Torchlight flaws and suggestions.

cowsmanautcowsmanaut Posts: 3
edited April 2011 in Design
As I'm sure there are a number of huge Fans here. I'd like to start off by saying this game is great in many ways, but I wanted to point a few gameplay flaws that might help the future development of both mods and even a torchlight 2. Since this is the design area I figured it a good place. Any hater "you're stupid and you smell" kind of comments will only be ignored. However suggestions and personal views are greatly welcomed.

control flaws:

Torchlights control mechanic of left click for both move and attack causes 2 issues during gameplay. Something that I'm sure some players are willing to accept, but shouldn't really have to as there are ways around it.

the two issues are:
1. a player mid battle can not move out of the way of area damage such as the exploding characters, barrels, floor spikes, etc. These things are designed with the idea that the player moves out of the way to avoid being hurt. This can not happen easily when a player is suddenly surrounded. I have not played the whole way through yet and have already hit this situation at least 40 times. The problem comes in when attempting to flee and instead of being able to get to open space, you click on an enemy who has moved in the way and so instead of moving, you fire your ranged weapon. (if carrying one)

2. a player using ranged weapons is doing so usually to avoid having to get close to their opponents. This again is not the case when you are frantically clicking to try to kill a foe. Then once you've killed it and accidentally click the next time (happens all the time) you instead walk boldly into the middle of the mass of enemies.

Potential solutions would be to either all 3 mouse buttons for move, fire, and spell. Or to use a modifier key like shift (as already used in the merchant interface) to differentiate between casting a spell or using the weapon.

the current set up has left me more frequently using spells to be able to maintain my distance. Leaving my great enchanted pistol, barely used. It also leaves much of the game feeling like I'm just frequenly clicking the spell button but not really doing anything intelligent. There is no sense of skill of strategy, just button mashing. Which is fun for a while, but can get old fast for many of us gamers.

Additional issues:

A visual design flaw, is when items become obscured by walls. Unlike enemies they do not show up unless you're nearly over top of them, meaning items like gold or enchanted weapons, etc. can go unnoticed by the player which is dissapointing. I've often found things by accident and though "wow, I nearly missed that".. now in the long run was it game over if I missed that 3 gold? or the crummy boots that I would have just left there anyway? no.. but if it was a special item that is only dropped once in a blue moon. I'd be pretty choked to discover later i had missed it.

Another issue that has come up several times now is when I've been surrounded by enemies and see new ones come in and you're distracted just long enough to take your eye off your health.. and you don't notice you've suddenly dropped down to nearly nothing and he yells "my health is low" .. the only problem is he said it as he was dying. I think the value of health you need to get to before he says anything needs to be a bit higher. It's a very useful warning and yet it often comes too late making it less useful :)


The last thing I'll say is for the sake of variation in the game, minor puzzle elements would be good. The fact that some "hidden" sections are there is great.. it provides a little diversion, along with the story elements. However a game like **** of war is a good example of how minor puzzle elements can enhance what seems to be a display of semi omnipotent beings crushing masses of enemies.. for hours.. The puzzle elements in **** of war are often simple diversions, often not taking much brain power to solve, but offer a feeling of accomplishing something with your brain. Games like prince of persia go much further with that and make the puzzles far more involved. Or games like metroid and zelda form the puzzle into more of a grocery list.. go get rock to open door, get glove from inside door to open gate, find key behind gate to open chest, take gem in chest to princess to get a new sword.. yay.. Which can be tedious for those seeking a lot of action. So again, I point out the **** of war ideal that a puzzle is self contained in usually a single room and is not so involved that you can not get through it quickly. I think it's something fully usable by a game such as torchlight.

So in closing, I'd like to say again, Torchlight so far has been a great game. The artwork has been very well done, and the effort to story is greatly appreciated. However I think with a few tweaks it could be even better and allow for a little strategy. One of the things I do like about Torchlight over Diablo is a more active feel in the plight of the character, simply by having to fire my weapon or spell.. rather than clicking on an enemy and waiting for it to eventually kill the beasts. Diablo is more like delegating tasks to your digital thug.. torchlight you're much more a part of the character, by taking more active control over their actions.

