To Infinity And Beyond: Pillars Of Eternity

Pillars of Eternity [official site] is so close I can almost touch, smell and see it. I’ve already spent some time with the backer beta and spoken to lead designer Josh Sawyer about the game at great length, and now I just want to play. I’m hoping it’ll be the kind of life-consuming RPG that I can hibernate in for a couple of months. The game went gold today and Obsidian’s responses to questions in an Ask Me Anything session surfaced yesterday. There is discussion of an expansion, among other things.

The answers that Obsidian gave are all available over at Reddit and there are a few interesting points. Most eye-catching is the news that a small team are working on areas and environments for an expansion.

We are looking at doing an expansion that’s about the same size (area wise) of Tales of the Sword Coast. I won’t reveal much about it since it’s early in development, but we’ve already have a small team working on areas and environments while the rest of the team focus on shipping the game. We will announcing more things about it over the next few months.

I also like the response to a question about difficulty, and how the early game compares to Baldur’s Gate 1.

I don’t think that the early game is quite as dangerous as it is in BG1. From the beginning until you reach Gilded Vale, it’s pretty safe. However, once you start doing quests within and around Gilded Vale, you can get your face stomped pretty quickly, especially on higher difficulty levels. I’m just about finished with a Hard playthrough and even with 12th level characters and a lot of unique, upgraded gear, there are still challenging fights out there for me. On the flipside, there’s no level scaling, so when I go through an area that I’m over-leveled and over-geared for, blasting everything to bits with ease is pretty fun.

One of my favourite things about what I’ve seen of the game is how it seems to cater to the player’s choices. Obsidian are trying to make the game equally enjoyable for every class, ability, race and playstyle, and that runs through to difficulty as well. Infinity Engine veterans are advised to play on normal difficulty but there are additional perma-death options, a single-save ironman mode and fully customisable settings for feedback and tips. Don’t want to see thresholds for skill checks? You can toggle that. The same goes for unqualified conversation options, area of effect visibility and much more.

HIBERNATION TIME

41 Comments

  1. Hedgeclipper says:

    Thank goodness no level scaling, really looking forward to this one.

    • Monggerel says:

      That’s one thing I really appreciated about New Vegas too.
      You wanna run to the city? Whelp, buckle the fuck up then cause deathclaws and cazadors dont give a shit about your preferences either way. But you definitely can get through them – by knowing where to pick up explosives or stealth gear.

      Then break the bank at every casino and buy an atomic catapult fuck yeah

      I like game design like that. Reminds me of Morrowind a bit. Admittedly New Vegas doesn’t let you crash the game by making numbers go too high.

      • suibhne says:

        Regardless of my fondness for Morrowind’s gameworld, I’ve no idea how that could remind you of Morrowind, which exhibited some serious level scaling. Granted, it was more difficult than Oblivion at early levels, but it still scaled to your every move.

        • rustybroomhandle says:

          Morrowind had no level scaling, you thinking of Oblivion perhaps – ?

          • Serial Breaker says:

            There was leveling list in Morrowind already

          • Muppetizer says:

            Morrowind had a bunch of level scaling, it just wasn’t a universal truth like it has been in all of Bethesda’s post-Morrowind titles. It had a lot less leveled creatures/containers and used stricter level ranges, usually pairing them with one or two non-leveled variants, what made it so much less obvious than Oblivion was all the lists were given much more attention to make sure they were consistent with the areas and people they belonged to.

            That said, a lot of the north east would end up entirely plagued by various Daedra at levels > 45.

          • Great Cthulhu says:

            You can see it easily by firing up a new game and go looking for a Cliff Racer. They’re a plague when you level up a bit, but they’re (mostly?) absent when you just start out.

            That being said, Morrowind does feel like there is no level scaling. I wish they’d kept making ’em like that.

          • pongsifu says:

            If you go into Morrowind’s mod tools, you’ll see there was a ton of level scaling on both enemies and item drops. It just wasn’t as stupidly pronounced as Oblivion’s level scaling (which was so overdone that completing the game at level 1 was the easiest way to play).

  2. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    There is at least one expansion planned. They also hope to do a sequel, and for it to be self-sustainable obviously.

    Around 9 days left. Got my face in it, and don’t regret backing it at that level. Thinking about taking Friday off so I can play it over a long weekend.

    I also hope for Obsidian to do a second Kickstarter, a Vampire Bloodlines spiritual sequel. I think that would get a lot of backers, to be honest. Especially if this game sells well and gets them a lot of goodwill.

    • Andrew says:

      I would definitely back that from them.

      I’m actually bemused that no one has done a proper sequel to VtMB.

  3. Monggerel says:

    What are these weird sensations around where my lungs should be? I don’t… is this what genuine excitement feels like? Or just pulmonary carcinoma?
    I should quit smoking.
    but it feels so good

  4. caff says:

    I’m glad the difficulty doesn’t start like Baldur’s Gate 1. The number of times I played it and did all the candlekeep quests, then walked outside the city gates and got my face stomped within a couple of nearby areas. I still cry.

