Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire

In both cases I played the definitive versions with all DLC. There is nothing like the amazing dungeon under Cad Nua in Pillars 2 that I’m aware of as one example.

I think this is actually the part that I dislike. I don’t like the feel of getting a small bump to several things on level up (or stat increase). I prefer the feel of getting discrete (even if uneven) bonuses–I think it feels a lot better when I level up to get two level one spell slots and your first level three spell slot than +20 mana points.

I acknowledge that this results in some serious jank in low level 2e (or at least is partially responsible for it). I also acknowledge that my opinions may (and probably do!) originate from BG nostalgia (and nostalgia is a toxic impulse). But I think that the other end of the scale makes leveling up feel meaningless–I get +4% to my numbers, and then I take on monsters that are 4% tougher, and then who cares?

OTOH, the whole idea of “leveling up” in the traditional RPG sense is pretty far from reality, so who knows what’s right?

That’s subjective of course, but the first game was much more generic and much more verbose. Like walls of text everywhere.

True, PoE2 doesn’t give you a dungeon crawling experience like that. Instead, they spread a lot of encounters all over the open world. IIRC it was a concious decision, they planned for a similar dungeon but then decided they’d rather have 10 tiny dungeons.

Also I can see a big internal conflict in the game. It’s very open and freeform. For most characters it would make sense to skip a lot of fights, including big boss battles. Yet the character development and tactical combat are very deep, you could make a straightforward combat-only dungeon crawling out of them. You get dozens of artifacts with unique upgrade paths, a lot of consumables, usable items and so on. It always feels like I’m playing the game wrong if I don’t cranck the difficulty up or try to solve conflicts peacefully. I gather all the anti-dragon legendary weapons and then all the dragons I meat can be reasoned with, what gives!

I get the point about powerful levelups. And PoE does have it, doesn’t it? You get powerful perks on each levelup, and sometimes power level makes all your abilities stronger. Meanwhile traditional D&D has a problem of empty levelups. Like you don’t get attack rating improvement every level, right? And when you raise your STR from 18 to 19 you get exactly zero improvement.

Those small numbers are usually tied to equipment, not levelups and perks. And there you have a better way to evaluate numbers and abilities. Like say in D&D you very rarely have an interesting problem of what item would you use.

I wonder have you tried Divinity Original Sin 2? Those devs are making Baldur’s Gate 3 right now so it’s pretty close to what you might want. But still you get a lot of number inflation in terms of items, yet levelups are all about discreet numbers. It has very tabletop feel to its combat cause it was designed for turn-based unlike PoE2.

I agree with you that I don’t think 2e D&D is “good”, and I don’t think anyone should use it anymore. I don’t know any other tabletop systems, but I assume that they’ve improved on the situations somewhat (we can dig up one of Armando’s panegyrics for details, I’m sure).

I think what I’d really prefer is for something “exciting”–be it a key ability in a level-up or a powerful weapon–to happen somewhat rarely for each character. And then since you have a party of a couple characters, you get “something exiting” happening at a steady drip, sometimes clustered, sometimes spaced out. And I think having a lot of little numbers that creep up really subtract from the “exciting-ness” of the system, even if it does mean that you never have an empty level-up. Like in my original example, I got a ring at the beginning of the game that’s +5 will (I think, could be wrong). This means finding another ring with +6 or +7 will is kinda boring, but +10 would be nice–so I’d prefer to just divide everything by 5, and go +1 to +2 and skip the intermediates. That said, I’ve barely found any special (magical, sharpened, whatever they call it) weapons yet, so that is promising.

(And to be clear, I’m really not judging PoE 2 yet, I have barely scratched the surface. I’m just rambling.)

I haven’t! I’ll admit I was bit put off by two things–so many folks said how great it was in coop (or was that the first of the series?), and so many folks also went on about the environmental effects in combat, which for some reason is a big turn off for me. But maybe I’ll have to try it out! I’m honestly not that excited about BG3 because of it, but honestly I don’t think I’ll be able to not get BG3…

I’ve played Pathfinder Kingmaker. They say it’s a very faithful adaptation of the tabletop game. Which itself is based on D&D 3. And I have to say it sucks immeasurably. It combines incomprehensibility with those number problems. There are tons of modifiers that don’t stack except when they do. Multiclassing allows for strong combinations and basically, any guide says that any class benefits from a couple of Monk and Rogue classes. Those discrete numbers mean that basically everything is built on hard counters.

