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Diablo III vs. Torchlight II – A Matter of Details May 23, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Diablo II, Diablo III, entertainment, Torchlight II.
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[Note to Massively readers: The “no-holds-barred Thunderdome deathmatch” was cancelled, the honeybadger called in sick.  We’re having a tea party instead.  If you are looking for a post complaining about Diablo III requiring you to be online to play, go read this.]

Runic Games had a Torchlight II beta event this past weekend.  A beta event during the first weekend after Diablo III launched.  Crazy, right?

Maybe, and maybe not.

Certainly there is a lot of anti-Blizzard ire in the air after the rocky launch day made error 37 the banner around which those angry about the always “connected nature” of Diablo III could rally.  Torchlight II, as detailed in this comparo chart, offers up online, LAN, and offline modes of play.  The latter seemed pretty attractive last week.

While I had seen updates from Runic about the beta, I was not planning to join in on it.  You know… first weekend of Diablo III and all that.  But they sent me a key for the event, and the download was pretty painless at 750 MB… versus 7GB for Diablo III… which is a little over an hour of file transfer with my internet connection.

The download went while we ate dinner, and when the time finally came, I was able to sit down and launch into Torchlight II.

I logged in (the beta is online mode only, so just like D3), made a character (berserker, the melee class), picked my pet (wolf), got into the game, and spent about 10 minutes running around.

At that point I was a bit dismayed with the graphical style so logged off and went off and played Diablo III for the next three hours.  And D3 was glorious.  I got through most of Act II, played with another friend for a while, and had a great time.

In the light of the next morning though, I felt that I had, perhaps, given Torchlight short shrift.  So I went back and played it for a couple of hours, just to be sure I got it.  And it was a good thing I did, as Torchlight II really has much to recommend it.

The key difference between the two games is what each team decided was important to continue the legacy of Diablo II.

After the break, a long discussion of how they differ, which I attempted to organize.  I did not do a very good job.

Begin wall of text.

Atmosphere

I’ve harped on this topic a couple of times, and how important it is to the Diablo franchise.  And if I was disappointed that Diablo III did not live up to the standard of gloom and shadow set by its predecessors, where light sources were important things, and where casting a fire spell actually lit up the room, then Torchlight II falls further behind in that department.

While Diablo III dungeons appear to lit by indirect lighting, the level of detail that went into the art, and the amount terrain that breaks, explodes, or just falls apart when you battle over it make up for the lighting choice for the most part.

And then there is the blood…

Torchlight II dungeons also suffer from the same interior design lighting choices.  They seem a bit brighter at times, but not annoyingly so.  The prime difference between the two games when it comes to dungeon atmosphere is more a matter of the budget dollars than anything else.  Blizzard had the money to make exquisitely details interiors, and that money paid off.

A well lit dungeon

Outside of dungeons though, Blizzard keeps up its atmosphere ambitions.  The game feels gloomy and oppressive when it suits.  And the epic battle on the ramparts at the start of Act III is amazing.  Torchlight II, on the other hand, is more modest on the surface world.  It can be gloomy… but sometimes it is bright and sunny and the grass is green and the flowers are blooming and it might be “Happy Elves go on a Picnic” that you are playing… at least until the bad guys show up.

But that just goes with the art style choice that the team at Runic Games has adopted, which clearly owes more to Team Fortress 2 than Diablo II.

Story

The Diablo series is a story.  The story was pretty simple in the first game.  It became an integral part of game play in the second, as you were guided through four acts, each with their own story quest line.

How story gets handled this time around clearly separates the two games.

For Blizzard, story is all consuming.  The whole game takes story up several notches from Diablo II.  There are more cut scenes, more references to back story, more quests, more stages per quest, and much more dialog.  You are never left to go wander around for a couple of zones worth of content looking for some location or item as you were in Diablo II.  You are always reminded that you have a task to accomplish, even as you pick up those side events, loot every corpse, break every barrel, and so on.  And it is so well tailored and immersive that it really works well for me in a way that MMO quests do not.

And the story also cements the relationship with the series.  I raised an eyebrow about having to visit pretty much every location from Diablo II again.  But it is a continuation of a story, and that story takes place in a world already defined.  I can see how running off to some new location might not help with the bond Blizzard is attempting to create.

Torchlight II… at least as far as I played into it… seems to take a bit of a step back from the Diablo II level of integration with story.  They are not quite at the original Torchlight, where the town seemed to be a parody of an MMO quest hub at times.  But you end up with a few quests at a time, which may or may not be related and which may or may not have anything to do with the over-arching story.  While Blizzard limits and controls any distraction from story, Torchlight II keeps a much looser grip on your tale.  It isn’t a sandbox by any stretch of the imagination, and if you want to play the game through, you’re going to have to take up the story and your character will have to act out their pre-ordained  part.  But story isn’t as all consuming.

