Torchlight II – First Night

Of course I got home last night and the first thing I did was get into Steam to see if Torchlight II was ready.

Steam says yes

It was available, it just wasn’t quite ready yet.

The game was now unlocked, but Steam had to download some additional… something… that apparently wasn’t installed with the pre-load packages.  This was hindered by Train Simulator, which just released its 2013 update, and which was hogging bandwidth.  I paused that, which somehow also paused the Torchlight download, which I didn’t notice immediately.  All told, something that was estimated at about 2 minutes of download time took nearly 20 minutes.

I suspect the popularity of the game was also hindering the download a bit, even on the might Steam.

Meanwhile, the other sign of launch day popularity was that the Torchlight II site was completely overwhelmed.    You couldn’t get there, much less create an account for online play.  Even this morning, while you can now reach the site, it has been configured as a special “low bandwidth” version to facilitate the masses.  This is the extent of the site:

Buy, download, or GTFO

And, because I couldn’t get to their site online, I had to just sit there getting the same error 37 over and over again.

Wait, what?

Ha ha!  Of course not.  I just chose a local game and ran off and played.

I went back to the same class, the berserker, as I did back in May when they had their beta weekend.  A berserker with a ferret pet because… OMFG it is too cute it has little goggles!

Warlimont and Snoogums

And it was good.

I cannot compare the May version side by side with the release version, but my gut and my fragmented memory say that the last few months were well spent on the game, as it feels tight and well put together.

There are still bits that annoy me.  I hate that you cannot click on the action bars to use them, that they respond to keyboard commands only.  You click on them to associate them with a skill, spell, scroll, or potion.  And I know in a click to kill game, your cursor should stay on the bad guys, not the hot bar, but every once in a while I’ll need a scroll and I’ll click on the hot bar by mistake and get the associate options rather than my option to identify  an item.

And I keep pressing “M” for map, which toggles through all the map/mini map on-screen configurations.  Bleh.

Fishing is also a bit odd.  I don’t really like the way it dominates the whole screen.  But my pet likes the fish.

The skill tree is, at least, something of an improvement over the Diablo/Diablo II raw trees.

Berserker Wolf Tree

It isn’t as on-the-fly flexible as Diablo III’s skills, but it also has more depth and you can respect your last three points spent if you make a mistake.  That won’t fix things if you decide you want to go another route, but it is better that the Diablo II “one free respec and you are stuck.”

Minor complaints aside, and I see those all as minor, the game is fun and draws you in with a “I’ll just go a little bit farther” that is completely parallel to the Civilization “just one more turn” and suddenly it is 2am addiction.

I ran around for a couple of hours, finding every corner of the overland maps, which as Gnome said in the comments of yesterday’s post, gives the game a much bigger feeling that the never ending dungeon crawl of the original Torchlight.  Dungeons are spread out amongst the open areas.

Dungeons are good, even if they are well lit. (Cue my atmosphere rant with accompanying Diablo II video clip.)  The ways are constricted but well designed.  There are plenty of urns to break (the Torchlight version of Diablo barrels) and occasional not-all-that-well-hidden secret rooms to find.

And, in a parallel to Diablo III, big bosses always have their own room in dungeons it seems, so if you die you can spawn again just outside to try again.  I had to do that when I went in and realized I only had to health potions.  I had to send Snoogums back for more potions before I tried again.

My daughter watched me run around for a bit and was very keen to play.  This enthusiasm doubled when I told her it was multiplayer and we could play together.  She made me hand over the controls so she could look at the character options.  She decided that an Outlander with a puma pet would suit here.  She was quite excited about the prospect and it was tough getting her off to bed.

This lead to the big disappointment of the night.  After my daughter went to bed, I went to get a copy of the game for her only to find that the Macintosh version is not out yet.

Spoiled again by Blizzard and their simultaneous Mac OS/Windows releases.

Thinking back, this is how it went for the original Torchlight as well, but for some reason that slipped my mind.  So I will have to break the news to her tonight that we won’t be able to play together for a while yet.

I am probably going to have to let her play on my computer for a bit.  Hopefully the Mac version will show up by Christmas.

6 thoughts on “Torchlight II – First Night

  1. Mid

    Hmm, you can right-click your mouse to use items, though? I remember doing that sometimes — repeatedly right-clicking to chug potions.


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Mid – You might be able to do that, but I never think to do that because in every other game I play you just mash them big fat colorful buttons with a left click.

    It is just a matter of getting used to it, but the left click option gets reinforced by all my other games, so it is a tough habit to break.


  3. whorhay

    Right clicking hot bar buttons does indeed work. I’m pretty sure it’s the same as it was in the original Torchlight. Yes, it’s a bit odd but makes sense in some ways. For instance if you were clicking on the item in your inventory which button would you use to activate or use it?


  4. bhagpuss

    I just downloaded the demo this morning. I’d completely forgotten this conversation but maybe it remained with me subliminally because I instinctively r-clicked the potion on the hotbar and yes it works that way.

    Of course, I didn’t need the potion since I didn’t seem to be taking any damage that mattered. I was just already both bored and irritated and fiddling about. I lasted about fifteen minutes before the weird perspective, fixed camera angle, fuzzy graphics (really, really fuzzy if you bring the camera right in) and general sense of futility filled me with a dangerous ennui and I logged out.

    I never “got” this genre right from the first time I tried it when Dungeon Siege first appeared. I keep trying them when there are free demos and the like but they never work for me. They seem like things I would like but somehow I never do.


  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – Not the genre for everybody.

    I am not sure where you are getting “fuzzy” in the graphics though. If anything, I think the graphics are a bit too sharp, with their comic-book and/or Team Fortress 2 style. The edges are so sharp at times they look like cut-outs to me.

    Or are you on about atmospheric effects again?

    Your anti-Norrathian fog opinions are remembered.


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