A blog-post about nothing in particular

I’m bored. And tired. Tired and bored; and bored and tired. And sick and tired. But mostly bored, so I’m writing about whatever is on my mind and won’t stick to one subject here.

Fuck Kyle Rittenhouse

I’ve been following the Kyle Rittenhouse case. In case you don’t know, 17 year old white boy Kyle took an assault rifle to a protest in a different state to his own in the US, during the protests for the death of George Floyd, and there, he shot three people. Then, he claimed self defence, and was found not guilty of all charges.

I find it really difficult to take their verdict seriously, and, much like my disbelief in all religions without reading their religious texts… No, I don’t need to have witnessed the court proceedings. I don’t need to know the details to be able to come to a reasonable conclusion. Here’s why… He was there. Right smack bang in the middle of the protests, right when many alt-right white supremacist militias had been known to be causing trouble, 17 year old Kyle was there, in a crowd he obviously regarded not only as the enemy, but as a racist, he would have seen them as inferior… as not even human. The fact that he was there openly with a gun is all I need to know. In my mind, the case should have been about figuring out his intent. Was he there to taunt protesters into attacking him so that he could “defend” himself, or was he really so stupid that he thought his mere presence with a weapon would intimidate people? If it’s the former, he’s guilty of murder; if the latter, manslaughter. Judging by his defence, it looks very much like the former. Either way he is guilty. Everything else is political spin.

And somehow, the takes I’ve seen on Facebook are divided almost exclusively by the political views of the people who write them. Almost, with one disturbing difference. It’s easier to express this as a bulleted list…

  • Progressives: This was a travesty of justice. He went there to hunt people.
  • Conservatives: Justice was served. Those who disagree are politically motivated.
  • Some (white) progressives: Looking at the facts (that came up in court), claim that other progressives “don’t know the details” and they agree with the conservatives.

Both the second and third groups are suddenly experts on self defence. The second group also accept some strange smear campaign against the victims. The other main difference between the two points of view is that those saying he got away with murder express empathy for the victims, and a justifiable concern that this will lead to a precedent where armed men can freely intimidate/murder protesters without consequences, while those who say justice has been served spend much time making personal attacks against the other side.

I have no stake in this argument… although, full disclosure, I lean pretty hard to the left. But the thing is, for me the logical side is to go against the side that engages in personal attacks against their opponents and smear campaigns against the deceased. Emotionally, I’m on the side of the protesters, of BLM, and the victims (of Rittenhouse). And by common sense, I am of course opposed to the emotionally immature guy who took a gun to a protest, to “protect property”. How do I put this? Someone needs to go and defend themselves against Rittenhouse. Permanently. I’m over here in South Africa and I feel threatened.

I have one question? Would all these sudden experts in self defence like to spend some time on other cases? There are many. Women incarcerated for murdering their sexual abusers; graves of black children killed by police for holding guns they didn’t even have, who died without even a chance to defend themselves; and lastly there are other well publicized cases where people were murdered by police in their own homes. If you can seriously see this as self defence and ignore all those other cases, you are just flat out wrong. There is no debate here. I refuse to engage with anyone on Rittenhouse’s side, and although I originally intended to post screenshots of their memes and statuses, I decided against it. Their point of view doesn’t deserve any platform. Fuck them.

Edit: I am amazed though…more like aghast at what I’m seeing online. People posting things like, “Rittenhouse found not guilty. Thank goodness sanity has prevailed”, and claiming that anyone who disagrees is “politically motivated”. Um, no. Sanity has not prevailed. You have it backwards, you racist trash. (The colour of his victims doesn’t matter either. They were BLM allies.) These people are unable to see past their own bias and the irony is palpable. If I go into someone’s house, and threaten them – then they try to fight me off, I can’t kill them and claim self defence. Likewise Rittenhouse did not belong where he was, and we should take anything claimed by his defence with a generous pinch of salt. Also if this protest was such a dangerous place to be, how come Rittenhouse was the only one to shoot anybody?

I don’t know the source of this, but it sums things up nicely.


Wow. OK, after that, I feel bad to write about anything else, but this post was meant to be a general one… not about anything in particular.

