Torchlight III’s surprise early access launch was tormented by server issues and poor reviews

Torchlight III surprise-launched into early access on Steam this past weekend in the middle of the PC Gaming Show, and it hasn’t really gone to plan. Server issues on June 13th were followed by apologies to those who’d shelled out $30 to play early and then maintenance to fix them. By Sunday, Perfect World said it had finally “isolated the root cause of the server issues” and was working to fix them. As of this morning, PWE says they’re fixed and stable following “massive numbers of people” trying to play over the weekend.

Max Schaefer on early access server stability from Torchlight3

But it may take a bit of time for the reviews to recover, as on Steam it’s sitting in the “mostly negative” zone right now. Interestingly, while some of the reviews focus on the lack of stability and the launch problems and are accompanied by the “product refunded” tag, many of the higher-ranked reviews are essentially complaints that the game feels more like a “watered-down” free-to-play mobile title. (That wasn’t my personal experience during the original alpha, I will note, but I can understand why people would feel this way now.) The subreddits aren’t exactly on fire for this version of the game either, with some folks comparing it (unfavorably) to Anthem. As I type this, just under 4000 people are in-game, compared to around 800 in Torchlight II (for comparison’s sake).

For MMO players, there’s a bit of befuddlement over how to feel about the whole thing, given that Torchlight III, then called Torchlight Frontiers, was marketed as an MMORPG to MMORPG players for several years before being turned into more of a smaller-scale multiplayer online title in the middle of its test run. Whether that set expectations too high for this early access remains to be seen.

Source: Twitter, Steam. Thanks, Pepperzine.

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James Crow

people need to calm down, don’t buy a EA game and hope for a full product.
i enjoyed the alpha for along time and i know the EA going to have problems and remove some stuff.

but the game itself is fun and smooth (talking about movement and combat)
yes its just the base and buying EA title mean to be able to play a title and see the improvement step by step.

i saw AAA titles having networks problems on day one so atm im kind of used to buy a game and playing it 2-3 days later (im not saying im ok with that just that i know it could be)

if you like the torchlight graphic and world and want to see how the game growing -> buy it.

if you wanting a full torchlight game then skip for now.

Castagere Shaikura

Yeah, I can’t believe these are the same guys that made T1 and T2. If they didn’t try to make an MMO in the first place and just made T3 it would have gone smoother. It’s messed up because of that online hub crap and the classes are just boring leftovers with MMO progression crap.


The “game” is a complete disappointment.

I played for 1.5h and then refunded it. Wrote a lengthy review, currently rated the most helpful negative review (in german).

Not going to repeat it all, but just so much: I could play the whole time and had no connection issues, propably because I played in the early morning (europe) and US was still asleep (so servers were empty and not under stress). Some people make it sound as if this game was “review bombed” solely because of technical problems. But that’s wrong, it’s simply a really, really bad product, even if it works properly.

The game is incredibly shallow and dumbed down and there’s nothing of the “original” Torchlight spirit left. There is – zero – chance this game can compete with a PoE or Grim Dawn. They’ll make some money and then shut it down. I would be surprised if it’s still around in a year. I’m not exaggerating, it’s really that bad.

Castagere Shaikura

And they have the nerve to switch from F2P to a 30 dollar price tag. I told everyone that PWE would ruin this game.


When they announced they were dropping the MMO features I was pretty outspoken as to how that was not wise. Everything about T3 is worse than T1 and T2. The MMO bit was the only thing that made it interesting and even that was mostly because it sounded like the MMO parts were coming.

The most outspoken seemed to think dropping development of MMO components was somehow going to make the classes more interesting, the combat less cumbersome and the world more engaging. Nope. This game needs to be pulled and completely reworked. Nothing about it is fun.

Buddy Barlow

I tested this game for over 2 years and i kept asking why did they think putting 2 skill trees in and only 7 skills was good enough for a ARPG in the year 2020. Then you add these weird quirky classes like the railmaster,forged and even Sharpshooter which is like a quasi-ranger summoner class. Like you’re never gonna make anything interesting because they just don’t give you the tools to do so, you’ll be like every other player that chose the same class as you.

