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Dungeon Siege II is a fully 3D, party-based, 3rd person perspective, action role-playing game set in a dark fantasy world that features real-time combat, huge variety of items and equipment, compelling characters, and a story-driven campaign that you can play either by yourself or with a group of friends or strangers.


Release Date: Late Summer/August 2005
Developer: Gas Powered Games (official DS II website)
Publisher: Microsoft Games (official DS II publisher overview)
Format: CD-ROM for the Microsoft® Windows® 98, Windows 2000, Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me) and Windows XP operating systems
ESRB Rating: M
Pricing: $49.95 (U.S.) estimated retail price. There probably will not be a "collector's edition".
System Requirements (minimum specs): 256 MB RAM, 800 Mhz, 32MB video card (non-T&L)

For single player, we're shooting for a 20 hour experience for experienced players who barrel through the world, never veering off the main path, and ignoring all the dialogue and optional quests along the way. For most players, however, DS2 should hit much closer to 30-40 hours if not much more. And that's not including time spent going back looking for items, replaying quests, leveling characters, and of course multiplayer.

there will also be a separate multiplayer campaign

As in the original, there are no loading times from one area to the next, just a seamless transition. The map has undergone some changes as well, most notably in improving how far it will let you zoom out.

As with the first Dungeon Siege, players may pause the game at any time should they feel the need to give commands to party members in a no-pressure situation, swap inventory items, or take more time to assess a group of enemies.
The playable demo is very likely going to be made available shortly prior to release.

Fans of the first game will feel very much at home with the DS2 camera controls, but we've taken steps to address many of the common complaints of the DS1 camera such as rooftops that obscure the party.

DS2 will be released worldwide in all languages simultaneously, something we weren't able to achieve with the first Dungeon Siege release.
There are no definite plans for the release of a Linux client, Macintosh version, or Xbox port at this time. The port conversations have always waited until post-release for us. They tend to do deals based on how they see it recieved in the PC market. That does add quite a bit of delay to the alter-platform releases, but DS1 sold over a million and that is on our track record.

Characters (see "Powers and Skills")

players can choose to play as a human, elf, dryad, or half-giant, each with their own strengths and weaknesses that help differentiate them from one another.
In DS2, Your main hero starts off as a powerful mercenary with many more options for character progression than DS1 had...The engine and game code have gone through too many changes to support importing characters.

The sheer number of voiced characters in Dungeon Siege II (more than 260 in all) requires a broad range of voice talent (nearly three times as much as the original Dungeon Siege). Fortunately for us, the Seattle-Portland voice-talent pool is arguably the third best in the nation for diversity and quality of character actors. While there are no television or movie personalities in the lineup, we chose our voice talent carefully from the best professional actors available.

Equipment and Items

set items: groups of items with bonuses that stack and grow depending on how many pieces of the set a character has equipped (same behavior as the set item bonuses in Legends of Aranna)

unique items

enchanted items: collect magical reagents which, when combined with the right weapon and the help of an enchanter, enable you to have customized weaponry
thrown weapons

We've defined artistic style guides for our weapons so that they fit within the particular culture that created them. For example, Elven-crafted weapons will have a different look and feel from Dryad arms.

All the cool weapons from Dungeon Siege are back, too - swords, bows, crossbows, shields, maces, axes, hammers, staves, and we've added thrown weapons for rangers, fighter staves for fighters, magical cestuses for mages, and a whole slew of armor geared toward each class.

Dungeon Siege II will have far more hand-crafted unique and set items than its predecessor or the Legends of Aranna expansion.

Enemies, Monsters, Villains

Coach AI system: this allows the developers to create 'plays' where monsters have a plan of action just like players would in a football game. Then the "Coach A.I.," based on specific parameters, gives the monster or group of monsters a set of tasks to perform in-game, taking into account each monsters movement type, attack style, and how the player interacts with it. When performed in-game, these behaviors bring a greater feeling that groups of monsters are working in coordination with each other, while still allowing individuality between monster types. They may focus on one particular character who's the biggest threat. Moreover, enemies will use special abilities accordingly. Those who are able to do so will cast spells, heal their own team, and in general work to make sure that players will have some interesting battles on their hands.

