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Beast of Winter DLC Announcement

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Developer stream: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/283826899?t=42m31s




Pillars of Eternity 2’s first DLC expansion is out next month




Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire’s first DLC is on the way, and soon. Beast of Winter is set to launch is in less than a month, taking you to the southern reaches of the Deadfire Archipelago for a hellish crusade against a monstrous enemy who seeks to bring the world to an wintry end. Beast of Winter launches August 2.


You’ll join the adventure at the behest of the worshippers of the god of entropy and disaster, who want you to fulfill your destiny as the Duskspeaker - a harbinger of the end. Among Rymrgand’s priests, one called Vatnir will join you to do battle with monsters in a fight that heads to Hel itself. At the end of it all, there’s a horror that has even the gods shaking, threatening the a frozen end to the realm of Eora.


We found out much more about the Beast of Winter DLC by speaking with the developers. You can see much more at the link, but you can expect to meet the end of the world with some dark comedy, as you journey beyond the Deadfire - literally into ‘The Beyond,’ a supernatural dimension filled with ancient things.


Beast of Winter is the first paid expansion for Pillars 2, but Obsidian isn’t done with free updates. Alongside the expansion on August 2, all players will get access to the ‘Deck of Many Things’ pack, as well as new merchant ship with lots of “neat stuff” to buy. You’ll also see the 2.0 patch, which makes many bug fixes, quality of life improvements, and adds the new Challenge Mode.


Challenge Mode is similar to the optional Berath’s Blessings you can get at the start of the game’s campaign, but it makes the game harder instead of easier. The mode’s designed to capture the feeling of early Dungeons & Dragons play, and gives you modifiers like killing off a character if they spend too long on the ground.


The folks at Obsidian see challenge mode as pretty similar to another fan-favourite option of theirs. “It changes the way the game plays,” says Beast of Winter narrative designer Alex Scokel, “in small and pretty large ways, in much the same way that Hardcore mode does in New Vegas.”


Previous Pillars 2 free DLC has included new beards, and a whole lot of booze in the Rum Runner's Pack. Two more paid expansions are on the way following Beast of Winter, so there'll be plenty more of Pillars 2 for you to enjoy.





4 ways the Beast of Winter DLC subverts Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire




Pillars of Eternity II is already a brave sequel - it pulls the series away from its nostalgic roots in the temperate woodland of Baldur’s Gate, and replants it in the Southern-Pacific-style island chains of the Deadfire Archipelago. That displacement had a knock-on effect on the rest of the game, which reimagined the isometric RPG as a swashbuckling adventure.


Beast of Winter, the first of three planned paid DLC packs for Deadfire, flips the formula once again. The idyllic, Polynesian white sand and blue seas have been covered by snow and ice. A new vein of dark comedy has opened up in the writing. And you, the heroic Watcher, are being celebrated once again - but this time by some pretty unpalatable types.


“One of the real rewarding things about working on DLC is that the groundwork is done,” Beast of Winter narrative designer Alex Scokel tells us. “We don’t have to worry about making sure that every weapon has an animation associated with it - we can just make new stuff.


“In DLC we’re able to stretch those legs a little.”


You’re under the spyglass



Beast of Winter begins with a letter. You are cordially invited to an island at the very bottom of the map made home by the worshippers of Rymrgand. Rymrgand, the beast of the DLC’s title, is the god of collapse: famine, plague, and disaster. The locals call you Duskspeaker - they’ve seen the way death follows in your wake, and they’re really into it.


“The people there throw a feast in your honour,” Scokel says. “Because they respect the way that you go about messing things up.”


When asked whether Beast of Winter’s story is commentary on the player as a destructive force in the Archipelago, Scokel phrases it another way.


“There’s certainly a recognition of the destructive nature of a protagonist in an RPG,” he says. “The world spins around the player, and these cultists have recognised that and placed you within the context of their own myths.”


The cult says you’re the harbinger of the end. Frankly, they can’t wait for the cataclysm. Whether or not that’s who you want to be is a question you’re encouraged to start pondering in this DLC.


There’ll be blizzards at the beach



While Pillars of Eternity II took us to lots of different environments, its defining images were of verdant jungles and sandy beaches. As the title suggests, Beast of Winter changes all that.


