D20: Are you suffering from Loot Fatigue?

Torchlight II

By on September 24, 2012 at 5:41 pm

My eyes are gritty and I’m not regulating my body temperature too well. It’s a sure sign that I haven’t slept enough in a while. As an insomniac I’m used to the sore eyes and fatigue sweats, but today there are some lovely extra symptoms nagging me. My lower back is killing me, and depending on which way I hold my neck I get a stabbing pain in the back of my head. I haven’t felt this way in over a decade, since days passed unnoticed outside as I was first playing Diablo II. I have all the warning signs of loot fatigue and it doesn’t look as though it will be getting better any time soon.

Depending on how you look at it, the last week or so has either been very bad or very good for the addictive gamer or obsessive. In the space of only a few days two games have released, both almost entirely predicated on a scaling system of reward that keeps you hanging on for just a few more minutes in the hopes of snagging that next iterative gear upgrade. Borderlands 2 and Torchlight II are very different games, but at their core they both revolve around the same thing – the primal desire to have the biggest and best thing and the almost pure distillation of the relationship between risk and reward.

The two games couldn’t be more different in approach outside of the fact that one is a first person shooter and the other is old-school click-to-kill. Borderlands 2 features a great story, characters and dialogue that give the world of Pandora both a real sense of place and a villain who all but begs to be shot in the face, whereas Torchlight II has the most perfunctory of plots and NPCs who function as nothing more than quest vendors and occasionally expositrons. The approaches may differ, but the same heart beats inside both games. Frequent loot drops are the order of the day, and a system of  colour coding that it all but part of gaming DNA ensures an entirely disproportionate flash of excitement every time you see the glint of blue, purple or orange.

Most of the appeal of loot based games is built around getting the next big thing, be it a gun, piece of armour or some kind of other treasure that improves your character in a noticeable way, but for me at least, some of the appeal comes through the ludicrous way in which some of said loot appears. I’m not simply talking about the way that enemies often seem to be little more than pressurised sacks of gold, gear and goo that explode when you poke them, but rather the sometimes nonsensical distribution of loot. The rather brilliant 2004 action RPG, The Bard’s Tale, parodied this rather beautifully in the opening of the game when the eponymous hero kills a random wolf only to have the narrator question the logic and logistics of the amount of treasure it drops.

I love that ludicrousness in games based around loot. I love seeing a tiny monster drop an item far larger than they are, or drop something that they have no right in having in the first place. Torchlight II is a case in point. My Engineer now wields a giant vampiric, flaming axe that was dropped by a sword. That’s right – I killed a cursed sword and it dropped an axe. Forget the sound of one hands clapping or that stupid tree falling in the woods, Torchlight II is responsible for a modern day Zen Koan – “Why does a sword carry an axe?”

12 comments (Leave your own)


Off to play Torchlight 2 :P


What’s Fatigue? Is that some kind of new bar in Torchlight 2?…

/me plays more TL2.


And this is why I avoid heavy loot-based games. They suck up your time like no-one’s business and if you start encountering health issues (even just temporary stuff) it’s a sign that you might want to do something else for a while.


I have all most given up most of the heavy loot-based games. I think I got to the point were I just could bring my self to play through Diablo 3 again after finishing it on normal. The reward for time spent just din’t seem worth it.

I am hover playing Borderlands 2 and find it fun. The stuff that some of the character come up with is just plan stupid most of the time. I think that’s what is keeping the game fun at the moment. Well for me it is.

But as for any other game that is loot-based I just cannot bring my self to play it. E.g.Torchlight 2 and Guild Wars 2 come to mind at this point.


We need a sequel to Freelancer… as much as I love my action fantasy RPGs and shooter/RPGs, it’s been too long since we’ve had a new space sim/RPG.



What a great Idea but isn’t Eve Online what freelancer was only a MMO? I could be wrong tho, just an idea.



MMO’s really aren’t my thing. I’m one who likes a single player campaign which can be shared in co-op… while Freelance didn’t have it’s singleplayer campaign accessible in co-op, we at least got the crux of the freelancing game play. Being able to explore that galaxy with my bro and not have anyone interfere was great fun.


Diablo 2 was my first and last loot based game i went silly over.

After the end of 3 straight days of playing I had to stop, as I had worn a hole into the palm of my hand below my ‘attack’ finger, and the blood seeping out eventually shorted out my mouse (never even realised you could hold down the mouse button to attack continually til after. doh :) )

As they say, In order to be old and wise, you first have to be young and stupid. In the case of getting over loot based games, i can highly recommend open bleeding sores for making you wise very fast :)


We need a sequel to Freelancer… as much as I love my action fantasy RPGs and shooter/RPGs, it’s been too long since we’ve had a new space sim/RPG.


Until then, Discovery freelancer (Mod for freelancer) is the best we will get.


I havent had a single back/neck/arm issue since signing up to a gym. i even sleep better. not sure if its due to the gym or the fact that going to the gym limits my gaming thus, not losing sleep etc. oh well, gotta grow up some day i guess.


There’s a difference between a game being stupidly loot centric and there being gear progression though, unfortunately 99.99% of devs only know how to do either extreme. Little pissed with GW 2 atm, no gear or harder instances or raids to look forward to and it gives me no reason to log in.

It’s like Lineage 2 meets barbie dressups.


Heh, I’ve never gotten loot fatigue from playing Torchlight or Borderlands. I have, however, gotten loot fatigue from playing Jagged Alliance with its ridiculous levels of logistical minutiae.

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