Pillars Of Eternity 2.0: Better AI, Less Rubbish Stealth

The main reason I stopped playing Pillars of Eternity is because I’d need a month-long holiday to make meaningful progress through it, but though I liked it, a host of minor annoyances played their part too. Retro-for-retro’s sake UI, a conscious aversion to brevity which I felt sometimes undermined rather than supported its world-building, overly micro-managey combat, and most of all, janky stealth. I always play a rogue if I can, mostly because I’m a kleptomaniac in RPGs, but in Pillars stealthing one person involved stealthing the whole party, whether or not they were any good at stealth. It looked silly, it got fiddly, it wasn’t very effective in combat and it felt wrong.

Fortunately, stealth is one of several areas of Obsidian’s RPG which is due for an overhaul in the upcoming 2.0 patch, which adds some of the White March expansion pack‘s features to the core game.

Also being rethunk is tweakable party AI behaviour, with the aim of reducing micro-management (without actually taking away the option for micro-management for those who want it), ranged attack display and X-COM-style accuracy readouts. Stealth, meanwhile, now entails selecting which party members go all hidey, rather than everyone dropping into a crouch at once, and everyone getting pulled out of stealth if one member is spotted. As well as making robbery easier, this should also make mid-combat invisi-backstabs and whatnot a whole lot more plausible.

Take a look:

You get this new stuff whether or not you buy The White March, just to be clear.

75 Comments

  1. Asokn says:

    This is timely as I was just about to start a new game of PoE having abandoned the first one a couple of hours in for being too fiddly.

    Does anyone know (a) when this patch will be released and (b) whether it is best to wait and start a new game with it rather than have a major patch applied midway through?

    • Imbecile says:

      I was the same. It was just too damned fiddly. I just got a bard to join my fight – my 5th member, and while I was breezing the combats my worry was, what happens when the fights start to get tough, and the combat is such a fiddly clusterfuck of abilities that I cant work out what the hell is going on. So, I stopped playing and started playing the Witcher, now I want to go back, but cant motivate myself to.

      • Premium User Badge

        DelrueOfDetroit says:

        There are bards in Pillows of Estonia?

      • Premium User Badge

        Carra says:

        Same here actually, stopped playing after about 6 hours.

        You get a new character, a bard. Then you take a look at their skills and none of it makes sense, you just get like 20 spells which all change some stats which are not intuitive at all.

        I’ll give it another go after the patch: put AI on for all chars except my main/tank and kick some ass.

    • Skeletor68 says:

      Sort of in the same boat. I’m about 30 hours in and just want to make sure I don’t need to start a new campaign!

      Definitely enjoying it so far, but find that I’m not spending enough time to drink it in. The silly panicky feeling that I need to start rushing ‘to finish it’ has already started and I’m not engaging enough with the text-based parts of the story. Meanwhile I’ve put the combat on easy to make sure I’m getting maximum progression for my limited gaming time.

      I think I need to start deciding that some games aren’t for me even if I like them…

      • d3vilsadvocate says:

        This.

        I hate games where ‘lore’ means ‘story’. I gave up after 10 hours because I had no idea what the F was going on story-wise. The game throws tomes at you in random order and in a fashion worse than Skyrim. It kinda feels like reading Game of Thrones backwards with half the pages torn out…

        Seriously though, I can’t remember any of the story of these 10 hours and wouldn’t be able to name any of the characters, nor do I know who the main villain was or was going to be. At least the combat was great in my opinion.

        But this whole focus on ‘lore’ and ‘openworldness’ and ‘we have 200hrs of gameplay’ needs to be stopped.

        • Emeraude says:

          It has already been stopped well enough, which is why this needed to be Kickstarted in the first place.

          Personal preferences and all that, but personally enjoyed the lack of focus on Story (yes, with a capital) in favor of lore. Fits the over-arching theme of events being meaningless and individuals creating their own sense out of sequences of events that would remain otherwise unintelligible if not for the effort to put meaning into them .

          I don’t know that I would want it in all games, but it’s rare enough that I enjoy it being tackled, imperfectly as it was.

          • Ilinx says:

            I kinda burned out on the souls text when it struck me that half of them were full blown murderers. One of them, IIRC, was basically a serial killer, so I figured the right thing to do was kill him before he did it again. Then I was immediately set upon by the rest of the city for offing an innocent NPC…

          • Ilinx says:

            Bah wrong thread, let me try that again further down…

          • wengart says:

            The souls text is you seeing into someone’s past lives. Not what their current life is about.

