My Chars

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

An almost successful Heroic ToC-25 and Other Stuff

It's been a while since I last blogged, and the reason is due to the "Other Stuff" part of the headline - you see, I've started playing Torchlight :)

What happened was, I was disappointed with lack of heroic ToC-25 attempts by our guild, every time we were missing a tank or just not enough people. Tank shortage meant trying to do heroics with my new level-80 Druid was mostly pointless, so I was kind of looking around for more things to do.
At this point I read a couple of reviews of Torchlight, which described it as a Diablo clone with modern graphics but no multiplayer options - sort of Diablo 3 "lite", but here and now instead of in the far future. I took a look at some videos and screenshots, saw the price was just $20, fired-up Steam and bought the game.

Youtube and Google will give you all the videos and screenshots you want, suffice it to say I enjoy the cute graphics although I miss the true 3D environment of WoW - this 2.5D stuff pales in comparison. They did solve the "character behind some object and you can't rotate the camera" problem in a nice way though, your character becomes like a ghostly outline, you have to see it but it's very cool looking :)

Gameplay is very straight-forward with a single quest-line driving the "story" - there's no real meaning to the quests though as they only require you to drill down deeper into the levels of the dungeon. There's no such thing really as a class, since the "mage class" Alchemist for example can be played as a melee type! However I've always enjoyed playing a "mage" so that is what I'm focusing on.

There's also no World and no ability to wander from the path you are traveling, although there are side-branches/rooms you can enter for extra loot/xp. But in general gameplay is - go down the stairs to a new level, follow the path while killing everything in sight and looting anything that drops, continue till you reach the stairs to the next level, repeat.

Actually there are 2 other side quests, one is a robot that gives you a quest to kill a boss mob on a level further down, this is repeated every time you return - you just get the same quest but for a boss a few levels down. Rather pointless since there is no other way to go but down and you pretty much have to go through those bosses...
The other side-quest is from an NPC which will give you once every few levels a quest to get an item from a mini-dungeon to which it will open a portal. This mini-dungoen plays exactly like any level of the main dungeon, so the only reason to do it is for some extra loot and XP.

On the negative side, this is a very simplistic game, especially when compared to the complexity of WoW. There is nothing to do except kill mobs - no crafting/professions, no trade (except NPC vendors), no real story. There is one "mini-game" which is fishing, sometimes in the dungeon you will see fishing holes, which when clicked bring up a hook icon surrounded by two rings, the inner one is constant while the outer fluctuates. When the outer one merges with the inner, you click the hook icon to pull up the fish. If you timed it right, you catch a fish which you can feed to your pet - it gives it another shape and various abilities.
In addition to being very simplistic, you can see the lack of polish - items with the same name but different stats, ability to kill mobs that cannot reach you, quests from the robot NPC having exactly the same text, abilities and "talents" that are repeated (exactly the same) between the 3 "classes".
Of course the biggest downside is the lack of any multiplayer ability, never mind massivly-multiplayer :)

On the positive side, this is a very simplistic, simple game requiring no thought or effort to play :)
So if you've just spent a night wiping in WoW and want to relax, spending 20 minutes clearing a level or two of Torchlight with loot and gold dropping like rain might work for you - certainly I appreciate the experience. I don't really worry about my gear, certainly not about my stats. Time will tell if I can play and enjoy it for an entire month, which is what I would like to happen to feel that my $20 were well spent. For example there's no re-playability when trying another class- you get the exact same storyline, quests and instances. So it is possible that after finishing the game with one character, I'll find it too boring to repeat. We'll see.

As for the first part of my subject, we finally had the tanks and people online (well sorta) to give ToC-25 heroic another try. I say sorta, since one healer DC'd practically the entire night and one tank would DC almost every other fight. Still we did well and actually got Icehowl to less than 1% life before we wiped - even the healers were DPSing at the end, hoping to kill him before he killed us all (he was enraged already so all the tanks were dead), it was that close. The cries of frustration on Vent would have been amusing if I hadn't felt like howling myself at that moment (couldn't of course as the rest of the house were sleeping :)).

Hopefully we'll continue with more attempts following the reset today and finally get Beasts-25 down in Heroic mode - a big factor will be if people will learn to run away from his charge, since this is what wiped us every time we got to Icehowl (Worms still wiped us most of the times).

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