In the first Dungeon Siege, players had a considerable advantage over monsters because players could cast beneficial spells (known as "buffs") on comrades and negative spells (known as "debuffs") on enemies, whereas monsters could not do either. In Dungeon Siege 2, monsters will be able to use these techniques as well.
Dungeon Siege 2 bosses will be much more elaborate than the bosses in the first Dungeon Siege. Also, there are many more mini-bosses this time around.
Certain monsters have different resistances and vulnerabilities to certain types of magic.

In addition to the Coach AI, we also have a spiffy new aggro system that will cause certain enemies to key off of different actions besides just damage - healing or Powers for example.
Most enemies travel in packs and will be encountered in small to large groups.

The Vai'kesh:
They were once a group of normal Elves who worshipped death magic so vehemently that their bodies began to decay and distort beyond repair. They were eventually exiled from the Elven community, and are now forced to live in dark corners of the enchanted forest.
Unlike DS1, DS2 will spawn random monsters

The Zaramoth:
History tells us the First Age began when the giant Zaramoth smote the last of his kin the Utgards, sealing his grip over the magics of Aranna for a thousand years and shifting the stars across the heavens. read more...
...a new "aggro" system where some monsters will get angry and are more likely to attack characters that do certain things such as healing, using powers, or stealing loot from the ground.
Interactivity, Interface and Quests
Each character will have quick access to a weapon, and up to 4 spells and 4 powers, in addition to hotkeys.
loot and drops: now when a character dies, they don’t drop all their items on the ground; instead they leave a gravestone they can click on to auto-loot all their items and put them back into the slots they were in.
DS2 will have primary quests that propel the story and optional secondary quests that deepen the narrative experience and add flavor to the characters and world. Each type of quest can have one or more tasks to complete and can range anywhere from finding a few secret rooms in a dungeon to helping an army hold off a siege on a castle.
Players will be able to really impact the environment, by destroying certain buildings or even flooding areas. They'll be able to use the terrain to their advantage, using interactive parts of the map to lay waste to large groups of enemies.

There are many side areas to explore throughout the world, including areas that unlock depending on what quests you are on. You also revisit towns many times to get new quests and story changes -- making the game much less linear overall.

No rideable horses

Dungeon Siege II introduces a new "Flick" authoring system, which provides a new level of in-engine cinematic storytelling that keeps players in the game world instead of pulling them away from it. New story-driven quests provide a deeper adventure that evolves with players as they complete quests and missions. Flick is a simple system that allows level designers to easily create interactive and non-interactive sequences in the game. Similar to a director giving stage directions on a movie set, Flick provides a set of commands that can be used to set up anything from two characters speaking to each other in a movie to an interactive ambush on the party to an army of good guys and bad guys clashing together in a castle.
In addition to creating more interactive sequences in the game, we've also given party characters specific personas and they will occasionally talk to each other and to the main hero. This not only helps deepen the story, but it adds a dimension to the game that goes above and beyond a silent relationship between a hero and a group of "hired guns." Party NPCs will no longer become voiceless once they join your party. 80% of their dialog is when they are in the party.
Many ancient civilizations once populated the land in which the game takes place. While the ancient peoples themselves are scarcely remembered, their handiwork has survived in the form of ruins, dungeons, and structures, many of which contain secrets the player can gain access to by deciphering the clues. This type of interactivity can range anywhere from secret caverns and hidden passageways to a dungeon vault locked safeguarded by an ancient magical security system.
The introduction of town portals has allowed us to dramatically increase the size of cities, mostly to accomodate the huge increase in NPC interaction, but also to allow us to portray change over time for the character's actions and choices. It is funny really, our "streaming world" was so important that we forgot to allow non-linear gameplay in DS1. Not anymore, and the story and characters show for it.
An interactive tutorial will be included in DS2 to help new players learn the controls. It will be threaded very closely with the story as well.

