So you made it to level 21 in Torchlight Hardcore Elite aye? Think it was tough? Think it was a slough and many of your characters died even with my other list of tips as reference? Well Act 1 is fucking CHEESE CAKE compared to Act 2 Elite. I want to tell you straight away: you will not make it through Act 2 Elite hardcore. It’s really best to give up now. Act 2 comes down on you so hard that you will need aircrash coroners to piece you back together again. That said, here are ten more tips if you do choose to keep going past level 20. These are not class specific. You better know your build and how it’s going to both deal out and survive damage. There are tons of solid builds out their on the interwebtubes to look at for all classes. After my level 23 or so Embermage bit the dust, I ran Elite Hardcore with a Berserker and used THIS build strategy. I cannot comment on any other classes above 20 because, pathetic as it is, all my other characters died in the second part of Act 1. I didn’t cry, I promise.
You will spend most of your time in that second part of act 1– the winter part. Obviously make sure your ICE armor is 100+ or you’re meatpastecicle. There is a lot to look out for in that region– but be especially careful of bosses that shoot out ice/earth in a line straight at your character (Ice Elementals and Chillhoof are examples of this). This type of attack seems to do MASSIVE damage and can one hit you if you let it connect. You will eventually build up to level 27-28– that is the time to hit the Grand Regent (boss of Act 1)– not before unless you are very sure of yourself. GR has a couple of attacks that do huge damage and unless you’ve fought him oodles of times before on Elite Normal, you won’t know the visual triggers for those attacks until you are already a corpse. That said, here is the list!
- Play alone or with one other person ONLY. Damage modelling, which I won’t pretend to understand, seems to go off the charts when you have more than two people playing together, and it’s really not worth the risk of untimely demise. This is sad because TL2 is all about the multiplayer but it gets really tough when you just can’t take down mobs and take tons of damage more than you are used to. This is Elite remember, ELITE so if you want to go have a jag with your friends, go back to Veteran.
- Stay in Act 1 for as long as you can stand it. You could conceivably spend levels 21-30 IN Act 1 because the end dungeon is fairly difficult, but you will yearn to go to Act 2 because level ups will become painfully slow and, because you are not dying, you will build up a lot of ember chips to merge up. However, you need to grind for gear, especially stuff that gives you elemental protection and armor. You need as much armor as you can load on and will you need to level up to at least the late 20’s before hitting Act 1’s boss. Act 1 may start to seem pussy to you after a span of time and this is a good thing. Use that to build up gold reserves and farm for items. The items are FAR better in Act 2, but your chance of survival coming right out of Act 1 is close to zero if you haven’t taken precautions.
- Level up more than you think you need. If you are used to Disgaea and the like you know what it is to level up prematurely. With Torchlight Elite Hardcore, you only have one shot at this or you’re back to square one. If you think you need to be at level 24 for a dungeon– make sure you are at least 4 levels higher. This will take time– but less time bringing another character up to level 20 again!
- Play super conservatively. You cannot survive against anything mobbed up in Act 2 when you first get up inside the act. Get that into your head straight away. Go very slowly through the main map and break up mobs by running off. Use your summons (both from scrolls and from your class skills) to take out enemies as you run away to safety. I’m assuming you have seen the enemies you need to watch out for from previous plays, but if you haven’t make sure to study the enemies you go up against before diving in. Some of the mobs in Act 2 are insanely brutal.
- Remember: One critical from a boss and you are done. If you get a critical hit against you from a boss, you’re character is dirt. There is no way to prepare for those types of hits. You will never have enough armor or vitality to survive it– so DO NOT GET HIT. One of the advantages of Torchlight 2 as a game is that you can dodge attacks and don’t have to stand there and be hit from across the screen due to hit lag like Diablo 3. Use this to your advantage. Don’t stand toe to toe against anything unless your build allows it. Engineers– don’t get overconfident that you can tank. You can’t.
- Run Grell– Go back and run General Grel from the first part of act 1. Grell sometimes drops an EYE that reduces ALL damage by 3%. You could do worse than to fill ALL of your available sockets with the Eyes of Grell. This will take time not so much on the run itself, but finding the Dungeon can take awhile.
- Use both your weapons sets. (switch with W) One should be for defense and one should be for offense. Ideally the offensive one would give you health steal and the defensive would give mana steal. Shields are great for any class– yes they reduce your damage output compared to the 2-handers or dual-wielding but what’s most important in hardcore? Survival!
- Map your Keys – I’m not going to go into class specifics but hunting and pecking for shit on the number row in the middle of a fight (which you are doing right now aren’t you?) = DIRT for a character. So remap your main keys for a fight to WASD or QWE and remember Z and X are already mapped to heal.
- Monsters to look out for in the second part of Act 1: Mirka Frostbinder (really watch out for these), Blackfist Assassins en masse, Bosses: Ice Elemental (make sure to kill all of his mob before taking him out), King Ice Gel (he can one hit you like nobody’s business).
- Monsters to watch out for in Act 2 (the early part): Basilisks in a Mob with anything. Dune Mothers. Ezrohir Snatchers. Bosses: Caius the Fleet, almost all the dungeon bosses are tough.
- (bonus number eleven) Don’t wander into any Act 2 dungeons until level 29+. Some of these drop you immediately into a big boss battle during which guess what? Your character dies.