Torchlight 2 vs. Diablo 3: Two Different Approaches to the ARPG


Page 1: Character Creation, Skills, Pace
Page 2: Loot, Trading, Replay Value, Music & Visuals
Page 3: Story, Endgame, Modding
Page 4: Multiplayer, PvP, Price, Final Thoughts


Ultimately, story does not have to be an integral part of the ARPG experience. However, both games do contain a story, so I will compare them.

TL2′s story exists solely to propel the action forward from quest to quest, act to act, without ever getting in the player’s way or slowing the pace of the game. In that sense, it succeeds in accomplishing its goal.

D3′s story is the driving force of the game, with full voice-acting and a bounty of cutscenes delivering a complete narrative experience throughout play. If you’ve read my full dissection of the game’s story, you know that I’m not particularly fond of it, but the reason myself and countless other players have taken issue with its clichéd plot elements and hackneyed dialogue is because the game places importance upon them by keeping them at the forefront.

From a narrative experience, D3 tells the better story, despite that story’s shortcomings. However, TL2 doesn’t place nearly as much importance on the story as D3, so its weaknesses aren’t cast under a spotlight.

Dialogue aside, D3′s cinematics are to Blizzard’s usual standards, in that they’ll leave you slack-jawed and drooling over the graphical goodness. TL2′s cinematics appear to be Flash cartoons that border on being amateurish.

Bottom line: If you’re not looking for a story, pick TL2. If you are looking for a story, regardless of its quality, pick D3. In fact, if you enjoy clichés, or have never read a story or seen a movie before, then definitely pick D3.


In an MMO, the “endgame” begins once your character has reached the highest level attainable, and many fans of the genre claim that that is when your experience with an MMO truly begins. For purposes of this comparison, we’ll dial back that definition to include everything you can do once you’ve beaten the final boss and completed your first playthrough.

Both D3 and TL2 allow you to play through the game again, with monsters scaled up in difficulty to provide a challenge. For D3, attempting to beat the game’s highest difficulty setting, Inferno, was intended to be an endgame challenge of its own. Once you reached the level cap of 60, players were meant to keep hunting for loot until they were powerful enough to make meaningful progress in Inferno, which was initially designed to take months to overcome.

However, in response to complaints about Inferno being too difficult, Blizzard mollified this difficulty level, which left players with no endgame other than to keep replaying content in order to find better loot so that they can keep replaying content in order to find better loot.

Blizzard then implemented the Paragon System, which kicks in at level 60 and provides an additional 100 “paragon levels” for players to gain, a goal that would take much longer to achieve than attaining level 60. A future patch will implement “the Infernal Machine,” a mechanic that will allow players to unlock a battle against two bolstered bosses.

As for TL2, beating the game unlocks the Map Room, an area in which you can purchase access to randomized dungeons of various levels of difficulty. According to Travis Baldree, this Map Room is a superior alternative to a bottomless dungeon, although such a dungeon could easily be modded into the game once the mod tools release.

Baldree further explained that modders will be able to create endgame content, which means that there’s no ceiling on the amount of unofficial endgame content TL2 will see.

Bottom line: If you want easy access to an unlimited number of random dungeons, pick TL2. If you want to hunt for an exceptionally rare encounter with especially difficult boss monsters, pick D3.


Diablo 3 does not support modding, even though the game’s technology makes it “the most moddable version of Diablo there’s ever been,” according to lead technical artist Julian Love. Speaking with Game Front at BlizzCon 2011, Love explained how other goals superseded modding — namely, providing a safe and secure experience for players to play in and trade items in.

Torchlight 2′s mod tools will be released in the near future and will make use of the Steam Workshop. The mod kit is designed to be a content generation tool and will allow players to create new classes, dungeons, monsters, quests, and more. Runic Games Vice President Marsh Lefler said on Reddit, “If you like Legos, you’re going to love our editor.”

Bottom line: If you like mods, pick TL2. If you don’t care for mods, pick D3.

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10 Comments on Torchlight 2 vs. Diablo 3: Two Different Approaches to the ARPG


On September 26, 2012 at 9:51 pm


Diablo 3 = One approach is broken and constantly need Nerfing/Buffing/Tweaking and is slaved to its RMAH/Online-Only ‘security’…

Torchlight 2 = One approach is the one we already know and love. And work fine right from the start…


On September 26, 2012 at 10:41 pm


Bravo… another example of troll trying to turning a solid attempt at a neutral breakdown of two games into another turf war.


On September 26, 2012 at 11:01 pm

I like Diablo 1 more. TOWN KILL ALL


On September 27, 2012 at 8:20 am

i alwase been a diablo 2 fan, so its torchlight 2 for me, All those WoW nerdz can go play D3 any time for all i care.


On September 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm

u can even alwase duel in torchlight 2 i tryed it with a friend yesterday it was very fun, at any time u can type /pvp and duel any 1 who has typed it /pvp, so No more PKers only Fun, diablo 3 dosent even have such a simple features as duels, why the *ucking a game that took 5 years to make dosent even have duels in it ? seriously diablo 3 is an epic fail. the game can last for a couple of months, but never even will it last a year, and 10 years ? U wish BLIZZARD. BURY THAT GAME DEEP so we never hear from it again, What a shame how could they ruin the game that could of been the Best on earth. instead they made it a WoW diablo version, what a *ucking joke i alwase hated WoW, and loved diablo 2, now i have to hate diablo 3, wow if some 1 had told me this 5 years ago, i would of said he was crazy, but now it happened, Epic Fail GG blizzard owned, Remake. (like we used to say in d2)


On September 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm

@ Devastator001

You’re welcome…

That ‘neutral breakdown’ would only try to make acceptable an unacceptable business practice of releasing a broken game, an artificially rigid DRM under cover of anti-piracy and/or RMAH protection and an overall greedy business practice… You can also add to that the complete lack of repect for the customers and the long time fans of the Diablo serie…


On September 28, 2012 at 11:48 pm

For a $20 indie-developed game to be compared to a $60 game created by a multi-million dollar company really says something about their own inherent qualities.


On September 30, 2012 at 9:03 am

Alright, so you didn’t read the article and you’re criticising it’s conclusions?
Seriously, read it. It might be neutral but the conclusion is: Diablo 3 has good points but, Blizzard sucks, Torchlight is more fun and costs less money.
Although it manages to imply it in the fairest of manners. Way better than making some ass comment about stuff everyone is saying. This is actually a quality article.
I won’t go so far has calling you a troll, I don’t believe you are, people on the internet throw that around way too often, but I do think you have preconceived notions born of laziness.


On October 22, 2012 at 12:42 am


Diablo 3 keep getting more refined every month

TL3 : Except for bug fixes and the mod tools I dont see this game growing past the point where it is now.

Ian Miles Cheong

On January 12, 2013 at 10:43 am

I honestly prefer Torchlight 2 because of the soundtrack.