Whether one or the other is better is a matter of taste.  I am enjoying Diablo III’s focus on story, but the light feel of Torchlight II has its benefits too.

Characters and Skills

Both games have finally decided that you can be either sex for a given class.  A victory for all of us I think.  I could never play my Diablo II Amazon in multi-player.

Diablo III has five classes, Torchlight II has four.  Each has the requisite melee, ranged weapons, and caster class covered as barbarian/berserker, demon hunter/outlander, and wizard/ember mage.  The other classes do not really overlap.  The engineer in Torchlight II is sort of steampunk melee, while the monk in Diablo III gives you martial arts melee and group healing.  And Diablo III’s witch doctor seems to be geared towards those who delight in throwing jars of spiders at people.

Aside from the spiders, the classes are reasonably on par.  The barbarian and the berserker are especially similar, but how far wrong can you go with a crazy melee class?

The path between the two games diverge when it comes to how you develop your classes.

Torchlight II is clearly in the old school Diablo II camp.  You get talent points to spend on talent trees, there are three trees per class, and the items on these trees unlock or enhance your skills.  Likewise, with every level you get points you can apply to your stats, and there are stats that are clearly better for any given class.  And you will run into gear drops that are stat constrained; e.g. You must be this strong to wield the Coyote Sword of Obliteration.

Diablo III went down a new path.  You do not spend points on talents or stats.  Stats go up as you level.  And as you level up you also unlock abilities.  Abilities are sorted by type, and are abilities of the same type are mutually exclusive, you can choose only one.  In the end you can have six abilities active, one from each grouping.  You also unlock runes for each skill which gives that skill an additional effect.  So for my my main melee attack, I chose the skill that hits up to three bad guys in front of me, then added the rune that makes anything I kill with that attack explode (!!!) like a bomb, damaging those around the victim.

For somebody like me, who dislikes the classic talent tree (I always choose badly early on), the Diablo III system is a thing of beauty.  You have to make choices… hard choices… as you can only have six skills active, and each can only have one its runes selected.  But you are not locked into any given skill.  You can open up your character window and change things up at will.

Random Game Mechanics

As with characters skills, Torchlight II saw fit to leave a lot of the Diablo II mechanics alone.  So you have health potions, scrolls of identify, scrolls of town portal, vendors, and the whole lot, all in the Diablo II vein.  Spells are different… but they work the same way they did in Torchlight.

In the end, it is a lot like Diablo II, down to the red and blue health and mana balls, now moved out to the edge of your peripheral vision just like in Diablo II.

And Torchlight II seems kind of obsessed with levels, in a very MMO-like way.  Quests, zones, mobs, all have levels visible. which are sometimes brought vigorously to your attention.

Are you leveled up enough for that zone?

Diablo III has done away with the scrolls, having made town portal a skill and identify something you apparently do by staring really hard at an item for a few seconds. (Which makes a sort of sense… it is a friggin’ axe, how tough could that be to decipher?)  Vendors are the same, though aside from the occasional ones you run into in the wild, they almost never have anything for sale that you need.  I am always wearing better gear and I have yet to run out of health potions.

And then there is the auction house.  The gold driven one.  It took me a bit to figure out what would drive this in a game that rains loot on you in every battle.  There are a few factors, but the one that I think makes the big difference is that all of the yellow gear that drops… that is the good stuff… shows up usable by a character many levels below yours.  In the his mid-20s, my barbarian is getting yellow drops usable by level 14 characters.  They are showing up almost too late to be useful for him, since he is getting blue drops as good or better.

But those yellow drops make a great gift for a lower level alt!  And hey, if you want to pick up a meaningful piece of equipment for your main, the auction house has plenty of similar items at your level.

As for the RMT driven auction house, which isn’t open as of yet… a couple of people will likely do well out of it… or will tell you they are doing well in order to sell you a guide so you’ll know how to do well.  I think the most likely buyer will be somebody seeking the in-game currency, since Blizzard fixed the gold glut that was in Diablo II.

In Diablo II, by the end of the second act you probably had more gold than you could carry.  There was nothing to spend it on really.

In Diablo III you have the auction house, expansions for your shared stash, and leveling up your crafting NPCs.  The glut is gone.  Now I have more things to spend gold on than I have gold.  And that feeling, the need for gold, will drive people to spend real money.  The so a new generation of gold farmers, now working legally, will arise.

