Torchlight Frontiers has “60-80 hours” of content, “gentle with monetization”

Torchlight Frontiers monetization content

Torchlight Frontiers is going to offer “60 to 80 hours of linear content”. These are the words of Max Schaefer, founder and CEO of Echtra Games, and one of the creators of Diablo.

Torchlight Frontiers is the anticipated new chapter in one of the best action RPG series – the first Torchlight game was available for free on the Epic Games Store not long ago. This third installment takes things up a notch by adding MMO mechanics to the familiar hack and slash loot-driven gameplay. Schaefer revealed new details in an interview with Escapist Magazine, touching on sensitive themes such as monetization and pet crossbreeding.

Yes, you read that right. Just as any MMO worthy of the label, Torchlight Frontiers offers a selection of pets that includes owls, dogs, llamas, wolves and dragonlings. Pets have their own gear, inventory and will go straight to town if you order them to sell the superfluous loot. Don’t forget to give them a treat or a level 12 flameproof collar when they return. Who’s a good boy? Yes, you are.

If you really like your dog but would love for it to have fire-breathing abilities, well… apparently you can. Ability mix and matching is a thing in Torchlight Frontiers, so you can turn your pet into a flame spewing pup of doom. You can also keep your pets in a shelter or set them free into the wild if you are feeling either compassionate or excessively confident in your abilities.

Torchlight Frontiers is currently in alpha testing and offers three classes to choose from: Dusk Mage, Forged and Railmaster. The Railmaster, Conductor of Pain is the finest example of class originality and out-of-the-box thinking, taking his customizable miniature train along for the ride in a groundbreaking way for an MMO game. Schaefer mentions a fourth class coming soon but provides no additional details – the only thing we have spotted is a female silhouette at the official website.

Monetization is always a touchy subject when it comes to free-to-play games such as Torchlight Frontiers. Obviously, Schaefer doesn’t want it to get in the way of the game, expressing his desire to avoid the dreaded pay-to-win tag:

“Most of the good stuff is in the free track. We want to be very gentle with monetization. We don’t want this to be a pay-to-win game. We don’t want you to feel like you’re at a point where you can only progress if you pay. That’s not how you get a good long-term dedicated audience.”

You start with five character slots, which sounds reasonably fair, but you can purchase more through microtransactions. Gear and pets can be shared across your account, saving you the trouble of leveling other characters from scratch, and you can also buy your way into maps providing better loot. I wouldn’t exclude the prospect of the occasional XP boosting item that you can purchase with real money since this is such a standard practice for the F2P genre, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Torchlight Frontiers monetization content Railmaster class

The Torchlight games were always known for their tremendous amount of loot and for a somewhat cartoonish art style. Torchlight Frontiers treads the same ground, right down to the graphics. It’s an accomplished design that aims to please all age groups – there is action, “but it isn’t graphic, it isn’t intense, it isn’t violent,” says Schaefer.

One of the distinguishing features of Torchlight Frontiers is the leveling system, where you level up in each Frontier independently of the others. This way, each new area will be accessible to both new and old players alike without the need to grind to endgame or acquire better gear. Each Frontier has a specific theme, with two available so far, Goblin Forest and Hyvid, and another one in development. Equipping gear correlated to a Frontier will provide a smoother progression than mixing things up – for example, wearing fireproof armor for the Goblin Forest and poison-resistant gear for the Hyvid region is highly recommended.

And “highly recommended” can also be used to describe Torchlight Frontiers. An iterative development that isn’t afraid to throw things to the trashcan – the skill system was redesigned from scratch based on player feedback – and more than a few ingenious features are reassuring for its long-term goals. Schaefer mentions that the team has enough ideas for five years of content, with PvP being one of the possibilities.

Torchlight Frontiers is coming to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2019.


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