            So in a past life that guy was a serial killer, but in this life he a loving and generous family man.

            In the POE world there are, I assume, a finite number of souls that just float around. When a person (or sentient being) is born they act as a vessel for a soul to inhabit and then travel about the world. When that person dies then the soul goes back into the “soul realm” or whatever and awaits a new vessel.

            minor spoilers for the first section of the game.

            That is the problem in the first area. People are being born, but they aren’t receiving a soul. So they are essentially comatose.

          • InternetBatman says:

            I enjoyed the focus on lore, but I think the plot of the story lacked thematic focus. The closest thing approaching a theme was humanity’s relationship with the divine, but it seemed crammed in near the end. I would have made the gods more mysterious and shown the negative interactions of their aspects through side quests and saved the big reveal for another game. The end of the game seemed more fit for the end of a series than the beginning.

          • Emeraude says:

            Maybe I’m over-reading things, but I do think the main theme of the game is the existentialist credo that only we create the meaning of events as we live them. To the point that we literally create the gods.

            See how most companion quests end, with basically the very same events leading to completely different interpretations depending on how you frame things for your companion.

        • thetruegentleman says:

          You must have terrifyingly high standards to think this game is all lore and no story: or perhaps you’re confusing the idea that the world doesn’t revolve entirely around your own character’s story with the idea that there’s no story at all? Because the story is definitely there: it’s just as much about your companions and the cities you visit as it is about “you”, but it’s definitely there.

          That isn’t to say the player character is lacking in story either: the player’s story (or rather, the player character’s history) picks up quickly once you’ve reached the main city of the game, but even then the world isn’t going to tilt on it’s axis because of the player’s actions.

        • ssh83 says:

          It was stopped. We all know that your ilks is the majority of the gamer population. That’s why games like PoE is simply not being made at all.

          It’s only through Kickstarter that they confirmed the super niche crowd who actually want this and are willing to pay enough money for them to sustainably develop one.

    • Mindestens says:

      A) Last update to backers informed us the first part of White Marsh with these changes comes very soon and sooner than we would think without going into specifics. I expect less than three months from now, October tops, but it’s just my speculation.

      B) Some fixes and changes were retroactive and some were not – I restarted countless times because it’s just the way I play such games, but this time I also had to check with each patch if my guide on companions still holds up. And there were differences among older and newer save files. For example, v1.05.0567 brought ability to level up companions starting from level 2 to pick their skills and talents, but that only worked with newly recruited, so fresh campaign suited it best. Until then game was always automagically leveling them up to match current level of your main when you met them. It was clear the later you found someone that Obsidian messed up chars and didn’t bother updating them when the scope of game or particular skills changed later on – some might have gone with lore above 10 and there was absolutely no need in the game for that (outdated official game guide shows that earlier build required it for some scrolls).

      I’d say you should restart if it doesn’t bother you that much but also hold off a while with playing until first 1-2 patches roll in. I will wait at least a month no matter what, because some of the early bugs were just embarassing
      (how can you review a game and not notice the buffs stack up permanently?) and some later quality of life improvements were just flabbergasting that someone thought it’s alright for people to struggle before. I mean, the auto leveling was an issue big enough for me to write whole guide around it for newcomers to find companions ASAP. Plus, some stuff was never fixed/improved so there’s still hoping.

  2. XhomeB says:

    What about less rubbish combat? A Turn Based combat mode would be greatly appreciated.

    • Procrastination Giant says:

      Doesn’t turn based combat usually just force you to spend MORE time on rubbish combat? I haven’t seen how bad the combat in Pillars is, since i have yet to pick it up (i’ve been kind of discouraged by the fact that everybody seemed to praise it, yet i don’t know a single person that actually finished it personally…), but i never found combat in rpgs to be overly engaging. Real time with pause at least enables you to finish trashfights in a timely fashion or just run past stuff quickly (planescape is a good example of that… that game would SUCK with turn based combat… sucksucksuck) instead of going through the motions of yet another work assignment… err fight.

