Pillars Of Eternity Big Update Due Alongside Expansion

Thursdays, right?

The second part of the Pillars of Eternity [official site] expansion The White March is due on February 16th, and so is Update 3.00. That free patch will bring new features and content for everyone, whether they’ve got White March or not. “What sorts of things?” you may ask, if you haven’t been read forum posts and whatnot. I’m glad you asked, because this post continuing is kinda contingent upon reader curiosity. Now we’ve established that we’re doing this together, let’s peep at a new video showing off some of the fancy new things, from fun at your Stronghold to ‘Story Time’ difficulty.

So what are adventurers facing? The Story Time difficulty level doesn’t remove combat, but does make it a lot easier. Or if you want more difficulty, the end of the game is tougher with fewer creature encounter and high-level folks can choose to make Act 3 scale up to their buff party. Also causing problems are knockout injuries, an option which’ll have knocked-out characters gain debuffs until they rest. And the Stronghold has a new quest line and… look, here’s Pillars of Eternity executive producer Adam Brennecke to talk about the main big new features of 3.00:

Do check the current beta patch notes for the full run-down on what’s in Update 3.00 – all the balance tweaks, bug fixes, and so on.


  1. surgeonufo says:


    • surgeonufo says:

      Ugh. That’s in reference to:

      Or if you want more difficulty, the end of the game is tougher with fewer creature encounter and high-level folks can choose to make Act 3 scale up to their buff party.

      • TillEulenspiegel says:

        Should really be “encounters, and”. Everything’s clear in the video.

  2. JFS says:

    I really liked the game, but the balance was off and still seems to be. I wonder, though why the devs don’t just let it rest now and focus on a sequel or comparable new game.

    • welverin says:

      I think finishing the expansion they committed to is a very good reason.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    I loved Pillars, but I’m still feeling a bit weird about dusting off my endgame party to leap into this expansion that happens before the endgame. Do I then go and play the end again for export to a sequel? I guess I do?

    • Assirra says:

      Same here. I went through the game when it first came out but with all the updates i dunno how viable my party would be or what kind of stuff they added or new tricks you can do.

  4. Obsidian War PJs says:

    Looking forward to easier, quicker combat. I wish more games would let me focus on the story (especially in RPGs, where the story is the point) instead of the boring, drawn-out D&D 4E-like chore of combat. I want to see the rest of the game, but fights that take half an hour or more just killed any enthusiasm I had for it.

    While they’re at it, maybe make it look a little bit better than a 60FPS Baldur’s Gate? Please?

    • geisler says:

      Awesome b8 m8. Love the nickname. Who’s Codex alt are you?

  5. sdfv says:

    I, too, enjoyed the game but decided to skip a combat-focused expansion that took place in the middle of the game I already beat. The game’s semi-broken combat was its weakest point in the first place.

  6. teije says:

    Despite being a backer, I haven’t played it yet (past character gen screen) so this sounds good. And Story Mode sounds like a great idea – wish more games would offer that.

    • Janichsan says:

      I (Kickstarter backer, too) also held playing PoE back until the expansions were released. (My massive backlog helped with that…)

  7. silentdan says:

    I’m a huge PoE fan. Bought it at launch (I don’t back/pre-order right now), played it all the way through twice, bought the first WM, re-played the whole game again. When WM2 comes out, I’ll buy it and re-play through the whole game again. It’s just enough like D&D to give me Baldur’s Gate vibes, but also fixed and mixed up enough to feel novel.

    If the combat is taking anywhere near 30 minutes per encounter, you may be under-utilizing your Cypher(s)’ — you need at least one, and up to four are practical — abilities. They can put up a damage-resistance shield that I cast on my tank at the start of every combat encounter. They can teleport wounded characters away from melees. They can unleash devastatingly damaging abilities. If PoE is giving you a hard time, take a closer look at Cyphers. They might be the key to the whole thing.

    • Premium User Badge

      gritz says:

      If reasonably paced combat is dependent on having a certain class (much less four of that class), that is a failure of design.

      • Cinek says:

        It’s not. He’s exaggerating.

        • silentdan says:

          I was using “need” in the soft sense. “Need” as in, “I really need to take a 10 minute break,” not “I really need some oxygen in the next 60 seconds, or my heart will literally stop beating.” It’s a mild exaggeration, I think, but fair criticism just the same.

      • silentdan says:

        Not at all. Want fast, risky combat? Load up on DPSers. Want deliberate, safe combat? Load up on tanks. The ability to tailor the pace of combat to your preference, via party composition, is perfectly sound design.