Diablo 2 > Diablo 3

It is though. They released Diablo 2 Resurrected back towards the end of September, and I bought it at the start of October. I’ve been playing it almost every day, and even though the main change is simply the graphics, which are amazing by the way, the game itself, even though it may be a 20 year old game engine, is far superior to Diablo 3. The only thing I miss is Diablo 3’s bottomless potion system. My amazon spends far too much time time trekking back to town to buy potions. But otherwise, the game is way better, way more engaging, and more fun. Of course it lacks end game content like rifts, but I have never finished Hell difficulty so that doesn’t matter yet.

My level 77 sorceress is stuck. I can’t even get past some low level zombies on the very first level of Hell difficulty, as they are completely immune to my main attack, and almost completely immune to my backup skill – such that they instantly kill my mercenary and then have me running around in circles like an idiot, barely able to hurt them. But I can get a tiny bit of XP doing Baal runs in nightmare difficulty, enough to slowly level up and try to make my backup attack better, but it’s painful. Thus I made a new character, an amazon, and gift her some awesome bows and things found by my sorceress. My amazon, who uses an amazing skill (strafe) shooting 10 arrows at a time, wipes out everything. She will probably always be OP since her attack combines physical as well as all elemental attacks, so she’s a lot more fun to play… apart from constantly having to buy new mana potions.

I hope they do a good job on Diablo 4, making it similar to Diablo 2, while taking some of the good bits out of Diablo 3…  either a pet (that can go to town like the Torchlight games), or a bottomless potion system with cooldown delay. But those are practically the only good parts of Diablo 3, other than rifts for end game content, which will in any case be unnecessary if the game world is big enough.

Another follow-up on Torchlight 3

Since I wrote about this game before here and here

There was a recent update to the game, and other than adding a new class, the Cursed Captain, they did fix most of the bugs I mentioned before, so I might as well update my review.


That’s what my two multiplayer characters look like. I’ve now played through the game a few times, with three characters in single player, and then these two, the new one still in progress in multiplayer. So with the exception of Lucretia, all my characters have finished the campaign, and played all 251 levels of end game content. “Endless dungeons”  that end.

As mentioned, they have fixed bugs. The worst of which by far was the disappearing pet. Well, your pet no longer disappears. That’s a big one. My game also no longer hangs when my pet uses its skills. I just play, and had almost forgotten about the frequent freezes. The game is more or less stable now, but for connectivity issues and the occasional crash on my XBox One.
(I play both on XBox and PC. I hadn’t realized before, but since I purchased it on XBox via the store, I have the option of installing it on PC too. I just connect an Xbox controller via USB cable and the gameplay is identical.)

Level 251 of the “endless dungeons” was one where the pet almost always disappeared. That one involves Ordrak, the main boss of the game, but in a match that will land you with loot with +118% statistics. That and the previous level can be fun to grind if you’re looking for better items, but 251 especially is better with your pet, so Ordrak has another target.

One of my original complaints was having more skills than key bindings, but that was on me, at least for the dusk mage. I learned from that and chose a better relic for my multiplayer dusk mage, plus I only bother with a single relic skill, which in all my characters other than the cursed captain, is a finishing move. FYI, you can respec anything, but you can’t choose a different relic, which you do on character creation. So until you know which relic you prefer playing, you have to experiment.

The new character class is pretty cool – being a throwback to a pirate character you encounter in Torchlight 2. I really like my cursed captain, but it has one major problem that will affect me in end game play, and I’m not there yet. I’ll cover that in a bit…

The major problem with this game is lousy end game content. Only 251 levels and then, that’s it. You’re done. The story looks like it was left open for another act to be added, so maybe there will eventually be a 4th act, but who knows how long that will be? They really could have made more levels, something similar to Diablo 3 rifts. But they didn’t.

Of the many game attributes you get in the end game levels, there are two that are particularly annoying. Well, the first one here especially.

