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Kardfogu's Basic Guide to Torchlight II
By Kardfogu and 1 collaborators
This is a guide about Torchlight II, with basic information about most aspects of the game.
And don't forget, the only rule of Torchlight II is: You should play it as you like to play it.
(The guide is yet unfinished, stay tuned for more!)
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Introduction
Torchlight II
Stay awhile and listen!

Torchlight II is an Action Role Playing Game, or as most refer to them ARPG, which is a type of a role playing game that concentrate more on combat, making the gameplay more intense and exciting.

The game continues the story of its prequel, after defeating the great evil named Ordrak in the depths of the mines, under the miner town called Torchlight. The game's Intro starts with the Alchemist possessing Ordrak's Heart goes mad, injures the Destroyer and destroys Torchlight.

Heroes of Torchlight may fall, but new heroes will rise, so now it's your turn to save the world from the evil!

ARPG Games
I'll repeat it countless times, this is a fast-paced RPG genre, which concentrates on combat and is quite linear. When it is compared to the other sub genres, not only the storyline stands in your way but the monster levels too, so it highly advisable in higher difficulties to play all side quests and dungeons as well to keep the level gap minimal between the player and the environment.

It is sad that ARPG games have weak stories, which is not enitrely true. It is easily overlooked, but the Diablo series have a great background story and the Torchlight series has its own as well. It is still true, that ARPG games rarely excel at stories, because most story elements serve the hack'n'slash gameplay entirely.

Myself
There's not much to know about me, except that I played Diablo II for a very very long time and I tried out some great names in the genre as well, like Sacred, Dungeon Siege and Titan Quest, yet I found all of them missing something from the formula of a good ARPG.
If anybody is interested, I can share my experiences on other ARPG games, but I warn you, I can be a cruel critic, especially about Titan Quest.

Aside from my ARPG gaming, I play nearly every game genre, my first games were turn based and real-time strategies, so I learned tactical combat early in my life. I'm quite avarage in solo, but I'm a beast in coop multiplayer, especially as tank/heal/support player.
These all together mean, that I'll be write a lot about strategies, both solo and coop.
Gameplay Basics
Controlls
Most of my readers won't have any problem as most Torchlight II players are already experienced hack'n'slash gods/goddesses of war, but in case you are less experienced, here's a "small" note:

Torchlight II is played with a mouse and a keyboard - and definitely not with a gamepad -, focusing on the mouse. You move your character with the left mouse button, and you can assign skills to both mouse buttons, in its default setup the right mouse button already has one skill assigned.
The keyboard is used to some specific jobs, like Shift is for standing still while attacking and the buttons from 0-9 can be assigned to skills as well.
You can open the panels with both the mouse and the keyboard. Most of the panels are opened with the key of the letter they start with:
  • Pet Panel
  • Character Panel
  • 'J' stands for Journal, the prequel's Arcane Statistics panel
  • Inventory
  • Skills
  • Quests
On the mouse buttons, you can assign skills easily by simply left clicking on the skill places representing your left and right mouse button, which brings up a list of the possible skills, left clicking on one will choose that. You can grab a skill from the Skills panel by left clicking on its icon and dragging it to any button, or just right click it on the Skills panel to automatically take it on the right mouse button.

The left mouse button, will have an auto-attack assigned to it, which can only be assigned to the LMB, and is basically a very simple attack with a weapon. Hitting with a melee weapon or a staff, shooting with a ranged weapon or a wand.
It is important to note, that you can't assign all skills to the LMB, the ones you can are mostly skills with no cooldown, these are considered basic attack skills.

The right mouse button is assigned to skills that you frequently use, if not all the time. Any skill can be assigned to the RMB, but it is advised to assign one of the most used ones or one which let's you escape from a dangerous situation.

The keyboard is used to access the remaining skills, stand still in fights and managing the windows ingame. I highly recommend to everyone to remap it, based on personal tastes, as an ARPG is a fast-paced game, requiring quick access to everything you use.

I guess it's enough of controlls.

Progressions
Every RPG has a progress in character and story, the two are to some extent independent of each other.

Character progression is quite easy, your character kills stuff dead, your character gets the experience, after a lot of experience he/she'll level up, gaining attributes and skills, which will be discussed in later sections.

Story progression on the other hand happens as you fight with bosses. As you can see at the game's start: your main objective is to kick the Alchemist's [swearword here], to save the world. The story is a lot more complicated than the character progression, as the Alchemist is actually a good guy gone insane, so he's not fully aware of the consequences of his actions. They rightfully say: "Hell is paved with good intentions"

You may ask: "What's the connection between the two?" and the answer is easy, the Alchemist is a level ~50 badass killing machine, while you start on level one, but fear not, the game is pretty linear with lots of sidequests, and you won't see the Alchemist for long!
Game Mechanics
Subjects of this Section
Gamebreaking starts by understanding how the game calculates damage, chances and resistances, by understanding what's the difference between casting and attack speed and by other important informations.
Most of the time, the game does give a short help, but the tooltips are quite confusing and insufficient in this case for most players.

Calculating and Scaling Damage
We should start with separating the main damage types our character can inflict:
  • Magic damage, shown as X damage and any Elemental damage are both increased by Focus.
  • Weapon based damage, shown as X% of Weapon DPS or Damage is increased by Focus.
  • Minion damage shown as Minions Deal X damage is only increased by Pet and Minion damage bonuses from items.
These are the basic types, it may seem that Runic is somewhat cruel to Minion damage, but Minions deal quite high damage and their damage scales well with socketables, making pure summoner builds weak, yet hybrid summoners work well.
Important note that neither the damage or debuffs dealt by minions are modified by the character's stats.

On the other hand, Focus and Strength can confuse a lot, as there is two thing we should consider:
  • X% Weapon DPS/Damage dealt as Elemental converts all damage to elemental, so it is increased equally by Focus and Strength.
  • Weapon Damage may be partially Elemental, the Elemental part is increased by both Focus and Strength.
  • Physical Damage scaling by character level is increased by Focus only!
  • Damage over Time effects Conveyed on weapons, are only increased by Focus!*
*Damage over time from weapons and enchantments scales with focus, but damage over time from gems doesn't get any bonus, the bug is reported.
In the later Class sections, for obvious reasons, I'll mark each and every skill with the attribute used to increase damage done.

