Pillars of Eternity


A really interesting interview. Some choice quotes

FU: So, with Alpha Protocol, the challenge was that we weren’t even totally sure what we wanted to make until, like, way into the game - and that’s bad. You can do that with your own money; when you’re doing that with someone else’s money they’re just getting mad, they’re getting mad at you more and more and more.

There’s periods of time with our games where there’s been, like, two testers at a publisher working on it. I can’t make them do it. I can’t terminate the contract.

People have said that we should just crowdfund everything now, and I think we should crowdfund some stuff, but if we want to go and do something big we need to get that extra funding. We can’t raise $30 to $50 million.

Obsidian has been around for thirteen years now, and it would have been impossible to predict the ways the industry has changed in the time since you started. How has the reality matched up to your expectations back in 2003?
FU: I thought we would have our own engine at this point - and we tried. I thought we would have been purchased by now. I thought we wouldn’t be as big as we are.


Actually started a new group on hard --still 4 --and It has been tougher. I wonder If I found some weird synergy with that first 4? Though I wanted to play a mage …


Maybe go with your previous party, but add a 5th Mage character? Or is the idea behind 4 party members to keep the micro-management down?


Yes. I’ve been trying to run a 4 party group – the Obsidian dev diaries sorta indicate that’s one reason Tyranny is a 4 party – and I have always tried to 4 party it in old IE games. But I do get tempted into adding a 5…


I’d play with 1 guy if I could. And yes I know that it’s possible and there’s even an achievement for it but afaik it’s not possible to solo all encounters in the game. Having 6 as the party cap feels like a complete miss in this game, most indoor areas are full of chokepoints which means your melee fighters will try to walk over eachother (and fail, cause pathfinding’s pretty terrible) to get to the targets. And the game is very micro intensive, both from item management standpoint and combat control. The only reason I can think of for having 6 party member is because Baldur’s Gate did it.


Yeah, 6p party size definitely feels like a holdover. Totally agree that 4 is better.

My biggest armchair design beef is that the list of status afflictions is just way, way too long. The armchair designer in me says “two per defense type, maybe a couple meaningful interactions with other afflictions or damage types, call it good.” Pillars also suffers from charm spam (obviously) and the old D&D problem of having 15 different things that all could just be renamed “stun” and be done with it.

At least it doesn’t have the totally stupid legacy stuff like “whiff your saving throw and you’re incapacitated for the entire goddamn encounter” on seventeen different spells.

e: I should say that all the criticism comes from the standpoint of Pillars being something like a 9/10 for me and very much what I was hoping for when I Kickstarted the project.


Having spent fully 2/3 of an epic, climactic battle against a mud demon barfing my dwarven character’s guts out in revulsion at its smell (fabulously failed Con Save) just last night at a session of the Lamentations of the Flame Princess RPG, I think I’m pretty onboard with the changes they made to “save or suck” as well. . . even if last night’s particular implementation was pretty funny at the time. But there’s nothing worse than, say, getting smacked with Hold Person in Round 1 of a 2-hour Pathfinder battle and just twiddling your thumbs the whole time. . .

I mean, I get that it’s a little different in cRPGs, but yeah.


Especially on the massive randomness of a d20. Ugh, D&D pisses me off sometimes. The normalized results of something like classic Shadowrun or the White Wolf games (I have a bag full of nothing but a copious number of d10s somewhere, heh) are vastly superior IMO.

So, uh, what happened to the Flame Princess?


That’s interesting because in Tyranny they went to a 4 person party, so it seems Obsidian agrees with people here.


Given the flavor of the game system and rulebook, I suspect nothing good at all.


LOL, until recently (reading @KristiGaines post, I think) it never occurred to me to play with less than a full party. Didn’t even cross my mind. Now I want to try it!


Couldn’t agree more. My first time through the game, upon recruiting Durance or Hiravias and looking through their spellbook:


Ok I have to say – been trying to run with 4 on “hard”. It has been tough. Note the passive voice --lets try it more active --the game has kicked my ass.

I wonder what the perfect 4 is? let me tell you one of the great advantages of less then 6 – MORE control. That is a HUGE advantage over 6 --unless you micromanage everything and are OCD. Which I admit sometimes, with a hot cup of coffee in me --I can be.

But 4 – I have to travel next few days but I will be thinking of the “best” 4 – Pally/fighter/rogue/ and —"control"mage. NOT a damage mage. Well and also thinking about other stuff …

I am happy to hear any suggestions – but I’ve tried Chanters – they seem weak. The Hunter does have a pet but …


Maybe a PC priest (anyone but Durance really)?


What’s wrong with Durance? Especially now that you can respec for a trivial gold cost.

Pally/fighter might be too much defense. At the least, I’d spec one of them more offensively. Fighter can single-tank if he specs hardcore defense, but it’s probably not worth what you give up.

Maybe something more like fighter/“tanky” priest/rogue/control-mage? Priests can totally get away with wearing armor and don’t really need to spec into their support stuff to be darned good at it, so you could probably get one to off-tank when need be.

Rogues really are absurd single-target damage. Way moreso even than the Hunter. Demands a lot of micro, though, and the going is rough until you get some of their escape abilities. I’d want one in a four-person party though for sure, just to keep the damage up high enough.

Druid might actually be better than rogue in this setup. With the mage more interested in control you may run into some issues with not having enough elemental damage for things that are heavily physical-resistant, and shapeshifted druids do near-rogue damage.


I thought companion respec was only for talents, not base stats? Durance has absurdly high resolve if I remember right.


You’re right about base stats, I didn’t think of that. Eh, it’s not the end of the world.


I’m doing a party of 4 and going with the classic DnD setup of Fighter, Mage, Rogue, Cleric and so far so good. I am on Hard for now, but I’ll bump it down to Normal if I end up feeling I’ll need to. Once nice thing is the faster leveling 4 characters gets you. But after 140 hours of controlling 6 characters, 4 feels kind of easy to manage. But fun easy, not boring easy.


You know I may try the OTHER classic party setup: Pally/Fighter/Mage/Rogue. Pallies can heal quite a bit (not near as much as clerics) but …

The MAIN problem with less than 4 --especially after the latest series of patches? Durn adds squiggle around your tanks and beat your mages (etc) senseless. That was intended --apparently – but it makes it harder to play 4. I mean --to me.

Bat – yeah I think you can reset stats --well I could on my own premade characters resetting them. EDIT: No, can’t reset NPC stats you recruit --only skills, talents, and spells. Just checked! FINISH EDIT. My hunter even reset her pet! Adam I agree completely with you on the rogue – good heavens I was playing one the other day and it was la machine! (I think that’s an old blender device sold on late night tv in the 80’s). I wont roll without a rogue now. And I like the Pally auras, healing, and especially the pally (Kind Wayfarers) that can heal/buff on kills.


Paladin’s have some of the most powerful late-game buffs, too. Just incredible high-level play there.