  1. Angered Ancestors. This one sucks. It isn’t difficult but it is extremely annoying. You get pursued by a spirit, with a maelstrom like swirling wind force “blowing” around it. You can’t kill it. It is indestructible. If it gets to you, you are slowed down, and quickly die. You have to run up and down on the various levels, getting it to follow you to a part of the map you already completed, then hurry to the other side of the map, kill one or two enemies before it catches you again. And so on.
  2. Shifting Shackles. This one is difficult, but how difficult depends on the character class. (Cursed Captain, you’re fucked.) One random skill is disabled every 3 minutes.

Here’s the thing: None of my characters, except for my cursed captain, use the basic attack. That is, they all rely on class specific attacks, and they all (Dusk Mage, Sharp Shooter, and Forged) have a decent backup skill. So if my main attack or favourite finishing move is disabled, I’m still fine. But not the Cursed Caption. I rely on basic attack with a gun or rifle, or cannon. In fact, it is the most powerful of all my attacks, combining two legendary skills that cause it to shoot poison and spirits with every attack. Lucretia is my most overpowered character of all. But when it gets to the end game, and I’m close to finishing act 3, I’m probably going to get stuck, or have to respec until I find a decent backup skill. Right now, I don’t have one.

So maybe it’s just me, but there doesn’t seem to be a good class-specific attack skill for the cursed captain to be able to use continuously. You have to rely on basic attack, which will be a problem at end game level with “shifting shackles”. Only a problem if you play to the end game content of course…

I have two bits of advice for Torchlight 3 players:

  1. Use the mapwork scrolls you find. Use them while you are still playing the campaign.
  2. Only make lifebound items if you have a backup item.

The reason for this is simple: The levels you play after campaign give you much better items than you can get from those mapwork scrolls. Thus the mapwork scroll levels are too easy for playing in end game play. But during campaign mode, they will typically give you levels the same as your character, which most likely will be more difficult levels than the story levels you’re playing. Grind them to get better gear so that campaign mode is more fun. The same goes for phase portals. Play them – if you see a phase beast, kill it and play the level through the portal. You get much better gear than from the campaign levels.

The reason for my second bit of advice is that if you grind mapworks levels and phase portals, you can die and if you have lifebound items, you lose them. Lifebound items are great when you, for example, find 2 similar weapons and use a lifebound scroll to add bonuses to one, knowing that if you die, you still have a good backup item.

Happy hacking and slashing…

Oh… one more thing.

The only other major bug still present in the game is the unfinishable levels. (The one I previously called “not enough spiders” or sarcastically “too many spiders”.)

Any level, via mapworks or the Fazeer Shah’s “endless” levels, where you have to collect a certain number of items, or fight a specific boss on the level, might spawn with less than the requisite items, or minus the boss. It’s really annoying but it happens, where you play the whole level, mapping it completely and killing every enemy, but you can’t finish it and progress. It happens mostly with collecting items, and it happens reasonably often at end game level.

And lastly… I need a new keyboard. Excuse me but I’m tired of looking for all the missing S characters. I think I found most of them, hopefully, but I can only read the same post back so many times.

Too many spiders–a follow-up to my review of Torchlight 3

I’m writing this as a follow-up to this post where I reviewed Torchlight 3…

I’m still playing the game, having gotten much further in the genie challenge levels. The name of the challenge level where you normally don’t get enough of the item required to complete the level, is “Silky Threads”. The requirements for this level are to kill spiders and collect 3 “silky webbing”, but normally, you either don’t get enough spiders, or any of the other item at all. The level often gets generated with the +50% gear luck or chance for monsters to drop “essences” with a legendary essence from the level boss – which are used for enchanting items, so I tend to play it anyway, but it is annoying to clear the level and then be unable to complete the challenge.

There are other glitches besides the ones I mentioned in the last review, such as:

  1. Another level that can’t always be completed. I don’t remember the name, but it is one where you have to kill melee and ranged spiders. (Yes, spiders again.) And for some reason, there aren’t enough melee spiders.
  2. The pet sometimes doesn’t disappear, but gets stuck at the start of the level, with infinite health. This confuses bosses on a boss level, because they switch between fighting you and your sitting duck pet, but overall this is still a disadvantage because on other levels, the pet is stuck at the start of the level, with no enemies around.
  3. There’s a boss level where the boss sometimes accidentally teleports off the map, and doesn’t return. You can still hit him with a ranged attack, but it only does partial damage, so it is possible to finish the level, but it takes long.

