Interesting Torchlight Discussion by Brother Laz

CCCenturionCCCenturion Posts: 575
edited August 2010 in TL2 General Discussions
I found this thread (on another forum) through a link in one on this forum, and I think it's well worth a read; at least, the first couple of pages of it, before it starts to go off-topic. (They get back on track later on, but the most important points are near the top).

Brother Laz could well be considered the Godfather of the Diablo 2 modding community. Apparently he has his own site, which include these forums. Reading through the thread in question, I found several comments that put words to some things that had bothered me about Torchlight, but that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Here are some of the highlights:

(I should point out that only one of these comments --the second one-- came from Laz himself; the rest were just by others posting on his site.)
Paladin Class: discussion thread, download page
Shared Animations Library: discussion thread, download page
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Comments

  • CCCenturionCCCenturion Posts: 575
    edited August 2010
    Then I realised it. Even if you take the similar builds and limited characters into account. The items are too balanced. If you find a unique, it only does a marginally better job of owning the game than say an average crafted weapon. Too much balance in the items makes it not interesting to look for better stuff, making the game too easy results in the average player not being challenged, not PUSHED into caring a rats **** about the marginal 10% boost because who needs more than 100% killing speed right?

    I've touched on this topic quite a few times on this forum, and the word I use to sum it up is Personality. The most memorable unique items in other ARPGs have some kind of story to go along with them, and more importantly, they have attributes that just can't be found on the randomly generated magic / rare weapons. The only thing that sets Uniques apart in Torchlight is the gold color, a fancy name, and a longer list of attributes.
    Torchlight is a sea of dull greyness, it spams item bonuses at you and most don't make a difference. Even D1 handled this better - only 2 modifiers per item, but the good ones really had appreciable impact: find an obsidian ring and your resist issues are gone, find a +30 strength ring and you can now wear full plate and double your AC. And then there was the Thinking Cap etc.

    This one is a balance issue. When all of the item types pull from the same list of attributes, why would you ever want to use a green weapon? Originally it was because they were cheaper to Enchant, but after Enchanting was patched, that advantage is gone because you can really only enchant a few times before the risk is too great, and that's not enough to give a green item the number of attributes it needs to be competitive. And so if greens are useless, what's the point of picking them up? Green and white items in Torchlight are just spam (except for the first few levels, where you're still playing naked).

    Balance is about tradeoffs, and I think the relevant tradeoffs for items should be more attributes (rares) versus powerful attributes (magics). I'd like to see rares that have a longer list of bonuses, maybe 4-8 of them, that are generally well-rounded items, with a chance of being godly when all the attributes are good ones, and all of them have high stats. Magics should only have one or two, but with stats that have a much higher ceiling than rares, or even uniques. Suppose you find a green sword that has only one attribute, but that attribute happens to grant a 500% damage boost. Then you'd actually have a green item that you want to use, but you have to compensate by using a bunch of rares that beef up your other stats.

    Uniques should have, well, unique attributes that don't spawn on other items, are always the same list of attributes (although stats may vary), and have some story behind them. I think I've discussed uniques enough in other posts.
    Torchlight falters because it has no equipment or skill depth whatsoever.

    Every build has 1 or 2 overpowered active skills and 10 or so skills that are worthless 5 levels after you can first access them (if that). So EVERY character ends up being pick 1 OP endgame spell and spend the rest of the points in passives.

    Equipment is even more screwed up. Every weapon is just a DPS machine. Little wands and big 2-handed axes pull from the EXACT same affix pool - which causes "magic" weapons to really be just Barb weapon clones and 2-Handers to be vastly inferior to 1-Handers. Armor is the same thing. "Magic" armor gets the same protection as Barb armor. Thus your little mage character can take as many shots as the big heavy dude.

    As far as this comment goes for skills, I'd say it applies to just about every ARPG out there. The formula always ends up with people building a character around a single skill. I'd like to see the genre adapt more elements from **** of War and the Zelda games, as well as brawlers like Street Fighter. What do these all have in common? Each character has a variety of skills that are useful in several different situations, and so you have to use combinations of them to be effective. The problem with the typical ARPG skill-point system is that in order to survive, you really have to invest heavily in a few skills, making it impossible to create a truly versatile character. You can compensate for that when you're playing in a party, though, so that's one improvement we'll see in TL2 and in the MMO.

