First off, most, if not all, important pieces of info can be found at:
Foreword (Of Sorts)
You should know, up front, that despite all of its proposed promises and ideals, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a "walking contradiction" full of conflicting words and actions, pointless quests and tasks, linear and monotone storylines and more bugs than a Hilton-sized roach motel/ant farm/termite mound/bee hive complex (Intercontinental Deluxe Edition). Oh yeah, the AI's aptitude for stupidity and inanity make "watching paint dry" seem like an internationally celebrated past-time. While the theme of the game (as the multiple plain and forgettable characters take such great empty joy in reminding you) is freedom and versatility, you will discover, if you haven't already, that you, the "Fateless One", are, in fact, the most limited and confined individual in the world when it actually comes to mobility, environmental interaction, skill and ability development and, of course, plot control. Up to speed? Good. Let's get started, shall we? ... Right after you put down the economy-size bottle of tequila (with complementary nightcrawler earthworm in the center) and year's supply of sleeping pills. Suicide is never the answer. While homicide does have its own unique appeal in certain scenarios, self-destructive tendencies are "counterproductive to the cause".
Basic rule for all Action/Adventure RPGs: Curiosity doesn't always kill the cat; it also has unfathomable potential to save the kitty as well. Explore everything and everywhere you can. Ignorance is not a 'blissful' state of being in this multi-genre production; it's actually the bane of such a virtual existence. The sooner you adopt the "kid in a candy store" mindset, the faster and easier it will be for anyone to learn, practice and master this comprehensive list of dos and don'ts that help concerned parties avoid negatively game-change events and incidents (oftentimes requiring a complete reset and/or abandonment of the game at once), and even come up with their own strategies and tactics in the process.
Tips and Tricks
The most popular and preferred humanoid race/subspecies is the Dokkalfar (Dark Elf), due to their more appealing physical appearance as well as their particular predetermined skill set (1+ Persuasion, 1+ Sagecraft, 2+ Stealth). They also happen to be the dominant race among the mortal tribes/"children of dust" (derogatory Fae-conceived nickname).
In light of the current level cap being 40 (utterly ridiculous, I know), you may find it worth your time to choose a patron deity for a permanent stat bonus instead of choosing the default 1% Experience bonus for choosing none. I choose and highly recommend Belen - God of Death (1% Chance to Critical Hit; 8% Critical Damage) and Lyria - Goddess of Fate, Magic and Luck (5% Mana; 5% Mana Regen per Sec) for practical reasons. The better your chances of inflicting stronger hits in battle and more frequently you can use your active/sustained abilities, the smoother your playing experience will be. "Every little bit helps". Feel free to choose any other that seems to match your particular criteria and style.
Destinies offer you the unique ability to alter your character's player class stat bonuses on the go - even in the middle of a fight. When it comes to the Destiny Cards, the 4 most effective/useful Classes are Finesse, Sorcery, Finesse/Sorcery and Might/Finesse/Sorcery (Jack-of-All-Trades). Finesse (rogue class) offers you increased critical hit accuracy and damage as welll as ranged (mainly longbow based) damage and increased physical resistence when only partially dodging an attack - mainly of a physical nature. Levels 3 and above in Sorcery (mage class) and F/S offer you increased damage with elementally charged attacks and the impressive Blink ability which replaces your typical roll with a special crouch teleport dash (of the same general distance) that enables the Fateless One to phase through certain solid objects and barriers as well as enemies. The F/S branch is especially useful due to the added effect of Poison at level 3 Warlock Rank to actually infect the enemies you Blink through on contact combined with elemental damage and critical hit accuracy. Blinking makes avoiding or escaping an NPC's (Non-Playable Character) and enemy's line of sight much easier to do (for the purpose of evasion, assassination, pickpocketing and looting). Reaching level 3 of M/F/S gives you a contemporary skill boost of 2-3 points for extra proficiency; Level 6, Universalist, gives you the "Master of Arms" ability to make all weapon-based special moves available at the maximum level - 3.
Be sure to accept any and all missions in a given area (except perhaps for Til's Collection, if you would rather save space in your inventory for the necessary extra weapons, armor, consumables and repair kits) as a means to keep track of them and therefore eliminate the need to backtrack to a given area to scour for any one's you may have overlooked to last few times.
A free Greater Health Potion can be looted from Nanne Hanri's desk in the basement - far right, instead of having to buy one to heal the injured Ballads Squire, Iluvia, in Gorhart.
That Crude Birch Staff, Longbow and pair of Iron Daggers are your staple primary weapons for your time in Dalentarth until better quality ones are found. Be aware that most of Dalentarth is primarily occupied by boggarts, threshes (Haxhi and the Sidhe) and spiders (Cursewood) - which makes that flame-powered Birch Staff your go-to weapon of choice - along with a flaming longbow, pair of chakrams and the "Mark of Flame" Sorcery ability. Do NOT lose it unless you find/buy/forge a better one to replace it.
