, pub-6663105814926378, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Divinity Ii: Ego Draconis 4289

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Divinity Ii: Ego Draconis

Divinity Ii: Ego Draconis

Your life has suddenly taken more than more than its fair share of twists and turns in a very short amount of time. Barely any time has passed from when you were little more than a Dragon Slayer initiate and completed the ritual to put you on the path to become a Slayer. In a twist of the strands of fate, your first dragon hunt thereafter was supposed to be the last you and your compatriots would ever know, as you and your fellow Dragon Slayers were in pursuit of the last known Dragon Knight in existence. Rather than the day end with the betrayers finally eliminated, your destiny changed course when the last Dragon Knight approached you and fused her essence into your own.

Now you are the very being that you were trained to hunt and kill, which not only makes you a favored target for the Dragon Slayers to sink their blade into, but also puts you in a unique position of terrible knowledge. While humanity has been working on eliminating the Dragon Knights a new threat has been brewing in the form of a demon army led by Damian, a being so furious over the loss of his love that he would see the world burn with all the flames his wrath can muster. Not only must you survive being stuck between these two opposing forces, but you must also gain enough power and friends to stop Damian's army before he uses it to turn the world asunder.

If you hadn’t already guessed, Divinity II is the latest high fantasy epic from Larian Studios, the architects behind the previous games in the Divinity series including 2002’s Divine Divinity and 2004’s Beyond Divinity. The gameplay is essentially an action RPG as you control your character through real-time combat using your abilities to topple your foes and perform evasive rolls and leaps so as to avoid the swing of an axe or the sting of a bolt of magical energy. You only control your own character rather than a party, which means that  the only micromanagement you will be performing is simply that of keeping tabs on your skills and their cooldown as you rain hell down on your enemies.

As a Dragon Slayer initiate one of your first trials in becoming a fullfledged Dragon Slayer is to visit the village of Farglow. This sacred village is a place that all Dragon Slayers visit once and never again, and a key reason for the visit is the mind wipe that occurs at the height of the initiation ritual. This mind wipe has the unfortunate  side effect of wiping out much of the training and experience that initiates have amassed over their training, but that training was only meant to see if the initiates mind is tempered enough to accept the gift that follows the mind wipe. You see, the wipe leaves the initiates mind open and clear to receive the new knowledge that the ritual imparts, not the least of which is the ability to see and communicate with undead spirits as well as the ability to read minds. This wipe also leaves the initiates eyes with a perpetual silvered shine, a trademark visage of a Dragon Slayer.

The ability to interact with the undead is important, as with the lands of Rivellon having endured a long and bloodied history of conflict there are many spirits left haunting the dungeons and towers that scatter the landscape. Your quests will take you through many areas that these ghosts call home, and talking with them may not only shed some light on previous unknown history as it pertains to your objective but they also may have side quests for you to complete in order for you to complete that which they can no longer do now that they are no longer in the corporeal realm.

The ability to read minds however is a true game changer, and is one of Divinity II’s most inter- esting features. As you make your way across the lands of Rivellon, you will encounter many characters during your journey, both human and non-human. You can use your newly acquired mind reading powers to probe the minds of nearly any character that you can talk with normally, letting you in on insight or hidden knowledge that would otherwise be unavailable to you. Mind reading, however, does not come with- out a price, as each time you do so it puts you into an experience debt that can be high or low depending on the strength of the mind you are reading (or as to how juicy the information is). Once this debt has been accumulated all future experience gains go towards paying it off before your character continues to gain experience towards leveling, but the rewards are often worth it.

Mind reading has a variety of uses, the most basic of which is to get a cheap bit of gossip or to learn a juicy or possibly embarrassing aspect of a shopkeeper’s life so that it can be used as leverage to help him adjust his prices accordingly. However, the use of this ability in quest lines can often change the direction a course takes dramatically. Early on in the game you are simply asked by a female villager to deliver a sealed letter to the village blacksmith and are explicitly told to not tell her husband. Seeing it for what it obviously is, one outcome of the quest would be to simply deliver the letter and leave it at that.

