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The Pillars of Eternity No Reload Challenge


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#1
Alesia_BH

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Greetings, fellow wayfarers! Welcome to The Pillars of Eternity No Reload Challenge!

 

Have you ever dreamed of completing the Pillars of Eternity saga without a single reload? Have you ever wanted to share your adventures -triumphs and failures alike- with fellow adventures in a friendly and supportive environment? If so, then this is the place for you!

 

The purpose of The Pillars of Eternity No Reload Challenge thread is to provide a platform for players to share their attempt to complete the PoE saga without reloading for death, calamity, or, well, any reason at all. This will be a familiar concept for those from the Baldur's Gate community. For others, it may seem odd at first. But trust me: It's a lot of fun! The BG Reload Challenge has been running for over a decade now, across three forums- accumulating thousands of pages and millions of views. As the founder of the original BG Trilogy No Reload Challenge on the old, old Bioware forums(*), I'm hopeful that we can achieve something similar in PoE-Land. Here's how it works! 

 

Entry Procedures:

 

Players will enter by posting a character introduction in this thread. The intro should include the following:

 

A) Name

B ) Race & Subrace

C) Class

D) Culture

E) Background

F) Attributes

 

(If you'd like to post a picture of your character and a description, from either a gaming or roleplaying perspective, feel free! That's highly encouraged, though not required!)

 

Entry posts should also list:

 

i.) Version

ii.) Difficulty Level

iii.) Settings (specifically: Maim Before Death- On/Off; Injuries On/Off; Expert Mode On/Off)

iv.) Mods (if any)

 

Upon entry, you can expect a warm welcome and well-wishes from your fellow challengers. The next step is to start playing and posting!

 

Posting Guidelines

 

Challengers should post written progress reports on their adventure, enhanced with pictures, and, perhaps, video (though exclusive use of video is discouraged). Progress reports can be brief or they can be detailed: share as much as you like in whichever format you like. If you'd like to focus on combat mechanics, great! I'f you'd like to role-play your character, and write a story, awesome! If you'd like to do both, together that would be double-triple awesome: that's the ideal.

 

Confused? No worries. Check out example reports at the BG No Reload Challenge links below:

 

Archived Bioware BG NR Challenge: http://blackstrider.net

Active Beamdog BG NR Challenge: https://forums.beamd...scussion/40393/

 

Completion

 

A challenge attempt can end in three ways: 1) death; 2) abandonment; 3) success. Whatever happens, let us know! There's no shame in falling- it happens to all of us! 

 

Upon successful completion of Pillars of Eternity, in this thread, in the PoE I forum, players will graduate to a to-be-openened Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire No Reload Challenge thread in the PoE II forum.

 

Challengers who successfully complete both stages of the saga will have their achievement commemorated in a Hall of Heroes: a public list of each and every full triumphant run, which will appear in the post just below this one. Hooray for the heroes to be!

 

(Be aware that Hall of Heroes entries will note the difficulty level, mods (if any) and party composition)

 

Let's move on to the rules.

 

Rules & Norms

 

1) On Reloading. Very strict. No reloading for party deaths. No reloading for NPC death. No reloading for misclicks or player error (in combat or dialogue). No quiting or inducing crashes to evade death or an undesirable outcome. No reloading for minor bugs or bugs that are widely understood and largely accepted as part of the mechanic of the relevant edition. The only exceptions to the no reload rule will be: 1) hardware failures/crashes; 2) major game breaking bugs that unequivocally subvert developer intent. 

 

2) On Difficulty Level. Highly flexible. Players may enter on any difficulty level they like. Hall of Heroes entries will note the difficulty level.

 

3) On Settings. Highly flexible. Players are free to use whichever settings they prefer. Gameplay relevant settings should be noted in the intro post. Particularly important settings may be noted in the Hall of Heroes entry. 

 

4) On Party Composition. Highly flexibile. Players may use whichever party composition they desire. Hall of Heroes entries will note composition.

 

5) On Character Creation. Strict, but slightly permissive. Players are encouraged to use the standard, unaltered player creation mechanism. Hacked characters are not allowed. The only avenue to creation of a non-standard character will be through mods, see mod guidelines below for further details

 

6) On Item Set Manipulation. Strict, but slightly permissive. Gratuitous item set alteration is not allowed, although introduction of a minor, low powered, flavor personal item, similar to the NPC personal items, may be permitted, with community agreement. The only other avenue to use of a non standard item set will be through mods. Again, see mod guidelines below for further details.

 

7) On Mods. Moderately permissive. Players may use mods to enhance the gaming experience, but they are encouraged to use mods that are widely known and understood by the community in the interest of insuring mutual understanding and community respect for player achievements. All mods must be declared and described in the player's entry post. Links to the mod should be provided. Any mods will be noted in the Hall of Heroes entry.