There'll be a lot more replay value if you start with new parties. There's also more high-level content for fans of Veteran and Elite [difficulty levels].
We contracted a talented writer who worked closely with us to develop the story and characters. We've added characters who make multiple appearances over the course of the game, party members who have personalities and banter with each other, robust towns and non-player characters that change as the story progresses, and dialogue trees with choices for the player. Influences came from many books, movies, and games, but Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings definitely made a big impression on us, with the rich detail in its universe.
In Dungeon Siege II, we've automated [equipment value] comparison through the interface. When you pick up a piece of equipable gear--a sword, for example--it is compared with your currently equipped gear and the interface shows you "up" and "down" arrows to clearly indicate which piece of gear is better.
We've added roughly four times the amount of dialogue that DS1 had, and there are many more interactive and non-interactive cut-scenes to tell the story.
The primary quests drive the story forward and are mandatory to finishing the adventure. Secondary quests are side stories that are there for those of you that like to wander and take your time exploring. They'll reveal more of the world and the characters in it, as well as reward you for your time. They are not, however, required to finish the storyline.
you'll see a variety of different combat moves, based on what you're doing with your characters and party
the controls for party formations have been stripped down to keep formation control "really easy" in a real-time environment

Dungeon Siege II makes it easier to target monsters, to keep the party together, to share potions, and to do even more than you could do in real time in Dungeon Siege. We also completely overhauled every game window and added a lot of functionality to our existing interfaces.
The Dungeon Siege II journal has been considerably beefed up in terms of listing all the quests, maps, lore, monsters, and handbook entries that are available in the game. This makes it easy for players to determine if they've missed something, and they can take a detour from the main storyline at any time to search for it if so desired.

Players will occasionally come across some branching quest paths that will be slightly different depending on players' choices...Players will occasionally be given branching choices that can change the outcome of quests, but players don't have to worry about missing out on important parts of the game based on those choices or on reputation.

Locations, Terrain, Travel, World

Instead of hubs, DS2 has teleporters placed throughout the world that you can travel between.

Dungeon Siege 2 has a variety of outdoor environments including a bamboo jungle, a thorny desert, and an enchanted forest. We also have a good amount of indoor areas such as caves and frozen catacombs. Beyond that, I think we maaaaay have a dungeon or two sprinkled throughout the game.
Greilyn Isle (jungle)
Eirulan (Dryad town)
The Enchanted Forests

Aman'Lu (Elven town): Elves value knowledge above all, and trainers specializing in magic and special skills can be found in Aman'lu. Agrand, the Nature Mage, can be found at the Training Hall to this day, ready to pass on his advanced wisdom at manipulating the elements. Eolanda, the Combat Mage, will not only train eager students in the secrets of the ether world, she will regale them ancient tales of Elven history. She is particularly fond of telling the legend of Arinth the Mad. read more...

Vai'lutra Forest: Vai'lutra is the greener, more comely area of the forest, but it is not without it's blight. The spiteful forest folk known as the Taclak have defaced the Elven shrines, and many hostile creatures have now settled in the deepest parts of Vai'lutra. Yet, the beauty of Vai'lutra Forest remains as strange and unforgiving as ever. There is always a part of the elven spirit that longs to return.
Vai'kesh Forest: The dead and corrupted areas are known as the Vai'kesh Forest - as the Elven word implies, it is a place of evil beings. The Elven elders pitted their strongest magic against the spread of the corruption, but they failed; some say that they even accelerated the decay.

Elen'lu Isles: The Elen'lu Isles are known for their innovative system of intertwined foot bridges, they are a place of rest and spiritual retreat. There is something meditative, like an ancient labyrinth, about this archipelago, especially as the bridges themselves magically appear before your eyes. They are part of the legend of Isteru: he is said to have created them in an effort to confound the enemies of Aman'lu and preserve its peaceful isolation.

Northern Reaches: The Vai'lutra and Vai'kesh forests are bounded to the North by a frozen wasteland ringed with jagged mountains. The Forests of the Elves are the last fragment of the sunlit lands of the Northern Reaches, which once stretched across the entirety of Northern Aranna. But after the great cataclysm, the land was ripped apart, and a cold wind blew across the Northern lands. They became a hostile country of snow and ice. Yet the Humans who lived there were resourceful; they built thick-walled fortresses to keep out the bitter cold, and kept warm fires in their hearths. Some of those fortresses still stand today, their stone buttresses jutting out from the ice.