    The equipment comment here is also a good point, and also not unique to Torchlight. Has anyone here ever played Diablo 2 and found a Necromancer wand loaded with melee bonuses that would be awesome on a sword or an axe, and yet completely useless on a wand that does around 10-12 base damage points? Not to mention being a weapon designed for a class with no melee skills. In Torchlight the only thing that really distinguished the classes of weapons was the stat requirements: strength for melee weapons, dexterity for ranged weapons, and magic for wands and staves. Once you get past that, about the only unique attribute (by weapon class) is the range bonus you can find on guns or bows. And as far as armor goes, the stat requirements really didn't make sense at all. Since when are Dexterity and Magic the stats that should be required to wear heavy plate armor?

    Anyway, before I start getting a ton of "TL;DR" comments, I think I've reached a good place to wrap it up.
    Paladin Class: discussion thread, download page
    Shared Animations Library: discussion thread, download page
  • On the bright side, however:
    All in all, the gameplay feels very smooth, and it does make D2 feel out-dated playing it...but the more I played it, the more I feel they really screwed up the ARPG aspect of it.

    I think the enemy AI/overall was much better than D2. My only complaint is that they had a very limited amount of enemies in the game.

    The boss fights (except for the last) were MUCH MUCH better than D2.
    Paladin Class: discussion thread, download page
    Shared Animations Library: discussion thread, download page
  • adoomgodadoomgod Posts: 4,270
    The naysayers should be heeded not ignored. He makes very good points, even though we still found the game awesome and he had great issue with it. I have to agree that Diablo 2 was wayyyy more fun, and the TL did not sate my desires for a new king of arpg, but gave me hope that it was coming. I also think the class roles are not properly defined. I understand that classes should be flexible within themselves for builds but mages should not tank as well as a tank... or at all. the armor thing was true
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    I put the "DOOM" in "****."
  • ombraombra Posts: 1,008
    Sure, you always have the hear what people say about something, the good points but also the bad points.

    After reading his posts i think that he is right, that the sense of becoming stronger is not really that sensible in the game. The difference between a green weapon and a unique one is really small. Besides i think that the uniques were much stronger because of the additional attributes of them like crushing blow. And that seems to be the problem of Torchlight because as far as i know the attributes on all classes of weapons are the same and therefore the feeling of the items is equal.

    I think they should have atleast something done like in HGL, where e.g. (i don't remember the numbers) normal items could be imbued 3 times, rare ones 5 times and so on. This way you can distinguish the quality of the items better. And if balanced in the right way you could feel the difference between the different qualities while slaying hordes of enemies.
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  • adoomgodadoomgod Posts: 4,270
    Well my main agreement with him is the fact that the classes are not at all distinct enough. Mages should rip through enemies but but made of paper, tanks should be slow but hard to kill. I played through each class more then once and it didn't feel as refreshing as it should to switch classes.
    cuA6w.png
    I put the "DOOM" in "****."
  • wolfmanewolfmane Posts: 1,997
    Well my main agreement with him is the fact that the classes are not at all distinct enough. Mages should rip through enemies but but made of paper, tanks should be slow but hard to kill. I played through each class more then once and it didn't feel as refreshing as it should to switch classes.

    They have a different class concept that lies more on the hybrid side, so you're never really going to see this kind of drastic change from one character to another. Frankly I like this but I know that there are lots of people out there who are in love with their iconic class roles/images. I get kind of tired of the 'tank is a tank' scenario, so being able to make a character different and change them around from the traditional makes it more refreshing to play for me. One of my favorite characters I made in Torchlight was my melee alchemist. I loved the mix of magic and melee that I could build with him. If they start going more iconic, it strips that away. That character achieved through magic what a Destroyer was capable of without. I like that path of similar results but different methods that creates a real sense of variety. Otherwise characters all start looking like cardboard cutouts of each other, all mind numbing clones that play nearly the same.

