Monday, August 08, 2011

Dungeon Siege 3 - tactics part 1: character selection.

Yes I'm still playing this as belying it's outward simplicity complexity lies beneath, particularly at the Hardcore level of difficulty. Given the game's reluctance to provide any information I chose to do so while such is fresh in my mind. As such I'll start at the beginning - character selection.

Compared to other RPG, or heck even some shooters now, it seems both straightforward and complex - there are only four characters to chose from and no fiddling with 'weird' attributes to customise them; yet the differences between each aren't spelled out - particularly to those new to the genre.

In order of choice the available character are Lucas, Anjali, Katarina, and Reinhart. To those familiar to the stereotypes these would appear to match the Warrior, Ranger, Rogue, and Mage types that plague these types of game. They don't. The differences between them lie in two ways that the player can't see until they start to play. Firstly the two combat stances they have and secondly how their abilities work.

It's difficult to classify the various stances into groups - are they fast or slow, heavy or light? Each character has their own style and damage is variable by items equipped; however:

Lucas has no ranged attack, both stances are close-combat but can sweep a close area.
Anjali has a sweeping close-combat attack and a targeted range attack.
Katarina has two ranged attacks - a conical closer attack and a targeted longer range attack.
Reinhart has a targeted close-combat attack and a sweeping range attack.

However regardless of type all the characters' ranged attacks can still be used at close-range... all bar one. Reinhart's ranged attack is a sweeping attack at a fixed distance.

The next choice lies in the abilities each possess and again this is hard to pin down into simple categories. Each possess abilities that do instant damage, or damage over time. Each have abilities that can cause enemies to be afflicted with status effects and each have abilities that enhance their own statistics. However they do tend to match up with their different stance types.

Lucas therefore has abilities that require or propel him into combat. On the other hand Reinhart's mean he can avoid the fray. Lucas favours instant damage; Reinhart damage over time. Lucas can increase the amount of damage he can cause; Reinhart can regain his Focus or shield himself. The other two characters blur this with Anjali being slightly more direct combat orientated and Katarina being slightly more hands-off.

With this it can be seen how cleverly Obsidian have set things up - perhaps the best character for a beginner to play is the very first one presented to them - Lucas and then to work one's way through to Reinhart.