Frequently Asked Questions
The Lands of Lore III discussion/interview with Louis Castle
(Executive Producer of Lands of Lore III) is now available!
Frequently Asked Questions
The Lands of Lore III discussion/interview with Louis Castle
(Executive Producer of Lands of Lore III) is now available!
Q: What’s new in Lands of Lore III?
A: Basically, everything about Lands of Lore III is different from the other games in the series. Lore III contains a new interface, a new character development system that includes guilds, familiars and skills, and new character and monster representation. By improving on Lore II's engine, we've built a fantasy world with amazing detail, right down to the epic storyline.
Q: What are the minimum system requirements?
A: Lore III will run on either Windows ’95/’98 or Windows NT 4.0 operating systems. Minimum system requirements are a Pentium-166 or better, 32 MB RAM, 4x CD-ROM, Direct X compatible 2D video card w/2MB RAM or better, keyboard & m ouse. The game will support 256 color and 16 bit color modes supporting Glide (3Dfx-based 3D video cards) & Direct3D (for other current 3D video cards). 3D video cards are not required to play, but do greatly enhance visuals. LOL3 will support 640x480 resolution in non-accelerated mode and higher screen resolutions with 3D acceleration.
Q: When can I get my hands on Lands of Lore III?
A: Lands of Lore III is now available at retailers everywhere!
Q: What character do I play?
A: You are Copper LeGré. You’ve spent your 16 years among the common people, but you are not common. You are the secret son of Eric LeGré, brother of King Richard. Eric had a brief encounter with a Dracoid barmaid, and the re sult was you. Despite that fact that you’ve turned out to be a personable young man, you are called "half-breed" behind your back, and tolerated only because of the royal blood flowing through your veins. Your royal lineage means little unt il tragedy strikes, and you become next in line to the throne of Gladstone.
Q: What is the storyline?
A: Ravenous, supernatural beasts attack in the night, killing Eric and his sons--your half-brothers. You wake to find your family dead, yourself gravely injured, and your soul stolen. A spell cast by a powerful friend keeps you alive, but it wo n't last long. As the spell grows ever weaker, you must race to solve the mystery of the strange, savage beasts pillaging your homeland. Your new position as heir to the throne complicates matters, and you’ll often find more deadly opponents at home in Gladstone than in the strange nether worlds beyond. As Copper, you are an unlikely hero, given the daunting twin tasks of saving your soul and saving your kingdom.
Your adventure starts in Gladstone, which played an important role in Lore I and II, but was never fully realized until now. In Lore III, Gladstone comes alive with citizens, guilds, stores, thieves, and the occasional monster. Upper Gladstone, wit h the royal castle at its center, is home to the upper class. Mind your manners here, for the guards have a sharp eye for any sign of mischief. In Lower Gladstone, you won’t have to worry about the guards, but you will have to worry about thieves. Th e neighborhood is a bit rougher down there.
During your travels, you’ll probably find it necessary to choose a profession and join a guild. (See the Guilds section.) You’ll find that you already have a complete life in Gladstone. Your landlord would like the rent, which is late. Yo ur step mother, who didn’t like you before, now hates you and blames you for the death of her husband and sons.
As you explore and gather information about the tragedy that has befallen you, your family and your kingdom, you’ll learn that the trouble is connected to five magical portals that have opened out of seemingly thin air. These portals lead to s trange and wondrous lands that you couldn’t possibly imagine. (See next section.)
Finally, after you have struggled to close all five portals, and your journey almost done, you fight the final battle against the culprit that caused the portals to open, and in doing so, caused you a world of misery. But your enemy is powerful, ri ch in Ancient magic, and as devious as he is evil. Are you ready for this final test?
Q: What are these "magical portals"?
A: There are five portal worlds you will journey to in Lands of Lore III: Volcanic Caves, the Frozen Wastes, The Underworld, The Ruloi Homeworld and The Shattered Desert. See more about these worlds in the corresponding sections of the Lore III homepage.
Q: Is the storyline in Lands of Lore III linear?
A: There are linear parts in Lore III that help move the story along, but for the most part, the game is non-linear. All of your decisions including which guilds to join, which quests to undertake, which NPCs you talk to, etc. will effect how t he game unfolds.
