Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire


PoE 1 had some rather fiddly systems, but I felt like most people could wrap their heads around what deflect did, for example, or that a larger shield was going to make your character survive longer but deal less damage, which had some value in the resting system.

Where I had a complaint was that the actual Armor itself was sooooo fiddly. With like a basic armor rating, and then how good it was vs Blunt/Pierce/Slash/Corrode/Ice/Whatever else.

It’s true that if you were playing on Normal difficulty you could make it through ok just kind of putting on whatever seemed appropriate for the character, and be just fine. But god help you if you were interested in playing Path of the Damned and you didn’t really love memorizing all the damage types of every enemy and matching up your front line in appropriate gear before almost every battle.

I feel like the battle difficulty could have come more from overall strategy and less from inventory management and memorizing damage types vs armor types. And of course a fair bit of the difficulty did come the overall strategy and your skill management. But I could have done with a lot less of the nitpicky armor stuff. Hey, that’s just me. If there is less of that element in PoE2 that would be great.


I think you nailed it.

In D&D, meeting enemies that are particularly resistant to damage is a rare occurrence. “Oh my goodness, we have to switch to blunt weapons to beat these skeletons!”

In Pillars of Eternity, not only does this happen every fight, the armour system means enemies do less damage versus certain armour types too. It’s no wonder this became exhausting and confusing after a while.


@desslock, that’s a really well reasoned argument summarizing your feelings about the ‘fiddliness’ of a lot of the systems in POE/POE2. I almost felt like it was reading a column in CGW again!

The recent discussions have clarified (in my mind at least) that this level of detail, while interesting and possibly very useful, isn’t critical for playing or enjoying the game. It seems like (and I’m hoping) the depth and complexity here it a feature for the min/maxing crowd. I am only a theoretical min/maxer. I will typically start the game and say “let me just try it and see how it goes, and then I will create a killer party later.” Typically I never get back to the second time (although Divinity OS 2 was an exception to that rule).

Still can’t wait for the game to come out.


It helps that anyone in PoE2 can use any weapon now, there isn’t any real reason to not stick a nice War Hammer in your Sabre fighter’s second weapon slot now. And a simple mouse over tells you the armor values of enemies in their info card, as well as giving you the odds of hitting the target right over their head in a tool tip. The sequel really makes this system super transparent.

For example, this character took one swing at this enemy and the info card went from this…


To this after making an attack with a War Hammer:


With your current accuracy given the weapon/effects you have on you, your chance to hit this target with an attack vs. Deflection is 53% chance to hit (so roll a 10 or more on d20, so to speak). You have a 100% chance with your current damage type/penetration value (crush) to deal full damage, with your penetration being 3 higher than the targets Crush armor.

Conversely, if you are thinking of casting Chill fog and all the enemies show this:

Think twice. You have only 10% of a chance to overcome their Fortitude stat with your current accuracy, and you are 6.5 points of penetration behind their Cold armor value (so you’ll do 25% damage even if you do hit).

To me this makes all the difference in the world, and is super easy to follow/understand.

And if you want to target multiple foes with your Chill Fog, you can get something like this:

Penetration on Chill Fog is a bit low, but you’ll hurt everyone with a fair chance of doing so. And the previous “all red, no chance in hell” was against my own Paladin/Fighter tank, so what that tells me is “don’t worry about catching her in the range of Chill Fog, she won’t mind” :)


Despite my criticisms of the armor system (in at least the first one, haven’t tried 2 yet), it is worth pointing out that it was really only incredibly overwhelming to me on the hardest difficulty. I still found the base game to be fun, and I’m sure this one will be too.

I’ve got no qualms with going into some volcanic caverns and thinking, “It seems sensible that I should equip all my party’s Fire Resist gear”, because I’d do that anyways. Or even something slightly more vague like “Well the town’s people told me a Giant was ravaging the countryside, and it seems pretty likely he has a lot of crushing/bludgeoning damage, let’s see what we’ve got that might help”.

It’s when you get into the realm of coming up against 6 humanoid opponents equipped variously with swords, spears, and maces, and some of your various armors might cause the amount of damage you take from each type by 10 or more points per swing. So now you’ve got to figure out the best way to assign your armor (from a rather large inventory that isn’t necessarily intuitive about being sortable by “anti-piercing”, so I had to memorize. And the next battle will be a whole new combination of damage types, and there are an awful lot of battles.

I realize this is “part of the difficulty”, but I’ve never played any other RPG where I felt so compelled to micro-manage my party’s gear so intensely and so often, so I just ended up beating the thing on Normal and calling it a day.


There is definitely a reason I never even consider playing on PotD and your post nails it. Just doesn’t seem fun to me, either. Veteran is my sweet spot, but I like to play on Classic mode when I don’t want to be challenged but just have fun feeling like the hero.


