Dungeon Siege II (DS2) is a computer role-playing game and is the sequel to 2002's popular Dungeon Siege. It was developed by Gas Powered Games and released on August 16 2005, one year delayed from original projections.
The story begins with cinematics summarizing the Great Cataclysm, in which the Sword of Zaramoth struck the Shield of Azunai to create a world-changing magical catastrophe that ended the First Age; and one summarizing how a prince named Valdis was led by visions to find the Sword of Zaramoth and join extremely powerful mages called the Dark Wizards. The power of the Sword and that of the Dark Wizards have made Valdis the most powerful man in Aranna. Valdis's armies consist primarily of Morden, a race of brutish and surly creatures that do his bidding without question.
You are knocked out and later awake in the dryad city of Eirulan. There Amren, a friend of the warden Celia, vouches for you. As a favor to Amren, Celia releases you and sends you on an errand making a delivery to a nearby dryad outpost. Along the way you can enlist the help of Lothar, a grumpy half-giant, or Deru, an effervescent dryad.
The outpost has been taken by a small party of Morden, which you easily dispatch, and in doing so rescue Kirani, evidently a high ranking employee of Celia's. Celia then appears at the scene and, after hearing Kirani's tale, decides to send you on a more important mission. The Morden have been constructing tower forts throughout the jungle from which to launch attacks. You are tasked to destroy these, a task made easier by dry weather and the explosives the Morden have stored.
Once all the towers are destroyed, you are granted freedom and sent to priestess Taar, a compassionate dryad who likes mysteries, to get your items back. However, Taar claims that you are infected with the Plague, a weapon of Valdis's Dark Wizards that transforms its victims into maniacal beasts. You must go to an elven shrine deep in the jungle to drink from its curative waters. The shrine, and indeed most of Greilyn, is infested with Hak'u, a race of technologically primitive pygmies. You defeat the Hak'u and drink from the shrine's fountain, and collect some water in a vial for Taar to help other Plague sufferers.
Freed from prison and cured of the Plague, you decide to go home to Aman'lu. Taar offers to join the party as a guide and to deliver the vial of water to the exile colony. However, when you all reach the colony they find that the dryads have been maddened by the Plague and are attacking an old man. Once rescued, the old man goes over the Great Cataclysm in greater detail, that the artifact Valdis took from the Temple of the Coast is a piece of Azunai's Shield, and of Valdis's plan to cause a second Cataclysm. After an increasingly perilous and rainy journey, you meet Vix, a slightly daffy human commander who says that the Plague took his men. You decide to look for survivors as you make your way through the Kithraya Caverns to the coast. There are no survivors as they were overwhelmed and transformed into enemies but you do make it out to meet up once more with the old man. He reveals this time that the Plague is caused by the souls of warriors in Zaramoth's army, which were sucked into the ground when the Sword met the Shield and formed into a crystalline structure. The dark wizards deploy these crystals near their enemies, at which point the souls are released and possess anything that moves, transforming it into a highly aggressive abomination.
The portal at the beach leads to a human outpost in the desert. You are told that there is an artifact in the desert which may be able to repel Valdis's forces, so you decide to find it. Along the way you will battle the Skath, a race of hyena-men who fanatically guard Azunite sites and relics, and recover items used to find this artifact. Once you have used these you will receive a map and a mirror and then trek through the Lost Valley of the Azunites to find the artifact, which turns out to be a bowl. The spirit of an Azunite mage then appears and tells you that you are a direct descendant of Azunai and that you should take the bowl to Windstone Fortress.
Windstone Fortress is overrun with the Plague. You must help the remaining soldiers there. You will also meet Sartan, a half-giant with an ego to match his size. Once you have used the artifact and defeated the abomination in the temple courtyard, you will be free to pass to Aman'lu.
The prism brings healing rains to Aman'lu that put out the lingering magical flames. Finala forgives you for fighting in Valdis's army and offers to join you in pursuing the caravan. You find its remains some ways into the woods and learn from its wounded driver that the Vai'kesh have taken the Aegis. The Vai'kesh, or Manu Ostar as they call themselves, are elves who once used the Aegis of Death to perform powerful spells, but one spell was too powerful, went out of control, and left the survivors, if they can be called that, as undead horrors. The Vai'kesh zealously fight to keep the Aegis but you are eventually able to take it.
The old man appears once more and now tells you to rescue Princess Evangeline of the Northern Reaches from the Dark Wizards, for she leads the Resistance and probably won't last under the Dark Wizards' interrogation. You go through a portal to an icy graveyard and meet the ghost of Champion Rahvan. The Champion asks you to visit the nearby crypts to verify his brothers' deaths. When this is done he will let you into the Azunite Catacombs, where you will confront the Dark Wizards. The Wizards decide to take a break from their interrogation but one stays to keep the Princess imprisoned. You fight him and, amazingly, you win. The Princess, a woman who cares little for formalities but still strives to appear strong and respectable, is freed and tells you to reinforce Snowbrook Haven, soon to be attacked by Valdis, as the Aegis of Blindness is kept there.
