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Design Impressions: Torchlight 2

Torchlight 2 picks up where the original left off, featuring creative new character classes, new environments, and more polish across the board. Endgame content is still a bit lackluster, but itemization is better tuned and more engaging overall.

• Knockback is a legitimately serious mechanic.
Torchlight 2 cover   ○ Some common enemies send you flying back 5+ meters on heavy hits, or 2+ meters on basic attacks.
  ○ Knockback reduction gear actually has some value, but only affects close range melee builds which are somewhat rare. I didn’t care about it at all while playing Embermage, and it only matters for Engineer while grinding levels to unlock Ember Quake.
  ○ Repeatedly Onslaughting into a Sand Spectre’s pushback sandstorm is pretty fun though.
• Onslaught is such an awesome Engineer skill!
  ○ Feels great on impact.
  ○ Travels extra distance when it has a valid target.
  ○ Passes safely through most projectiles.
  ○ Works surprisingly well as a tanky opening attack – due to slowing enemies instantly on impact (and Force Field making Engineer practically invulnerable in winnable encounters).
• Thunder Locus is a pretty cool Embermage skill.
  ○ Forceful summon animation, splendid VFX, and versatile tactical utility.

• Multiple spells can be buffered in sequence, but moving the mouse afterwards completely screws with their targeting.
  ○ This happens often, since having a spell execute 2 full seconds after performing it isn’t exactly intuitive.

• Summon spells typically have very short ranges.
  ○ Attempting one in the middle of long-range offensive spells causes your character to walk into melee combat, unless you’re always holding Shift.
  ○ This either gets you killed or adds tons of casting downtime.
• I cast Death’s Bounty on a bunch of Fungal Spores in one of the lower caverns of Elemental Oasis, but the spell went off on a higher level and missed them all.
  ○ Some of them detonated as i killed a few others with Hailstorm, but didn’t receive any healing soul bolts, so i died instantly.
  ○ This is why restricting AoE status effects to vertical planes is generally a bad idea.

Torchlight 2 Dark Alchemist     Enemies
• Skara swarming out of their nests is a cool animation, but they simply take too long to become killable.
• Several death animations are pretty disappointing.
  ○ Ice Gel enemies are particularly bad. Evidently they’re supposed to melt away, but it’s too smooth and never feels like they’ve actually died until a full second later.
  ○ Other ice cavern enemies have similar issues to a lesser extent.
  ○ It feels much better when enemies explode on critical hit death, although the same effect could’ve been achieved with less gore. It certainly feels good when one of the gels explodes, without any blood or gore present.

    User Interface
• Automatically identifying items on level up is a great convenience.
  ○ Apparently only applies to items of lower level than new character level.
• Showing unused Stat/Skill points during loading screen downtime is a clever way to cut through distractions.
• If stat bonuses on an item are needed to fulfill another item’s requirements, placing the former in an enchanter’s window (annoyingly) unequips the latter.
  ○ Also, apparently an item’s stat bonuses can’t be used to fulfill its own requirements via temporarily equipping another item to pass the threshold. This seems strangely limiting, since genre convention is to allow it.

Disclaimer #1: This is not a review of the game. These scattered notes are just my personal impressions as a player. Please don’t take them too seriously.

Disclaimer #2: I’m not trying to say i could do better by any means. If i point out a flaw, it’s usually because i think it’s interesting; not to criticize anyone involved. There are countless reasons why a feature might be imperfect, buggy, or incomplete. Game development is a chaotic human endeavor, and it’s very rarely easy to figure out why something went wrong. Anyway it’s a safe bet that the dev team thought of most ideas or solutions i might suggest, but they couldn’t be implemented due to some unfortunate constraint.

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