Most of the games you have cited absolutely cared about min/maxing “to this degree”. It’s just that they had mechanically different (and typically “less intensive”) systems. That means the caring looks different. But it doesn’t necessarily mean they cared less. If you wanted to play a smooth talker in Fallout you still catered to that with progression choices, you know? Also DA:O contains the least thematic and therefor most min/maxy single mechanic ever (the “spend a precious skill point to get the AI stuff lulz!”, what fucking garbage).

Pillars’ system is very weird, and it’s certainly far from my favorite. It’s my least favorite BIS/Troika/Obsidian system that wasn’t D&D. I do like it better than all of Bioware’s post D&D systems, but that’s a low bar. I think the move scale abilities on power level will actually alleviate some of the weirdness. But we’ll see I guess? I would prefer something that’s more, hmmm, OSR (or 0e/1e D&D if you prefer) certainly. Never 2e. Although I wonder if you ever got a good look at 3.5e; it put the 2e to shame.

Pathfinder was never worse than 3.5e. But like 3.5e, it went sort of crazy with all the expansion books. They don’t add crunchiness per se. Just pure cheese.


But did they add as much cheese as The Complete Book of Elves?

Anyone? Bladedancers?


It’s more stuff like “I have a device on my arm that contains a spring loaded wand. It does not preclude bracers/gloves/etc. It allows me o instantly equip and wuse this wand and bypass the action economy entirely”. Or a shirt that can store a potion use, which allows the same thing. Or cheap consumable items that cover every possible magic weapon defense so bypassing that stuff is easier (in fairness, they sort of had to add these because you couldn’t guarantee a caster with t he appropriate abilities would show up for tournament play).

Allthough after the first four player’s guides (PHB, APG, Ultimate Magic, Ultimate Might) the classes did start getting a lot worse. Touch attack based classes, e.g. In those four books, the Magus is the cheesiest dude there is.


What if you had an army of ghost bears and dual wielding gunnery pistol Rangers?

(I’m going to miss the beta when it’s gone… :P)


No, not even close - look at the tangible examples I gave (and those of Mister Mourning and Fifth Fret). It’s funny that you mention Fallout since it’s one of the games that most supports misfit, non-optimal characters. Classless development systems in general are more flexible to play styles.

On the other stuff in your post, I agree: despite my issues, I don’t hate POI’s systems compared to those used by other RPGs - and in some ways I respect them a lot more than many of the lazy system designs we get - they just emphasize analysis and considerations that I don’t find interesting so they’re busywork. I definitely agree with your comments on D&D 3.5e - my comments on Pathfinder was really intended to include that in the same category.


I honestly think you’ve let the conversation here give you the wrong impression. Character creation takes about all of five or so minutes. If you want to keep it simple, don’t multi-class, pick whatever appeals to you, spend your stat points, pick your race and background, fiddle with the limited cosmetic options, give the toon a name, and you’re done. After that it’s standard inventory and party mgmt, lots of exploration and dialogue, and leveling up requires glancing over a fairly simple skill page and tweaking your class in whatever direction you desire.


I had a lot of fun with this build, which was requested on youtube comments (truth be told I’m getting too many requests to reasonably fulfill at this point) but I did want to put this together quick because I really like both Paladin’s and Wizards.


So what would the best combo be to recreate the legendary kensai/mage dual class from Baldurs Gate 2?


I’ll watch it when I get home but I have to ask, does it wreck enemies?


Spoilers - it does indeed. :) Pretty damned effective. And a ton of fun, to boot.


That’s a great question. My first instinct is you would want a Fighter (Devoted) to pick your weapon type with, but there aren’t any Katana type weapons in Pillars. I’d recommend Sabre, the highest damage weapon for one handed weapons. Then you put nothing in your offhand for that sweet, sweet +12 accuracy bonus (one handed, empty offhand). Plus, an empty off hand thematically makes sense as part wizard (even if it isn’t actually required).

For Mage, you pick buffs (like I did in the Arcane Knight video) and utility spells with some nice damage options such as Shocking Touch to round things out (shocking touch, iirc, will make your next melee attack shocking touch-enhanced, so your next Sabre strike in this case).

Just theory crafting, there may be other ways to go. Probably there are better ways to build it, but that’s where I’d start.


Hey thanks! I take it there is no time stop equivalent? Slow would probably be pretty good though I would guess.


Slow would be a good substitute for the early level, but we don’t really know what’s coming in later levels because the beta tops out at power level (“tier”) 5 though the full version will go up to power level 9, so who knows.


For all the builds you have tried out Scott, what was your favorite? Which build are you going to start with on release?