      And that’s usually made worse by the fact that rpg developers tend to have the habit of adding at least a handful of enemies with ridiculous aggro range… there were so many moments in fallout 1&2 where it was possible to simply get stuck in combat with something on the other side of the map… grarr. People that actually LIKE turn based combat in rpgs bewilder me…

      • Emeraude says:

        Doesn’t turn based combat usually just force you to spend MORE time on rubbish combat?

        Not necessarily. Re-playing Brigandine right now and the option to just skip all those needless animation bit and just focus on numbers directly fastens things tremendously. It also makes combats.a lot less tedious when easy – there are many instances of combat in PoE where I really felt the tedium of having to do all the unit placement and abilities sequencing of situations that had long been solved.

        The execution with its constant pause/unpause wasn’t particularly graceful.

        • Cronstintein says:

          I think you’re crazy. Turn based rubbish fights are SUPER boring and tedious. You have to manually select each target and attacker vs RTWP where you can just let the AI do the work if the battle is an easy one.

          • Chaoslord AJ says:

            I’m with you here. Original Sin was good but usually turn-based has many boring bits and fighting trash.
            Real-time with pause is the way to go optionally you can pretend it’s turn-based. Some games are also switchable like Fallout or Arcanum. I was really disappointed when Tides of Num. went turn-based. Still hope something good comes out of it.
            But the infinity engine games were really the best and PoE was said to recreate just that. Playing on casual difficulty? Please mates, back to assassin’s creed and modern gaming. Fiddly interface? Like Baldur’s Gate: 100+ spells, Kensai dual-wield, backstab x7 damage by micromanaged thief, actually useful buffs, de-buffs, death spells, summons. Count me in anytime.

          • jrodman says:

            You just responded to a post that concretely pointed out the possibility for advantage with.. a denial.

            In Might and Magic 1, which I’m playing right now, I complete easy turn-based fights in around 1 second.

            So we can now dispense with the idea that turn-based is a problem of slowness for easy fights, and that instead it is the implementation thereof.

          • jrodman says:

            Meanwhile: realtime with pause definitely does NOT allow one to believe the game is turn-based, and does NOT have the advantages one can have with turn-based. It is its own design choice with its own tradeoffs.

      • Zenicetus says:

        (Raises hand) I finished PoE and enjoyed most of it. Enough to finish the main plot anyway, although I didn’t manage to get all the way down to the bottom of that big dungeon under the keep.

        I’m glad it was realtime with pause, because there is a lot of filler combat in this game (maybe too much), where I didn’t need to make perfect tactical decisions. I just needed to kill mobs to move forward, and realtime with pause was a reasonably quick way to do that (especially with guns). If the game had been turn-based, there would need to be fewer trash mobs to wade through.

        I think the main problem for many players is that they didn’t manage to get scripting for auto actions into the game in time for release, so combat is very micro-intensive. There are a baffling number of different abilities you have to learn for each class, so you know what commands to give. The new scripting should help with that, so you can just put the party on “auto” if you want.

        • Dicehuge says:

          Yeah I think the real time w/ pause works well for the most part. As you say, throwing loads of abilities at you before you get a chance to really get the hang of how the different combat systems work makes the early-game pretty bewildering, makes me glad I didn’t create a caster for my first play through. But going through the game a second time I’m finding the combat really enjoyable. The engagement system still irks me though, that and the inability of the characters to get too close to one another during combat makes moving around in corridors really clumsy.

        • waltC says:

          I don’t know why you’d call it “micro-intensive”…It amounts to hitting the spacebar once or twice in a fight and selecting whatever abilities or spells you’d like your character to perform, otherwise just select them all, point them at an enemy, and hit the attack button and it’s all automatic…some of the spells are wonderfully very, very powerful–which I like a lot. The one thing I think that has been missing from such games for a long time is really powerful spell casting…it’s just watered down in many games. PoE has many cool combat spells that are simply fun to watch & cast–many are very strong. You can set a combination of healing spells and combat spells and have a couple of melee fighters, too…Great fun, if you do it right…

          But I guess many just sit there…”duh” and watch their party get eviscerated simply because there is no automated AI to do all of the combat work for each party member… and they can’t be bothered to keep up with the emerging story–which is not hard to do at all…so they don’t like reading anything…

          I really like the game…the 2.0 EE should help some of the not-so-swift, slow players better manage things, I suppose. One thing I realized and that is in games like this I’d gotten spoiled by party AI in combat…PoE actually makes the player think about what to do in each fight, with each character, and as I discovered that greatly enhances the game play…well, at least for me…because I explore each party members capabilites in a way that I probably wouldn’t do with a combat AI…

    • InternetBatman says:

      Turn Based is nigh impossible with the current system. It’s not an IE system that uses hidden rounds. Each character has their own speed, and everything happens in real-time. Also, turn based games aren’t automatically better, just different.