Finally, just to finish a comparison started above, Diablo III seems to go out of its way to NOT look like it as obsessed with levels as an MMO.  Zones, monsters, quests… none of these things display levels.  But they all have levels, Blizzard is just hiding them.  I thought they might be scaling things, but the word on the street is that levels are still the in thing.

Companions

Both games have branched off from Diablo II when it comes to companions.

Runic Games added a pet companion in Torchlight, where you could choose if you were a cat or a dog person.  This has been expanded with Torchlight II.  You now have more choices, including an adorable ferret pet that my daughter loves.

It has little goggles!

Aside from different skins however, it is the same as the Torchlight pet.  It assists you in battle.  You can teach it spells, which is pretty cool.  And you can load your pet up with drops and send it back to town to sell… though, of course, then you are standing around in the dungeon without your companion for 30 seconds to a couple of minutes.

Diablo III has curtailed the Diablo II companion vendor and has given you three companions, the scoundrel, the Templar, and the sorceress.

Hanging with the companions…

You meet each as you progress through the story.  Each has three skills that you can choose as they level up, and there are some clear match ups.  The Templar is a tank with some healing, the sorceress is a caster that has a healing choice, and the scoundrel is a ranged DPS rogue.

So for my barbarian, the clear choice of companion is the sorceress… or maybe the Templar to get healing.

But I always group with the scoundrel.

Why?

Because the companions have personalities… as does your own character.  You do not get to choose who your character is, you play the personality of the class you choose.

The barbarian is dour and fatalistic.  He is on a quest, he is going to slay evil, and he fully expects to die in the process.  He is the unsmiling Arnold Schwartzenegger character, all muscles and determination.

Meanwhile, I have nicknamed the scoundrel “Ford Prefect.”  He wants to loot some gold, make time with girls, and get in out of the cold.  He comments on the trail of dead bodies in our wake and moans about the state of dungeons, but when push comes to shove he is there with me, a few steps back, shooting up the bad guys with his crossbow, shouting “That’s how we do it in Kingsport!” at then end of a fight now and again.

The interplay between the barbarian and the scoundrel is endlessly amusing to me.  They have some regular repartee along with scripts that go with certain events.  The only downside is that when you join up with a friend, you companion goes away.  I am pushing ahead with my barbarian solo for now in part to see how their relationship unfolds.

Yes, the whole thing is scripted , and not exactly written at the James Joyce level, but it is fun.  And I wonder how the other companions react at similar events… and how they interact with the other character classes of each sex.  Too many possible variations!

Game Modes

Blizzard made a drastic choice with Diablo III by making it always online.  Straw Fellow has a good write up on this, so I will try not to belabor the point.  I will just say that it is a classic “less is more” choice.  Blizzard decided that Diablo III was a multiplayer game, and that playing with friends was the key feature.  So they made playing together as easy as possible by forcing everybody to be online.  And my own time spent with the game over the weekend showed that it seems to work.  I spent a lot of time playing with friends primarily because it was so easy.  There was no need to coordinate; you see your friend, you jump on in.

Runic Games, on the other hand, wants Torchlight II available for all of the Diablo II play styles.  So you can play offline.  You can setup a game over the internet privately.  Or you can log into their own version of Battle.net and play in their public space.

The catch is that all this flexibility will keep “playing with friends” from ever being as easy as Diablo III has made it.

But Torchlight II has some additional things to throw into the pot.  For one, you can set the difficulty mode of your game to any setting without having played through the lower settings.  If you want to start off in hard mode, go right ahead.  With Diablo III… which outside of bosses seems kind of soft in the initial difficulty setting… I am not sure I will want to play through the whole game twice just to get to hard mode.

And the other key item is that Torchlight II will let you have up to 8 players in your game, versus 4 in Diablo III.  For those of us with a regular group of 5 or 6 people, this will be a boon.

Other Random Items

Diablo III has achievements, and making achievements feel worthwhile is something that Blizzard does well.  You get them for the usual things, and the special events you expect, but they also throw in a good number or cool random ones.  At one point I had a quest to free villagers who had been caged up in their town.  I only needed to free 8, but after I finished I noticed that there were more and I could still free them.  So I did.  And there was an achievement for freeing all of the prisoners.  It almost solves the sixth slave issue.

Torchlight II, in addition to normal experience also has fame… sort of notoriety ala LOTRO… as did Torchlight.  You get that for slaying bosses and other special monsters.  And I would tell you what fame was for… but I totally forgot.

