Torchlight

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Torchlight is an ARPG released by Runic Games in October, 2009 for the PC, and later released on X-Box Live Arcade (XBLA) in March, 2011. Torchlight was developed in a single year using the OGRE engine. The chief game developers on the torchlight project were Travis Baldree, Max Schaefer, and Erich Schaefer. Max and Eric were developers on Diablo and Diablo II, and Travis was a developer for 1998's Fate, of which Torchlight can be said to be a spiritual successor. Due to digital availability and a low price point, Torchlight fared very well in terms of sales[1]. A sequel is planned to be released sometime in 2011[2].

Torchlight is an ARPG, or Action Roleplaying Game, a genre that is often referred to as a Diablo clone.


Gameplay and Features[edit]

Torchlight is an interesting game as, in many respects, it acts as a sort of bridge between Diablo II and Diablo III in terms of UI, gameplay, and various systems throughout the game. The comparison between Diablo III and Torchlight was an inevitable one, as many fans reacted with surprise at how eerily similar many things in Torchlight appeared to be when compared to Diablo III[3]. Some comparisons are rather unfair, however, as both games exist within a genre that is heavily codified by conventions in terms of gameplay and interface.


User Interface[edit]

In terms of interface, fans eagerly anticipating Diablo III will find it of interest that Torchlight utilized what is known as a skill swap mechanic. The skill swap mechanic operates in the same way that it was to operate in Diablo III before the change made to remove the graphical representation from the interface[4].

In essense, the player has a skill or spell mapped to the left mouse button, and a skill or spell mapped to the right mouse button. A third skill held in reserve could be swapped with the assigned right mouse button by hitting the tab key. The hotbar interface for Torchlight is shown below, and the mapped functions are designed into the interface itself to prevent confusion.


The skill swap shown in the Torchlight interface.


Inventory Management and Pets[edit]

The dog in Torchlight.

Torchlight borrows the "pet" mechanic from Fate where the player may choose and name a pet, either a dog or a cat, and the pet will assist the player in battle, and may also hold items. The pet could also be sent back to town with the items in tow, where after a certain period of time, the pet would return, having sold the items to a vendor and the gold is deposited into the player's inventory.

Torchlight also featured a shared stash, which is a highly requested feature for Diablo III that has been confirmed.



Character Classes and Combat[edit]

The three classes in TL.

There are three character classes to choose from, being the Destroyer (a melee character similar to the Barbarian), a Vanquisher (a ranged character similar to the Demon Hunter), or the Alchemist, a spell-caster and summoner, similar to the Witch Doctor in some respects. The skill, attribute, and overall leveling system is mostly similar to what is found in Diablo II, although there is little character customization outside of items. The combat in Torchlight followed fairly closely to the ARPG formula from Fate and Diablo II, with a point-and-click control scheme to kill monsters with a handful of spells in a randomized environment.


Gambling and Upgrading[edit]

Crafting items in Torchlight is mostly non-existent, but upgrading is possible by visiting a specific NPC. The NPC will, for a rather large gold cost, add one modifier to the item of your choice...potentially. There is a chance that no modifier will be added at all, and even a chance that every modifier will be stripped from the item completely, rendering it useless and leaving the player simmering in an ocean of boiling rage. The cost for an upgrade is determined by the level of the item, its quality level, and how many times an upgrade has been attempted prior. The cost goes up as the player continues to increase the modifiers on the item, successfully or unsuccessfully.


Mods[edit]

Torchlight launched with a game editor available as a separate download. The editor was called TorchEd, and allowed the player to change nearly anything they wished to change about the game, or at least anything with the player's ability and ambition. The mod scene was fairly successful and has spawned over 600 unique mods[5].