With such matrimonial woes going on, it’s hard not to mind read into the matter further, and when the woman’s mind was read you find that she often wonders why her husband hides a key up in the rafters that she cannot reach. This leads to grabbing the key and checking out the locked cellar, which is a plan cellar barring the fact that it contains her husband diary in which he details the fact that her murdered the last man that tried to court his wife on the side. When confronted with this new knowledge the husband enrages at the thought of his secret getting out and attempts to cover his tracks by killing you. There are entire quest chains that are unlocked simply by letting your curiosity getting the better of you and mind reading people you talk with. It might be hit or miss as to if they will have worthwhile thoughts rattling around, but the results are often worth it.

The ability to read minds also comes in quite handy when you can use it to glean what the motivations are of someone who is sending you on a quest. You may get sent on an errand, only to mind read the quest giver to find  that they are only doing so to keep you away from something or at least hope that you do not find it. On some quests that have multiple outcomes, this may influence what outcome you ultimately want to choose now that you have insider knowledge of the quest givers. Of course some powerful characters may notice you peering into their minds and begin to have a mental conversation with you, which can both positively and negatively affect their views of you.

As stated earlier, however, the game doesn’t exactly revolve around playing with the unspoken gossips of the townsfolk, as there are far more grave matters afoot. When the Dragon Knight infused her abilities and mind into your own you gained the ability to become a Dragon Knight but those abilities lay dormant. Thus, one of your first primary goals is to unlock those skills and not the least of which is the ability to turn into a dragon at will. While in dragon form, you have the full ability to take to the skies and engage in aerial combat as you breathe fire on your enemies and emit tracking bursts of flame to take out distant foes. It is fully possible to leap off of a cliff where you have slain a few mountaintop baddies, transform into a dragon as you freefall off the side, roast some airborne enemies, and then change back into human form again to kill some additional foes down in the valley below.

Combat is something that you will quickly get used to in Divinity II, but how it plays out is ultimately up to your personal tactics and how you build your character. Killing your enemy gains you experience proportional to the level of the fallen foe, which not only pays off any experience debt that you accumulated from mind reading, but also goes towards leveling up your character. Every time you level, you gain four attribute points to apply towards your base stats. Vitality increases your hit points, while Spirit helps dictate your maximum mana points available to you.

Strength is the primary attribute for melee fighters due to how it affects how much melee damage you deal, how much of it you resist, how fast you regenerate hit points, and how well your body and resist affects such as burn and bleed. Dexterity deals with how much ranged damage you deal, how effectively you can dodge return fire from archers, and how much damage your critical hits do with any weapon. Finally, Intelligence can be pumped up to increase your magic damage and resistance, boost your ability resist such spells as curses and polymorph, and increase how quickly your mana regenerates.

Every time you level, you also gain one skill point, which can be spent across any of the skill categories assuming you meet the skill’s minimum level requirement. Putting points into these skills either boosts your character, grants you a new ability to use, or further bolsters and ability you already know. There are five of these categories; Priest, Mage, Warrior, Ranger, and Dragon Slayer. Priests have less healing abilities than what you would expect, instead being geared towards summoning undead minions to help you fight or cast detrimental curses against your enemies. Mages are based more on straightforward magic damage, with skills that deal direct damage or give you some crowd control. Warrior skills are based almost entirely around either dealing damage in melee or other skills that help you stay alive while doing so. Rangers are your stereotypical archers with a bevy of arrow skills such as stun, poison, and explosive arrows, as well as some degree of stealth. Finally, Dragon Slayer skills are ones that increase your encumbrance, decrease how much experience it takes to read someone’s mind, or increase your weapon proficiencies.

While you can create a character that is primarily based around one of the skill categories such as a full-on Ranger, the most powerful characters come with mixing and matching skills in order to suit the variety of situations you will find yourself in. Since you can switch weapon sets on the fly - you may wish to pepper your foes with arrows before rushing in with a sword and shield, or prefer to swing a massive hammer around and just fling some painful magic at any target out of your mighty reach. Building a character that follows just one of the skill categories means that while your character will be incredibly powerful while in their element, you will often find yourself in situations where it is very difficult to survive such as a ranger in close quarters, or a warrior caught out in the open.