Still, I can’t emphasize enough how much I like the combat system in this game. It is engaging and fun, and makes the game playable despite the bugs. I just hope they fix them and make it more fun soon. (Most urgently I would say is the performance issues related to instantiating pets, which leads to the game freezing. Use an object pool or something – you could probably get away with having ten generic pets always in memory, and just convert them to specific ones with some sort of utility methods. I mean, how different are they really to each other? A pet is a pet, they all have the same properties and up to 4 skills of the same type, and just need to be rendered differently due to the values of some properties.) There might be a memory leak there somewhere as well, as the game gets more sluggish when played for hours.

Short comparison with Diablo 3 follows…

I spent some time last night playing the annual “Darkening of Tristram” event in Diablo 3, having never played it before, and I had to do so carefully with my fairly new hardcore character (having killed off my old one six months before in a moment of stupidity) in Torment 16, and this reminded me just how good the AI and combat system is of Torchlight 3. My main tactic of Diablo 3, and it isn’t really a tactic but is quite brainless, is running around and shooting all the time using Strafe/Vengeance and ridiculously high cooldown and resource cost reductions, with the “Embodiment of the Marauder” set, doing something like +60 000% base damage. That means my demon hunter auto aims, so there is little to no engagement at all. I am bound simply by the hit points of my enemies and must grind until they die.

A couple of years ago, I allowed my then 5 year old stepdaughter to play my character. I could allow her to play a hardcore character, simply by going down to a lower Torment difficulty. There is no way I could get away with that in Torchlight 3. She’d kill my character in seconds. In Torchlight, I stick to normal difficulty, and have to actually engage with the enemies – none of that auto aim bullshit.

In last night’s darkening of Tristram event, to my surprise in level 16 of the labyrinth, the “Dark Lord” himself was so easy to play, because I just stood on the other side of a doorway. Every time he attacked with his fire breathe or whatever it is called, I simply stood to the side behind the wall. And he didn’t follow me through the doorway. That wouldn’t happen in Torchlight, where the enemies are smart enough to follow you.

So again, Torchlight 3 is fun and engaging. I am loving playing it and looking for better legendary items to improve my character, despite the bugs.

A Torchlight III review

You won’t normally read game reviews here; that’s because I’m not much of a gamer. I suck at most games, except for one obscure game a few years ago called Atomic Bomberman, way back in Windows 95, which for some reason I could not lose, and action RPG games like Diablo. By “like Diablo” I mean that’s the only game I normally play, be it the original years ago, or Diablo 2 or 3, and Torchlight 2 which I played for several years on PC.

The last season of Diablo 3 has not been as fun as I expected, and I’m still waiting for Diablo 4, so after hearing it was released, I bought myself Torchlight 3 for Christmas. And here is my run-down of the game for anyone else into action RPG (isometric view Diablo clones)…

The game has a lot of problems. A lot. So I’ll say upfront that I do still find it fun to play, but also annoying. Since there are so many issues, I’ll put the good stuff first.

The good

For anyone who doesn’t know, Torchlight 3 is a dungeon trawler. You choose one of 4 classes, and go straight into it… trawling various levels, looting for better armour and weapons, and levelling up.

The AI is smart. If you have line of sight to some enemies on a map with twists and turns, and you shoot them, they will immediately approach and engage you en masse, navigating whatever passages and bridges, twists and turns necessary to reach you. It feels like the enemies are real little characters engaging with you. Unlike Diablo 3, where they’re just a bunch of sprites doing generic animations and movements depending on their class type, somewhere in your general direction, these enemies feel like they’re real, and smart. This keeps the game engaging and fun.

The look is deliberately cartoonish, but that has its charm. Each enemy has their own look and feel, and their own sound effects. Attention to detail here makes them entertaining and cool. The enemies have character. The goblins, for example, are cute little buggers. You almost feel guilty when blowing them to smithereens.

