Hello all, old and new. I'm making this post as a slap-dash supplement to the FAQ (which I also maintain) to help all of the newcomers to get a little more informed about the common topics related to Torchlight 2 and Diablo 3. I'm hoping that with a single post with most of the answers it will inspire some people to just post a link to this post instead of making rude comments to every newcomer who says they quit Diablo 3
For the new people: This community is generally really friendly, and helpful, and more reasonable than most you find and somehow we tend to eat trolls and spit out their bones. Right now, however, the devs are super busy (both due to finishing the game and a string of real life family/friend emergencies that have come up recently) and aren't able to contribute to the forums quite as much. Also, the influx of new people from the former-Diablo crowd has stirred things up quite a bit. Be assured that once the dust settles this place will be a nice place to be.
With that said, here are some of the top topics that have come up recently:Blizzard North
Max Schaefer, Erich Schaefer, and David Brevik founded the studio that became Blizzard North, which was behind the Diablo series up until about a decade ago. The Schaefer brothers are here at Runic now, as is Matt Uelmen (the man behind the original Diablo music). Peter Hu was the man behind the Diablo II 1.10 patch (which introduced synergies and a lot of important additions), and he was working at Runic Games back during the development of Torchlight 1. No one else from Blizzard North works at Runic, so that means only 1/10 of Runic Games is made of former Blizzard North employees. On a similar note, no one from the original Diablo teams/Blizzard North worked on the current Diablo 3, unless you want to count the music they recorded forever ago from Matt Uelmen.
In other words, this isn't the same company, but there is a lot of the same spirit here that you might have found back in the Blizzard North days, if not something better. The team has worked on multiple ARPGs now (Flagship Studios-era Mythos, Torchlight 1, and now Torchlight 2, with some people also behind the original WildTangent game FATE).*Edit*
For clarification, I speak of Blizzard North here in terms of the team that worked on Diablo. There are other people who worked at Blizzard
who also contributed to Diablo 1 and Diablo 3 (and LoD), but who were not specifically part of that development team. Furthermore, My basis for this statement comes from interviews with Max Schaefer, who while not an expert on the current workings of Blizzard, has said that he doesn't know anyone at Blizzard who worked with him at Blizzard North before. He told us this at the Fansite event last November, and then later said it again in an independent interview. I will post a link to the interview once one of my loyal minions*cough*friends here in the community has the time to track it down (might have been one of the Inc Gamers interviews? Almost certainly was between November and April).Realm/Closed Server Games
Torchlight 2 does not have closed servers, for a couple of very important reasons:
1- Cost. They want this game to be cheap and worth every dollar you pay. Secure servers cost time and money.
2- They Conflict with the future Torchlight MMO. If you want a secure economy, server-only saves, a game without cheats, competitive PvP, etc, you will want to wait for the Torchlight MMO, which will be the same kind of game as Torchlight 1 and 2, but with that secure server situation and a lot more content. It won't be changing the playing style at all.
Of course, allowing for modding capabilities ties into this somewhat as well. The game in general is meant to be something you can play with your friends or play with your guild mates and not have to worry about cheating.
HOWEVER, there are two important points you need to know:
1- There is a possibility for player-run private servers in the future. There won't be a final word on if/when/how this may be implemented until after the Mac port of Torchlight 2, but if you want to show your support for the idea I suggest checking out the Request thread
and throwing in your votes. The idea behind this is that if you want the secure server mentality, but ALSO want to be able to play in the playing style you like best, you should be able to find a server that has chosen mods for what you want to do. If you want an Ironman Hardcore PvP only server, you can probably find it. If you want a total conversion server, someone will have it. If you want a balanced and open world PvP server, someone will make that too. This is a situation in which you can have your virtually cheat-free environment and still play the game however you like.
2- I'll go into this more on the final point at the bottom of this post (you may want to skip everything else and just go read that), but if you tell Runic what you want, you might just get it. If you want the secure server, cheat free world, with PvP and a secure economy and all of that, VOCALIZE it! Torchlight 2 only exists because so many people bought the game and then asked for multiplayer. Runic hasn't decided what they will do after Torchlight 2, but if enough people ask for something, it's not unlikely that Runic will give them what they want.The Kick/Ban/Vote System, Friends List, and (Possibly) Guilds*New*
Everything in the secure server area aside, there are options available for the Peer to Peer internet gameplay that can help make your experience that much more pleasant. First, if you like playing with random strangers, you have the option to Vote for a person to be kicked out of your game, and also to ban them from ever joining any of your games again. This is one important measure of protection you have to preserve your gaming experience. If you suspect someone has been cheating, either via hacking or save editing, you can just banish them from bothering you again.
