The Emperor’s Borked Clothes: Pillars of Eternity Uber-Bug

No don't steal my precious buffffffffffffffffffffffffffsssssssss

Selina Scott and Jeff Banks were right all along: dress wrong and you’re nothing. This is the lesson of Pillars of Eternity, a howler of a newly-disclosed bug in which will permanently strip your characters of buffs if you happen to use the inventory a certain way.

Obsidian are on the case as we speak, hoping to come up with a patch which will restore lost buffs as well as nuking the error in question. The ‘orrible situation occurs if you equip an inventory item by double-clicking rather than dragging over it to the relevant slot on your character’s paper doll.

Do this and the character in question will lose all permanent, passive and racial buffs forever and ever and ever, until you reload a savegame from before it happens. Trouble is, if you did this you probably didn’t know until very recently that there was a potential consequence to it, so your save games will likely be as old as I felt when I watched a Stampy Cat video.

Different folks have reported different results from this bug, including stats not being affected on the character page but apparently still seeming buffed in practice, while some have found that removing an affected party member then re-adding them to the group will cure this clothes disease. So it’s big, but it’s mostly circumnavigable, and most importantly it’s going away soon.

Wading into a forum thread of mild-to-high anxiety, Obsidian disclose that “We do have a fix for this, and I’m trying to make it retroactive, so it will fix any save games that have this problem,” so hopefully this will be a non-issue within a matter of days. In the meantime, don’t double-click. Double-click and you’re dead. Or at least a tiny bit less strong if you’re a dwarf, for instance.

By some sort of miracle, it appears I haven’t double-clicked anything as yet, so my team is safe. Then again I’ve barely played any Pillars because finding opportunity to play a 4000 hour RPG in your spare time alone turns out to be impossible in your mid-30s.


  1. Didden says:

    I read the joy of bugs when I was a lad. It had illustrations and everything.

  2. Tony M says:

    Your game can also break where stat buffs keeping stacking until the character is invincible. Check this post for a list of bugs and how to avoid them (especially number 1 and 2 on the list.
    link to

    • Cinek says:

      Better yet – everyone should see the list of game-breaking bugs: link to

    • Rymdkejsaren says:

      Well this is why I feel okay for not affording the game on release. I’ll get a more stable version later, and likely for less money! :D

      • Cinek says:

        It’s already very stable (I haven’t heard of anyone experiencing crashes) and relatively bug-free. I seen far worse releases than PoE (first Witcher would be an obvious example of just how f*** up game can be at the release).

        • BarbaricGoose says:

          “Very stable.” Hahaha. Careful, fellas, you might drown if you drink any more of that Kool-aid.

          Just because there aren’t bugs that cause CTDs doesn’t mean it’s “Stable.” There are at least five gamebreaking, easy to encounter bugs. And half the shit in stronghold doesn’t even work.

          • Derpa says:

            A lack of freezing and crashing makes the game stable.

            Game breaking bugs are not part of that……but nice try.

      • omegajimes says:

        All things considered, this is shaping up to be Obsidians most Bug Free release ever!
        That being said, I’m still going to wait a bit on it, I have too much gaming to do.

        • Lars Westergren says:

          Dungeon Siege 3 is probably their most bug free title yet. Nevertheless: yay PoE!

    • His Divine Shadow says:

      Yep, had this one. Wasn’t too bad in my case since it was on a character I planned to dismiss anyway (didn’t like his portrait, and while we are at it, I think companions in Obsidian games are starting to look a bit like a result of an equal-opportunity struggle by ugly people to be represented in games; also, the bug has increased his Int, and I hate having people in my party who are smarter than my PC). Also, primary attributes are fixable via console (unlike things like accuracy or AEO increase, sadly).

    • Jimbo says:

      Got this one. Eder is now invincible and I have no intention of trawling through old saves to find out when it started happening. I’d like to think that I’d come back to the game once they finish making it, but ofc the far more likely scenario is that I’ll move on to something else and never touch Pillars again.

