Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Catch-All

Favorite weapon modals thus far: axes (bleed on a dual wielder), quarterstaff (that +20 conditional defense is nice when making an absurd deflection build -- plus crush and +range), small shield (one of two riposte builds), med shield (pure love at ~ 30% outright blocking; if you stack the multiple fighter shield-oriented deflection skills that's just gravy), Arbalest (knockdown on HIT,not crit; so good once you can get enough accuracy and my new pref for alpha strike vs arquebus). Oh, and if you can offset the accuracy penalty, greatswords +30 damage is so yummy when you are using +accuracy +damage ~smite type attacks (barb + paladin).

So many builds are over the top with all the stacking, but at least I feel there is a ton of variety.
Per Bfgp, paladin/illusionists are much lower damage (outside of a spike build) but you can go crazy with their defense -- and that's still going dual wield or two-hander. If you take shield skills and modals they are a tough nut to crack on a pure tank once you stack a few illusion buffs.

ps. Everyone gets stealth in my party so I appreciate that it breaks when you actually cast, vs spell initiation.
later edit\add RE my latest obsessions: barbarian\illusionist and barbarian\cipher with dual wield blunderbusses. Arbalest as second weapon slot. I'm also about to revisit monk as nature godlike shattered pillar(monk)\druid and shatter pillar\barbarian. The nature godlike power level buffs from inspirations should work well with all the 'quick' (etc) from swift strikes. Actually, might be able to make a shattered pillar\evoker viable with the +2 gen power level while under swift strikes from nature godlike, evoker +power level for spells and those +2 power level evocation gloves on the starting island (unsure if this one would be better suited on str for spell damage vs my usual pref for monk dex).

For those farther along... How does Deadfire do with the colonialism themes by the time credits roll?

I'm a little worried that the game's idea of nuance is going to fall on the "everyone is a little bit flawed, no faction is truly evil or good" side of things instead of the more robust "colonialism and exploitation are f*cked up, systemic problems that (imperfect) people and groups must navigate, despite lacking access to the proper tools to address the situation." The former is a toothless kind of centrism which I've seen a billion times in games, while the latter could actually be compelling. Its easy to paint a bunch of people and factions as both a little wrong and a little right in equal measure and hand wave away having a point of view with which to explore a thorny subject.

Not being far along, (and frankly being wary of Obsidian given how they handled the backer debacle in the first PoE game) I can say that I'm appreciating the depth and volume of the lore they've packed into this game. To say nothing for the dizzying options they've presented with character creation and customization. I just want to steel myself for the prospect that they fumble an easy to fumble subject matter so that I can enjoy what the game is doing well instead of being nervous about another shoe dropping.

^ The early-game encountered Vallians are, perhaps, the lower hanging fruit here -- being aware of the sins of [many of our] forefathers is good, but what will a few generations from now think we were myopic about?

I need to progress further in-game, but there may be a dose of current-day introspection in regards to the RDC and how they treat the Huana. By writing the Huana and [the expansionist] nation of Rauatai as both Aumaua (fictitious, yes, but perhaps Rauatai is more 'us'??) there could be something to that by game's end. To restate, maybe -- I'm still in the throws of rerollitis.

Some background wiki stuff:
"The nation is ruled by a ranga nui from the royal city of Tâkowa. The famously cooperative and open nation started shifting towards isolationism and traditionalism in recent years. Supported by the ranga nui's son, the traditionalists coalesced into a movement called the Pahari, promoting a fundamentalist interpretation of the Tanvii ora Toha, the sacred text of the aumaua, coupled with a form of aumanuan exceptionalism. Advocating a ban on foreign presence, they are slowly gaining momentum in Rauatai society."

I am not that far along in the story but I'd have to wager that it will be a little of both.
I just don't see how they can maintain the level of personality they have started throughout the whole game.

One of the first things you can do after the starter island to lure out someone who wronged you at the beginning is start a raucous bar fight. It sounds simple but experiencing the execution of it is far more satisfying. There is tension in the quest steps. They aren't just some checklist: go here, fight; go there, talk; go here fight; return, talk; enter stage++.