Animation Speeds
One important thing is the damage we deal, but even more important is the speed at which we deal it. Faster attacks can be repeated more times in the same amount of time, doing more damage and faster attacks let us react faster to the enemy counterattacks as well.

Casting speed is used for every skill you use, and Attack Speed is only used for the Auto Attack of the character and it is calculated in weapon DPS.
Skill calculating with X% of Weapon DPS use the DPS modified by the Attack Speed, which means more attack speed is more damage for these skills, a lot more. Important difference that skills calculating with X% of Weapon Damage ignore Attack Speed completely.

Range
Range is measured in meters. Ranged attacks, projectile and cone shaped skills have an easily measurable range, most of the time written in the skills description. On the other hand, circle shaped spells often have a messy description, in which radius means the diameter of the circle.

Sight Range
Sight range heavily depends on the used resolution. Above 1280x1024, the vertical range seems to be the same with every resolution, but the horizontal range increases with different ratios. Sight range can be increased by the use of the console or mods.
For more, check out Eiran=A欄既卒's guide on sight ranges:
Sight Range guide
Game Modes and Difficulty
Game Modes
You can choose to play Single Player, LAN multiplayer or Internet multiplayer. When you enter a multiplayer game, your character's difficulty is ignored, the games have their own difficulty level, so if you chosed a difficulty that you find too easy or too hard, you can always create a LAN/Internet game that uses the difficulty that you find the best for your gameplay.
Multiplayer is always Coop.

Coop by the way is great in both gameplay and technical aspects, the game runs smooth and if someone is disconnected, than the disconnected player switches to single player, while the others remain in the coop game. In this setup, there is no real host, so even if the host disconnects, the others can continue.

More on coop later, after the classes!

Difficulty
When you create a character, one of the choices you have to make is the difficulty you want to play in. Unlike the prequel, Torchlight II turns the economy against the player on harder difficulties, giving less experience and gold.
  • Casual overlevels the player compared to the environment.
  • Normal is just normal, if you do everything once, you end up okay.
  • Veteran is where experience and gold farming turns up in the gameplay, to keep up.
  • Elite is the standard for experienced players!

Softcore and Hardcore
When you create your character, you can choose hardcore or leave it softcore. Hardcore characters have only one life, if you die with them, you'll die for good. Hardcore death is completely irreversible.

Hardcore characters need additional defenses compared to their softcore relatives, and a lot of patience. They will surely die sometimes, except if the player dies first IRL. Hardcore gives another long learning curve and a new challange for most players.

More on hardcore later, at the end of the guide!
NewGame+
What's a New Game for an existing character?
With the main quest finished, the character can enter New Games over and over with increasing levels. Entering NG+ resets enviroments and quests. Characters in Torchlight 2 can't retire without the use of modifications, also Mapworks replaces the Shadow Vault.

NG Tiers
  • NG+
    Starts at level 51. Characters start in this NG first, except if they skip it by reaching lvl80 before starting a NG.
  • NG+2
    Starts at level 81. Characters starting a NG at lvl80-98 skip the previous NG.
  • NG+3
    Starts at level 100. Characters starting a NG at lvl99-100 skip the previous NGs.
  • NG+4
    Starts at level 120. Characters must finish NG+3 to enter this NG.
  • NG+5
    Starts at level 120 and it is the last tier, a character can still start NGs, but they are considered to be NG+5 afterwards.

[To Be Continued...]
Mapworks
Mapworks in General
In Torchlight II there is no Shadow Vault and the player can't buy map scrolls from normal vendors. Instead, there is a vendor for maps, a ponya called Compass. You may ask, why is that so good, the answer is: randomization!
Torchlight had maps with randomly generated levels and terrain, it was cool.
Compass sells maps with randomyl generated level, terrain and modifiers. Scrolls are named after the terrain used and have both min and max levels, so the player can pinpoint the monster level, and thus, the level of dropped items as well. This is awesome!

Accessing the Mapworks
After finishing the main quests the Mapworks can be accessed through a Portal in the Minehead. Using the waypoint teleport system in any major city, the player can teleport to the Mapworks anytime. Also, it's worth knowing that the player won't have to unlock it repeatedly, in NG+ it is unlocked by default.

Map levels
Maps are organized by their levels. Map level is important, it determines the monsterlevels and thus, the dropped item levels as well. Some important unique socketables are unobtainable from lvl100 monsters and are only farmable at lower level maps.
  • 48-55
  • 56-65
  • 66-75
  • 76-85
  • 86-95
  • 96-100
  • 105
Classes in General
Engineer
If you want to command ember-powered machines while shooting things dead with cannons or you want to persuade your enemies with oversized wrenches, then the Engineer is a solid pick.

Engineers are all-in-one with a very strong defensive nature. They represent the Tank role at first sight, but they are not limited to sword and shield using.
Engineers have no real restrictions at weaponry. They are adapted to two-handed weapons, shields and cannons as well.

Engineers in multiplayer are the most welcomed of all the classes, because they are capable of sharing their strong defenses with others and healing them, while some of their skills greatly increase damage done on enemies.

Embermage
If you intend to burn, freeze and shock everything in your footsteps with powerful elemental magic, the Embermage has everything you need.

Embermages are the glass-cannons of the game. They represent the well-known typical archmage archetype of roleplaying characters.
Embermages in most cases are staff or wand users and most of their spells deal high magic damage.

Embermages are more solo-oriented, as their mobility is by far the best and they have less options to help others, but they are greatly helped by other classes.

Outlander
If you want to shoot, poison or curse enemies then I recommend you to take the Outlander.

Outlanders are both sharpshooters and dark magicians, they can use most ranged weapons, strong poisons and forbidden magic effectively. All of these give them great crowd-control and the ability to cripple even bosses.

Outlanders in multiplayer are capable of helping their team tactically. They are capable of crippling bosses, reducing damage done by enemies, healing allies and even increasing damage done on targets.

Berserker
If you want to tear and shred with fangs and claws and frost and fists or you want to command shadowy spirit wolves, then the Berserker is the right class for you.

Berserkers are both frenzied madmans of the frozen wastes and lunatic, shamanistic warriors with a strong bond to wolves. They can use melee weapons and ice magic quite well.

