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The Digital Continuum: Torchlight my fire

Kyle Horner

For the past week I've been delving deep into the dungeons of Runic Games' Torchlight and found the experience to be nothing short of joyous. Granted, like many other people I also wish some kind of co-op shipped with the game (even over LAN) but thankfully the developer's next project will be an MMO built upon the foundation laid down by last week's release.

My joy for this game most definitely bleeds into its MMO incarnation, which has led to far too much thinking on additions I'd like to see made. So this week, I'm going to get them all off my chest in the hopes that I'll stop obsessing over them. Of course, there's never a guarantee with these things.

Importance of names

Man, what are they going to call this thing? Torchlight Online? Heroes of Torchlight? Tales of Torchlight? There's a ton of possibilities to consider; most not so great as to warrant too much thought.

The problem is that Runic really needs to build on the name of Torchlight while also having a unique name for their new MMO that isn't, well, silly. It dawned on me recently that much of the story behind the game deals with a magical resource known as Ember. To me, ember evokes a visual of several small dim lights in spread throughout darkness -- which one could associate with an MMO. So, how about Emberlight? It's both similar and related to the original title with an added bonus of sounding pretty cool, if you ask me.

More classes, please

The three classes offered in Torchlight come equipped with sumptuous abilities to unlock and level up. There's no doubt that much fun awaits within their meaty skill trees, but frankly it's not going to be enough for an MMO crowd. These are the people who hit level caps in a month flat. They're like slavering content predators circling fresh patches and expansions the moment it slides out of development steaming hot, wet and seeping with glistening juices.

I love how Torchlight's three classes can each specialize in a skill tree that transforms them into any other class. This blends well with the ability for any class to utilize any weapon -- yes, even the burly tank can dual wield wands. For the MMO, I'd love some more granularity. Adding a necromancer class, but allowing for a battle necromancer or a pet necromancer would bring much glee to my already quivering heart. Oh, and something that expands on the Alchemist with his cool mechanical glove!

Expanding pets

The pet in Torchlight is awesome, because he's so very useful. Indeed, I love my dog because he can hold items, run them to a vendor while I continue to fight and even cast spells all on his own. Something else I enjoy is the ability to feed my pet fish to transform him into a huge swath of monsters with boosted abilities.

What would really light my fuse is the ability to both level and 'evolve' my pet, which does creep slightly into Poke'mon territory, but risks be damned! Functionally, it doesn't need to be super deep to begin with -- just something allowing me to know my pet will become more awesome looking as well as performing. A visual cue goes a long way to help promote a sense of progress in games.


I know the functionality will be there, it's the degree to which it will be there that I've been pondering. A strong sense of community always helps flow life-giving blood into the veins of a newborn MMO. My personal favorites are guild levels, guild PvP and guild housing. Beyond that I'm usually okay so long as all the standard features are there; basically what you see in World of Warcraft, more or less.

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