The chakrams are THE absolutely best weapon in the whole game. They offer short recovery time between and after strikes, high proficiency at all attack ranges, balanced offensive properties between physical and elemental damage (with infrequent/green font "Stalker" types having piercing damage as well for added use against armored enemies), full 360 attack arcs against surround hordes, great "crowd control/clearing" capability, steady fate gauge point raising and a nice defensive boomerang effect after the final hit to intercept nearby flanking foes looking for a clear shot after the 4th and final standard melee combo.
Sceptres take the title of most ineffective and costly weapon of the bunch due to their absolute and demanding reliance on your mana gauge for usage. No Mana = No Sceptre function. They are best used with mage (cloth) armor and regenerative/reductive mana gems and accessories.
The beginner's lesson of equipping the crude birch longbow as your default secondary weapon in the active first mission tutorial in Allestar Tower serves as the de-facto COA (course of action) for such a spot. The longbow is, by far, the most irreplacable weapon for offensive back-up and pre-emptive strikes. It's far more sensible to try sniping your enem(y/ies) from afar than risk a face-to-face confrontation.
Bear in mind, that 123 skill points (including bonuses for Twist of Fate cards earned from completed Main and Faction quests) is the limit - which is exactly how many it takes to completely acquire and master only one of the 3 ability categories. This is where the arbitrary totalitarianism and dictatorial control comes into play in all its trifling glory. You have no fate yet you're fated to only fully master 1 character class entirely. 41 is the most that you can evenly distribute across the 3 trees - which is exactly 4 points past the required minimum for "Universalist" rank. There are weapons, armors (individual pieces and whole sets) and accessories that can boost your skill points in a particular division - but they only enhance abilities that have already been been invested in; they don't make it possible to access new techniques, only boost pre-learned/pre/mastered ones. Feeling liberated yet? Wait, there's more.
Always have at least 1 manual save along with the autosave file to make it possible for you to see the end results of certain alternative choices (usually at the end of Faction based missions). Be warned that any lengthy time spent in the pause menu (or the in-game play, for that matter) will automatically engage the autosave feature as a failsafe upon exit of the menu. When you have progressed through the game enough to open the "Continue" feature at the top of the main menu at startup, the most recently played file will be selected. Gotta be careful, because autosave is solely determined on the current save file status - if you play from the last autosave, that is what will be the designated continue point upon replay. Manual save files make it possible to start/restart at an earlier point to prevent failed quests, bad quest endings, contracted illnesses and curses, bad conversation responses, failed Persuasion opportunities, etc.
Time in the game is 60x the speed of regular time - real-time minutes = virtual hours, real-time seconds = virtual minutes.
As long as you remain in an enemy's sight, not only will they pursue, but also you will be unable to save and "Fast Travel". For as long as your mini-map's frame is blinking red, even in the absence of supense bgm and enemy pursuit, you gotta hoof it out of harm's way (be it imminent death or the local popo popping you for a felony). In the case of committing a crime, it's best to leave the area and stay away for a full in-game 24 hours to let the heat die down completely - just like the necessary time to let merchant inventories reset and refill.
Manual saving is ideal for conversations with suspected and enchanted characters as well as boss fights and chest dispelling attempts - even House of Valor arena challenges and pickpocketing/looting attempts.
The higher the percentage in front of a particular object for looting and pickpocketing, the higher your likelihood of being caught. A simple tactic to loot a chest, desk, dresser or armoire and avoid detection by special NPCs (with names and cutscene dialogue) that don't really move at all is to approach them from the opposite direction of the container in question (turning their backs to the object so you can loot it without incident). The general distance for an NPC's rear sensitivity is limited to roughly 2 yards to 2 meters. You can roll/blink in and roll/blink out for the most effective ploy - whether they're standing still or walking away.
The crouch, crawl and roll/blink strategy for assassinations and stealthy infiltration is the exact same course of action for looting chests in an occupied space (indoors and outdoors). You need to carefully rotate the camera to note the levels of awareness of the NPCs around you - whether you are out of physical sight or not. Note: The larger the particular object you elect to hide behind, the faster you disappear from their POV (Points of View) and stay that way. Don't recklessly destroy crates and barrels if they offer a particularly good hiding spot from guards and foes alike.
When it comes to pickpocketing, you would be amazed at the prevalence of specific and random NPCs carrying rare objects on their persons (many of which you may have been specifically looking for or waiting on). Simple rule: Try pickpocketing on every available civilian to examine their personal inventory (some even have unique [purple font] weapons, armor pieces, shields and accessories on them along with up to thousands of gold coins. Be sure to invest in Stealth to increase your chances to do so succesfully. Note: 5% is the default minimum risk of getting caught by NPCs in towns and cities in looting and pickpocketing attempts. Only humanoids can be "liberated" of their possessions - bandits and local folk alike.