In either case you will be dealing a lot of death towards a large variety of humans, goblins, skeletons, demons, and their ilk. Though the game is fully 3D in both graphics and in movement, the use of your attacks and abilities is based around a lock-on system to help manage those battles that could otherwise easily be overwhelming. Your current lock is picked by simply pointing your camera towards the enemy. You can either let this free-moving lock run its course and simply point at who you want to hurt at the moment, or you can choose to put a hard-lock on a target, ensuring that you will only try to hit them until either they perish, or you change your lock.

It is important to get a firm grasp of this system quickly, as simply standing around and picking your abilities to use against your target can often only get you killed. Melee fighters have an easier time going toe to toe with enemy hits assuming you pump their strength and vitality points up and deck them with armor, but if you have been forgoing strength in favor of the more delicate or intellectual pursuits, you will find that often your best defense against a foe is to make him unable to hit you at all. By pressing the jump button and moving to either side you can perform an evasive roll, and by jumping forward or backward you will leap into the air in a flip. These moves are great tools to help keep melee fighters at bay while you pepper their healers, or simply roll out of the way of an enemy mage’s spell before it lands. Higher level enemies are harder to evade in this manner and certain spells either move far more quickly than others or have homing abilities of various quality, but dodging and rolling can often mean the difference between using a potion or two in a fight or using none at all.

Gear plays a big role in your survivability and tactics, as not only can gear items add to your melee, ranged, and magical defense but many gear items come with a variety of additional enhancements, which may be better suited either for your character or for the task at hand. Gear items themselves provide basic defense and have a chance of having modifiers of some caliber, such as the ability to deal automatic damage to any foe that hits you with a weapon with any attack, or simply have a change of dealing some damage to any nearby enemies regardless if they attack you or not. Other boosts, such as the ability to increase one or more of your skills by a number of points can be invaluable, not to mention those pieces of gear that increase your base stats.

Such gear can be purchased through one of the many shopkeepers and blacksmiths that dot the game world, but generally speaking these pieces of armor and weapons only have the most basic of stats and rarely have anything more than maybe one stat bonus to them. The best gear comes from either random loot from enemies or from quest rewards. Purchasing gear is great for filling holes in your equipment or trying out the different styles of combat, but soon enough those blacksmiths and shopkeepers will simply be those who you sell unwanted gear that you’ve accumulated in exchange for some gold coins or possibly a few potions and charms for your travels.

In addition to their inherent bonuses many pieces of gear have either enchantment or charm slots. Charm slots work similar to the socketing systems found in other RPGs where you simply fit an object into the charm slot that adds such things as melee damage, magic resistance, vitality points, mana regeneration and a multitude of others. You can put a charm into a charm slot at any time and it doesn’t require anything, other than a weapon or gear item with such a slot and something to put in it. Once you put a charm in a slot, however, that charm is permanently bound to that item. It can be replaced, but you cannot retrieve that charm and use it in other items.

Enchantments are far more powerful than charms, but in a similar manner, they require an enchantment slot be present on the gear item. Enchantments also are selective in what items they can be applied on, such as weapons, jewelry, or armor. Their effects however are often with the hassle of getting them on your gear, though. Some enchantments can add the ability to automatically restore your hit points or mana as a fraction of the damage you have dealt, or simply add a nice bonus to your base damage. Enchantments do require the help of someone to help you put the enchantment on, however, so you can’t just slap one on while in the middle of your latest dungeon crawl.

While you don’t have a party in Divinity II and only ever control your own character, that’s not to say that you can’t get some dedicated help of your own. As you comb through dungeons and kill enemies you will acquire the body parts of creatures in the form of their heads, torsos, arms and legs. These ghastly bits of loot are more than just trophies of your latest kills, serving a far more important purpose when taken to a necromancer who can help you assemble them into a new being. Similar to your skills, however, how you build this little pet monster of yours often depends on how you want him to compliment your own character.