  3. Lars Westergren says:

    This appears to be a bug that appeared lately, as it seems reviewers weren’t affected by it.

    I hope they are careful and test their future patches really carefully. It was just a few days ago John wrote on twitter about “It only occurs to me now how ace it is that Obsidian have released a finished RPG that isn’t riddled with bugs!” It would be really unfortunate if after such rave reviews and positive user response they get a backlash.

    I mean, with a game this size and branching story, some quest script bugs were inevitable, but these game breaking ones…not good.

    • Sakkura says:

      This is a bug you could easily miss, depending on how you just naturally interact with the game. Especially in a time-limited reviewing playthrough.
      The same goes for the other bugs present in the game, and there are a fair few. Just mostly less critical than this one (the other big one would be the thing where some buffs don’t get properly removed, so you can end up with huge permanent boosts).

      • AngoraFish says:

        I am quite certain that I wouldn’t have a clue whether it was working or not, since I’m hardly in the business of adding up buffs myself. I trust the game is doing that for me, and if I suddenly find myself being pummelled I just figure that I’ve stumbled into a higher level area than I’m specced for and come back later.

      • Zenicetus says:

        Yeah, same here. This kind of bug is very low on the list of things I’d notice in a game, because I don’t obsessively track the numbers on my party. It would be very easy to assume that it was just a severe difficulty spike that hadn’t been play-tested well enough, or a balance problem the other way with the permanent buffs/invincibility bug.

        So I can’t blame reviewers too much. It’s disappointing that it wasn’t caught in beta testing though, because that’s where I’d expect people to be tracking stats more closely.

        Anyway, I’m not too far into the game yet, just found a 4th party member. Looks like it’s time to put it aside for a bit, and see how the fixes develop.

        • Danarchist says:

          Funny, your post gave me a flashback of an old OCD roommate that would write down, on paper, all the stats of his characters, damage of their weapons, etc. I never understood why he did that. He never referenced it, but he would update the scratch paper every time he equipped a new sword or whatever in Everquest or Fallout. Guy cleaned like a machine though

  4. Sakkura says:

    But of course, if you want to break stacks of consumables you have to double-click. Just adds some hazard to the experience, especially if you’re playing trial of iron. One misclick (well, two) and you’re boned.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Apparently some people don’t understand what “trial of iron” means. Real PC gamers don’t patch their games, they just learn to avoid / exploit overflow bugs.

      Always remember to overdose on Silver Serpent venom, and be prepared for the world to be corrupted if you visit the Farlands.

    • quarpec says:

      breaking stacks doesn’t trigger this bug, only equipping non-empty gear slots does

      you can fix it easily enough by removing and re-adding companions, though that obviously doesn’t work with the mainchar

      • Sakkura says:

        I know… my point was if you tried to break a stack of whatever, but happened to double-click a piece of equipment in the adjacent inventory slot by accident, you’d run into this issue.

    • Maritz says:

      Use the other method of splitting stacks if you’re worried – left click the stack then right click into an empty inventory slot.

    • wengart says:

      I think it is double-clicking to equip items. I’ve double clicked on my cipher’s inventory to break stacks and her passives remained (Cipher is one of the few classes you will know about this instantly because it breaks soul whip).

  5. Dale Winton says:

    Ive been double clicking like it is going out of fashion and I’ve not noticed this problem

  6. Janichsan says:

    It’s an Obsidian RPG. What those be without horrible bugs initially? ;)

  7. John Walker says:

    People who double-click to add inventory items are monsters who deserve everything they get.

    • Electricleash says:

      ‘Yeah, so I used to buff myself solid then I double clicked… wait… wait… wait…! This is the start of an ‘arrow to the knee meme’ I want no part of!

    • rabbit says:

      double clicka til I die

    • Kentauroi says:

      They deserve a special place in hell, right alongside those barbarians who right-click to attack instead of the civilized method of left-clicking the the attack button and then left-clicking an enemy.

      • Cinek says:

        You can just press A. There’s a shortcut for that. Clicking the icon is what noobs do. Pros use hotkeys.