The towns in Dungeon Siege II are much larger than in Dungeon Siege I and they often act as a hub that the player will return to multiple times over the course of the game as different events unfold...The original Dungeon Siege took place solely in the Kingdom of Ehb on the continent of Aranna. With the addition of teleportation in DS2, players will travel all over Aranna to gorgeous indoor and outdoor regions such as a jungle Dryad town, mysterious corrupted forests, vast deserts, ominous catacombs, and a castle stronghold in the snow.

DS2 is set on the other side of the world from DS1

Mod Development

DS2 will be at least as moddable as DS1. A lot of the game calculations that were in the engine have been moved to skrit now. For example, you can define exactly how combat plays out - how armor effects damage, that sort of thing.
The "Flick" scripting system that should allow modders to implement complex scripting behavior with simple commands that resemble movie-director style stage orders. It should have a much lower entry-bar for those who are a bit less "tekkie".

Mod tools will be available for download around the time we release DS2. We've not yet determined exactly what tools will be in the package, but you can expect the usual suspects like we saw for DS1.

Siege Editor 2.0 is an evolved version of the 1.7 version currently online. It will go through a polish pass before release, but we won't be adding wizards, if that is what you mean by "more easy to use". Think "SE1 but better".
We will not be including modeling functionality within SE - it'll still be "just" the map editor.

Multiplayer (see "Party System")

multiplayer matchup service will be provided by "Gamespy matchmaking technology", not Microsoft Zonematch, and will still not entail extra subscription fees

Players will be able to search for multiplayer games using criteria like character level, pvp options, etc. It lets you set up and find games the same way [as the original Dungeon Siege Zonematch interface], but you have more options if you want them - it's more powerful.

there will not be dedicated server support shipped with the game, but it might be released via the web after the game ships

The major goal of DS2's multiplayer mode is to allow players to bring multiple party members into the game and be able to play through the single player experience together or against other players, each with their own party. The focus is definitely on co-op, but Dungeon Siege II multiplayer will also feature a PvP option as well.

Each player can control a full party in Dungeon Siege II, instead of just one character per player. We're already playing multiplayer games with armies of characters taking down monsters, and it's awesome. Monsters get stronger based on the number of characters in the game, so it stays tough.
We've also upgraded our multiplayer game browser to make it easier to find a game that's right for your party, and it's super easy to stay in touch with your friends. You can actually log in to the friends server while playing single-player so you'll know when your friends log in.


Exceptional effort has been poured into making top-quality audio. For that, MS hired two industry veterans; sound designer Frank Bry and renowned composer Jeremy Soul. Both names should be familiar to all contemporary gamers. Frank got involved in several projects over the past years including Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna, Total Annihilation, Metroid Prime, Unreal Championship (Xbox), Unreal Tournament 2003, and many others. A guy like Jeremy really needs no introduction… you merely have to mention inspiring soundtracks from titles like SW: Knights of the Old Republic, Unreal II and Neverwinter Nights.
“I’m deeply appreciative and excited to have the opportunity to work with Chris Taylor and the Team at Gaspowered Games on this bold new adventure. When Dungeon Siege shipped, it featured one of the largest scores in the industry with around two hours of original music. The new game will be even bigger. We are also developing a series of Dungeon Siege CD soundtracks for the serious Dungeon Siege fans.” --Jeremy Soule (quoted from JeremySoule.com)
The underlying world at the time of Dungeon Siege II is more brutal and warlike than that of Dungeon Siege's Kingdom of Ehb, with the occasional harbor of tranquility. With that in mind, we worked closely with Jeremy Soule to widen the canvas to range from primal and tribal themes to the angelic and surreal. It is fair to say that some of Jeremy's more recent work with other major titles has evolved his music in different directions as well, and he has always been comfortable pushing the envelope with studio upgrades during our production process, so we are getting a really wonderful montage of music to work with for
Dungeon Siege II.