Every body part has a set of attributes, such as how much it increases health, resistances, damage and whether or not it adds any abilities for the creatures use. You can just as easily build your creation as a tank that has high health, as you can build it as a melee force of nature, which gets in close and mauls your foes. With certain body parts, you can give the creature ranged abilities, so if you would rather it stay back and let you get messy in melee, you certainly can. Summoning your creature is done by using a Crystal Skull and takes half of your total mana, but once summoned, the creature will faithfully follow you and generally get in the face of anyone foolish enough to brandish a blade or an unkind stance against you.

You will fight your way through a multitude of dungeons and other environments filled with all manners of things that wish to do unpleasant things with your mortal coil, but unlike a traditional dungeon crawler, Divinity II often makes use of gameplay elements other than just simply blazing through the area, cutting enemies down and gathering loot. There is much of that action to be had of course, but in addition you must watch out for pressure plates or other hidden traps that can have both good and bad consequences such as the difference between spawning a chest full of goodies or polymorphing you into a ladybug for a period of time. As you leap over and roll out of the way of danger, it is important to keep an eye on your surroundings, not only to watch for flanking enemies, but also to make sure you don’t accidentally activate some devious trap that takes off half of your hit points in the blink of an eye.

Other elements in the game play a prominent role in spicing up your dungeon crawling as well. There is a small amount of platforming elements found in some of the more complicated dungeons in which you must accurately leap from platform after precarious platform in order to reach a switch to open a gate or simply leap over an obstacle from higher ground. There is no fall damage in the game, so missing a leap rarely results in death,  unless you happen to fall amongst a bunch of enemies who will then be quite happy to poke you full of new wounds. It won’t be long before you will think to leap onto a platform that a lesser, non-Dragon Knight couldn’t get to, so that you can avoid the reach of the swords and axes found in the hands of melee enemies, but to negate being cheap, the enemies in the  game will either use a ranged attack against you if they can’t reach you, or will simply begin to regenerate hit points at a vastly accelerated rate.

Another aspect of working your way through a dungeon or through the countryside itself in the pursuit of finishing quests, is how often in many quests you will need to either use your mind read ability to learn a key element about the quest, or read something that you had picked up for clues. Again, experience debt does hamper your characters progression somewhat, but there will be many times where you can get free attribute points or skill points to spend, just because you decided to read the mind of a librarian and accidentally learned a new alphabet, that you then used to read an ancient book filled with knowledge.

One thing to keep in mind as you play Divinity II, however, is that the game certainly does not hold your hand if you decide to wander off the beaten path and into a pack of higher level enemies. The game’s enemies do not automatically scale to your level, so it is entirely possible to wander into a goblin’s lair filled with enemies two or three levels higher than your own. This level difference doesn’t seem like much, but even a couple level difference between you and your enemies matters a great deal. Enemies of a higher level than your own will deal massive damage, whereas if you are against an enemy a few levels lower than you, it will hardly be able to scuff the polish on your armor.

Regardless of how tough it was to do so, once you have completed a quest, you will be presented with a rewards menu. In the rewards menu, you can not only view the base rewards that come with completing that particular quest, but you will often get one or more reward selections, which lets you pick additional rewards to add on to your earnings. Such additional rewards can come in the form of even more experience gains, or another stack of gold coins to pad your coin purse with, and can also contain powerful new gear or charms. It can often boil down to what you need at the time, as sometimes getting more experience can be worth it, whereas in other times, you may simply decide that you would rather have that nice new axe over another stack of coin.

To effectively take on the full mantle of what it means to be a Dragon Knight and put yourself in a position where you can effectively combat Damian’s demon army, you must first gain access to your Battle Tower, which happens approximately 40% of the way through the game. It is at this time that you unlock your ability to take to the skies as a dragon, not to mention you now have your own base of operations. The Battle Tower can effectively serve as your adventuring hub, containing its own small band of citizens loyal to your cause such as a blacksmith capable of folding enchantments into your weapons and armor, an herbalist with whom you can concoct new and additional potions, a necromancer so that you can get under the hood of your creature and swap out body parts, and a scout who can collect the raw goods and materials used in many useful applications.

