If I do decide to pick this one up am I missing anything by skipping the first one?
Storywise, no, not really.
In a nutshell there's a big evil thing and after a bit of spelunking you kill it ;)
They've actually hired a writer for the second one, so I'm sure all the relevant plot points will be recapped.
Gamewise, yes, you'd miss one really good action-RPG.
Especially since the first one is often on sale on Steam for 10$ or even 5$ sometimes, I think it would really be a shame to pass it up at those ridiculously low prices.
I really liked Torchlight for what it was [a Diablo clone]. But imo the biggest thing to ruin Diablo was the multiplayer. The one positive aspect was that with all the hacked out characters you could get speed-levelled or given gear by some bored guy deleting his toons. And then you too could join the masses in the Cow Level or farming Mephisto on Nightmare.
Playing single allowed you to enjoy the game much closer to how the developers had intended I imagine.
Customizing characters is nice though. The biggest thing that stood out to me for Torchlight was the lack of anything to do at the end. At least Diablo had the cow level. Torchlight most of your skills scaled badly, relegating each character to 1 or 2 useful skills. And for all the trouble of actually attaining a full set of armor, they weren't even that useful.
I will, of course, buy any game which Matt Uelmen does the music.
That man has magic in his brain.
Can't wait for Torchlight 2, I just started playing the first game a few weeks back and I'm loving it.
Everything they've revealed so far sounds great, Torchlight's massive continous dungeon can get a tad claustrophobic at times, so outdoor environments are very welcome.
I love the look of the Railman too.
believe it or not, the lack of multiplayer in Torchlight wasnt my biggest issue with the game. What made me not like it very much is the terrible storyline, lack of customizing mechanics and bad loot system.
Without a decent story, for a game that needs one, will make or brake it...and this game was broken. It was almost non-existant. I didnt have any real drive to keep playing, it was just..really uninteresting. As for the loot system, it felt broken and unfinished. The upgrades occured FAR too often. There was little point in keeping anything because within seconds you would find something better and that to me just made everything i got feel unimportant.
The NPC that sells you armor/weapons always had stuff that was either absolute trash or extremely expensive stuff that you can never afford at the time that your viewing it. which creates an endless loop of never getting what you want from him that was any kind of decent. Thirdly, I thought the characters were kinda boring, maybe that's just me..but they didn't seem all that interesting to me to play. There is no lore behind them, no real story that they can connect to, they are just there for the sake of being there. Like they don't mean anything.
So...really..even IF it had multiplayer..for me at least, it wouldn't have made the game any better. So i sincerely hope that they are doing A LOT of changes in Torchlight 2 before I consider playing it.