Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Dungeon Siege 3 - tactics part 2: abilities

As I mentioned in the first part of this guide the abilities of each character tend to match their stances however the order that the player chooses to unlock them can make a major difference in gameplay particularly when linked to Proficiencies and Talents.

Abilities are listed in three tiers with some locked until a particular level is reached. They are arranged in three rows that correspond to the two combat stances and the one defensive stance. Each row's abilities can only be used while in that particular combat stance.

Each of the combat stance abilities use Focus. Empowered abilities and defensive abilities use power orbs, the red blobs beneath the focus bar. Both Focus and Orbs are refilled by direct attacks by the character.

Within the menu each ability when selected displays a segmented circle around the icon representing it and a horizontal bar below as well as an explanation as to how that ability functions in normal and empowered mode. The circle represents how many of the five Proficiency 'add-on' slots are being used while the bar shows progress towards Mastery of that ability.

Each ability can be 'upgraded' five times from a choice of two Proficiency options; these are colour coded Brown and Blue. They do not represent any form of morality choice, nor are there any group bonuses for selecting five of one type. Roughly speaking Brown choices do harm to the enemy; Blue choices benefit the character or group though, as one might expect at this point, this isn't always the case.

Sadly it is not possible to save up these choices for later as once confirmed it is impossible to reset these choices. [at least this is true unless you purchase the extra DLC and have 20,000 coins to hand] This is annoying as the player's first contact with this is prior to any meaningful combat that will allow them to determine their play style.

Mastery of an ability comes through use; once mastered the empowered version of that ability is unlocked; it is therefore a good tactic to use abilities as often as possible.

When used each ability requires either one power orb or a set percentage of focus and if usable the icon representing it is lit. The amount of damage (or benefit) it does is determined by the character's Will statistic.

Some abilities can be used concurrently; those that can't either will not trigger or will remove the previous instance and recreate it.

Which abilities should be unlocked first? Well the ones you do are most likely to be mastered first so check what the empowered state allows - being able to cast a healing spell over everyone and not just yourself is a handy trick.

It's also useful to check what's available on the Talents side by paging through the Abilities menu as some can enhance or modify abilities - e.g. Reinhart can gain the Talent of "Entropic Mastery" which causes the abilities of "Clockwork Trap", "Geometry of Annihilation" and "Creative Destruction" to drain enemies of 3% of their attack power. Pair that with another Talent of "Ruin and Restoration" that gives a possibility that drained enemies will transfer health to Reinhart and it will result in a potent combination.