The Battle Tower also has its own storage capacity, which by the time you get it will be a godsend considering the amount of raw goods, spare gear, and various recipes and enchantments you will have been carrying around by that point in the game. By default, your character can only carry 100 slots of items, and even though multiple Fanny Blossoms will only take up one slot of their own, your inventory space will fill up quite quickly. Skill points can be spent into your encumbrance to let you carry around a larger amount of items, but even then you certainly need to keep tabs on your inventory space. The nice thing about gaining access to the Battle Tower, however, is the stone that you can use to teleport to it at any time. Once your loot bags are full, simply teleport back home, offload / sell some goods, and then use the stone to teleport back right where you were.

Of course the pinnacle reason of being a Dragon Knight is to gain the ability to take flight and become a dragon. While in the air, you can fairly easily control your dragon by simply flying around using the mouse to steer and the keyboard buttons to control movement (or using a simple 360 pad control scheme). You will be subject to the attacks of airborne enemies, but immune to those on the ground, just as how while in the ground you cannot be harassed by airborne enemies as you deal with ground forces. Flying enemies have an additional targeting symbol around them to help you pick them out more easily, but otherwise the combat system and the ability to lock on to enemies in the air is handled the same as it is while on the ground.

Air battles are usually much faster in their pacing than ground battles are, thanks to both enemies and your own dragon form, moving around much more quickly. Since the air combat takes place in the skies. you must worry about enemies above and below your altitude as well as in your immediate airspace. In addition, you will often fight larger battles in the air than you do on the ground, making aerial combat an overall intense method to engage your foes. Occasionally, you must deal with ground-based defenses, such as the equivalent of antiair towers, but such pitiful structures usually can’t hold up for more than a second against your dragon breath.

Whether you are taking it in from the ground or from the air, the environments of the game all seem to maintain a vibrant and unique look from one to the other. At the start of the game, as you make your way through the village of Farglow, you get to appreciate some of the attention to detail that has been put into the design of its architecture, which is a level of detail that is shared throughout the game’s towns and villages. As you strike out onto your own, you will be battling through goblin hamlets set on the ridges of a tall cliff overlooking a valley with a swiftly flowing creek at its bed. Upon leaping down to that level, you will look up and see god rays from the sun getting cast down through the overhead foliage.

The game also features a large amount of fully voiced characters, though the voice of your own character remains silent as you engage in conversations with them. Conversing with other characters boils down to listening to what the other person has to say, and then picking a response from the one or more listed that you can choose from. These responses can be good natured, charming, evil, or neutral in nature, running the gamut in between, though once a response has been picked the charm (or damage) has been done and you rarely get the chance for a take back, to change the outcome. This means that you really need to pay attention and take careful consideration into what you say in a conversation, or at least keep a handy quick save readily available before you engage in one. One thing that the game does not have however is a morality system, so such conversations can take whatever direction you wish without fear of messing up your standing on some moral ground.

Regardless of what moral path you take, the gameplay of Divinity II will have a lot to offer RPG enthusiasts when it comes out on January 5th. The game combines a rich and storied lore with its traditional action RPG oriented gameplay, but further expands upon it with the ability for you to read the minds of nearly anyone you meet, not to mention you are granted the ability to transform into a dragon at will and take flight. In either case, keep a sharp eye towards as the game nears its release date for the exclusive first review of Divinity 2 just in time for the dawn of the new year.

Hardcore Gamer had the chance to sit down with Swen Vincke, the CEO and Studio Head of Larian, and David Walgrave, the Producer of Divinity II, to ask them questions about their biggest game yet.

1) How big can the airborne battles as a dragon get?
Will the player be primarily fighting single or small groups of enemies, or can battles become more complex? The player will take on single enemies if he’s smart. There will be squadrons of flying creatures taking you on, but if you don’t single them out, and you’re going to fly right in the middle, you’re as good as dead. You will also have to take care of enemy air defenses, so there’s air-to-ground combat in it as well.

