7 things you didn’t know about the Torchlight MMO

Torchlight sprang onto our PCs in October 2009 and was instantly hailed as the best Diablo 2 clone since … well … Diablo 2. And in response to questions about why there was no multiplayer mode, the developers said that they were planning to develop an MMO based on the game.

PC Gamer interviewed Runic Games about how that was coming on, and here are a few things we learned.

  • Torchlight MMO will be free to play, supported by microtransactions. “what you should be paying for is variance – additions that make it more enjoyable. Mounts are a great example. Everyone should be able to get mounts but you should be able to buy super special mounts that look cool or travel a slight bit faster…”
  • The group/ multiplayer aspect will play as much like the single player game as possible. (Again, very similar to Diablo 2)
  • There will be large static shared spaces (eg. towns). “you lose a sense of community and place if everything is randomised.”
  • There will be trade skills and commerce.
  • the dev team is inspired by the mod community. “It’s been useful to look at what people think are the most important things to change in the game.”
  • There will be guild systems and probably guild houses.
  • They’re discussing the possibility of groups being able to have dungeons generated specifically for them on the fly. (Mythos offered something similar)

Bear in mind, these guys pretty much out-Diabloed Diablo. So at this point, I wonder whether Blizzard is also thinking along similar lines for the next outing of their popular action-adventure-click-click-click series. Diablo 3 is going to be huge when it comes out next year, but we’ve still heard so little about it. I’d be amazed if Blizzard didn’t want to build somehow on the multiplayer features, they’ll have battle.net ready and well established by then. Should we be expecting to see a Diablo AH and economy? How about support for guilds?

Anyhow, Torchlight is great fun for bursts of monster bashing. I found that the single player game – while well worth the money – didn’t keep my attention in the long term. But as a F2P MMO, sure, why not?

Incidentally, PC Gamer has a lot for MMO fans this month. There’s a big glossy article about Cataclysm, more about Guild Wars 2 and APB, and another big article about Farmville and how social games make their cash.

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3 thoughts on “7 things you didn’t know about the Torchlight MMO

  1. I found that the single player game – while well worth the money – didn’t keep my attention in the long term. But as a F2P MMO, sure, why not?

    For myself that’s an easy question to answer: if the single-player game is unable to hold my attention (and Torchlight wasn’t able to keep me for more than 20 minutes, but I can’t stand Diablo-style games) then having multiple players just means I’m still in a game that isn’t holding my attention; there are just more players there. Even if I bring my own friends, I’m quickly bored and asking if the gang wants to switch to a game that’s more entertaining and fun.

    Multiplayer isn’t a magical panacea to everything, at least for me.

  2. Torchlight was promising, but after I had explored the game for a few hours I realized that they made some big mistakes that prevent the game from reaching near the level of quality of Diablo II.

    Loot is boring. It’s mostly linear upgrades with very little in the way of interesting effect variety.

    Character advancement is boring. I don’t think I ever saw a skill in the game that really impressed me; I didn’t see anything that engendered excitement at the prospect of being able to do.

    The dungeons are boring. They’re randomly generated with the same blocks used. The tilesets are nice but I was left feeling there is not enough variety. Diablo 2 had radically different environments–Torchlight has a few different tilesets but they feel more like skins than environments.

    Adding more players to the equation could help to make it more tolerable, but I doubt I’ll go back and play it again just for that. Especially if they’re going to build inconveniences into the game that are handy for hanging cash shop products on.

  3. What Blizzard need to remember for Diablo is what they are forgetting for Starcraft and that is a LAN mode. If we get a LAN option I know that my friends and I will play it exclusively for an age. We are all super excited for it. But if we cannot LAN it, well, I get to save some money.

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