Obsidian have done well supporting piratical RPG Pillars Of Eternity 2: Deadfire, but adding an entire (optional) genre shift is a cut above. As of today’s update – Patch 4.1 – starting a new game will prompt you if you want to play the seafaring adventure with Baldur’s Gate style pauseable real-time combat, or tactical and turn-based. Looking a bit like The Temple Of Elemental Evil or (more recently) Divinity: Original Sin 2, the new combat style opens up a lot of options for tactical planning. Below, Deadfire director Josh Sawyer explains how and why this mode came to be.
The current implementation of turn-based mode is officially labelled a beta release. Obsidian say they’ve tested it extensively in-house, but there’s only so much their QA division can do. It’ll be up to players to put the new combat through its paces. Sadly, there’s no switching between the combat styles either, so no wading through easy fights in real-time before switching to turn-based when things get serious. I do wonder if this will make stuff like Path of The Damned difficulty more viable for regular humans, making its extra stat-boosted enemies more manageable.
The turn-based combat is initiative-based. A timeline tells you what order characters will act this turn, although spells with longer cast-times will fire off later in the turn. This means that you’ll have to predict where the enemy is likely to be, if it’s an area-targeted power and your target gets a chance to move before the spell goes off. It’s a wildly different style of play, but it should also make spells and abilities that move or hold targets far more viable. Being able to take an enemy out of melee for exactly one turn means a lot more than some arbitrary period of time.
The 4.1 patch is live for Pillars Of Eternity 2: Deadfire, and the turn-based combat (which is in beta, remember) is available upon starting a new game. You can read more about the turn-based combat on the official page here, and more detailed patch notes here. Oh, and I asked Obsidian, but it’s unlikely that turn-based combat will be coming to the original Pillars. Sorry!
The game is currently on sale over on GOG and GamesPlanet (if you want a Steam key), with the Obsidian Edition reduced to £34.79/€41.99/$44.99, and including the now-complete season pass. It’s published by Versus Evil.