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One of the most exciting 3DS games of 2012 is just weeks away, waiting to drop on our handhelds like a pair of +1 Pantaloons of Sundering. The game, of course, is Heroes Of Ruin, n-Space's upcoming lootfest action-RPG. If you've been following our coverage you'll know that a) we like it quite a bit, and b) there's still an awful lot the developers haven't told us. With that in mind, here's a fistful of things you probably don't know about their kleptomania-simulator, gathered from producer Tim Schwalk.
So far we've heard about the Alchitect (a sort of steampunk mage), the Vindicator (a lion-headed warrior from the religious Leomar tribe) and the Gunslinger (he doesn't actually throw them). However, we haven't seen much of the game's fourth and final character class yet. He's the Savage - a wolf-like barbarian who uses his fists to batter enemies to death. Like the others, he has his own reasons for helping the king of Nexus (the game's hub) - namely, the pursuit of power, which he lost after being exiled from his tribe.
Tim says these atypical classes were drawn from the rich backstory they created for the world. "We matched our most interesting characters with unique power and fighting styles to create the four heroes," he says. "Though there are similarities, it's very intentional that our characters don't exactly fit the standard RPG mould."
Although we've tinkered with the drop-in co-op before now, we were still a little unclear about how it all works. Thankfully, Tim could explain. "As new players join your game, we automatically adjust enemy difficulty and encounter sizes on the fly. We even take this a step further, making these adjustments as players pause the game during a multiplayer session. While paused, however, players won't benefit from any shared gold or XP gained." Finally, we can go for a wee without annoying our co-op partners - or having to bring the 3DS along with us.
It sounds like an extraordinarily friendly co-op system, but it doesn't end there. Unlike in Square Enix's other recent action-RPG, Dungeon Siege III, players who join someone else's game get to keep all the loot and experience they acquire. You can maintain separate single- and multiplayer characters too, if you prefer, or mix and match, popping online to help a friend before returning to your own dimension to continue a solo quest.
Unlike many co-op games, Heroes also doesn't appear to rely on crude tricks to ensure that players buddy up when they play online. In fact, when we played, it was possible to wander off on your own for much of the time.
"We encourage teamwork in many ways," says Tim. "The most obvious way is how certain classes are built to work together.