      • pullthewires says:

        I very much loved the pause and play in the Infinity Engine, but I think POE would have been better with turn-based combat on a grid. The key problem is the engagement system – it’s a good idea, but doesn’t work for me because where it should have made interesting tactical decisions for tank-style characters (see 4E DnD’s Mark system for fighters), getting in the right position at the right time is just too fiddly to be any fun and it becomes an annoyance.

        • wengart says:

          I enjoyed it quite a bit. Although it was very much a game of “Scout the enemy, now form up”.

          Once I understood I couldn’t just form up during an encounter everything got a lot more enjoyable and easier for me.

    • Rumpelstilskin says:

      I generally prefer TB myself, you just can’t get that epic 5-man arquebus volley with it..

    • silentdan says:

      Personally, I really like the combat in PoE and would be really disappointed to see it go turn-based. Wouldn’t mind some AI, though.

    • Premium User Badge

      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      They released a patch that gives you the option to play turn based. One of the devs did it in their free time.

  3. Morph says:

    The combat is about the right amount of fiddly for me, but the ranged attack display is very welcome to stop the wizard running towards the enemy when casting certain spells.

    On my second playthrough, hope the patch comes soon.

  4. datom says:

    I’m about 12 hours in, and things have gotten much better since I stopped reading the ‘souls’ bits written by backers, which in most cases were not good, and in one case actually extremely inappropriate and made me feel a bit sick.

    I found the first twelve hours to be both absolutely brilliant, and a little frustrating:

    1) Running around towns between person x and person y, killing person y, return to person x

    2) Combat completely obscured by walls/doors/arches making it impossible to see what’s going on

    3) Encounters veering between ludicrously easy and unbelievably difficult depending on the composition and level of your party (Raedric’s hold went from ultra-challenging to a yawnfest simply by grabbing an additional party member).

    4) No level spawning is great when the game flags that you are entering a dangerous encounter. If you waltz through an area of small squishy things only to be jumped seconds later by ludicrously powerful beasts,

    5) Despite acting in my mind entirely consistently, my alignment is spread over tons of different areas (I am both 1- Honest and 1-Deceitful!). Alignment changes are based on very specific readings of an incident (is punishing a minor criminal really cruel? could it not be honest also?).

    Still, it’s great fun, and the outside maps are really entertaining (I hate town hubs with a passion), lots of great ideas and the best RPG I’ve played in ages. Can’t wait to get further through!

    • onodera says:

      I also stopped reading souls after the first handful. A wall of text that bears no relation to the actual game and is not a piece of award-winning fiction? No, thank you very much.

      • Emeraude says:

        I keep hearing that complaint, and I don’t really get it. Like lore books, they’re not meant to be read all at once, I think. Unless you want to. Just bit by bit as it strikes your fancy. And as with lore books, they do a good job of setting the tone of the new game world.

        Everyone has interesting things happening to them, and you’ll remain unrelated to them. The world is not about *you*, as important as you my fancy yourself.

        Probably a problem in presentation – since it’s an interact-able NPC people expect and want it to be a conversation I guess (no you specifically. I mean in general).

        I don’t know, a bit awkward certainly but I really don’t get the complaint.

        • datom says:

          I understand the dipping in thing, but a) the game doesn’t do anything to guide you to ‘real’ NPCs from ‘fanfic’ NPCs and b) I don’t think they do a good job of setting up the gameworld.

          The tone shifts remarkably, they are all written in wall-of-text format that doesn’t lend itself well to computer screens, inconsistenf PC names, godlikes just hanging out all, there seems to be a real obsession with prostitution and sexy thieving…. compared to the actual NPCs that normally have a less is more approach to setting up the characters.

          The one that really got me was a group of three NPCs at a bar (I think in Defiance City). Two NPCs have standard ‘I’m a grizzly soldier’ stories; the third had some horrendous torture-porn about tying up a young family and pulling out a knife.

