Pillars of Eternity 2 switches genres for its latest update


A fairly vocal contingent of fans have been steadily making their preference for a pure turn-based combat mode known since before the first game was even fully funded on Kickstarter.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.quartertothree.com/fp/2019/01/22/pillars-of-eternity-2-switches-genres-for-its-latest-update/

I want to be excited about this but I have trouble believing this is the sort of change you can just toggle in after the fact and have work as well as if the game had actually been designed around playing that way. (And I don’t mean having both turn based and real time modes from the off, which in my experience has literally never served either side of the experience well, I mean being fully turn based.)


You don’t need faith, you can watch it in action and decide from there. I think they are nailing it. I mean, the games fundamental mechanics always felt like they demanded a turn-based, pen and paper environment to me anyway.

It’s in beta, so while they have worked to tune abilities and encounters, they are looking for feedback from the community. It sounds like they put a lot of work into this.


Yeah, it definitely looks like more than something they “toggled” into the game.


Well crap, now I need to buy PoE2. I’d been content to let it wait “until I finished PoE1” which was probably never actually going to happen, but what stopped me playing PoE1 was the real time with pause combat so…


Sweet, guess I’ll be aborting my current playthrough and starting again!


Woo hoooo! Kinda wish they could do it with PoE1 too but whatever, this works.


You never know. It’s clearly a lot of work, and Pillars 1 is past the point where most companies would do any further updating, but most companies wouldn’t do this kind of patch, period. I could see them feeling like it’s worth backporting if it works out well for them on 2. I’m not holding my breath, but I could see it. Unless they’ve somewhere said they definitely won’t.


Probably gonna buy PoE2 for this. I splurged a bit on the Kickstarter for the first game and ended up bouncing off of it completely, but turn-based combat pushes the sequel into buy territory for me.


You and me both! I kickstarted PoE1 and started it when it released, but then I decided to wait for patch 1.04 and never got back around to it.


I’m also pretty skeptical. Seems to me a combat system needs to be designed from the ground up to be turn-based or real time. How is Pillars of Eternity possibly going to compare to, say, Divinity Original Sin?

What comes to mind for me is Rebuild 3, the zombie survival game. You can play it with pausable continuous time, or in turn-based mode. But your characters end up wasting time in the turn-based mode that you would otherwise micromanage in continuous time. Basically, you sacrifice a ton of efficiency when you play in turn-based mode, because the game was obviously designed for continuous time.

But I’m also stuck in the rut of waiting to play Pillars 2 until I’ve finished Pillars 1. As if. It’s going to be even more unlikely that I’ll ever get through Pillars 1 if Pillars 2 turns into a solid turn-based RPG.



There are definitely some real questions about how some of the mechanics are balanced and will work. For instance, the way they balance heavy armor vs. light armor is the more protective the armor, the slower your recovery time after you perform an attack or use a skill. In turn based mode, what are they doing for this? My guess is slowing down movement speed and initiative, maybe more than that, but we just don’t know. It’s important they put this mode in beta and let people provide feedback (I started a thread for this very purpose on the official forums already).

However, there are more mechanics than not which always felt at home in a turn-based mode to me, stuff like casting time on long spells works in a cool way from the video we saw, where when you start casting a spell it’s moment when it fires off shows up in the initiative list. Crucially, all the mechanics like flanking, the status conditions you can have and inflict, weapon penetration values and what works vs. what is inefficient, all that will be a LOT more interesting when you can see it play out in turn-based mode than it ever was in real time.

I think Thursday it’s going to start off as just being a better way to play the game, and improve from there as players point out problem mechanics and encounters that need balancing/addressing. I know I will be one of those players.


I’m another one that will definitely be watching how this turns out. I have gone from not interested to having my finger on the buy button depending on feedback.


Yes, it’s obvious to everyone that just flipping a turn based switch isn’t going to work, everything would have to be re-balanced. Which they acknowledged, now we will just have to see how well they did with the first iteration.

I vastly prefer turn based (see TOEE for how to do it right) but I take what I can get. POE2 was already a pretty good game for me, as far as real time goes both it and Pathfinder Kingmaker did a better job than earlier iterations like Baldur’s Gate II and so on.


Well…I just started this game again last weekend. Only got to the first town, don;t mind starting again!


CohhCarnage was able to stream some of the turn-based mode for this earlier this morning.

This is the archive video, if you skip to 3:19:00 or just after the first battle starts.

Comments by me!

1 - You can still have the game paused and issue commands while paused. That caused some confusion as at first Cohh couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t attacking after clicking on a target. When he unpaused the game, the attack was initiated immediately. Probably going to want to re-do your auto-pause stuff, no reason to pause on combat start any longer (but I assume, still auto pause on some things like detecting a trap).

2 - Looks like you can break up your movement and action, such as move, attack, and move a little more.

3 - When his character attacked (with a bow) in melee range, she then pulled away to get distance (he should have of course, done that in a different order, but no matter). However, there was no attack of opportunity, and this game does feature them. In this case, the enemy hadn’t gone yet. Did they incorporate a D&D level of “flat footed” status for units that have not taken an action yet, maybe aren’t allowed to make attacks of opportunity (or whatever PoE calls them)?

4 - It seems super laggy. I’m not sure if that’s the stream or his PC or what, because sometimes it’s buttery smooth. Something to keep an eye on.

5 - Custom keys has been updated to include things like “End Turn” which defaults to the ENTER key but can be changed to whatever you want. Nice touch.

5b - Honestly, lots of nice little touches, from Battle Start messages when enemies engage or you come out of stealth to the very handy initiative bar.


6 - I think the auto-camera is going to be a hinderence here. It hasn’t happened yet, but the camera swaying around to follow the action is going to make ME mis-click at some point for sure. I think turning that off to have complete camera control is going to out weight the benefits of leaving it on (which is nice for exploration and non-combat).

Okay, that’s about all I can take with those lag spikes. I really hope those are on his end, because that’s terrible. Fingers crossed that’s now how the game plays tomorrow.

Slay the Spire

Those aren’t lag spikes, those are Twitch Freezes©


Good deal. They were super annoying!


Oh, thanks god there is a fast mode where animations seem to be quicker and more snappy in general. Otherwise the game would turn into a slog in turn based mode.


If this turns out to be Temple of Elemental good …. well, I’ll buy Josh Sawyer a coffee (he probably is too cool for a regular coffee) and be delighted!