Thanks again, and I look forward to seeing future games from Runic, and from this mod community :)


  • kvdkkvdk Posts: 321
    okay, here are my replies:

    for problem 1: DONT WALK INTO THE MIDDLE OF A GROUP OF MONSTERS - yes, thats the answer and yes, its that simple for ranged characters....

    for problem 2: ever heard of this nifty lil feature called the shift button? it forces your character into "attack-only" mode >_<

    for your third problem: unless you are using a mod, you should be able to find all items by making the labels visible, again, this can be done easily

    for the fourth problem: if you need a warning about your health while playing an ARPG, you should quit playing ARPG's >_>

    and for your last suggestion: that is why you can mod torchlight, the ARPG genre is all about Action, killing stuff and moving fast... wanna change it to "moving decently fast and doing some puzzles"? then make some mods for it!
  • problem 1, perhaps you haven't had the issue (or just didn't care) but it's been more often than not in these later levels. it's not a choice I make, I usually try to lure out a few. However a lot more than a few come out. To point to a specific case, I was playing in a level where I had to cross a few spiked floors and ended in a 4 way. getting there caused enemies to come from both sides. I was hit with a knock back weapon onto the spike pad and could not get off because I was unable to find a patch of safe ground that wasn't covered with enemies. or at least be able to dance my mouse in between their bodies to hit a small patch. So in this case there was no option. Now since the maps and monster layout is random this situation could happen often in a game or even never.. point is, situations can and do occur where you don't have the option of not walking into a mass of enemies.

    problem 2, just tested that out, thanks for the tip! I got the game on steam and did not see that option in the in game instructions, and there was no keyboard mapping available to look at. Also, a quick browse through the steam "manual" which I often forget is there, I do not see this mentioned in the combat section, or in the movement section.. just that you can hold the button down to do continuous firing from a distance. So I have no idea how I was supposed to know that. perhaps a keymap window from the title screen would be appreciated. I'm glad it was thought of though.

    problem 3, I find gold nearly impossible to see through a wall and as for items you have to walk fairly close to them or they don't show. easy to miss in larger areas, though in corridors you usually catch items. A simple increase to the view distance and perhaps a more obvious display for gold wold improve things.

    problem 4, the warning exists, however when it's set to such a low value and a creature you're encountering can, with one hit, take away 3 - 4 times that amount and you're surrounded by 4 of them as well as 12 other various other creatures.. then it becomes moot. Either set it higher, make it scaleable, or remove it. When I hear my character yell "my health is low" and he's already dead.. well it's a bit frustrating.. in the sense that it's a pointless warning. Telling a person to simply stop playing ARPGs is not really an intelligent solution either. Thats simply a caustic statement of "I'm superior to you" and isn't appreciated. You have no idea who I am, or what my qualifications are.

    as for my suggestions, I'm aware of the point of a mod.. as I stated in the opening statement, I was suggesting it to others who have the time to make a mod, and it was just that, a suggestion. "**** of War" IS defined as an ARPG (action role playing game, just to make 100% sure we're talking about the same thing). As are a number of other games which incorporate minor diversions into the action to give a varied experience. "Killing stuff and moving fast" is just a portion of the equation, the genre is much broader than that.

    My suggestion was to make a few simple diversions (let's be fair, **** of war required minimal brain power to get through) just to mix things up a bit. I'm not talking large scale problems where you can be stuck in a room for 20 mins because you can't get the pattern or you missed a key element. Such minor diversions, just like story pauses, help to pace the game flow. Right now Torchlight doesn't contain a high strategy level in combat. One can conceivably play the entire game by simple button mashing. If you get into such a pattern and are used to problem solving, you may find (as I have) that your enjoyment goes down a bit, as the feeling of actual accomplishment reduces.

    A quick search in google and you can find a large number of people who are indeed fans of this genre who state the same thing, redundant game play, uninspired, boring, etc. However many of them talk out of both sides of their mouth because they are also saying they enjoyed the game. Why? because they enjoyed the game play in short spurts, but not over a longer play period, because they feel as though they are no longer doing anything. Just like any job, a redundant task can lead to an unfulfilling experience. One tiny diversion can make a huge difference..