Diablo III takes crap screen shots.  The compression is set really high… hey, another feature LOTRO shares… and so the fine detail looks much worse in screen shots than in the game. (And the damn cursor is in all the screen shots… see the companions shot above.)  But Torchlight II doesn’t take screen shots at all… at least not yet.  So I had to get Fraps out… which takes great screen shots since I can control the quality, so I should probably run that with Diablo III as well.

Neither has what I consider the definitive MMO feature, which is the ability to turn off the UI.  So they are not MMOs.  Hah!

Actually Playing

Same for both games.

Click on shit until it dies.

Press a button for a health potion.

Press another button for a spell or something.

But mostly just keep clicking, just keep clicking.

It is the simplicity of combat and the non-stop slaughter as your hero… and in both games you are clearly not just another feeb fresh off the turnip wagon, not another noob in the starter zone, but a full fledged hero… tears through the bad guys that sells the genre.

If anything, both games step up the pace of action over Diablo II, and that is a beautiful thing.

What Do I Recommend?

I will be playing both.

Diablo III continues the franchise story, a story in which I was already emotionally invested.  Not playing the game never even occurred to me.  That it turned out to be a great game that adds to the genre is simply a bonus.  Anybody saying that Diablo III brought nothing new to the table clearly isn’t playing the same game I am… and I would bet that most aren’t playing the game at all, but just complaining from the sidelines.

My big question is what will Blizzard do with the game they have created?  Eventually it will be played out for most people.  Will it get expansions or new game modes or new games on the same platform?  Time will tell. [9/20 Update: time says that Blizz dropped the ball here.]

Torchlight II is light and awesome and the game I will play with my daughter. (Diablo III is a bit too grim for a 10 year old I think.)  While not endowed with Blizzard’s art budget, it is still a superior example of the click action genre.  And with a $20 price tag, I have no doubt the instance group will give it a try.

And, being open for mods, it will likely find new life as time goes along as a platform for people to do their own stories.

But either way, I think I am pretty lucky to have both games available to play this year.

This will definitely cut into my MMO time.

Comments»

1. Anonymous - May 23, 2012

Great reviews. FYI, D3 has elective mode option, which allows you to pick multiple skills within the same category.

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2. thrinetu - May 23, 2012

with elective mode you can use more then one of each skill set

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3. Wyzim (@wyzim) - May 23, 2012

I have played Path of Exile all of March and April, playing Diablo III currently and will be playing Torchlight II when it releases.
Torchlight 2:
* Character customization (appearance)
* Character customization (Skill trees, weapons & attributes)
* Offline single-player. LAN & Internet multi-player
* Modding tools(expect community developed content)
* Four possible difficulty levels right at the start
* Max level 100, game’s not over until you say it is.
* Play with up to 7 friends
* Pets!
* $20
* If you pre-purchase, you get Torchlight(by itself an amazing game) for free.

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4. Wilhelm Arcturus - May 23, 2012

@Wyzim – What, you don’t have Torchlight already? Poser!

(Just kidding, lots to love about Torchlight II)

But you bring up a point… TL2 goes to level 100, but as I noted in the post, the content is very level oriented. Does that mean the content requires you to get to level 100 in order to complete it?

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5. spinks - May 23, 2012

Yeah, I’ve been feeling much the same about being lucky as a gamer this year. Loads of companies are bringing out big games in genres I like, and I know this run can’t last but while it does … I have some gaming to do!

T2 is definitely on the buy list, I’m quite looking forwards to playing a sharp roguelike with more random dungeon generation than D3 has (although I do also love D3, especially the lack of talent trees and class design.)

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6. Anonymous - May 23, 2012

elective mode ftw!

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7. Anonymous - May 23, 2012

A new thing with pets in T2, if I’m remembering T1 correctly, is the shopping list. Your pet can bring back an order of potions from town if you want it to.

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8. sleepysam - May 23, 2012

/golf clap for the tags – well played, good sir, well played.

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9. Raziel - May 23, 2012

Just an FYI: the skills in Diablo 3 are or mutually exclusive based on category if you turn on elective mode. Elective mode lets you equip any skill in any slot.

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10. Wilhelm Arcturus - May 23, 2012

@Raziel – You’re about 3 comments too late. Thanks for the tip, but I am going to replace “elective mode” with “boobies” in all further comments.

