Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Community Q&A #3

It's time for yet another community Q&A for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, and this time combat & systems designer Matthew Berner, systems designer Will Miller and studio/project art director Tim Coman answer on subjects such as combat, equipment, the game's environments and whether the game will feature hand-placed loot. Here's a sampling:
Q: I know you don't do your melee combos like God of War, with memorized combo system, but I was wondering whether or not we, as we progress through the game, will get, just as we get more abilities and upgraded stats, different ways to attack with melee. More combinations, more hits in the hit cycle and different aerial and ground attacks, or will be have access to all combinations at the beginning? By Ponsius

A: We're focused on keeping combat fun and intuitive, and that means avoiding the necessity to memorize combos that entail quarter-circles and button combos. Despite that, we have maintained depth by introducing weapon specials like charge and contextual attacks, from Dodge, Block, and Parry.

When you start out, you won't have many of the special attacks unlocked. You'll unlock them by playing the game, and investing in certain abilities when you level up. The staff, for example, starts with only the base attack chain. After improving your skill with the staff (investing points), you'll unlock a special attack that happens when you attack out of block. This Block Special can be used to suck enemies into an elemental vortex, lining them up and locking them down for a spell or chain of attacks. By Matthew "MBLucid" Berner, Combat & Systems Designer

Q: Will there be equippable rings, necklaces, belts, gloves, and boots? What are the possible equipment slots we have? By flamechamp

A: The world of Amalur is filled with many different kinds of equipment. In addition to being able to wield two of the nine weapon types in the game, you can equip your character with a helmet, torso armor, gauntlets, leggings, boots, and a shield. Your character can also wear two rings and an amulet. Many of the equipment types have three distinct "flavors" with special buffs that correspond to the three ability trees, giving you even more options when outfitting your character. By Will "BHG_Miller" Miller, Systems Designer