It took me just a few days to finish story mode in single player (I only play single player), and then this unlocked the more difficult levels. A genie, one of the characters from the story mode of Torchlight 2, appears, and he gives you more challenging levels. Although your level caps at 60, the items get more and more powerful in the higher difficulties. The levels get progressively more difficult, and you have to deal with some interesting buffs and debuffs, both for yourself and the enemies. Some of them are really tough, but that keeps the game interesting and engaging.

(I’ve only played normal difficulty. I’m referring to the more challenging levels here rather than game difficulty. So far I see no reason to switch to a different global difficulty setting.)

Continuing from Torchlight 2, you get a pet, now multiple pets, although only one can be active at a time. The pet is useful for fighting on your side, traveling to town to sell excess items when your inventory is full, and buying potions. (There are some problems with pets. Some are design flaws, which I’ll mention in “the bad”, and some are bugs, which I’ll mention in “the bugly”.)

The bad

The story is not properly fleshed out. It feels unfinished. Gameplay in story mode is a little weird. You get a fort but don’t really know why you need it, and only start using its features after you finish story mode, when you get access to things that improve your gear luck, allow you to enchant items and get extra affixes and bonuses, and so on.

There are no open levels. Not even one. Torchlight 2 had plenty of open levels that contained many sub-levels. All the levels in Torchlight 3 contain sections with passages and twists and turns, but none of them are open, although there are sublevels aplenty. This goes together with the unfinished story mode… in Torchlight 2 there were other interesting levels that were part of the story, for example the tower of several sublevels, with a boss fight on the roof. No such levels exist in Torchlight 3.

All boss levels are similar. You start with a short passage, then warp to the small boss area. No variety such as the boss level on top of the tower as mentioned in the previous paragraph. The difficulty of boss levels is determined by the size of the boss area, the skills of the boss, the number of minions it can summon, and whether or not there is anything to run around and use for cover on the level. Although some are smaller and more challenging, you can use the same tactic in more than 90% of all boss levels… just run around in circles and hit the boss with your main or secondary skills until it dies.

There are three acts in story mode, but it isn’t made too clear when you’re about to finish the first act, and there isn’t much of an intro to the second act. The system for navigating between waypoints is also cumbersome and scrolls left to right across the screen for all three, instead of just showing you the current act/town. Additionally it isn’t clear which waypoint is selected, and you can easily warp to the wrong one by mistake.

In story mode, sometimes your fort appears in a passage that joins 2 levels of the game, in a pseudo-level that does show on the map as well. What isn’t made clear though, is that you need to explicitly click the waypoint on that level as you walk along to the next level, or you can’t return to it in the next game. Some levels have waypoints that are hard to find, and all levels respawn all the enemies when you save and resume (and seemingly random other times too), so you really need to click that waypoint, but you won’t always remember to do so. Then after you save and exit, it can be difficult to find your way back to where you should be.

Your pet gets many skills to choose from, that you can assign to its 4 skill slots, but the way you acquire new pet skills is unexpected. When you fight bosses, sometimes you get a new pet, and they have random skills. So getting new pets will eventually get you all the pet skills, until you max out your pets at 50, at which time you can simply release some of them.

This probably isn’t a problem on PC, but on XBox One where I play it, there are too many skills and not enough key bindings. You start with a “relic” skill which is all but useless because it never has any charge, until later in the game when it is still useless because by then you avoided putting many skill points into it anyway. In any event, keys to use the skills are bound in order of left to right as they appear on the screen, when you assign the skills points and unlock skills in your skill tree, which is the same as being quite random. You have more skills than hot keys and it isn’t clear which ones to use. I ended up putting enough points into the “light skills” on my dusk mage to max them out, and they work really well, at least the ones that I actively use. I did have to stop and rearrange my skill keys completely at one stage though, and I’m always amused when I get levels with relic debuffs because I almost never use my relic skills anyway.