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11. Killington - May 23, 2012

You can take screenshots in TL2 currently by using one of the higher function keys, I am thinking it was either F9 or F10. When you take screenshots they appear in the My Documents/My Games folder. From what I can tell the screenshots seem to be pretty good quality too:)

Also, “boobies” :D

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12. bhagpuss - May 23, 2012

That was highly informative. Even more certain I won’t be playing either of them now. Although that ferret…

I might, however, be playing Marvel Heroes when it appears, which “combines core gameplay elements of Diablo with the expansive library of characters from the Marvel Universe”. Can’t help wonderign if they meant to type “extensive” there. I hadn’t been paying attention to it much but then I saw the recent video and it looked pretty good.

Somehow, while “fantasy action-RPG” does absolutely nothing for me, “super-hero action RPG” sounds a lot more interesting. And it’s free.

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13. whorhay - May 23, 2012

In Torchlight 1 fame is another source of skill points, such that your total skill points should equal your experience level plus your fame level. I would think that it’s the same in Torchlight 2.

Story telling to me actually seems to have taken a step backwards in Diablo 3. I preferred the cut scenes in Diablo 2. In Diablo 3 there didn’t seem to be any cut scenes, just scripted in engine skits, this is based on Beta though so maybe there are real cut scenes later one.

Torchlight 1 has achievements so I don’t know why 2 wouldn’t have them. The only difference I can see between them then would be that Diablo 3 lets you customize your battle standard dependent on achievements, which is an interesting feature.

Diablo 2 did have items worth purchasing from the vendors especially early in the game as a weapon with a point or two in your favorite skills was a large boost to the characters power. But Gold was largely useless except for gambling.

I never really noticed a level obsession in either Torchlight or the Diablo series though the mechanics are basically the same in both. As you level you gain power and access to more and more abilities. The big difference with Diablo 3 for levels is that because of the removal of character customization one players skill will be identical in power and effect to another player of the same class except insofar as it’s effected by the characters weapon dps.

It took a long while for Blizzard to make it happen but they did eventually patch in skill and attribute respecs in Diablo 2. You got one every difficulty level for finishing one of the first quests in the Rogue Encampment, and you could farm specific bosses for the components to craft more respec tokens.

Having not played Torchlight 2 yet I can’t speak to the difficulty levels yet, but in 1 once you picked a difficulty setting that was all you could do with that character. I like the Diablo series system because it allows for changing the difficulty you are playing on whenever you like by simply creating a new game. At least so long as you’ve completed the previous difficulty.

Torchlight 1 had two really good features that I liked. First was the enchanting npc who for a price would add a random enchantment to an item for a price. Enchanting came with a risk though of wiping all the bonuses on the item that gets more likely the more it’s been enchanted. The second feature is the endless dungeon that just keeps going down getting progressively harder. This harkens back to games of old like Asteroids that didn’t really have any end game state but just got more and more difficult. It also had an interesting mechanic for passing a “heirloom” item from one character that you deleted/retired to a new character, which would receive additional boots to its existing bonuses. Though I rarely used that.

I’ll probably buy Diablo 3 eventually but there is no impetus to do so now while it’s priced at a premium. In the meantime all the talk of Torchlight has got me playing that again and I even pre-ordered number 2.

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14. Rend - May 24, 2012

Tbh – after spending alot of time in both Diablo 3 and Torchlight 2 beta i must say i dont understand the hype around Diablo 3

From what i have experienced Torchlight 2 has alot of features that are better than on Diablo 3 – for example char and skills section.

Diablo 3 is linear not only story wise but also char wise – i get a level i unlock this rune , that rune and that skill.

In Torchlight 2 i have the option to choose what i want to unlock and when – and if i fail at my build there is always the respect npc, which you forgot to mention.

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15. Sprinks - May 24, 2012

Great article. I was a big fan of the original Torchlight, and will absolutely be playing TL2. It seems as if D3 is becoming a product of hype in that there has been constant controversy surrounding it since launch. The new outrage seems to be centered around the difficulty of Inferno… For me, I’ve had a great time so far making my way through Normal and Nightmare. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for D3.

Thanks again for the great comparison between the two.

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16. Wilhelm Arcturus - May 24, 2012

@Rend – Better is clearly a matter of opinion. People who love talent trees will clearly favor the T2 model. But I would call the need to have a respec option the failure of the talent tree system. It represents the need to bail users out of their bad choices, which is more than just an opinion, but something with a long history. Respec came about in past games because of player complaints.

I happen to prefer the pool of skills option, from which you are constrained to 6. That seems to offer up a considerable variety of character options without the need to resort to the “I blew it, time to respend my points from scratch” that talent trees require.

@Sprinks – Wait, normal is too easy… I’ve read that complaint… but inferno is too hard? Interesting.

Personally, I think inferno should be very hard. Finishing that ought to be an accomplishment. Everybody can finish the story on normal mode. Going back for two successively more difficult runs is more than I will probably manage.