Berserkers in multiplayer can help their team by greatly increasing all the damage done to enemies, but they have their own tempo which can be unusual for players who never played berserkers before.
Engineer
Engineer Playstyles
Engineers have a defensive nature, their defenses are the strongest among the four classes and they can share them. This makes them great coop and/or hardcore characters as well. When it comes to offense, they don't lack variety, as they can use effectively any melee weapon, cannons and even shields as weapons.
    Two-handed melee engineers are melee engineers using heavy weaponry, dealing both heavy damage and stunning the enemies caught in the area of their attacks. The Heavy Lifting passive grants them very high DPS increase and some additional survival to make two-handed engineers not only viable, but desirable.
    Sword and board melee engineers are an even more defensive approach to melee. While they use the same attack skills, they concentrate on defense while using an additional array of skills based on shields.
    Cannoneer engineers are cannon using characters, dealing heavy damage, stunning and blinding their enemies. They are similar to the shotgonne using Outlanders who are capable of perma-blinding bosses, but cannoneers have more defense at the cost of a lower rate of fire.
    Summoner engineers rely on their summons. The engineer has the most summons of the four classes and they are the only ones having permanent summons, so they are the best for summoning-oriented builds. Summon engineers use Spider Mines as main attack skill, Sledgebot and Gun Bot to support themselves with additional DPS in need, while their Healing Bot and Immobilization Copter supports the entire team.

Charge Bar
The engineer's charge bar is divided into 5 parts and on its own it doesn't grant any bonuses at all until the engineer uses a skill depending on it. Skills can generate, use or depend on charge in a different way. Charge generators are generally weaker attack skills, while charge users tend to be very strong when using charge.

Blitz Skills
Blitz is the melee oriented skilltree of the engineer class. It has most of the Weapon DPS based skills. Its active skills concentrate on melee attacks and closing distance, while the passive skills improve melee attacks, especially with two-handed weapons.

Construction Skills
Construction is the range-oriented skilltree of the engineer class. Its active skills are minion-summons, ranged attacks and area of effect attacks, while the passive skills improve elemental damage, charge generation and armor.

Aegis
Aegis is the defensive support skilltree of the engineer class. Its active skills are area of charge generators, shield based attacks, area of effect attacks and damage mitigators, while its passive skills improve defense capacities.

Engineer Building in Short
Warning: Experienced players should ignore this part, it's for easily forging a character out of nothing for beginners.
When starting an engineer, your most important choice is the general playstyle you want to play it. Engineers are extremely adaptive, they can deal melee, ranged, magic and minion damage as well, the choice is only a personal preference, all works well.
  • Two-handed melee
  • Sword and board melee
  • Cannoneer
  • Summoner
The next choice is the main attack skill. It will be the main damaging ability of the character, determining a line of other skills and required gear for the character.
  • Two-handed melee
    • Choose a skill which is weapon based, one of the following is recommended:
      • Emberquake
      • Flame Hammer
      • Ember Hammer
    • Take Heavy Lifting, it greatly boosts weapon DPS and gives a chance for stunning.
    • Take Fire and Spark, it is very likely that skills or weapons will have fire or electric damage.
  • Sword and board melee
    • Choose a skill which is weapon based OR one that requires a shield, the following skills are recommended:
      • Emberquake
      • Flame Hammer
      • Fire Bash
    • Take Fire and Spark, it is very likely that skills or weapons will deal fire or electric damage.
    • Take Fire Bash if the main attack skill deals fire damage.
    • Forget Sword and Board, the damage currently is offweapon bonus, is unaffected by Strength.
  • Cannoneer
    • Take Blast Cannon, because Fusillade is not recommended.
    • Take Heavy Lifting, it greatly boosts Weapon DPS and gives stun.
    • Take Fire and Spark and Coup de Grace.
    • Take Tremor, cannons deal heavy physical damage.
  • Summoner
    • Take Spider Mines as main attack skill.
    • Take Sledgebot, Gun Bot, Healing Bot and Immobilization Copter as summons.
    • Take Tremor and/or Blast Cannon to increase physical damage done on enemies by minions.
After all these, engineers pick their defensive and charge building skills.
Defensive skills picked by all engineers are Force Field to avoid taking damage and Healing Bot to replenish life and mana.
Charge generation is dependent on playstyle. Melee engineers may vary, but cannoneer and summon engineers only need charge for Force Field, so they can do well without charge generators.
  • Healing Bot is mandatory.
  • Force Field is mandatory.
  • Dynamo Field is mandatory for builds using charge heavily.
  • Immobilization Copter is close to being "mandatory", I recommend using it with every build.
  • Other defensive skills are Aegis of Fate, Bulwark and Charge Reconstruction.
  • Other charge generators are Charge Domination and Shield Bash.

Cookie Cutter Engineers in Short
Every class of every ARPG has two things linked to it: a cookie-cutter build and an adult fanart. As much as the Torchlight series don't need any cookie-cutting, there are skills that are definitely better than others.
Engineers are somewhat easier that they have a cookie-cutter quality defense skill. As long as Force Field is on, you can do whatever you want, for example beat the boss to death with a rusty broken spoon. Cookie-cutting defense, check!
Offense is the more difficult part of the formula for engineers, literally, as it involves an incredible amount of math. ARPG rule, Math is Awesome.

Technically many engineer builds could count as a cookie-cutter, due to the ease of staying alive, but other conditions lead to Emberquake builds.

Emberquake is a hybrid build, because its elemental damage scales with focus and its weapon damage and critical damage scales with strength.

Emberquaker main skills
  • Emberquake 15/15 as main attack.
  • Force Field 15/15 as main defense skill.
  • Healing Bot 15/15 as support. Emberquake costs a lot of mana, max healing bot is a must.
Optional skills
  • Immobilization Copter 15/15 for crowd control.
  • Onslaught 5/15 or more for crowd control.
  • Dynamo Field 10/15 or more for Charge generation.
  • Fire and Spark 15/15 for that 150 Focus worth of elemental damage bonus.
  • Seismic Slam 15/15 for leveling, crowd control and area of effect damage.
  • Fire Bash 15/15 for increasing damage.
Attributes
Close to equal amounts of strength and focus, aiming to hit 1000 with both after gear. Enough vitality to hit 75% cap of block.