If you have a group of friends you play with, and prefer to only play with them, there is a "Friends Only" checkbox available when you make a game. This checkbox makes it so you can make a game and leave it open (though you can password protect it too if you want) and only let people you know and trust join you. As an extension of this, it was mentioned early (very very early on) that these capabilities might extend to support for Guilds. While we haven't heard anything about guilds in a long time, there is a possibility that you will be able to join a Guild and be able to open games or join games that are restricted to your guild mates, without having to manually add every single person in the guild to your friends list. If you want to make sure this makes it into the final game, I suggest telling Runic you want this. This serves as one alternative to secure servers, as Guilds with tight leadership could easily ban people who are suspected of cheating.PvP
PvP is not a main focus of Torchlight 2, but that doesn't mean if you like PvP you're going to get left out. Some kind of duel option has been half-confirmed by the developers. The ability to turn PvP on via modding HAS been confirmed by the developers. This means that if you want to play a balanced, completely PvP game, you'll just need to download and install the most popular PvP mod and search for other people playing with that mod. The servers won't allow you to play with people who don't have the exact same mods installed, so to some degree you'll be able to play with people who don't have any advantage over you (other than time, preparation, and experience, of course).End Game
Torchlight 1's end game consisted of an Endless Dungeon (A "How low can you go?" challenge), retirement, and player-created mods. The game ended around level 35 and loot didn't continue much beyond that. Torchlight 1 has replaced the retirement system and endless dungeon with other things. First, the game has been estimated to end around level 50, with a New Game+ option (think Diablo-series Nightmare difficulty) that lets you play through the entire game with the same character against higher level monsters. New content will also be unlocked in the New Game+ mode, though it has not yet been clarified as to what that content will be (more quests and events is my guess). New Game+ should take you all the way to level 100 (the level cap), with the loot going all the way up to the level cap as well.
Once you reach max level new challenges become available, in the form of map scrolls with take you to new randomly created dungeons that also contain boss battles. It might have been mentioned that these bosses could include bosses from both Torchlight 1 and 2, but that could have been me remembering something wrong.
Nothing else about the "end game" (aka once you beat the game in New Game+) has been revealed yet. The reason for this is simple: Runic has a tendency to keep various points about their games secret until release. Torchlight 1 contained a secret nearly-impossible "Secret Horse Level" (aka Strangeland), and it's not unlikely that Torchlight 2 may contain its own secret level or levels. There may be other End Game options available as well, but they have not been revealed to us at this time.
Of course, one way to extend the game's replay-ability is through mods. Torchlight 1 has mods that include new classes, pets, skills, itemization systems, dungeons, bosses, monsters, and more. With that amount of experience available for this community to work off of, plus the addition of an easier-to-use set of development tools, you can expect Torchlight 2 to have many more quality mods available for after you have burned through everything vanilla has to offer. (Which, if you consider a possible 60-80 hours for each class to beat regular and New Game+ modes adding up to a total of 240-320 hours, may be a while out).Mods
Torchlight 2 will have modding, enhanced from how Torchlight 1 did it. The details aren't finalized yet, but it appears we'll be able to produce packaged mods via TorchED2 (the dev tools which will be released shortly after TL2 is finished) and just drop them in a folder to load them. Conflicts are supposedly easier to get around this time, and fewer game-crashing issues will arise.
You can play modded in multiplayer as well, but there is one restriction: You cannot join a game unless both people have the exact same mods installed. On the Peer-to-Peer connection server (the only one Runic will be hosting) you'll be able to search for people via installed mods. In some cases you will be able to enable/disable your mods on the spot, while other cases will require a restart first.
If you are worried about modders ruining your play by making themselves super powered, please see the above points about Secure Servers.Steam / Steamworks / Steam Workshop
First, Steam is not required to purchase or to install Torchlight 2.
Users who purchase via Steam will likely get access to the usual perks - Cloud Saves, Achievements, Instant Updates, etc.
The developers are interested in the Steam Workshop, but have no made any announcements or commitments to it at this time. If they do add implementation it will not be a requirement for all people who want to use mods. The community-created and maintained HotSpot
is getting a total makeover to prepare it for Torchlight 2 modding, and of course RGF
will be hosting mods for people who want to install manually. Everyone will have options to handle it however they want.I will add more topics as requested, or as questions are received. If you want further reading, I might suggest this post by Talvin2.The Most Important Point: Tell Runic What You Want!
It doesn't matter what your gaming history is, what your background is, what you've played or purchased before, only one thing matters to Runic: Did they make a good enough product that you want more. The original plan was to pump out Torchlight 1 (it was made in only 11 months, and released when they were about to run out of money), and then build on that success to go into the Torchlight MMO. Instead, the almost universal request for multiplayer led to the decision to produce Torchlight 2 first, which is a step between TL1 and the MMO in that it lets you play with your friends and family, but you can also install mods and not have to deal with any online-only stuff.
If you want PvP, Secure Servers, etc etc, then tell them. Buy Torchlight 2, tell them what you liked, tell them what you didn't like, and tell them if you want more. This is the fastest and most effective way to get what you want.
Don't worry about Runic making a "Diablo killer," just give them quality feedback and they'll keep making better and better games.
As for the people around here who are welcoming the newcomers, please keep the above in mind as well. If someone comes by saying how much they didn't like Diablo 3 and how excited they are for Torchlight 2, don't jump on them. Tell them that if they want something Torchlight 2 isn't going to have, they should just buy the game and show support for Runic, and be sure to give feedback so Runic knows what to make next. There is no more effective and positive way to go about it, and Torchlight 2's existence is proof enough that it works.