Q: How does your character develop in Lands of Lore III?
A: In LOL3, you develop your character during the game, based on the guilds you join and which skills you choose to develop. You can choose from one or all of the following: The Iron Ring (Warriors Guild), The Talamari (Wizards Guild), The Orde r of Finch (Clerics Guild) or The Bacchanal (Thieves Guild).
Once you join a guild, the experience you gain will move you up in level. Thus, if you just join one guild, you'll go up in level quickly. However, if you join two or more guilds, your experience will be divided equally among the disciplines you ha ve chosen.
Also, you'll have the option to join guilds for a substantial portion of your journey. It's recommended that you explore Gladstone and get a feel for its troubles before making your guild choices.
Following is a brief description of each guild:
The Iron Ring
Here's where you'll learn to swing steel and crush skulls. There are also classes in archery and hand-to-hand combat. The Iron Ring is the primary source for weapons and armor in Gladstone. It's also the largest guild because most members of th e army and town guard have joined.
As you level up, you'll learn the skills of Mighty Blow, Rapid Strike and Marksmanship. Also, as you make friends within the guild, you'll gain access to more powerful weapons like The Great Sword Firestorm and the Valkyrie Crossbow.
Although it has the fewest members, the Talamari is by far the most powerful and influential guild in Gladstone. Headed by the mystic Dawn, the Talamari was the first Guild established after the Dark Army wars. The guild is the primary source f or spells and magic items in Gladstone.
If you choose this guild, you'll need to study well for there are many spells (see Spell Section). You'll need knowledge of many of them to face the mighty challenges that await you. The skills you'll learn include Identify, Ancient Lore, and Mana Tap.
Order of the Finch
This guild, as a monastic order, has existed in the Lands for hundreds of years. Some suspect that they, in fact, established the monarchy of Gladstone. Their tenants focus on freedom of thought and responsibility of action. Their healing and r estorative talents are unmatched in the Lands.
While it's true that many of Clerical studies revolve around healing and growth of the spirit, don't mistake this as a guild for weaklings. Clerics know how to swing a sword as well as cast a righteously powerful spell.
Here you'll learn the skills of SPirit Lore, Herb Lore, Holy Strike, and Restore Familiar.
On the other end of the moral spectrum is a guild of thieves, assassins and scoundrels of all sorts. But they offer many membership benefits, if you and your purse can stand to be in their company. They teach the skills of Pick Lock, Steal, Bac kstab, Sniper and Death Strike. In the Thieves' Market, you'll find a variety of poisons, items that increase speed and dexterity, and even, it's rumored, a Gladstone guard uniform--the perfect disguise for someone with ill-intent.
But be warned, this "guild" is hardly a guild at all. The idea of membership is shaky at best, and advancement is often found through shady dealings. Do the bidding of The Bacchanal at your own peril.
Q: Tell me about familiars and their role in the game. How many will I be able to have in the game? How many at one time? How are they controlled?
A: Familiars are magical companions that journey with you. They'll fight for you, find food, heal you and give advice. This idea came about because a lot of people were asking for a party system. However, we were never really satisfied with how most party systems feel. Often, you never get the feeling of interaction and conflict within a CRPG party as you do in a pen and paper RPG experience. So, we introduced the familiar in order to give you, the player, the best of both worlds.
Each guild will offer you a familiar. Keep in mind that while you can give your familiar orders, but they do have an AI and will think for themselves. They also have distinct personalities and won't hesitate to give you their opinion. It's amazing how much they add to the game, and how much fun it is to watch them go to work for you.
Once you bond with a familiar, you can choose no other, so choose wisely. Even if your familiar dies, you will not be able to acquire a new one. However, if your familiar does die, you can resurrect it by casting a resurrect spell or by visiting th e Cleric's Guild.
Here are brief descriptions of each of the familiars you will get to choose from:
Iron Golem - Lig, available at the Fighter's Guild
He's a powerful fighter and loves to swing his sword. He'll also find food for you, if you're hungry. He's the strongest of the familiars, but is vulnerable to electrical and fire attacks. He also will be able to tell you about some the monsters yo u'll encounter.