 

8 ) On Tactics. Highly flexible, but with guidance. Players may use whatever tactics they desire- we don't want to be in the position of policing tactics. That said, players are strongly encouraged to keep community sensibilities in mind. Egregiously cheesy or exploitative tactics can alienate audiences and undermine respect for the accomplishments -past or present- of challenge participants. Do what you like, but keep your audience in mind and be respectful or each other and the challenge. Be thoughtful, be considerate, but, by all means, be you.

 

9 ) On Resolution Procedures. Accommodating, but firm. All rule issues will be addressed through a jury of peers/community consensus method. If a question or issue emerges, ask. Challenge participants will share their view, keeping the rule set, prior judgements, and community norms in mind. The final authority for all rule issues will be the player, in recognition of the fact that the thread is, in the end, no more than an avenue for players to share their adventure. Nonetheless players are highly, highly encouraged to abide by and respect the community consensus ruling.    

 

And that, my friends, is all you need to know! So, let's get this party started! The Pillars of Eternity No Reload Challenge is now open to entries!

 

Best,

 

A.

 
 
(*) Credit to Retet for starting the very first no reload challenge, a BG2 only thread on the old, old Bioware forums.

Edited by Alesia_BH, 17 November 2018 - 12:44 AM.

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#2
Alesia_BH

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This is where we honor our heroes, our scions, our fallen. May we remember them all!

 

The Pillars of Eternity Saga No Reload Challenge - Hall of Heroes/List of Honorable Mentions/The Graveyard.


Edited by Alesia_BH, 17 November 2018 - 03:41 AM.

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#3
semiticgod

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Great! I look forward to reading about Ashoka's adventures.

 

I'm a longtime no-reloader for the Infinity Engine, but I literally just started playing Pillars of Eternity today with a mage. I died several times already--probably in large part because I thought that dwarven woman's spirit was at the bottom of the temple in the Gilded Vale, instead of right next to the tree, which meant I only very recently recruited Eder, and was therefore working with two flimsy mages for most of the game. Turns out having a tank is very important; Aloth and I got overwhelmed numerous times when enemies came in groups. A few early findings:

 

1. Disengagement is incredibly dangerous, and movement is very limited. Unlike Baldur's Gate, you can't avoid damage simply by running around and trying to get out of reach; the enemy gets attacks of opportunity. Fleeing from combat is, ironically, an excellent way to get killed. I notice several spells and I think a talent that can improve the chance of escape, but I don't know how feasible it really is to survive on mobility. I did manage to use hit-and-run tactics to kill some trolls, who have terrible movement speeds.

2. Combat appears to be very much a game of numbers--if you can't deal enough damage, you're going to get ground down over time. I also have no idea how the formulas work, so I don't know how to maximize the numbers or gauge the reliability of a given option.

3. This might just be an early game issue, but there appear to be very few healing options and very few escape or rescue options. You can't just run away from a fight if things are going badly--it even appears to be impossible to leave an area during combat. You kind of have to be prepared for the challenges the first time around.

 

It's very different from Baldur's Gate, where I traditionally play evasive characters and use low-pressure strategies, relying on escape options to survive. None of that appears to be feasible in PoE.

 

@Alesia_BH: Do any of my impressions match your experience? I'm in the early game still, so I'm guessing gameplay will grow more complex as time goes on.


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#4
Serg BlackStrider

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So, it is happened. Great!
 
Gloomy Face, Hearth Orlan ex-Laborer from The White that Wends, now bow wielding wanderer Druid joined Ashoka on her quest of "To Live Is To Learn" (all the best of luck to her!)..
 
wJzoAfC.jpg
 
Game Version: 3.7.0.1318 with White March I & II
Difficulty: Path of the Damned, Trial of Iron
Settings: Maim Before Death: On; Injuries: On; Expert Mode: OFF; AoE Highlighting: On; Show Qualifiers/Personality/Reputation: OFF 
Mods: None
gEREIpc.jpg
 
I'm not fond of min-maxing and I want my character to be quick, accurate, smart and able to resolve difficult situations so his stats are:
 
Might - 10 (not much importance for me and could be buffed)
Constitution -10 (the same as above)
Dexterity - 15 (we need fast cast)
Perception - 15 (we want our spells/arrows hit and with Hearth Orlan's passive ability have more crits)
Intellect - 15 (for AoE and larger status effects duration)
Resolve - 13 (self-explaining - to resist interruptions, some more deflection and, in conjunction with Perception and Intellect, for more dialog options)
 
He is also prime party Mechanic (lockster/trapster). Since I long dreamed to play as Ranger/Druid and PoE finally made my dream come true I'm going to play Gloomy Face that way and when he'll graduate to the PoE II (sooner or later) I'll make him true Ranger/Druid multiclass.
 
