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Torchlight 3

Alpha 2 Incoming

By PW_GlennVP | Thu 29 Nov 2018 12:39:00 PM PST

The first alpha test weekend for Torchlight Frontiers went live on November 16th with the goal of getting enough players online to stress test our servers and surface breaking issues with the game. These help us be sure the game is stable enough to plan ahead for large scale pre-release testing.

Get up here and give me an internet high-five because y'all SMASHED that goal right out of the gate. We caused all kinds of interesting and surprising crashes, and collected a staggering amount of bug reports & constructive feedback about the game. We also got to experience the game side by side with players, in-world and live on our Discord in a way that none of us have before. It was amazing and you are a fabulous community to be part of.

We're excited to announce that our second Alpha test will be kicking off in just a couple weeks. Starting December 7th, players will be able to jump back into a similar test environment with some bug fixes and game tuning. If you were sent an invite into the first test, good news: you're already going to be able to continue playing in this second test. We'll also be sending invites to lots additional players, so pay attention to your inbox as we get closer to the test!

Here's a rundown of some key things that came out of the alpha event.

Technical Testing


  • We did it! Such fire, much boom!
  • Friday morning was all about configuration/management of servers. Way too many players were getting sent into the same zones together - it was pretty strange to find 100 other people in my "private" dungeon. This was mainly about backend settings that behaved in funny ways and were easy to set straight.
  • Once fixed, players were able to show us two very common ways to break the game:
    • die while relic weapon active = crash the server
    • get quest data in a bad state = characters can't load into the game
  • Saturday the team released a patch that resolved both those issues. Our first hotfix everyone!
  • Once the servers and characters were able to stay online for an extended period, the real dastardly demon emerged: public zones were getting into a bad state after being active with high traffic for several hours which resulted in players getting disconnected when trying to enter that zone.


Overall, this was exactly what we'd hoped for - issues that only appear at scale were found, players stuck around long enough for us to really understand what was going on, and we got all the data we need to figure out why those bad things were happening.

We have Top Peeps on the "old zones go bad" issue and multiple fixes in progress. There is also a solid list of less-noticed issues that we found during Alpha 1 that are on deck to resolve. We'll clear these up before Alpha 2 - the event in which we do not wish the servers to catch fire, but welcome the challenge. The results of Alpha 2 will feed directly into our planning for larger scale access to the game.

Game Feedback

We got deep feedback across all the major areas of the game; here are some areas that drew the most:


  • Class combat feel & balance
    • Moment-to-moment play is probably where we got the most positive feedback, and requests that tended to focus on tuning or what content should be added to round out the characters.
    • Responsiveness of skills is an area we need to keep an eye on, and making sure characters move through the environment reliably. It needs to just "feel good" and do what the player expects when clicking.
  • Progression in class skills, gear skills, fort building levels, and relics
    • These areas got some of the most wide ranging feedback. There are clear things to address in tuning, like gear skill costs and relic weapon power curves
    • Feedback on the core system design, what choices you get to make, and how rewarding the progression feels has been incredibly insightful. We need to spend additional time reading and talking about how to improve here.
  • Monsters, world areas, champions, bosses, mapworks
    • Beside some clearly bugged or imbalanced content, we're mostly hearing about things that stood out well, and ideas players want to see more of in the monsters and adventuring areas. We'll keep making more!
    • We hear you on Waypoints being single-bind, and the team agrees you should be able to "collect them all"
  • Loot, gear choices, potions, inventory space, managing sets of gear
    • A lot of this feedback dove into the details of content (versus major systemic concerns). Players want to be sure there are interesting affixes to build around and interesting choices between looted gear pieces. There were too few potions early on, and then too many filling the bag later in the frontier. Inventory size is always a hot topic, and there are some pain points in managing gear collections we need to address.
  • Harvesting, refinement, crafting
    • We got really mixed feedback here--hot and cold. We need to work on making it clear why players should care about the content; how to "do it well" without feeling like you're being overburdened, and ensure that it feels rewarding at each step. Having players put real time into these systems has given us a ton of fresh insight into how the meta is/isn't delivering on its promise.The design team has lots of improvements in mind.
  • Quality of life
    • We have a near infinite list of things we could do for Quality of Life across the board. Players gave really specific lists of their top needs in this category. That helps us pick the right priority from our massive list of possibilities.
    • Some of our most requested areas for QoL improvements were: skill tips, quest details & tracking, map screen zooming, easier to use party tools, size of chat window and chat font, and UI scale options.


Short term changes (for Alpha 2)

Alpha 2 is still primarily a technical test for the game. We need to make sure we've got stable and reliable services. This is the first priority for our team to address quickly. Issues that cause players to get blocked, unrelated to server problems, are also at the top of our list due to preventing an effective playtest.

Balance changes to skills, skill purchase costs, and item power are being made to bring the "way off" numbers more in line. We want to see how the existing systems feel when their number are more correct before we start making the larger systemic changes. We're also making targeted fixes to some content that was plain broken (e.g. certain quests, monsters, party functions, etc.).

We will provide detailed patch notes on all these changes before Alpha 2 is released.

Milestone work

Significant quality of life improvements, adding more content (skills, areas, game features), and making large changes to existing systems takes some time to design and build right. We're going to give a milestone or two to those efforts before we announce specifics and get people playtesting them. Our next few months will be a combination of continuing to build the greater game, and working down the areas I mentioned under Game Feedback.

Off we go then!

Playing together with fans in alpha and listening to you talk about Torchlight Frontiers has been a rush for everyone at the studio. We are grateful that so many people participated in testing the game and telling us what we need to hear to keep going in the right direction. Our energy level is high and we can't wait to get back into game with you very soon!

~Jordan Womack (Product Lead, Echtra Games)

Alpha 2 Invite FAQ

I was invited to participate in Alpha 1, will I be able to play in Alpha 2?
Yes, all participants from the first alpha are able to join the new alpha starting December 7.

Will you be sending out more invites?
Yes, we'll be sending out more invites to players who have signed up for the beta. However, most of the invites will be sent to EU players.

How can I get a code?
Stay tuned to our social media channels for information regarding code giveaways.

Will my progress from the first Alpha test carry over into this next test?
Yes, our plan is for all character progress to be retained from Alpha 1 into Alpha 2.

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