Gear
In most cases, it's a dedicated sword and board build, but works fine with two-handed weapons as well. Attribute enchants on nearly everything. Enough gems to hit 75% damage reduction, but remember, engineers have 25% inherently, the remaining sockets are free to use for anything, possibly max health or mana regen.
Embermage
Embermage Playstyles
Embermages are solo-oriented, their skillset lacks the cooperative power of engineers but offer more mobility and crowd-control for a perfectly balanced solo character, perfect for longterm farming.
Embermage playstyles vary a lot less, but their skillset provides a lot more variety for dealing overkill amounts of damage. Yes, embermages deal a lot of damage.
    Prismatic Embermages concentrate heavily on the elemental Brand skills and Prismatic Bolt. Not much to say about it. Easy.
    Frost Embermages are masters of crowd control, sacrificing some damage to ensure their safety. Hailstorm, Frost Wave and Ice Prison can stun, freeze and block their enemies and deal heavy damage to them at the same time.
    Inferno Embermages are the fire&forget type of casters, their DoTs can kill most enemies without further strikes, giving time the embermage to manuever away from attacks. Heavy DoT effects from Magma Spear, Firestorm shine in bossfights, while the heavy instant damage of Infernal Collapse and Blazing Pillar clear trash effectively in no time.
    Storm Embermages have the most utility, having very powerful, but situational spells. Shocking Orb and Thunder Locus can massacre monsters in the very moment they spawn, but are situational.
    Melee happens and the embermage has some useful skills for melee, like Magma Mace, but it is quite hard to build an embermage around melee. Still, it is possible.

Charge Bar
The charge bar of the embermage is quite easy to understand, yet is totally useless for an embermage. As the embermage deals damage with its skills - nearly all skills generate charge - the charge bar fills and gives the embermage a clearcast state with free skills and 25% increased damage. This damage is multicative to any other modifiers, so it is a significant boost.

There is only one problem: with the exception of Arc Beam, every embermage skill deals elemental damage, so most embermages just go pure focus out of convenience, which means they don't need the clearcast state, their mana regenerates at an insane rate by default!
Regarding this, Charge Mastery is generally a poor skill for embermages.

Inferno Skills
Inferno is fire-oriented skilltree of the embermage class. Its active skills obviously deal fire damage, less obvious is that most of them leave a DoT and they can trigger the Burn DoT too. Inferno passives concentrate on maintaining DPS and even more fire damage.

Frost Skills
Frost is the ice-oriented skilltree of the embermage class. Its active skills mostly deal ice damage and are heavy in crowd control, while its passives concentrate on ice damage, decreasing resists and even more crowd control.

Storm
Storm is the shock-oriented skilltree of the embermage class. Its active skills mostly deal shock damage, many of them deals damage based on weapon DPS or weapon damage, while its passives add some randomness to the fights and even more shock damage. It is important to note here, that only Shockbolts convey weapon effects in the whole skilltree.

Embermage Building in Short
Warning: Embermages are easy to mess up, so it's advised for experienced players to read this part of the guide.
Embermages have some of the best passive skills for dealing damage. Embermages rarely have problem with dealing damage as a Brand skill alone can deal enough damage, their defenses and crowd control is the harder part of the building.
You should first imagine your ideal wizard and stick to that imagination and choose what fits you best.
  • Prismatic damage
  • Frost
  • Inferno
  • Storm
After that pick an attack skill, a Brand sharing its elemental damage and your typical crowd control and utility skills. If you plan to use any of the conveying attack skills and wearing the full Transcendent set, it is advised to pick all the Brand skills and Elemental Attunement.
Note: Transcendent set conveys high chance for all elemental effects, triggering all brands simultaneously.

Main Attack Skills:
  • Prismatic Bolt
  • Frost Wave
  • Shocking Orb
  • Conveying attack skills:
    • Magma Spear
    • Icy Blast
    • Shockbolts

Brand Skills:
  • Fire Brand
  • Ice Brand
  • Lightning Brand

Crowd Control Skills:
  • Ice Prison
  • Frozen Fate
  • Prismatic Rift

Utility Skills:
  • Thunder Locus
  • Death's Bounty
  • Staff Mastery
  • Wand Chaos
  • Hailstorm
  • Firestorm

Cookie Cutter Embermages in Short
Well, face it! Engineers have less adult fanart than Embermages. On the other hand, there are less cookie-cutter builds out there for embermages. Why? It's obvious: Prismatic Bolt! If you can have Prismatic Bolt and you want to play easy, pick it! Autotarget, multihit and applies every elemental effect, slowing and weakening down enemies at the same time with one single button.

Prismatic main skills
  • Prismatic Bolt 15/15 as main attack.
  • Fire Brand, Ice Brand and Lightning Brand, all 15/15 as main damage dealing passives.
  • Elemental Attunement 1/15 or more for increased elemental effect length.
Optional skills
Choose what you want, embermages are highly customizable, your damage already reached overkill amounts, so try to concentrate on crowd control.
  • Thunder Locus 15/15 for securing monster spawnpoints.
  • Ice Prison 15/15 or more for crowd control.
  • Death's Bounty 15/15 or more for utilty.
  • Frozen Fate 15/15 for even more crowd control.
  • Hailstorm 15/15 for increasing ice and lightning damage.
  • Firestorm 15/15 for increasing fire damage.
Attributes
Easy one, go full Focus and don't care about critical damage or chance, you just don't have to care about your damage and pure focus will also solve your mana problems.

Gear
Use whatever gives you the most spell casting speed, focus and damage resistance. You can use a shield if you want, it won't slow your killing speed down. Easy.
Outlander
Outlander Playstyles
Outlanders are well-balanced for solo and multiplayer with their wide array of crowd control skills. Outlanders also range-oriented, they have a well balanced array of skills for weapon use and magic, making both spellcasting and ranged fighting equally viable, while melee is more of a last resort option.
Outlander playstyles have the most variety, being the outlaw trickers they are. Covering only the most stereotypical outlanders we have...
    Glaivelanders, the base cookie-cutter of the class. While they aren't significantly strong, they are easy to use. Their trademark skill is the Glaive Throw, which is a high-damage, multitarget skill.
    Poison Outlanders are similar to the Glaivelanders, except that they use a wider array of skills dealing poison damage. Of course, their focus is on, well, Focus. Venomous Hail can trigger weapon effects and deal high weapon DPS, giving the edge of utility over the cliche Glaivelander.
    Shotty Outlanders concentrate on weapon DPS and strength. Rapid Fire, Chaos Burst and Venomous Hail are all effective ways of dealing weapon DPS and triggering weapon effects. Also, Poison Burst makes short work of weak enemies. Shotty outlanders have a wide array of weapons, shotgonnes being the most useful and pistol+shield combo being quite safe.
    Melee happens and the outlander has a lot of overlooked skills for it. Outlanders avoid melee mostly, but after some practice, Flaming Glaives, Glaive Sweep and even Rune Vault can decimate foes.

