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Developer Interview 1

The Dungeon Siege II fansites got together and submitted a bunch of questions about Broken World to the developers at Gas Powered Games - and here are the answers!

Answers are given by Daniel Achterman and Marcie Finnila. What will GPG do after the release of Broken world to support modding? Additionally, at the moment there are almost no mods used because of the CRC check; will GPG change anything to the CRC check in the expansion?

GPG: GPG has always been impressed by the creativity of and variety in the mods created for the DS franchise. We do what we can to support the mod community, but have limitations on the amount of time the dev team can devote; making a fun game for all our fans with great content and gameplay has to come first.

As for DS2 modding, we faced a significant challenge balancing the need to provide a fun, stable game-play experience with supporting mod-able content. Things like the CRC check have to exist to keep unauthorized save games and content from causing problems with other peoples' game-play experience. It would be great if we could just rip that out and assume that everyone who accessed our content would do so for modding purposes or standard gameplay, but this is unfortunately a case of the few ruining it for the many. A question from Sharkull: The description of the Bound Elf says that they have "fiery power", will the enemies also have powers in Broken World?

GPG: I think you'll be impressed by the monsters in Broken World. Combat inBroken World is much more interactive and tactical than combat in Dungeon Siege II, and monster abilities are a big part of that. You'll encounter monsters with significant, powerful special abilities that you'll be able to recognize and respond to.

For example, the Bound Elf has a fire spell that creates a ring of fire on the ground, and a few seconds later, blasts the hell out of anything in that circle. So when you see that fire ring, you'd better move, or you're going to take a lot of damage. If you're on autopilot, some of these monster abilities will wreck you, and I haven't even started talking about the bosses yet.

RPGDot: Have any improvements been made to the multiplayer component? Will the game still use Gamespy? Will it be easier for players to find one another and, if joining after a game's beginning, will it be easier for them to join a party?

GPG: Multiplayer is a fundamental component of the DS2 engine. We could not significantly change the functionality for Broken World without re-building DS2, so we focused on making a number of terrific upgrades to the UI, including character creation and chat functions. We are very excited to have Gamespy as an online partner again for Broken World.

Players will be able to import their DS2 MP characters into the expansion, or can make a new party and start over. DS2X data will not override DS2 saves, so you will even be able to pick up your DS2 party where it left off if you want to return to another mode of play in DS2. How many people can play simultaneously in a Lan Game. And which Modi will be available?

GPG: Dungeon Siege II: Broken World supports the same multiplayer modes as Dungeon Siege II, so you can select how many players can join the game based on how many characters you want each player to be able to control. In LAN games, you can use any mods you like, but all players must have the exact same mods installed.

Plus, and this is for the insiders only, you can add "oldschool=true" to your command line or DungeonSiege2x.ini file. That enables "Classic" mode, which allows eight players to each play a character. It's an unsupported mode, so you might encounter performance issues, but if you've got seven friends, it's a great way to play.

Dungeon Siege Heaven: It has been mentioned that we will start the expansion with a high-level character. Will this be our own characters from the original campaign, or pre-made characters that we can chose from, or both?

GPG: Take your pick. <marketing speak>We here at Gas Powered Games are dedicated to creating the most powerful and convenient game experience for our players.</ marketing speak>

Seriously, though, the new campaign in Broken World starts at level 39. You can import a character that has completed Dungeon Siege II and jump right in to Broken World. If you don't have a character, or your party has been playing in Veteran and is much too powerful than level 39, you can start with one of 6 pre-generated level 39 characters that come with the game. All of your companions from Dungeon Siege II are hanging out in the first town, so you can fill out your party any way you'd like.

Dungeon Siege Heaven: Any information you can give us on the reported features supporting multi-classing?

GPG: I'm glad you asked that. We're stoked about the multiclass characters.

Basically, instead of trying to make every possible multiclass combination a little better, we designed two new class concepts that combine the abilities of two classes. The Fist of Stone is a Fighter / Nature Mage, and the Blood Assassin is a Ranger / Combat Mage. Both of them have new items, spells, skills, and powers that make them more than the sum of their parts.

For example, the Fist of Stone isn't just a Fighter that can cast healing spells (though he certainly can). He has skills that let him cause minor earthquakes with his melee attacks and strong earth powers. The new classes aren't stronger than pure class characters, but they play differently, and give you more options for how to build your party.

One more thing - both multiclass classes have self-buff spells that automatically split their experience, so you don't have to constantly switch between weapons and spells to level up both skills.

Dungeon Siege Planet: How does DS2:BW expand upon the experience delivered in DS2 rather than just the world?

GPG: How's this - I'll start listing new Broken World features off the top of my head that expand upon the experience, and stop when I run out of space:

  • Multiclass characters, each with new skills, spells, and powers
  • A new playable character race (Dwarves!)
  • Two new pets
  • New weapons and armor for all different classes
  • About a hundred new magical item modifiers, including armor that can cast spells when the wearer takes damage
  • Hundreds of new set and unique items
  • Reagent recipes that allow you to create unique and set items at the enchanter
  • Rebalanced Veteran and Elite difficulty to make them major challenges
  • Two additional autocast spellbooks slots

Broken World is packed with new stuff, even if you ignore the new act. It's the definitive version of the game, no doubt.

Dungeon Siege Planet: Does DS2:BW take advantage of DX9+ graphics enhancements?

GPG: DS2:BW uses a DX9 engine with shader 2.0 support. While this is the same tech as DS2, our use of shaders and their diverse application in the game content is significantly different. We have found new uses and techniques for employing shaders to create a more visually lush world without tanking performance or forcing everyone to buy new video cards.

Of course, players with uber machines are REALLY going to see a difference! Will it give a Map for Multiplayer only?

GPG: Rather than split our attention between two different maps, we focused on making the new map as excellent as we could. I think one of the things people really liked about the Utraen Penninsula map that shipped with Dungeon Siege is how open-ended and explorable it was. You could walk anywhere, and it had a lot of nooks and crannies. The new Broken World map is closer to that feel. It has a lot of significant side areas, and there are fewer gates that block your progress, so it's easier to just pick a direction and walk - you never know what you'll find. How many new Items/Setitems will be added?

GPG: Short answer: lots.

Long answer: let me open my spreadsheets.

There are 40 new unique items

There are 10 new item sets

There are 50 reagent recipe items, each of which is a unique or set item

There are 65 new rare items that you can buy from stores.

There are 225 new modifiers that can appear on magic items in the game.

As you can see, we added a ton of new items at all different character levels. If you want to find them all, I think Broken World will keep you busy.

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