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Games And Gamery

Hardcore Mode

Posted by Stropp on October 30, 2009

Some games like Diablo 2 and Torchlight offer players the opportunity to play in hardcore mode. This option offers up greater rewards for taking the risk of permanent character death if that character is defeated.

Now Permadeath is one of those hot topics in MMORPGs. It tends to produce two, completely opposed camps. One group wants it, and wants everyone to be subject to it, reasoning that it makes the game more realistic (among other things.) The other camp is completely opposed to the idea. They think that it opens the way for griefers and laggy connections to ruin a players day.

Both camps have some good points, and their arguments have merit. But the evidence does weigh more heavily for the No-Permadeath camp’s stance. Unfortunately, players can lose their characters through no fault of their own, or through griefing and exploits. This alone makes a Permadeath game unappealing for many.

But what if Permadeath was purely voluntary in the same way it is in Diablo and Torchlight?

A player could select that little box a creation, or perhaps do a quest later in the game, to enable the Permadeath feature.

As a result, there would be faster XP gain, more skillpoints, or perhaps some other rewards and social benefits. Maybe uber epic mounts would be half price. Add in the ability to transfer that epic mount or other heirloom equipment to a newly created character upon death, and the idea of voluntary Permadeath might become more attractive to players.

Here’s the question. Would you be interested in playing a character in hardcore mode if you were given the choice, and there were appropriate rewards for doing so?

If you’re playing Torchlight will you be choosing the hardcore mode for any of your characters?

Let me know in the comments.

Torchlight In A Nutshell

Posted by Stropp on October 29, 2009

After the download from Steam completed last night, I fired up Torchlight and started playing.

I selected the Destroyer character on Normal difficulty and headed down into the mines. The Destroyer is the archetypal melee class. He relies on strength, and beats on things with big bladed objects. I played for about ninety minutes and got him to level 6 before I quit for the night.

Tonight I selected the Vanquisher. This is a ranged bow or gun class. She’s a bit squishier. Where the Destroyer rushes in, the Vanquisher needs to plan the encounter a little better in order to keep at range. I played her to level 7 on Hard difficulty, also for about 90 minutes.

Consequently, I haven’t got very far into the storyline yet. I’ve managed to retrieve the first lot of ember, as well as meeting up with the antagonist of the story for both characters.

At the moment, I’m reasonably impressed.

The game is stylistically different to both Diablo and Mythos. The graphics bear a strong resemblance to the graphical style of World of Warcraft and have that cartoony look.

The gameplay is Diablo. If you’ve played Diablo 1 or 2, Titan Quest, or Mythos, then you’ve played Torchlight. If you liked any or all of those games, then you’ll like Torchlight.

However, the game also takes you on a linear path through the mines, at least in these early levels. While Diablo 2 felt a lot more free form than it actually was, I don’t get that sense of freedom with Torchlight. Others have described it as being on rails. I agree. Having said that, Titan Quest was also a very linear game, and I didn’t enjoy it as much as Diablo 2, but so far I feel that Torchlight is superior to Titan Quest.

As others have also said. Normal mode is extremely easy. My Destroyer barely took damage through the dungeon. Even in hard mode, my Vanquisher didn’t really have to worry much, but still had to chug a few health and mana potions from time to time. I’d hate to see how easy mode would be here. It’d probably play the game for me!

I haven’t done any fishing yet.

I like that I can put my overflow inventory in my pets inventory (although whoever heard of a cat carrying saddlebags, every cat I’ve ever known would have rebelled at the indignity) and then send him off to sell it in town. Great idea and keeps the gameplay going without all the annoying trips back to town I had to face in the other games.

That however means I have a smaller personal inventory.

And from what I can recall, a first in these games (at least Diablo-wise,) there is no more extremely frustrating rearranging of my inventory every time I pick up a large weapon. Each item fits in one, and only one, inventory slot. FINALLY!

I like that there is a shared storage area. Tonight on my Vanquisher I picked up a unique, very nice shield that is useless on a ranged character. So I dumped it in the shared bank, and when my I log my Destroyer, he’ll be able to collect it and use it.

I don’t like that there are only three classes, the Destroyer, Vanquisher, and Alchemist (melee, range, magic). I think a game like this needs more than three classes.

Having said that, I don’t know what Runic are planning for the future of Torchlight, except for turning it into a MMORPG. They’ll definitely need a few more classes then.

When it comes down to it, my overall first impressions of Torchlight are pretty good. Runic have created a good fun game here that builds on the games that have gone before, and they’ve done it fairly quickly by all accounts. The game also appears to be quite stable. I didn’t encounter any obvious bugs.

I’m very impressed that the ex-Flagship Studios team managed to get this one up and running so quickly. In fact, this is something of a victory for open source. I had a peek in the application directory and it looks like Runic used an open source graphics engine called Ogre to build the game. Very nice, and it just goes to show that things get done when the wheel doesn’t have to be reinvented every time.

Torchlight == Good Game.

Torchlight

Posted by Stropp on October 28, 2009

is downloading as I type this.

I was going to hop into EQ2 this evening, but spent a bit of time attaching a NAS to my home network. (More hardware to come too. I finally bought myself a UPS to smooth out (hopefully) my power supply woes.)

After I finished copying a bunch of folder across, I looked at the Everquest 2 icon, then at the Steam icon, and bought Torchlight.

I’ll let you know what I think after I’ve given it a shot.

I Lurve Digital Distribution

Posted by Stropp on October 20, 2009

I was reading a piece on the upcoming post apocalyptic Borderlands on Rock Paper Shotgun and I thought to myself, “I wonder if that will be available on Steam?”

So I loaded up the Steam client, and lo and behold, there it is. Coming on the 27th of this month.

Then I noticed, directly below, coming on the 28th of October: Torchlight.

A little more searching and there is on the 4th of November, Dragon Age: Origins (plus the digital deluxe edition.)

Just wait while I do a little happy dance…

snoopy-dance

…done, back.

Aside from the convenience of downloading games directly to my PC, which is a winner in itself, it’s also marvelous to be able to get them for US prices.

Here in Australia a new game from a game store will normally cost close to A$100. (Up to $20 more for a console game.)

Back when the Aussie dollar was down around 75 US cents, that made sense. The difference in currencies made importing an expensive proposition. But with the Aussie inching closer to the US dollar, it makes more digital purchases more and more attractive. (Won’t work with console games though since they use the evil region locking madness.)

It’s also a great time for Aussie subscribers of US based online games. We’ll finally be paying the same (or close to) as our US brethren. Kinda almost makes up for all those scheduled downtimes falling in Oceanic primetime hours.

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