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Hi guys, thanks for checking out my topic. I'm a new player and I just picked up PoE last week. I've gotten to the first town and messed around a bit but I'm having a bit of restartitis since there's a lot in this game to consider. I'm a very "Plan my play through" type of person so I want to know what build, items, party members, etc that I'll be going for. I play like this because the worst feeling for me in a game is regretting that I didn't make a different choice. Here's an example: I start playing a fire based Paladin only to find out that Paladin's main abilities are blue fire, which doesn't mesh with the aesthetic I want (true story). So I'd like to take some advice from you veteran's if you're willing to give it, so that I can actually get into this game in earnest. The first challenge is the party members. I'm very partial to story companions in games like this, so I do not want custom companions. This is a challenge because I prefer my groups to be diverse (race, gender, class) and to make sense in terms of gameplay (Even mix or range/melee, tank, healer, etc). The companions I am interested in are Eder, Aloth, Hiravias, Sagani, Pallegina, Durance, and maybe Grieving Mother. I really like Eder's personality, and I enjoy those with unique aspects (Pallegina, Hiravias, Sagani). Aloth, GM, and Durance are all being considered more because I've been told that they are important to the story than for any other reason, although I do think it necessary to have wizard and healer type characters in my party. Note that if I leave out Durance or Aloth it will most likely be due to me replacing them as I'll get to in a moment. So I ask you guys, what do you think a reasonable party is for me? Are Aloth/Durance/GM important enough to keep around? Or can I leave them in my stronghold and occasionally talk to them to get the same value? The next challenge is my class, which I've been having a ton of trouble with. Paladins are my bread and butter, I play them in every game where they are an option, and the next closest option if they aren't. This is my first experience with a game that messed up paladins so badly for me that I'm being forced to go elsewhere. Blue fire when every other bit of fire is orange? All of their best gear is bright green? No spells? It seems like their only role is to be a tank support, but if they are up front tanking then the only person receiving support is the fighter, and if they are in back supporting the ranged then their tankiness is somewhat wasted. Paladins in this game just feel like a drunken thematic rainbow that has no solid direction. /rant With that in mind, you know that I want to play the closest thing to feeling like a paladin from other games as I can get. I've narrowed it down to Barbarian, Wizard or Priest. Note that I like spells, and I especially like Firebrand, so that will be a staple of my character. The ideas are as follows: Barbarian: Off-tank using Flames of Fair Rhian and Dragon's Maw, switching to Firebrand to deliver the pain when needed. Interested in the ring of combusting wounds and other spellbound items/armors since Barbarians lack spells entirely. I really like the orange ability effects of the barbarian and their AoE nature. However, as a paladin "main" I find I have a great distaste for being known as a barbarian, and I find it hard to shake that feeling. I see their icon of crude weapons crossing a blood red skull and I throw up in my mouth just a little. Wizard: Self-buffer melee build with nice spells and Firebrand, probably a scepter or something before I get in melee. I'm very mixed on Wizard because most of their spells I have no interest in using, but the ones I like give me vast amounts of pleasure. Citzals Martial Power in particular looks amazing. However, their reliance on "blue" buffs like DAoM, arcane shield, etc turn me off greatly. The more I look at this the more I think Aloth could pull off a blue ice themed build with the spirit lance much better (though his starter spells are rubbish). Priest: Not entirely sure, but something like Abydon's hammer for spells into Firebrand when I need to conserve spells or when I run out. Priest seems like the logical alternative to Paladin, but I have similar or perhaps even greater issues with them as the wizard. I don't like having a bunch of spells that I have no interest in casting. I suppose the benefit of priest is that most of their spells fit a single theme (unlike wizards with frost/fire/arcane/corrosive/etc) but still. I'm not really sure how good priests are at buffing themselves vs supporting the party, but I think it would be nice to play one so long as I'm not just a buff bot for everyone else. So what do you guys think? As a barbarian all the party members I'm interested can be used, and as a wizard/priest obviously Aloth/Durance are no good. What class do you think will sate my paladin lust best? Which party members do you think will work best both for that character and story wise? Thanks very much for any help. If you have questions for me I will do my best to answer. Edit: I'm playing on Hard by the way, I tried POTD but it was a little too much. Also, Mobile was unkind to me when I typed this, there might be auto correct errors.