A View From the Road: The Torchbearers

A View From the Road: The Torchbearers

If you want to make a successful MMOG, don't make an MMOG at all.

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I completely agree. What sold me with Torchlight was price (19.99) and the great customer support (anything you ask, they will answer). It can play on virtually any computer within the last 10 years and looks great (yes i have a netbook and a home computer and both play torchlight perfectly.)The level editor and modding resources were just the icing on the cake.

I know they already made a fan out of me, but creating a fan base and community for a future mmo is a brilliant decision (paving the path for a long term MMO compared to a short term pay out)

Slightly OT but... I think the timing of the Torchlight release was impecable.

Die-hard fans waiting on Diablo 3, will still get this because at the very least it's something cheap(speaking of price here) by the original makers of Diablo which can tide them over until they play Diablo 3.
A later release might have seen it competing directly with Diablo 3, which might have resulted in less interest for Torchlight.

As a final note these types of games aren't usually my cup of tea, but Torchlight has already been worth every cent of the 16€ I spent on it. Had it been any more expensive, I doubt I would have decided to pick it up on whim, as I did. Surprisingly addictive little title, this.

I've been having a blast with the game and I personally am more interested in playing an MMO version than had I heard about it cold - so it's doing its job quite well.

I can see a stepwise transition from a single player RPG to a game which for all practical intents and purposes is an MMO.

Step 1: Start with a reasonably fun and popular single player RPG.

Step 2: Add DLC content that requires multiple players and teamwork to accomplish an objective. Say, a boss too powerful to be solo'd, with trash mobs too numerous for one person. Being of greater difficulty, one will be rewarded with better loot. Initially, for a 10 person instance say, one could que up alone or with friends and once 10 people have queued the instance will begin.

Step 3: Create a lobby server that can accomodate 100 players, or so. The more the better, but not so many that performance suffers too much. If 300 players are on you can have 3 such "hub" instances, with a LFG channel that spans all instances. Rather than from a menu screen, you can put raiding parties together from in-game. Plus you can chat, and roleplay, and emote, and what not while waiting for your group.

Step 4: Add some guild functions, and at this point you are most of the way to an MMO.

Step 5: For regular single player questing areas, let there be optional servers to log into where other people might questing at the same time.

Step 6: Throw in a couple of PvP battleground instances where you can sell your victories and honor kills for better-than-average loot.

With these steps, you have a basic MMO that doesn't require that much more development than what routinely exists for single player games with multiplayer content. Except where multiplayer is usually competitive, here it would mostly be cooperative PvE with people coming in an leaving all the time.

Slycne:
I've been having a blast with the game and I personally am more interested in playing an MMO version than had I heard about it cold - so it's doing its job quite well.

Oh believe me, I can tell. I see you on Steam there :P

I gotta be honest though, and I almost wonder if other people feel this way: Torchlight, at it's affordable price, shiny cartoonish style and addictive and familiar gameplay, isn't just a way to bide my time before the extremely hyped long-time-coming Diablo III. I may not get Diablo 3 at all now. I love Blizzard and they've never put out a bad thing, but Torchlight is satisfying all my dungeon-crawling needs and then some. I almost feel bad about it, really, but I'm on a budget, and this fits those needs to a T. (OK, so part of that budget involves planning around WoW's 6-month recurring fee. So they've got me there. Still...)

The point about Lord of The Rings and Warcraft is true. I was a Warcraft fan Since Warcraft 2, and buoght WoW when it came out. Any LoTR game that comes out, I tend to avoid for some reason...

Haven't tried this one yet, might do so when my interest in DA:O recedes (watching the clock to pick it up for the midnight release now). I'm all for supporting indy RPG developers in general... though I will wind up doing more reseach before I invest $20, because honestly $20 isn't actually all THAT cheap. I think gamers have just been falsely conditioned to think that it is... but that is another discussion entirely.

I would advise the guys doing Torchlight to NOT try and develop an MMOG out of it though. The reason I say this is because I've already seen a company do the same exact thing. The game was called "Dungeon Runners" and I beta tested it. The cartoony diablo Hack-fest doesn't translate well into that kind of enviroment.

Also to be honest, Torchlight seems a LOT like "Fate" to me, which didn't impress me that much... and I feel that Depths of Peril and Kivi's Underworld are offerings that probably deserve a lot more attention (especially the former) in the same indy Action-RPG genere.