        In any given class-based RPG, one class will have the most DPS potential. To speed up encounters, you “need” that class. Another class will have the highest damage resistance. To reliably avoid excessive healing or even wipes, you “need” that class, too. It’s not poor design, it’s a side-effect of having classes in the first place.

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          It may be good design, but it doesn’t really work well if the players aren’t aware of it. When I first played the game, apparently I chose a suboptimal character class, or maybe some abilities or character stats could have been somewhat different, I have no idea. I’m not new to rpgs, and that irritated my to no end.

          Some time ago I restarted and found they had made things a bit more balanced, which, given the fact that being able to make a character that seems perfectly viable or even somewhat less than stereotypically suited is a common thing in roleplaying games, makes a lot of sense.

          • Hmm-Hmm. says:

            So, whereas balance is a fine thing, I’d rather go the other way a bit more for more leeway to avoid cookie-cutter metagaming builds in favour of a greater variety of choice for the player.

          • Fenixp says:

            That’s exactly what Pillars of Eternity offers tho. While it’s easy to create a build which is not entirely optimized (obviously), the system is designed in such a way that it’s pretty damn difficult to create an unoptimal build. I’ve not seen many (if any) character development system which would be as flexible and allowed as much experimentation as that in Pillars of Eternity, especially now after Obsidian was continuously balancing the game since launch.

      • Fenixp says:

        I quite disliked the cipher class first time around I played the game, yet encounters did not take 30 minutes. Really, you can opt for just about any party composition – even party consisting of 6 of the same class will work, provided you spec those 6 members so that they can efficient at different application of their classes. (6 ranger playtrough is still the best thing ever)

    • PancakeWizard says:

      If the combat is taking anywhere near 30 minutes per encounter

      What game is this? Who on earth is taking this long per encounter? I never used Cyphers. I never made any, and the only one you pick up is that weird woman much later in the game and she wasn’t that remarkable, tbh. Encounters take a couple of minutes tops.

  8. Lethys says:

    It’s bizarre for a single player RPG to be quite as imbalanced as this one combat-wise. cipher is just too good, fighter is basically an unavoidable inclusion in any party for tanking. ranger and wizard feel impotent compared to cipher because of class designs that are at odds with the best way to play. classes like monk are designed in such a way that they are punished inherently through the wounds and endurance system, they should have had their own health measure different from other classes. per rest skills are terrible compared to the focus system of ciphers which allows for damage and also spells which are arguably better than the per-rest wizard ones are anyway. ive not played druid too much but apparently they’re also loads better than the other classes generally.

    it also thematically sucks when your monk HAS to wear plate armor, or your barbarian character is somehow your highest intelligence character because of how the stats work. they should have renamed those classes because the stats don’t fit our expectations or the in-game descriptions of those classes.

    • steves says:

      It hasn’t been like that for ages. OK, Shotgun Ciphers were ludicrous at release, but have been toned down a lot, rangers and Paladins are much better (don’t know anything ’bout Monks, never play ’em) and there have been so many ‘balance’ patches I have lost count.

      Even when it was more silly, it wasn’t close to how out of whack most single-player RPGs are. I guess the fact they are still tweaking the rules quite heavily two expansions in is ’cause Josh Sawyer is really into into trying to make that mythical ‘balanced’ RPG system.

      All it lacks at this point really is decent mod support, so you can have your potent monks, and I can make the guns more powerful!

      • Fenixp says:

        Monks are insanely good as it is, especially with talents introduced in White March pt. 1

    • InternetBatman says:

      On normal and probably even hard monks don’t have to wear plate armor.

      The expansion made it possible to really beef up a robe, and monks have a talent that puts unenchanted robe defenses as equivalent to scale. Late game they get an even better talent that puts their DR well above the best plate in the game if they’re getting hit hard. Patch 3.0 furthers this by letting you build up survival and adding an additional 6+ to dr.

      On PotD your monk is wearing plate, but PotD is minmax mode.

  9. Andy_Panthro says:

    I spent ages going through the character creation, playing the first hour or so of the game a few times, to try and pin down what sort of character I wanted. I was expecting things to be a little D&D like, but the classes and abilities were all quite different to what I was used to (even if the names of the classes were mostly similar).

    I never felt happy with the choices I made, I didn’t really like any of the spellcasters (my go-to easy option in Baldur’s Gate 2 was the Sorcerer, but there seems to be no equivalent). I wandered into fights that seemed beyond me, but I wasn’t entirely sure if it was because I wasn’t any good at the combat, or I wasn’t supposed to be in those areas yet.

