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Larian Studios Visit: Riftrunner, part 2
More Riftrunner Questions and Answers

Myrthos, 2003-12-02

A while ago we had the chance to visit Larian Studios in Belgium and had the opportunity to meet Swen "Lar" Vincke and play Riftrunner for ourselves. Before we started playing the game later on, Swen showed us some parts of the game and we could ask him everything we wanted to know. Due to the amount of information we gathered about Riftrunner, we decided to split it up into several parts. This is the second part in which we continue with a set of questions and answers about Riftrunner. The first part, with the first batch of questions and answers, can be found here and the third part can be found here.

RPGDot: Do we have a choice in race? And what type of person is the Deathknight?

Swen: You start out as a human, you can't choose any other race. Although you can choose the way you look. The Deathknight will be just that - a male Deathknight - and will be warrior oriented at first, but he is able to learn all the skills you know, depending on the teachers you will find. So it is possible to turn him into a mage type character if you like.

RPGDot: Is there a benefit in giving my character certain looks?

Swen: The looks you give your character will have no effects on the stats. They might walk/run differently, but that's it. There are some predefined settings for the stats and skills according to a certain character type, like warrior, mage, ranger, thief, etc. etc. You can choose one of those or just choose the ones you want, but a fat thief is just as quick as a skinny one.

RPGDot: Can we change the avatar images?

Swen: It's something a lot of people have been asking for. If we find some time, maybe.

RPGDot: What primary stats will we have?

Swen: You will have the same four primary stats as in Divinity, but in addition to those you will also have speed and survival. Speed is very important, the faster you are, the more chance you have in combat. Survival affects many things such as for instance regeneration & luck.

RPGDot: What's the maximum amount of party members?

Swen: The main party members are just the two of you. Other party members will be summoning dolls. The exact amount of summoning dolls you'll find is still being balanced.

RPGDot: What happens if the summoning doll dies?

Swen: Summoning dolls need to recover when they die i.e. you have to wait for some time before you can summon them again.

RPGDot: Can I use the summoning doll as a mule?

Swen: Yes. You can also give the summoning doll skill points which you acquired. Actually, that's the only way you can give them skill points.

RPGDot: Can I still get the summoning skill?

Swen: No, you can't.

RPGDot: What kind of summoning dolls are there?

Swen: I think I'll leave that up to the players to discover for themselves.

RPGDot: Are there scripts for the party members or are they waiting for commands?

Swen: There are a couple of simple scripts you can assign to them. You will not be able to modify them however.

RPGDot: How is XP divided amongst the party members?

Swen: Both you and your deathknight get an equal amount. Your summoning dolls don't get any. Like in Divinity their experience points can be earned by killing or by solving quests.

RPGDot: How do you communicate with the Deathknight?

Swen: Deathknights communicate telepathically. Only other demons can hear him and since you are soulforged to one, you can hear him as well. The Deathknight will give you his opinion on matters, whether you ask for it or not. You can go with what he says or you can decide not to follow his advice. The Deathknight is not always telling the truth, so you will have to make your choice.

RPGDot: Will the monsters have a better AI?

Swen: Yes, the AI of the monsters in Riftrunner is definitely a lot better than that of Divinity. They make much better use of the means that are at their disposal this time.

RPGDot: How do you get into the Battlefields?

Swen: You will find rifts in the game. You can access them and get teleported into the battlefields. The first time you go there, this area will be created randomly for you. Once it is created it won't change anymore though, even if you leave and return later on.

RPGDot: Do you need to go into the Battlefields?

Swen: No you don't. There are no critical items for the main plot in there, but there will be subplot items and teachers, teaching you certain paths and/or advanced skill levels. If you choose not to visit them, some sub quests remain unsolved, or you even miss them - and you will be playing in a ‘really hard mode' - missing necessary XP for killing or solved sub quests and getting better skills.

RPGDot: What is Riftrunning?

Swen: Being able to riftrun, is about creating your own rifts and thus being able to go where you want.

RPGDot: Divinity was often labeled as a Diablo clone. Can the same thing happen to Riftrunner?

