After being announced in 2018 as Torchlight: Frontiers, falling off the radar for a bit, and then resurfacing earlier this year as a proper numbered sequel, Torchlight III is out today for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. If you’ve played the first two—or, hell, any fantasy-themed action role-playing game—you know what to expect. Still, there are some tricks that might not be immediately apparent.
Many side-quests in Torchlight 3, including some of the tutorial missions, are time-tested fetch quests. You know how it works: Head to the wheresit to collect three whatsits, which you can get from the corpses of whosits. To your chagrin, you might find that you’ve cleared the wheresit of whosits and not found all of the whatsits you need. Merely exiting the wheresit and hopping back in won’t cause the whosits to respawn, though, so you’ll have to find a workaround.
The easiest way to do so is to teleport back to your fort or, if you haven’t unlocked that yet, Trevail Point. You can do this from pretty much anywhere, at any time, by tapping right on the D-pad. That’ll open up a menu, which you can then use to plop down a portal where you’re standing. (Heads up: Each time you do this, you’ll destroy your original portal.)
By and large, regions on the map can be filtered into two categories: areas in which you fight, and areas in which you chill. The chill areas are mere pathways between the exciting areas, and serve as little more than sidewalks for your teleporting fort to claim some real estate. Torchlight III’s map alternates between the two area types, creating an illusion that Novastraia is way larger than it really is. So, even though you discover your fort in Trevail Passage, you’ll come across it at every pathway area. Keep that in mind as you teleport around. It’ll help keep you grounded.
Even on single-player, when you open your inventory, skill list, or map, enemies can still attack you. Be careful!
At first blush, Torchlight III seems like it’s locked in a zoomed-out, isometric perspective. Sadly, you can’t rotate the camera. But you can zoom in. By pushing forward or back on the right thumbstick (on PS4, at least), you can turn this:
Torchlight III showers you in gear. When you get bored of old gear—which will happen on the minute, every minute, at least in the early levels—you can dispose of it in one of three ways. You can dismantle it, which grants you no benefits. You can sell it for gold, which the game gives you lots of anyway. Or you can feed it to the Luck Tree.
The Luck Tree is an optional kiosk you can build in your fort that can permanently increase your chances of finding gear. All you have to do is “sacrifice” your unwanted items to your Luck Tree. As you sacrifice needless gear, the tree will grow from a sprout into a sapling and all the way through the rest of the deciduous growth chart. The more your Luck Tree grows, the greater your Gear Luck stat will grow, meaning more gear will drop.
Yeah, you’re basically trading in your gear to get better gear to trade in so you can get better gear, ad infinitum. But isn’t that what Torchlight is all about?
Your inventory can hold just 20 pieces of equipment, which fills up quickly. But your pet also has an inventory of equal size. By hovering over any piece of gear and tapping the square button, you can send it to your pet. What’s more, you can equip anything directly from their stash. And if you swap out your pet, the loot will automatically pass hands. For all intents and purposes, your pet is basically a bonus inventory expansion.
That said, it can help to think of your pet as less of an extra bag and more of a trash bag. I like to go through my inventory and send all my useless swords and shields to my pet. That way, when I’m at my fort, I can run over to the Luck Tree and immediately know what I want to sacrifice, without having to carefully comb through my inventory.
In any role-playing game, it’s natural to fret over what class you want to play. Torchlight III has four catch-all classes: the Dusk Mage, the Forged, the Sharpshooter, and the Railmaster. The Mage and the Sharpshooter are exactly what you’d expect, while the Forged, an automaton of sorts, serves as the sword-and-shield class. The Railmaster, meanwhile, is a bruiser who comes with what can only be described as a “murder train,” which seriously amused our own Mike Fahey. All four classes are equally viable.
You can customize your character by choosing one of five relics—permanent items that give your character access to a third, element-based skill tree. Coldheart, for instance, gives you access to ice powers, while Electrode can allow your character to harness the power of electricity. All five of these are equally viable, too.
At first, it can be a bit overwhelming. Which class matches best with which relic? What if you want to switch? What if you pick a bad one? Chill and just go with your gut. You’ll quickly get a handle on how each class and relic works. If you like Torchlight III, you’ll probably end up juggling multiple characters. Levels come at a rapid pace, and each skill tree expands with every five levels. To make the most of the hack-and-slash combat system, you’ll want to dip your toes into each class and see what suits your fancy. You can switch and create new characters at any time, a process made painless by the fact that your fort is a shared space for everyone you might play as. The fort has a stash, too, in case you find a sweet mace that would be a better fit for your Railmaster than for your Sharpshooter.
Face it: When you play these sorts of games, whether it’s Diablo or Destiny or anything in between, even though you might have several characters in your roster, you’ll naturally gravitate toward one over the others. There’s no shame. It’s not like you’re choosing a favorite child!
Torchlight III’s thin story might not be enough to carry you to the end, but your favorite character—leveling them up, messing around with stats, tweaking gear loadouts to perfection—likely will. That grind is the core thrust of Torchlight III. You’ll get a hand on whether or not a character resonates with you by the time you’re halfway through Novastraia’s first large area of three, the Goblin Forest. Once you find one that clicks, see how far you can take them. Rolling new characters is fun, but treading the same starting grounds over and over again can get old. Get out there and see the whole world.