GB Feature: Dungeon Siege III Preview

Due to an embargo on the game's multiplayer mechanics, I opted to wait until this morning to finally publish my five-page, hands-on preview of Dungeon Siege III. Hopefully, you find that I went in-depth enough that its contents were worth the wait.  Enjoy!
As is standard fare for virtually any action RPG, experience is gained by finishing quests and dominating hordes of creatures. When your character levels up, they gain one proficiency point, one talent point, and, at specific level intervals, they're given a choice between one of nine abilities that are split up between Recruit, Legionnaire, and Master tiers. For the sake of sharing some examples, Anjali can pick between the Recruit abilities of Spinning Kick, Aura of Immolation, and Inner Warmth at low levels, the Legionnaire abilities of Hurl Spear, Summon Jackal, and Ignite at mid-levels, and the Master abilities of Fall From the Heavens, Pillar of Fire, and Volatile Barrier when she's high level.

Once you've started to pick up some abilities, you can assign your proficiency points to either of the two child proficiencies that accompany each. Using one of the previous examples, points can be allocated to either the Crushing Impact or Fire Dance proficiencies below Anjali's Spinning Kick ability. Essentially, each proficiency enhances the ability's effectiveness in some way, such as increasing its damage or range, or adding a lifetap or stun effect. On top of any added proficiencies, character abilities can also reach a "mastery" stage after a significant amount of use. Once you've achieved mastery with an ability, you'll be able to take advantage of its limited-use special attack. Using Anjali's Summon Jackal ability as an example, once you've unlocked its mastery, you'll be able to send the jackal into a group of foes and detonate it as some kind of four-legged suicide bomber.

Talents are a mixture of passive and active skills that your character can possess. There are a total of ten talents per character, but like abilities, they are not all immediately available to you (Anjali had four talents to pick from at level 2). As many as five talent points can be allocated to each one, so you can either spice your character up with some variety or keep them specialized within a specific skillset. Some talent examples for Lucas include Devastating Criticals, Force of Will, Victory Rush, Wrathful Might, Focus Rage, and Death Defying. Most of these do exactly what they sound like - Devastating Criticals, for instance, increases his critical damage by 10% for each point that you allocate to it and Victory Rush will inflict damage to any foes within Lucas' path when he's propelled forward.
We also have ten new screenshots to share with you, once you're finished reading my wall of text ;).