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Striding Forth - Pillars Of Eternity: The White March Out

Winter is... out now

It's been five months since Pillars of Eternity [official site] was released, which is categorical proof that the wheel of time has spun completely off its axis and is careering down a hill toward a cliff edge. Before we're all plunged into the abyss, there's another big chunk of RPG from Obsidian to delve into, in The White March Part 1, a snowy expansion for the main game.

The events take place within the core game, rather than being something happening after. That means you only need to have reached Act 2 for the new content to slot neatly into your world, appearing on the map once you've returned to your stronghold and had a chat with that nice statue lady. Head on up and you'll discover the village of Stalward, under attack by ogres, and seemingly threatened by all sorts of problems relating to an abandoned Dwarven mine. It was the site where Durgan steel was made, you see, and many believe there are treasures behind its collapsed walls.

Also in the DLC come the Cragholdt Bluffs, a high-level battleground designed for parties level 10 or higher. This'll give you a chance to make use of the extension of the level cap up from 12 to 14, as well as play with the party member AI that's been added in. Also, if you're playing with a party from nearer the end of the game, when you first approach the White March area you'll be offered the chance to have things get a bit trickier. It's a one-time only offer, the game fixing your decision permanently, but of course still letting you fiddle with the regular difficulty levels.

There are two new companions to find, as well - Zahua and the Devil of Caroc - as well as a wealth of new missions and side-quests, the same erratically voiced and not-voiced characters, and all the other visual and UI tweaks that come with the upgrade to the 2.0 build.

This is only part one of the expansion. The second part will appear in the winter (appropriate enough). Right now you can get the first part for £11 on Steam and GOG, or get both parts for a rather minuscule discount of £19. Not cheap, but then seemingly rather sizeable content. I'm playing it right now, and will have a review for you as soon as I can.

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