Lorzate completed Act 2 and got to level 39. He is still gaining levels really fast. His Forcefield skill is the real winner. Currently, it absorbs around 3000 damage with a full Charge bar. Even the toughest bosses can’t break through it. Act 2 went back to the traditional desert landscape that Diablo 2 & 3 had, but I really liked how Torchlight 2 is fully 3D with gorgeous sand dunes, ancient skeletons, and Zeryphesh ruins.
My luck finding unique items greatly increased this time. I found a total of 15 uniques in Act 2. Considering, I only found four in the first act, that is huge improvement. Only two were upgrades for my existing gear, but I see a lot of possibilities for the rest with other classes or builds.
Level 39 “Prominent” Engineer
Strength: 105 (+30%)
Dexterity: 5 (+0%)
Focus: 5 (+0%)
Vitality: 174 (+83%)
Damage: 287-458 (+139%)
Health: 3242 (+92%)
Mana: 95 (+8%)
Armor: 286 (+150%)
Block Chance: 47% (+47%)
As expected, huge improvements in Vitality, Health, and Armor but even my Damage went up a lot. Enemies are definitely doing more damage now. In Act 1 most enemies were hitting between 1 and 30. Now it is around 50-100, and that’s with a high armor build. Fortunately, his high Block Chance (a block negates 100% damage) and damage absorption skills keep him alive in any situation.
Thoughts on Skills
I unlocked a total of six skills this time. There are just three left to unlock.
Ember Reach – This skill is a harpoon attack. The Engineer pulls a single target to melee range. The target has a chance to be stunned based on the number of Charge points you have. After the first rank, the enemy is debuffed to take more damage. It’s nice to be able to pull spellcasters to melee range, but the real value is in the increased damage taken debuff. That makes it a great skill to interleave with other skills while fighting a boss. This debuff can increased even further with the tier bonuses.
Storm Burst – Storm Burst is basically a charge attack, but it has a number of nice bonuses. The enemies hit directly by the charge take damage, but the skill also releases a few bolts around your character that can hit enemies at range. In addition you can get a maximum of 25% mana pool regenerated based on the number of enemies hit. The damage is nice, but I think the mana regeneration is the real reason to take this skill. The base cooldown is only 2 seconds, reduced to 1 second with a tier bonus. Other tier bonuses increase the number of bolts and add a chance to immobilize enemies.
Shock Grenade – It’s nice to have a ranged skill for an Engineer. The skill does high electric damage in a small area. It also has a good chance to Stun and Shock enemies. I couldn’t tell what Shock did in the game. I think it might be explained on the tips during load screens, but I didn’t see one on Shock. However, searching the net I found Shocked enemies emit electricity to enemies around them. So this skill could have a big area if lots of enemies become Shocked. In Torchlight 2, monsters tend to be clumped up, so this skill could do some serious damage.
Fusillade – Fusillade is another cannon-only skill. I will have to make a build for cannons one day. This is a channeled skill that consumes mana as long as you hold down the button. Two rockets fire from the cannon and home in on the target. Tier bonuses increase the number of rockets per cast up to 6 and adds an area damage explosion when rockets hit. The only problem I see with this skill is the mana cost. You will need to chug potions or have to rely on other skills (Storm Burst, Healing Bot) for mana regen.
Tremor – I think of this skill as being similar to the Overload. Instead of doing damage though, this skill is about debuffing monsters. The base skill does knockback, interrupt, and adds a “increased damage taken” debuff to monsters. Tier bonuses can further add a chance to Flee, 20% reduced damage done by monsters, and a 2 second Stun. Tremor also does a little damage, but only if you have a Charge point. In this case it only consumes one Charge point. Without Charge points, you can still debuf the monsters with all these status effects. In general, Tremor will work best with high damage area skills. Lock them in place with Tremor, then melt them away with area damage skills.
Fire Bash – This alternative to Shield Bash is all about damage. Shield Bash does do some damage, but it is best used to generate Charge points and Stun enemies. Fire Bash does about 3 times as much damage and in a bigger area. This is increased even further if you have any Charge points. It does not consume Charge points but does triple damage when you have any. That’s roughly 9 times as much damage as Shield Bash. The last tier bonus is the best. Enemies get a debuff for 50% more fire damage while burning. Hit them with Shield Bash to give your other Fire skills more damage. The other two tier bonuses increase the damage and the size of the arc enemies can take damage in.