Homunculus - Griselda, available at the Wizard's Guild
She’ll cast spells at any one who attacks you. She also has a knack for finding Pharmacopoeia items, knows quite a few helpful recipes, and can identify some magical items. She has resistance to magical attacks, but doesn't do well against dir ect physical attacks.
Glitterfay - Goldy, available at the Cleric's Guild
She also can attack with magic, but she is most helpful as a healer. She can even cure poison. If you're in the dark, she'll cast a light spell. She has resistance to magical attacks, but won't last long against a sword or a club.
Ferret - Syruss, available at the Thieves' Guild
His fast hands are useful in many ways. He can steal items from stores, as well as find important items out in The Lands. He also is the most knowledgeable of the familiars, and will be able to give important information and advice. He's weak in a fight, but tough to hit because he's so fast.
Q: How do you interact with NPCs (non-player characters) within the game?
A: You just walk up to them and speak. If an NPC says something important, the journal will automatically make a note of it (see the Journal section). There are no dialogue trees. Going on quests or exploring other areas in the game might also gain you more information from the same NPCs, so check back with your best sources often.
Q: How are NPCs and monsters depicted in the game?
A: All characters and monsters are computer generated. By using advanced tools like 3D Studio-Max and our own motion-capture studio, we have created extremely lifelike characters. In addition, our proprietary voxel technology allows us to repre sent every monster and character in 3D. With voxel technology based on characters with 20,000 polygons, you can walk around them smoothly and see all their fine details and angles. This allows our characters to fit seamlessly into the world. We don't want you noticing the techno logy we are using. We just want you to get lost in the convincing fantasy role-playing world of Lands of Lore III.
Q: How does the combat system work? How large a role does combat play? Are there any parts of the game that can be completed via both combat and non-combat? Are there any completely non-combat quests or puzzles?
A: Combat takes place in real time and is essentially point and click. In combat, you'll be able to cast up to 70 different spells as well wield a large variety of weapons, some with unique powers.
Combat is an important part of the game, and you'll have to fight to finish. However, you'll be able to complete the game even if you avoid fighting. In fact, as a thief or cleric, that might be advisable.
There are also a variety of non-combat puzzles and quests.
Q: How is the interface organized in Lore III? Are there any features in the game to help make it "user-friendly" and easy to play?
A: We think we've made one of the most accessible RPGs in existence. The interface is streamlined and completely customizable. At the beginning of the game, you will acquire a journal that will keep track of everything of import than happens in the game, so there is no need to take notes. With nine distinct sections, the journal is literally a manual that builds itself. The journal automatically catalogues every item you pick up, every creature you encounter, important points from conversations with NPCs, as well as information about your character. You can even place color-coded notes in the automapper!
Q: How do you equip weapons in Lore III?
A: The inventory interface is very easy to use. You have one slot within the inventory screen to equip your primary melee weapons, missile weapons, shields & armor. There are also four slots for magical items such as necklaces, bracers, rin gs, gems, etc. This allows you some flexibility, as you can wear four rings, or four sets of bracers if you wish, and so on. In addition, you also have six inventory belts that can carry five items each. You can cycle between all six belts whether you are in the inventory screen or not, so you’ll have access to your full inventory at all times. What’s more, the items in your equipped belt are hot-keyed for instant use. See the screenshots below.
The arrow on the right shows the player cycling through the item belts. The items in each belt are hot keyed for fast use.
The cubby holes on the right are used to store items. Each row represents an item belt.
Q: What do I do if I cannot carry all my stuff?
A: With the larger inventory system, and the ability to buy/sell goods, we hope that it will not be necessary to stockpile large groups of items. However, we have provided one safe haven for this purpose: your room at the Inn in Lower Gladstone . As long as you are current on your rent, you can keep goods there for a very long time. Leaving items on the ground will still result in some items becoming somebody else's treasure!
Q: Will certain weapons be more effective against certain enemies (for instance, would the Great Sword Firestorm inflict more damage on a creature from the Arctic Wastes than say, The Great Axe Blizzard)?