    Their hybrid approach will also become much more viable once they start pushing on the MMO to deal with group play issues revolving around class exclusion due to class balance because either you've doubled up on a role/ability or a class doesn't bring what the group wants. I think this will help a bit in T2 as well, but isn't as prevalent an issue in an APRG.
    sig2p.png
  • Yes, Brother Laz. I really like the Median mod series. Note that a new version of Median XL is on its way, next month or two. His character class revisions are amazing with all new skills for each.

    Anyway, yes he has hit the nail on the head.
  • Lazbro irritates me. He seems to think that because he made a moderately successful Diablo 2 mod that displayed good game design in its character attributes and skill trees, that he's entitled to be a complete **** about any remotely Diablo-like game that comes out. I'm glad he's left the Roguelike world for StarCraft 2 where he's going to attempt to make a competitive game despite having no competitive gaming background himself. He always makes good points about a game's flaws, but his tone in doing so is so overblown with negativity that there's really no reason to bother acknowledging his opinions, because there's never any way to change his mind.

    (Don't think I'm saying my comments about Laz without actually knowing the guy, he and I have corresponded via IRC PMs often, over the course of the design of his Median 2008 and Median XL mods, as well as his planning stages for his current project in StarCraft 2, which is a vehicular combat Deathmatch type game with some form of control points as beneficial objectives to clear.)


    Things I agree with him and that other guy in the thread about:
    1) Items in Torchlight never really gave the player a "Wow, this is a great item; it will really help my character build!" feeling. The only items I knew people were really happy to find: Anyone finding the Sword of Adam. Taylor finding the Balbi Buster.

    2) The skill design in general didn't feel like it encouraged player investment, or putting much thought into your future skill build. The way skills were somewhat randomly scattered through your character's skill menu made it where you'd really want to just pick one or two skills and run with them.

    3) The passive skills that existed on every class felt insufficient. It'd be really nice if there were some other way for these passives to be handled, or skipped altogether. They felt like they were just skill point sinks for the points you'd have left over after you maxed your primary skill (or two).

    4) Games in general these days seem to be geared more toward expecting you to die. Even with **** mode, the game didn't feel to me like I should be expecting to die if I don't plan things out well. Sure, I died a few times and lost a few **** characters, but when I died, it never really felt like "Oh, ****, if I had thought my character out better, I would've been fine." Rather more like "wtf, why so many champions?!" or "#$%@, Misclick! POTION POTION, #$&@ DEAD." 'course, then Hero came along and just Destroyer'd VHHC. Crazy Hero, always bein' too good at Runic's games. :-P ;)


    I hope Torchlight 2 has a little more focus on purposeful item design, as well as making its skill trees feel more meaningful -- with more reason to invest in multiple skills to accomplish a variety of tasks. I'd also like to see more general depth toward how to invest in skills, so I feel like the decisions I'm making for my character's development are having a greater impact on my potential endgame.

    I also want to see more boss fights like Krag, where there is reason to worry about the boss's minions other than the fact that the minions can kill you too! :-D
  • BlascidBlascid Posts: 49
    Borther Laz is a sharp fellow, and I as well agree with everything he wrote in that post^.

    I'm glad a multi-player option is going to be added to Trochlight 2, but, IMO, the lack of multi-player was not the only flaw of the first game. #2) The first game had no storyline, which is apparently going to be fixed, okay, awesome!, but the actual combat mechanics of the first game were also flawed; *Battles lacked depth*, and I have not seen, nor read anything that is addressing THAT issue. Sure there are new world events, characters, and weather, but it all comes back to the fight.

    One of Diablo 3's core key changes is to make combat more memorable & engaging, to change the:

    "spam powerful spell, chug potion(s), spam powerful spell, dead group, move on"

    activity timeline to something more like:

    "spam powerful spell, '****, they are moving too fast', use slow spell, spam powerful spell, 'nope, that's not working, they still have their shields up', use a spell to knock off their shields, or have the enemy take more damage, spam powerful sp--'whoa', dodge powerful enemy attack, use my *other* powerful spell, dead group, move on."