^ The starting island alone acknowledges a lot of stuff for a 'tutorial' zone. For example: manually attack Clario (even though there is no reason to or direct dialogue push to) then go talk to the nearby Huana tribe. Alternatively, do the same for the Huana then talk to Clario. There are a number of instances where you can do this but the game doesn't give you a direct signpost or manual 'moral out' by just offering it via dialogue or making it seem like you were justified (or justified as the situation may be). Either way as that might land, you have to intentionally choose to be the direct aggressor and blindside someone. I can think of ~ four of these on the starting island where it reacts like that.

ps. Steal the trophy piece from the wall in the stating island bar/inn. Talk to the barkeep after and, in addition to noting his extra initial dialogue, go back in his text tree and re-ask him about the name of the inn (post theft of thing). His vocalized dialogue has a well done, subtle, shift but it was the extra, below captioning-text, describing his body language that hit hardest.

At character creation has:


Anyone followed through the option to rejoin the wheel instead of becoming an advocate of Berath? I got a few conversation trees in and then chickened out. Mostly because I didn't want to walk through the intro again :)

^Hah! yes -- a bit back,out of curiosity. Also, I believe BNice was making a subtle joke about this in an earlier post from around release time.

Intentionally unclear context: at least you get to run it at 32x
I'm beginning to feel as though I'm caught in a less tasty version of Jiro Dreams of Sushi -- or, perhaps more appropriately, am I stuck in the wheel with all these alts?

There was a fun scene later on in the game I found where I had the chance to call th bluff of a god...he killed the party, game over reload...was glorious.

^ I am now, officially, disappointed that I (most likely??) will not be offered the chance to fumble a decision as to which cup has the iocane powder in it.

So who has beaten the game and can talk about whether the ending is satisfying or not? I’m not looking for specifics, only want to confirm if some of the complaints about a messy, incoherent ending are true or not.

Probably different opinions on that. But for me, yeah, it was an incoherent ending. Not necessarily a bad ending, just seemed silly, because it felt like a missing piece of story information invalidated everything that was happening, and your role in it. It is a small thing, but it immediately soured me on the main story.
One of the main developers has addressed the primary issue - basically saying that story stuff was cut because they wanted to shorten down the 'bad guys' monologue and in hindsight it was a bad decision, because while the cut stuff seemed insignificant to them, it was probably just because they knew what the cut story was already. And that they would try to expand on it either in the DLC or simply by adding some of the cut text back into the main game.

Other than the main story I also had some issues with how the faction stuff is handled toward the end - though I have only seen the full ending of one faction, so can't say how the others are. But after they handled the factions much better than in PoE for most of the game, I was a bit disappointed by the way it seems like they tie it all up in the end. Especially because for most of the game, the faction story and quests are much stronger than the main story.

Silly question - can you do all faction quests in a single playthrough or is it like FO4 where you can't access other faction quests once you go down a certain path?



There is a point where you have to choose.

^ I will be keeping an eye on how this lane of discourse develops as I, running on the coattails of Bfgp's inquiry, will want to know when to invoke Power Word Save.

Recreational Villain wrote:

^ I will be keeping an eye on how this lane of discourse develops as I, running on the coattails of Bfgp's inquiry, will want to know when to invoke Power Word Save.

I do that every time I'm scouting an open area!

So, re the Neketaka-Berath catacombs, I couldn't resist finding out what that sword was for so I came up with a strategy to kill the boss for his loot:


Actually, you can trivialize many set encounters with this strategy. I pulled it off at at level 6. What you do is park your party offscreen (as far away as possible in a tactically suitable bottleneck), give your "puller" all the +stride equipment and passives, then force attack the boss at maximum range. Run away to your party's position and the boss will follow you, but the adds which spawn on the puller drawing aggro will not immediately follow you so long as you run away fast and far enough...this lets you 5 v 1 the boss, then sneak up and take the other mobs at your own leisure as they don't necessarily aggro at the same time. The quest item is for a quest called A Dance with Death (from the wiki info, I believe it rewards you with a legendary estoc, Engoliero do Espirs, plus I think you get a free Galleon).

