Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Catch-All

Difficulty is really starting to fall apart. Had a same lvl ship combat, with 2 enemies +2 lvls above me, and they completely melted. About 7 enemies around Eder, trying to hurt him, and they just couldn't. Then they took a single empowered fireball to their collective faces. Eder didn't mind that one either. A bit of a shame.

The monk class that gets wounds from dealing damage, combined with Street fighter rogue (shadow dancer) is turning into a powerhouse.

Wayfarer wrote:

2) Grimoire's work totally differently from POE1. The spells you pick up during level up are always available, and whatever spells are in your Grimoire are also available (if you have the appropriate spell tier unlocked). Grimoire's are now static, you cannot modify them as in POE1, so they actually mean something this time.

Woah, holdup. Does this mean if a Wizard picked spell A, B and C through leveling, but has a Grimoire with spell D, E, F, G, that the Wizard can cast spells A, B, C, D, E ,F and G?

^Yup, and I know this part has been stated to death, but it's also per encounter now from the getgo instead of per rest. Limited casts per encounter mind you, but much better than PoE1 for early wizards. Plus those empowered casts... yikes.
Of separate note, I had a lvl 4 or 5? (staring island still before getting [you-know-who wizard]) build last night that was listing ~120 base deflection before conditional deflections (one actively cast buff required stacked on an auto-triggered contingency ability). Classic AND veteran both seem easier than PoE for sure. Love the game but wondering if they went a bit too far.

I know there was some measure of lukewarm reception to PoE1 combat when it first released (they did a lot, later on, to enhance it) but I wonder if part of that was folks expecting BG and didn't give the other layers a chance. I never thought I'd say this, but I sort of miss the dual damage plus stamina system that PoE1 had going. Extra layer of challenge and something to monitor as combat played out.

edit\later add: the top portion works out for melee\wizard hybrids as the (likely) smaller handful of go-to core spells you desire may be available via a grimoire which means you can dump the points into your other class. Currently, only the lvl 1 spell on my paladin\illusionist is a skill burn -- the remainder comes strictly from my current grimoire.

Everywhere I read, people complain that casters have become too weak. But my wizard companion is certainly my number one dmg dealer, by an ever-increasing margin. Despite not handholding him at all. To be fair, that is also the only thing he can do, so it would be bad if he was not high dmg.
I'm disappointed by the ranger/rogue companion on the other hand. She can't keep up with my monk/ciphers or wizards dmg at all.

I think I preferred the stamina/health system. Healing is incredibly strong without it. You dont have the feeling of carrying each previous battle with you into the next one.
Of course with unlimited resting, both systems would risk becoming meaningless anyway. I can see Obsidian adding limitations to resting on the higher difficulties in a patch.

Also it feels like while some systems has changed, others were not changed to accommodate them, making it a bit of a weird mix.
Like in PoE the dmg bonuses you could get were often fairly small. Like 10-20% dmg increases. But due to the armor system, those small bonuses could get pretty big.
For example, if you dealt 20 dmg, and the enemy had 15 armor, the enemy received 5 dmg. If you dealt 20% more dmg it was instead 24-15= 9 dmg. So 80% dmg increase. Small dmg bonuses gave a lot more dmg in those cases where it mattered - when you were dealing low dmg to begin with.
In Deadfire the armor system is completely redone, and dmg can only be reduced by either 25%, 50%, or 75%.
20% increased dmg is now 20% increase no matter what.
But the increases you get from each talent are still really small, often even smaller than in PoE. I guess they had to be careful with the numbers after removing stat stacking, and adding dual classes, but it would be nice if each lvl makes you feel like you can pick a significant active or passive talent.
Likewise this would seem to weaken 2handed weapons, with nothing to compensate.

The new armor system is interesting on its own though. Against hard hitting enemies armor was a bit useless in PoE. 75% dmg reduction is surely more intriguing (though I dont know if you can realistically reach that in PotD. Armor might be more important than defense now at least.

Hopefully some balance patches can make things better overall. Talents like 10% increased dmg on an empowered attack seems incomprehensively bad.

Another issue I have - for the classes that use a non-replenishable resource, there isnt much point in picking a lot of different abilities. You still have the same limited amount of abilities per encounter. Likewise for the casters where each spell tier is limited. You are mostly better off picking 1-2 skill from each tier.
Might have been nice if each active talent you picked somewhat increased the power pool on their own. Like 0.5 or 1 extra resource for each active talent picked. And similar for spell tiers. To increase the diversity in how to spec those characters.

Recreational Villain wrote:

I never thought I'd say this, but I sort of miss the dual damage plus stamina system that PoE1 had going. Extra layer of challenge and something to monitor as combat played out.