          • Emeraude says:

            the game doesn’t do anything to guide you to ‘real’ NPCs from ‘fanfic’ NPCs

            Quoth Morph just below:

            The soul NPCs have a gold box around their name, so are easy to avoid.

            It’s color coded. You look at the name and if it’s gold you don’t have to bother with it if you don’t like it.

            The tone shifts remarkably

            Which I take as a plus myself in that overall context. If anything it’s the jump in writing quality I have an issue with, I agree with you on that..
            I distinctively remember the “torture-porn” one and thought it was a good bit. I didn’t like it, it was creepy as hell, but it certainly set the tone the same way the hanging tree did in the Gilded Vale. You certainly don’t want too much of that, but used sparingly it can be really effective.

          • Dicehuge says:

            Yeah I agree. I don’t mind big ol lumps of story and text but the soul reading bits all seem jarringly out of place. Everyone has a very melodramatic pulp magazine story that doesn’t really add anything in terms of what the social and historical backdrop of the game is so I stopped reading them pretty quickly. I guess it’s particularly noticeable because I think the rest of the game does storytelling really very well.

        • Ilinx says:

          I kinda burned out on the souls text when it struck me that half of them were full blown murderers. One of them, IIRC, was basically a serial killer, so I figured the right thing to do was kill him before he did it again. Then I was immediately set upon by the rest of the city for offing an innocent NPC…

          Also, yeah, what datom said.

          • Zenicetus says:

            There are a few of those vanity NPC’s in isolated areas where they’re safe to kill without the town rushing you. Also one or two inside houses where nobody’s looking. It’s a good way to pick up some decent armor that you can’t afford yet in the early game, if you’re into that.

            Not that I ever did it… (whistles innocently)…

          • wengart says:

            The souls text is you seeing into someone’s past lives. Not what their current life is about.

            So in a past life that guy was a serial killer, but in this life he a loving and generous family man.

            In the POE world there are, I assume, a finite number of souls that just float around. When a person (or sentient being) is born they act as a vessel for a soul to inhabit and then travel about the world. When that person dies then the soul goes back into the “soul realm” or whatever and awaits a new vessel.

            minor spoilers for the first section of the game.

            That is the problem in the first area. People are being born, but they aren’t receiving a soul. So they are essentially comatose.

        • wraithgr says:

          Actually, in the context of my game time I very much *am* the center of the universe, thank you very much. I fly planes, govern cities, save the world and all that other fancy stuff, I definitelt don’t have the time to (potentially) read the wish fulfillment fanfic of someone because they gave the developer more money than I did.

          The good thing is, I don’t have to and don’t intend to. I dont mind it being in the game but the whole “the world does not revolve around you” argument is really uncalled for here, I think.

          • Emeraude says:

            And you’re entitled to it, I was just trying to convey why it works for *me*. And I’m glad such a thing exist.

            And, let’s be honest, as you noted yourself, you have a LOT more choice on the market for games that make you the center of the world than I have for games that try not to.

          • wengart says:

            In the context of my gameplay time I find not being the center of the universe refreshing.

            I particularly enjoy Arma because you are just a cog in the machine. I’m not “the guy who does it all” I’m just some guy with a rifle and two grenades. Hopefully that IFV with a 30mm cannon doesn’t look over here, because I will then be well and truly dead.

            In some games you are the center, and in some games you are a character. There isn’t anything wrong with that.

          • wraithgr says:

            You’re both missing my point as well as the point that onodera was originally trying to make. This is not about reading a side story, or not being the super soldier/human/whatever that saves the day.
            This is about not spending time to read a trivial story that has nothing to do with the game I am playing, little to nothing to do with the game world I am trying to immerse myself in and is actually rather poorly written and/or cringeworthy. When I say I am the center of the universe with regards to my gaming time I mean that 100% of my gaming time should be spent on my enjoyment and 0% should be spent to provide an audience to someone who really wants me to read how he went on a killing spree or took an arrow to the knee. I think there are tons more interesting, better crafted stories to read when I want to–feel free to disagree. Also, I don’t at all object to games that don’t make you an all-conquering dreadnought, but it has nothing to do with backer stories in PoE…

          • Emeraude says:

            @wraithgr

            That’s the thing though: you think they’re trivial and unrelated. I think they’re just nice for mood setting and giving the overall world more density.