    • Silith321 says:

      I distinctly remember being killed by the first actual enemy IN Candlekeep (in some house – a robber?). My mage had like 3 hp total and… yeah. That adventure ended fast.

      I’m actually a bit afraid because I so look forward to this but I don’t have any time for an epic RPG to hibernate in right now, so, ugh. :(

      • Zekiel says:

        I just remember sitting watching me and one of the Candlekeep assassins swinging and missing at each other, round after round after round. Fun times.

        (There’s a bit in BG2 where – inexplicably – the two assassins from Candlekeep are having an argument, and when they start fighting each other they still can’t hit!)

    • Spluff says:

      Really? I don’t remember it being particularly difficult, except for that one encounter on the steps of the Friendly Arm Inn. Then it was reasonable until you hit the Nashkel Mines. Unless you walk off in the wrong direction. I do remember getting my ass handed to me by ankhegs somewhere after the Friendly Arm Inn, when I took off in the wrong direction.

      • Zekiel says:

        My experience was that there were plenty of opportunities to die. Wolves and an ogre in the second area, bandits later on… to say nothing of the blinking ankhegs, basilisks and hobgoblin elites if you wandered off the beaten path.

        Good times.

  5. Zallgrin says:

    I have been counting days for at least a month and cannot wait for this game to finally come out. Not only is it a game by Obsidian, whom I adore, but it’s also a RPG with tons of reactivity and cool choices… *sighs dreamily*

  6. amateurviking says:

    THIS AND BLOODBORNE COME OUT THE SAME WEEK.

    Granted I don’t have a PS4 and I backed this so I have no decision to make. But bloody hell. Quite a week.

    Honestly cannae wait. I have been intentionally avoiding specifics so I’m going in almost completely blind (outside of the tidbits from the backer emails). So hype.

  7. Emeraude says:

    We’re so close I can taste it.

    Been a long while since I’ve been that enthused about an upcoming game (Wasteland 2 is probably the closest in recent memory, but it didn’t reach that level).

    I mean, just re-read *this*:

    Eric Fenstermaker:

    For what I got to work on, I’m excited for the reactivity in the game. I was sitting in our narrator’s voiceover recording session a few months ago, and almost all of it was lines of epilogue, because of all the various permutations of player choices that can be made in the game. We got to the end of the session and he was only like halfway through the script. On the one hand, I’m thinking, I’m gonna get yelled at because we had (at the time) only scheduled and budgeted for one session for him. But on the other hand, I’m thinking, damn straight we need two recording sessions for this ending. That’s an RPG, son.

    And we went kind of overboard with player backgrounds and development, too. One of the big goals for the narrative was to make sure the player was able to really roleplay the character they envisioned. So we started with 17 backgrounds, but then we added several additional layers of nuance to better define that background. You’re a drifter, sure, but are you more of a swindler who gets chased from town to town or are you more of a roving psychopath? You make those choices early on in a conversation with an NPC, and then they show up in a procedurally generated biography. Then you play the game and the bio keeps getting longer with every major choice you make. By the end of the game you’ve got this entire memoir that you wrote by playing the game – a chronicle of the character you’ve been defining the whole time. And the odds are that because of all the different possible choices throughout the game, no two biographies will turn out the same.

    • ffordesoon says:

      I know, right? It’s one of those games where every time I talk about it, I sound like I’m on Wayne’s World.

      • Emeraude says:

        Well it’s done now, I’ll now forever picture you with that haircut.

  8. jasta85 says:

    I wish I could just erase this game from my memory for the next week or two so I don’t keep checking to see if the release date has been bumped up a day, even through I know it hasn’t

  9. Premium User Badge

    JiminyJickers says:

    I’m so excited!! Backed it the moment I saw the kickstarter and cannot wait.

  10. Asurmen says:

    Probably should have backed this rather than Tides.

    • Cinek says:

      I backed both and somehow I stopped caring about it since my Wasteland 2 playthrough where I just quited it after ~14 hours in utter disappointment. And sadly with each update since the original kickstarter Tides of Numenera seems to drift further and further away from Planescape: Torment. They should have done what Pillars did and advertise it as a new RPG instead of pitching to the P:T legacy.

      This on the other hand… this looks to be THE RPG of 2015 if everything goes well. I played few bits here and there and I was completely charmed by how choices affect world, combat is a challenge, the depth of characters and just how bloody beautiful this game looks like. I really hope they won’t screw it with some weird stuff in the campaign or poor QA, cause there’s just so many things “done right” in the alpha and the game lore that it might easily become GOTY 2015…. you hear me Obsidian? Don’t screw it!

      • Frank says:

        Heh, I quit Wasteland 2 after 0 hours, thanks to the update videos that convinced me it wasn’t much good.