This is no longer the case? That's disappointing. I also felt it was a good addition.

Guess I cant dislike my ranger/rogue that much after all. While she cant keep up with the others on normal or below lvl enemies (which has turned out to be most enemies), the last groups of enemies I have fought have been 1-2 lvls above me, and in those fights she has been doing much much more damage than everyone else. It is not particularly weird why, since she has the highest accuracy, by at least 10, and with buffs, probably 20+. That should turn into more crits on normal enemies, and it does, but clearly less misses >>> more crits.
Edit: Mind blown - I knew that guns do less crit dmg, but it is more severe than I had realized. Looks like they do no extra dmg on crits (unless you get increased dmg elsewhere of course). So that helps explain the above.

Also had my first fight that could be considered difficult. Took 2 tries, and was down to only my tank being alive at the end, who pretty much couldnt hit the targets. The nice fampyr who was left, decided to mind control Eder so the battle reset, and everyone else came back to life

Edit: If it is said in the help text, I have missed it, but it looks like crit attacks also adds 50% to your penetration for the attack. Which is fairly huge. Like if you dealt 100 dmg, but the enemy reduce it by 75% due to armor. Now if you instead crit and deal 125 dmg, the pure dmg increase isnt that much - 'only' 25%. But if those 50% extra penetration brings you above the armor threshold, you are suddenly looking at going from dealing 25 dmg without a crit to dealing 125 dmg with a crit...
That is an interesting synergy between accuracy and penetration at least. You totally can compensate...

As the above wall of text might indicate, I'm enjoying myself a lot more again after I have run into more challenging fights. Such as starting to read the combat log

So how is the main story and side quests compared with the first one? I’m binging 1 and just made it to Act 3, but I’m wondering if I can expect a similar experience.

I think I like the setting of the first game more. Not a huge pirate fan.
But the side quests seems better designed here. Some of them overlap with each other in ways that was attempted with the 3 factions in the city in PoE1, but much more so here - though I dont know how it all ends up - I certainly haven't reached a point where I need to pick one faction over the others. Sometimes you make a deal with one faction, only to cheat them moments later by making the opposite deal with another faction, but ending up screwing both factions over with your quest solution etc.
I hope there comes a point where there will be consequences for me backstabbing everyone. If not, that would hurt my impression of the intermingling quest-design.

I would say the quality of quests is closer to PoE1 expansion than vanilla.

Main story on the other hand is so far extremely subdued - even more so than in PoE1. It might as well not be there so far. It has the common RPG issue of "we really need to hurry or all is lost" after which you spend a few months doing side stuff. Don't know how much it picks up yet, but I'm lvl 16, and max lvl is 20, so it has to hurry up if anything is going to happen. The meat of the game seems to be the side-stuff, which I am fine with.

@ jdzappa:

PoE1 had some interesting ideas and story beats, and I bet the synopsis looked great on paper, but no comparison for me. Don't get me wrong, I scoop up every RPG Obsidian does, but PoE1 is a 6.5 in this regard and PoE2 is a 9. If you're into completely arbitrary numbers based on someone's personal preference and all.

I dig the kick-off, the callbacks are great, love the way you can create custom what-I-did interviews BEFORE you play and those integrate as extras to the the ~4-5 broad(er) choices a certain someone gives you. I find it more consistent, I feel that It responds better to my character's personality and dialogue picks, I muddled with a godlike and the game (at least early on\so far) seems to acknowledge this a LOT more, full dialogue is huge and of good quality. I like the characters in the world infinitely more; half of everyone I spoke to in POE1 felt like cardboard. I could ramble on like this for pages...

I don't particularly care about the pirate setting either, so this is all sort of in spite of that still. I keep re-rolling ~ 5-7 levels in, but in that time this feels more like a handcrafted Witcher3 vs PoE1 where I felt like someone with decent writing chops did the broad strokes and then an intern had to fill in all the 'little' (80 percent of content) moments.

edit\later add: to put the harsh numbers in context that I tossed out there, those would be strictly for how story elements grab me and not the entirety of the game. There were looong stretches of PoE1 that were just Zzzzzzz. They may have been punctuated with a good espresso shot here and there but some parts just had a long drag vs the payoff. The world in PoE2 just seems more lively and engaging and, thus far, much more frequently.

Whew, finally finished POE1. That final battle though. I have no idea how people solo these things on POTD; I scraped through with half my team knocked out. I probably won't jump into POE2 yet, as tempting as multiclassing sounds. I still need to go back and finish side quests.

Is finishing the first a requirement to jump into this one? I spent 40+ hours on that but got bored.