  8. Lars Westergren says:

    In happier news, March has been a record month for Paradox. Pillars has been #1 or #2 on Steam, last week, Cities: Skylines from #1 to #3 for weeks. Paradox only earns money from the boxed sales of Pillars as far as I know, but Fred Wester claims it still would have been a record for them (profit? sales?), if Cities hadn’t happened. Revenue of over $80 million from those two games combined.
    Article in Swedish:—tjanat-160-miljoner-efter-dubbla-spelsucc%C3%A9r

    It’s likely this has been hugely profitable for Obsidian too, as sales profits from Steam (-30% to Valve) go directly to them instead of to a publisher now. Over 300 000 sales the first couple of days according to the rumor mill. I’d say expansions or sequels are likely, but I’d still be happy for a Kickstarter for a (spiritual) sequel to Vampire: Bloodlines. Or anything else they want to do.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Sorry, $18 million extra revenue, not 80.

    • Sakkura says:

      They are already working on an expansion for Pillars, I’ve had it preordered for months.

      • manio22 says:

        I’ve read somewhere that they were planning of starting a new kickstarter project until end of 2014. Apparently something went wrong and got postponed or cancelled.

        • Lars Westergren says:

          It was here on RPS, interview with Feargus. Plans currently unknown, but it is a good guess that if it is still on they at least postponed it until the release of Pillars so they wouldn’t be accused of “double dipping”.

          Kickstarter is better than being a sharecropper to AAA publishers, but I’m sure most studios would like it even better if they could be completely self-funded. That way they could be exactly as commercial or independently creative as they want, and free to change scope or release date without being beholden to anyone, not even KS backers.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Not super surprising. At this rate, no AAA publisher will be capable of creating a new game that isn’t some server-dependent microtransaction-infected bullshit. All the small publishers have to do to get our money is to avoid whatever poisoned koolaid the marketing executives are persuading each other to drink this week (or in Nintendo’s case, the poisoned koolaid their shareholders are forcing them to drink), and the small publishers will soon be the new big publishers.

      • Dale Winton says:

        There are plenty aaa games with none of that. I don’t get the hate for these things if you don’t like it then simply don’t buy

        • Karomsir says:

          Three words: Area Unlocking Towers! – that is the typical poisoned koolaid you get with triple A publisher games. Show me one gamer who likes those. Like “O.o wow they got them towers you can climb, now I’ll surely buy this game because I love that feature”… I dare you!

          • Dale Winton says:

            I have never heard of that and I play aaa games all the time

          • Crafty_Banana says:

            Are those a thing we hate now? I’ve been replaying Shadow of Mordor recently and I’m kind of enjoying seeing the map open up before me.

          • Dale Winton says:

            Oh those towers like in the far cry game’s. I enjoy climbing them

          • mattlambertson says:

            Actually, I adore them. I don’t want them in every single game, but they are one of my favorite aspects of Ubi-style open world games. The climbing puzzles can be relaxing and the reward is usually worth it when you get to see a bird’s eye view of a beautiful, well-designed virtual world. What’s not to love?

          • heretic says:

            Climbing them the first few times is great, then it gets really boring.

          • fish99 says:

            I don’t mind them in Ass Creed/Far Cry, they’re fun, and nothing is actually locked behind them, but I felt a bit odd about them showing up in Dying Light. Then again Dying Light seems to have quite a lot of stuff just straight lifted from other games.

    • melancholicthug says:

      Duuude a VTM:B sequel of sorts would be orgasmic.

  9. quarpec says:

    ah, at least this bug is mostly fixable. i almost got fucked over hard by the cipher bug when i put on a neck item that gave x1.15 or somesuch focus gain and it turned out to be more like a permanent x0.15 focus gain (i.e. a loss)

    hmm actually they should just rename it as a cursed item and leave it in there

  10. RQH says:

    Pfft. This is nothing. I got the ‘you can’t exit Raedric’s Hold’ crash AND some kind of weird issue where sometimes when I save (appears to be steam cloud related) the game crashes to desktop. At first I thought they were the same issue, but they appear to be different. It does add a new layer of excitement every time I transition or save, though.

