Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning E3 2011 Preview -- Reckoning Mode, Destinies, and CraftingBy Leah Jackson - Posted Jun 30, 2011
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is the new massive open world role playing game that is planning to take the fantasy world by storm. Forget Fable and its never ending promises, Reckoning, which is being developed by 38 Studios and Big Huge Games has quite a few notable developers on board who intend to make their mark in gaming in a huge way. Famed fantasy author R.A. Salvatore is creating the entire history of the world of Amalur alongside Todd McFarlane, creator of the infamous Spawn, who's working on the artwork. Not to mention Ken Rolston, lead designer of Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is the game's executive designer. The amount of creativity within these three alone is enough to get me excited for this game, and at E3 2011 we were shown a brief demo of Reckoning and got to take a look at Reckoning mode.
Reckoning's world will be absolutely vast. While we didn't get to see its scope during the demo, a developer did tell us that it will feature five regions and 120 hand crafted dungeons. What does that mean for the player? Potentially hundreds of hours worth of quests to spend with your character doing various tasks for the six different factions. It also means loot, lots and lots of loot.
The game will also feature an in-depth crafting system along with nine different non-combat skills. We weren't shown exactly how crafting will work, but blacksmithing, alchemy, and sagecraft will be available. Details on whether or not you can utilize all of the crafts on one character or not weren't discussed. Sagecraft seemed pretty neat, as it allows you to socket different gems into armor. It's a mechanic seen in many RPGs, but it's nice to see that it will have its own robust system once the game is finished.
The nine non-combat skills weren't all shown either, but we did get a glimpse at three: dispel ward, persuasion, and stealth. In the demo, we repeatedly used dispel ward on chests that were cursed in order to gain access to their loot. Your dispel ward skill determined whether or not you could open the chest. The persuasion skill opens up new dialogue options in the same fashion as any BioWare title.
Stealth, on the other hand, affected combat. Our character, a rather burly fellow, maneuvered around the battlefield quiet as a mouse because of his stealth skills. He was able to sneak up behind enemies before they noticed and take them out without any issues. It's nothing new, but having to choose between non-combat skills like persuasion and combat skills like stealth will add even more strategy to the game.
The one thing that truly sets Reckoning apart from other action RPGs is its Destiny system. In most role playing games, when you're making your character, you choose what it looks like and what class you want to play as. Do you want to be a sturdy tank, agile damage dealer, a diabolic enchanter, or an enchanting healer? Sometimes when you first start off in a game, you don't know what archetype you want to choose, and with Reckoning's Destiny system, you don't have to right away. The Destiny system allows you to dynamically choose your character class.
At the start of the game your character is a blank slate. As you progress, you'll get to try out abilities over the sorcery, might, and finesse trees. After a while you'll start putting more points in to the trees that you like, allowing you to customize your character in whichever way you want to play. There are over 60 abilities throughout the trees, and as you progress more and more Destinies unlock.
Our character's Destiny in the demo was a Slayer. He had points mixed in the might and finesse trees, and in turn, the Destiny gave him combat attributes. Again, the system is basically just allowing you to finely customize your character, but it's a great implementation for those people who want to create a character with its own personality and flair.
The demo was quite short but at the end we were shown a special treat: Reckoning Mode. Reckoning Mode is basically a sort of Berserk mode that allows your character to slow time, deal more damage, and unleash special attacks. You achieve Reckoning Mode by collecting Threads of Fate. These are Fate energy are dropped by the enemies you kill, and once you fill up your Reckoning bar high enough, you can use the new mode. Think of it like Kratos' Rage of the Titans mode in God of War. It's somewhat similar and makes you a complete badass. Even the toughest fights become simple with Reckoning Mode, and it looks super awesome when time slows down.
We weren't shown too much of Reckoning's alleged dynamic combat style as our demo was more of a broad overview of the game as a whole. From what I saw, Reckoning will add a rich, deep, colorful world to the RPG scene, but as far as concepts, there weren't too many new ideas. That said, even though the ideas and mechanics in Reckoning are things I've seen before in many other MMOs, it seems as though Reckoning is trying to take them a step further, and I appreciate that. I'm still looking forward to this game for my RPG fix.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is coming out for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC in 2012.