The potions are quite messed up. There’s only one key binding to take potions, but you get 4 different types of potions, which go into your inventory in 4 piles of 5. So you can only carry a maximum of 20 potions. Only the health potions are necessary – you can ignore the other types. But… if you accidentally pick up one of the others while playing, they lock that potion slot in your inventory to that type of potion. And thus you limit the number of health potions you can actually carry. Also if you run out and pick up, say an antidote potion, your potion hotkey will suddenly be bound to antidote instead of health. This happened to me often in story mode – because I don’t grind in story mode; I played the most recently reached level in the story and ran out of gold right the way through, so I constantly ran out of potions as I didn’t have enough gold to buy more. I’m only accumulating a lot of gold and always have 20 potions after having finished story mode with my first character. I haven’t yet checked if the gold is shared, so it might be easier for subsequent characters. (I’m not starting another class yet… still having fun making my first one overpowered and blasting my way through higher challenge levels.)

Although the pet can go to town to sell items and buy potions, it can only sell items from one slot of your inventory. Once you start getting item recipes (for enchanting) you get duplicates, but you have to go to town yourself to get rid of those, unless you’re happy to simply destroy them. There’s no reason for this – it’s just poorly designed.

As you play, you receive “fame” and get rewards, but the fame system is baffling and completely beyond my understanding. It always seems to be around 40 to 50, with 333 levels on the progress bar until the next level. Mine currently displays level 11, which is around 160 I think, which displays on the screen when I receive my rewards. That 160 level only displays in a popup window when getting rewards, and I can’t find it or make any sense of my current level displayed, which seems to always be between 40 and 50. And the progress bar is just showing how far you are between your current levels. You can also switch between different fame “contracts”. Fuck knows why, but since I’m still getting rewards in the first contract, I’m sticking to that for now.

… So yeah… My fame is 11 in the header, 49 in the box next to the progress bar, some value around 300 in the progress itself, and around level 160 when I reach the next fame level to get rewards. So what is my actual fame? No one knows.

The bugly

Your pet sometimes disappears. I don’t mean it went to town or fled for two minutes due to taking damage; it just vanishes completely. You have to go to your fort and switch your active pet, then switch back again to have it reappear. (But you can only freely warp to town or your fort in story mode, which is a tiny proportion of the time you’re meant to play this game.) But there are some levels that you can’t play without your pet disappearing. No pet means that you can’t get more potions, unless you find them. Actually “potion luck” is an enchantment affix, and with over 30% for it, my character does pick up potions… but the pets’ main uses are to fight and distract the enemies from attacking you. Being without one is a major disadvantage.

In the challenge levels given by the genie, your town portal is disabled, so you can’t really play them when your pet vanishes, because you can’t leave them and return. There are also other levels, accessed via “mapworks” scrolls which you find occasionally. Your town portal is allowed in them, but once you leave, you can never return to those levels, so leaving them simply wastes the scrolls. Don’t do that because you don’t get a lot of those scrolls.

I was unsure whether to include this as a bug or bad design, but there is a major performance hit when loading your pet, for instance after it returns from town when you are in a fighting level. The game freezes completely, and this shouldn’t happen. My XBox can run far more processor intensive games without freezing, so this is just poor development. Unfortunately some of the most useful pet skills involve summoning other pets… I use one where it summons 3 ghostly pets, and another where it summons 2 owls (and one where it summons 2 skeletons to fight for me). Since they seem to just be subclasses of pets, rendered translucently, they suffer the same performance hit as when pets appear. But the skeletons don’t have the issue so this is clearly a problem limited to their pets implementation. So… since I have one pet and 5 other pet instances my pet can summon randomly, my game freezes often. It’s super annoying. They are the most powerful pet skills though… because not only do they fight for you, they also distract enemies who fight the pets and pet minions instead of you.

“Not enough spiders”, I call this one. There are levels where you are supposed to kill spiders, and as with all targets, it shows the percentage you have currently completed, but there aren’t enough spiders on the level. You clear the entire level but only finish 60 to 80% of the number of spiders. This is probably the most annoying bug… It’s quite frustrating because some of the levels further into the game are much bigger. You can take nearly half an hour to clear most of the level, and having completed 80% of the spiders, you reach the last unexplored section of the map only to be confronted by… giant fucking rats. And no spiders. It’s fucking annoying and as a developer myself, I’m amazed that they released the game like this.