The party will be: Eder, Aloth, Pallegina, Sagani, Durance. My latest run was with Grieving Mother in place of Aloth but I don't like his default pre-history in PoE II so I'll make it myself. I also don't like Durance but one need Cleric on PotD and they are by far the strongest class in PoE. Fortunately there is Xoti in PoE II with whom I fell in love the moment I've met her.
 
As usual for me this will be a completionist run but I'll not fight Dragons except from Adra Dragon from the RP point of view.
 
Actually, out of eagerness, I've generated Gloomy Face yesterday, before this thread was formed, and have him run through the first area already but still there is not much to write about so, I think, that's it for now.
 
to be continued...

Edited by Serg BlackStrider, 04 November 2018 - 11:03 PM.

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#5
Alesia_BH

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Ok, everyone! Meet my character: Ashoka the Pale Elf, Kind Wayfarer Paladin

 

https://imgur.com/jgB7srQ

 

Game Version: 3.7.0.1318 with White March I & II

Difficulty: Hard

Settings: Maim Before Death: On; Injuries: On; Expert Mode: OFF 

Mods: None

 

Character Description: Ashoka is a pale elf. But she is not like any pale elf you're likely to have met. Ashoka is not graceful; Ashoka is not elegant; Ashoka is not restrained- nor is  she somber, deferential or demure. Born to an unknown father and a mother who died in child birth, Ashoka was raised by everyone in her tribe and at the same time by no one at all. Ashoka wanted for nothing (receiving a touch of generosity from everyone can add up to a lotl) but she had no one to guide her and teach her. Sleeping alone, playing all day, and being mischievously silent (if undeniably charming) around any and all adults, Ashoka became unique, to put it positively, and, well, strange to put it less so. The problem, in the end, is simple: Ashoka never grew up. And even when she was a child, Ashoka played, far, far too much- especially by Glamfallen standards. Ashoka's energy, ebullience, and youthful whimsy have made her, in the eyes of her tribe, totally and completely unreliable- even if she can be and is faithful, dependable, and kind. Misunderstood, and uninspired by the ways of her people, Ashoka did what no pale elf women do: she set off on her own, at an astonishingly young age- seeking freedom and the time and space to become the woman she feels destined to be: a shinning light of kindness and joy, and the rarest of rare things: a woman who always plays, yet is entirely independent. In need of an identity, and with fond memories of a visit from an friendly itinerant adventurer in her youth, Ashoka has taken to calling herself a "Kind Wayfarer." In truth, she doesn't know what that is.

 

Gaming Notes: After years of participating in the Bioware BG NR Challenge, I'm very excited to begin my first public Pillars of Eternity No Reload. Some misguided souls may think of me as a skilled BG player. I am not a skilled PoE player- not in the least. I've been playing PoE for a little over a week now, and the learning curve hasn't necessarily been made more gentle by my BG experience. Some things carry over, but many things don't. And old habits die hard. 

 

This game will, hopefully, be my fourth completed play through and second no reload (first on the hard setting). My odds are, I suspect, very, vey low. I have completed a NR on normal, but I have never even tried hard. I have no idea what to expect. My character will likely die, but I'm ok with that. In a thread like this, someone has to be the first to die. It might as well be me.

 

In light of my inexperience with the Unity engine -and my belief that learning from one's peers is a great way to grow- I invite anyone and everyone to offer feedback. Tell me what I'm doing wrong. Teach me. Condescend to me. Treat me like a child. Because, like, Ashoka, I very nearly am- at least in the world of PoE.

 

So, without further adieu, let's begin!

 

Ashoka: Pale Elf, Kind Wayfarer- Entry 1: Caravan Camp to Magran's Fork

 
Ok. I was hoping to RP this run, but since I'd like to make progress quickly, and RPed journals seriously slow me down, I'm going to use a stripped down, tactics oriented writing style. Some of you have seen me do this in the BG challenge, so you know what to expect. Apologies to those who were expecting more. Note, though, that I really, really, really hope to RP my characters going forward and I'd love to see others do the same.
 
With that out of the way, let's get started! Once more unto the breach, dear friends!
 
The first area, caravan camp, is super-safe for no reloaders. With Calisca by her side, Ashoka took down the  young wolves (there's two on hard), using Flame of Devotion and Knockdown.
 
