Torchlight 2 & Diablo 3: It’s OK To Play Them Both
(This is another edition of </RANT>, a weekly opinion piece column on GameFront. Check back every week for more. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not reflect those of GameFront.)
Despite my full backing of gamers who have every right to be pissed off at Diablo III, I’m finding myself with a need to confess that, server launch issues aside, I’ve been having a complete and utter blast with Blizzard’s dungeon-crawling hack n’ slasher. There are some issues, of course. I find the way the gameplay has been tailored to funnel players through the Auction House to be a little tacky, and I’m worried about how Hell/Inferno mode forces classes to spam certain moves which Blizzard will then apparently nerf for being relied upon too much, but I can’t deny that I’ve spent well over forty hours in Sanctuary and I’ve largely enjoyed every moment. Except, of course, when I’m fighting teleporting mortar champions. Fuck all of their asses.
Unfortunately, it seems that I’m doing it wrong. See, real fans of loot-driven dungeon crawlers can’t like Diablo III, because Torchlight II is coming this Summer. As literally everybody on the Internet knows, you can’t enjoy one thing unless your fun is being had at the expense of something else. Hence, anybody playing Diablo III cannot enjoy Torchlight II, and anybody enjoying Torchlight II cannot enjoy Diablo III.
Well, have fun with that, boners. While you’re picking sides, I’m going to play both, and thus win at gaming.
See, here’s the revolutionary idea that not many people seem to have picked up on — the existence of one dungeon-crawling RPG does not negate the existence of another. With Diablo III, we’re getting a socially-driven, big-budget, blockbuster experience. With Torchlight II, we’ll get a more traditional experience, more rewarding to the individual gamer and far more comfortable for fans of the genre who know what they love and don’t want huge, scary changes. They are two different experiences, and they can be enjoyed individually, on their own merits, without one being played at the expense of the other. Yes, I know that to many of you, this “revelation” borders on patronizingly obvious, but you’d be surprised how novel the concept of playing both of these games seems to be.
Now, if you are strapped for cash and have to make a choice, then you’re obviously going to need to think about it. Do you want a very standard (but nonetheless well crafted) experience? Is it all about grinding for rare drops and making agonizing choices for you? Torchlight is your bag. Do you prefer the idea of interacting with friends, buying and sharing your loot, and having a more streamlined experience? Then Diablo has you covered. It’s amazing what variety in a genre can provide, huh? Astoundingly, not every single dungeon-crawling RPG has to play the exact same way.
Similarly, if you’re objecting to Diablo III on a matter of principal, then go for it! The always-on requirement is an understandable dealbreaker for some, and I’m not about to suggest you’re wrong for voting with your wallet if you care passionately enough about the DRM situation to make that sort of stand. There are good reasons to not want to buy Diablo III, but there are also good reasons to buy it, and I think people fail to realize that. As I said in a previous article about loving the games and hating the business, one can enjoy a game in spite of the looming industry bullshit that it’s chained to. It doesn’t mean you can’t hate what surrounds the art, and it doesn’t mean you can’t complain, but you’re not an asshole for buying a product you love.
More importantly, it doesn’t mean that you are excluded from buying another game. All these, “You should have waited for Torchlight II” arguments are rather asinine, as they imply everybody who picked up Diablo won’t be getting Runic Games’ upcoming sequel. It’s not even released yet. There’s nothing stopping a Diablo III player from getting it once it’s finally launched. In fact, playing Diablo III so extensively has made me more excited to get Torchlight when it arrives. It’s put me right back in the mood for the genre, and I can’t wait to jump right into Runic’s release after I’m done wearing Blizzard’s out. Trying to draw this “with us or against us” line in the sand, where everybody who buys from Blizzard is a traitor to Runic, seems a little bit silly, and while some will act like there’s a “one or none” choice in play, I think I’ll choose to play the pair of them, and get the best of everything. Because this is America, damn it, land of the brave eagle and the spirit of the war veterans, and I didn’t die in World War II so that my grandchildren would be restricted to one kind of role-playing game for all eternity.
Tell you what, I’m going to go play Heroes of Ruin when it’s out, too. Oh yes. You weren’t even thinking of that one, were you? Not only will I be rocking Diablo III and Torchlight II, I’ll be spending my moments on the toilet playing a dungeon crawler (with drop-in co-op) via my 3DS as well. Will I have spare time to do anything else? No! Will I be dead in a year because I spent all my time grinding for loot and no time doing anything else with my wretched hole of a life? Absolutely! But I’ll be winning at games, while everybody else is gating themselves up in their little territories, arbitrarily deciding that they can only play one game forever.
There are reasons to buy these games, and there are reasons to not buy them. There is, however, no reason to suggest that you can’t get both. Or, in fact, neither of them. Stop wielding Torchlight II as some sort of bitter weapon against Diablo III, because ultimately you’re doing the game a disservice. Enjoy it on its own merits, not out of petty vengeance against some other game you don’t like. Because that’s not enjoying games at all.