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17. Jeff - May 24, 2012

I prefer the graphic/art style in Torchlight 2 over Diablo 3. A lot of the areas in Diablo 3 look very nice, but a lot of it also looks dated.

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18. Straw Fellow - May 25, 2012

Firstly, thank you for the link and compliment. I’m glad I could make the point well in your eyes.

As for the comparison between the two games, I have yet to pick up Torchlight 2, so most of my experience comes from Diablo 3 and Torchlight 1. That being said, I feel like Torchlight bridged the gap between Diablo 2 and 3 for me. The fact that the sequel will be riding on the coatails of Diablo 3 doesn’t bother me because the franchise has already proved itself in my eyes. I know many gamers will say TL2 is trying to take from Diablo’s crowd, but I wouldn’t mind a little diversity in the games we have to choose from this genre. I have fond memories of Gauntlet with friends, so to see this simple-yet-fun style be evolved makes me happy all the same.

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19. Wilhelm Arcturus - May 25, 2012

And some exploration of the boobies… I mean the elective gear option at Blessing of Kings.

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20. [Links] Day of Reckoning for 38 Studios, soloing in MMOs, Diablo 3, Sony won the console wars? « Welcome to Spinksville! - May 26, 2012

[...] Ancient Gaming Noob has played both Diablo 3 and the Torchlight 2 beta and gives a thorough comparison between what he has seen of the [...]

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21. John KP - June 12, 2012

Whorhay, just wtf did you play? I’m pretty sure you did not play D3 if you bitch about no cutscenes.

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22. John KP - June 12, 2012

Oh sorry, didn’t see you just played beta. My bad.

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23. Anonymous - June 13, 2012

This review is very clearly from an early game play perspective only.

After the first play through of D3 the game play changes entirely – you’re not in fun mode anymore. The story is exactly the same, and those dialogues are not as witty as the first play through. The previously silly monsters are now one or two-shotting you. Did you think the Auction House was optional (gold or RM, either or)? Unless you’re into grinding for hours and getting drops for any class but yours (that aren’t even worth selling on the AH), guess again. Very specific skills come out as vastly superior to other skills, and by the time you make it into Hell/Inferno only a small selection of skills(/runes) are even viable. Once you’re past Normal difficulty, this game is picturesque of asinine balance.

The atmosphere is purely personal preference. Sometimes you want dark and gory, sometimes you want cute and cartoony. This is true of every game genre, and there is no absolute superior in any. About the only claim that can be made in this regard is the quality of texture resolution.

The always online approach to D3 has made it easier to get together with your friends. Yes. But don’t count that as a bonus so quickly; excessive server downtime and hacked accounts are a serious problem. The game also can not be played anywhere with shaky/no internet. Yes, these places exist, and not infrequently.

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24. Wilhelm Arcturus - June 13, 2012

@Anon – So, atmosphere is completely personal preference, but the game getting harder in harder modes is an objective negative? Cry some more please.

My personal experience is that I play a LOT more with friend in Diablo III than any other online game, MMOs included. The price, always logged in, is onerous, something I mentioned in the post, but it yields a benefit. Whether that benefit is of value to you is, as you say, personal preference.

I have not seen any excessive downtimes since the first few days, but “excessive” sounds like another opinion.

And yes, if you have a crap internet connection, this might not be the game for you. I suggest staying away from all MMOs as well and anything else where you want to play with other people over the internet.

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25. Derek - June 14, 2012

You wrote a lot of words making this comparison but it has no real substance… Torchlight II is $20 versus Diablo 3′s $60. The CHOICE to play off-line, coop or via LAN versus Diablo 3′s always-on requirement, complete with server maintenance, hacking, botting, duping, rubber-banding, disconnects, et cetera. Diablo 3′s launch was the worst game launch (easily) in years and the game continues to be a bug-riddled mess. As a multiplayer title it isn’t very good either. On the harder difficulties (where you’d want your friends’ help the most, the difficulty scales in such a way that the only chance to progress is to play solo).

Considering Torchlight is one-third of the price, I’d be willing to forgive a lot more issues it may have. However, I really doubt it will have many issues at all. Certainly not even a fraction as many as Diablo 3 currently has.

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26. Wilhelm Arcturus - June 14, 2012

@Derek – It seems that “substance” is what you define it as. If price and always online are all that matters to you in the comparison, I suppose it might lack substance to you.

But these were things that mattered to me.