But still, I will probably wind up giving Torchlight a spin at some point.

Therumancer:
Haven't tried this one yet, might do so when my interest in DA:O recedes (watching the clock to pick it up for the midnight release now). I'm all for supporting indie RPG developers in general... though I will wind up doing more research before I invest $20, because honestly $20 isn't actually all THAT cheap.

There is a decent length demo of Torchlight on Steam, would that be enough to convince you to get it?

If you don't like the demo, fair enough, I can accept that...
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I have been playing Torchlight; don't play on normal difficulty, start on hard (or very hard).

This brings something to my mind I haven't thought of in a very long time, level editing. I've tinkered with it in other games, but none of them really gave me a spark of imaginaton, the one game I've always wanted to literally re-draw the map on is WoW. I've seen videos on YouTube where people have utterly changed a zone to something it could never be on a live server. I think its fascinating to see people play out various scenarios by re-shaping the landscape to show what Stormwind would look like had the undead advance never been halted, or what Orgrimmar might look like if humans conquered it. Yeah there are some editing software to do that, but they are fan maintained and often very difficult to use.

Something I think and wish Blizzard would do is release an editing program separate from your normal game files that allows people to alter the world of Azeroth in an isolated setting. Players could inject NPC's and write scripts for their own events(I would dearly wish for something that doesn't require one to learn an entire programming language to do so).

If you're thinking "go make a private server nub" then you've totally missed what I'm talking about. This is not something that you could open up to the public, but use as a means of simple creative fun and filming purposes. There could be a function that allows the player to enter a camera mode and traverse their world. The possibilities are somewhat endless to what one could do with such a program. Think of the money Blizzard could make off it, its whole new community waiting to be tapped.

This is, however, an extremely lofty dream and most certainly one I'll see come true when hell freezes over. I've played the game, I have had my fun, I've immersed myself in the lore; now I want to forge my own World of Warcraft (if you would pardon the pun), if for nothing more than a very large creative outlet.

Oh and no, Gary's Mod is not what I'm looking for.

Iori35:

I have been playing Torchlight; don't play on normal difficulty, start on hard (or very hard).

I agree. Start the demo on Hard and then once you've got a character build in mind, start the game proper on Very Hard. I'm neither a hardcore gamer nor a Diablo veteran, but I'm finding Very Hard extremely easy. The game is forgiving with deaths too. You can resurrect from your current point for a moderate hit to cash/exp/fame, from the start of the current level (30-60 seconds walk) for a small amount of cash, or from town for nothing (2-5 minutes walk). (These are approximations, obviously.)

This is not to say the game doesn't present some overwhelming odds at times, but caution and crowd control will see you through most of them unscathed.

Damn, I just started playing on my ps3 again, and now I'm thinking about the fun times I had in the previous diablos. Not that I would be in the mood for an mmo, mind you.

I can see how releasing torchlight this way would help it stand out from the other mmos. That makes me want to give it a try... at least in hopes of playing something different. But for the moment, I have borderlands and a slew of games on my queue for gamefly, so I probably won't feel like playing it for a while. Knowing my luck, it will be after diii comes out. Then I will just get diii and never give torchlight a try.

I once again say to all game devs:

DO THIS!

Or dont, so when i release a mmo someday(isnt that the dream, to breed cheeto-eaters?) i get more money.

CantFaketheFunk:

If you want to make a successful MMOG, don't make an MMOG at all.

One could take the ideas in your article and apply them to something like, say, Genre Wars...

Good idea of behalf of the developers - I went from complete ignorance to full interest over the course of the Escapist's review and the low steam price.

Had no idea what Torchlight was until i heard about it on EPIC BATTLE CRY over at Gametrailers. after delving into it a bit more i realized what this game was and i snatched it up right then and there. Some of the best $17 i've ever spent.

In regards to what was said here, i've never taught of it that way b4 but your right WoW already had a gamer base from the start. However, seeing that Warcraft was never really as successful as Starcraft, using your argument i could say it was a safer bet to go with WoS instead. (which i really hope would actually happen XD) granted that the Tolkien mythos is more universally identifiable than a hulking spacemarine with a big gun across different cultures. But any how...Go RUNIC! looking forward to trying the MMOG. (Mythos reborn \o/)

 

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