Healing Bot 9
Seismic Slam 9
Shield Bash 8
Flame Hammer 1
Fire and Spark 1
Sword and Board 1
Aegis of Fate 1
I am ignoring the skills with 1 point right now and focusing on getting the other 5 skills maxed first. Because of level requirements, I haven’t been able to max any of the skills yet. They may be in the next character update, but the skills are starting to require higher levels with each point spent in them. I might have to spread some points into the currently 1 point skills until I meet the level requirements to max out the higher rank skills.
My basic “rotation” right now is Seismic Slam to stun and burn enemies. I follow this up with Shield Slam to build up at least one Charge point. Finally, I use Forcefield for protection. For the remainder of the fight, I use Seismic Slam every 5 seconds for the burn damage and Shield Slam whenever I need Charges for Forcefield.
The damage absorption of Forcefield lasts so long it seems like the damage may be reduced first by Lorzate’s Armor before being absorbed. It also seems like Blocks still happen with Forcefield up. This may not be the case. It is hard to tell in the game. The monsters just don’t seem to break it very often. If this were true it would mean Lorzate’s Armor reduces the monster damage to 50-100, and then it’s absorbed, instead of the Forcefield having to absorb the full 300 damage. Likewise, blocked attacks would do no damage to the Forcefield. I did some searching but didn’t find an answer.
Armor/Trinket: +12 Vitality
Weapon: +20% Critical Damage
That’s a great weapon bonus for a high critical build, most likely Outlander or Berserker. For my tank, I feel like I have enough Vitality, so I did not socket this gem. The Vitality would be great for an Embermage that needs a little bit more protection though.
I found both the Emberheart Guantlets and Bulwark’s Eye from gambling. In the gloves and shield slots I had not found an upgrade through the entire act. The vendors in town didn’t have any good gear, so I spent some of my gold on gambling. The NPC for gambling is unlocked in Act 2 once you finish a sidequest. I also gambled for a better helm, but unfortunately didn’t get any uniques. I did get one with high armor and health, but it was only a rare.
I feel like my health pool is pretty good, so I don’t need too much Vitality on my items. Instead I just want high armor and resists. Vitality does increase armor and resists, but you have to have some base armor and resists for it to increase. That means they need to be balanced. Since I put a lot of points in Vitality for this build, I don’t need so much from items. I just need a good base of armor and resists for the Vitality to multiply.
The Treesapper unique axe I got in the last character update ended up getting replaced by the end of Act 2. I was able to equip it at level 25, but around level 35 I found a rare sword with much better damage. That’s just what happens when you are gaining levels fast.
Act 2 was actually bigger than Act 1. I was happily surprised to see this. During the beta I could finish all of Act 1 in just 3 or 4 hours. I was worried the game would be too short. With the live game the first act ended up being a little longer at 6 hours, maybe because of my low damage, tank build. The second act went up to 10 hours. I am expecting Act 3 to be about the same 10 hours.
Like Act 1, Act 2 had two big overworld areas. They were even bigger than Act 1 though. The areas still had about the same number of dungeons, about 5 each. Act 1 had green meadows and snowy fields; Act 2 went back to the traditional desert. This really is a tradition in the hack ‘n slash genre now. Diablo 2, Diablo 3, and now Torchlight 2.
One thing I’ve noticed is that the environments are much more 3D than Diablo 3 areas. Diablo 3 has the same exact camera position throughout the whole game. They take advantage of this with high quality 2D objects. Since the camera can’t turn around, these objects look extremely high detailed while using very low resources. Torchlight 2 on the other hand is a fully 3D world. All the objects are 3D (mostly low polygon), and I’ve found the camera perspective changes when you go into different dungeons and areas, or even as you move from one area to the next. It’s a different style, but I like things about both approaches.
The more I play this game, the more I am enjoying it. It is panning out just how I expected. While I like multiplayer in Diablo 3 more, Torchlight 2 is where it’s at for solo play. The drop rates are perfect. You get upgrades constantly on your own without needing an auction house. The only downside is the limited respecs. I am hoping someone comes out with a mod that adds full respecs to the game.
Next week I will have hopefully finished Act 3. I think Lorzate will gain around 15 levels putting him at level 54. Torchlight 1’s story ended around level 25-30. Torchlight 2 ending around level 55-60 is a huge improvement. Slogging through levels 30-100 in Torchlight 1’s infinite dungeon got tedious really fast. Only having to gain 40 or so levels after beating the game is much more manageable.
I’m getting into the swing of things now. I know how my skills work. I’ve got a good understanding of the stats system now. The only unknown is what items I will find in the future and whether I can level all the way to 100 with this unoptimized build. I am getting the feeling that most builds will work in this game; it just may be harder with certain builds than others.