Hat tip to the Rampant Coyote on this:
It strikes me that such functionality is similar to World of Warcraft’s Dungeon Finder. The DF is effectively a way to get peers together for an instanced gaming session, it’s just that the “lobby” for the matchmaking is the WoW world at large, a shared persistent game space.
Yes, yes, technically peer-to-peer isn’t the same thing as the client-server architecture that WoW uses, but the actual player experience of dungeon crawling is similar enough. Namely, get together with a few friends in an instanced dungeon and go kill stuff. Take loot home and go do your own thing for a while, lather, rinse, repeat. I find it interesting to see these two games potentially offering similar multiplayer game experience.
If the Torchlight guys are still looking to build an MMO, they seem to be doing it in pieces, layer upon layer. Add a persistent overworld, player economy and a few more treadmills (rep grinds with NPC factions, crafting suites, etc.), and you’re set.
Well, and jumping. You can’t have an MMO without jumping.