A: Absolutely! With our new journal system, you will become very aware of what each weapon is good for.
Q: When you poison your blade and attack an enemy will there be some visual sign that they are poisoned?
A: Yes, your enemy will become green when poisoned and a green skull icon will appear when you are poisoned. Poison takes a while to wear off, and will slowly damage you or your opponents until it does.
Q: What are some of the weapons and magic items you’ll get to use in the game?
A: There are over 60 weapons and over 100 magic items to discover in the game. Here are just a few to whet your appetite:
Bone Great Sword
Chips of bone fly from the blade 50% of the time, doing additional damage.
Thohan's Great Sword
This sword is named for the great mercenary leader who forged it and wielded it in battle. It is said that on the day he died, the blade was not with him. In addition to dealing out great amounts of damage in combat, this weapon negates 50% of any non-magical damage done to the wielder. It also increases the wielder’s regeneration rate by 2X. If you drops below 25% of his total hit points, a Large Imp will automatically be summoned to combat the nearest opponent. There is a 10% chance that a Lightning Storm spell will be summoned each time this weapon strikes. If a Lightning Storm is not summoned, then a minor magic flash will occur, sapping equal amounts of magic and life away from the your opponent.
Dagger of Light
When placed in the melee slot, this weapon creates a dagger of light in the missile weapon slot. When attacking an opponent at range, daggers of light are hurled through the air at the target in infinite supply.
A powerful artifact left behind by the Ancients, the Dark Bow has the power to drain life and mana from targeted opponents. When a bolt is fired, a sphere of darkness will spear through the air and target the nearest opponent (within view). Whe n it strikes, a portion of the target’s life and magic (where appropriate) will be drawn out in the form of small beads (red for life and blue for mana). The effects of the Dark Bow are similar to those of the Great Sword Dark Storm, although not as potent.
This shield conveys invisibility when worn and reduces modified might and protection to 0. If you attack (spell, etc), you’ll become visible for 10 seconds.
This pair of arcane bracers were forged by the Ancient Imp Lords. When equipped, your casting costs for the Summoning group is reduced by 25%.
When used, this object charges you with Ancient magic. Each such charge allows you to cast one Ancient magic spell at no additional cost.
When used, this item summons up a mystical sword that deals devastating damage to a single opponent before vanishing.
When this ring is worn and a melee weapon is not equipped, your bare-handed strike will be that of a tiger’s claw, accompanied by a loud growl.
Broken from the gem found at the heart of a Dragon, this item, when worn as an amulet, gives you limited protection from physical attacks.
Lesser Bezoar Ring
When worn, this ring will protect you from the effects of Lesser Poison.
Gives you eyes in the back of your head for 1 minute. Find it jumping out of the water in Lower Gladstone.
Q: How does spell casting work?
A: The spell page in the journal keeps track of which spells you have learned and what they do. A click on any spell icon in the journal page will put a copy of the spell in your cursor and you can click to cast. You can also copy the spe ll icons into six spell belts that carry up to five spells. You can cycle between all six belts whether you are in the inventory screen or not, so you have access to your spells at all times. Just like the inventory belts, the spells in your equipped belt are hot-keyed for instant casting (provided you have enough mana).
Q: How many spells are in Lore III? Are there any new ones we haven’t seen before?
A: There are 70 spells in all, divided into 14 spell groups. The group titles are not spells themselves, but are spell categories. Each spell group name defines the overall effect or purpose of the spells found within. There are many spells new to Lore III.
Summons a magical generator that will hurl rotating, tracking disks of energy that will attack nearby targets.
Calls down a storm of energy blades onto all opponents within a 50 ft radius.
Creates a temporary, long-range light source (like a flare) at the your current location in the world. These flares burn indefinitely, but there can only be 2 of them in the world at a time.
Creates a random formation of lesser light pulses that will track and target nearby opponents.
Greater Detonation sphere
Launches a small, non-tracking sphere. If the spell key is released within 1 second of casting, the sphere will travel until it collides with an object or creature, and detonate in a group of medium explosions. If the spell key is held down for longer than 1 second, the sphere will detonate when the key is released.