The Haven is already overrun by the time you get there but a few brave soldiers and their commander continue to fight. You aid them by killing Morden at select points, but then a dragon named Talon begins to attack. You manage to defeat him using a ballista. However, just when it looks like the Haven has held out, a Plague crystal shard lands and infects the remaining soldiers and their commander You run to the treasure room, take the Aegis of Blindness, and teleport to the human city of Kalrathia.
To recover the Aegis of Life, the same artifact you helped Valdis take on Greilyn Beach, you must venture through the Mines of Kaderak, where those foul Plague crystals are unearthed, destroy the main crystal clusters, and defeat the remaining dark wizards. The Archmage does not fight you just yet but his three undermages offer powerful resistance in their last stand.
You return to Kalrathia to find that Lord Kalrathia is nearly dead, you suspect by the hand of his advisor, Kynos. The young lord tells you to go under the city to reach the Agallan giants, for only they can reforge the shield. However, before you can reach the giants you must pass their test of wits. With this done you may proceed. The Agallans will reforge the shield, this time setting Drevin's medallion into it to improve its stability, and open a portal to Valdis's stronghold, called Zaramoth's Horns.
You fight your way to the top of the fortress. Along the way you encounter the Archmage, but his magicks are no match for the power of the Agallans and their shield. Finally you face Valdis. The power of the Sword makes him invincible and it looks as if you will never win, when suddenly the old man appears. It turns out the old man is actually a Dark Wizard. He takes the Shield from you and gives it to Valdis, who strikes it with the Sword, only this time it is the sword and not the shield that shatters. The Dark Wizard reveals that he manipulated you and Valdis into bringing the Sword and Shield together so that he could recreate the world according to his own twisted design. Valdis blames you for this and flies into a rage, committing every bit of power he has left to your destruction. After a long fight you kill Valdis.
Unlike Dungeon Siege, Dungeon Siege II takes a more varied approach to its gameplay. The original game was criticized for being too automated and lacking replay value. Developer Gas Powered Games improved the old system into a more versatile one that incorporates additional elements of strategy.
Fortunately for people who liked the combat system of the previous version, the new system can be made to behave more like it. Clicking on a monster and holding the right mouse button makes the character continuously attack until the monster dies; this is similar to the attack system in Diablo II. There are also options that allow the player's characters to automatically defend themselves and/or automatically continue to attack their targets, much like in the old system.
As in the original game, multi-classing (distributing experience and skills to more than one class) is possible, but it is best to do so with caution: A character learning skills in too many different areas may find him or herself spread too thin and unable to perform any role effectively.
In the expansion pack for Dungeon Siege II, "Broken World", two new character classes have been introduced. These classes are multi-class characters: the Fist of Stone being a multi-class of Melee and Nature Magic, and the Blood Assassin being a multi-class of Ranged and Combat Magic. These new classes have been given their own specialised skill trees in addition to the others, allowing them to multiclass more easily without being at as much of a disadvantage. For example, the Fist of Stone is able to cause small earthquakes when attacking to keep up with the damage output of a pure melee character, and the Blood Assassin is able to cause targets to hemorrhage blood to keep up with the damage output of a pure ranged character (as they multi-class, they cannot upgrade their weaponry as often and would otherwise be weaker in combat).
Like the skills in the skill trees, Powers increase in potency as characters level.
Pets start off with a basic attack (and spell if applicable), gain a Power upon reaching the 3rd level of growth, and finally gain an emanation upon becoming Mature. Emanations are special pet-only auras that provide beneficial effects to friendly characters within range (such as increased mana regeneration).
Parties are limited to a maximum of two concurrent buffs. Pets' spells count towards this buff limit, but their emanations (see above) do not. Weapon enhancement spells, used by the Fist of Stone and Blood Assassin characters introduced in the expansion, also do not count towards this limit.
Each enemy may only have one debuff placed on it at a time. All negative effects count towards this limit, including curses and stuns.
If a character is hit hard enough by an enemy, or if an enemy is persistent in attacking an unconscious character, the character may eventually be killed. Once death occurs, the character can no longer be healed and must be resurrected by another character or by a special NPC in town.
If the entire party is slain, the party may choose to continue by respawning back in town without their equipment. Their equipment is left on their corpses. The party must then find a way to retrieve its fallen equipment, either by venturing back to the characters' corpses or by having them summoned to town by an NPC for a monetary charge.
For LAN and Internet play, saved games are stored on the players' own computers.
For GameSpy play, saved games and characters are stored on GameSpy's servers. The GameSpy environment limits the amount of online cheating that can take place, but as of late beta, the possibility still existed.
GameSpy characters can be downloaded from the GameSpy servers to players' computers, where they can then be used for Internet, LAN, and single-player games. The reverse is not true: GameSpy characters can only be created and leveled on the GameSpy network itself. GS network supports only original games; pirate copies are blocked due to CD-Key control. Online play may therefore also not be possible with a second-hand game.