Swen: I think everybody who played Divinity realized that Divinity was far from being a Diablo clone. One reason why people perceived it as such was that the Divinity demo was made 8 months before the release of the game. Several RPG related things did not work yet and it was very action oriented. Once the game was released it didn't resemble it anymore.

Riftrunner is even less Diablo like since the combat system has evolved. There will be fewer monsters, but those who are there, will be harder to kill. Fights will be tougher. A monster of an equal level is really an equal match. It will have access to the same skills, armor and weapons as you have at that level. On top of that you now control a party.

RPGDot: Will there be teleport pyramids again?

Swen: Yes, you will get the ones from Divinity back in Act 2.

RPGDot: Are there unarmed combat skills?

Swen: No there aren't.

RPGDot: Can weapons be charmed again?

Swen: Yes, and on top of that you now also have crystals.

RPGDot: What are crystals?

Swen: At some point in act 1 you will find a crystal bag in which you can deposit a number of crystals. Crystals have magical properties which will boost your character. Depending on the situation you are in, certain crystal combinations make more sense than others.

RPGDot: What kind of weapons will there be?

Swen: The following weapons are in the game: dagger sword, club, axe, bow, crossbow, staff, two handed sword, two handed axe, two handed hammer and wands.
The wands are made of wood, and the type of wood determines which effect it has. Bows and crossbows require ammunition (arrows and bolts); there won't be any endless supplies anymore.

RPGDot: Can you create arrows and bolts?

Swen: Ammunition can not be constructed. You can however change regular arrows into special ones by means of one of the many skills that are available, like creating fire, ice, splitting, exploding or sharper arrows, just to name a few. There is a ratio between the amount of regular arrows you have to supply before you get the special ones after using the skill, resulting in less but more powerful arrows. Of course you can also buy these arrows.

RPGDot: Are there ropes in the game?

Swen: Yes, there are. They will allow you to climb out of areas you can't get out of otherwise.

RPGDot: Does reputation play a role?

Swen: Reputation plays a role in trading. It does not play a role in getting quests or having a different solution depending on your reputation. But you are in the demon world and because of that you will have to do tasks that are gray and can't be labeled as being good or evil.

RPGDot: Are there guilds in the game?

Swen: There are no guilds you can join, but there are factions you can side up with. In doing so, the other factions will become your enemy then. But no quest will be unsolvable because of the choices you made.

RPGDot: How do you learn skills?

Swen: First you need to know about the skill by learning of its existence. This happens by talking to teachers and reading books. Then you need to acquire a certain level in the skill. This you do through your skillpoints, just like you did in Divinity. Certain teachers can teach you skills up to a certain level. If you want to reach a higher level in a skill, it's possible that you need to find a better teacher.

RPGDot: Does practice play a role in combat skills?

Swen: No, practice does not play a role, only your skill level ,your stats and your equipment.

RPGDot: Will there be autosaves and how large will save games be?

Swen: No, there won't be any autosaves. Standard save games should not exceed 20MB. Their size depends on how many rifts you have entered and thus how many random maps are generated.

RPGDot: Will there be difficulty levels and what will they do?

Swen: Difficulty levels will only have an effect on monsters. There will be more and stronger monsters at higher levels. How many levels there are, remains to be determined. We might also make the difficulty levels have an effect on the equipment you find.

RPGDot: Did the automap change?

Swen: The graphics changed but the functionality is the same as in Divinity.

RPGDot: What are the quests like?

Swen: There are all kinds of quests in the game, just like you had in Divinity. There are quite a few surprising ones.

RPGDot: What places will you visit in these different acts?

Swen: There are four acts in the game. The first act will take place in dungeons. The second act is the exploration part of Nemesis and takes place outside most of the time. The third act will take you to the Temple of the Black Ring and the surrounding areas.
Where you are going to in the fourth part we would like to keep a secret for now.

RPGDot: What is the zoom range?

Swen: The zoom range goes from 1280x1024 down to 640x480 in a linear fashion. The highest available zoom range depends on your screen resolution, of course.

RPGDot: Will there be a combat log?

Swen: No there is none, but now as you mention it, it might be worth considering it to be implemented.

Average Reader Ratings: 6.68 (19 votes)
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