchlight 2?
Max Schaefer: We don’t have a date, but we’re getting very close to announcing that. We’re still thinking late summer. You played the beta and saw the level of polish, and I would say that’s representative of the polish level we’d like to be at for the rest of the game. We’re making really good progress, it’s actually happening faster than we anticipated. We’re also making a lot of changes based on beta feedback. So there’s some skill system changes happening, little tweaks with targeting and running, but for the most part it’s all about polishing up the last 2 acts. It’s going well!



What did Runic Games take away from the Torchlight 2 beta?
It’s funny because before we ran the beta we thought it would be dangerous! Mainly because we figured we’d get so much feedback, and you know, the guys care so much about that. We figured they would be in the forums poring over everything, and just being way too self-critical. Basically we made so many changes based on feedback from the beta—it’s just crazy. We started into it knowing it could potentially be a problem, so the plan was to shut down the beta once the network stuff was working to our satisfaction so we could get back to finishing the game. I think we got most of the stuff people were asking for. We fixed, tweaked and just got things ready to go. But it’s good we got the beta done because now we can focus on finishing the game. You can’t do that while you’re running the beta because you’re getting so much good feedback and everyone is so intense about doing the things people want.



I’m actually running Windows 7 64-bit on my iMac, and I’ve surprisingly had zero issues with the game. This leads me to my question about the Mac version of Torchlight 2. When is that due for release?
I do the same! I demo’d the game as Gamecon on my Macbook Pro using Bootcamp. About the stability, you know it’s one of our philosophies that the game needs to be running from day one, and throughout the development process so we can be tweaking gameplay and evaluating skill balance. It’s been remarkably bug-free from the beginning, and that’s a credit to our programmers. But that’s also because we have a culture of trying to keep it running stably through development, so we don’t get to the end and have 18 trillion bugs to fix. By fixing those bugs it changes the balance of the game, so then you have to rebalance everything else. We try to keep in a fairly playable state at all times.

As far as Torchlight 2 for the Mac? Right when we finish the PC version we’ll work on the Mac port.



What do you think we’re looking at in terms of time frame then? Perhaps a few weeks once the PC version is release?
It’s tough to say because our very first priority after the PC release will be to put out fires. I’m sure we’ll have our own version of Diablo 3s Error 37. With any luck you know? [laughs] What that Error 37 really means is you have 6 million people pounding on your servers, so we want our Error 37 equivalent. [laughs]



I’m curious if there’s a requirement for everyone to play Torchlight 2 everyday back at the Runic Games office?
Nah, people just do it anyway. We have a really efficient process where the level designers can get the levels into the game and test them without talking to a programmer. People are always testing their work. They’re looking at their animations, looking at their levels, checking out the new skill balances. Just before the beta ended my brother (Erich Schaefer, Runic Games co-founder) and I spent a lot of time just playing Elite Hardcore [mode] just to see if it was playable. We wanted to see how far you could go, but we never did quite finish out the beta. My brother actually made it to level 21, but he got killed by the final boss. It’s really hard!



Was there ever really a decisive push to get Torchlight 2 out before Diablo 3, or was that never really a consideration?
Yeah it was something that we talked about, but the only thing we really didn’t want was to come out right at the same time. You know, like literally within a week or two of it’s release. We didn’t care if it was before or after though. Obviously some of our partners wanted us to launch before, but they also agree with the philosophy that if we rush it out, I mean, what would be the point of that right? Then you’re just going to buy the game and play it until Diablo 3 comes out, and then that’s all people are going to play of it ever again. So we took the path where we’re going to polish the game and actually compete head-to-head for the long term, and it just comes out whenever it comes out.



“We’re doing pre-sales on steam, and the day Diablo 3 release they shot up 40% and have stayed up.”




Does Torchlight 2 face different challenges now that Diablo 3 is already out?
I think we actually benefit from it. It’s a subject of debate within the studio and our partners but I think it actually helps us. We’re a small company—you know sort of indie—so we draw our customers from within the gaming community. People who already buy games, look and buy our stuff. I think when someone like Blizzard comes out with something like Diablo 3—where they’re doing TV commercials on ESPN, real mass market stuff—they’re bringing in millions of new gamers into the gaming community, and that makes our audience bigger. We’re doing pre-sales on steam, and the day Diablo 3 release they shot up 40% and have stayed up. They’re bringing in lots of people into this genre, and people are becoming aware of what we’re doing through them. We’re kind of piggybacking on their marketing.



