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Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director Welcome to our second class pair update. This week, by popular vote on our forums, we will be looking at the folks who rain down death (figuratively and literally) on the masses: the mob rulers, wizards and druids. Before we begin, I would like to remind our backers to complete their orders on our website if you have not already done so. Many of our backers have filled out their surveys and we've been able to work on implementing their content. Not long ago, Kaz generated these portraits for some of our generous backers. Backer Portraits We've also finished some of the inns that were designed by backers. Hector Espinoza just finished this render of the Celestial Sapling, an inn that is built into an enormous tree. The Celestial Sapling As always, the earlier we get your specifications for the content you've backed, the easier it is for us to integrate into the game. For those of you who backed content, remember that the deadline is March 31st, only two short weeks away! In our next update we'll be showing off some of the cool animations from Pillars of Eternity. Partnership A few minutes ago, Obsidian made an important announcement about a new partnership with Paradox Interactive for Pillars of Eternity. We wanted to give some information to our backers to give you a full understanding of what this partnership means and to let you know that nothing has or will change when it comes to the making of Eternity. Pillars of Eternity is still our product, we're making 100% of the development decisions, and we will still be communicating directly with you every chance we get. So, you are probably asking, why are we doing this? Obsidian is really good at making games. Everyone here is focused on that goal every day and we are heavily invested in our work. That said, Obsidian's focus is in creating games and not in marketing and distributing them. It takes a lot of time and effort to do those things properly - time and effort we want to use to make Eternity the best game it can be. We chose to partner with Paradox because they can help us with those things and really believe in PC games in particular. This lets us spend 100% of our time (and your money) towards making Eternity great. Every dollar you have given us will to go into making the game. We have setup a FAQ on our forums that will go over any questions you may have about what this partnership means for Pillars of Eternity. Please take a look and let us know if you have any other questions. And now, on to the magic of the mob rulers! Mob Rulers While neither wizards nor druids are restricted to offensive spells that target groups or areas, they excel in that arena. Whether it's dishing out elemental damage or inflicting status effects on enemies, both classes have a wide variety of spells to whittle down the hordes. Rangers and rogues are the kings of single-target takedowns, but the mob rulers exist to soften up, slow down, hinder, or otherwise mess up groups of enemies. Both classes focus heavily on spellcasters, but they have slightly different mechanics to how they work. Together with priests, wizards and druids are the "traditional" spellcasting classes that can cast a certain number of spells of each level per rest. As they gain levels in their classes, they can access more powerful spells. Over time, their weakest per-rest spells become per-encounter spells. At very high levels, the weakest spells eventually become at-will abilities, capable of being cast indefinitely. Wizards Typical Wizard Grimoire Wizards are researchers and experimenters. Like animancers, their understanding of the spirit world and soul energy is technical and scientific. For this reasons, wizards have a skill focus in both Lore and Mechanics. Also like animancers, wizards rely on special tools to achieve their effects. Specifically, wizards use grimoires, arcane books made with rare materials that can absorb and temporarily hold fragments of ambient soul energy. Unlike priests and druids, wizards do not personally shape the magic that is released. Instead, their grimoires' spell pages do most of the work. The wizard's specialty is in understanding how to help the magic flow in and out of the grimoire without going haywire. As wizards continue to research, more spells are created every year. Some spells remain in the private collections of individual wizards while others see widespread distribution and can be found in grimoires all over the known world. In game terms, all wizards start with a single grimoire. Even as big as they are, grimoires can only hold a set number of spells from each level. Wizards have the potential to access many more spells than priests or druids, but that potential is restricted by what a grimoire can hold. As a result, experienced wizards carry multiple grimoires with subsets of spells to handle different situations. Grimoires can be switched during combat, but there is an opportunity cost to doing so -- the new grimoire needs to attune itself to the wizard for several seconds before its spells can be used. Outside of combat, wizards can outfit their grimoires with any spells that they have learned. If they come across a spell in an enemy's grimoire, they can choose