Pack Animals and Pets

the packmule will be back, with some enhancements
You can now feed items to the packmule, which will force him to level –- in addition to being your valet, now he’s a garbage masher as well.
there are currently 9 types of pets
pets grow and become more powerful when you feed them items. They can be levelled up in different ways by feeding them different items; Melee items will make them stronger, magical items with increase their magic.

Each pet has a unique purpose, set of attacks and abilities, and provides an interesting tradeoff versus a normal party member
most pets have abilities that cannot be found anywhere else in the game

Pets will be stronger than player characters in some respects and weaker in others.
For example, pets cannot equip weapons or armor, but they can get special abilities that player characters cannot.

packmules may be useable in multiplayer

Pets are independent of specific character-controllers. They take up a slot in your party like other members. Think "Packmule" and you'll be on target.

Party System
maximum party size: 6 members

In multiplayer, players can play cooperatively together through the single-player storyline either in "classic mode," as seen in the original Dungeon Siege (with just their main hero), or with each player bringing in multiple party characters. Players will also be able to export their single-player parties (including all characters, experience, and items) into multiplayer games.

Balancing this has been an interesting experience. Our first step was to try taking away all character automation. When we did that, many players felt that the party was too unresponsive and was not acting as intelligently as they would expect. We're continuing to work on striking that perfect balance between enough automation that your characters don't feel unintelligent, but not so much that the party does your work for you.

With the exception of using Powers, which must be used individually, players can choose to issue single or group move and attack commands. When a command is issued to a single character, players will also have a choice of whether or not the rest of the party will echo that command or ignore it.
experience sharing

Each potential party member has a personal journey (quest? or series of quests?)
Party members don't all necessarily offer to join right when you meet them, and you may have to prove yourself or do a few things before some party members will see you as a worthwhile companion.

There will be configurable AI settings for each of your NPC's, so that you can focus on controlling one character rather than micro-managing battles

Powers and Skills

Rather than create new character classes, the original four character classes from the first Dungeon Siege are returning, with considerable depth added to each of them in the form of skill trees and powers. Fighter, Ranger, Nature Mage, and Combat Mage - this time around, there are multiple specialties for each of these character classes that you can choose from, depending on how you spend your skill points. So my nature mage who specializes in summoning may be completely different from your nature mage who specializes in ice magic. Or players may choose to be a ranger specializing in bows and crossbows or thrown weapons by spending skill points in the appropriate skills. The decision of how to spend skill points when a character levels up and which powers to get puts a lot of freedom in the hands of players when deciding how a character should progress.

Fighters can specialize in sword/shield, 2-handed weapons, or even dual-wield.
Unlike spells and normal attacks, Powers take time to recharge; the goal is to try to use them strategically to obtain an edge in combat, although they work just fine as a way to simply kill stuff and have it look spectacular. Powers can be effective when used alone, but they are often even more effective when used in combination with other Powers.

All Powers have skill requirements. So depending on how players choose to spend their skill points, more Powers will become available to characters as they progress.

Choosing a character class is simply a matter of putting the appropriate spell or weapon in a character's hand. You can change your mind at any point in the game as well. Of course, if you've been playing the game as a pure fighter for 10 hours, you may have to spend some time using a bow or crossbow to build up your ranged weapon skill, but the point is that Dungeon Siege does not lock players into a particular class at the outset of the game.

For example, a pure Nature Mage may choose to specialize in healing magic, support buffing, ice damage, summoning creatures, or be a jack of all Nature Mage trades. Choosing a character's specialties is defined by how skill points earned at each level are spent.

There are a total of 32 Powers available, each with three levels of effectiveness and a unique set of skill requirements.

Powers are purchased from Power Trainers found in the game.
Experience-by-doing (as opposed to choosing a class at the outset of the game) is still a fundamental element in Dungeon Siege II.

Each power is capped at 10 levels.


there is a summon town portal spell that you can cast that will take you to town from anywhere in the world

As with physical attacks, spells may not be interrupted, but they may be partially or completely resisted.

