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Diablo 3 VS Torchlight 2

Updated on October 18, 2014

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.

Kormac, D3's templar follower
Kormac, D3's templar follower | Source


Diablo 3:

  • 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.

Torchlight 2:

  • 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 na├»ve 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:

  • Ferret
  • Cat
  • Bulldog
  • Hawk
  • Panther
  • Wolf
  • Chakawary (A hybrid velociraptor and cassowary)

Torchlight's whimsical art style will appeal to all kinds of gamers
Torchlight's whimsical art style will appeal to all kinds of gamers | Source

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.

Which are you more interested in purchasing?

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Bought D3, completely disappointed, bored and a waste of money in my view. Hopefully, TL2 will be more exciting to play.

    • SlydeDraco profile image

      Sean K. Lueck 

      6 years ago from Kanata, ON

      Sorry to hear about your Demon Hunter. That's a hard thing!

      But great analysis of two very interesting games in the genre! I have been a fan of Diablo since the original, and really liked Torchlight as well. I didn't play Torchlight for as long, but I can see myself getting TL2 when it comes out. I am already a Diablo 3 fan and player, so the only thing now is waiting for Torchlight 2 to actually come out to see if I will get it and play both, or find a preference.

      Thanks for the information and "friendly" comparison!

    • William157 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Southern California

      @Steve: Yeah, the different resources really help differentiate the characters for me as well. TL1 and 2 both use mana as a resource, but this might be more desirable for people who crave a more "authentic" Diablo 2 experience. I've heard people say that TL2 is more like D2 than D3.

      Nobody's wrong or right when choosing either game. I'm loving every minute of D3 (despite my hardcore demon hunter being killed today). I'm still getting TL2 just for a different "flavor" of ARPG. I agree that TL1 was repetitive. It didn't have the emotional ups and downs that D3 has. Here's hoping that TL2 fixes that!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I ~WISH~ I could have gotten TL2 but they haven't released a MAC version yet and I can't help but feel left out cold by the TL2 developers. It's for this reason I pre-ordered D3 and am now enjoying it. I have TL1 and though it is definitely an improvement over D2 but is pretty much the same repetitive dungeon-crawling as D1. I heard great things about TL2 and would have gotten it... but alas... without a mac version, I'm pretty comfortable with D3.

      I like the varied play for the characters in D3. That you don't use the same mana thing for all characters gives each character a truly varied game play. The Barbarian jumps into a fight with ease (and out just in case!), the Witch Doctor decimates things easily with zombie dogs and other seemingly-too-powerful spells, the Sorcerer has to stay at a distance and cast her spells (and run away a lot) and well.. I haven't played the demon hunter yet... but the fact that the energy/mana/whatever gauges work different (Barbarian's fury meter only fills up when you attack a live enemy while the sorceress' mana replenishes itself over time) really forces you to 'learn' the character. That said, I tried playing a Barbarian and Sorceress at the same time with disastrous results: I often confused their abilities : P You really need to develop a different style of combat/play with each character!

    • William157 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Southern California

      Great video analysis. Approved!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great post, much detail.

      I read this after making a video comparing the two. i figured it and this post would compliment each other, but feel free to remove it if you do not agree :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Very cool ! Torchlight 2 is also steampunk-ish and 20 dollars.

    • William157 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks John. I was trying to make the article as neutral as possible, but I think it came out sounding like I preferred T2. I need to go back and change some things.

      For the record, I'm loving D3 AND buying T2 on day one.

    • JohnGreasyGamer profile image

      John Roberts 

      6 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

      Really good article you've got here! Makes me want to get both T2 and D3, though I'm getting Diablo first without a doubt. I like Torchlight because it was usable on my specs, which're pretty low, and the game was around £/$5 on a Steam Sale. Furthermore, it doesn't cost that much in terms of disc space.

      You've not only compared the two's general traits, but everything in the game too which is what I really like to see! Voted up, useful, awesome and interesting! Also, I can't let this go unshared ^^

    • netraptor profile image


      6 years ago from California

      My hubby's been playing Torchlight 1, and I wondered how the Torchlight series compared to Diablo. This comparison answered all my questions!


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