Video Game Thoughts: Torchlight II

Torchlight II was a 2012 action role-playing game by Runic Games for the PC. I was really excited for Torchlight II. The first game was a lot of fun but also had many, many flaws. Torchlight II was a much better game but still had some of the same flaws. I loved the graphics and sounds in the game. I also really liked what they did with the user interface. Text was nice and clear with high resolution textures for all the elements. They added a cool “charge” system that functioned uniquely for each class. The story was much more extensive than the first game. The skills had fun bonuses for getting to a specific tiers of skill points in them. Loot was also much better. I especially liked the items that could be upgraded after killing a certain number of enemies.

The big flaw in Torchlight II was one of the main flaws in the first Torchlight. That was the scaling of the monsters’ power relative to the player’s power. They did a better job here, but the monsters still scaled too much. Well, I think the game was pretty balanced for the classes that used ranged attacks and spells, but monsters did too much damage to the melee classes, having no way to dodge enemy attacks. Just like the original game, at high levels the monsters would start to become too strong.

The only way to counteract this was finding a specific magical bonus that reduced all damage by a percentage. It was extremely rare, only being found on specific legendary items (the best in the game). There was a way to game the system by completing a quest over and over to get a gem with this rare bonus to socket into a piece of armor, but that would be exploiting the game. I never do that. With the melee classes, I ended up having to reduce the difficulty level as they leveled up. It was really annoying to do and killed my long term enjoyment in the game.

At the same time, the developers (Runic Games) behind Torchlight II were not a big company. They couldn’t provide the long term support of patches to fix this problem. They did release some tools to modify the game, but the parts of the game that needed to be changed were “hard coded”. The tools could not modify the required game rules to fix the problem. Unfortunately, that meant that Torchlight II got left behind by the other games in the same genre. Path of Exile, Diablo III, and Marvel Heroes were just some of the other big ones released at the time, and all of them have since received countless free updates to polish up the gameplay. I enjoyed Torchlight II when it was new, but it eventually couldn’t compete with the other, similar games. The monster scaling was the only flaw in Torchlight II though. I loved everything else about the game.

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