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I remember that when I played Torchlight I decided to go for hard difficulties after reading that Normal was really too easy, and that was a nice decision in the end. Completing the first time through Torchlight was not straightforward and was just challenging enough.

How does difficulty work in Torchlight 2? How many levels are available and what are the differences between them?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

There are 4 difficulties: Casual, Normal, Veteran, and Elite, and in addition a hardcore mode. Can be seen on this video at around 2:50.

As the official site states:

Since there are no real benefits for picking hard difficulties other than fun (you don’t get better loot), you are free to play the game how you most enjoy. If you like being overpowered… you can play normal mode. If you like a serious challenge, play elite (which is much harder than very hard in TL 1). If even Elite is not enough for you, you will be able to easily download a difficulty mod and challenge yourself further.

The loot and drop rates don't change, only monster health and damage change.

And there is always the option to create your own difficulties with mods, to suite your specific desires.

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According to a tooltip, monster health and damage change depending on difficulty, and # of players in the game. – Arkive Sep 22 '12 at 6:21
does anyone have some numbers? (like 1.5 times damage, 2 times health etc?) – Asdafgh Sep 26 '12 at 23:28
I would love to see some benefits of a higher difficulty, such as minor exp and drop rate boni. – user41397 Jan 24 '13 at 21:08

every guide i find forgets to include that at higher difficulties your damage reduction goes down (to 0 in elite). so not only do the monsters get harder to kill (and more powerful); but, you become easier to kill as well. drops do not improve with higher difficulty levels (i think this is stupid... higher difficulty should yield higher quality items [not necessarily more]... but you can always download a mod to improve your magic find). really there is no reason to not make a character on casual mode and switch to a higher difficulty if needed (or wanted) [by creating an online game (which you can make in any difficulty)]. and honestly... the only way to truly enjoy elite mode is if you already played through the game and have a reasonable amount of gear to arm your character. the other modes are able to be beaten "fresh".

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