Rymrgand shares the title of god of death with Berath, so they split up some of the responsibilities. While Berath deals with more palatable ideas like passage and rebirth, the Beast of Winter is very much about the switch from warmth and life to stillness on a cold slab.


The Beast manifests as a huge yet emaciated auroch, fur flecked with ice and snow. Wherever he goes, he brings bitter winds and is shrouded in squalls. Sure enough, his influence over the island on which the DLC takes place extends to the weather - frost has crept into the land of the living. If left unchecked, the villain of this new story threatens to spread the ice across the entirety of Eora, local climate be damned.


“A lot of it is frost and snow and ice early on,” Scokel says. “And polar bears.”


It’s driven by dark comedy



“There’s certainly a mood that the DLC has,” Scokel muses. “All the Rymrgandian things - the inevitability of darkness and of endings. All things that decay end.”


He laughs. “Which is an interesting note to kick off our DLCs on.”


Throughout the quests and writing of Beast of Winter, dark humour has emerged as a consistent feature. It’s something of a surprise: while there are dashes of dry comedy in the Pillars of Eternity series, it rarely feels as if it could indulge in a Fable-style slapstick aside.


For the DLC, though - a story about the ways people fight back against the inevitability of death in a world with magic, gods, and immortals - comedy became necessary.


“We obviously don’t want to make an incredibly depressing piece of DLC,” Frey says. “It’s definitely an opportunity for us to show how people feel about this sort of thing, but also show the humour of it.”


“One of the reasons we wanted to be funny,” Scokel adds, “was to lighten what could otherwise be a really [miserable] experience.”


You’re stepping outside the Deadfire



The world design of Pillars of Eternity began with Obsidian designer Josh Sawyer flipping over a map of the Forgotten Realms’ Dalelands. But over the course of two games, his team have fleshed out Eoras with unique lore - some of which we only ever read about in books or told by NPCs. Realistically, we’ll never see all of the places referenced in its stories.


“Scale-wise, Pillars is similar to the Infinity Engine games,” Scokel explains. “It’s not really a globetrotting game, it’s more a region-trotting game. And so we look for opportunities to bring in these other areas of the world.”


One example of this in Deadfire is the Valian Trading Company - a colonising influence in the area that allows you to see the culture and architecture of a people from faraway lands. Beast of Winter goes further, taking you to The Beyond, a strange dimension stuffed with devious challenges and shared by ancient souls. There will be some revelations there.


“We’re trying to find opportunities to take the player places that have been mentioned before in lore but haven’t been pulled into fruition,” executive producer Alec Frey says. “It digs into the history of Eora in some ways we haven’t done so far.”


Beast of Winter is coming to PC on August 2nd.

Edited by Infinitron
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Is Vatnir going to be a new sidekick?



Priest of Rymrgand; can multi into a Chanter or a Rogue.

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"Time is not your enemy. Forever is."

— Fall-From-Grace, Planescape: Torment

"It's the questions we can't answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question, and he'll look for his own answers."

— Kvothe, The Wise Man's Fears

My Deadfire mods: Brilliant Mod | Faster Deadfire | Deadfire Unnerfed | Helwalker Rekke | Permanent Per-Rest Bonuses | PoE Items for Deadfire | No Recyled Icons | Soul Charged Nautilus


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Confirmed sidekick.


They didn’t quote a number a hours. They said it’s larger than Bastard’s Wound; smaller than The White March.

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"Time is not your enemy. Forever is."

— Fall-From-Grace, Planescape: Torment

"It's the questions we can't answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question, and he'll look for his own answers."

— Kvothe, The Wise Man's Fears

My Deadfire mods: Brilliant Mod | Faster Deadfire | Deadfire Unnerfed | Helwalker Rekke | Permanent Per-Rest Bonuses | PoE Items for Deadfire | No Recyled Icons | Soul Charged Nautilus


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Haven't watched the stream, but I take it that's where they said the new guy is a sidekick and no changes to level cap?

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One can hope! They didn’t add him to the party in the steam so we don’t know for sure.


I LOVE the new guy, Vatnir, already. This is a great addition for us folks who weren’t terribly fond of Xoti, or just thought that one playthrough with her was enough.


Great work Obsidian! DLC is looking glorious.


I would LOVE to know what level the content starts at for BOW though, so I can have a play through ready for the expansion.

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