Perfect World has just released their ARPG Torchlight 3 out of Early Access, and it has many players curious about what is and isn’t in the game. In this article, we’ll take a look at the game’s mechanics, classes, skills and gameplay to answer your questions.
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Torchlight 3 Gameplay Features Overview
- Name: Torchlight 3
- Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch
- Developer: Echtra Games
- Publisher: Perfect World
- Release Date: October 13, 2020 (October 22nd Nintendo Switch)
- Genre: ARPG
Torchlight 3 Background
For some background for newcomers, Torchlight is a game for Xbox 360 and PC that aimed to create a world for a future MMO. The team behind Torchlight included the lead designer of Fate, Travis Baldree, as well as co-designers for Diablo and Diablo 2 Max and Eric Schaefer. The game was intentionally designed in a more stylized manner to give their world a lighter fantasy tone and it makes it more inviting than what players may find in the series the team had previously worked on.
Torchlight 2 was released by the same team, but the studio (Runic Games) was closed in 2017. Since Perfect World retains the rights, a new studio under the Perfect World banner founded by Max Schaefer took over the project that is now Torchlight 3.
So now that we all understand the background of the game, it’s a bit easier to answer: “What is Torchlight 3”? : An ARPG created by industry veterans behind games like Diablo, Diablo 2 and Fate, with a more inviting art style and accessible mechanics. All with the aim to, eventually, launch an MMO set in this world.
Torchlight 3 Gameplay Features
Since this is the third installment of the series, players are probably familiar with what to expect in terms of gameplay. A fantasy world invaded by monsters, evil machines and bugs, and a team of heroes at the ready to overcome the challenges. The story is told via quests and audiologs, as well as some simple animated cutscenes, but the focus of the game is on the gameplay itself, as is the case with nearly every ARPG.
So what does Torchlight 3 Bring About?
- 4 Classes
- Skill Trees & Level Ups
- Pet System
- Fort System (Build your base)
- Set Items
- Unique, Elite and Legendary monsters
- Multiplayer co-op
- Multiplayer towns
- Difficulty Modes
- Special Boss Events
That is highlight summary of what you can do in-game, so let’s start with the classes. The game features 4 unique and quite distinct classes to pick from, with some rather unexpected and original twists. All classes have a main skill tree and an adventurer skill tree that buffs class skills. There’s also a third, special “relic” tree that can allows players to pick one of 5 extra trees at character creation regardless of their class.
There’s also some basic character creation: All classes can be played as male or female, have several heads and hair styles to pick from, and have skin and hair color options.
Classes of Torchlight 3
Sharpshooter: “Nimble, cunning and willing to bend the rules”
The sharpshooter uses ranged weapons and magical trinkets, as well as calling forward powerful spirits. This means you’ll be mostly using a bow or some of the game’s arsenal of guns (pistols, rifles, etc). Your main skill line is Precision, which provides options for AOE DOTS, single target barrage damage that can pierce through multiple enemies, and some crowd control. Your adventurer skills are determined by artifacts that you collect. When used, you gain a buff to your precision skills that usually summons spirit animals such as an eagle or a wolf. You can also summon a legion of goblins and make yourself “Spirit run” away from danger. Your sharpshooter will use a self-replenishing ammo as its resource, as is indicated on the bottom right of your bar.
Dusk Mage: “Fleet of foot, mysterious and elusive”
The Dusk mage balances the forces of light and dark and uses the power of Ember to deal both ranged and melee damage. The class is meant to be played as a yin-yang, as using both light and dark abilities empowers the opposite side. Your Light skills deal ranged piercing damage, boost mana regeneration, and buff your character. Dark Skills deal AOE DOT damage, crowd control and debuffs enemies. If you charge up your light and dark damage bars, you will enter “Harmonic Form”, that lasts until the bars are drained and boosts your damage and mana regen.
Forged: “Uses strength, heat and an indomitable hero spirit”
The forged is a machine with the soul of a hero, that concentrates on fire damage and dealing devastating ranged and melee attacks. It has “barrage” skills fired from your “Chest Cannon” that deal fire and poison damage over time, and “Brawl” skills for melee range, which are also AOE but include some Crowd Control. In general the Forged is a powerful class because it can handle crowds very well!
Railmaster: “Friendly, loyal and always ready to battle”
The railmaster is a class that allows you to be followed by a “literal train of pure explosive destruction”. You will use large heavy weapons and unlock skills on your “Conductor” line that improve your “battle train”. Yes that is a train “pet” that joins you in the battlefield and grants passive bonuses as well as dealing aoe damage. Your melee skill line is the “Slammer”, that deals AOE and DOT damage in large areas, mostly centered around fire.
As I mentioned earlier the game allows players to pick a relic during character creation. Relics are a powerful subset of skills attuned to your selected character class, they are upgraded with skill points gained through level up, and use “Relic Energy” as their main resource rather than you own class skill.
Bane: “Summon a cluster of spiders and cast forth volleys of deadly poison”. This relic summons spectral spiders that fight alongside you and deal your weapon damage as poison. In addition, you can gain passive skills to Staff usage, an AoE of poison and buffed defenses.
Blood Drinker: “Heal your own wounds while enemies bleed”. This relic allows you to put out several bleeding status effects that then regenerate your own health, essentially leeching it from them. You also gain a passive bonus to sword usage, and several powerful AoE attacks.
Coldheart: “Control crowds, freezing, slowing or knocking back immediate threats”. This relic deals ice damage and inflicts statuses from slowed to chilled and frozen, allowing you to control the battlefield. You also gain a passive bonus to Pistol and Rifle usage, as well as a powerful defensive shield.