to learn that spell for the cost (in copper pieces) required to research it. As a result of their varied studies, wizards have access to both "meat and potatoes" spells and more eccentric effects. They excel at area attacks, but also have a healthy number of spells for personal defense and more than a few oddballs in the mix. Occasionally, wizards become known for a particular spell or family of spells that they've invented and their names are inexorably linked with their contributions to magical research. Here are some of the many spells wizards can learn in Pillars of Eternity: Fan of Flames - Creates a short-range cone of fire that does Burn damage to everyone caught inside. (Reflexes) Jolting Touch - Inflicts heavy electrical damage to the target then jumps to the two nearest enemies. (Deflection) Minoletta's Minor Missiles - Launches three missiles of magical energy that inflict Crush damage on a single target. (Deflection) Thrust of Tattered Veils - Generates a precise thrust of Crushing force that does little damage but has a high Interrupt. This fast-casting spell is often used to disrupt enemy actions. (Deflection) Wizard's Double - Creates a single duplicate image of the caster that grants a high Deflection bonus against a single attack. Concelhaut's Corrosive Siphon - Inflicts a Corrode effect and restores Stamina to the caster over time. (Fortitude) Ray of Fire - Creates a lingering stream of flames between the caster and target, doing damage to the target and everyone caught in between. (Reflexes) Fireball - Classic, reliable, deadly. That's fireball. (Reflexes) Kalakoth's Minor Blights - Creates a random "blight" in the caster's hand that does Burn, Freeze, Corrode, or Shock damage to the target and anyone caught in the area. After the wizard throws one minor blight, it will continue to spawn additional random minor blights until the spell's duration runs out. (Deflection/Reflexes) Minoletta's Bounding Missiles - As Minoletta's Minor Missiles, but each missile bounces to one additional target, does more damage, and has shorter overall range. (Deflection) Ryngrim's Repulsive Visage - Targets near caster are Sickened and Terrified by the wizard's horrifying appearance. (Will) Dimensional Shift - The caster and one ally are able to immediately switch locations, leaving a shockwave between them. Anyone caught in-between may be briefly Stunned. (Fortitude) Essential Phantom - Summons a ghostly double of the caster that fights with its bare hands, doing Shock damage. Other than the appearance of the caster, it shares no other properties. Minor Arcane Reflection - The caster erects a field of arcane energy around himself or herself, similar to the Arcane Veil. However, Minor Arcane Reflection has the ability to reflect an incoming hostile targeted (only) spell, sending it back to the original caster. The Reflection can try to reflect spells up to 3rd level -- and up to 10 total levels of spells -- before it expires. A failed attempt at reflection counts toward the limit. When an incoming spell targets the caster, the Reflection attacks the enemy's Will. If it succeeds in the attack, the spell is reflected. If two casters both have Arcane Reflections up, the attack can potentially bounce back and forth repeatedly until one caster fails his or her attack -- or exhausts his or her Reflection. Citzal's Spirit Lance - Creates a pike out of magical energy that does Pierce damage and causes a foe-only Blast explosion like wands do. (Deflection/Reflexes) Malignant Cloud - Creates a cloud of virulent poison that does raw damage (ignoring DT) to anyone in the cloud over time. (Fortitude) Arkemyr's Capricious Hex - Targets are randomly subjected to one of several afflictions, each with an equal chance of appearing, although at different durations: Dazed, Sickened, or Paralyzed. (Will) Ninagauth's Freezing Pillar - Slams a huge gleaming shard of ice into the ground, doing Freeze damage to anyone in the immediate area. A circle of frost spreads from the pillar, creating a Freeze hazard that also inflicts the Hobbled affliction on anyone it touches. (Reflexes) In addition to their per-rest spells, all wizards have two basic abilities that serve them well: Blast and Arcane Veil. Blast allows wands, scepters, and wands wielded by wizards to do a small amount of foe-only damage in a small radius around their target. Arcane Veil is an instantaneous ability that dramatically raises the wizard's Deflection for a few moments. Its one weakness is firearms; the Arcane Veil is not able to react to the speed of a bullet before it passes through. Druids Druid Backer Portrait Druids are animists, drawing power through the webs they believe connect all living souls in the world. When not casting spells and transforming into mythical beasts, druids spend a great deal of time in nature, giving them skill foci in Athletics and Survival. Much like priests, druids draw ambient fragments of soul energy toward them and shape their effects through practiced concentration. While druids do not have the diverse spell repertoire of wizards, they have more than enough to handle most problems that come their way. Druids' spells often take the form of natural phenomena -- storms, coiling plants, rapid decay -- to reflect their primal connection to the world. Despite