 
Ashoka then attended to some early item tasks. As a White that Wends paladin, Ashoka started with padded armor and a two-hander. Unfortunately, that's pretty much the opposite of what I'd like to see her rock. Emptying the open container at camp, and looting the abandoned corpses by the river, gave Ashoka just enough resources to buy a third lock pick, a set of brigandine armor, a small shield, and a sword. Suitably equipped, and with potions of minor endurance and minor regeneration on hand, she was more than ready to take on the first Glanfathan crew.
 
 
Back at camp, charging the Glanfathan leader with Athletics 2 allowed Heodan to escape hostage-hood without injury. Heodan did take some damage in the fray, but he was never really in danger.
 
 
(Quickly equipping a bow immediately after the fight allowed Ashoka to save Heodan in the dialogue cut.)
 
On to area 2, the refuge cave. The refuge cave, like caravan camp, is super-duper safe. I can't imagine losing a character here. Ashoka was pleased to find a xaurip spear (for the accuracy) and a mace (for the DR bypass). With the xaurip spear equipped, Ashoka started critically consistently under Flames of Devotion and started rivaling Calisca in kill frequently.
 
 
We collected the Minor Cloak of Protection and rolled out, exiting over the tiles, disabling the traps by lighting the lanterns. The spiders were no concern.
 
Area 3. Biawac-Land. After looting Calisca and Heodan's corpses, Ashoka collected all the ingredients she could and headed south. We took our first level up here, choosing Sword and Shield Style.
 
In the Valewood, we headed directly south, only fighting the isolated outlaw along the road. Happily, she posed no threat.
 
 
To Guilded Vale! In Guilded Vale, we immediately added Aloth and then solved the miller dispute, favoring the miller. We then spoke to the dead dwarf. Here, Ashoka reached Level 3. She took Zealous Endurance and allocated her skill points to Survival and Athletics. Aloth leveled up, too, taking Mechanics, Necrotic Lance and Combusting Wounds.  Next, Ashoka added Eder. And with both Eder and Aloth at her side, she was ready to return to the Valewood to rescue Tenfrith and pick up Fulvano's Gloves. 
 
She grabbed the gloves first. Eder and Ashoka formed a wall at the archway, allowing Aloth to blast away behind.
 
 
No damage, by the end, but Ashoka did use Second Wind.
 
 
Bandits. Ashoka used Flames of Devotion and Eder used Knock Down, while Aloth used Arcane Assault from a comfortable distance. No real damage here.
 
 
Upon returning to the Black Hound, Ashoka collected her reward for liberating Tenfrith. She also met a young woman named Cassia. 
 
 
Cassia is a runaway, like Ashoka. After falling on hard times, Cassia was taken in by a secret circle of Eothasian priests, seeking retribution for the worst atrocities of the Saint's War. Rumor has it that one and only one of the Godhammer bomb's creators yet lives, and that he is a Magranite priest with lascivious tendencies. With her background as a hunter, her warehouse of charms, and her fiery red-locks, Cassia was seen as the perfect weapon to assassinate the man who built a perfect weapon. She was hastily ordained and sent off on her mission. 
 
(If you've inferred that Cassia's real mission is to rescue me from Durance's gravelly voiced, pseudo-social-darwinist horse-pucky, you're totally right...)
 
The party is now enroute to Black Meadow, seeking Tuatanu's missing crate and the rogue Magranite.
 
 
Best,
 
A.

Edited by Alesia_BH, 17 November 2018 - 12:43 AM.

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#6
Alesia_BH

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@Alesia_BH: Do any of my impressions match your experience?

 

 

Absoutely. 100%.

 

(I have found one powerful escape based tactic, but I find it far too cheesy to employ. It's unsatisfying and definitely a subversion of developer intent.)  


Edited by Alesia_BH, 01 November 2018 - 02:54 AM.

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Serg BlackStrider

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1. Disengagement is incredibly dangerous, and movement is very limited. Unlike Baldur's Gate, you can't avoid damage simply by running around and trying to get out of reach; the enemy gets attacks of opportunity. Fleeing from combat is, ironically, an excellent way to get killed. I notice several spells and I think a talent that can improve the chance of escape, but I don't know how feasible it really is to survive on mobility. I did manage to use hit-and-run tactics to kill some trolls, who have terrible movement speeds.

2. Combat appears to be very much a game of numbers--if you can't deal enough damage, you're going to get ground down over time. I also have no idea how the formulas work, so I don't know how to maximize the numbers or gauge the reliability of a given option.

3. This might just be an early game issue, but there appear to be very few healing options and very few escape or rescue options. You can't just run away from a fight if things are going badly--it even appears to be impossible to leave an area during combat. You kind of have to be prepared for the challenges the first time around.

 

I'm in the early game still, so I'm guessing gameplay will grow more complex as time goes on.