2) What challenges did you face in adding the ability to become a dragon into the game and take flight?
There were numerous challenges. We already started taking them into account during preproduction where we experimented with different technical solutions to all our problems. We needed to have big levels where you could fly around freely, and they couldn’t be less detailed than the rest of the world. And when flying at 40 meters per second, streaming had better keep up (opposed to running at 4 meters per second). You can also transform back into a human in most of these levels, so the ground experience needs to be up to par with the rest of the world. There were constant “what if” moments during art creation of these levels, and during quest design, et cetera. Of course, we also iterated through different control schemes and animations for the dragon. You’re basically flying a huge beast around, but you want it to feel reactive and fast enough. Took quite some different setups before we found the right feel.

3) How much of the game can the player spend in their dragon form once they gain the ability to do so?
You’ll probably spend something like 20% of the time as a dragon.

4) Other than not being able to enter dungeons, what downsides does being a dragon have that might make the player at times want to stay on foot?
As a dragon, it’s pretty hard to talk to people. People run away at the very sight of a dragon, and think they’ll be barbecued when you’d try to talk to them. Not being able to talk to other people in an RPG is kind of a downside :) Some areas are really dangerous or impossible to enter as a dragon because people have put up anti-dragon defenses.

5) Do you still gain the same amount of experience and loot regardless if you kill an enemy in human form or in dragon form?
The targets that you can kill as a dragon cannot be killed when you’re human. So that’s the downside of being human in the game ;) Airborne targets don’t drop loot. They do give experience though. Experience is shared between your dragon and your human form.

6) What sources influenced you in the creation and refinement of the game’s lore and story?
Well, the basic lore was already there, thanks to the previous Divinity games (Divine Divinity and Beyond Divinity). We just worked further on that history. Of course, we did add a lot of new stuff, because Divinity II takes place hundreds of years after Divine Divinity. Our writers were influenced by different cultures and sources, not just lots of fantasy books. If you do want some fantasy names, there’s the usual Tolkien of course, but also the excellent fantasy work of Robin Hobb and Stephen Erikson. But we read much more than just fantasy, and we also know this world’s history and history being made today. You will find many references in the game to the most varying topics.

7) What similarities and differences does Divinity II have with your previous titles in the series?
- the density of things to do
- it’s in the same universe
- classless skill system
- there’s always the stress on strong char development
- quest depth
- we worked out the summoning dolls a bit more (in Divinity II, you build your own creature)
- obviously, we’ve gone full 3D now, with an engine that supports current gen technology
- we feel Divinity II is more dynamic
- and on the gameplay front, we’ve started mixing different genres: there’s aerial combat as the dragon, you can mindread people, we have a couple of platforming challenges, and the combat has been adjusted to the over-the-shoulder cam to feel more action based.

8) What feature or aspect of Divinity II are you the most proud of?
The mindreading skill is a very unique game mechanic. Players have a hard time deciding whether or not to mindread the character, and giving players freedom of choice is what we’re for. It also makes NPC’s more interesting, it gives them more depth, and of course, it allows for even more branching quest solutions. Mindreading gives you insight in a character, leads to treasure, or can change the way you can react to people or how you solve quests. The fact that you can shapeshift and fly around feels very gratifying every time you press that button. The feature had been in our minds for years, and a lot of people kept saying that it could never be done. But it’s not about proving them wrong anymore, it’s just turned out to be great fun, every time you do it, even if you start taking it for granted after a while.

9) How long do you expect the average play through of the game to take?
Depending on how good you are, you can finish the game in about 60 hours. If you’re going to read everything (all the books, diaries, sonnets...) and do all the sidequests, you’re looking at about 80 hours.

10) Are there any plans towards expansion packs or downloadable content?
We are talking about this with different parties and cannot say anything at this time.

11) Do enemies respawn in the game, after a period of time, such as a goblin hamlet getting repopulated, or are there a finite number of enemies in the game?
The number of enemies are finite, they do not respawn. This is a design decision we made early on because the game could become unbalanced. It also makes clear to the player where he has already been, and where he still has to go. It will also indicate what his next move should be: enemies do not adapt their level to the player level, so if you are level 1 and you’re wandering off too far, you’ll quickly notice. Try taking on an enemy that’s a couple of levels higher than you are, and you probably will die. However, you can try to take him on, which may work out for you if he’s all alone. If you succeed, you will be rewarded with more experience.