In the Neketaka underground city boss fight against the giant centipede, this also works (although that thing does use high damage AOE ranged attacks) but in reverse - you pull all the adds, kill them, heal up, then go back to fight the boss. You can even break up trash mob encounters with enough speed, subject to having a big enough (and safe) map to run around.

Holy crap the visit with the gods in the open ocean after the newb isle and the talks with your companions below deck are fantastic!
And this is coming from someone who outright refused to use the preset companions in PoE 1.
I just could not stop playing. I also tried a completely different solution to the fort. I figure I am about 3/4 of the way through that plot line. ( I have yet to find any info on the Cipher companion's friend)

My illusionist/shatter MC is outstanding! It is really funny because I take the first hit and then all of my defenses kick in so I rarely take any more damage. If I wasn't so lazy, I'd cast mirror image before my auto-mirror image and not even take the first hit. I am dual wielding hatchets for the +deflection from melee. And I could be wearing heaver armor or a shield so that first hit doesn't hurt as much but, meh.

I'm starting to get the hang of the Mind Stalker. If something is at my level I can sneak up on it, hit it for tons of damage, turn invisible and then hit it again with that buff that adds focus to damage. If I have some focus lying around from a previous encounter the main tends to just one shot everything before combat even really gets started.

If anyone makes one of these or specs the sidekick that can go Cipher/Rogue, make you sure you get the smoke bomb power. By the time you get it you'll have 4 guile, which means you can start an encounter from stealth, hit for tons, and go into stealth and get that sneak attack damage two additional times. Its also useful to snag some Cipher offensive spells for creatures that are resistant to weapons, and the early power that makes all enemies in an area flanked is occasionally worth sacrificing the damage to the nuke attack.

^ Hey Mikey, I think he likes it! ^

I am definitely enjoying it. I'm still concerned on its political perspective, but I have lots of love for the systems and sheer volume of gameplay ideas they've thrown into Deadfire. Even though I tend towards preferring turn based over RTwP, I can appreciate the full-throated embrace of crunchy systems and willingness to just toss players into it with minimal hand holding and trust them to be there. The volume of options and builds and customization is quite commendable, as is the reactive nature of the story. Its messy for sure - sometimes I have back-to-back-to-back deep conversations in the middle of an ancient evil ruin while cautiously approaching a giant slug monster - and my companions are all really eager to talk about sex in a way that doesn't feel all too natural. And sure, some of the systems aren't as engaging or intuitive as others. But there's enough that does work here that I don't regret any of my time. And even though I'm expecting the politics of the game to veer into toothless centrism, I'm still enjoying the game side of things and they are getting some of the representation right. Its refreshing to have a game where most of the characters are POC and many of the leaders are women.

My ideal Pillars of Eternity 2 would marry all of this strategic heft, lose about 25% of its messiness (but keep most of it), and have a narrative that has something to say about colonization and didn't feel compelled to take a journalistic neutrality with its factions. I thinks there's a way to humanize some individuals who exploit and profit from existing power structures while also acknowledging the damage of those kinds of power structures. The thing that makes colonialization complex isn't all sides "having a point" or being "sympathetic" but in the way that it thrusts a whole bunch of people into an exploitative system that no one person can truly upend. I'm reminded of a book I read way back in high school - Fools Crow by James Welsh. The book is a about a young Blackfoot coming of age right after the civil war. There is a faction of his people that want to assimilate into European culture and a faction that want to fight against it at all costs. Within each of those factions is an array of opinions. Some of the assimilators are eager to do it, most don't want to do it at all but feel powerless to stop it and feel like they are making a pragmatic choice. Those who want to fight it are filled with both pacifist resistors and warmongers who want to go out in a blaze of glory. If my memory serves there are European characters who mean well, and plenty that don't. All of it culminates in the Marias Massacre. What I remember about it is that it definitely has a perspective on colonialism while still retaining a complexity of factions and individuals. I'd be much more interested in that than four factions that are a little good and little bad with the narrative going out of its way to spread the mud evenly. And who knows, I'm still young in my time in this game and maybe it gets there more in the middle / late game.