1. Indeed. Moreover, you can't avoid damage just standing on the back - enemies will run to you sooner than this is expected. And when there is a horde of those, you can guess the outcome.

2. Indeed as well. You need accuracy to penetrate enemies' defences/damage reduction. And I mean a lot of accuracy. It doesn't matter much if you hit 100 times per second when most of those hits are misses/grases.

 

Further in the game there will be a lot of creatures with Charm/Domination/Stun/Paralyze etc so Cleric is the must have in the party, or you'll be doomed... You just need all those Prayers Against Impisonment (Paralyze/Petrify), Trachery (Charm/Doninate) etc. 


Edited by Serg BlackStrider, 01 November 2018 - 03:12 AM.

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Jaheiras Witness

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Healing is actually quite easy in PoE. A lot of healing comes from regeneration effects. Fighters get this automatically (Constant Recovery, which they can later improve with Rapid Recovery) and everybody else can take the Veteran’s Recovery talent. This is hugely beneficial to any character that will be in the thick of the action and is nearly always my first pick. Priests and Chanters can provide party wide regeneration and some other classes also have abilities that give regeneration effects (e.g. barbarians).

You will also find lots of healing potions (regeneration potions are blue, insta-healing effects are purple) and you will soon be able to craft as much as you need. You can buy as well as find crafting ingredients, and vendors who sell them restock daily, so they are a virtually unlimited resource. Healing supply is therefore not an issue. What is an issue is that drinking potions in this game is incredibly buggy. You can get interrupted and even if you don’t sometimes your character goes through the animation but doesn’t actually drink the potion. It is an infuriating bug that has never been fixed. There is a mod out there that ameliorates the problem (but doesn’t fix it) by reducing the drinking time from 3 seconds to 1 second, so if it goes wrong at least it is only 1 second of combat action wasted rather than 3 seconds. It only applies to potion use, not scrolls or other items. So if you are in a life-or-death situation, try healing through an ability, talent or scroll rather than a potion.

Once you get to Caed Nua, you will collect some ingredients that allow you to craft one of the most important potions in the game: Infuse with Vital Essence. Short of resting and a couple of wound binding talents, these potions are the only way to restore health points. You can only drink them in combat but the effect also restores your health when the combat ends (so you can end combat with more health than you started!). Treat these potions like Potions of Invisibility in BG2: collect them, craft them, grab every single one you can and ensure all characters have them in their quick slots.

You should also bear in mind that healing is influenced by your stats. MIG influences how much you heal and INT how long a regeneration effect applies for. For this and other reasons, MIG and INT are the two most important stats in my opinion and the ones I try to max whenever I can. But feel free to experiment with stats as you like and form your own judgements.

As far as combat goes, you guys have already picked up on engagement and the fact that kiting is not a good option. Other than talents such as Shadowing Beyond or others that break engagement, the one non-cheesy method to escape or reposition is to use Fleet Feet spells/potions. These allow you to outrun then enemy and once you get far enough away from the enemy they stop chasing and combat ends.

Finally in terms of combat, one of the general maxims for optimal fighting is (1) buff defences (2) buff accuracy (3) crowd control (4) damage. What this hints at is that if you just charge in with your weapons, see how the fight is going and then think about which abilities to use, that is not going to work too well in PoE, certainly for more difficult fights. Instead you should broadly follow the above order of what actions to take to maximise your efficiency and chance of success. Put up key defences first (e.g. Arcane Veil for mages, fighters might put up Vigorous Defence, or you could use items such as Scrolls of Defence or Protection); then boost your accuracy if you can (e.g. Disciplined Barrage, Inspiring Radiance etc), then try to disable or hamper foes (knock-downs, blinding, hobbling, all kinds of afflictions from spells etc), and then do your damage.
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Serg BlackStrider

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Great advices, Jaheiras Witness! In my previous runs (out of no-reload) I've rarely used potions or scrolls even on PotD. And actually never crafted anything. Now I'm going to change that.


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semiticgod

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One more question, about armor: What are helmets for, and should wizards wear armor? I've been concerned about the recovery penalties (doesn't 30% slower recovery mean you get 30% fewer actions per round?) and it seems like a wizard could really benefit from getting better armor, since there appear to be no spellcasting penalties.


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Serg BlackStrider

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One more question, about armor: What are helmets for, and should wizards wear armor? I've been concerned about the recovery penalties (doesn't 30% slower recovery mean you get 30% fewer actions per round?) and it seems like a wizard could really benefit from getting better armor, since there appear to be no spellcasting penalties.

You might want to start with reading this. If you'll have more remaining questions, feel free to ask.

 

Edit:

More details about game mechanics are here.


Edited by Serg BlackStrider, 01 November 2018 - 09:03 AM.