Charge Bar
The charge bar of the outlander is a true masterpiece. Why? First, it does its job well: makes the game faster and smoother. The more damage you deal, the more damage you are going to deal with your following skills. Second, it really helps the player by increasing attack speed, casting speed, critical hit chance and dodge chance.

Warfare Skills
Warfare is range-oriented skilltree of the outlander class. Its active skills mostly deal damage, many of them is based on weapon DPS, while its passives improve damage done by randed weapons and grant crowd control.

Lore Skills
Lore is the glaive-oriented skilltree of the outlander class. Its active skills concentrate on utility and the exotic glaive weapons, while its passives offer a good balance of additional offense and defense.

Sigil
Sigil is the magic-oriented skilltree of the outlander class. Its active skills offer utility, summons and damage, while its passives concentrate on summons and elemental damage.

Outlander Building in Short
Warning: Outlanders have countless overlooked skills, especially Shotgonne Mastery. Shotgonne Mastery is capable of permablinding bosses, which means it offers more defense than a shield using build. Consider this.

Outlanders are hard to build, but their flashy tricks make them fun to play.
Your first step should be choosing a style you like. Shooting stuff dead, throwing glaives or using dark forbidden magics to summon otherwordly creatures of shadows, anything can work as long as you like it. Choose one or more from the same group, they work well with each other.
  • Glaive Throw, Shattering Glaive, Sandstorm, Venomous Hail, Bane Breath
  • Rapid Fire, Chaos Burst, Venomous Hail, Poison Burst, Shadowshot
  • Flaming Glaives, Glaive Sweep, Venomous Hail
Venomous Hail works well with everything, as it deals elemental damage based on weapon DPS. Scales by both Focus and Strength, has the utility to hit targets without line of sight and an insane rate of fire to trigger weapon effects.

After this, one should choose the most important passives and utility skills.
Any Shotty outlander should consider putting some points on Shotgonne Mastery. Blind is most powerful crowd control effect in the game, crippling bosses easily.
Shotty outlanders should consider Poison Burst as well, because it deals enough area of effect damage to wipe out the weakest enemies fast. Generally Rapid Fire has the highest benefit from Poison Burst, as Rapid Fire alone lacks the wide area that Chaos Burst and Venomous Hail covers.

  • Share the Wealth
  • Shotgonne Mastery - triggers only from weapon DPS based skills
  • Poison Burst - triggers only from weapon DPS based skills
  • Shadowling Ammo - triggers only from weapon DPS based skills
  • Death Ritual - improves Shadowling Brute, Shadowling Ally and Shadowling Fiend only
  • Dodge Mastery
  • Bramble Wall
  • Rune Vault
  • Blade Pact
  • Stone Pact
  • Repulsion Hex

Akimbo and Long Range Mastery are left out, becouse their damage increase is best described as marginally low, they just don't work well with skills in the long run. On the other hand, they really shine in auto-attack builds, but it is recommended for veteran players only.

Cookie Cutter Outlanders in Short
Outlander's have the most unoriginal and lamest cookie-cutter in the history of gaming. You get a skill at your first level and you're stuck with it, that's it. Why? Well, the skill is quite good, it scales well with character level and you can start using it early on. It is both autotarget and multitarget, so its killing speed is mediocre at best, but it's easy to use. Considering every trait, the skill is good, it's just not as good as it is generally regarded.

Glaivelander main skills
  • Throwing Glaive 5/15 or more as main attack. Generally, 5 point is enough, but as the player achieves astronomical mana regeneration rates, adding more points to it is a good idea. Increasing the number of targets improves killing speed.
  • Cursed Daggers 15/15 for defensive debuffs.
  • Share the Wealth 15/15 for increasing offensive capacities.
Optional skills
  • Repulsion Hex 5/15 or more for defense, actually, the more the better, additional skillpoints mean longer duration.
  • Stone Pact 1/15 or more for healing.
  • Bramble Wall 1/15 or more for defense.
  • Rune Vault or Burning Leap 1/15 for mobility.
Author's Note on optional main skills
Well, Glaive Throw is easy to use, but I really recommend to try these skills before pumping Glaive Throw. Sandstorm and Shattering Glaive are very similar, but they have their own unique mechanics, they really have more potential than Glaive Throw.
  • Sandstorm 15/15, superior range, similar damage, pierces enemies, ricochets, generates less charge.
  • Shattering Glaive 15/15, good range, superior damage, area of effect, generates no charge.
Attributes
Most glaivelanders just go pure Focus, but with the natural high critical hit chance of outlanders enables them to gain heavy advantage from critical damage increase that comes with Strength.

Gear
Glaivelanders gain advantage from critical damage socketables in weapons and of course, their armor needs a lot of damage reduction gems. Enchant for as much Focus as possible, but some strength and dexterity won't hurt!
Berserker
Berserker Playstyles
Berserkers are melee-oriented and they can work well in coop, especially if their allies have the defensive power the berserkers generally lack. They are fast, furious and squishy. Especially the latter, many of them rely heavily on killing their enemies before they strike back.
Well-built berserkers can manage this, they can even out-DPS the other classes. Movement speed is essential.
Author's Note: Well, berserkers are hard to build and you're going to mess it up repeatedly. Even the best berserkers rerolled/respecced their characters countless times, before finding the right way.
    Ravagers are berserkers using ravage, straightforward and risky, but rewarding. Getting Ravage and maintaining mana are the main problems with the build, as berserkers are hard to level up to lvl42 without attack skills and their mana pool tends to be extremely low.Ravagers can go Focus in a very specific build, built around proccing Glacial Spike for ice damage and immobilize chance.
    Tundrazerkers are berserkers concentrating on ice damage. Permafrost, Northern Rage and Glacial Shatter are the main skills of the tundrazerkers. Out of all berserkers, they are possibly the safest and easiest to play.

Charge Bar
The Berserker's charge bar is, well, bad. As it fills up you enter Frenzy, your critical hit chance is set to 100% and that's all. Normally, that would be awesome, but there are some faults with this.
Endgame berserkers are likely to get ~300 dexterity to wear gear with level requirement of lvl101 - Draketalon -, their sets and some weapons increase critical hit chance even further, it's quite easy to hit 100% critical hit chance without Frenzy.
Also, berserkers have countless weapon DPS based skills, the critical hit chance of these are modified by the DPS%, leaving Ravage at 46% critical hit chance, even in Frenzy.