As for items in PoE2 - I don’t think you will be disappointed. Those small number differences doesn’t mean that you’ll switch your +5 deflection ring for +6 deflection ring. There are incrementally improved items but there are just 5 tiers I think (so a rapier can be normal, fine, exceptional, masterwork, legendary) and rings or helmets aren’t like that - almost all of them are unique. As in one ring might be +10 to deflection and the other might have, say, +3 deflection aura for the whole party. Same for weapons, it’s likely that most of your equipment will be some sort of named special thing. You’ll probably see small number differences there and you’ll see why it’s there.

Co-op is nice as a novelty, because it’s an experience unlike any other. But it’s still a nice RPG. There’s a lot of environmental effects but it might be not what you think. It’s hard to explain so I recommend watch some videos. Like this (timestamp) is a typical example of environmental madness.

That is because there is an even better dungeon in one of the PoE II DLCs. (The one involving the Cthulhu eye ball god and the circle of mages)

Yeah, and it’s absolutely amazing. It’s super duper end game and that’s where it should be.

Hmm, ok, now I wish I would’ve done the DLC before beating the main game, but I got to level 20 pretty quickly and was not engrossed enough in the story like I was in the original. That would be another one of my complaints in that the experience rewards were far too generous in Deadfire whereas POE1 was more of a slow burn with better pacing IMHO. It’s good to hear they put in a proper dungeon in the DLC because the small “dungeons” in the main game were terrible.

The smaller-ish locations didn’t bother me. Deadfires biggest problem was the difficulty balance or lack there-of. And long ass load times. They added up-scaling but it was hit or miss. The Outer Worlds has the same difficulty problems. I hope this doesn’t become a trend.

One of the better locations and quest associated with it seems stupidly easy to miss though. (Quest giver outside the palace before the very end of the game and the island in the bottom far right of the map that doesn’t even have a visible port to dock at!)

They’ve fixed the game difficulty. It still starts very difficult on max difficulty before becoming easier and dev said it was partly to switch player focus from theorycrafting to creating characters that play well on early levels. Then they’ve added megabosses and god challenges allowing for some difficulty tweaking. And of course there are DLCs which are all end-game content with their own optional higher difficulty enemies.

In many ways this game allows you to skip most of it combat content if you just play the story. That late game quest you mentioned is one of those dungeons so optional most people miss them.

I have a confession to make: despite building innumerable characters, and playing this game for well over 200 hours, I never finished the last two DLCs. I’m burnt out on Kingmaker, so it might be time to revisit this game, dust off one of my builds who was in the middle of the main campaign.

I confess I prefer making munchkin builds and trying them out rather than actually finishing games like PoE2 or Kingmaker. I probably have 100 hours on the starter island.

And a video playthrough of the run in question should anyone wants to binge 80 episodes of something on a whim.

I suppose I’m in the minority here, but when I see videos like that I get excited about maybe playing PoE2 again… but then I remember how terrible the NPCs are. Well, some of them.

It’s really disappointing.

It’s there a mod that lets you murder Xoti right there on the street when you first meet her? Before a single word of her shitty southern drawl even comes out?

You can ignore her and hire silent obedient puppets if that’s your thing, I reckon.

I really like the party members, myself, I like them a lot more than the Pathfinder Kingmaker party members - who were by the numbers cookie cutter while also being (with just one or two exceptions) terribly constructed.

The WotR NPC’s are a lot better done, so hopefully Owlcat learned their lesson there.

But PoE2 has memorable party interactions backed in based on who is in the party, the campaign quest lines are neat, the voice work is top notch, and you have some fun latitude in how you develop them as well.

For the record, PoE2 was the first game in my 40 years of gaming I had to find ways to turn off not one, but TWO of the voices. They were so, so bad. Xoti and the Narrator. Incredibly grating.

Not a fan of Critical Role, I take it. :) (also, The Last of Us 2! :P)

Pretty sure the base game lets you do that. It’s just that odds are you’ll struggle to win that fight since I assume the rest of the town will do something about it.