Greater Explosive Runes
When cast, this spell creates a spell target cursor. The object or location clicked on after the spell is cast will be affixed with a magical rune visible only to you. If a creature comes within the proximity of the rune, it will send out 4 small spheres, which will each cause a single medium explosion after traveling 5 feet. The rune will be destroyed when it is triggered.
Scry Familiar (New!)
This spell will call your familiar back to his current location.
This spell allows you to see through his familiar's eyes through a portal that will appear on the screen.
Summon Ancient Imp
Summons a powerful imp that shoots plasma bolts from his hands in rapid succession. When the imp has run out of energy, he will vanish.
This spell summons up a vortex of energy that has a percentage chance of sucking your opponent away into limbo. If it fails, the spell does no additional damage.
This spell releases a sphere of electrical energy that will travel to your nearest opponent and release a large shower of damaging sparks. The sphere will then travel to and damage your next closest opponent, continuing on in this fashion until it has spent itself (3-6 charges).
This Ancient magic spell releases a multitude of lightning bolts that will rain down from the sky/ceiling and strike all targets within the spell’s area of affect (about 50’).
This spell surrounds you in an invisible shield of energy for a limited time. It will halve any damage you take, and will also increase your protection by 25% for the duration of the spell.
This Ancient magic spell has multiple effects. In addition to restoring all of your missing hit points, you will recover from damage at such a rapid rate that you will be "unkillable" for the duration of the spell. Regenerate will als o cure any type of poison.
This spell causes a holographic image of Copper to appear 10’ in front of you. The image is static, and will not move from its position once placed. The image is dispelled when struck.
This Ancient magic spell unleashes a massive concussive wave of energy, inflicting serious damage on all opponents in the same room. It will also destroy some structures.
Q: When you're under water in LOL3 will your health just start
going down after a certain time?
Although you cannot swim, you can stay underwater as long as you have health (or can heal). You will begin to take damage moments after submerging.
Q: How much of a speed improvement would a 3dfx based card have running in Glide vs. running in Direct3D?
A: Obviously it depends on the scene, but the Glide version will run 3-5% faster than other PCI based cards. On AGP cards, they are pretty much identical.
Q: Are there any visual enhancements implemented with Glide that aren't in the Direct3D version?
A: There are a few minute differences. The biggest difference is that the Direct3D version can run at higher resolutions and 32-bit color, depending on the card and the monitor.
Q: Will Lore III run on computers that are not 3D accelerated?
A: Lands of Lore III runs on both accelerated and non-accelerated video cards. We have paid special attention to 3D enhancements and have considered 3D from day one. Gamers have been screaming for 3D enhancements for RPGs over the past year, an d we plan on delivering. However, we realize that special effects are not what make games fun. We have focused our gameplay innovations on areas that do not require special hardware of any type. In fact, our designers design the Lore III levels on systems that simultaneously render in both hardware and software 3D. We are committed to making the non-accelerated experience as immersive & compelling as the 3D.
Q: What can you tell us about the team currently working on Lands of Lore III? Who are some of the key members of the Lore III design team, and what are their RPG backgrounds, both as players and as creators of games?
A: All of us are consumed with passion for making great games. The long hours that sometimes happen come from a love of the craft that attracts us all together. We all believe in the vision of making fun, beautiful and entertaining games.
Louis Castle is the co-founder of Westwood, the executive vice-president, and also the executive producer of Lore III. That means he's one very busy guy. He was the executive producer for Blade Runner and Monopoly. He's has had a hand in the creati ve and artistic direction of almost every Westwood product. He's also a pen and paper RPGer from way back, as well as a fan of fantasy literature.
Producer Chris Longpre is also a huge fan of computer RPGs, pen and paper RPGs, as well as CCGs. He's also skilled with a broad sword. No kidding.
Lead designer Jeff Fillhaber, who was also the lead on Lore II, is a big fan of pen and paper RPGs. His office is perhaps the coolest at Westwood with chains hanging from the ceiling and gothic art on the walls.
Q: Any idea how long it will take most players to finish?
A: As for playing time, it's hard to estimate because it depends on the skill of the player. Sixty hours is not a bad estimate.