    I know Torchlight is trying to keep it simple, but there has to be a way to balance between the two. Torchlight 1 did do great, but I fear the game may plateau in interest if the team doesn't add more interesting & dynamic battles.
  • cybrimcybrim Posts: 1,107
    Passive abilities makes combat that much more grittier, you know when you use Melee? and the slice and dice all over the place... and occasionally a spell that seems to make your character do something! That is ARPG... not just micromanagement, people in this day and age rely too heavily on "spells and ranged" whatever happened to hack'n'slash brutality? Nothing says, "I hate you." Like ripping somethings head off with a crit... and monsters I hate (but love to kill), being brutal is what the genre is about... not spawning WoW clones. Blood and guts the more the merrier as long as it has taste and isn't just another way to rend, slaughter and maim... but those are what make action games what they are, the detailed melee kills is like the sauce on your favorite pizza... it wouldn't be the same without it.
    I am just trying to be fair, if what I say hurts you, you probably need to seriously evaluate what I said, break it down and realize I am not trying to insult you, Just explain things you probably didn't realize.
  • hawknhawkn Posts: 8,348
    I think all of the TL 1 naysayers will like TL 2 much more. I have to admit I agree with this guy in some areas, while others I can't really give too much input on since I've never really got into D2.
    ...I most certainly am not the meanest person on these forums, I defer that position to hawkn. ~ AMB2010
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  • BlascidBlascid Posts: 49
    I really enjoyed Torchlight-it was a great world, with good level design and decent voice acting. I would play part two if there were new areas alone, but there are new characters, weather effects, world events, music, and stooooooooooooooooooory-very exciting! All I'm just saying is that I had a slight to moderate distaste for the combat after I beat the game once. The shadow vault and re-play throughs became very boring, very quick. Ideally, there would at least be a little more depth to dive into to give the game a flare of challenge, not necessarily difficultly. Yes, perhaps I went a bit overboard with my combat scenario, but I think more diversity would be quite welcomed. Especially to the ones who didn't enjoy the first game for that exact reason.
  • WebbstreWebbstre Posts: 7,231 ✭✭✭
    Very, very interesting thread. Now that I think about it, I haven't really seen any mods that tried to fix the loot problem. I remember how excited I was early in Diablo 2 any time a set or Unique item fell, or even when something like a staff fell that I could sell for a lot. Sure, it wasn't perfect, but I don't get that "Ooooh new shiny loot so happy!" vibe very often in Torchlight.

    Perhaps we've just never had a good way to put into words before? I'd really like to see a mod out there that fixes this problem just to see how it would change the experience of playing Torchlight1. If it became popular I am sure it would see the same kind of influence the identification and respec mods had, not to mention the class mods.
    Administrator/Former Owner of Runic Games Fansite. Be sure to visit RGF for all your Torchlight series needs![/color] Don't forget to check out ModDrop as a one stop solution for installing and sharing mods easily!
  • cybrimcybrim Posts: 1,107
    I like loot but it shouldn't be the only thing that you can pick up and sell, I think creatures should also drop valuables... hey I am in this to get rich... that is why I am an adventurer... sure as heck not in it for the retirement plan...
    I am just trying to be fair, if what I say hurts you, you probably need to seriously evaluate what I said, break it down and realize I am not trying to insult you, Just explain things you probably didn't realize.
  • BlascidBlascid Posts: 49
    Webbstre wrote:
    Very, very interesting thread. Now that I think about it, I haven't really seen any mods that tried to fix the loot problem. I remember how excited I was early in Diablo 2 any time a set or Unique item fell, or even when something like a staff fell that I could sell for a lot. Sure, it wasn't perfect, but I don't get that "Ooooh new shiny loot so happy!" vibe very often in Torchlight.

    I'm right there with you. In Torchlight I didn't really get that feeling either. I fondly remember many drops in Diablo; Sometimes I would re-situate myself before identifying an item--hit the bathroom, re-fill my water, and grab another snack, so I was more than ready to embrace the weapon/armor or whatever with a fresh mind. Or other times I would identify an item but keep a piece of paper over the stats and reveal them to myself one at a time-great fun, huge excitement.

    In Torchlight the rares/uniques didn''t stick out that much to me, there was never that gut feeling. The properties, it seems, were just kind of thrown together; a staff that does some huge amount of damage? I mean, I guess that's cool, but I'd rather have an extra magic attribute. A sword that adds some magic-y thing, I guess that's cool, but I'd rather have more damage. The items simply lacked the pop-wow feature.