Hunter Skills
Hunter is the melee-oriented skilltree of the berserker class. Its active skills concentrate on dealing damage, increasing damage and taking less damage, while its passives increase damage done and grant self-heal.

Tundra
Tundra is the cold-oriented skilltree of the berserker class. Its active skills mostly deal ice or electric damage, while its passives concentrate on increasing damage done by ice damage.

Shadow
Shadow is the utility-oriented skilltree of the berserker class. Its active skills concentrate on dealing damage, minions, and providing defensive bonuses, while its passives concentrate on decreasing enemy armor and dealing additional damage.

Berserker Building in Short
Warning: Berserkers are hard to build and many of their better skills need high levels to unlock.
Berserkers have a lot less options to deal damage than other characters, for example, Eviscerate deals low damage at best at a slow casting rate, other skills are too situational to use as a main attack.
  • Ravage and Raze deal weapon DPS based damage, best used for pure Strength builds
  • Permafrost, Norther Rage and Glacial Shatter deal mostly elemental damage, best used for Focus builds.
  • Wolfpack is the blacksheep, it's similar to Emberquake, one part scales by strength, one part scales by focus. Wolfpack's pathfinding is awful btw.
Berserkers require many skills to support their damage and survival, especially when playing in solo. Most of these have internal cooldowns, non-stacking buffs and similar things to limit the class. Some skills just have hard to understand, questionable or incorrect descriptions. Here I write some tips for picking up skills.
  • Frost Breath - maxxed out it can steal health and mana, also increases damage taken by enemies.
  • Howl - increases damage taken by enemies.
  • Ice Shield - reflected missiles won't damage the character.
  • Battle Standard - grants a nonstacking buff, which is refreshed as long as the player stands in the banner's range.
  • Battle Rage - skill is additive, not multiplicative to strength and focus.
  • Shadowbind - actually deals weapon DPS not percentage of damage done.
  • Shred Armor - procs off weapon DPS based skills.
  • Shatter Storm - requires frozen debuff on the enemy to proc when killed.
  • Cold Steel Mastery - increases ice and physical damage directly, maxxed out it is equal to 180 focus in determining ice damage.
  • Blood Hunger - nonstacking buff, triggering it multiple times will only restart the timer.
  • Executioner - requires execution to trigger charge bonus.
  • Rampage - increased attack speed affects weapon DPS, increased casting speed affects skills.

Cookie Cutter Berserkers in Short
Berserker is not for weaklings or noobs, it takes skill, experience and determination to play a berserker. Also, there is NO cookie-cutter berserker. Quoting xkilla from the Runic forums, who is one of the best known berserkers:
Originally posted by xklilla:
I don't really believe there is a "cookie cutter" build for a Berserker in the sense where there is one overwhelming choice for the class to go, build-wise.
My best advice for berserkers: try your own builds and have fun!
Cookie-Cutters
Introduction to cookie-cutters
As previously mentioned, cookie-cutter builds are not required to finish the game on any difficulty, but can come handy. Many of the following were already mentioned in the Class sections, but will be detailed here, due to the lack of space.

There are some reasons behind cookie-cutter builds, most players prefer them:
  • Easy to use: yeah, sone wants to keep it easy, it's normal to ask for a convenient character.
  • Efficient: cookie-cutters are fast killers, farming with them is faster.
  • Fast: most cookie-cutters offer a faster playthrough.
  • Min-maxing: cookie-cutters offer high DPS pointers, they are the dreams of minmaxers.

Inherited from the Diablo II community, some can meet with hatred for non-cookie-cutters. On the B.net ladders, everybody rolls a hammerdin nowadays, because they think it's the only noteworthy build. They are wrong.

Cookie-Cutter guides
Guides for cookie-cutters are finished more or less. You won't find anything easier than this, and I tried to offer the best skillsets and the most freedom to costumize them for yourself! Here I present you these, have fun!

Kardfogu's guide to Emberquakers
Kardfogu's Guide to Prismatic Bolt Embermage
Kardfogu's Guide to Glaivelanders
Going Extreme
Extremist Character Building
Many builds can beat NG+5 on elite, but there are heavy differences between them. Most builds are designed to mow down lvl100-120 monsters, nothing more.

Be your goal to kill NG+5 Netherlord in less than 5 seconds or clear dungeons with monster levels around 200 like Tarroch's Tomb, you may need something that does a bit more than the mainstream cookie-cutter stuff.

Damage is regarded as the most important goal, but it's actually far from truth. Not only your armor doesn't scale well, monster armors are weak as well, you don't need crits with millions of damage to kill stuff. In the unmodded original game you'll do well if you have nothing but offense, but it's not everything.

Survival on the other hand is always considered to be something like "you need 75% damage reduction and that's all", but it's not even close to reality when you challange beyond the original game's limits.

Cookie-Cutters in Extreme Environment
Most cookie-cutters are fine for a playthrough and some farming, but they aren't designed for extereme environments or goals like killing bosses under a second. Cookie-cutters are mainly easy ways to do good damage with enough survival, the emphasis is on the word easy, but I'll have to explain this.

Emberquaker Engineer
Well, Emberquaker is the only fully optimized cookie-cutter around. You just can't deal more damage and you can't have any more defense. It's the peak of the class. No comment.

Prismatic Bolt Embermage
While Prismatic Bolt is a solid attack, it has it's obvious limit in the form of the cooldowns of the Brand skills. You can't trigger each brand more than once a second.
On the other hand, while Prismatic Bolt is somewhat limited on the offense, Ice Prison offers them the chance to cripple bosses and Thunder Locus can kill weak enemies off fairly easily.
Okay, it won't work always, but it's better than nothing and embermages have a teleportation skill to dodge enemy attacks.

Glaivelander
We heave arrived to the obvious weakling. It's offensive is okay, but it has no crowd control or defense in any forms. Outlanders without Shotgonne mastery are no match for anything over lvl200 or close to it.
Engineers have impenetrable defenses in the form of Force Field and embermages have the crowd control with Ice Prison and the inhuman reaction time of Thunder Locus, shooty outlanders have the ultimate crowd control with Shotgonne Mastery. Glaivelanders have no such, even the hard to play ravager berserkers outclass them simply by having Ice Shield.