        Nonetheless, I’m also looking forward to project eternity. Can’t wait to try it

      • trashmyego says:

        How is Tides of Numenera drifting away being the spiritual successor to Planescape? It seems spot on with its narrative focus and the reactive systems they’re putting together. It’s based around a Monte Cook designed setting, though on the sci-fi side of things, that’s truly part of the Weird.

        • karthink says:

          Cinek’s talking about the move to turn-based combat, maybe? I can’t think of any other way it has deviated from the spirit of PS:T since the kickstarter pitch. The last update had a glimpse of a dialog tree, and if that doesn’t signal a Torment game, I dunno what does.

          From what I’ve read, Tides actually appears to want to move the CRPG genre forward, albeit in a different direction from Divinity: Original Sin. The crisis system, tides and effort mechanics all look to be fresh ideas that will improve the kind of bespoke, authored reactivity (as opposed to Original Sin’s systemic reactivity) that I’m looking forward to.

          • guygodbois00 says:

            What are all these reactivities that I keep hearing about? (Genuinely interested, well, more of a puzzled really)

      • JackMultiple says:

        Hmmm… how is that Wasteland 2 never got a WIT out of RPS? I got the game as a gift and haven’t played it yet, but am still looking forward to it. Or at least, I thought I was?

        • malkav11 says:

          I can’t speak to the issues people who don’t like Wasteland 2 may have had with it. For my part, I think it’s a remarkably substantial, classic-style RPG with a lot of enjoyable touches and that’s probably a little too old-school in certain respects, like how they chose to structure character development. I have a few other design quibbles like the relatively unexciting nature of most loot caches, too. And I hear that the second (un-beta-tested) half of the game started in pretty rough shape technically, though they’ve been patching regularly.

          It’s worth keeping in mind that even though Wasteland 2 raised a lot more money than many Kickstarter projects (a few million, IIRC), that’s still practically a shoestring budget by modern standards, especially for a genre of this scope and complexity. Considering that, it’s a remarkable achievement, even if it’s not quite up there with the all-time greats. Not yet, anyway. Like I say, they keep working on it, and a bump up to Unity 5 (with accompanying visual improvements), the addition of perks (like in Wasteland’s spiritual sequel series, Fallout), and various other niceties are coming in the not too distant future.

        • -funkstar- says:

          Er, ?

          • JackMultiple says:

            Well dagnabbit, you’re right! Your question of my sanity, however, forced me to doublecheck my sanity. Just yesterday I did a search for “Wasteland 2” and that WIT did not show up. Today when I searched, it did show up.

            But guess what? Yesterday I dbl-clicked to sweep/copy a random “Wasteland 2 ” phrase on this page (notice the extra space after the “2 “) and when I pasted it into the Search box I distinctly remember saying “Hmmm, I got an extra space at the end… surely the RPS search engine won’t care”. Well guess what what? With that extra space on there, it won’t find the WIT for Wasteland 2.

            So you see, your honor, I couldn’t possibly have killed Col. Mustard in the library with the… wait a minute… who am I here?

  11. Premium User Badge

    Carra says:

    I’m still only 20 hours into Dragon Age: Inquisition. I haven’t yet started with the other kickstarter project I backed, Wasteland 2. And the Witcher 3 is on the horizon. I’m drowning in RPG’s, let’s see if any meet my new benchmark set by Divinity Original Sin.

  12. SaintAn says:

    I haven’t been following the game because I want to be surprised, but I’m really hoping it’s as deep and complex as old games like BG. It’s really depressing how shallow and simple games are these days. FFXI vs FFXIV is a great example of how dumbed down everything has gotten.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      Define complex. If it is story you are after, I believe so. It’s Obsidian, good stories and characters are one of their main strenghts.

      For combat, definitely. Apart from the previously mentioned Trials of Iron (single save, automatically wiped on death) there is Path of the Damned (more enemies, more difficult placement, all enemies get +50% to all stats), Expert Mode (lots of UI hints disabled), and if that isn’t good enough, you can try to solo it. No one at Obsidian has managed to complete the game with all those challenges enabled.

  13. Snowyflaker says:

    These are strange times, when a big, old nerd like me is about to get a whole wave of excellent RPG’s in my face. Hell, my wife told me yesterday that she had ordered Bloodborne for me so I’m, for once, kind of stumpens on where I should begin.

    Of course being a fulltime working dad kind of means that times a pretty limited commodity for me but hey, screw sleep, daddy is busy reliving his 90’s during the coming nights.

    • ffordesoon says:

      I really hope “reliving his 90’s” was meant figuratively.

      OH

      WAIT

      NO I DON’T

      TELL ME HOW TO BE IMMORTAL OLD MAN

      TELLLLLLLLLLLL MEEEEEEEEEE

  14. eljueta says:

    As a total coincidence I’m on vacations from the 26th to the 7th. THANK YOU LORD

  15. Jeremy says:

    Augggh.. too many good games right now. How am I supposed to build the perfect city in Cities: Skylines in only 9 more days :(