their heavily-offensive nature, they do have a few defensive and healing spells to aid their allies. Druid Stag Form Nature's Mark - Enemies are outlined in pale green light, decreasing their Deflection and Reflexes. (Will) Talons' Reach - Caster creates an oversized projection of beastly talons striking everyone in the area for Slash damage. (Deflection) Tanglefoot - Lingering, sprawling patch of magical vines and other plants Hobbles anyone caught in the hazard. (Reflexes) Winter Wind - Characters in the area are pushed back and take Freeze damage. (Fortitude) Firebrand - Caster wields a massive sword-shaped blade of fire that does Burn damage on a hit. Switching to another weapon ends the spell. Insect Swarm - Targets take Pierce damage over time and have reduced Concentration. (Fortitude) Beetle's Shell - An allied target is encased in a shell that prevents him or her from taking actions (including moving) but will absorb a fixed amount of damage before shattering. Twin Stones - Two boulders fly out from the druid, causing Crush damage as they go. If the boulders strike a solid surface the boulder explodes, doing Pierce damage to anyone in the area. (Deflection/Reflexes) Moonwell - Creates stationary radius in which allies recover Stamina and gain a bonus to all defenses. Overwhelming Wave - Creates a rolling wave of water that smashes everything in its path, causing Crush damage and a Stun. (Fortitude) Firebug - A ball of fire rapidly bounces from enemy to enemy causing Burn damage. It hits up to 8 targets total. (Deflection) Nature's Terror - The druid gains a terrifying electrical aura that causes Shock damage and the Terrified affliction to anyone nearby. (Reflexes / Will) Wall of Thorns - Creates a wall of thorns, which does Pierce damage to anyone in it or who attempts to cross it. (Reflexes) Garden of Life - Plants spring up from downed enemies, generating healing auras around them. Rot Skulls - Summons necrotic skulls into the caster's hands. The skulls can be thrown at targets for Crush damage and a Corrode explosion. (Deflection / Reflexes) In addition to their spells, druids have two base abilities that assist them in dealing with single targets. At character creation, players select a damage type for their Wildstrike passive ability. Wildstrike adds a small secondary amount of damage to all damage-dealing attacks that the druid makes. Druids also all choose a spiritshift form at character creation. This form represents a type of animal spirit with which the druid has developed an intimate level of understanding (wolf, great cat, bear, stag, and boar). A few times a day, they can use this understanding to transform their bodies into a hybridized form between their natural shape and the shape of the creature they are emulating. In these forms, they cannot use any of their normal equipment but can attack with powerful natural weapons. Each form also has a special passive ability that applies while the druid is in that form. Over the course of the game, druids can acquire additional spiritshift forms to give them more options. There are many more wizard and druid spells where these came from. They all add up to give both classes a wide variety of abilities to play with. Please let us know what you think of the flavor and mechanics of these classes in the discussion thread!
I love CRPGs, I've actually been on something of a CRPG marathon lately. I've played through IWD, IWD2, BG, BG2, BG2:ToB, NWN & all expansions, NWN2 & all expansions. PS:T is next. One thing that many of these games are guilty of is what I'd call plot-related forced character positioning. Essentially I'm describing what happens when the plot demands a conversation before a fight and forces your character to stand close to and in full sight of your aggressor, even when it will obviously become a fight and even when tactically it is suicide. NWN2 is by far the worst culprit of this but the others suffer from it to one degree or another. When playing as a sorceror there is little more frustrating than sneaking ahead with your party's rogue, running across an invisible zone which triggers a conversation in which your main character & your rogue mysteriously switch positions, leaving your rogue nice & safe with the rest of your party and your squishy sorceror all alone to face the music... I like to play Archers, Rogues or Spellcasters in these kind of games, never the kind who like to be 'in the thick of it'. Thus it frustrates me immensely where I'm forced into a conversation which results in a fight for which I am immediately disadvantaged. It especially frustrates me when the conversation starts even though I'm successfully sneaking or invisible etc. What I'd like to see in Project Eternity is for this to be handled differently. If my main character rogue sneaks into the room where some enemy wants to start up a conversation, I'd like the game to allow one of my companions to speak for me so I can remain hidden. I'd also like to see the game allow me & my party to remain standing in their original positions after the conversation is over rather than seeing Aerie (or similar character) placed next to something with more swords than braincells. Obviously plot must prevail but I'd like to see that tactical options are never denied me when they shouldn't be!