Spells can take the form of offense, defense or utility, including damage, healing, buffs, debuffs, summons, transmute items to gold, etc. and they use mana just like they did in the first game.

Many spells in Dungeon Siege II will also have power levels, which - along with more types of items geared toward mages - should allow mages to feel a more equal participation in treasure collecting this time around.


Dungeon Siege II is a sequel that takes place 100 to 200 years after Dungeon Siege. Players who have never played Dungeon Siege won't feel like they're missing anything because the story in Dungeon Siege II supersedes everything that happened in Dungeon Siege, but players who played the first game will appreciate that Dungeon Siege II reveals some important history that predated Dungeon Siege by 1,000 years.
Players will once again return to Aranna, but it's not the same world as before. The realm is torn apart by a vicious civil war. In the chaos a brutal leader has emerged, Valdis, who wants to bring order to the place -- his order -- no matter the cost. Against this chaotic backdrop the lines between good and evil are blurred. It's up to the players to pick their own path through the war and put a stop to Valdis before he unites the world under his tyranny. Supposedly the players will have a good deal of freedom deciding how they go about overthrowing Valdis, with lots of interesting choices and quests along the way.
It’s been a generation since you vanquished the evil that plagued the Land of Ehb, and now…a new menace has awakened. In Dungeon Siege II, the sequel to the best-selling RPG from Gas Powered Games, you will be called on to again wield sword and spell to save the world from a growing abomination many years in the making.

A thousand years ago, the crusaders of Azunai crossed swords with the legions of Zaramoth in the final battle of a century-long rebellion. As the tyrannical god Zaramoth struck the final blow through Azunai’s trembling shield, the earth shook. In that moment, the forces of magic were unchained, and both armies were consumed in a brilliant cataclysm that stretched for leagues across the Plain of Tears. Only a scarred wasteland remained as final testament to the First Age of Man.

And for a millennium, magic has continued to spread to the farthest corners of the world, freely flowing to any who would command it. But the tide of magic has begun to wane, heeding instead the call of an ancient legacy. From the Plain of Tears a new heir beckons, and with each day his strength grows. Consuming those who submit, eradicating those who resist. With none to oppose his ascendance, the circle will be complete, and an ancient age will begin anew.

What fate will befall the Second Age of Man? The time for judgment is nigh.
The storyline be separate from the original Dungeon Siege, but not entirely separate. You play a new character in a new adventure, but there's lots of references and things that people who played the first game will recognize.
MP will be identical to SP - same story, same world. We've focused on a much more immersive story in DS2, so the experience will be a lot tighter.
In Dungeon Siege II your main hero starts out as a mercenary fighting for the army of Valdis, a powerful tyrant who pays well but whose methods are often perceived as questionable. Over time, your character will decide what is right, what is wrong, and will eventually lead an elite battle party made up of characters of different races who all eventually share a common goal.

The story is broken up into three Acts

Technical and Miscellaneous Details

The graphics for DS2 have been taken to the next level on multiple fronts:
We completely rewrote the effects engine, and that includes support for 2.0 shaders.

We now have all the cool effects like shimmering fire and great looking water.
All of the animations have way more detail, the textures are much larger for almost everything in the world...

And the density of the world is much higher, so just looking at it, it's lush and dense feeling, not sparse.

I don't have an exact number, but with the new video cards, we were able to really push up the number of polygons that are rendered on screen, at least double in most cases.

Frustum size is the same as DS1 (45 meters)

The released version of gmax (1.2) from discreet corresponds with 3dsmax 4.2, which is what DS1 was modeled in. DS2 is currently modeled in 3dsmax 5.1 (or higher), so it won't be backwards compatible with gmax.

Average actor polycount is 900. Player characters and bigger monsters (both in size and importance) bounce above that.

We're using larger textures, and many more of them, to give almost everything in the world a very crisp, detailed look. Our engine has been revised to handle a significantly larger amount of content, thus supporting a much richer approach to content design and development than we had previously.

That's it for now... I hope that people looking for general information about Dungeon Siege 2 will find this useful.