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#12
Alesia_BH

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Healing is actually quite easy in PoE. A lot of healing comes from regeneration effects.

 

 

Agreed. Healing potions are less powerful in PoE, but there are still a lot of healing options.

 

Ashoka, as a Kind Wayfarer, has some nice healing talents available to her: 1) Strange Mercy; 2) The Sword and the Sheperd; 3) Lay of Hands (available to all Paladins) 


Edited by Alesia_BH, 01 November 2018 - 08:49 AM.

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#13
Alesia_BH

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Beyond or others that break engagement, the one non-cheesy method to escape or reposition is to use Fleet Feet spells/potions. These allow you to outrun then enemy and once you get far enough away from the enemy they stop chasing and combat ends.

 

I don't have a problem with running and repositioning. The related mechanics are susceptible to abuse, however.

 

If, for example, 5 members of your team are knocked out, it's possible to send the last member away, ending combat, reviving and healing all the others. That can effectively turn a jog into the PoE equivalent of the old BG Greater Restoration. I don't allow my teams to do that. 

 

Once combat has been initiated, I prefer to let it resolve, one way or another. I'd rather die than exploit that mechanic.

 

(And Btw, thanks for the awesome tips, Jaheiras Witness!)


Edited by Alesia_BH, 01 November 2018 - 08:23 AM.

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BelgarathMTH

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One hint I haven't seen mentioned - you need to give Eder and any frontliners the feats that allow them to engage extra enemies. It makes a huge difference in keeping mobs of enemies from going around your tanks and attacking your back line.


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#15
Enuhal

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@semiticgod Non-magical helmets are purely cosmetic. However, some magical helmets can be very useful, and godlikes can't wear them (moon godlikes are still one of the most powerful races, though). Regarding armor, here's how I do things: Early on, when party members are very squishy, I put everyone in the heaviest and most protective armor I can get my hands on. Around the mid point of the game, I change that, putting my spellcasters and some ranged damage dealers into light armor or robes - you get to be more survivable, you will have more crowd control to prevent opponents from getting to your back lines etc. To go along with heavy armor, I start off with very slow weapons (arbalests are great for this) on my damage dealers and hatchets for those who just have to stay safe.

 

Early game, especially on PotD, is mostly a game of accuracy versus deflection - you need to stack as much accuracy as posible (having a priest with inspiring radiance, bless etc. is super helpful here - though some effects don't stack, for example bless and the paladin aura), and stuff like the druid spell nature's mark to lower opposing deflection values is very valuable as well. If you're not aware, placing two melee characters on opposing side of an opponent will also give them a "flanked" debuff (oh, and you can be affected by this as well) which will lower their deflection by 10 (if I remember correctly). The other important part is to know which encounters to delay - namely everything involving shadows/shades/other spirits. While I'd do the temple basement in Gilded Vale before going to Cae'Nua, it would be the very last thing to do before going there (oh, and I tend to skip Raedric's Hold until a few levels later). Finally, I'd recommend hiring a few custom companions at the inn in gilded vale to fill up your party. This will make the early game a lot easier.

 

That being said, I couldn't resist and started a run myself:

 

Introducing: Liresh, the wild orlan Shieldbearer of St. Elcga

 

https://i.imgur.com/vf31ist.jpg

 

I like having my main character with a very high resolve for certain dialogue options, so making him a tank seems logical. This is a current screenshot, because I didn't realize that the print screen key does nothing in PoE, so sadly I don't have any screenshots from the very early game. Liresh starts with very high deflection thanks to his resolve score, which will allow him to use a small shield early on (the Outworn Buckler). While some might and intellect would be nice for when he gets sacred immolation much later in the game, survivability is priority Nr. 1. He started with lay on hands, and later got weapon and shield style, while his skillpoints will be spent on athletics and survival.

 

This run will be played on triple crown settings, which means Path of the Damned, Trial of Iron and Expert Mode (so stuff like getting maimed before death is automatically deactivated anyway), with the most recent patch and all DLC.

 

Nothing of significance happened on my way to Gilded Vale - except that I forgot to sell Gaun's Pledge to Heodan, who would've given me much more money than anyone else. I haven't played PoE1 since 2016, so I will propably forget a lot more things. Back then, I had pretty reliable tactics for all encounters on PotD when playing with a party, but I'm sure that by now I will be very rusty. In any case, after making it through the tutorial, I snuck through Valewood, avoiding all encounters. I made it to the Inn, sold all of my stuff and hired the party I'm going to use throughout the game - all my favorite classes!