Smoke bomb is a must for everything /assassin. Heck, if you multiclass him, grab it on Eder to prevent a knockout in a pinch situation.

Btw if you have a nice Greatsword you can activate the modal (+30% damage) and backstab for nice spike damage.

The deleterious motion spell is absurd when stacking stride. My MC can cross a full screen in around two seconds, making it really easy to flank/backstab priority targets. It also gives +5 dexterity so pair it with fast weapons (dagger/flail/stiletto/rapier) and watch the hits add up. To make it even more absurd, there's a unique light armour in the Neketaka Berath catacombs which has 0 recovery yet provides 7 armour rating.

I was looking at some of the YouTube builds. Cipher/Rogue looks crazy good (disintegrate for stupendous damage, large AOE charm and massive DPS on lash/sneak attacks, as do Monk multiclass.

Well, after finishing Battletech's campaign last night (great game with some really infuriating game design choices in it. Needs a lot of polish before I go back to it again) I've finally settled down with this tonight.

I imported my PoE save but couldn't settle on a character build at all. My Moon Godlike Merchant Cipher from PoE was a lot of fun to play but I really wanted to try something different. So after a lot of umming and ahhing, I eventually decided to role play a bit.

The events at the start (these are in the various reveal trailers so I don't consider the below to be spoiler territory) of Deadfire have burned both the Godlike from my Watcher, and his Cipher abilities. So I've "reverted" him back to his racial starting point of coastal Aumaua, and spec'd him up as a streetfighting rogue duelist - which I feel best fits his Merchant upbringing. I've dressed him up as a pirate too for now as that also feels like a good fit moving forward!

So far so good, the graphical quality is streets ahead of PoE1, the battles are fine and feel a little easier to control. I can't say I'm sad to see the back of the endurance & health mechanic either. Looking forward to progressing the game, just off to explore the rest of the Island where you start.

@ Bfgp

The stride stacking is AMAZING. I was messing around with this on my shattered pillar (monk)\X MCs and it's such absurd fun. I'm a big fan of the greatsword and, at this stage of trying MCs out, my #1 indecision is trying to find a combo worth giving up x\priest of Berath; It fits so well on RP intersection, as if my main reshaped their re-wheeled soul to take up their new 'job', plus the way it (the Berath greatsword spell levels up accuracy\etc and provides massive corrode damage -- like +50%) means it gets downright insane with your+30% aforementioned modal on a character with a spike damage abilities such a fighter (later on), barb (early-ish) and lesser extent paladin (from the getgo, but just +25% fire damage). PoB\assassin is mighty tempting as fun + competent dmg dealer + RP fit...

ps. Good to see Sorbicol and Harpo on the PoE2 RP train.

As aside and per Harpo's one remark, I'd love this as TB but the slowest and next to slowest combat slider setting in the UI makes everything very manageable along with per use spells and being able to retarget mid-cast -- so many little QoL features and they did great with the click-for-info highlighting. 'oh hey what does this (Merla) mean, click, "Valian expletive".

Shattered Pillar / any wizard subclass buffing accuracy/attack speed = basically a teleporting WMD; build your wounds with super fast hits, send your targets flying away (towards your people, as the case may be). Now, it was shocking to me, but Xoti (yes, Xoti) was ranked SECOND in DPS in my roster, and she spends most of her time healing! Speaking of which, putting her priest AI on is amazing.

Once I clear more of the story, my plan is to make new adventurers at the same time and benchmark performance. My gut tells me anything barbarian/cipher/rogue/monk will pull ahead.

See, despite the imbalances, this game makes so many zany combinations viable; even BG2 you had to stick within certain guidelines or end up with an ineffective character.

