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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).

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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.
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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