 

There's Selissa, my most important party member - a moon godlike Priest of Magran. All she needs is dexterity and intelligence, because she won't be doing much damage or healing - she will focus on buffing up the party with the most crucial buffs (such as inspring radiance, bless, dire blessing, devotions for the faithful, crown of the faithful and various prayers against crowd control effects) as fast as possible.

 

https://imgur.com/hlH8UIl

 

Her first talent point was invested into inspiring radiance, and she will mostly focus on survival (after getting the 4 points in athletics that every party member will get for group skill checks).

 

Next, we have Kerion, our druid. He's here to provide all kinds of electricity damage, most importantly the two very powerful storm spells, returning storm and relentless storm, which is why his first talent point was put into heart of the storm. As most other party members, he will focus on survival:

 

https://imgur.com/1jl8gVV

 

Our mechanics specialist is Andur, a Cipher, starting with whisper of treason, eyestrike and antipathetic field plus biting whip. He will provide crowd control (via mental binding and amplified wave) and ranged damage later on:

 

https://imgur.com/iFW31rt

 

Now, our final two slots are essentially filled with the same character: Both are wood elf rangers, my favorite class in PoE1, which is why I chose to bring two at once. They are both focused on might, dexterity and perception, they will put their skill points mostly into survival and they have a wolf companion. These two wolves will be crucial, as they are great early game tanks and damage dealers whose death essentially doesn't matter, and they can provide for easy flanking. They, together with Liresh, will make up our front line - everyone else will prefer to stay at range. Our rangers (who start with wounding shot and add resilient companion as their next talent) are called Amria and Megaira:

 

https://imgur.com/JF7OckR

https://imgur.com/8hefLxs

 

Now that we have our party, we solve the grain quest by talking (I like to often avoid battles in this game) and return to Valewood to free the cook and deal with the bear cave. Kerion's charm beast spell and Andur's whisper of treason make it so we only have to deal with one bear at a time, making this relatively simple. After all that, our fresh recruits reach level 2 and get their talent points. We move on to Magran's Fork, where we stay on the northern part of the map, fighting a huge pack of wolves. Our typical strategy for encounters such as this: Approach only with Liresh and our two wolf companions, buff with inspiring radiance and bless, apply nature's mark, start shooting a flanked opponent while controlling dangerous foes with whisper of treason and the like. Wounded animal companions get healed with lay on hands. We make it to the eastern part of the map and into the black meadow, where we quickly travel northwards, having to fight only a group of forest trolls. Then, we get to our target: The bandits who have captured the blacksmith's supplies. A difficult battle awaits, because the bandit leader is tough and regenerates health. Our two rangers fall unconscious thanks to enemy crossbow bolts, but we end up victorious and return to Gilded Vale to complete this quest. Now we can buy the Outworn Buckler - we also get an additional brigandine and a crossbow (heavy armor and slow ranged weapons, that's how I like it early on - sadly, the improved arbalests are way too expensive for now).

 

At this point I'll have to stop for now. I'm not sure how often I will be able to update this run, but I will certainly try to remain active.


Edited by Enuhal, 01 November 2018 - 09:45 AM.

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#16
Jaheiras Witness

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One hint I haven't seen mentioned - you need to give Eder and any frontliners the feats that allow them to engage extra enemies. It makes a huge difference in keeping mobs of enemies from going around your tanks and attacking your back line.


Personally (and respectfully) I disagree with this. I think those talents are a waste when there are so many other great talents to choose from.

Just because your tanks are engaging additional enemies, that doesn’t stop those additional enemies breaking off and going after your backline characters anyway (and they DO do this all the time). All that happens is your tank character gets a disengagement attack on them as they break off, which does a little bit of damage. And now your squishies are in trouble.

So the extra engagement slots actually do very little to protect your weaker characters. They would be useful if they stopped enemies from disengaging, but they do not. A better tactic is to use terrain / chokepoints to protect your backline.
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#17
Serg BlackStrider

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It is great to have you with us, Enuhal! I wholeheartedly share your love for Rangers. That's why Sagani with Itumaak are both the must for my Crew. And as I've already mentioned I'm going to make Gloomy Face a Ranger/Druid multi with Wolf Companion in PoE II.

Best of luck and safe travels for your Crew!


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#18
Alesia_BH

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Ashoka: Pale Elf, Kind Wayfarer- Entry 2: Magran's Fork, Black Meadow, and Anslog's Compass

 
Heading south from Guilded Vale, the party soon encountered Durance: a Magranite who closely matched Cassia's description. Cassia, needing confirmation that she had found the right target, encouraged Ashoka to let him join. The expanded team then headed east to Black Meadow, hoping to find Tuatanu's crate.
 
In Black Meadow, we found three trolls (one more than I expected, based on my experience on normal). Ashoka and Eder engaged while the casters took position. 
 