    • mattevansc3 says:

      Did you try gathering your party first?

      • RQH says:

        Wait … I need to gather my party? WHY OH WHY DIDN’T SOMEBODY SAY SOMETHING?!

        • wraithgr says:

          Only before venturing forth. For saving your game, you just need to make sure your party isn’t scattered…

    • ikanreed says:

      I have a work-around for the hold. If you open the borked savegame as a zipfile and delete the area file you can’t enter from that zip. Only side effect is that all the encounters and loot from the area respawn.

      • RQH says:

        Yeah, I’ve seen that workaround. It didn’t feel much different to me than loading the save from before I entered the hold, so that’s what I did. (I am old enough to remember games where the actual design was such that if you forgot to do something in the first area, you’d find yourself unable to proceed an hour later, so even though I don’t save-scum as a tactic, I make new saves often.) Of course, now I am afraid to go back to the hold, but I do want to complete the quest.

        I also have a different issue that if I’m connected to steam cloud sometimes the game crashes after successfully saving, regardless of where I am, or have been (and including autosaves during area transitions.) The solution to this (so far) has been to turn off cloud saves, which is why I think it’s a steam cloud thing.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Alas, if only you’d gotten the game on GOG.. :oP

      • AngoraFish says:

        Or just save to HDD rather than Steam Cloud. Oh, thank goodness for options!

        • RQH says:

          Indeed. I like using Steam, and rarely play games from my GoG library, simply because I don’t remember they’re there. Cloud saving was a perk for me because I do switch between computers regularly and it’s so much more convenient than moving my save files manually. But, I’m mostly relieved that the fix seems to have been as simple as turning off cloud saving, and just mildly miffed that instead of getting to play the game on Sunday I was troubleshooting this problem. (Which was a little hard to track down, because of the Raedric’s Hold bug producing similar behaviors.)

  11. Cinek says:

    And I haven’t seen any game-breaking bugs :) Also it seems that they’ll release patch this week, so I’m not too fussed about that :)

    (It’s time for a bit of optimism after (almost) everyone complaining about bugs and issues).

    • RQH says:

      Well it is a post about a bug. Seems like the appropriate place to talk about bugs and issues.

  12. mattlambertson says:

    I was stopped in the first hour by Divinity: Original Sin’s opening murder mystery quest being unsolveably bugged somehow (i.e. I couldn’t figure it out, had to read guides and every single thing the guide had me try did not work). The idea of replaying the whole beginning of the game for the chance that it would work the next time was not appealing when there are so many other unplayed games sitting on my PC.

    So far, however, I have somehow avoided any bugs in this one, fortunately. And love it.

  13. phlebas says:

    Walker’s “Now that people have had a weekend to spend with Pillars Of Eternity…” rubbed me up the wrong way. It took me until Sunday to make it through character generation without crashing and having to start again.

    • pullthewires says:

      Chargen wasn’t buggy for me, but I’ve given up on the game until it’s patched properly after losing my third character to a game breaking bug. This is the buggiest game I’ve ever played, with the caveat that I usually play games long after release and they are fully patched (this experience has been a good reminder of the benefits of doing so).

      But the game itself, in my limited experience, hasn’t exactly grabbed me. The mechanics seem heavily borrowed from 4e dnd, not necessarily a bad thing, but then awkwardly removed from the turn-based, grid-based world they were designed for. Also, the mark mechanic (‘engagement’) is ridiculous against an AI that can’t possibly make informed decisions about when to break them. Add to that friendly fire AoE when your characters have poor pathing, maps that aren’t entirely clear how many characters can fit through a given space, and no scripting to auto fire encounter abilities for easy fights and you have a very tedious game.

      I want to love it so much but I just don’t get what’s so good about this.