I do not see the bug comparison, or very opinion-oriented views on “worst launch,” as having much validity right now. From the first full weekend post-launch, D3 has run fine for me. And I did not mention any of the problems I found in the Torchlight 2 online mode, since it was in beta, but some would sound familiar. We’ll see what it looks like when the game actually launches.

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27. Sboc - June 17, 2012

I’ve been playing Diablo since the first one came out (I’m an old D&D player). I’m enjoying D3, but the ‘always online’ thing is an issue: if one of use tries to get online (wireless) with the other laptop, it disconnects Diablo. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s a pain. I don’t like that I can’t continue to improve my merchants without completing Normal and moving up in difficulty – the pages should be available in all modes. Frankly, I am not sure D3 has the “play over and over again” draw, but we’ll see.
I loved Torchlight – what with the pet, endless dungeon levels, trying to buy weapon/armour improvements w/o losing all attributes, retreiving gems and armour (something I noticed D3 has – with the added bonus of not losing either one). Only just discoverd it this year, and I can play it endlessly. I’m looking forward to Torchlight II and multiplayer.

The fact is, Anonymous (23) is right: Not everyone has easy network access, and internet interrupts are fairly common. I have a number of friends stationed where there is no access, and they’d love to play D3 during their down time: Blizzard should have a little more consideration for our military. Ditto for folks working in companies where games are allowed during lunch, but not online. And many folks in teh USVI live without good internet, so D3 is out for most of my friends and family there. We lose internet every time we lose electricity – which happens too often during hurricane season.

I would not have bought D3, but I am happy I got it for my birthday, and I am enjoying it (even if we can’t afford a second copy tod be able to play together). But we will certainly purchase T2 and probably get extra copies for the neices and nephews.

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28. Wilhelm Arcturus - June 18, 2012

@Sboc – But the fact that some people do not have reliable internet connections or, in your case I guess, reliable electricity, does not make Diablo III a bad game, which is what Anon was clearly saying.

Always connected was clearly a controversial move and has made a lot of people angry. But saying that some people don’t have reliable internet connectivity as a prime criticism rings false to me because I do not hear that same criticism of other online games.

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29. Dash Watson - June 27, 2012

T2 should have put in companions too, like D3. I’m sure someone somewhere will make up a mod like in T1, I have the Kevin (something)’s Mercenary Mod, where you hire upto 3 mercs to keep you company provided you shell out enough gold (having 3 mercs is overkill though, there’d be nothing left for you to kill), but when I see all this stuff about dialogues and comments his scroundel friend keeps giving in D3, it’s just awesome…

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30. anon - July 3, 2012

In my own experience of Torchlight you are wrong to put the game down because it “Only has 4 classes, and Diablo 3 has 5″ You should write it Torchlight 2 will have 4 BASE Characters – You forgot to mention custom classes. Either personally devloped or from the Ruinic community through HotSpot/TorchED 2/Forums? Either way more combinations and Heroes to be made its going to be more than the 1st finally ended up with imo

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31. Musing on Torchlight II’s Real Potential… « The Ancient Gaming Noob - July 11, 2012

[...] wrote a post a while back comparing the game play and other items important to me in a Diablo style game, between Diablo III, which had just launched [...]

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32. ElDiablo - August 1, 2012

Sorry, but I can’t help wonder how much you got paid by Blizzard. It sound like an advertisement, espectialy since everyone HATES the auction shop. You can read that all over the web

You also praise many things that everyone out there report as flaws. my conclusion you were picked by Blizzard to not only do publicity for D2, but also to trash Torshlight (you didn’t pull any punches there)

If you were a real diablo fan, you wouldn’t hate mechanics that live through the first 2 iterations of the game, and made the serie worth tons of gold.

I’m sorry it’s unmistakable. You were not doing a critics but a paid take down of Torchlight. The relentless criticism of Diablo II is proof of that.

And yes, I read your whole review line by line. You even did a little dramatic at the begining to make peoples feels like *yes, you too were unhappy apout the problems at the D3 release* – but no, it seems you were playing right from inside Blizzard HQ because you didn’t suffer at all in the end, despite yout oponing words…. in the whole review it’s 3 hours of total bliss

By the way, don’t bother replying to the fake email I put there 8D
Or you will have an hillarious day translating Kashmirian or whatever it is they speak down there 9D

I got a suspicion you might censore this. Who cares.

By the way, I’m a big Blizzard fan, but when they betray there customers repeateadly, there is a limit to my loyalty. I’m with them since Diablo I and Warcraft II … but I’m affraid we’re about to pat way first over Stacraft II, then Diablo III, that’s pretty much the end of the rope. And I’m certain many feels like I do

I mean, we live in the era of Skyrim, Total War, Mount & Blade …. and THAT is what they come up with.

