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Back in the olden days of RPGs like Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy, you didn't have quest arrows showing you exactly where you needed to go. If it was your first playthrough and you didn't have Nintendo Power, talking to all the townspeople you encountered for clues was absolutely crucial if you wanted to advance further in the game.

In Torchlight 1 and 2, the quest arrow shows the way and it seems that the townspeople in the game offer fairly pointless dialog. Do any of the townspeople in the game offer any useful advice or clue you in to areas of the game that aren't already marked by a shiny, flashy beacon?

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Welcome, human. Do you need something?

I assume you mean NPC's that are not vendors and don't give side-quests. The Estherian NPC's are particularly useless, but there are NPC's in Zeryphesh that will tell you to watch out for the Basilisks in Ossean Wastes, and encourage you to find and explore the Ship Graveyard in the Salt Barrens for loot. Whether you find these hints helpful or not is subjective, but after a first playthrough (i.e. after having seen everything at least once), they probably become fairly useless.

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They don't in the vanilla release, and in fact they provide a lot of information that is useless since much changed during development of the game but the dialogues were not updated accordingly.

The Unearthed Arcana mod resolves this by fixing the erroneous dialogues and removing some of the quest markers, meaning that not only do you have to interact with NPCs more to discover hidden side quests, but doing so now answers a lot of questions and provides information that is not only pertinent but useful to the storyline.

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