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Welcome novice, so, this guide is focused on introducing you to the very basics of Pillars of Eternity. It will give you an overview of what all the important numbers are, what they do and how you should handle them. I hope I can make you more familliar with the nature of the game and help you start off. If you have a question, please check if it is already answered here before opening a thread. Thanks Health and endurance: Attacks and defenses: Damage types and damage reduction (DR): Types of melee weapons and fighting styles: Types of ranged weapons: Attack speed and speed boni: The atrributes and what they do: Races: Cultures: Backgrounds: Skills: An short introduction into the classes: heavy WIP CLASSIC CASTERS: Introduction Wizard: Druid: Priest: THE "NEW" CASTERS Chanter Cipher Stacking rules: A sidenote on summons and traps: Why no detailed build guides for the classes?
Introduction: The "tier" classification is from DnD Min/Max forums. Most classes are great after level 5 and gear choices from Defiance Bay, which also happens to coincide with much of Act 1. Which I think gives the first part of the game an inflated difficulty if you're not sure what you are facing or similar. Due to this, I ranked the classes for Act 1 (Hard difficulty) in the following manner. Tier 1: These classes can deal with all kinds of threats, not care about resources, or the resources they do have are game changers. Cipher, Wizard, Priest. Cipher (Use a spell every encounter, even for trash mobs and have a 40% dmg increase is amazing) -Even with reduced focus, their powers (spells) are great. They can deal decent damage with weapons when focus is out, but the start of combat where setup is key, options like Tenuous Grasp and Mental Binding give them a very effective way to turn the tide of battle. Wizard (Arcane assault spam and spells that game change) -Arcane Assault deals RAW damage which bypasses Damage Reduction completely. In Act 1, its all about the alpha strike or set up as gear choices are bad. This means among other things they have the best weapon via the 1st lvl Parasitic Staff and a max MIG wizard will deal crazy/chunky/fast damage with it from the 2nd row safely. Additionally, hitting Arcane Veil in tough fights means monsters will drop their agro right away from them due to how they target the "lowest" deflection, or they'll start to miss more. -They can also cast game changing spells like Slicken, Chill fog, and Bewildering Spectacle. They also get more synergy as they're added on. Not many monsters survive 4x (6x, or 8x) arcane assault spam done in roughly 3 seconds from proper wizards assuming you go for 2+ of them. Not to mention, the Slicken + Chill fog setup is really easy to do then. Priest (Lower end of Tier 1, they have support spells that do game change for the group but not as much damage) -I debated putting them in Tier 2 as a lot of their spells are great for setup, and buffs are always welcome. They have a nice per encounter +accuracy or even better, a per encounter weaken effect which is a super strong debuff. The only thing is, they don't get multiplicative benefits like the Cipher or Wizard above as only the highest debuff applies. Tier 2: While not as versatile as Tier 1, they do their job really well and have some cool spamming abilities or similar that can turn the tide in your favor. Moon Godlike Monk, Moon Godlike Darcozzi Paladini, Rogue, Druid. Moon Godlike Darcozzi Paladini with Fires Talent at lvl 2 (they get retaliation ridiculously early and target REFLEX with it so the act 1 shades are easy with them.). -You can get 3 to 4 ranks of your Faith/Conviction (make this your main PC to get these) during Act 1 easy enough, which equates to +8 saves. Additionally, they can use Outworn buckler which gives themselves and the party another +5. Self healing, tanky, and having retaliation that actually matters via Vulnerable attack talent means they are much stronger than any of their lvl 5 or less counterparts.... Sadly, this doesn't hold true after act 1 as other classes get better gear, or abilities. [WARNING: This class goes to Tier 3 or 4 easily unless you count solo play due to almost every other class bringing more later on]. Moon Godlike Monk (Torment's reach with Moon God-like means free healing and wounds to power them.) -People like the other races, and I won't say they're wrong but Moon felt good in the early game and as always, let's you dump CON for more points elsewhere. Triple synergy as they take damage = wounds = healing for the group = more damage they deal via Torment's reach. Rogue (alpha strike is still handy to take down one mob. They can enable their own sneak attacks if needed via crippling to take down another or two.) -Killing or whittling down a monster quickly is a good thing. Rogues do it consistently from ranged and much riskier/better in melee. Druid (spiritshift, despite the accuracy issues is a decent resource and they can game change via spells) -Still a caster, and without access to the +uses of spells later available to the wizards/priests via rings, they have spiritshift to rely on. The most annoying thing though? Melee is dangerous, and kinda clunky, which is why they're not in Tier 1 despite all the goodies they provide. Tier 3: They're good at their task, and though don't have game changing mechanics like the Tier 1 or Tier 2 classes, they're 'good' enough. Barbarian, Ranger, Fighter, Chanter Barbarian (Frenzy is amazing along with Carnage, they just take a little bit to mature and Fire God-like + retaliation isn't available early). -Fire Godlike synergy isn't really viable until 5+ because of 2 things. 