Not much to add to what’s been said about the story comparisons, except I personally find the setting more engaging. Not so much because of the pirates specifically but the general nautical, tropical, island culture feels more unique than the standard western european fantasy setting. Also, while the ship stuff isn’t robust, I find it compares favorably to the keep from PoE1 and as a way of getting around feels more immersive than clicking on the map. Uh, not extremely more but a bit more anyway.

Balthezor wrote:

Is finishing the first a requirement to jump into this one? I spent 40+ hours on that but got bored.

I don’t know. I think if you pay attention to the beginning of PoE2 you could get by. I think the question is what did you find boring about the first one because this game isn’t radically different.

Finally managed to play yesterday. Still on the tutorial island. Have me, Edar, Xoti, and you-know-who. Have the macguffin the governor wants and have just returned to the city.

Only minor problems so far. The game started, but at some weird resolution; I have a two-monitor setup with one in portrait and one in landscape and it came up in something that took about 1 and a half screens. Managed to get that sorted.

I also have a sabre in my inventory that no one can equip; it keeps saying "this item cannot go in that slot". /shrug

After a bit of analysis paralysis on character creation I discovered I still have my PoE I save on my computer somewhere, and it managed to import it. Good, because I barely remember what I did back then.

Voice acting is superb. I'm trying to figure out where I recognize the narrator's voice from. But I do want to know what the hell kind of accent they're trying to pull off with the island locals? I'm guessing they're trying for some kind of Caribbean accent but it doesn't quite match any I remember.

And, as someone who lives in Atlanta, Xoti's faux-southern accent is really annoying.

Edit: Narrator is Ashley Johnson; aka Ellie from The Last of Us.

tanstaafl wrote:

I also have a sabre in my inventory that no one can equip; it keeps saying "this item cannot go in that slot". /shrug

This is actually an off hand weapon. It confused me for a bit as well.

Yeah, it's weird.. iirc from the inventory screen it's held like a torch, at least when idle. Never used it in combat but dual sabres can be wicked. A touch too absurd in appearance for my tastes. Might use if the skull was on the end of a club.

@ tanstaafl: the Vailian expats all over the place? I think they're a mesh of roughly Portuguese\Spaniards that are picking up a middle Caribbean influence.

Never occurred to me to try equipping it off-handed since dual-wielding was never one of my favorite perks.

((Insert "The More You Know" rainbow here...))

In a "DERRR" headslap moment, I just realized that in the travel map view when going from district to district in a city, you can click on the list of locations within that district to go directly to that spot. Useful for when travelling to places like



where it takes some getting to once in the district.

So I realized I never got around to playing the White March expansions for PoE I. I'm kinda wondering if I should go back and play them now before diving into PoE II, but they aren't on sale at the moment.

Steam Sale is in six weeks, but I'll probably be finished with II before then. Sigh. Decisions, decisions.

FWIW, I thought White March was somewhat of an improvement on the original game. 2 changes enough stuff that it might be a little weird to go back?

I really want to play White March though. I picked it up. There's a "Royal Upgrade" bundle that includes both parts of White March and a bunch of other trivial DLC stuff for $25. Enhanced Steam tells me the cheapest that has ever gone is $15. I'm willing to pay a $10 premium to go ahead and play the expansion then get to PoE II over the next month. So... it's downloading now...

So far I've only bought three things in 2018 and all of them are DLC for games I already own. (I Kickstarted... OK, Figed PoE II so I don't count it as a 2018 purchase.) So... resolve holding?

I’ve run into a couple places where the reputation system seems to need some work.

I got the achievement for maxing out a positive relationship with a companion and I haven’t done that yet.

Also with Pallegina and Xoti...


I added Pallegina to the party and traveled to different section of the city. She made one anti-religious comment and Xoti threw down the “it’s her or me” gauntlet. I was able to calm her down and keep both in my party but her dialogue made it sound like she’d been enduring comments from Pallegina for a long time. Meanwhile, she only is -1 on her opinion of Pallegina. Maybe there’s more to come. but that sounded more like she’d maxed out on negativity toward the paladin.

Speaking of companions, one of the new ones..


Tekehu joining seemed awkwardly written to me. There didn’t seem any real hook or reason to recruit him. You’re just given the option to say “Wanna join my group?” but it feels like it’s coming out of nowhere.

There's a quest given by the Prince that explicitly sends you Tekehu's way, but seems like you pick up that one out of order.

Ugh, you guys enabled me to go hunt the cheapest deal. So I went on Fanatical (saw other Goodjers used it to buy games so I went ahead since it's 22% off)...but the order requires manual authorisation and who knows when that will happen. Bah just my luck!