 
A wandering troll forced the casters to scatter and reposition, but in the end the team prevailed using solely per encounter abilities: Flames of Devotion, Knock Down, Holy Radiance, and Second Wind
 
 
To the north laid the bandits and Tuatanu's crate. Ashoka and Eder engaged as planned, but a positioning error put Durance in danger. This worried Cassia because she hadn't yet confirmed that he was indeed the Magranite she was looking for. Having cast Armor of Faith, followed by Blessing, Cassia deployed her Holy Radiance to keep the priest alive. Meanwhile, Ashoka and Eder whittled away with Flame of Devotion and Knock Down. Aloth went Arcane Assault->Combusting Wounds->Minor Missiles.
 
 
After taking down the melee chargers, the team closed in on the archers and finished while Durance took refuge under Withdraw
 
 
That night, at camp, Cassia began to work her charms on Durance. It wasn't long before she had elicited a braggart's confession. Later in the eve, the two slipped off into the woods together. In the morning, Cassia alone emerged, bearing Durance's robe and staff. The party asked no questions, but they knew the deed had been done: the Magranite was no more. Ashoka had mixed feeling about this, but her sympathies laid with her fellow runaway, Cassia.
 
After returning Tuatanu's crate, Ashoka purchased the Outworn Buckler. The party then headed south to Anslog's Compass, seeking to proffer a potion for the sister of a fallen comrade, Calisca.  
 
In Anslog's Compass I not only noticed but felt the difference between Normal and Hard. The xaurip battle was far more challenging than I had anticipated, due to the presence of a skirmisher and multiple champions. Skirmisher's stun on hit. And while that isn't nearly as bad in PoE as it is in the Baldur's Gate world, it can be a problem. As those who've followed my BG runs may recall, I tend to take fewer screenshots when battles feel out of control. I only have one screenie from the xaurip battle- guess what that means (and guess what Ashoka is beginning to think of me, her untutored pilot...).
 
 
The battle wasn't too bad, but it could have went smoother. I just muffed up our positioning, making it hard for us to concentrate fire and quickly eliminate priority targets, notably the stunning skirmisher. That aside, the fight went reasonably well. We prevailed with no knockdowns and little endurance lost. Cassia cast Armor of Faith->Blessing->Prayer Against Fear->Holy Radiance; Aloth went Arcane Assault (2)->Necrotic Lance (1) ->Combusting Wounds (1)->Minor Missiles (3); Ashoka and Eder deployed Flames of Devotion and Knock Down, as per usual. They also cast Second Wind. 
 
The lesson here is that positioning at time of engagement is far more important in PoE. It surely becomes intuitive to veterans, but for novices like myself, it requires a bit of thought. Strategic positioning is the pre-buffing of PoE.
 
Ok! South to Ranga and her goody, goody juice!
 
Fresh off a rest, the party took down the guls with ease, using standard per encounter ability tactics
 
 
The party rested again, nonetheless, prior to the dank spore encounter, because I had neglected to give Ashoka and Cassia their resting accuracy bonuses. With the party fully rested, the sporelings posed no threat, although Ashoka did take some damage, on account of getting flanked.
 
 
Approaching Level 4, the party is currently contemplating it's next move. I typically do the Eothasian temple at this point, but after the xaurip fiasco, I'm a little hesitant. I'm considering picking up Kana first. Thoughts on this, my veteran friends? Is the temple quest significantly more difficult on Hard?
 
Best,
 
A. 

Edited by Alesia_BH, 03 November 2018 - 01:25 AM.

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#19
Alesia_BH

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Enuhal is here! Wow! This is getting awesome!

 

Semiticgod, you need to get in on the action! Play on easy. Use a paladin or fighter. Lag Ashoka's entries.

 

You'll probably die (as will I), but you'll have a chance. PoE NRing is hard, initially, coming from the BG world, but it gets much, much easier with the right character and a few "ah, ha!" moments.


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#20
Alesia_BH

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One hint I haven't seen mentioned - you need to give Eder and any frontliners the feats that allow them to engage extra enemies. It makes a huge difference in keeping mobs of enemies from going around your tanks and attacking your back line.


Personally (and respectfully) I disagree with this. I think those talents are a waste when there are so many other great talents to choose from.

Just because your tanks are engaging additional enemies, that doesn’t stop those additional enemies breaking off and going after your backline characters anyway (and they DO do this all the time). All that happens is your tank character gets a disengagement attack on them as they break off, which does a little bit of damage. And now your squishies are in trouble

 

Is it just my imagination or does White March make a difference here?

 

I feel like enemies are peeling off and switching targets more now that I've installed White March. 


Edited by Alesia_BH, 01 November 2018 - 10:26 AM.

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