Co-Optimus: In an interview with the game's director, and Arrowhead Game Studios CEO, Johan Pilestedt, he mentioned that each player can choose to play and focus on whatever group of magic or spells they choose, but that players seem to be gravitating towards specific roles regardless. Why not provide these roles in the first place? Why provide players this level of freedom to choose what role they play?
Shams: The benefit of having an open system is that a healer can go offensive if the need suddenly arises. Say that the wizards are fighting a troll, and the healer is running around casting defensive shields or healing his friends. One of his friends casts water on the troll and someone else casts a cold spray freezing it in place. Suddenly the players have a short window where they all want to deal lots of damage to the immobile troll. The healer charges up a giant stone projectile and hurls it at the troll. This also allows the offensive player to quickly heal a friend near death.
Moreover the system lets the "healer" be creative in how he supports his friends. Say his friend is on fire, to help him out he can combine healing with water, taking care of 2 birds with one watery healing beam.
All in all we end up with really dynamic gameplay where people have the ability to adjust their gameplay to different and fun situations that arise.
Co-Optimus: Will the dynamic spellcasting work between co-op players, as in blending elements to cause a slightly different effect when two spells interact, e.g., a bonus to power, an added status effect, or something likewise beneficial to attacking the same enemy?
Shams: Absolutely, besides what I mentioned before players will quickly see the benefits of one player hosing down enemies with fire and having his other friends chain-lightning their foes.
Co-Optimus: With a game that's so focused on cooperative play, why allow friendly fire? Will there be an option to turn it off?
Shams: Important question. FF can be a real source of irritation in games. We've tried different solutions but honestly in the end we ended keeping it because we just got so much positive feedback. Since healing/reviving is easy in the game FF never really acts to the games detriment. It's just a natural fun way of playing. Not once during the hundreds of hours of gameplay did someone really want the option to turn it off. Accidentally blowing up your friend just results in a sheepish "sorry" followed by an immediate revive spell. We've gotten the same results when having gamers try out the game at trade shows and public game test sessions.