Most Important Offensive Skills in Extreme Environment
[To Be Continued]

Most Important Defensive Skills in Extreme Environment
[To Be Continued]
Guides
Coop in Details
Loot
General Information on Loot
All and every ARPG has one important thing in common, the word written with capital letters: LOOT.
Loot is what drives everything, loot is the center of the world and the world orbits around even more loot!
When it comes to loot, Torchlight II does it as it should be done, gives you a good pile'o'phat lewt, which satisfies and motivates you to hunt for more. You end up in dungeons again, so you'll eventually need the loot. Self-driven stuff works well.

Sources of the Loot
Loot is everywhere, but of course, we can be more precise on that "everywhere", telling you the real deal, where to hunt for it:
  • Bosses can drop loot to satisfy your hunger of the loot and stop torturing them.
  • Bosses have chests, varying from the best bosschests, to simple chests with reduced drop rates, but most of them have at least a golden chest.
  • Secret rooms with multiple chests have one with increased drop rate.
  • Every surface level has a Golden Chest, which can be opened by the Golden Key dropped from the bittersprite of the level.
  • Chests normally are scattered around everywhere in both surface levels and dungeons.
  • Breakables tend to drop gold and junk, but they are countless.
  • Transmuting junk into new random items may net some loot.
  • Gambling is a way to convert your money to loot on your level.
  • Vendor summoned by the Vendor Boon Scroll sells set items, his inventory is based on the level of the place where he is summoned.

Rarity of Loot
Rarity can be viewed from two perspectives, the specified item rarity and the chance of it's drop. Items have different rarity in both perspective. In most cases, items with higher item rarity are less frequent than items with lower item rarity.

Item rarity helps a lot in deciding what is useful and what is junk. These are the item rarities known in the game:
  • Legendary are the most rare items of all with Red names, with exceptionally well stats and bonuses.
  • Unique items have an Orange name and they tend to have unique bonuses.
  • Rare items have a Blue name, and they have multiple random generated bonuses.
  • Enchanted items have a Green name and they have one or two random bonuses.
  • Normal items have a White name, they have no enchants.
  • Purple is the color of Quest items, which are are required for quests,
At the beginning, normal and enchanted items become junk in a short time, but rare items remain useful even in endgame. Some rare sets can compete with unique sets in terms of set bonuses.

Rarity based on the frequency of drop can be quite important in choosing if you want to kill a boss multiple times or not, as he may or may not drop something you are interested in:
  • Guaranteed loot are quest items, except for Vyrax's Heartfire which is dropped as a quest item, but is picked up as a Unique Socketable, and some Rare quality items dropped by objects.
  • Monster-specific loot drops from only bosses, for example some unique socketables dropped by the bosses they belong to, but it's not limited to socketables. These are not guaranteed, but are very likely to drop from multiple tries.
  • Normal loot typically dropped, which is completely random whenever you go back, but that's the beauty in it.
Some bosses tend to drop very useful loot specific to them, but they may offer a very low amount of other loot on kill, while other bosses have less useful specific drop, but large amounts of normal loot when killed.

Where to hunt Thy Epic Lewt
We know what to hunt, why to hunt it and where to hunt it in general, now it's time for me to give you some nice examples for exact examples of hunts.
On hunting random drops, my only advice is: Go to random dungeons and kill everyone, loot everything!
On specific loot, I'll give you some more specific tips! [To Be Continued]
Transmutation
General Information
Crafting in Torchlight II keeps tradition of the old ARPG games, you throw the junk in the box and you get random junk in the process, with a slight modification: now the junk has a quite wild chance to be precious loot!

Tranmutation Recipes
  • Random Unique: Requires 4 Unique Items, can generate Unique Set as well.
  • Random Set: Requires 2 Set Items, can generate Unique Set as well.
  • Random Spell: Requires 2 spells.
  • Random Socketable: Requires 3 socketables.
  • Add Socket to Item: Requires an Unsocketed Item and two Socketables .
  • Upgrade Health Potion: Requires 3 identical Health Potions.
  • Upgrade Mana Potion: Requires 3 identical Mana Potions.

Notes and Priorities
Some items have multiple qualities. Eyes dropped by bosses and skulls are both unique items and socketables, which means they can be used in both recipes. Same way, an equippable item can be both unique and set at the same time, making it possible to be used in two recipes.
  • Add Socket to Item > Random Unique
  • Random Socketable > Random Unique
  • Random Unique > Random Set
This means, that three unique socketables and a unique item will qualify for the Random Socketable recipe, but two unique socketables and two unique items will qualify for the Random Unique recipe instead, while any combination of unique set items and unique items will qualify for the Random Unique recipe.

You can use unique socketables in the random unique recipe, but be sure to not include unsocketed unique items with lower level than the socketables, in which case, the recipe for adding sockets overrides the random unique recipe.
Enchanting
General Information
Enchanting is a way of upgrading outdated gear and optimizing the new one. It is a great way to turn our hard-earned gold into power, returning it's cost in the long run.

Enchanting changed a lot since Torchlight. Enchanting has no longer a chance to remove bonuses from items and disenchantment became an option to remove added enchantments. Additionally, numerous enchanters were added with varying power and specialization.

Enchanters in towns are always the same:
  • Apprentice Malo in the Estherian Enclave is capable enchant items only once.
  • Rufio the Enchanter in Zeryphesh can enchant items twice.
  • Tulio the Enchanter in the Imperial Camp can enchant items twice.
  • Shemp the Enchanter in the Minehead can enchant items twice.
  • Greezo the Enchanter in the mapworks can enchant items three times.

Wandering enchanters appear randomly, except Garbahd the Enchanter and Vaneez the poisoner. Gharbad is always located in the bottom of the Elemental Oasis, which is a dungeon located in Sundered Battlefield. Vaneez is always located in the Salt Barrens. Neither of the two walks away after enchanting.
All the other wandering enchanters are located randomly in the game and their appearance depends on a weighted chance. There are a lot of different enchanters:
  • Karkozi the All-Powerful is the Grandmaster enchanter and he is the only one capable of giving a fourth enchantment or give disenchants for free.
  • Fondo the Master is the Master enchanter can enchant an item up to three enchantments.
  • Jurick the Socketer don't give any real enchants, but he socket items to a maximum of 2 sockets.
  • Filip the Lucky enchants with magic find, gold find, experience gain and fumble chance reduction, up to 3 enchantments.
  • Borris the Stout enchants with attributes, up to three enchants.
  • Telsor of the Storm enchants items with electricity up to three enchantments.
  • Panosh of the North enchants items with cold up to three enchantments.
  • Mooritz of the Desert enchants items with fire up to three enchantments.
  • Farqueez the Assassin enchants items with poison up to three enchantments.