    And it's not as much as a complaint as it's a "hey, is this going to be different in TL2? Because that could be cool." I know the first game was rushed, but maybe better itemization can be added this next time around..?
  • travisbaldreetravisbaldree Posts: 1,665 ✭✭✭✭
    We'll be spending more time and effort in differentiating items, classes, and skills this time around. It helps to have a platform to build off of, rather than scrambling toward a first release and having to just get things functioning at even a basic level. I'm sure we'll have more info forthcoming fairly soon on some of the stuff we're doing.
  • cybrimcybrim Posts: 1,107
    Thank you so much for actually being a part of this forum... I don't know how many games I have played that the Devs had NOTHING to do with...
    I am just trying to be fair, if what I say hurts you, you probably need to seriously evaluate what I said, break it down and realize I am not trying to insult you, Just explain things you probably didn't realize.
  • hawknhawkn Posts: 8,348
    We'll be spending more time and effort in differentiating items, classes, and skills this time around. It helps to have a platform to build off of, rather than scrambling toward a first release and having to just get things functioning at even a basic level. I'm sure we'll have more info forthcoming fairly soon on some of the stuff we're doing.
    Refreshing to hear.
    ...I most certainly am not the meanest person on these forums, I defer that position to hawkn. ~ AMB2010
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  • BlascidBlascid Posts: 49
    Sounds wonderful, we sincerely appreciate the effort.
  • JerichJerich Posts: 1,665
    The fact that this game will most likely be beta tested will help a lot with balance. I believe Runic has listened to the community already with all these issues that Brother Laz raises and they were already being discussed last year when TL 2 was just in the conceptual stages.
  • cybrimcybrim Posts: 1,107
    *nod*
    I am just trying to be fair, if what I say hurts you, you probably need to seriously evaluate what I said, break it down and realize I am not trying to insult you, Just explain things you probably didn't realize.
  • Webbstre wrote:
    Very, very interesting thread. Now that I think about it, I haven't really seen any mods that tried to fix the loot problem. I remember how excited I was early in Diablo 2 any time a set or Unique item fell, or even when something like a staff fell that I could sell for a lot. Sure, it wasn't perfect, but I don't get that "Ooooh new shiny loot so happy!" vibe very often in Torchlight.

    Perhaps we've just never had a good way to put into words before? I'd really like to see a mod out there that fixes this problem just to see how it would change the experience of playing Torchlight1. If it became popular I am sure it would see the same kind of influence the identification and respec mods had, not to mention the class mods.

    I think that too much of the loot problem -- from a modder's standpoint -- is that a lot of what we would need to change is hard-coded. For example, if you want to give green items a chance at getting very rare uber-attributes, you would have to put those attributes in the same pool that rare items draw theirs from, so you would never be able to make greens worthwhile. As far as I know, you can't use TorchED to create new effects, so you can't really make new attributes for unique weapons either. Maybe TorchED 2 will give us more flexibility? When I'm finally done with my class mod (should be soon) maybe I'll try tinkering around with the loot and see what I can figure out.
    We'll be spending more time and effort in differentiating items, classes, and skills this time around. It helps to have a platform to build off of, rather than scrambling toward a first release and having to just get things functioning at even a basic level. I'm sure we'll have more info forthcoming fairly soon on some of the stuff we're doing.

    Awesome, thanks for taking the time to post! I raise these issues purely in good faith. I know that I've pointed out a lot of weaknesses in the game, but I wouldn't have brought them up if I didn't have a high degree of confidence in your ability to continue the evolution of a franchise that has shown such great potential. Keep up the great work!
    Paladin Class: discussion thread, download page
    Shared Animations Library: discussion thread, download page
  • adoomgodadoomgod Posts: 4,270
    The dev's words of epicness are indeed epic and welcomed. For more happiness read this thread

