Video Game Thoughts: Torchlight

Torchlight was a 2009 action role-playing game by Runic Games that I played on the PC. When Blizzard Entertainment announced Diablo III, I eagerly awaited it’s release. Like all Blizzard games it got delayed and delayed and delayed. After not hearing much about it for over a year, I and many other players started thinking it might be cancelled. Blizzard had a past of doing this when a game wasn’t shaping up how they liked. While waiting I heard about Torchlight. It featured the same gameplay as the Diablo games but in a modern game engine. It was selling for a low price, so I picked it up.

Like most “indie games” there were good things and bad things. One good thing was that there was a lot of replay value here. There were three classes with a unique skill tree and a shared set of spells all classes could use. It was a lot of fun trying out different combinations of skills, spells, and attributes. A major problem was with the balancing of the enemies. As the character leveled up, the monsters got stronger too but generally at a faster rate. This was the same problem as The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. I was not happy to see it here. At the highest levels, the player either had to abuse glitches to do really high damage or focus completely on defensive stats just to survive. Ranged classes fared better, but even they struggled eventually.

The story was pretty weak, but that was never the strong point of action role-playing games. These types of games are about game mechanics. That is why the balancing was such a bad flaw. When players finished the campaign, they would be around level 40. After that, there was only a random dungeon. It was fun for a little bit but quickly got boring. I ran out of ways to improve my character. My primary skills were already maxed, and I had pretty good stats on my items. Gaining more levels just made my character feel weaker while the monsters got percentage bonuses to damage and health automatically every new level.

I ended up only leveling one class to the max level of 100. The game was very fun up to level 40 or so. Then it became tedious. In my past gaming days I would put up with tediousness because I couldn’t get a new game for a while, but as an adult I had the money to buy another game if one didn’t satisfy me. I also had plenty of other fun games to occupy my time with.

Even with just one max level character though, I got over one hundred hours of gameplay out of this game. That is great considering it only cost me $15. It also got me to start blogging. I started writing about my characters. When that got tiring, I started writing about the game mechanics. I would search online for good information, then put it on my blog with my own explanations. That interest in writing eventually got me to create this website. I will always remember Torchlight for starting me on this path.

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