    For a small break off company using a free game engine, Torchlight is an inspiration for many developers. It's showing again that small companies can make commercial games once more. Something that many of us thought no longer possible just a few short years ago. The addition of Steam, ps3 sore, xbox live, all have contributed to what was mainly a scattered indi market that you didn't even know was there until someone you knew showed you. Word of mouth was all the had, and that doesn't pay the bills. My first commercial game (many moons ago... sigh) was hacked and put up for "free" download before the company even had the chance to make it's development costs back and went bankrupt. So understand, I have a lot of respect for torchlight as a game, and for the developers themselves. My only real desire is support and suggestions for expanding the number of players who indeed enjoy playing their games. That's all.. I'm not serving disrespect to your favorite game.. trust me ;)

  • NyaroNyaro Posts: 29
    There are a few things to bear in mind for problem 1. Firstly, there are a variety of AE attacks that can be useful when mobs move to surround you, as well as crowd control, including effects like knockback. Secondly, more armour or resistance helps. Thirdly, think about popping a potion before you really need it, on occasion, because the healing effect is over time so for a second or two you will continue to heal. Finally, setting your pet to aggressive will see it charge ahead to attack mobs, often giving you a breathing space - move more slowly and stay back when it engages (you'll be able to note a safe distance, ideal for sniping with ranged attacks). Once you're on the mobs radar, though, have pleny of room to run away or it'll stick to you like glue. Oh, and you can heal your pet with either shift+heal potion key or by using a fish transformation (pet heals on transforming and on transforming back); not ideal, best done between fights, but if short on potions or heal spells then send your pet to town and it'll come back fully healed, ready to step into the line of fire again.

    As for moving in a crowd, you can point anywhere on screen while constantly holding the left mouse button down - now point where you wish to go and your character will follow the pointer. In other words, unless mobs fill your screen (in which case, try using the scroll wheel to zoom out some more) then it only takes practicing NOT always pointing right next to your character to move anywhere it's actually possible to move.

    However, if it's still too frustrating then try playing on a lower difficulty setting, at least until you get used to things.

    For your problem 3, there is a toggle button on the UI, bottom left of the central HP/Mana bubble. Alternatively, press ALT to toggle loot names on/off. Personally, I leave loot names on all the time and the only problem I ever have looting is when mobs are situated below a balcony where the loot dropped - due to the tendancy to target mobs first, even if they are a 10 feet below you and behind a wall (usually a good thing mind, saves you from running to pick up loot when what you want to be doing is attacking live threats). FWIW, since you say you don't have a manual, bear in mind that shift+click on loot makes your pet pick it up (ideal for when loot drops near a portal you'd rather not enter yet, or on a transporter).

    If anything, I'd like the opposite for your problem 4, which would be less vocal warnings. I never pay attention to them anyway, they kinda annoy me. For the same reason I don't use certain pet transformations, those with annoying sound fx. My suggestion to you would be to get used to paying visual attention to your hps, grab better armour and/or resists, start gulping potions before it's too late and using your other assets (skills, pet, move rate) more tactically (since you seem very defensive on this score, needlessly so IMO, I better add that this is not any sort of insinuation, just the most obvious piece of advice if you're struggling in this regard).

    As for your suggestion, you could read up on map mods and see if any do as you wish. I've never used map mods myself, only class/tweak mods, but maybe what you want is already available? Or perhaps there is something out there that you could build on to make your own mod?
  • kvdkkvdk Posts: 321
    again, its an ARPG, there is no such thing as "to many monsters" unless you are playing a mod...
    (if you still think there are to many monsters, play at a lower dificulty, or quit playing ARPG's if you are playing "Easy" already)

    maybe you should pay more attention to the tips shown on the loading screen, atleast 1/30 loading screens shows that tip (in a non-modded game!)

    again, there is an option to force labels (including those for gold) to always be visible, and the labels are shown on top of everything, so they are always visible...

    be happy there is even a warning, its an ARPG, ACTION Role Playing Game, meaning you are supposed to be running through the level, chased by atleast 5 mini-bosses and 1 really **** off boss while murdering their minions with lotsa blood&gore, and at the same time be chugging potions like their air...
    if you dont wanna do that, quit torchlight and find another game to play, one that aint in the ARPG genre

    that some wannabe-ARPG's choose to force the user into a lower speed does not mean thats what ARPG's are about, the people behind runic pretty much invented the idea of "ARPG" - so they get to pretty much deside how its supposed to be >_>
    (unless you are going to tell me that your little game is older then the original diablo???)'

    the ARPG genre is about slaugthering monsters and collecting tons of loot, if you are not enjoying the game while doing this, an ARPG is not your kind of game, so go look for any of the other 5 billion RPG games that could be exactly what you are looking for >_>
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