The editors over at GameSpy were able to give Ascaron's Sacred sequel a spin at this year's Gen Con Indy and have conjured up a preview based on their time with the game.
We started our game by looking over the character class choices. There are six playable characters, only one of which -- the Seraphim -- is returning from the first game. Of the remainder, four are able to choose between the Shadow or Light quests while one (the Inquisitor) must follow the Shadow path. Each character must also choose a particular god to worship. This choice unlocks specific powers and side quests unique to that god, offering plenty of replayability. In the end we chose the Dryad, a fragile but very fast warrior who's very good with ranged weapons such as her default blowgun and has a talent for poisons and nature-based spellcraft.
As we worked our way through the Dryad's opening quests, we took the opportunity to examine her initial powers, which was where the confusion set in. At the very beginning of the game, every character has 15 separate powers to choose from (along with the specific ones derived from the deity), although only one can be placed into the character's quick slot at any given time. These powers range from totems that fire poisonous arrows to a root that freezes an opponent in place. Easy enough. The kicker comes as the dryad levels up and the player realizes that each of these powers has its own skill tree that allows the player to completely customize their power depending on how they decide to play it. An AOE attack, for example, can have its duration, power or number of targets modified so a moderate meteor attack that hits five enemies can be changed to a weaker version that hits 10 or narrowed into a devastating single strike.