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Diablo 3 VS Torchlight 2
As gamers, we live in interesting times. Two action RPG juggernauts, Diablo 3 and Torchlight 2, were released in the same year within four months of each other.
This article is not meant to argue that one game is better than the other; it's simply meant to inform prospective buyers what to expect from each game.
What are the major differences between these two games? Which one is worth your hard-earned money? Whichever you end up purchasing, may the odds ever be in your favor.
What Is It?
Both games have several things in common.
- They're Action RPGs, meaning their action is live and frenetic as opposed to turn-based.
- They're played from one camera angle. The game is in 3D, but the camera will always be in the same place.
- Much of the game world is randomly generated. For example, lets say the developer has created 50 "map chunks" (think Lego sets) that fit together in any combination. Any given level will only use four or five of these "chunks," creating large amounts of replayability.
- Randomly generated loot: Unlike MMOs or regular RPGs, loot is never predetermined. Instead, the game uses "recipes" for items when they drop to create them. This means that no two players will have exactly the same items. This gives the item system an almost trading card-like appeal.
Diablo 3 costs $60 dollars unless you can get it on sale somewhere.
Torchlight 2 costs $20, and you can always wait for a Steam sale to get it for less.
Diablo 3 is Blizzard's juggernaut sequel to Diablo 2, which was originally released in 2000. Diablo 1 and 2 invented the entire APRG genre, defining many systems that are taken for granted today.
Torchlight 2 is the sequel to Torchlight, a 2009 game created by some ex-Blizzard North employees. Several of these developers had a hand in developing Diablo 2 back in the day, and it shows. Torchlight 1 was popular because of its conveniently low $20 price tag. It's sold over one million copies, which is substantial for an independent game developer.
- Barbarian: A burly, powerful melee combatant.
- Demon Hunter: A ranged caster who relies on bows and traps to defeat enemies.
- Monk: A martial arts master who specializes in melee combat, dodges and magical auras.
- Witch Doctor: A creepy ranged caster who summons a wide array of zombies and other monsters to fight by his side.
- Wizard: A fearsome manipulator of the arcane; controls time and space. Also shoots lasers.
- Crusader (in the expansion): A knight in battle-scarred armor, a paladin with defensive magic and devastating melee attacks.
Each of these classes use a different "resource" to use their spells. All of their gameplay is highly distinct and specialized.
- Outlander: A ranged caster who uses many types of firearms to aerate his foes.
- Embermage: The typical glass cannon; high damage output with little in the ways of defense.
- Berserker: The heavy-hitting melee class.
- Engineer: Can be a ranged caster, a melee tank or pet class.
All T2 classes use Mana as their resource, giving the game a more "classic Diablo" feel. Each class has a power gauge that charges as they fight. Once the gauge is full, each class can unleash a unique buff that devastates foes in interesting ways.
Inventory and Items
Diablo 3 uses a gridded Tetris-like inventory. Large items consume 2 squares, small items consume only one. The game smartly manages where things go, rarely leaving bizarre gaps between items. Once your inventory is full, you must return to town to get rid of them.
There are several things to do with items once you're in town: You can either salvage them into their component parts (useful for crafting), you can sell them to a vendor (for small amounts of money), or you can sell them on the auction house.
Torchlight 2 has a slotted inventory (think World of Warcraft); every item consumes only one slot, regardless of size. In addition to the player inventory, there is also the pet inventory. Your pet can carry as many items as your character. Once your pet's inventory is full, you can order him (or her!) to sell your things for you. Your pet leaves for a minute before returning with the money you gained from the transaction. This helps keep the player in the field for longer stretches of time.
D3 has three unique companions, each with their own personality, backstory and combat focus. These companions can be thought of as a "diet" party member: They only have eight abilities, of which only four are useable at a time. They are:
- Templar: A highly devout paladin with a militant personality. Uses a sword and shield.
- Scoundrel: The typical rogue; enjoys riches and women. Uses a bow and arrow.
- Enchantress: A naïve young girl with powerful magic. Uses debilitating magic.
T2's companions only exist in the form of permanent pets chosen during character creation. Although their combat abilities are the same, their cosmetic appearance can be changed. By using the Fishing skill, you can also turn your pet into different creatures like imps and spiders later in the game. During character creation the choices are:
- Chakawary (A hybrid velociraptor and cassowary)
Art Style and Rating
D3 uses a dark, gothic style. It is rather scary and quite violent. Bosses explode in torrents of gore; decapitations happen occasionally. Environments are littered with mangled corpses of villagers. It's rated M after all. Blizzard has some of the best artists in the business, and it shows. The game looks like a painting most of the time. The armor sets are suitable for their class and appropriately edgy.
T2 is much lighter, using a colorful, cartoony art style that's reminiscent of World of Warcraft. The world has some distinct steampunk elements that are refreshing. Enemies will occasionally explode, but the effect is closer to the silliness of Team Fortress 2 or Itchy and Scratchy. You'll still find dead villagers, but they'll at least be in one piece. The game will probably be rated T. It also looks like a painting, but a painting created by Pixar.
DRM (Copy Protection)
D3 uses Blizzard's controversial always-on server protection to ensure players don't exploit gold or items. This is mostly because of the auction house system and Blizzard doesn't want anyone to devalue gold (at least, not immediately). The game cannot be played offline. On the bright side, it's theoretically much harder for people to duplicate items and cheat. The drawback is that you can't play the game during a long commute or if you live in areas with sparse internet. Also, no mods are permitted.
T2 has none of that. The game is moddable and completely playable offline. You will see people who have cheated their character to maximum stats and items if you play online. Luckily, you don't have to play with strangers if you don't want to. Because of the ability to mod the interface and items, the achievement of getting the "best items in the game" will be greatly lessoned.
Diablo 3 has received several content updates since its release, the biggest of which is the game's first expansion, Reaper of Souls. It added Loot 2.0 which greatly improved the loot and general gameplay experience. It also added Act 5 and a new class, the Crusader. The game continues to receive regular updates that help breathe new life into the game.
T2 doesn't receive much in the form of official content, but it makes use of the Steam Workshop. It has scores of user-created stuff freely available to download (though the quality and balance might be a little inconsistent). With the mod options already available, theoretically you could play Torchlight 2 forever.