Electrode: “Unleash an unpredictable surge of electricity”. This relic deals electric damage in large AoE swathes, sets the “shocked” status and further deals DoT and weapon damage. You also gain a bonus to your equipped Mace, a shield that blasts away at enemies, and overall AoE damage.
Flaming Destroyer: “Consistently burn enemies and set things ablaze”. This relic deals fire damage in large AoE areas, setting burning status and boosting your own evasion. You also gain a bonus to equipped “Great Weapons”, an evasion-boosting shield, and several AoE buffs.
The game also features something called a “legendarium”, which allows you to access additional passive skills from Legendary Items you have found. The interesting thing about the Legendarium is that it allows you to equip some skills available to all classes, not just yours, thus providing even more variance to your build and gameplay. You can also unlock more legendarium skills by breaking down legendary items in your Fort, once you have accumulated enough resources to deck out the fort, of course.
Those familiar with the original game are aware that one of the best features of it was your pet. This very simple but excellent mechanic allows you to send your follower back to camp to sell your extra loot, so you may continue adventuring without having to port back and forth. For Torchlight 3, this system remains in place but there are some extra and welcome perks. Your pet will attack with both autoattacks and active skills that you can customize, and provide special passive bonuses to both yourself and your party. There are many pets in the game, from Llamas, cats and dogs to eagles, wolves and magical creatures. You can name and rename your pets at will, and keep them all at a Pet Shelter at your fort, and swap them whenever you visit.
Torchlight 3 allows players to take over a fort and build it up to suit their needs. Fort Customization has decoration, functional and storage capacities, with a prop limit of 500 blocks. Creating structures consumes the building blocks assigned to it, and costs resources of gold, wood and stone – all of which you can acquire by harvesting when you’re out hacking and slashing. Leaving the decoration part aside, most players will be interested in building “Functional” and “Storage” structures. Functional structures provide players with resource-processing facilities at first, but will eventually allow higher level players to have special Legendarium machines, Skill Stations, Wardrobe, Reliquary and even a Map Crafter so that you may trigger special boss encounters. Oh, and of course: there’s a shared chest at your fort so you can save your gear for your other characters.
The itemization of Torchlight 3 is very familiar to most ARPG players. The game features a colored grading system, and weapons have both attack speed and damage shape. Aoe weapons usually attack slower, while fast weapons hit single target. Classes also have a unique weapon that only they can use.
ARPG players are usually very focused on loot, and from my gameplay, the amount of it is satisfying without being overwhelming. The pet system makes inventory management a lot easier than in other games, and I found a good number of legendary items within the first few hours of play. Adding to this there are several sets that you can mix and match to optimize your build, and the legendarium system to process further improvements beyond your usual weapon slots. In this regard Torchlight 3 gives similar, if simpler, options to most other games in the genre and will be interesting enough to keep you digging through your bag to see what you get.
Damage is often referenced as xx% of your weapon damage, and usually distinguished into Physical, Electric, Poison, Fire and Ice. The elemental damages do have special effects on enemies, such as setting them burning or freezing, so there’s a layer of experimentation and fun to be had by finding the best skill and weapon type combinations that match your elemental play.
Of particular note, enemy boss encounters will give you a large chest and a special pet to rescue, which means each encounter has a pre-determined payoff. There are elite packs, legendary monsters and unique monsters as well, all with their own mechanics so you can enjoy facing them as you roam about.
Online and Multiplayer
One of the best aspects of any ARPG is the ability to play with your friends. Torchlight 3 divides your character pools into Multiplayer and Single Player, so you’ll have to make that decision as you start your build, as that character will be locked into one or the other. Your fort and shared stash do not cross over this distinction, so everything you do in multi will stay there and everything solo will stay solo.
When playing multiplayer, you will find towns are highly active with other players, but you get your own instance when you venture out into the world (similarly to Guild Wars). If you want to team up with a friend, you can add them from your social screen, and create a party, then go forth together and share the same instance of the battlegrounds. As you progress through the game, however, you will come across the forts of other players, and will be able to use their tools as if they were your own.
The multiplayer mode works well from our experience, but there was no in-game voice chat. You can, however, use a chat system to whisper to specific players or talk with anyone else in town, so you can communicate without external programs.
For those wondering: It would seem the game does not, at this time, feature couch co-op, and the PC version does not have a split screen option.
I have spent about 2 days with the full release of Torchlight 3, and tested out all classes and multiplayer. So far, I have had fun with my experience and it matches my expectations: A light-hearted ARPG hack and slash to relax with during the evening without the stress that more serious games bring about in terms of mechanics or gear. This doesn’t mean that Torchlight 3 is simple, there are many difficulty modes to pick from (and they will increase your drop rates accordingly) so if you’re up for a challenge you will find something to do.
The multiplayer aspect is the biggest draw for me, and the easy matchmaking and shared progression makes the game very accessible and fun even from the early stages. I found builds, equipment and combat to be engaging yet simple enough that I didn’t have to spend hours reading about how to play and could jump in right away and enjoy setting fire to large areas and seeing goblins run away.
Torchlight 3 is very much a continuation of the previous games, but it is also a step in a slightly different direction – something that not everyone may enjoy as many were hoping the game would further the nuance. So if you are watching this trying to figure out if it’s like Torchlight 2, I hope I have answered the question by highlighting the focus mechanics. If you’re trying to figure out if Torchlight 3 is worth it, then you should consider what you find appealing in such a game.
If you are looking for an accessible but entertaining hack and slash stint, and enjoy multiplayer adventures, then I think Torchlight 3 will scratch that ARPG itch, even if you are short on time or too busy to invest research hours into mechanics and builds. The game is now out on PS4, Xbox One and PC (via Steam) and is coming to Nintendo Switch later this year for the price of 39.99 USD. You can use the link below to support the channel!