Torchlight have an excuse. Starter company. Lack of fund. Rebuilding blizzard north from scratch is not easy

Blizzard have the easy way, they suffocate under piles of gold and fame made from previous games. they could have released diablo III with just one symatic, and an immediate game over, and I bet they would still have sold million $ before peoples could react, and then pull a ‘read your license agreement’ in court and be found not guilty. Peoples would think it was just a prabk and an update is accros the corner

I’m not kidding. They are that rich and famous.

So I am sorry, but I was expecting something MASSIVE for my money considering the money they cashed in from me previously and used to fund world of warcraft instead of delivering a second diablo 2 expansion (that everyone expected). Worst. they never made a diablo 2 expansion at all, it was all already in the diablo 2 cd, they just decided to sell that part of the content separately.

don’t believe me ? the druid class was described in one of the first article on diablo 2. it was supposed to have 7 classes. in fact, it had 7 classses. 2 of which were disabled.

If I was making the profits blizzard are making, I would be ashamed of milking my customers to the last drop like they do

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33. Wilhelm Arcturus - August 2, 2012

@ElDiablo – Wow, I realize that English is your second language up there in Quebec, but even so that is a serious weaksauce comment. You are clearly a very angry boy.

Here is a pro tip for you. When somebody ends up a post with a line like “Torchlight II is light and awesome,” telling them that they are trashing Torchlight II defies all logic.

And, given your problems with English, it is no surprise that you completely missed my pointing out in this post what Blizzard has admitted is the big problem with Diablo III a nearly two months ahead of them.

Maybe I should be on their payroll.

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34. PROD - August 29, 2012

I Read your review and the comments over here, but i have to Agree with ElDiablo in some parts, blizzard took from us the loyal customers the last, is like im not trusting on theyr games anymore, its fail behind fails.

They started from very little, their 3 franchises, Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo were awesome, scary, well made, fun and worth our money.

it’s like they used to make what we wanted but now they instead of hearing us they make the game and say you are playing wrong….WTF!

i’ve played Diablo 3 and stopped when the RMAH came out, im a hardcore player, but no RMAH for hardcore? wow.

I really tried to play it thinking like its Diablo can’t be so bad like ppl say, but the truth is that we are lying to ourselves when we say that the game is good. :(

We got a lot of bad stuff like, Shitty History(Deckard cain dead, even warriv was dead, ‘-’), Diablo dressed like a sissy(he seems to be using a bra), shitty environment(not graphics quality but the places where you go), joke fights(you need no strategy to kill only good itens, your skills are not that much), the game is too fucking easy (a monster that kill you in one hit like on nightmare, is not difficult, its just farm, difficult is killing the monster when you have to dodge, hit weak spots, jump, run , right on the right time that stuff).

I’ve got a 60 at harcore died a few times, but most of the time servers issues, the weapons, they use the same art to all of them, WTF my axe on lvl 1 is the same i can use on lvl 60, no stats proc, no skill tree, the game lost its essence, its not diablo anymore, it does nothing have to do with what it used to, you are now just a god in a land of decay, where you must slay to be a hero.

There is no more HELL, like we had, there is Unicorns now, The player never killed Diablo, but Blizzard did ,just it….

R.I.P. Diablo, we now pray for you.

Torchlight shall take your place.

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35. Wilhelm Arcturus - August 31, 2012

Torchlight II will get its chance to show its stuff come September 20th.

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36. Torchlight 2 Release Date And Launch Trailer « Kitty Kitty Boom Boom - September 1, 2012

[...] Site. TAGN’s comparison Diablo 3 vs. Torchlight. Share this:FacebookTwitterDiggRedditMoreEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

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37. Eeks - September 28, 2012

Are you kidding me? You guys compare greatest puke of the last 10 years period – Diablo 3 which was made from november 2001 and its 11 years. 11 years for the game w hich gameplay is that horrible, lack of items, stats, skills… yes it has great graphics and cinematics, but fu*k that – 11 years of work time. Where torchlight has only 2 problem – storyline and graphics…so the game that was made for 2 years versus 11 years totally feels finished, had no major problems on launch and absolutely pwns Diablo 3 in the gameplay quality, items variety, play mechanics variety…Dont even compare that pos called Diablo 3 with it’s RMAH with the good quality game as torchlight. Blizzard times are over – MoP, D3….total fails

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38. brettsticker - January 7, 2013

great review of both the games. i’ve recently gotten re-hooked on diablo and have hear great things about torchlight 2. i’ll be looking into it. thanks again!

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