    I’ll be very glad of the “story time” mode I think, as I’m very interested to see how all that plays out, but I really don’t want to slog through the combat.

    • Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

      It’s actually well worth reading a few guides; while this game wears a D&D skin, it’s guts are seemingly a whole different animal. I sucked a big bag of dicks until I spent five minutes reading a bit about the game; how the classes what level I should be for some of the earlier major encounters etc.

    • geisler says:

      Guides? That tell you how to play the game? How about reading the manual instead? You the know thing that, if you’re really a classic CRPG player (played BG2 you say), should know has to be read before playing any decent RPG.

      The whole point of playing an RPG is (among other things) choice and consequence. That includes choice of party composition and skillsets. Reading a cookie-cutter guide that let’s you steamroll through the game shouldn’t be standard procedure.

      • jrodman says:

        Having read the entire manual, I felt lost enough that I never really got into playing the game.

        This is really not true of classic CRPGs like Bard’s Tale or tabletop Moldvay D&D where many fewer pages left me much clearer about how the game should be expected to work.

        Yes this game clearly has more flexibility than those wonders of the 1980s, but it doesn’t explain itself very well.

  10. Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

    This guy sounds EXACTLY like Phreak who reads the League of Legends Champion Spotlights. I keep expecting him to say ‘tons of damage’.

  11. king0zymandias says:

    Really liked the game but really wish the writing wasn’t so utterly uninspired and dull. It’s not that it was particularly bad, is just that it was all too generic, soulless and bland. Heck I finished the game and all the side quests, but I would be hard pressed to remember any of the plot or character details even if I tried. Which stands in stark contrast to something like the Witcher 3.

  12. Phantasma says:

    Oh yes, Pillars, the game that… didn’t impact me at all?

    I’ve read so much praise of the story, the characters and the worldbuilding and when it went on sale i gave it a go.
    And did never quite get what all the fuss was about. Mind you, its a perfectly servicable RPG with an old school isometric view, i could not recall anything frustrating, undercooked or grating.
    But nothing special or intriguing either.

    Outright disappointing was the dialogue between the party characters. Or more precisely the lack of. I reckoned that this was a much beloved feature of the old Baldur’s Gate games and a no-brainer for a spiritual revival. And because not every line got voicerecorded, surely they would have more resources to flesh out the party banter.
    But i was well into the main city until i could overhear the first conversation between them and they kept being sparse.

    It made me feel like such an philistine, but ultimately i got the feeling that a game like, say, Dragon Age: Origins entertained me at least on a same level, if not more, and the characters connected better with me. Even if it was a typical cliché ridden Bioware output.
    But mechanically AND dramaturgically it didn’t look like PoE did anything terribly different to not warrant a direct comparison. Which it still somewhat lost.

    Maybe there were a thousand twists at the end that put everything into a more flattering perspective but i came as far as some elven village and completely lost interest… ever since.
    Which is quite unusual for me, until now i finished every RPG i started.

    So this is a very peculiar game for me. I absolutely can not put a finger on it, but something was definitely amiss.

    • mforww says:

      Hey man, I’m kind of with you on that. I enjoyed my first playthrough, but the game never sucked me in in the way that Baldur’s Gate did. I increased the difficulty to hard for a second playthrough (after adding the White March) and I found combat to really drag out. I somehow got bored with it, and stopped playing… now I’m not sure I want to get the second part of the expansion.

      Which is insane for me, since I’m a BG fanatic and I love isometric combat/strategy games like X-Com, Fire Emblem, FF Tactics, etc. I think 1) the story and quests don’t really “speak” to me despite being well written, and 2) the combat seems really same-ish. In Baldur’s Gate you KNEW when you were fighting a wizard, much like you KNEW when you were fighting an ogre. In PoE, I feel like it doesn’t matter what the hell I’m fighting since I’m going to use the same stuff on it regardless (you can use “knockdown” on ghosts that FLOAT? wat??). None of the fights were memorable at all other than the dragons, which is just sad. There’s more tension in an X-Com mission, or in any given BG fight (will he make the save throw or won’t he? can my fighter get a crit here?) than there is in all of PoE. Which makes me sad, because I love the lore and i think the developers worked their asses off on this game.

  13. TomxJ says:

    I’m horribly addicted to this game at the moment. But I think I’ll try and hold off until the new patch come through, even its its just for the Stronghold content.

    … who am i kidding.