The lights are on
Runic Games' follow-up is looking good. Within ten minutes of playing PC dungeon crawler Torchlight II at GamesCom, I had leveled up, eviscerated several dozen enemies with a variety of spinning blade throws, and Hoovered my way through a random dungeon or two. Yep, Torchlight II is exactly what we expected: a better Torchlight with online multiplayer.Taking feedback and their own thoughts on the hurried original into account, Runic is polishing up every part of Torchlight they can. I'm told that both of my major complaints are being addressed: bosses will be better tuned, and classes will be more distinct and have more fun unique abilities. The Railman class, playable at Gamescom, has a alternate resource system where he powers up his abilities during combat, doing more damage the longer he continuously battles. Runic tells me that it's likely that each of the four classes will likely have similar unique mechanics, though nothing is set in stone at this early stage of development.Most importantly, online session-based multiplayer is in. This isn't the long talked-about Torchlight MMO -- that will likely come after Torchlight II, and while Runic isn't actively working on the MMO at the moment it does expect that a lot of the work on this project will carry over. Players will again have access to powerful editing tools, and you'll be able to play Torchlight II mods multiplayer so long as everyone has the same mods active.Torchlight II will have a matchmaking service of some kind beyond a game browser, but Runic isn't sure yet what exact form it will take. The developer will not be hosting mods, but Runic minister of culture Wonder Russell did express her deep appreciation of all the work done by the Torchlight community in mod creation and distribution, particularly the TorchLeech folks. (And if you're a Torchlight player who hasn't grabbed TorchLeech yet and explored the wonderful world of mods, shame on you! There's so much awesomeness out there.)Torchlight II is very early in development, but what Runic showed at GamesCom behind their curtain of shame* is looking fine indeed. I will crawl through these dungeons, and I will loot them so hard that it might be a little uncomfortable.* A wrinkle in the odd patchwork of European censorship rules forced them to demo Torchlight II behind a blackout curtain because it wasn't rated as safe for children. Having seen the game, that's nearly as ridiculous as saying that LEGO Star Wars isn't kid-friendly. I don't get it. Didn't stop me from making fun of Russell and the rest of Runic for their curtain of shame, though.