Writing about Torghast’s normal wings can be tricky. While they are optional in the purest sense, most players rightly perceive them as mandatory in order to earn the Soul Ash they need for legendary crafting at the Runecarver. Thus, imbalances both real and perceived are exacerbated and each player sharing their current experience is talking about a personal-level engagement with them.
The Twisting Corridors is much easier to write about because the artifice of player power progression is stripped fully away, and what remains is an elongated, increasing difficulty version of the core Torghast gameplay – with surprising results.
A normal Torghast wing is a 6-floor clear with brokers on floors 3 and 6 and a final boss on floor 6. It can be done pretty quickly if you aren’t looking for every urn, chest, quest, and discoverable, or you can really plumb the depths of the whole randomized dungeon for every possible find. Where the Twisting Corridors vary is in two primary ways – a single layer is now comprised of 18 floors with the same basic pattern, and the Soul Ash reward is gone. In fact, the odd-numbered layers you must climb to unlock higher-difficulty modes carry…no reward at all. What you get instead is a one time reward for each even-numbered layer – a pet at 2, a toy at 4, a title at 6, and a Maw-usable mount at 8.
But there are other tweaks too.
Torghast is split into wings with different visual style-kits and tilesets to use when randomly generating the layout of each floor. The Twisting Corridors, as the name implies, instead uses 3 randomly chosen sets from all of the wings. Basically, each 6-floor segment is like you might normally expect a single run, but when you kill the last boss, you move forward into a new segment as difficulty continues to shift upwards. For layers 1 and 2 of the Twisting Corridors, this doesn’t mean a whole lot – different enemies and differing visual style, sure, but that is about it. However, starting at layer 3, Torments are reintroduced, and these progress that by the time you reach floor 18, you have 5 stacks each of 3 different torments, with each torment matching the wing style the 6-floor run segment is modeled on. When I completed Layer 3 last night, I started with the Fracture Chambers set, getting the randomly spawning rogue add, then Mort’regar, with enemy magic damage done increasing, and then finally my last 6-floor segment was based on the Soulforges, afflicting me with the 1% per stack fire damage every five seconds debuff.
My understanding of the higher layers is that the stacking works similarly to the normal wings, in that higher layers mean a higher base stack on the first floor of a given tileset, so the difficulty scales up pretty sharply as you go. This randomness means that certain tileset configurations are uniquely awful depending on your class and spec toolkit – if you were to pull the Soulforges first on a Layer 3+ run, you’d be dealing with pretty bad ticking damage throughout your entire run. Likewise, the Coldheart Interstitia torment of increasing enemy health, which is an incredibly easy Torment in the normal wings in my opinion, would be much harder by the end of a Twisting Corridors run, where the 18th floor boss often has millions of health even solo!
I lead with the negative because what comes next does help offset it – because the sawtooth structure of the run remains intact and just multiplies 3x for a Twisting Corridors run, you get substantially more Phantasma and far more Anima Power as a result. My favorite Twisting Corridors run so far, I ended with 104 anima powers, at 140,000 health, with over 3,000 in each base stat and doing 20k DPS as a healer! While normal Torghast wings can be fun with the right combination of powers, you often don’t get to build meaningful levels of synergy and are typically picking powers in isolation for their utility to you at a given moment. You’ll usually have a core synergistic combo for your spec and class (every run I do on my paladin usually gives me at least 2-3 powers for Hammer of Wrath that allow me to build around it), but you don’t get to explore as much of the variety of Anima Powers as you might like, and it can make runs start to feel sort of static and routine.
In the Twisting Corridors, though…oh man, you can go hog wild with customization via Anima Powers. Taking powers like Phantasma Lure in a normal wing tends to be stupid, because you’ll rarely get enough Phantasma from the 25% buffed acquisition rate on offer to buy more than a single extra power. However, on a Twisting Corridors run, you can build with it early, using it alongside Protective Phantasma to build a huge barrier that keeps you alive through gnarly damage, and the extra purchasing power it gives you for later brokers can mean a large number of extra powers open up to you. Similarly, your class powers suddenly all become synergistic in new ways.
On my Holy Paladin, again, while in a normal wing I tend to build the Hammer of Wrath powers combo (Shattered Gauntlet for 30% more HoW damage a stack, Small Smooth Spike for 4-charge HoW spam, Negative Energy Token for non-execute range HoW use, Mark of Conk-quest to increase Holy Power spender power after using HoW, and Badge of the Mad Paragon to extend Avenging Wrath by 3 seconds per HoW, which can be self-sustaining to a high degree with Small Smooth Spike since you can extend AW by 12 seconds per set of HoW charges!). In a normal run though, I can only maybe get 2-3 of these to build a meaningful combo, but in the Twisting Corridors, I can, in many runs, get almost all of these powers minus 1 or two, and the common ones like Shattered Gauntlet, can stack as high as 4 stacks, creating a ridiculous amount of power when I can cast Hammer of Wrath! What is crazy though is that such a highly synergistic combo only takes 10-12 Anima Powers out of nearly 100, which means you can build tons of other power on top of that.
The focus on Anima Power also extends to variety of powers. In a normal wing, you often need to focus on shoring up your weak spot. On my Holy Paladin, this means taking offensive powers to increase damage output to ensure I don’t have to spend all night soloing a layer 8, and on my Havoc DH, this means taking defensive powers to improve my survivability so I don’t get wasted on higher floors by powerful mob abilities. In the Twisting Corridors, however, you absolutely need both – damage powers will be needed for even the most flavor-of-the-month DPS specs, and even the beefiest tank will need health and survival powers. The utility stuff is hit or miss in normal, but some of them become vastly more usable in Twisting Corridors. Being able to see which normal mobs have Anima Cells is nearly irrelevant on a normal wing, but when you’re going to buzzsaw through a couple hundred enemies in a two-hour span, suddenly that becomes vastly more viable as a timesaver or strategic imperative.
So, overall, what is my impression of the Twisting Corridors of Torghast?
Well – if you’ve been reading this post to here, and have read my other Torghast posts, or my older posts about my absolute time-sinking into the Legion Mage Tower or BfA’s Horrific Visions, you know already that I am predisposed to love this content. And, well…I do. Mostly.
Getting 70+ anima powers in one sitting drastically changes the fun of the mode – where Anima Powers are a fun curiosity that makes time go by faster in normal, in the Twisting Corridors they are both more necessary and also more engaging, given the large number of combos you can craft. You can build a pile of combos around a cornerstone ability, a bunch of fun buffs, 3 or 4 different ways to substantially increase your health pool, multiple forms of damage reduction, and easily increase your primary and secondary stats by 2-3x over normal, making everything feel ridiculously fun and fluid.
Even better still, because there is no player power reward here that persists outside of the run, the pressure and unfun-ness that can creep into a normal Torghast is gone. Failing on a high floor can feel bad (I almost ate it on the final floor of my layer 3 run!) but at the same time, you’re not losing anything but the time, and if you enjoy the gameplay aspect of it, even a failed run doesn’t have to feel like wasted time. In a competitive guild, being in the top pushers of the corridors as the high layer achievements pop in guild chat can feel fulfilling as a sort of assessment of player skill, and then reaching that layer 8 pinnacle and getting the mount makes the Maw much more fulfilling to play in as well.
Or so I assume, at least, as I currently am only at layer 3, with 4 in front of me today at some point, a challenge which I am excited to meet.