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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.

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10 responses

  1. My guess is that Runic is putting too much stock in the various angry cries of ‘Diablo III has feature X? I will never buy or play this game, ever!‘ Because while I certainly know people who actually make good on that promise / boycott, the last few years have taught me that most gamers are remarkably forgive-and-forget when the games they hate actually come out.

    Or maybe this is just an opportunity for Runic to do a ‘stress test’ and then brag about how their servers totally didn’t die, as another middle finger to Diablo III’s launch of doom. Which, incidentally, I really like John Cheese‘s take on.

    May 18, 2012 at 6:13 AM

    • JPH

      Holy shit, John Cheese is a good writer.

      May 18, 2012 at 6:42 AM

  2. I think the torchlight 2 beta is based on the developers sense of importance. The developers of a successful game are likely to think that they are the reason the game is so good, and that they are irreplaceable, nobody could make a Diablo game like they could. If that were the case then people would soon notice that Diablo 3 isn’t as good as the Diablo 1 and 2, and this would be a perfect time for a beta to show people the “real” Diablo experience. And if they really were the reason Diablo was so good, then even without owning the name Diablo they could set themselves up as the legitimate heirs to Diablo 2 with Torchlight 2.

    Of course the major flaw in this, is that according to all sources, Diablo 3 is a great game. Runic has to learn the hard lesson that every game developer learns, they are replaceable. Acti-Blizz can make as good or better games without them.

    May 18, 2012 at 9:51 AM

  3. Burn in Hades game makers

    I hated the diablo 3 gameplay plus the ingame mechanics uggg, I’m banning all EA games. Tried or should I say attempted to play Torchlight 2 ( TL 2 ), couldn’t even play the game. TL2 has some sorta server issue and all the extra BS you have to go through to play. EA games just took to long with D3, while Runic Games just failed outright. From here on out, I’m going to dedicitate my time in supporting hackers to mess up both sides. If they wasted my time, I’m going to waste some of the cash flow to both. Can’t anyone make a nice simple, original game anymore.

    May 19, 2012 at 5:58 AM

    • JPH

      One minor point:

      Diablo 3 is from Blizzard & Activision, not EA.

      May 20, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    • Sumanai

      What extra BS does TL2 have? I haven’t heard much, but hasn’t Runic made a big deal about TL2 not demanding servers for single player or LAN?

      And like JPH said, Diablo 3 is by Activision-Blizzard, not EA.

      May 21, 2012 at 2:11 PM

      • Sumanai

        Asked a friend who was in the beta weekend and he said the servers were fine and didn’t mention anything about there being extra BS he had to go through. He could’ve forgotten about them, wouldn’t be the first time, but I’m still left wondering what this is all about.

        May 23, 2012 at 7:18 PM

  4. Bubble181

    John Cheese is perfeclty right on the money there.
    Me, I’m still waiting for my pre-order (cue frothing at the mouth) to arrive. You know, what with me having a four-day weekend this week and a 7-day working week ahead of me, I don’t mind waiting a few days more for the Belgian posta lservices to work their stuff out. Ahem.

    Anyway; in response to your Preamble to DIII: while I agree with most of your points, and, heck I’ve bought the game too, I do have to disagree with one thing.
    Calling the people who buy the game, “part of the problem” is perfectly spot-on. It IS because of gamers willing to accept always-online that games are made that way. Most intelligent gamers should at least theoretically oppose always-online requirements for single player games. In theory, all of us,, together, would be able to stop this madness (not like DIII is the first ever, of course…Where were the complaints about Settlers 7? :-P). We don’t, and frankly, the only reason we don’t is because we’re frickin’ selfish. “I don’t have a problem with always-online, so it isn’t a problem big enough for me to not buy this game”. All other “reasons” are, frankly, masking that one. An acceptable point of view (heck, I DO have spotty internet and only have ‘net access about 1/3 of my playing time and I still bought it…), but I do accept that, yes, I’m part of the problem.

    May 19, 2012 at 1:13 PM

  5. I’ve finished a playthrough on Diablo 3 (apparently the main content of the game is being able to play multiple difficulty levels) and played the Torchlight 2 beta this weekend. In my opinion, Torchlight 2 is hands-down the better game. There are some things in Diablo 3 I like more than in Torchlight 2, but not many, and Torchlight 2 is Far more fun and challenging for me.

    May 21, 2012 at 5:56 AM

  6. Bubble181

    Though I can imagine ending up liking TL2 more than D3 in the end – it’s definitely geared more towards my playstyle in many ways – I’m not judging ’till I’ve played through both completely at least once. D3 beta wasn’t the same as the actual game, either. Or so I’ve been told (still waiting on my pre-order. Crappy crappy shop)

    May 22, 2012 at 12:00 PM

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