Welcome to our first Wednesday Community Q&A of 2012! This week, we've got answers from Lead Combat Designer Joe "JoeQ" Quadara, Narrative Designer Alex "xael" Horn, and Producer Andrew "Andre" Frederiksen.
As always, we want to thank everyone for providing these questions and remind you that we'll be selecting questions from the Questions for the Reckoning Team thread for each Wednesday Community Q&A.
Without further ado, here are this week's questions and answers!
Q: Will the armor sets and weapons we see in the Destiny Cards be obtainable in game? – By Kurik+Lein
A: Yes! The armor sets the character is wearing in the Destiny Cards were all drawn based on the actual in-game gear the hero can find and wear. Since they are drawings, they may occasionally have one less leather strap or an extra belt…but when you see a Destiny Card with some sweet looking gear, rest assured you can go find that in the game. For example, the first tier of the Might based Destinies shows a hero clad in iron armor, something you are sure to find early in your adventures. – By Andrew "Andre" Frederiksen, Producer
Q: I really liked what was said in the last live dev chat, about how enemies react to you attacks. It makes me think of really great action games like GOW or POP where you constantly have to occupy all the enemies by hitting them repeatedly while also having to block. But I was wondering, for the game not to become too easy, can the enemies also block the player's attacks as well, or maybe just some of the stronger ones? – By Ponsius
A: Only a few enemies can actually block or parry, most notably the Bolgan because of his large shield. Other enemies can evade attacks with dodges, jumps, dashes, and rolls too (which is more often a better defense than simply blocking) as well as flank, heal, and control space with their attacks. The larger enemies are strong enough to take a few hits before being interrupted, so they force you to defend when they attack. Your strategy of attacking enemies to keep them in hit reacts is a strong way to play the Reckoning, and the best strategies should always culminate in a way to minimize incoming damage and maximize your damage output. I have to say that in Reckoning, and this comes with lots of play experience, a good defense is absolutely necessary to survival. In short, it’s definitely not too easy. – By Joe "JoeQ" Quadara, Lead Combat Designer
Q: Will there be specific armor tailored to each destiny type? For example, will there be specific armor with both a Sorcery req. and a Might req. that is tailored toward the needs of a Sorcery/Might character? – By SuperNinja
A: While there isn’t anything quite like that, the requirements are such that someone playing cross-class will still have many combination options. When playing as a hybrid character that has points in two of the trees you will actually be building your armor out of pieces from both trees. For example, you’ll be able to put on some heavy warrior plate armor, but then wear a mage’s cowl and gloves; or wear some wizard’s robes while you hide your face under a studded leather hood. The Jack-of-All-Trades Destiny (points in all three trees) will have the advantage of decreased requirements for the gear they equip, so they will be able to easily combine armor from every class. – By Andrew "Andre" Frederiksen, Producer
Q: A game like Skyrim is visually stunning, but the repetitiveness of npc's, their dialog, textures, etc is a turn off with as big as everything is. Did you guys consider tweaking things to make them stand out? Can we expect diversity in npc's and humanoids throughout the world? From early peeks here and there is looks more that way, but even minor tweaks like changing hair styles and colors on bandits go a long way. – By Falkon
A: When I started working on Reckoning, one of my first thoughts was that you don't see games like this anymore. Part of what makes Reckoning special is that the content is lovingly hand-crafted, individually placed, and contextually customized. Artists created countless pieces of weapons, armor, character and environmental art, effects and animations to bring Amalur to life. The world builders devoted much of their time to ensure each space feels unique: from the painstaking details of each and every individual tree in Dalentarth and Klurikon to the breathtaking vistas of Detyre and the Plains of Erathell. Level and content designers did the same for indoor spaces and encounters, and systems designers manually populated merchant inventories, loot tables, and weapon and armor stats among many other things.
Similarly, our narrative is not procedurally generated. As far as the NPCs are concerned, Amalur is as diverse a place as you'll find. Associate Narrative Designer Rachel Morgan did a polish pass on NPCs using our proprietary "paper-doll tool" to further paper-doll (customize) their appearance from their clothes down to any tattoos or piercings they might have. In other words if you see NPCs that look alike (e.g. mother and son Coriana and Mallion of the Anwon House), it's deliberate.
In regards to dialogue, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning's recording budget was generous. With roughly the equivalent of ten novels worth of words, the Narrative Designers were able to craft NPC dialogue to the level of depth desired, rather than be limited by word counts. After dialogue was written, Narrative Designers went through responding to feedback and adding flavor bits. For example, one specific task I had was to triple the number of greetings in Rathir. Then, copy editors gave the dialogue another pass, which of course involved identifying and removing redundancy and errant repetition.
I hope you enjoy exploring all of this enormous diversity in Reckoning next month! – By Alex "xael" Horn, Narrative Designer
Q: How is the bounty system handled? Let's say I steal some cheese, and I resist arrest and return after a few in-game days, will the guards of had completely forgotten or would they open a dialogue with me or attack on site? Does the severity of the crime affect this? – By Artificer
A: When you commit any crime, if you get out of town without going to jail and manage to avoid anyone associated with that group for a few in-game days, then when you return the guards will no longer be actively looking for you. They won’t have entirely forgotten though, you will still have the same bounty – meaning that if you commit a second crime and are caught for it, you’ll have to answer for both the first crime and the second. So depending on what crimes you’ve committed that could really add up! (Stealing a piece of cheese would result in a much lower bounty than murdering an innkeeper.)
Keep in mind that crime is tracked by what we call "factions." Sometimes this may be a story-based faction (like the Warsworn or House of Ballads), but other times it can be simply the people of a particular village. This means that if you commit crime against people of a world-wide faction, you'd best watch out where you go next! – By Andrew "Andre" Frederiksen, Producer