The Anti-Frustration Features in the game. Having pets to take Vendor Trash to the vendor is basically an admission that Vendor Trash is pointless. Yet... they still have Vendor Trash in the game. Similarly, bothering to put in a system for saving equipment between character classes is an admission that dropping the wrong equipment for the wrong class is bad. Yet they continue to do it. It's like the game developers looked at Diablo, saw some bad ideas and said, "Rather than actually fixing these, we'll just make them less inconvenient."
More development time means more money spent, and Torchlight wasn't exactly a huge budget game. You can't go around inventing a better wheel for every single mechanic you think is potentially outdated... sometimes you have to pick some to keep and just smooth out the bumpier spots for the sake of development efficiency. And let's give the developers some credit here; the conveniences did add a lot to the game, and are things that many other similarly recent Diablo clones didn't have.
One must also consider the purpose of vendor trash. Without items you don't want/need/can't use, either... you end up with very very very few drops and long times between upgrades and reduced gold (not that it's useful) or you end up with useful stuff up the wazoo and no real sense of actually finding something nice because you have 50 Infinity Swords Plus Ones and there's an Infinity Sword Plus Two around the corner. To a larger extent, rogue-like (Or Diablo-like) games aren't the controlled amusement park ride set up that many modern games try to do. Instead, they're more willing to allow some randomization and unpredictability play a part in the game; they don't try to guide and control every part of your play experience.
And that's exactly what's wrong with them. Because they don't guide the play experience, they create bad play experiences. Or at the very least, inconsistent ones. There's no gameplay depth because what you do is basically built on the random number generator. The player at the beginning of the game is doing the exact same things as at the end of the game. The gameplay never changes, because that would interfere with the random loot system. You never pick up items that change your strategy at all, because that would allow the loot system to interfere with gameplay. Well, beyond making numbers bigger.
Can't really attribute this as being a fault. If they did the opposite, you would have people complaining that most of the equipment is useless because they used a guide and know how to get the absolute best equipment as quickly as possible (a la Fallout 3 where you could get a Sniper Rifle and Assault Rifle for free as soon as you left the tutorial area if you knew where to look). If there was no ability to sequence break equipment, people would complain that it is pointless because it is set upgrades they control when you can acquire (a la basically every traditional Korean RPG), so they could have just added those changes to the level up stats without any actual change. Really, no matter what they did, some group of people would be unhappy with it, so you can't fault them unless they use their system poorly.
That actually depends on how much you depend on equipment, and how much you depend on skills. Skills tend to have a more controlled progression, and even which equipment you use may well change equipment as the enemies change from level to level. Well, if nothing else, YMMV
The thing is that Torchlight doesn't have Vendor Trash in the "Broken Sword" sense. It only has Vendor Trash in the "Gear that's worse than your current gear" sense. Regardless of what game you're playing, if it's single player there's only two kinds of gear: Gear that's better than what you currently have, and Vendor Trash. As mentioned above, if you get rid of Vendor Trash that means all that drops is gear that's at least slightly better than the gear you have. That means either your gear improves much faster than it does now or the total drop rate of items is significantly nerfed. Slaughtering endless waves of enemies is boring when 90% of them drop absolutely nothing with not even a chance of it being good. We need those constant drops to keep the Skinner Box working.
You still use the same skills in the same way. All upgrading a skill does is change its stats. It doesn't change how or when you use it. You will use each skill in the exact same way as you did when you first gained that skill. And since upgrading existing skills is often the more effective choice compared to getting new ones, the gameplay doesn't change. You will be using the same strategy in level 8 of the dungeon as level 18 or 22.
The same complaint can be made about virtually every game in existence if you are that superficial about it. A level 8 character does not have access to most of the skills in the game. While many low level skills are viable, most of the really central skills don't appear until level 15-25, which is a very good chunk of the way through the main game.
There is no "wrong class" equipment. Every class can viably be built in such a way that any piece of equipment can be viable for a particular build.
For example, Vanquisher is traditionally a ranged class. However, only part of one skill tree truly requires you to use a ranged weapon. Another skill tree is built for melee. The final skill tree is for traps. Yes, Marksman focused characters are basically built as glass cannon ranged weapon users. Rogues can be glass cannon melee, but they can also be tanks or two-handed weapon users. Just because it is called "Rogue" does not mean it falls under the traditional archetype by definition. Arbiter focused Vanquishers are even more flexible, especially since traps don't gain much benefit from equipment compared to Marksman and Rogue. That means an Arbiter can viably be a tank, two-handed weapon user, glass cannon, magic user, or hybrid. Literally, every possible piece of equipment is potentially useful to one Vanquisher build or another. The same is true for Destroyer and Alchemist. The Destroyer might seem tailor made for melee, but many of their skills are useful for a magic or ranged based Destroyer.
Is it just me, or does Torchlight seem to be....well, short? At least compared to itspredecessors.
It's shorter than Diablo, but in many ways it's longer than Fate because in Fate you had one goal: Go to level 5X and kill Nounverber the Adjective. In this game there's actually a logical story progression besides "This guy is bad. Kill him now."
I can't really call it short, personally. But that's because I got utterly bored with the game around level 18 or so. A game is only "short" if you want to play longer but the game ran out of content. I wanted to stop playing before it ran out of content, so for me it was too long.
The Zeraphi and Ezrohir have me stumped in how exactly they work. They're supposed to be robotic (the latter even explode into scrap when killed), yet they have both males and females, and in the former's case even a water supply that can be poisoned. I know about the MST3K Mantra, but still, this is the place we ignore such things.
The guard that gave me that quest mentioned that it's a "Manatoxin" that was designed for the Zeraphi's physiology. Also, I never heard that the Zeraphi were mechanical, merely that the Ezrohir moved their souls to mechanical bodies. Zeraphi appear to be energy/souls in wrappings and masks.
Well, they sounded robotic, the guards looked quite robotic (although it may be just armor), the sphinx I'm pretty sure was robotic, and the inside of several dungeons where they were involved were technologically advanced despite supposedly being rather old, so I drew a (perhaps mistaken) conclusion. And I'm not sure how a soul inside wrappings needs water, but I digress.