Did Runic take anything away from the launch of Diablo 3?
Not really, I mean we all played it! [laughs] It’s totally predicable what happened on their launch. It happened to Diablo 2, it happened to World of Warcraft and it happened to Starcraft. You cannot test and prepare for that many millions of people pounding on your stuff on day one. It didn’t surprise us at all. We just figured we’d wait a couple days and it would all blow over. Once they get things running smoothly, no one will ever remember they had a rocky start. We didn’t look at it and say “Hey we gotta make sure we don’t have this happen!” because obviously they were trying to prepare for it, they’re not dumb guys at all. It’s just impossible to prepare for that [much traffic]. We were actually relieved that the game didn’t suck. It’s a good game, and we want our genre to be hot.

Also I worked on all the previous Diablos, so emotionally for me it’s important that it not suck, you know, by association. I think we look at it as a successful launch, obviously, it’s the fastest selling PC game of all time.



Are there any plans to bring Torchlight 2 to Xbox Live Arcade or the Playstation Network?
It’s something we’ve talked about. It’s definitely going to be a more difficult job than the first Torchlight because now we’ve got higher polygon models, multiplayer and it’s just so intense to do a direct port. Plus we’d have to redo the entire interface. So we’re not sure it’s going to be worth our while. We’re going to focus on the Mac version after the PC, and then we’re going to take a look at the world and see how it’s shaking out. Are people clamoring for a console version? We obviously have to take that into account. Do they want an expansion for Torchlight 2 instead? We have to take that in to account. Are we going completely insane with too much Torchlight? Do something else for a little bit? We’re just going to let the dust settle. It’s hard to make a rational decision about what’s right because we’re still in the dark days of development where everyone is exhausted and delirious so we kind of want to reserve for ourselves the ability to make that decision when the time comes. So it’s not out of the question, but it’s not something that’s in our plans.



In terms of the Torchlight series and heading in that direction, do you think additional content will be a priority over a proper sequel?
We don’t really know, I mean we may want to trickle some stuff out for the existing customers, but we also might want to package up a little expansion and do it that way. We really haven’t talked about that too much. It’s sort of like, we understand that this isn’t a fire-and-forget situation, so in some way it’s going to go on, but again that all depends on what people are asking for, and also what our heads are like.



As someone who’s both a fan and owner of the Playstation Vita and the Torchlight series, I do hope that platform will also be a consideration for you guys. I think would be a great fit!
It’s absolutely a consideration, I think it’s a great game for that too. There would have to be a good business case to make, a market and something the crew is excited to do.



Are there still plans for Runic Games to make a Torchlight MMO?
Yes and no. It’s still sort of in the long-range plan for us. The MMO market is changing right now and the traditional MMO is falling out of favor for a business model.

I like to think of MMOs more broadly though. Anything that puts a lot of players into the same world is an MMO. It doesn’t have to conform to these rigid [rules]. It doesn’t have to be exactly like World of Warcraft in every way, except in terms of the art [laughs]. When you say you’re going to do an MMO that’s immediately what a lot of people think. So yea it’s sort of in the plans but sort of…again it falls in this category of ‘When the game ships we’ll see what the world looks like”’, kind of thing. Maybe the Torchlight series will suffice. Maybe people don’t want a different style of multiplayer Torchlight, and this is what they want. If so then we’ll just do more of this.



Ok just to be clear to everyone out there—you’re not even in the beginning stages of developing an MMO?
Oh no, we’re focused on just Torchlight 2.



So a Runic developed MMO is—at the earliest—something like 7 years away?
Not necessarily, I mean, if it’s what we decide to do next then we’d try to do it more efficiently and quickly than everyone else. I would imagine it wouldn’t take anywhere near 4 years to get something like that out, but again it depends on the design and everything.



With the unfortunate collapse of 38 Studios, the decreasing number of subscribers for the Knights of the Old Republic and even World of Warcraft, I’m curious if the state of the market changes Runic’s marketing and design model for a Torchlight MMO?
Oh yeah! You have to look at the trends and project out a few years because of the development time. You don’t want to get into a dying genre, put all that work into it and then have to do a massive redesign at the end. I think it’s definitely going Free-To-Play. All the successful ones are going that way. It’s something we’re fine with too, you just have to design for it. It’s something that’s harder to do than a subscription based model because of the potential of screwing it up with all the weird item sales. You don’t want people to pay to win. You have to design it. You have to think about the additional content you put in, and each new item you put on sale has the potential to anger people and unbalance the game as opposed to a subscription model where your only goal is to make cool stuff every month. It takes a lot more design, but I think it’s the future and we just have to embrace it.

Speaking broadly, I think Free-To-Play is going to be a model for more than just traditional MMOs too.