Alien Love Gardener wrote:

There's a quest given by the Prince that explicitly sends you Tekehu's way, but seems like you pick up that one out of order.

Could be a symptom of my habit to go everywhere else in the city before where I’m “supposed” to go then. As it was, I had the option to ask him to join, but it seemed an odd thing for my character ask at the moment. I almost roleplayed it and didn’t but the said what the hell and went ahead and did.

I got all the companions I want for the final party build now, and didn't take too long!


Squee (me, a 2H bleak walker paladin) - I'm cruel, aggressive, and hilarious!
Eder (ftr/rog) - He likes jokes and nonsense, and tanking.
Pallegina (pal/chan) - She tanks and doesn't hate everything.
Tekehu (druid) - He likes jokes and nonsense, and spell dps!
Maia Rua (ranger) - She likes jokes and nonsense, and sniping!

Definitely a theme here
Some interesting conflict between pall/maia, and pall/teke, and pall/eder...well...pall and everyone I guess...but shared flames, burning lash chant, and all her summons are awesome, especially since I will be running the flame sword great sword on mah dude as his main weapon.

I had to toss Xoti and Serafen ASAP, was just not enjoying those characters. I still have a few of the sidekick types to find, but can't see any of theme usurping one of my current characters, especially given

but I sort of miss the dual damage plus stamina system that PoE1 had going. Extra layer of challenge and something to monitor as combat played out.

Well what it doesn't prepare you for is the brutality that is the injury system.
Take too many injuries w/o resting and your companion goes *poof*
I found that out with Xoti in some of the side rooms at the digsite.

I am curious, is perception the stat that governs trap detection? Because I don't think any of my characters has any and I have 5-6 mechanics in the party.

I made a chanter/beckoner and they are badass, especially with a bunch of rogues or rogue multiclasses in the party. Summoning 6 skeletons to instantly flank every enemy is really powerful.
The multiclass is a shieldbearer. Pair that with a spear and you have engagement coming out the wazoo for tankiness.

Yeah, perception seems to govern detection of traps and treasure.

Well, finished the game. The main story was confusing in a bad way, as in either it 'doesn't make sense', or 'it only makes sense in the heads of some Obsidian writers, and they merely forgot to explain major plot points'


So, Engwithians created the soul recycling system (SRS) apparently, and inserted the gods to feed on that cycle, sounds like the plot of a certain other recent RPG actually. Anyway, that god feeding part is fine and fits with what was known from PoE1. But them creating the whole soul recycling system, and not merely abusing an existing system, seems like a major issue. As in, how exactly did life exist before they created the SRS, if, as the game tells us, there is a finite amount of souls in the world, and all living things are going to die now! But somehow everyone did just fine before the SRS was implemented? Uh, okay.

Non story stuff:


Hard not to be a bit disappointed, despite how much of the presentation in the game is improved, and multiclasses have increased build options from an already immense complexity in the first game.
Maybe it is too early to judge the combat system itself - it felt much less interesting, but the lack of difficulty might be the reason it felt worse. And the difficulty at least is supposed to be improved at some point. Though that doesn't help much now. Probably the most disappointing thing too, since the combat and reasonably well-tuned difficulty was a main strength of the first game.
The few times the game did offer challenging combat, my enjoyment of it increased greatly. So there certainly is still hope.

Honestly, I preferred the castle in PoE1 to the ship here. The ship combat is outright annoying to click through, and then you get to the battle on the ships, which is okay, but endlessly repeated fights in the same environment is less so. At least the castle had some 'roleplaying' stuff with the visitors, vendors, sending idle companions on missions etc. The ship has some events too, but it kinda breaks apart the 6th time you stumble upon the same infected ship.

Companions were pretty good, but then I also thought they were pretty good in PoE. They are not as much in your face as in a Bioware game, or even Divinity OS2, but that is perfectly fine.
Side quests were for the most part improved, in particular the conflict between the different factions was an improvement on what they tried in the first game. And yet it too fell flat at the end. I wonder if Obsidian, like it has been the case for, as far as I know, every single game they have ever made, ran out of time toward the end and had to cut a bunch of content.

Still super interested in the character building, and there are so many combinations I want to try. Hope some patches and DLC can make it worthwhile to dive in again.

Or all of that will be explained or fleshed out in the expansion(s).
It also makes me really curious or in fact worry a little about whether they are going to raise the level cap for the expansion. And if not, what are they going to do instead?

It doesn't sound like this game is one where you finish the game well below cap. And then those levels can be earned through completing the expansion(s) campaign.