Leveling up rewards players with experience points to increase statistics such as strength and dexterity, as one would expect. One interesting deviation from the genre formula comes by way of eliminating mana or energy points in favor of decreasing a skill's cooldown period by increasing it. The skills, called combat arts, are learned by finding specific runes. You can spend skill points to power up combat arts once you've learned them, and the runes themselves bartered with vendors, who sometimes offer new runes for those you'd like to trade.
The number of available runes, as well as the way to upgrade your combat arts, makes for a diverse experience that should add enjoyment to playing the same class multiple times.
Sacred 2's world is impressive in size and scope, with little load times and lots of enemies to hack and slash. Because this is an action-RPG, fighting is how you'll spend the majority of your time, so constant mobs of enemies running at you is certainly good for keeping you busy and entertained. Be forewarned, though: those looking for a comprehensible story in addition to frenetic gameplay might be disappointed. True, action-RPG storylines are typically fluff, and are only important to adequately explain why you're running around stabbing everything that moves and leaving a trail of empty potion bottle behind you. But the lore should be there -- and be somewhat entertaining -- for those who want it, and sadly, Sacred 2 doesn't offer much in this regard.
There may not be a lot in terms of storyline to connect the quest, but really, there doesn't have to be. You run around, you kill stuff, and you get loot. Pure, simple, and honestly fun. With hundreds of quests to undertake, you shouldn't get bored too quickly, unless hack-and-slash gameplay isn't your thing. Of course, if that's the case, why would you buy Sacred 2, or any action-RPG?
If you and your friends are the types of gamers who love to quest together, Sacred 2's multiplayer should keep your party entertained for quite awhile. Up to 16 players can adventure across LAN or Sacred 2's servers, with copious player-versus-player and player-versus-monster options to choose from.
Sacred 2 doesn't innovate, but that was never its intention. What it does do is provide a massive world that up to 16 players can traverse in an attempt to kill as many evil critters as possible, find sweet loot, and generally save the world from encroaching evil. If that's your thing, Sacred 2 will satisfy your needs.