Throwing their hats into the pre-purchase ring, Runic Games have Torchlight 2 up for pre-purchase on Steam for $20/£14.99; release date is “Summer 2012” and the perk you get for pre-purchasing is a free copy of Torchlight (which you could gift to a friend if you already have a copy).
This is so much of a better deal than any of the other pre-purchase ‘offers’ I’ve seen recently, such as Guild Wars 2 (woo ‘free’ access to beta weekends) or Diablo 3 (no actual bonus for pre-purchase), and gives you a complete game to play while you’re waiting for the release that I’d give props to Runic for thinking things through.
If publishers want me to shell out money up front, these are the sorts of lines they should be thinking along.
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.