You pioneered the Point-n-Click ARPG genre back in 1996 with the original Diablo, and I’m curious just how much your design philosophy has changed up to now? Have your overall goals changed?
I think we look at the basics of the genre—the controls and visceral feel of combat—and realize we’re just better at it now than back in the day. You know, the way we put together and make games has changed quite radically. We’re so much more tool driven now. Everything use to go through your lead programmer, and the few tools you had to put stuff together were clunky and not very powerful. We went into this with the specific intent to beat people and be competitive in the industry through being more efficient and faster. To be able to do things with less money than the competition. The way you do that is you get the most out of your people by giving them really good tools. You make the process by which you get content into the game smoothly and as streamlined as possible. Just the day-to-day work of putting the game together and adding content is so different than the old Diablo days. Today we’re able to do more, much more quickly. That’s where the big change has taken place.

Like you said in regards to the unfortunate demise of some studios out there—and with our own demise with Flagship Studios prior to Runic Games—yes that stuff is what keeps us up at night. I mean, this is the reason why Runic first did a single-player game with the original Torchlight. Just to get a game out quickly and get some revenues coming into the company, to get us more stable. It’s worked for us so far, and that’s still our motto—to do things more efficiently and faster than anyone else.



How many people are employed at Runic Games?
Thirty people.



In the past you’ve referred to it as a flat company, correct?
Yeah, we don’t even have any offices. [laughs] There is just one big pit of people, there aren’t even cubicles. It’s just a bunch of desks, and everyone works as just one big team. I think you can only do that with about 30 people or less. Once you go over that then you have to start adding management for organization. Now we just have meetings by turning around in our chairs. Everyone knows everyone and sees everyone everyday, and its small enough that we’re not getting factions and all that sort of stuff. It’s kind of the ideal size where we can do real Triple-A games and still kind of be a small studio. So we want to stay with 30 people, we won’t grow. We joke around and say we want to grow to 25 [laughs].



Let’s say Runic Games began working on 2 games, would you possibly increase the size then?
Nope, we would not grow.



So 30 is the level cap for Runic?
Yes—the level cap for Runic Games is 30! [laughs] It’s conceivable that we could do two games, but they would just be smaller. If we did an expansion pack and than a tablet game, we could do that, but in general we think of it as doing one thing at a time.



How do you feel Blizzard has handled Diablo 3 overall? To be more specific, how do you feel about the release of a sequel to something that required your unique talents to build?
Wow! You know, it’s weird, I’m not going to lie. It’s kind of cool! First of all I’m thrilled it does not suck. They did a good job and it does the franchise justice, so that’s a big relief. I’m kind of glad they did it, and we didn’t have to do it. Mainly because its impossible to beat the expectations of the people who were anticipating a Diablo sequel. I think they really did such a remarkably good job of making a slick game that’s obviously the best selling game so far, so you know, to say from a commercial perspective they did it right.

We were talking about the rocky launch earlier, but no one is going to remember it in a couple weeks after everything has been smoothed out. So yeah I’m really kind of happy that it all worked out. I’m also happy they made some decisions we wouldn’t have.



What do you mean by that in particular?
Oh with no single-player offline, and the auction house and stuff. With Torchlight 2 we already decided we were kinda going the opposite way with that, so when they came out with those announcements it was good for us because we could draw some distinctions between the two games.



In regards to the actual video game, what do you think of Diablo 3? Do you like the new skill system? The story? What classes do you enjoy playing?
All the classes are pretty fun. I like the way they tell the story, it doesn’t feel tacked on like we always did with the original Diablos. It shows they actually thought about it.

I think the art looks great! It looks like Diablo, but they have their own style, which I think they should do. You know, they shouldn’t just try to make Diablo 2 again. They’ve got a totally new crew making the game, and its always best when people are doing their version of what they’re doing, so I’m glad they put their own stamp on the style. I think it looks great and plays great! I had a fun time playing it. I haven’t really had enough time to play it because we’re obviously busy, but of what I have played I did enjoy.



I agree! It’s nice to see the game has been received so well by the critics and community. It’s a pretty amazing feat considering it’s been 10 years.
Right! How do you meet those expectations because it’s been so long and they just continue to go up over time? You kinda assume that its been in development this whole time and they’ve just been honing it and honing it, but that’s just not how it went. They did some major restarts.

You know, when I was working at Blizzard a million years ago we were working on Diablo 3 and it was an MMO. We were going to do the Diablo version of World of Warcraft. Blizzard obviously changed that pretty quickly, so we left to start Flagship Studios and we brought in a lot of the guys, so they rebooted with their own team.



Wait, the Diablo 3 MMO you were working on at Blizzard changed because Blizzard was working on World of Warcraft?
No no, they changed because once they brought it in-house down at Blizzard, they had different design priorities and goals than we did. Again I totally approve of that.



What things have influenced you and the team over the years, or at least from the beginning of Torchlight to now?
I think one of the most obvious things one notices with our game is we have a very unique art style. We first conceived of it—done by our Art Director Jason Beck—because we were looking for a low-tech, easy to produce art style that wouldn’t look cheap. One of our goals was to make a game that would run on virtually any machine. We didn’t really want to make a game with all the bells and whistles because in an ARPG frame rate is everything. So the more simple your art [style] is, the better it will run.