            I’m curious to ask: do you read lore books ? Or do you think they are all “a trivial story that has nothing to do with the game [you’re] playing” ? If you do read them what makes you think reading about a pantheon is interesting, but reading about the believers isn’t ? Why is a shopkeeper’s bad day less interesting than a weapon’s story ?

            There is certainly a problem with the writing quality being hit or miss, but overall I did like, many of the stories. Especially those about craftsmen and common people.
            That new world we don’t know much about is being presented to us through the prism of those life shards, and I like the presentation process. It’s an interesting way to do it. Kinda reminiscent of some RPG rule books really.

    • satan says:

      I get annoyed that everytime I want to talk to a NPC (for directions/lore/quests/current affairs/political intrigue/anything to do with the world I’m trying to take an interest in I instead get soul dialogue about that time the NPC had oats for breakfast…

      • Morph says:

        The soul NPCs have a gold box around their name, so are easy to avoid.

    • spacedyemeerkat says:

      I found the final fight, in particular, in Raedric’s Hold to be virtually impossible and it wore me down so much that I just didn’t have the strength to carry on playing after reaching the first big town.

      • Jeremy says:

        This is an easy fight to get into too early, as a result of the natural progression of the quests. I went through and cleared Raedric’s Hold with a few characters still at level 2, and then I got smacked around by the final fight and couldn’t figure out a way around it. Turns out it’s built more for a party of level 5 characters, so I went around and finished up other quests and came back when the challenge was more manageable.

      • Zenicetus says:

        Yeah, the pacing isn’t great on that fight because you can reach it so early, and because your party is in a bad tactical position caused by the cutscene pause.

        I cheesed it with a lower level party by not approaching the throne for the cutscene. I had the party hang back in the alcove where you first enter the map, and used my Rogue to pull a few of the closer knights to pick them off. Then when the main group finally noticed and attacked, I used the old “tank in the doorway” trick to win the battle.

        It’s supposed to be a more straight-up fight with a higher level party, but there are many places where the game seems designed to allow alternate approaches like that.

        • onodera says:

          It’s a hard fight even at level 5. I cheated by agreeing to switch sides, regrouping and attacking from a more defensible position.

    • Rumpelstilskin says:

      The ‘souls’ bits weren’t exactly written by backers btw. Obsidian just took (very) general ideas of the characters from them and wrote the dialogs themselves.

  5. Jaykera says:

    Finally I might be able to play this game. Easy mode, AI on and enjoy the story.

  6. horrorgasm says:

    You people are funny. You gonna buy Star Citizen too and then complain about it having too much space simulation and being too similar to old Wing Commander games?

    • Skeletor68 says:

      I should probably clarify my own remarks to say that I think the game is wonderful and the problem is with me!

  7. InternetBatman says:

    Two things:
    I would hardly call the UI retro for the sake of retro. The spell UI is taken from NWN2, not any of the IE games. There’s just a lot of information to display. They could improve tool-tips, but generally the UI is right where it needs to be.

    Also, Obsidian didn’t do a great job explaining this, but some characters are less fiddly than others. If you make a custom party of fighters, rangers, barbarians, and chanters, there’s far less abilities to use.

    • ssh83 says:

      “Fiddly” is subjective. PoE is really simple compared to BG2. But it’s overwhelmingly complicated compared to Skyrim, Witcher or GTA. It all depends on the player’s perspective. That’s exactly why this game needed Kickstarter. I think it still needs kickstarter for its sequel/expansion to properly judge how many people still want more of this. I wager many people who backed/bought the first game are not going to buy expansion.

  8. Robslap says:

    D’oh! Literally started this last night, now feels like I should wait for the patch… coming straight out of Divinity this does feel massively fiddly, but then I’m one of those terrible people who loves that kind of thing.

  9. aircool says:

    Non-turned-based combat in an RPG is a crime in my book. Just look at Divinity: Original Sin whose combat was sublime.

    • Emeraude says:

      As much as I prefer turn based, you *can* do good real-time.

      Weirdly I think one of my favourite example is actually console-based. People my have mocked it for playing itself, but personally always thought the AI scripting with FFXII was a thing of beauty that should have become a standard of sort; if you’re going to flood the player with combats that are not tactically challenging and are just there to pad content, pace the game and wear down the party, might as well give the player means to semi automate the already solved fights.