1) The retaliation damage is piddling 2) Carnage accuracy is still pretty bad. Not to mention the usual gear choices. Its why the moon monk is so much better in the early game because they can provide healing, but a moon barbarian lacks that synergy from wounds to wanna tank. Ranger (They could be Tier 2 if not for the bugs, ranger's grief, and similar issues plaguing them. The bear tank does provide a great off tank for a single or 2 targets with resilient companion though, so I view them as versatile, just not 'great' until they get all their talents they want as build choices force them behind a rogue until 5+). -I'll also add that frighten available as a per encounter is pretty handy via Lion, and the increased run speed it has an animal companion can be useful for a pull/setup/tank/spank strategy. This said, with a proper front line it only prolonged battles which is a shame because on paper having a Frighten, 3 to 4 engagement slots due to pet having 2, and ranger have 1 to 2 via talents was cool...But again, engagement isn't that important in this game as some have noticed, and its more about positioning or choke points. [WARNING: This class will go to Tier 4 easily without pet micro due to the grief mechanics.] Fighter (Limited experience maining this one, from what I saw of Eder they could last forever but didn't have game changing mechanics). -While its easiest to have 1 main tank, and 1 off tank, and then 4 dps, I always debated how useful Eder was as a tank. Typically for hard fights, food or potions were available, and dps/CC was more the name of the game. The tough fights involved teleporters like shades or bad setups like being surrounded. This said, fighters just self healing when beat on is also mimicked by the Moon race, so my bias was always there that I could go 2 moon tanks of different classes and be fine. Chanter (Only placed down here due to their slow ramp up, overall, they are effective once the 18+ seconds are up.) -Sometimes, battles drag out because you're not sure of what you're doing in Act 1. Chanters are good when that happens. Of course, they're bad when you finish every fight within 21 seconds or less as 18 seconds + 2 second cast time + 1 second to actually use something/hits on screen made it kinda iffy. All this goes out the window if you use multiple chanters with Come Come Swift though as tanks... They just melt through with multiple stacking Damage unaffected by might.... though again, slow play. Tier 4: The job they have, they can be okay at with extreme optimization but most classes do it better or easier. In a bigger meta sense, why take them over the other classes? All others not mentioned. Paladins are weird, have stacking bugs, etc, so outside of the early retaliation, its hard to recommend them for me. Similarly, a non-moon Monk tends to go down a tier during the early game, but will get to the 2nd tier in the late game due to reactive healing not being as necessary (either your priest does it or you have draining items). Races and Tiers: Some races will give a tier modifier to certain classes. Wood elf is good for a ranged character of any sort. While Island Aumua is great for the quick switch ranger using guns for example in very specific builds. Moon Godlike let's you dump CON on just about any class. Pale elf is also good for the +Freeze DR vs Shade attacks, letting them tank without Bulwark or Fires as well. That said no race will bump a class up a tier in Act 1 easily, though wood elf/moon godlike comes pretty close, and Island Aumua is build specific and needs Act 2+ items. PotD and Tiers: There's actually not too much adjustment to me for PotD as things are more about previous knowledge, and where to go to get "good" for a class I noticed (or bypassing fights via stealth). Some people like the prolonged nature of the fights and inflated stats to actually need to wear armor, use food, traps, etc, but it usually became some weird corner game for tough fights so I guess its more like everyone should be a tank and make at least 3 tanks in a group or similar as effects don't land nearly as well, and fights take longer. Fighter and Chanter go up a tier because longer fights = better for them. Fighter in particularly is very handy due to constant recovery, and chanter loves the longer fights. Cipher borderlines Tier 2. They do need to drink potions and eat food like everyone else, but they do have 5 more accuracy for their spell effects landing which is nice, but CC and spell effects in general are harder to use due to duration issues I noticed, and focus gain being much tougher. Wizard doesn't fall too far behind because the Parastic staff is a +8 accuracy weapon and hits like a truck with the speed of a truck (so its like they have 28 acc vs 34 of even the best fighters with fine weapons) and lasts for a minute plus. And they still can target weak saves if needed, mostly reflex, and need to prep via potions or food just like everyone else. Priest provides nice synergy for accuracy issues as well as defense ones as usual. They can even use the seal traps with better accuracy via mechanics so don't move a tier. In fact they probably provide the most reliable CC at the beginning parts of the game due to this, but need prep and previous game knowledge to keep this status. Rangers go up a tier oddly. The bear pet is decent enough in the early game with good micro, as PotD is all about micro I noticed so can provide a good off-offtank in corridors or similar. They also have decent deflection and high accuracy via Vicious aim which is key. Rogue goes down a tier. They have to deal with deflection all the time, and despite reckless assault I just have a tough time managing them with everything else going on, or just annoyed they miss still. Again, they're effective, not game changing for Act 1. Everyone else remains the same, assuming they get a bit tankier, and similar stuff. Conclusion: After level 5 all classes get more powerful, or their game changing skills, or resources via potions and similar are readily available to anyone. Basically, the game becomes easier for any class or party setup. Finally, this is all my opinion after having played most of the classes through Act 1 without rushing through to get Defiance Bay/Dyr, etc items, so YMMV if you have previous knowledge of the game or didn't play a certain way. Hope you had a good read, and appreciate any feedback, comments or similar below.