A silly cosmetic bug… My first pet was a golden retriever called Billy, because my son was there when I made the character and he always names our pets Billy, since Torchlight 2. It’s a thing, OK? But when I reached the 50 pet limit, I released all the common, magic, and rare pets, including Billy. I only keep legendary pets, and even then release the duplicates. But I had assigned Billy to the “pet bed” I’d placed in my fort. And even though it was days ago, poor Billy still displays in the pet bed, and whenever I walk around in my fort, he reminds me of his absence with a friendly “Wuff wuff”, even though Billy is no more. So presumably the Torchlight developers made this “optimization” where they don’t check if the pet assigned to the bed actually exists. They could rather have optimized whatever the issue is when instantiating pets, rather than this dumb mistake. Seriously dudes… this is a stupid bug.


Torchlight 3 is fun overall, and I’m still enjoying playing it. But it does have serious bugs and performance issues, at least on console.

It’s still worth playing for me, but that’s because there are so few of this kind of game. At least, my player actually gets to interact with the enemies and it feels like I’m really engaging them… unlike my demon hunter in Diablo 3 who just runs around using Strafe/Vengeance and auto aims at the enemies who all do nothing but generic class animations. I can’t emphasize this enough… the AI of the enemies and the epic battles with them are the saving grace of this game. In that sense, and only that sense, it’s more fun than Diablo 3.

Let’s hope Torchlight 3 gets some updates and bug fixes soon. I hope it does but only time will tell. At the very least, fix the vanishing pet, those constant freezes, and the levels that can’t be completed.

Five months of grinding at my hardcore Diablo 3 character – undone in a moment

Maybe it seems silly but I’d become rather attached to this character… Then again, I did take five months to get her there.


She was my first hardcore character and around last Monday (or maybe the Sunday – I’m not sure) I finally got her to the point where level 51 greater rifts became easy to complete within the time limit. That allowed me to get legendary gems up to level 54, the highest I’d achieved, and I was in the process of playing until I could augment (again) all her equipment with level 54 legendary gems to get even more powerful.

And just like that, seconds before meeting the rift guardian with five minutes to spare, some arbitrary enemy I didn’t even see as a threat, critically hit me… twice. Goodbye Needle, although your softcore sister Arya, a weaker character somehow even at paragon level 786, lives on.


You might think I’m silly to take this so seriously – it’s only a game after all. But it isn’t. Not for me. The other games are for my son to play on the Xbox. This one is my escape from all my woes, such as my mother’s death last month. This one is my escape from the dreary miserable reality of life, and now I went and fucked it up by being overconfident and playing recklessly.

Anyway, all is not lost… Paragon levels are shared across all characters on the same player account (per core, thus all my softcore characters are level 786, and all hardcore are 762), so my brand new character is already Paragon level 762 in Torment 4, having levelled up once earlier. Actually she’s ready to be promoted to the next difficulty, but I am taking it slow until I have all my preferred items.

It takes about 3 days to play through story mode and begin adventure mode, but the real grind is getting my items. First I must get all the preferred items I use, then I must get not merely legendary, but ancient legendary versions of each, and then I must grind to get legendary gems, three of which I use and the rest I augment with my items, to a high level. And that will take months. (It’s a gradual process. Playing a standard rift gives you a rift key, so you can play a greater rift. Completing greater rifts within the time limit yields legendary gems and allows you to level them up, but only 4 times after completing a rift. Higher rift levels give a better probability of successfully ranking up gems but that probability drops with higher level gems, meaning ever higher level rifts are needed. So this is a gradual process that takes months, but my characters seem to reach a ceiling where they are stuck at around level 50 greater rifts, also known as Torment 11. This character that died was my first that seemed to be about to rise above that level.)

Of course I am again optimising my character for damage per second (and armor), so no passive skill or item can save her from taking mortal damage. Nope… All passive skills must be used to do more damage. I reckon if I can get by like that for five months, I can do it again.

At least I’ll still be busy for a while. I don’t really care to play any other game any time soon.