Torchlight 2's activation system broken for some users, Runic suspects Windows 8 as cause

A small number of Torchlight 2 players have found themselves at the bad end of the DRM stick. While the game's authentication system offers unlimited activations, if it detects "significant" changes to a system, it will ask for that copy to be reactivated. So far, so standard, but a number of posts on Runic's forums are claiming to be unable to complete this process.

The error brings up the standard activation message, but removes the option to activate the copy. As multiple forum posts point out, this leaves them unable to play their game.

We got in touch with Runic to ask what was causing the problem. According to the company's founder, Travis Baldree, they suspect that a Windows 8 update, released after the game's launch, is responsible.

"Normally, when Reactivation is required, it automatically takes care of itself, and is a non-issue," Travis writes. "In the (normally) rarer cases where something goes wrong, we have a couple of tools that we send out to resolve the issue."

"In this case they appear not to be working - our current suspicion is that something structural has changed in Windows 8 (or during the upgrade process) which fundamentally breaks the license. Windows 8 seems to be the common denominator between the tickets that we've received. We HAVE tested the game and the unlocks on Windows 8, both before and after release - including license resets - and it isn't a universal problem, which makes it more difficult to isolate."

Travis apologises for any inconvenience, noting, "it isn't our intent to cause our customers any pain, so we'd like to ensure that they can keep playing while we sort this out." To that end, Runic will provide Steam keys to anyone currently affected. "If someone is stuck at this point and has NOT received a Steam key from us, we'd love for them to contact us, and we'll provide one while we figure out what is going on."

If you're experiencing this issue, Travis says to contact Runic's support service at, including a receipt from the purchase and information about your OS and setup.

So why have the activation system in the first place? Travis explains, "The main reason we have a key system at all is so that we can provide an unlockable demo which lets you continue your character right after purchase."

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.