      • pullthewires says:

        Actaully, that’s way too ranty. There is loads of good stuff in here – some interesting ideas on class design, an original world that from what I’ve seen looks interesting (a bit po-faced but not falling into grimdark parody as yet). I just can’t help but feel the overall combat system is a mishmash of elements thrown together without much thought for how they interact together (very badly, to my mind)

      • Zenicetus says:

        I’m with ‘ya on the “no auto-fire for easy fights,” although that’s a tough thing to program and balance. At the lower levels, it’s easy to deplete all the available spells and abilities fairly quickly. An auto-fire could burn through them too fast, and leave nothing left for an unexpected heavy encounter, unless you’re camping and resting after every other combat. I’ve played RPG’s where you can set up elaborate conditional programs for party AI, but I’m not sure that would work here. without altering the whole balance of spell and ability slots-per-resting period.

        Another problem is that many of the caster AOE buff and damage spells don’t have much range. They require running up fairly close to the target, compared to other RPG’s I’ve played. That requires careful manual direction, so they don’t get squished. Overall, it seems intended as a very hands-on, micromanagement heavy game. That’s fun most of the time, but it does get a bit tedious when you’re wading through clusters of trash mobs.

        Anyway, this is all minor enough that it’s not spoiling the game for me (yet), and I’m having fun with it. The UI is nicely done, which is often a sore spot in games like this, and the overall presentation is polished. I’ll pick it up again after the current major bugs are fixed.

  14. K33L3R says:

    Habit has always been for me to drag items into the item slots, guess I’m just lucky that that’s the way I do it

    Seen a few dialogue bugs and one in the temple in Gilded Vale where a scene didn’t trigger (fixed with a reload)

    Also sometimes a Character doesn’t resume auto-attacking once they’ve let of an spell/ability/move command which is a little irritating. Not sure that’s a bug or just how the combat works

  15. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I feel like the entire industry has been waiting for someone to find a bug in it so they can all shout “Ah Ha, I knew you fucking had a bug in it obsidian, you fucking amateurs!” meanwhile Dragon Age Inquisition hasn’t been able to load the first area (The Hinterlands) for weeks now and no one bothers.

    • Matt7895 says:

      My thoughts exactly.

    • PancakeWizard says:


    • almondblight says:

      Yep. I’m not sure losing my racial bonuses and going from 15 might to 14 might qualifies as an “uber-bug.”

    • Emeraude says:

      Yeah, as I was saying in previous threads: cognitive bias. People are so focused on the “Obsidian = game with bugs” motto that any game released by Obsidian will see people over-focusing on that aspect even when they do no better or worse than the industry average.

      If Skyrim had been put under the same scrutiny, it would have rightfully been destroyed by the press for the state it’s been released in (especially the save-corruption bug on consoles).

      That being said, I do hope Obsidian gets to iron those outs and give the game the place it deserves among the best released in recent memory for the genre. Been having a blast so far.

      Nice world building and writing. Good exploration. Still not liking the RTwP implementation, but I can live with it – didn’t like it in IE games either, and I’m digging other systems (though I feel they made some mistakes design wise: suppressing per-task XP should have been for all tasks, not just enemy killing… you don’t want to give people incentive to avoid finding/taking keys so that they can get the XP for lock-picking the doors for one).

      Really digging the pantheon so far.

      • Geebs says:

        Looking at Google Analytics, searches for “obsidian bug” aren’t even a rounding error for searches for “skyrim bug”; “new Vegas bug” is more common, but still two orders of magnitude lower in frequency; make of that what you will but claiming lack of scrutiny doesn’t fit with the way I remember it, backwards dragons and all.

        That said: double-clicking in the inventory in an RPG breaks things? That should probably have been caught in testing.

        • Emeraude says:

          Yes, but the number of occurrences have nothing to do with the qualitative perception of the phenomenon.
          Bethesda games are bugged to hell and back, yet the reputation of Bethesda as a developer, and its impact on its products remains minimal.

          It’s not the company that has a reputation to release unplayable buggy games. Obsidian does though.

          That said: double-clicking in the inventory in an RPG breaks things? That should probably have been caught in testing.