12) What is the highest level attainable in the game?
Depending on whether you do all the side-quests and experience gained by killing enemies, you will end the game with a character that’s between level 32 and 40. The level cap is level 60 but with the quest XP and enemy XP that is currently in the game, you won’t reach that :)

13) How many skill and attribute points can be found via a means other than simply leveling up?
There are about two dozen skillbooks in the game, half a dozen statbooks, and a dozen of dragonskillbooks.

14) Without spoiling anything, what other unique or interesting gains can the player get using mind reading?
Apart from lore, alternative quest branching, other rewards, secret objects and locations, there are characters that teach you a new skill when you mindread them. You’ll have to be careful using mindreads, ‘cause some people will just be thinking about day-to-day stuff, or trying to complete a funny limerick in their head.

15) If the player uses mind read a lot they will go into a lot of experience debt, does that mean that players who use it often won’t get to as high a level as those who mind read sparingly?
Well, that depends on whose mind you read, really. Mindreading certain characters will unlock an entirely new location, reward, or quest branch, so you’ll gain back more than the mindread cost you. Of course, you may also gain back loot (items, money) and no experience, so you’ll have to make a choice between what’s more important to your character. For instance, if you know that a mindread of 50 XP will earn you the location of a gold bag that has 100 gold coins in it, do you think that’s fair or would you rather not have bothered? I think it’s often obvious who will think of something interesting, so you have to learn to judge by talking to people first, and see how they fit in the story.

16) With no morality system to keep the player in check, are there repercussions to playing a “good” or “bad” character?
The people that you have interacted with will remember how you have treated them before. Some will stop trading with you, or their prices will be higher if you were rude to them or failed a quest. Good or evil has an impact on prices (but that doesn’t mean being a goodie two-shoes will always give you a discount of course) and on quest branching.

17) How many different body parts are available for players to craft their personal minion with?
You combine the creature with a head, a torso, arms and legs. So you need four body parts. All four body parts come in four different flavours: dragon elf, goblin, undead and the standard creature parts. Using a body part from one of the former three gives the standard creature a boost in stats and changes the skills of your creature. The body parts also come with different stats. So you could find two different goblin heads :) (And probably even more!)

18) What skills or abilities do you feel that a beginner adventurer should work into their builds?
That really depends on what type of player you are, and what character you want to build. However, there are some skills that all types of players can use. For instance, the evade skill is handy for warriors that tank their way through the enemies, but it’s also a great skill for the rangers when melee enemies come too close. If you’re planning on mindreading a lot and you don’t want to spend too much XP, invest in mindread early in the game, because most of the mindreads will be in the first part of the game. (It’s kind of hard to mindread people in dragon form. Not to say impossible.) Again, even though it’s personal choice in my opinion, I would advise people to put at least one point in summon ghost or summon demon very early in the game. You don’t have your creature at the start of the game, and having an ally will take the heat off of your character for at least a little while. They’ll also heal you or attack the enemies for you.

19) How many total quests are there in the game, and of that number how many of them are optional side quests?
There are more than one hundred quests, of which more than half are optional. But you will notice that without questing, you will have trouble getting on in the game. Solving quests is not only fun, it also yields a lot more XP than killing enemies. So if you find yourself hitting a wall, make sure to talk to people and explore the area.

20) What area of the game are you the most proud of, either from a visual or from a design standpoint?
I personally still love the very first level we ever made which is called Broken Valley. A lot of effort went into that level from all teams, and we actually re-created it about three times. I am still amazed at the size of the valley. The first part of the valley (the village) is really packed with interesting houses and dark dungeons and colourful characters. They give you lots of quests, and once you continue down the stream, you realize that you’ve only seen one fifth of that entire valley. There’s really so much to do in that first level, that the external testers initially thought that that was the entire game. I can’t blame them, cause Broken Valley does have a lot of quests and offers a lot  of variety. But it’s just the beginning, even though you can easily spend more than ten hours in this valley alone if you want to see and do everything.

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