Dungeon Siege II Team Q&A #1

RPG Vault has published the first installment of a new Dungeon Siege II interview with three of the Gas Powered Games developers. Here's a bit to start you off:
Q: What is your favorite way to play and advance the player character in Dungeon Siege II, and what makes this approach especially enjoyable for you?

Bert Bingham, Associate Producer: My natural inclination on my first real playthrough was to create the party I was most comfortable with from my past MMO experiences: a utility archer with some kind of magical support. I really want a character who can do it all to some extent, and Dungeon Siege II really plays to that desire with our archetype-free customization.

The main weakness of an archer is, of course, defense, so my first goal was to obtain some pet that could do the job of taking hits. Fortunately, Dungeon Siege II allows you to tune your pets through feeding, so although the Packmule isn't ideally suited to front-line combat, I relished the idea of turning him into a tank.

At the end of my mercenary level playthrough, my main character was 60 percent Archer and 40 percent Nature Mage, with a teeny bit of melee thrown in to open up some interesting skill choices. Most of my skill points went into ranged damage enhancement. In the spell book, there are two slots dedicated to autocast spells, which work wonders with a single hybrid like this since I could concentrate on direct damage-dealing ranged attacks, powers, and spells, and leave the archery-enhancing buffs and healing for the game to worry about. Powers recharge over time, so I tended to use quick-recharge smaller powers that would let me constantly tweak the unfolding battles.

This was incredibly fun for me to play because the sheer amount of carnage that this party wreaked was amazing, and yet very tightly controlled, especially when powers were flying left and right. I actually kept a particularly gaudy helm long past its usefulness on my archer so I could always see her little head through the ever-present haze of gibs, snowstorms, lightning, powers, flying bodies and God knows whatever else the monster mages were ravaging my party with.