PAX 2011: Torchlight II Embermage Abilities Preview

Fire, ice, lightning--anything is possible when we get our hands on Torchlight II's new class, the embermage.

Penny Arcade Expo East is nice and all, but it can't hold a candle to the real deal. PAX prime is in full swing here in Seattle, Washington, and we've been braving the crowds and hunting down games all across the show floor. One of those games is Torchlight II, the action role-playing game from developer Runic Games, which just announced a new character class: the embermage. After chatting with Runic Games' CEO, Max Schaefer, we got to spend a little hands-on time with this hotheaded sorcerer and see some of his (or her) spells in action.

Please note that since the game is still in development, these names are subject to change (without notice).

Prismatic Bolt: Our go-to spell, it released a handful of energy bolts that would split up and seek out as many enemies as possible. And while it wasn't the flashiest of spells, it dealt solid damage, worked well against single or multiple targets, and had the chance to induce numerous status effects.

Frost Wave: This spell sent out a wave of ice shards that struck multiple enemies in a line. This was a great spell for battling foes in narrow spaces that got even better when we realized the frost wave could ricochet off walls. This let us sacrifice reach for extra damage by having the wave overlap itself in a small area.

Shocking Burst: By holding down the corresponding key, this spell discharged a continuous blast of electrical energy in a small cone in front of us. It also got the least amount of use since it required us to get in melee range to be effective. Plus, the damage output wasn't enough to counteract having a swarm of foes grouping up on us.

Blazing Pillar: Our panic button, this spell unleashed four pillars of flame that would seek out and damage nearby enemies for a few seconds. This high-damage spell made an excellent crowd control tool and looked very intimidating.

Frost Phase: An excellent utility spell, it let us teleport to our cursor nearly anywhere on the screen. The only limitation was moving up to higher cliffs and platforms; moving down worked every time. Nearby enemies were also damaged upon our arrival. Whether we were popping into a fight or frantically running to safety, this spell got plenty of use.

Lightning Storm: This one was pretty straightforward, dealing a good amount of burst damage over a wide area around the caster.

Infernal Collapse: This spell conjured a ball of energy that would explode after roughly half a second on the spot where our cursor was located. Its range stretched all across the screen, and the blast caused a good amount of knock-back. It was also a great way to attack enemies on staircases or other inclines were other spells couldn't reach.

Magma Spear: It fired off a rapid succession of fireballs and was great for providing suppressing fire (get it?) for our allies. The spell had a low mana cost, and the fireballs themselves had the chance to ignite foes on impact.

Each character class now has a male and female variant.

Just like any good spellcaster, the embermage had a lot of tricks up his sleeve. We also took a peek at the class's three skill trees--inferno, frost, and storm--and can safely say that there are plenty more spells that we didn't get to sample. Hopefully, this means a melee-focused battle mage build isn't out of the question. And while Runic hasn't nailed down a release date yet, we'll be sure to keep you updated on Torchlight II.

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Discussion

32 comments
Hevion
Hevion

20 bucks and can play offline? go f yourselves blizzard

Drunken_kb24
Drunken_kb24

Ok this game looks fun and all, and yea you can say "oh these guys were the original creators of the diablo world, but come on... Are you srs?? This is diablo 2 remade with cartoonish graphics... Lmao it's exactly the same doesn't even look like much of an improvement to it either...

USDevilDog
USDevilDog

Calling Torchlight a Diablo-imitation is ignorant. Torchlight's Max Schaefer, Erich Schaefer, and team (sans David Brevik) were the original creative minds behind the Diablo series. They developed Diablo under the Condor banner before Blizzard bought them out to form Blizzard North. To "imitate" is to imply that they were not the original creators of the Diablo world / game design, which could not be further from the truth.

USDevilDog
USDevilDog

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

bmorgan303
bmorgan303

Torchlight 2 and Diablo 3 will be 2 totally different experiences. Not fair to compare them now. Who would have thought Diablo 3 wouldn't even be a Diablo clone? I am more eagerly anticipating Grim Dawn than any of these.

darth_sedus
darth_sedus

Stop the imitation, create new ideas, and universes!

evilweav
evilweav

@BSEE10 love torchlight, but D3 has been in development since long before torchlight was released, and probably long before torchlight began its development process. They'll both be great games, therefore I will buy both.

lipehique
lipehique

Torchlight II support mods. D3 doesnt. Nuff' said.

Ronaldius
Ronaldius

Max, you and youre team rock, love you guys, keep up the good work.

fanirama
fanirama

I feel Torchlight 2 will give me more enjoyment and fun for my $20 than the restrictive and now-not-so-appealing Diablo 3 for $60. Hence, I will probably not buy Diablo 3 but will definitely buy T2 and gift someone else a copy of it. I feel T2 and the upcoming Grim Dawn will be plenty to keep us busy in this saturated gaming market with loads of good games coming out. With so many games, how much time do I really have to play all these and be with my wife and kids as well?