    viewtopic.php?f=30&t=14533

    It contains a review of a TL2 demo which directly showed how the railman will be a tank but not just a tank. When I said earlier that i want classes to be distinct and defined, I didn't just mean a mage is a mage and a tank is a tank. They could all be dps for all I care (ok not really but read on) as long as they all did dps in different ways and styles. Throwing weapons that bounce from enemy to enemy with speed, an aoe cannon with large cool downs, a DoT spammer, and good ol hack n slash. I don't mean each class has to fit the cliche, quite the contrary. I want to feel like I'm playing in a new and refreshing way when i switch between classes. It's alot to ask for but Runic IS delivering.
    cuA6w.png
    I put the "DOOM" in "****."
  • WebbstreWebbstre Posts: 7,231 ✭✭✭
    Webbstre wrote:
    Very, very interesting thread. Now that I think about it, I haven't really seen any mods that tried to fix the loot problem. I remember how excited I was early in Diablo 2 any time a set or Unique item fell, or even when something like a staff fell that I could sell for a lot. Sure, it wasn't perfect, but I don't get that "Ooooh new shiny loot so happy!" vibe very often in Torchlight.

    Perhaps we've just never had a good way to put into words before? I'd really like to see a mod out there that fixes this problem just to see how it would change the experience of playing Torchlight1. If it became popular I am sure it would see the same kind of influence the identification and respec mods had, not to mention the class mods.

    I think that too much of the loot problem -- from a modder's standpoint -- is that a lot of what we would need to change is hard-coded. For example, if you want to give green items a chance at getting very rare uber-attributes, you would have to put those attributes in the same pool that rare items draw theirs from, so you would never be able to make greens worthwhile. As far as I know, you can't use TorchED to create new effects, so you can't really make new attributes for unique weapons either. Maybe TorchED 2 will give us more flexibility? When I'm finally done with my class mod (should be soon) maybe I'll try tinkering around with the loot and see what I can figure out.
    I know I've seen mods that affected the number of attributes an item class could have, as well as mods that changed how enchanting worked and drop rates. I'm pretty sure we don't have to worry about the essential things being hard coded to make a new system. I'm definitely going to try to get someone to help make a guide for how to do this, so we can see some new mods in this area.
    Administrator/Former Owner of Runic Games Fansite. Be sure to visit RGF for all your Torchlight series needs![/color] Don't forget to check out ModDrop as a one stop solution for installing and sharing mods easily!
  • wolfmanewolfmane Posts: 1,997
    Then I completely agree with you adoomgod.
    sig2p.png
  • cybrimcybrim Posts: 1,107
    I second
    I am just trying to be fair, if what I say hurts you, you probably need to seriously evaluate what I said, break it down and realize I am not trying to insult you, Just explain things you probably didn't realize.
  • heronheron Posts: 637
    BrotherLaz raised some good points about TL1.
    I always felt TL1 was geared more towards casual players, less time planning on skills and more time on having fun.
    The game was easy, even on hard mode.
    Let's not copy everything Diablo offered and make something new, okay?
  • cybrimcybrim Posts: 1,107
    yeah that is kind of the idea I think, but with **** as an option!
    I am just trying to be fair, if what I say hurts you, you probably need to seriously evaluate what I said, break it down and realize I am not trying to insult you, Just explain things you probably didn't realize.
  • gluemchengluemchen Posts: 1,033
    Is anyone working on a mod that adds more class & build related attributes to weapons as of now?
    So that for instance wands have skills added to them as a standard, for classes that are more based on a certain lore. Like adding new prefixes and affixes that suit an alchemist, vanquisher or destroyer. Axes adding +1/2 skill points to shadow armor. Or having affixes that adds certain effects based on quality ranking.

    Example:
    Scratching(chance of bleeding 1-4%) Broad Axe of Blood Loss(Enemy bleed rate 1-2% health every 1.4 sec)
    Sliceing(chance of bleeding 5-9%) Broad Axe of Blood ****(Enemy bleed rate 2-4% health every 1.32 sec)
    Ripping(chance of bleeding 10-14%) Broad Axe of Blood Rage(Enemy bleed rate 4-6% health every 1.24 sec)

    Something like this would be good for melee.

    So if there is anyone modding this for TL1, can`t wait :D
  • cybrimcybrim Posts: 1,107
    Yes only with a lot more :D
    Scathing!
    I am just trying to be fair, if what I say hurts you, you probably need to seriously evaluate what I said, break it down and realize I am not trying to insult you, Just explain things you probably didn't realize.
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