The loot is extremely lackluster, there’s zero depth & build variety there and you can’t even allocate any points at all. I can literally go get a lvl 10 rare sword in Grim Dawn and it would have more depth to it then a lvl 50-60 item in TL3. They brought online their own version of the kanais cube called the legendarium but what they did is instead of building a great foundation of skills and skill trees, they gave us 1 brick and then piled a bunch of game systems like the relic system and legendarium on top of it which just blows my mind.

This game fails to even come close to past and current ARPG’s .Last Epoch and Grim Dawn were extremely better in every way in their earliest states then TL3 is in it’s current “early access” state.

They should’ve called this game TORCH-LITE because besides the gorgeous graphics and art…this is a step down compared to TL2. L

What they shouldve done below —>
[][][][][][][][]INTERESTING SKILL TREES&CLASSES[][][][][][][][][][]

What they actually did

[][][][][]RELICS[][][][]LEGENDARIUM[][][][]PET SKILLS[][][][]SKILL TIERS[][]
[] <—– TL3 current skills & skill tree

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Schlag Sweetleaf


wolves in waiting.gif

I played the closed beta a fair amount. This game is getting Bad Reviews because it is a Bad Game.

I mean, come on, seriously, Who TF thought that Perfect World would do the Torchlight IP justice? This game was doomed from the second Perfect World got involved.

Kickstarter Donor


PWE acquired a majority stake in Runic in 2010, and we got Torchlight 2 two years later. By all accounts that was solid, and I’d agree with that sentiment. And it was followed by Hobb, which I haven’t played but by all accounts was a similarly great game (even if it didn’t sell super well).

Runic is gone, but Echtra or whatever the studio is now called is apparently pretty packed with ex-Runic folks (including a bunch from Gazillion), so it’s the same folks.

PWE ain’t great by any means and their MMO’s are…not great, but saying the game was doomed the second PWE got involved is nonsense. PWE, for all their faults, seem to give some of their western studios some wide leeway (at least outside of Cryptic and their aggressive monetization) and have had some surprisingly decent games including Remnant, which has been both a critical and popular success as far as I can see.


Yeah, it’s easy to brush it off as “Lul Perfect World’ and sometimes right to do so…

But Torchlight 2 was a strong title, Hob is well-liked, and so long as the studio had free reign it wasn’t crazy to expect Torchlight Frontiers/3 to do well either. Perfect World is as much a publisher as it is developer, and for all their crap? There are good games too.

It’s why I am not excited about the next Cryptic game, and why I was happy to hear about Torchlight’s announcement. Why I was interested in it as an MMO, but was happy to hear it going back to basics when they announced the shift because it’d again allow mods to be developed to expand upon the game.

And one thing I think definitely not helping 3’s current predicament is the lock to online-only gameplay. It’s not explicitly mentioned in anything and even the early access announcement post talks it up like there is an option to play single-player (and offline). But offline play isn’t coming until the game’s official launch as per their posts on the forums, and isn’t mentioned on the main store page anywhere except for where it is tucked off under the EA dropdown.

That killed it for me.

Kickstarter Donor

Yeah, I played in the early betas and it’s just not very good. I just found it bland and generic.


I could be remembering this wrong but didn’t they say you could play offline in the big turn around they did a while back?


This may be off topic but if you’re looking for a good single player game (with co op) I can recommend Satisfactory which is finally on steam for $27.


Very topical, I can see how that compares to Torchlight. Practically the same game.


Seemed pretty rushed to me, although I wouldn’t speculate as to the reason.
I mean, a last minute 180 from MMO into single player seems like it is probably more complex than it might first seem.

Kickstarter Donor

It’s not single player, it seems like it’s online only a la PoE. No offline play, seems to be a shared main city(ies?) where you can see others, but playzones are for yourself/group only.