Lockpicking is a must in each and every town, mainly in regards to their prisons and the chests inside most of them along with inns and
The most vital/invaluable skills to develop and maintain (listed in default vertical order):
- Alchemy (level 5 and up, mainly for Fate Potions to instantly refill your Reckoning/Fate gauge for Reckoning Mode)
- Detect Hidden (for hidden items in dressers, desks, armoires, wells, logs and rock piles; enemy, hidden doors, traps radar, and chests and lorestone locations; also detects fixed dice for Travelers gambling mini-games - the only valuable you CAN'T see in your mini and local maps are items on corpses - enemy, ally and civilians)
- Dispelling (mainly for warded/spell protected chests and saving allies from enchantment during the House of Ballads faction storyline finale - best to raise it to 7-8 or higher, depending on your current level)
- Mercantile (to make your buying rates decrease and your selling rates increase - most useful for health and mana potions, experience boosters, repair kits and lockpicks; level 3 gives you a 15% re-imbursement bonus for any and all junked merchandise, level 6 raises it to 30% - no higher after that unfortunately, but at least you get to save considerable time and energy by not having to go to a merchant to cash in merchandise or blacksmithing forge to put a a particular weapon, armor piece and/or shield to good use [potentially, at best]; also used in conversation with Askel Thorin to sell Ratofer's handkerchief at a higher price during the "Ratofer's Charms" side quest - only if you select the second choice and sell each item individually instead of all together)
- Persuasion (makes it possible to lower the going price on fines for committed crimes including failed pickpocketing and looting attempts; makes it possible to receive additional supplies, gold and rare items from various characters as well as brokering better deals and drawing out confessions of guilt in certain cases)
- Stealth (to increase assassination/pickpocketing/looting opportunities with reduced difficulty; great for when you just don't feel like fighting)
Note: Detect Hidden and Dispelling are unique in their somewhat frequent usage in conversations as well as field work.
Word to the unwise: When it comes to item hoarding, note the ability to junk an item BEFORE you take it. If you cannot junk it there and then, you have three options: leave it alone for now, manually save beforehand as a precaution and then take it, or accept all nearby quests prior to taking it in order to increase your chances of finding it useful for the completion of a particular request/mission - after choosing to manually save as a precaution, all the same.
There are multiple inventory glitches that disrupt your ability to store all your necessary, hard-fought-for and difficult to find gear and equipment. This persistent anomale makes it prudent to cautiously continue or outright avoid 1 or 2 quests to avoid tedious space hogging by accessories and books that NEVER leave your inventory. Here are the primary suspects:
- During the Scholia Arcana Faction Quest storyline, your character will receive a book on the Dark Empyrean, Ciara Sydanus, the Dokkalfar Dark Mage Queen who tyranically ruled over most of the Western Continent with a mana-fused iron fist with her dark mage army as well as a letter from the Savant, Aethan Engar, who serves as your primary and original mentor for the first half to two thirds of the sub plot. Neither one will leave your inventory - by trade, junking or stashing.
- In the "Opening a Vein" side quest, should you choose leave Mayor Eswin's employ at the end of the previous "Bone Town" quest or early into the current one and join Adath Skoria's crusade against him, he will give you his family heirloom, a ring, to enter his family mine and progress the story, that you're stuck with from that point on long after it serves that brief goal. (Should you elect to continue in Mayor Eswin's employ, your final task will be to assassinate Adath - making you the bad guy in private but ring free.)
- The Deed to the Sandstone Villa in Adessa, Apotyre, Detyre bestowed on you as a gift for completing the "Under Watch" side quest stays in your possession permanently. While it's nice to have solid documentation of ownership of a special property in the xenophobic/anti-foreigner city of Adessa, it would have been much more preferable to have it as figuratively "spoken" word rather than literally "written" deed.
- The most notorious is the "Whitestone Tarnished" task that requires the gathering of 4 specific log files scattered across the Apotyre plain that document the tyrenium spill that the Motus Mining Company failed to contain and eventually quit trying to stop altogether - moving to greener pastures elsewhere. These documents can easily become permanent fixtures in your pack if the quest isn't 'officially' activated, and you can even find 2 of one or more copies of the same file. (I am the 'proud recipient' of this dubious honor.)
- For a brief time, the second pair of crude iron daggers found halfway through Allestar Tower in the opening sequence is the only retrievable chest item that cannot be discarded until you escape the tower altogether.
- In some spots - a desk or tombstone (such as a desk in the Dolve Wayle stronghold, Tala-Rane, Plains of Erathell and a grave around the Orieator's Tomb in the Northern Forsaken Plains, Erathell Plains) you will find Death Notices with no junking function. These do not have an apparent use in any quest and essentially steal space in your inventory if taken. Do NOT take them, under any circumstance. Perhaps, they were part of a scrapped side quest but, whatever the case, they're useless garbage that you can't even throw away now.
- Oswald Bynothas' Task Quest, "Life's Work", that requires you to find and collect the four sets of notes written by 4 separate scholars - Kallas, Dullstan, Wildfrod and Aedwald, requires official activation of the quest, or else, just like "Whitestone Tarnished", your previous finds will not be acknowledged by Oswald AT ALL.