^ 'B/C/Ro/M' distills it down nicely. Any of those combo'd with each other is good fun. Poor rangers not getting much love -- from myself included. Hmm, let's give that a thought...
Note to self, new experiment for tonight:

Driving flight (range attacks 'bounce' once; may be limited to straight line?) + dual wield blunderbusses (5 pellets per weapon IIRC) + Monk OR barbarian + any ability that is a 'full' (both hands) instant attack. Driving flight being the real kicker here when coupled with the below.

The combat log indicates that each of those pellets hit or miss individually. Though they are low damage, I believe each can CRIT individually.

Browsing the skill trees, monk has a skill where a crit, if using upgraded-to swift flurry, gives a 33% chance for another instant strike.. So, when shooting into a dense hoarde during flurry of blows, if one of the 10 per hand (5 base x2) crits then that should, presumably, count. Unsure if that would be 'primary' vs 'full' in and of itself on the free attack. If a full attack, that's insane but not bad, either way, when playing the numbers for this cycle to snowball. Naturally, shooting at one bigbad is only half as good given nothing will hit on the penetration\bounce effect from driving flight.

Alternatively, on a barb lots of 'carnage' especially if you are using the blunderbuss aoe modal(?) I wonder how that actually plays out with the above. Even better, when you add in crushing blow (upgraded from barbaric blow; base effects + 'If the barbarian kills the target, their recovery is instantly refreshed') + the passive ability 'blood thirst' ('after killing an enemy, the barbarian's recovery bar is immediately refreshed'). Critters should drop somewhere in that frenzy duration after you click crushing blow. Monk would be the first run as that seems a sure bet, but I'd love to see how all this would play out on a ranger\barb too. I'm legitimately unsure WTF happens if you have the blunderbuss modal on during all of this nonsense and how that will interact with carnage. In theory you're stacking a bunch of little aoe carnage effects, one per each pellet, and since the strike itself becomes aoe-like with the modal on...

Don't forget rangers get a passive (gunslinger?) that reduces recovery time for guns and crossbows.
Driving flight seems more of a pierce than a bounce.

There are a whole host of nice ranged bonuses and attacks in ranger. (evasive shot anyone?)

The first large update for Deadfire will be launching in early June - Patch 1.1. This update contains hundreds of fixes and refinements based upon our internal testing and all the great feedback we have been getting.
Included in Patch 1.1 is a complete overhaul of Veteran and Path of the Damned difficulties. You'll find more enemies per encounter and with new level scaling adjustments the game should be much more challenging. Let us know what you think on the forums - this will be an ongoing process based on community feedback. Secondly, for players who want to play the game for a second (or third!) time, we are adding an option to skip the introduction and jump straight into the second scene. This option will be available on the new game screen and will not require any Berath's Blessings points to activate. Lastly, the team is also adding new cosmetic options for player customization with the ability to change character appearance at any time.

Those changes sound great.

It's probably too much to ask but I wish they had an portrait creator like in Divinity: Original Sin 2. There aren't many portraits to choose from and it'd be nice if the game would generate a portrait and conversation portrait in their respective styles based on your 3D character model.

I end up making my characters look like their portraits so there isn't a weird disconnect.

Or like the one in Battletech. There was another game that used the 3D game model to make a portrait.

I have to admit I am in love with the default Pale Elf. I have made probably a grand total of 2 characters that were not the female Pale Elf. On the other hand, I have probably made 15 female Pale Elf alts.

fangblackbone wrote:

Or like the one in Battletech. There was another game that used the 3D game model to make a portrait.

I have to admit I am in love with the default Pale Elf. I have made probably a grand total of 2 characters that were not the female Pale Elf. On the other hand, I have probably made 15 female Pale Elf alts.

My first and current playthrough MC is Pale Elf. You are not alone!

Now, having read the Obsidian forums, I'm wondering if I know how to play this game. People were clearing POTD solo and I'm finding red 3 skull fights on Veteran a challenge.