Art styles are weird. Once you start in on one, they kind of take on a life of their own. They develop their own characteristics. It’s become a look that our artists really understand now, even though we really don’t have any written rule-sets for it. It’s kind of weird how it takes on a life of its own and you just follow wherever it leads. It’s weird now to take a look back on the original Torchlight and see the subtle differences in styles.

I think that was true with the Diablo games as well. We set out to create a dark, Gothic, grey-toned, spooky world and then we created some dungeons and it took on its own life. It’s a weirdly organic thing.



Torchlight has such a lighthearted look to it and I’m curious if that specifically was an intentional design goal from the very beginning?
It was sort of intentional, but we didn’t want it to look like we were just making Diablo you know? We wanted to forge our own identity. We also had a smaller crew too.

It’s also just so fun! I think the ARPG genre is inherently comedic in a way. You’re going out and slaying thousands of monsters that are carrying around Chainmail, it’s just kind of absurd!



…and not only that, they’re dropping 87 pounds of it!
Right! Right! It’s kind of fun and liberating to be able take a more lighthearted approach to the game.



With the success of the Torchlight series, the success of Diablo 3, and the popular ARPG KickStarter projects like Path of Exile and Grim Dawn, it does seem like there’s a bit of renaissance happening for ARPGs. Do you think the interest has always been there? And do you think the market is at risk of becoming overly saturated?
I don’t think so at all. For a decided simple game, ARPGs are actually very complicated to create. I think that’s why there aren’t a lot of them. I don’t think it’s based on the market at all, because whenever they do come out they sell like hotcakes. Look at Diablo 3. It’s the fastest selling game on all time on the PC. It’s a fertile market and I don’t think one or two titles are going to saturate it.

There are so many FPS [games] out there and no one thinks that genre is dead. Every one that’s good sells like crazy. We’re pretty confident that provided we can keep our quality up, there are more buyers than there are games in this genre.

Also it’s been 10 years since the release of a Diablo game, and I think there’s a new generation of people to introduce to the genre. Again this is where Diablo 3 can help us. They’re bringing in so many new people to the genre, and so many kids are now of gamer age. We have a whole new generation to introduce to ARPGs. No one ever leaves games, once you’ve started playing games they become part of your life and you play forever. We’re just getting more and more gamers as time goes on and since there has been such a huge gap in ARPGs, its a very fertile field to plow right now.



We were talking about games that stay with us, and it’s funny you mention that because when I think of the Diablo series the very first thing I hear is that famous guitar strum. It has stuck with me for 10 years, and I know many many other Diablo fans who reminisce in the same way!
Yes it’s so crystal clear, I can hear it right now. [laughs]



My real question: The incredibly talented Matt Uelman—who composed the Diablo games—works on the Torchlight series and I’m curious if there was ever a point where you approached him to creating something as infectious? Perhaps as a wink to the fans?
No not the exact same strum, but it’s totally Matt’s style. We just wanted him to get weird with it. Every now and then when listening to the Torchlight 2 music I stop and go “is that a 12-string guitar in there?”. [laughs]



If runic wasn’t going to make an ARPG, what would it make?
Wow! Well we have 30 guys on the team so you would get 30 different answers.

You know, we don’t want to do ARPGs for the rest of our lives, so this is something we do talk about. For me personally I would like to do something that’s more of a hybrid. I wouldn’t want to do strictly a Real Time Strategy or First Person Shooter, I would want to bring a little bit of Torchlight, a bit of Minecraft, a little more resource-based play, and then little more cooperative stuff to bend the genres. Get you to do more than just resources or just loot, you know, just infuse them all a little bit.

At the same time I look at what I actually play and it’s just Word With Friends. [laughs] I just like all kinds of games.
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post #5 of 480
Quote:
Originally Posted by xBISHOPx View Post

I'm actually looking forward to this game more than D3. Co-op dungeon crawling through randomly generated levels with LAN, $15 price tag (4 pack), and Mod support? Yes please.

Same here.
Reason 1 = LAN COOP
Reason 2 = I can afford it
Reason 3 = Did I say LAN COOP?
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post #6 of 480
Thread made official smile.gif
post #7 of 480
A friend gifted me this game. smile.gif

Hopefully the Schaefer brothers did a good job. Beta was reasonably good imho.
post #8 of 480
Can't wait to try this. This will probably be the real Diablo 3. Not some lite version of WoW for 4 players.
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post #9 of 480
beta was alot of fun.
post #10 of 480
Glad to hear people enjoyed beta smile.gif

I played D3 all weekend instead, kind of regretting it now frown.gif
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Overclock.net › Forums › Video Games › PC Gaming › [OFFICIAL] Torchlight 2 Information and Discussion Thread