Torchlight Troubles

I managed to get in some time with Torchlight over the weekend, in and around pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating, resetting clocks (ahh, the joy of “Fall Back“) and the Planet of the Apes.

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While I had quite a bit of fun with the game over the weekend, all is not bliss.  No game is perfect and Torchlight has its share of flaws.

Bugs

Runic has a list of issues up on the Torchlight forums that they are working on, some of which they say they have fixed, but still have to make their way to end users.  There is no built-in update system, another divergence from Diablo, so unless you bought the game on Steam (grumble) you have to go looking for updates.

I’ve run into a number of the items on their list including the “Brink Bug,” which messes up a quest chain, and the performance related issues.  I’m just glad that I have not run into some of the nastier issues, like the failure to save.

And, as a side note to the developers.  I am happy that you have fixed a number of these issues and I am fine with you putting down the date, and even the exact time in some cases, when you made that fix.  But I know, being on the developer side of things myself, that the first questions will be “When will a patch be available and how do I get it?”  The answers to those (even if the “when” is “we don’t know yet”) should be in the same post (or in its own locked and stickied post) and not many pages into the responses to the fix updates. (And even that was just “no patch yet.”)

I sent an email to support to get some idea of what the patch availability and notification process would be and got a response from Brock Jones, the producer. (He apparently has retired from the superhero biz.)  While I appreciated the timely response, I would have rather been able to find the information myself and not wasted his time.

(Of course, if they put the producer on answering email, maybe they just want to keep him out of the way.)

Story

The more I play Torchlight the less involved I feel with the story.  For me, this is a serious break with its Diablo and Diablo II predecessors.  Diablo II especially had some distractions in it, but with only 6 quests per chapter, you spent a lot of time focused on the main thread of the game, the thread that lead you to the final battle.

The team at Runic however seems to have taken their long term MMO aspirations a bit too seriously.  The current conventional wisdom is that you need lots of quests in an MMO to move people along and give them something to focus on besides grinding mobs.

So there are lots of quests in Torchlight but, at least compared to Diablo II, and they do not feel connected.  One guy, Vasman, is always looking for the next flavor of ember, while a mechanical named Trill-Bot 4000 is always directing me to kill the next boss that is just a level or two down from where, and a guy named Hatch is sending me off in other directions.

But it is the quests for Syl that appear to drive the main story.  Or so I gather.  Unfortunately, one of the bugs causes you to miss a quest or two in that line.  Now, it is nice that you can pick up that thread further on down the line, but I still feel like I am missing something.

So while I am not as down on the game as MBP, I get his point about the feel of the game.

Sharing

The biggest interruption of my time playing Torchlight came when my daughter noticed I was playing a new game.  This lead to me having to relinquish my seat at the computer so that she could play for a while.

And she found the game to be quite fun as well.  I suspect that this is going to remain an issue until they get a version out that will run on Mac OS X or until she gets tired of the game.  And given that she has taken to imitating a zombie walking around my office moaning, “Torchilght…” I am hoping for an early Mac release.

So all is not absolute bliss in the world of Torchlight, but neither am I about to take back anything favorable I have said.  It is still a lot of fun for $20.

Now just waiting for the first patch…

17 thoughts on “Torchlight Troubles

  1. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    CrossOver might be worth looking into. I have resisted other paths that involve me essentially running (and maintaining) yet another copy of Windows in my home.

    Is that CrossOver Mac, Mac Pro, or Games that you are on?

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  2. Dickie

    That stinks about the bugs. I haven’t noticed them yet if I’ve encountered them, so I can’t say I’m bothered by them.

    But I agree with you wholeheartedly about the story. It seems secondary, almost an afterthought to the gameplay. It hasn’t annoyed me yet because I’m still enjoying the gameplay, but once that shine fades away (as it always does), what’s going to keep me going in the game. That’s suppose to be the story’s function. Who knows, maybe it’ll pick up is a few more levels?

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  3. mbp

    I feel a bit guilty for not liking Torchlight. It is a very well made game by a smaller development studio. These are exactly the type of guys who need our support to go on making innovative new games. Its just that I have an extremely limited tolerance for this type of game. I never did play Diablo but I did actually make it all the way through Dungeon Siege – it took me two years because I kept getting bored and gave up for long spells.

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  4. Armagon

    I ran into the Brink Bug, but as it was the 2nd character on the account I was told this questline is important and so I just restarted after ~15min of played time, no harm done.
    I’ve played a Destroyer to level 17 now (and watched a Vanquisher up to 53 with one eye) and I really like it.
    Yes, it’s too easy. Yes, it’s too near to Diablo. No, that doesn’t annoy me and it’s a fun game.

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  5. JoBildo

    The worst bug I’ve seen, and really the only one that’s caused alarm was my pet getting stuck and not following me… it’s amazing how hard the game can be without that helper.

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  6. jamesL

    the expected release date for the patch was clearly mentioned on the same thread as the patch notes

    they said they are testing the fixes and it will be out this week if they don’t discover anymore game breaking bugs

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  7. Raquel

    I was lucky with Torchlight, bugs-wise. I only ran into one (being stuck in the scenery) but exiting and going back to the game quickly fixed it.

    So far, I enjoyed it. I finished the main quest with my Vanquisher and am starting an Alchemist and a Destroyer to try them out a bit, before I get my hands on Dragon Age and (hopefully) be one happy gal questing with my Grey Warden. :)

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  8. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @JoBildo – Yeah, I have sent my pet back to town and had it appear back in an inaccessible part of the map. I had to town portal to get it back.

    @JamesL – Which is not good enough in my opinion. It shouldn’t be buried in the 18-page long list of replies. It should be part of the first message or its own stickied post.

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  9. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I see now that the team at Runic has updates about a possible patch in the first message of that post. Go team!

    @Escoce – An ancient pet peeve of mine: “Mac” is not an acronym, it does not need to be in all caps.

    As for Wine vs. CrossOver, I will happily pay for a supported version of the software, doubly so since I have experience with what the open source community believes to be user friendly when it comes to install, configuration, and documentation.

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  10. David Jones

    I agree with the author of this article that the developers should make a sticky/locked post on their website re: patch updates. Just make 1 simple sticky, something like: ‘work in progress’, with a list of items that they are working on. Otherwise, I get the impression that after patch 1.12 that’s it. There are still a good handful of things to fix like that map in the upper right corner, very dull. Imbalanced skills etc.
    No, I’m not interested in modding with TorchED. Unless you’re going to pay me for my time. I paid for a product, I expect it to function satisfactorily, which in it’s current state is not the case.

    It’s a bugger to find due to being buried.

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  11. Brian Gallew

    Wine/Crossover is a great idea, except that those of us who purchased the game from torchlightgame.com are boned: the DRM is apparently incompatible with Wine.

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  12. Pingback: Torchlight stuck | Sellukus

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