BSEE10
BSEE10

@Mikelangelo1 Yeah, Torchlight is a Diablo Clone but NOT bad. In fact, it is the next best thing. Besides, Diablo IS the founder of this genre so... EVERY GAME IN THIS GENRE IS A DIABLO CLONE. I would boldy say that BLIZZARD WOKE UP THE DIABLO FRANCHISE BECAUSE OF TORCHLIGHT. Though Torchlight purely have a different set of target market, Torchlight is Torchlight because Blizzard fail to deliver Diablo III sooner.

ProjektInsanity
ProjektInsanity

Loving it. The game looks great, and you can tell that the love this company has for its work is going to translate into the final product.

Mikelangelo1
Mikelangelo1

I wonder why people keep making bad clones of Diablo and they don't try to create something new...

ChaosUndivided
ChaosUndivided

This looks good we need more action RPG's. Love Hacking & Slashing my way to level ups. The key to a good action RPG is a lot of enemies, the more the better. As long as it doesn't make the game hard.

woonsa
woonsa

@Jaichimfizzler Exactly what a fanboy would say :roll:

James00715
James00715

This is a must buy for me especially at only $20. If you want to support a good indie developer, don't wait for a Steam sale. $20 is cheap for how much gameplay you get here. It's as long as Diablo 2, but even more polished.

Jaichimfizzler
Jaichimfizzler

Diablo restricts because its already the best game in the world, adding on to it is unnecessary.

CL114C0777498D
CL114C0777498D

i'm gonna organise a lan party around this game, so that's like 8-10 guaranteed sales right there. where diablo3 restricts, torchlight enables.

nemesi609
nemesi609

this and kingdoms of amalur are really bringing back top down hack and slash dungeon rpgs, (this more so than kingdoms) im so excited for these two games. co op will make a great game epic. and i love the amount of abilities and spells. this will ensure taht things dont go stale, lots of different builds and strategies to go back and try. love the mod tools also, a la the elder scrolls construction set, maybe some new character classes and pets and weapons and stuff= great additions.

zoeyleft
zoeyleft

listening to this guy, i totally understand how the runic games were the ones who made the classics of hack and slash rpg. they both love to make games, and love those who would play their games. just amazing. they deserve so much more from us gamers!

serious_henke
serious_henke

Based on what I've seen of this and Diablo 3, I'm gonna have to go with this, it just looks like it's more fun.

Jarltheafro
Jarltheafro

@Ghkk you smell of bias, it's activision that's been making blizzard 'greedy' by 'ripping people off', blizzard delivers complete games and large expansions, content patches are absolutely free versus DLC, sure torchlight has a much better policy, also a much better price, so being able to afford either one of them is a really weird thing to say, real money auction just means blizzard gets a cut too, big deal, it won't bother you in the slightest, it will just eliminate the illegal out of game trade. Because I'm not a zealous anti-blizzard hater or runic lover I'm proud to say I'll get both! The only real complaint I have about D3 is the always online BS.

IBEX333
IBEX333

Hmmm.... How about multiplayer PvP? No? ok....

lorly1
lorly1

Hopefully they have more music in this one.

Ghkk
Ghkk

I can only afford one game between torchlight and diablo 3. Runic is a small company without much many, but trying to make fun game. Blizzard is filthy rich trying to rip off gamers in which ever way they can (real money AH, cough, cough)......I wonder which one I should chose

McBoogerballz
McBoogerballz

no RMAH, no DRM and 20bucks? MODSSS? kkkkk count me in

Szeiden
Szeiden

My one big question is will there be a clean online mode with no mods to avoid playing with people who modded in godly items? Yes, I know you can choose to just join a server that doesn't use mods, but will there also be "clean" characters who have NEVER been in a modded server who could have obtained the items in the past?

Justforvisit
Justforvisit

Vanquisher has become my favorite in TL I too, even if it was the class I tried out last, hell, you FLY with her through the hordes of enemy's :D Really hope TL II will have a similar class, but even if not, it still will be awesome

NeonNinja
NeonNinja

Torchlight is one of the best dungeon crawls I've played, and Torchlight II is just sounding sweeter. The Embermage sounds dope! I can't wait to see all the classes in action so I can pick my favorite. First time I rolled with a Vanquisher. Second game though the choices sound even more appealing!

The_Mikester99
The_Mikester99

Looks pretty cool, and " MOM LOOK" NO real money AH ..WEEEEE

Justforvisit
Justforvisit

I want this game. As soon as yesterday!!! :D