Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire


That’s nonsense- few RPGs care about that stuff to this degree, other than some iterations of D&D over the years and a few older RPGs like Wizard’s Crown and Eternal Dagger. MMOs do, and I dislike them for the same reason. Action games like Diablo 3 do, and I dislike them for the same reason.

RPGs like Fallout, Planescape Torment, Dragon Age Origins, Skyrim, Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Ultima, Divinity Original Sin, Gothic, Risen, Neverwinter Nights 2, Star Wars Knights of the Republic, Vampire Bloodlines, Temple of Elemental Evil, Arcanum, The Witcher series, System Shock 2, Deus Ex, the Mass Effect series, Avernum/Exile etc. etc. etc. don’t have such complex attribute/damage types/status/combat state/effects/derivative stats/class/skill system. It’s a “crunchiness” that, imo, bogged down late 2nd Edition D&D and maybe current Pathfinder, but it’s not inherent in RPGs.

As I said earlier though, I’m happy for there to be different styles of RPGs though, and every Obsidian/Black Isle game has had no shortage of RPG depth in terms of choices/consequences and quest resolutions - if anything, other than maybe Troika, they’ve been the genre leaders in that respect.

But the stat/equipment/skill min-maxing stuff just bores me and prevents me from just taking what I want for roleplaying purposes. To take a few practical examples - figuring out what armor types for different classes to wear to balance protection/not compromise combat speed: I probably under-use heavier armor because I can’t be bothered doing multiple trial/error comparisons to examine relative effectiveness because that’s just not interesting to me. To a (much) lesser extent, same with changing weapon types.

Same with the multiple enchantment effects for items - is accuracy more important than a might bonus or dexterity bonus? No idea. I tend to just enchant with whatever effects I have reagents for as soon as I have enough to give items some effect.

Same with which resting bonus to pick based upon survival skill. If I know I’m going to encounter a bunch of creatures of a particular type, I always just pick the bonus that grants a bonus against that creature type. Is that better than picking a more general attribute bonus? No idea, as I’m not going to run through encounters multiple times and try to compare them.

I do like some of that “crunchiness” - like the tactical considerations of ensuring that each character has a weapon that can do piercing damage, and one that can do crushing damage, and one that can do slashing damage – that reminds me of old games like Wizard’s Crown, and has been part of AD&D since the beginning to some extent. But I tend to gravitate towards weapons that are effective for more than 1 type of damage, and after playing for an hour or so I tend to stop paying attention to that stuff and only switch if I notice that I’m not being effective. And even then, often getting messages of ineffectiveness can be misleading, because they related to secondary weapon effects (like shield bash) that don’t necessarily mean you’re not well equipped.

And then when you add all the combinations and permutations of enchantment damage (i.e. should I ensure I have a weapon that does Piercing damage and Fire damage, and one that does Piercing damage and Cold damage, and one that does Piercing damage and Poison damage…and the same for crushing…same for slashing…because of the respective defences that creatures have to different elemental damages…it’s just too much and I tap out, because I’d rather just get exploring and talking to NPCs and seeing new things and even listen to Durance blather).

Hopefully that explains what I mean more thoroughly than my earlier post. And again, to be clear, I am still really looking forward to this game, more than anything else coming out this year. And I’m enjoying playing through Pillars 1 now in anticipation of it, and getting much more out of it than I previously did because of my increased familiarity with the lore and setting (as it was initially a bit overwhelming). I loved reading the physical Guidebook and look forward to the next one. I just think the systems stuff is needlessly complex without making the game’s combat/development feel more tactical or interesting than the more streamlined system in Dragon Age Origins, for instance.


That is fair, and I really LOVE what you’ve been contributing to the thread in exploring those aspects - I was just getting disheartened because your conversation with John was going over my head very quickly because those particulars don’t hold my attention very well (one of the main reasons I dislike MMOs and modern action-RPGs like Diablo 3, although I loved some earlier MMOs and Diablo 1). But you’re providing a great service to people like me by sorting through that stuff and providing advice/commentary since it doesn’t sustain my interest enough to do those sort of comparisons. I still feel overwhelmed by it though!


Most of PoE1 I felt this way.

In Baldur’s Gate, if you find a magic weapon, you knew what it did. It says ‘+2’ or lets you cast a spell one a day or whatever. It’s very easy to know what it is an upgrade.

In PoE, I struggled to know what was an upgrade to what. Armour was particularly baffling.


As I understand it the difficulty modes are modular based exactly on the not/need to min max. So on PoTD you’ll need to engage your analytics brain (or use a power gamer’s guide) whereas on normal (where I’ll be playing) you can enjoy the story more.

Anyway the system looks like pillars 1, just better, so I’m hopeful.

I do get your point though, about needless complexity, but I think you’ll be able to avoid most of it.


Almost all of the mechanical observations and systems I’m looking at aren’t going to really matter to a good chunk of the folks (those that put it on Easy or Story mode), and any veterans of RPG’s such as yourself that plays this without fully knowing the game’s systems won’t have any problems as long as you don’t willfully pick things at level up you won’t use (like, don’t pick up +1 weapon set and never once swap weapon sets in battle, let alone use all three weapon sets now available to you, or don’t pick Two Handed Weapon if you only ever use a longsword and shield). Generally, the system is pretty resilient against bad choices, so one would have to really try to pull them off.

And hey, if anyone has any specific questions, now is as great a time as ever to find out, before the game drops!


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?