          My understanding is that it wasn’t present in the latest beta build (and given how in-depth some people went on systemic analysis, I have a hard time believing they wouldn’t have noticed), so they must have changed something between latest beta build and release build that provoked this.

          • Geebs says:

            Meh, Bethesda has a pretty serious reputation for producing playable buggy games. I will concede though: now that I have access to an actual computer and can actually see numbers of results on Google, “Skyrim bug” has 1,620,000 results and New Vegas has 16,900,000 (!). One of the first to come back is titled “the first thing that happens is broken”; I think Obsidian have kind of made their bed by specialising in really early, really obvious bugs.

          • Anaphyis says:

            >“Skyrim bug” has 1,620,000 results and New Vegas has 16,900,000 (!)
            And you thought of putting “New Vegas” into quotation marks so Google doesn’t overdeliver completely unrelated hits where the words new and vegas are somewhere on the same website? No, you didn’t: About 692,000 results

  16. derbefrier says:

    Guess I am one of the lucky ones haven’t ran into any bugs yet(that I have noticed anyway) no crashes or nothing.

  17. Jonfon says:

    So that’s why last night my 3rd weapon slot suddenly became unavailable. Although weirdly in combat I do still have a set of fists available as a choice in the quick-weapon changer. Slightly irksome but not game stopping.

    In New Vegas the first thing I was confronted by was Old Doc Whatshisface’s head was gently revolving, his nose was the axis. That scared the poop out of me.

    Other than the weapon slot vanishing I haven’t really noticed anything, but maybe I can blame the fact I keep getting my arse handed to me on it (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it)

  18. Jenks says:

    Unless it’s missing most of the last quarter of the game and the ending in its entirety, this is a huge improvement for Obsidian.

  19. dungeoncrawl says:

    This just in…games have bugs.

    So far I’ve not experienced a single bug and I’m 8 hours in. Loving it so far. This and Wasteland 2 have been superb Kickstarters.

  20. Voqar says:

    Love the game, not loving how they’ve let some really harsh bugs make it to production nor the fact that they haven’t already patched some of these.

  21. Jason Moyer says:

    Glad to see RPS keeping with its policy of reporting every bug in every game that’s released.

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  23. StevieW says:

    “because finding opportunity to play a 4000 hour RPG in your spare time alone turns out to be impossible in your mid-30s”

    This. Exactly this.

    • onodera says:

      I feel your pain. Come home from work, and your wife is there, your kid is there, they haven’t seen you all day and they don’t want to watch the back of your head. There’s no way to carve a regular two-hour session (and you can’t consume PotE in smaller bites) out of your evenings.

    • drewski says:

      A million times this.

  24. SableShrike says:

    Just FYI, the Nexus mods site has a PoE mod that totally removes the ability to double-click inventory. So no splitting stacks, but no risk of hosing your save while we play waiting for the patch.

  25. thebigJ_A says:

    I find the “reload the game where you find someone and any gear bonus get stacked and applied permanently” far worse.
    It’s irritating that I now know I can’t save and reload in any area where I picked up a character. (At least not without remembering to strip them naked first, which ruins ‘quickload’)

    What’s worse is that I’m not *certain* one of my characters isn’t already buffed once or twice by mistake.

    • Emeraude says:

      Shouldn’t be too hard to correct: pop the console and edit your character’s attributes back to what they should be.

  26. whalleywhat says:

    What a terrible website.

  27. Anaphyis says:

    Losing some minor background/racial bonuses -> literally the worst thing that has ever happened to me.

    Seriously though, I know video game news have been slow for months now but the way this relatively minor bug has been going around news sites with superlatives out the wazoo like it’s a freaking calamity is just sad and validates everyone lamenting the state of games journalism.

    We had a year with some of the most bugged releases of all time, some like Dragon Age Inqusition are still broken as hell, nobody cares and treats it as business as usual – but a bug in an obsidian game? You’ve found the freaking Loch Ness Monster and it raped your mother, apparently! What?