[To Be Continued]
Hardcore
Guidelines on Hardcore
Hardcore got his own section as I realized that it needs it. As mentioned before it needs more defensive options, caution, patience and careful planning. let's see some guidelines:
  • Crowd-control: Never miss your chance to cripple your enemies, blind and stunned enemies won't strike back, crowd-control over everything else.
  • Damage Spikes: When death comes, it comes in a form of a suprise damage spike, have high health to survive them!
  • Block and Dodge: You can block a wide array of attacks some may be dodged as well, yet it is not guaranteed, don't rely on them completely, avoid what you can!
  • Mitigation: You should always keep your armor up to date, to minimalize what you can't avoid!
  • Absorption: When you have absorption you must learn to use, but not stress it!

Common Mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes, there is no exception from that rule. On the other hand, we must recognize our own faults and counter them.

Common mistakes in planning a hardcore character:
  • Overrating a shield is a common mistake in Torchlight II, some characters survive better with two-handed weapons or in some rare cases with dual-wielding.
  • Not using a shield with a character which has no reason not to use one.
  • Not using crowd-control skills, the worst mistake it is in Torchlight II hardcore.
Common mistakes in playing a hardcore character:
  • Underestimating enemies or packs leads to damage spike, damage spike leads to death.
  • Not taking advantage of the skills the character knows.
  • Not taking advantage of other classes. Yes, you should play in coop if you can.

Hardcore, I'd say, works the best in coop, but never play with unknown people, strangers, aliens, extraterrestrials and cheaters.
Story and Background
Collection of Guides
Useful Stuff
While I linked guides in mine in different places, it's not easy to browse my immense amount of written text, so here's a collection of all the already mentioned guides tah I found helpful in any way.

Sight Range
Two-Handed Engineer and Survivability Guide
About Crappy Guides
Introduction to Crappy Guides
As I said, one should always play the game for fun! Everybody has a mental state to decide which skills go well with a character. If you like Shield Bash - which hurts my freaking ears - you can use it, your choice, that's the wonderful thing in this game. You have total freedom, everything can work, min-maxing is not a real issue.
Note: Yes, I do everything for you guys, I even tried out Shield Bash, it works, but it's slow as hell and it hurts my freaking ears after 5 minutes. At least it works.

On the other hand, there is a hole in this doctrine. Guide writers are an exception! You see, if you want to write a guide, you must give the best advice you can! And you must listen to the wiser guys if they spot stupidity in your guide, you must fix that.

Of course, the best way to write a guide is to know everything about the game, that's why I wrote this guide actually, to help others. If one can't wait to understand the game completely and wants to write a guide, one should at least finish NG with a build before posting it to the community. Right?

Here comes my ranting about stupid people.

Top Signs that a Guide is Crappy
  • Bad grammar. You can call me a grammar nazi, but I'll rip your heads off if you do. Good grammar is a must, bad grammar is the sign of stupidity.
  • Untried build. One should try out everything before posting. Isn't it obvious? Minimal effort to finish NG with it, but one should use it and reach lvl100 in the long run.
  • Re-think-lessness. Guess this word never existed before, but one must always re-think a build, especially if someone says you missed out a skill! If you tried it, say your opinion, if you didn't, try it out! After that, give a reason to the writers why did you ignore a skill. Any reason will do, just give one!
  • No communication. If you just ignore your readers, you're bad. If you delete their comments, you're a hysterical girl. Get it? Just try to answer to everything you can and keep your manners! Hell, IRL I'm a raging monster, if I can keep calm online, everybody can.
  • Nonsense. If you suggest something impossible, that's no good. Well, I've seen a lot of stuff, like auto-attack only skills in skillbuilds, suggesting skills that can't be used with the suggested weapons and the like.

Guides to Avoid on Steam
I'll give you a short list of the worst stuff out there and I'm not planning to remove anything from this blacklist. While I can't check every guide out there and I'm not going to address every obviously bad thing, just the most annoying.
  • Die Hard Berserker Build Awful job, the worst I've seen with any good rating. When I asked why did they ignore Stormclaw, they just deleted my comment.
    Why is it so bad? It's hard to mess up an auto-attack build as most classes have only one skill designed to boost auto-attacks directly. Stormclaw and Supercharge are skills only working with auto-attacks, these were created to boost auto-attacks, making them viable.
    Worst is, they never tried their own build, I checked out their achievements, as of 01-08-2013, none of them finished the game.

[To Be Continued...]
150 Comments
< >
neox Jun 30 @ 5:57am 
thanks a lot!
Kardfogu  [author] Jun 24 @ 9:01pm 
Thank you!
Great guide! Rated and favorited. (:
Kardfogu  [author] Jun 20 @ 10:10pm 
Thank you!
angelfire280 Jun 20 @ 6:20pm 
good
YoloMikael Jun 20 @ 10:58am 
najs
Kardfogu  [author] Jun 3 @ 1:17am 
Without Stormclaw your full passive zerker won't be able to scratch a simple mob, so I'd highly recommend it. Stormclaw is semi-passive you just use it like every ~20 seconds and the buff remains on your char constantly.
On the other hand, I played zerkers, I used auto attacks with every class. Don't play passive zerker, it's a special kind of mazochistic build: no damage, no defense, no survival, only painfully slow gameplay full of deaths.

If you want to play passive, I'd say, Embermage is the absolute best stuff. Spam autoattack, kill everything. Build: Wand Chaos, Lightning Brand, Ice Brand, Fire Brand and Frozen Fate. If you want a really good build, put in and use Ice Prison, Death's Bounty and Thunder Locus as well.
Remy the Cereal Jun 2 @ 7:11pm 
I dont like stormclaw because I want to just click click click... and maybe right click every now and then... but yeah... fulll passive serker is the char for me =3...
Kardfogu  [author] May 21 @ 11:31pm 
True, actually it's missing quite a lot and the setting of Torchlight is a unique one. I'll try whenever I feel like I can continue...
EXU_CAVEIRINHA May 21 @ 3:36pm 
needs story and background