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Here's a snip from part one:
Crispy Gamer: Interesting. So there's a lot of talk about Ember in Torchlight. What is Ember, how does it relate to the main storyline and how do players use it tangibly in the game?
Travis: In the lore of the world, Ember is a magical substance and most of the magic of the world is derived from it. So if you get a socket-able item it's usually Ember. Installing it in your gear gives you extra magical properties. One of the class' magic is based on the study of Ember.
The story really centers on Ember and what's going on in this mining town called Torchlight where they are extracting it.
Max: Basically the story in the game is Ember and this town. Torchlight is a mining town, a boomtown where people have discovered the largest vein of Ember in the world. In the early part of the game you go to these Ember mines and you find out that your people are not the people that discovered it first because there is evidence of past civilizations mining this Ember but something went wrong. It turns out that this particular Ember vein is corrupted and the people who mine it and use it eventually fall prey to the corruption and that's why the past civilizations that found collapsed.
You find the old ruins of these civilizations while you are there exploring and you realize that this is going to happen to your people too if you can't get to the bottom of why the Ember is corrupted. So that becomes the goal of the game; to find out why this stuff is corrupted and find a way to fix it so that your people don't become corrupted like past civilizations have.
And an excerpt from part two:
Crispy Gamer: Where are you at with the MMO project?
Travis: Peter and some other folks have been building the network infrastructure for that now. They've been actively working on the backend and we've been doing some design work. The nice thing is once we tie this off (the development of Torchlight), all the assets we're using can be used in the MMO. It hasn't been a detour to make the single-player game as much as it has been a step on the road towards the MMO.