Torchlight 2 Beta Weekend
Torchlight 2 is having their beta stress test this weekend. No, that is not a joke, though it sure as hell sounds like one.
For those of you unaware, Torchlight 2 is an action RPG in development by Runic Games, a company formed from some of the guys behind Diablo 1 and 2. Torchlight 2 has quickly been set up by its developers and fans as the “anti-Diablo 3,” since it has offline play, modding capabilities, and features stat points and skill trees while Diablo 3 has a radically different skill system.
(Of course, one could argue that Diablo 3 is more true to the Diablo way since Diablo 2’s skill system was radically different from Diablo 1, but that’s a story for another day.)
Anyway, the TL2 v. D3 dichotomy has become the biggest flamewar in the gaming community today, and most of the fans and haters on either side don’t seem to be aware that a lot of people are actually interested in both games.
And it seems Runic isn’t aware of that either, because they’re having their beta weekend immediately follow Diablo 3’s release.
I don’t know what to say.
Actually, I do know what to say: Are you serious, Runic? Deny it all you like, but your game is very similar to Diablo 3, and considering how much of a juggernaut that franchise is, this is practically the equivalent of an independent war shooter having its beta weekend immediately follow the release of Modern Warfare 3. This is a game you do not go up against under any fucking circumstances.
The first Torchlight was essentially Diablo 2 with three characters, one town, and no multiplayer. It was fun, but it got repetitive very quickly. Torchlight 2 looks more promising, but I simply can’t find myself as interested in it as I am about Diablo 3, a game that’s been coming for over a decade. I would have jumped at the opportunity to play the Torchlight 2 beta, but if given the option between that and playing more Diablo, I’ll go with the latter.
(I actually won’t be playing either this weekend, as I’ll be on a canoeing trip, but that’s neither here nor there.)
The bottom line is that the Torchlight and Diablo fanbases are not mutually exclusive, and you can’t simply ignore the release of your direct competitor, especially when it’s Diablo Fucking Three.
The more I hear and read about Torchlight 2, the less it seems like an attempt to make a good game with its own identity, and the more it seems like a love letter to the people who are still bitter about Diablo 3’s DRM. This beta event in particular seems like a middle finger to anyone who wants to play both games. I was planning on buying your game, Runic, but if this is how you’re going to play it, I might hold my money back.
So to anyone who thinks Blizzard has joined the Dark Side and has lost its way, you should probably give Torchlight 2 a look. To everyone else, I recommend Diablo 3. It’s a fantastic game, and I plan to explain why in the next few weeks. And if I fail to deliver on this promise again, I give you full permission to drag me behind the shed and beat me with a stick.