  10. Darkz0r says:

    I stopped playing because of GTA V, but now I’m gonna wait for for DLC.

    Combat is not that hard or fiddly, you just need 2 tanks, 1 ranged guy, 1 healer, and w/e else. Tank 1 goes defend one side, tank 2 the other, priest in the middle, ranged guy attacks wizards/or whatever (no need to manage him), so you just manage the priest and wiz/etc.
    Most of the time I don’t need to touch many abilities, except healing and spellcasting (offensive).

    • silentdan says:

      Yeah, I never really found the combat to be that “fiddly”, personally. I keep my guys in a custom formation with main tank in front (max protection), off tank just behind (good armour, but also with a 2h DPS weapon), priest in the middle, ranged on the wings. Select entire party, attack frontmost target. Ranged volley usually drops ’em before the tanks close to grips, so pick another and keep going. Sometimes you need to do some repositioning, and getting surrounded can definitely require some micromanagement of special abilities, but for the most part, I found the combat to have just enough variability to remain engaging.

      I love TB combat, too, but I’m glad it wasn’t implemented in PoE. I just don’t think it would suit the game.

      • wengart says:

        Combat in Pillars seems very much based on a loop of scout your enemies, form up, commence the attack. As long as you do that things will be fine.

        Generally I do what you guys do and keep a strong shieldwall to the front and have flankers and ranged attackers go in afterwards.

        If you just walk into combats and expect to then handle your formation you are in for a tough time, and that caused me a lot of headache before I realized I had to put someone in front of my wizard **before** an enemy was trying to take his head off with an axe.

      • ssh83 says:

        I think they had some statistics that most people don’t even know custom formation exists. They just use the basic formation for the whole game. lol

  11. Premium User Badge

    FhnuZoag says:

    Most of these UI changes are certainly welcome, and really ought to be in there from the beginning. (I can think of a bunch more changes they can make as well…)

    Not really convinced that the new stealth system helps though. The main problem with stealth is that it’s too fiddly for a game where there’s a combat every other minute. And the return is too minor. Being able to differentially stealth party members doesn’t help that much, especially because it means you slow down and separate your party. And you never know when you’d need your entire party on hand for a big tough boss fight, so having a few stealthy character try and solo a level is a non-starter.

    The biggest UI change they need to make is to strongly highlight characters that have finished their current action and require new orders. I’ve lost count of the times I have characters standing around uselessly waiting.

    • onodera says:

      I’ve never found stealth too fiddly, but I’ve never used it for sneak attacks, only for caches and traps. I would activate it and speed up the game, it becoming too sluggish otherwise.

    • InternetBatman says:

      The reward for stealth is hardly minor. It pays huge dividends in positioning, and 90% of the fights in the game are about positioning.

    • ssh83 says:

      Use the speed-up button so that you can move super fast even when in stealth to save time.

      Just make sure to turn on auto-pause when enemy is spotted.

  12. Foosnark says:

    These are all good improvements. I enjoyed PIllars, and played through the story one and a half times before deciding I was done. I’m not sure this or the expansion will draw me back in at this point, but I have no regrets.

  13. PancakeWizard says:

    Probably outside the scope of the game somewhat, but I’d love to see a ‘hunker down’ option for your party members that when used stops what they are doing (eg atacking, running etc), and they squat down in a defensive state meaning they take less damage from friendly AOE.

  14. Riaktion says:

    I’d love an auto level up option for companions, I like to carefully select and upgrade my own character but I’m totally fine with the game auto levelling companions, Dragon Age is great for that. I’m always worried I’m screwing over my whole party, so if the game can do that for me (if I want) then I know I’m gettimg a somewhat decent character designed by someone who hopefully knows what they’re doing.

    POE doesn’t have this, and perhaps rightly so based on its target audience, but for me… I would love that in a patch or expansion.

    • ssh83 says:

      There is an auto-level button in each level up screen. But don’t worry, you can’t possibly screw up your character more than the auto-level button will. :)

  15. Premium User Badge

    sicanshu says:

    Amen to “a conscious aversion to brevity”. Obviously it’s pretty well-written, but by about 2/3 of the way through, I was just completely ignoring all the “supporter created characters” that were nothing but walls of text with no bearing on anything that was going on.