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The Pillars of Eternity No Reload Challenge


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#41
Alesia_BH

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Ashoka: Pale Elf, Kind Wayfarer- Entry 4: Caed Nua Part 1

 
With the party anxious about the assault on Caed Nua, Cassia called in a favor from the secret circle of Eothasian priests. Somewhat to her surprise, they sent the hearty and hale, former Deadfire Archipelago raider, turned shining light of Eothas, Ogrnd.
 
 
The first battle on the grounds of the keep went well, for the most part. The spirits murdered Kana like he was Durance off in the woods thinking he was going to get some, but aside from that, it was all good. Divine Marks from Cassia and Ogrnd kept the spirits a' droppin'.
 
 
(Kudos to Aloth for pointing his butt in the right direction this time.) 
 
 
To the flame brights. This was easy. (And, yes, yes: I can take a hint. Add a burning lash or two...)
 
 
Right! Onto the Showdown in Hoedown Hall (Are hoedowns even a thing in medieval halls?). This went pretty well, actually. No one got murdered- not even Kana. 
 
In preparation for battle, we used the Rite of the Untamed Wild to get everyone to Survival 4 just before resting. That meant Accuracy v Spirit all around, on top of Laborer's Rest. When we awoke, we ate some yummy-yums and headed into the fray.
 
Predictably, the spirits came straight for Kana. In the early stages of the fight, we concentrated on keeping Kana on his feet, while eliminating the phantoms one by one. Inspiring Radiance from Ogrnd, and double Divine Marks from Ogrnd and Cassia, allowed us to make quick progress. Ogrnd tossed a Suppress Affliction  in the hope of getting Kana back in the game, out of stun. This worked (maybe, I guess?). But he was still getting hammered (and not in the good way).
 
 
Frustrated, Ogrnd tossed Kana a Withdraw so we wouldn't have to worry about him anymore.
 
 
Freed to focus on killing, the party did just that. Here we see Ogrnd using his last Divine Mark while Cassia, now tapped at 2, adds some gratuitous buffs. 
 
 
Arcane Assaults, Combusting Wounds, and Minor Missles from Aloth helped Ashoka and Eder clear the field. And now for the finish- with Kana back in the action.
 
 
Fin!
 
 
That felt good! Next stop: the dungeons. If you have any advice on facing Maerwald, now is the time!
 
Best,
 
A.

Edited by Alesia_BH, 02 November 2018 - 03:18 PM.

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#42
Alesia_BH

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Excellent work, Enuhal! I definitely intend to borrow your Maerwald strategy. I picked up a number of other tricks as well. Great post!

 

Cheers,

 

A.


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#43
Enuhal

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Good work with the spirits so far! My advice for Maerwald - don't fight the battle on his terms, run out of his room and around a corner immediately (you have to be fast, otherwise he might be able to get a spell off) and things will get much easier.

 

Edit: Seems like we posted that at exactly the same time ;)


Edited by Enuhal, 02 November 2018 - 03:08 PM.

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#44
Hulk'O'Saurus

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Maerwald is considerably easier if you use Bulwark against the Elements Potions and/or spells. Increasing reflex/fortitude defence is also very helpful. 

 

Here's a way you can grind a few guard at Raedric's for cash. I like doing that, because I like using scrolls. Essentially stacking Blind into spells that target Reflex most of the time. 

 


Edited by Hulk'O'Saurus, 02 November 2018 - 03:52 PM.

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#45
Enuhal

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Very impressive, though propably not recommended to try in a no-reload setting without testing it a couple of times first ;)


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#46
semiticgod

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Maerwald is considerably easier if you use Bulwark against the Elements Potions and/or spells. Increasing reflex/fortitude defence is also very helpful.

I've gotten the impression that Accuracy, Deflection, and Endurance were the primary factors in combat; I hadn't thought about the roles played by saving throws (I know they're not "saving throws," but they're called Fortitude, Reflex, and Will). In Baldur's Gate, disablers often lasted for 10 rounds, longer than most fights, which meant they were instant game-enders in many cases. I thought that since stun effects and so forth only lasted a few seconds in PoE, by contrast, they could generally be ridden out. How important are Fortitude, Reflex, and Will in PoE?


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#47
Alesia_BH

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Ashoka: Pale Elf, Kind Wayfarer- Entry 5: Caed Nua Part 2

 
We made it! 
 
 
And with surprising ease. It turns out Maerwald is a push-over even on hard, after all.
 
First, the spiders. Eder and Ashoka formed a wall here, allowing Aloth, Cassia, Kana, and Ogrnd to plink away in safety. Since Eder and Ashoka both have low deflection scores for this stage of the game, they were nearly untouchable. And any damage that Eder took was quickly healed by Ashoka's Strange Mercies. Easy-breezy.
 
 
Maerwald, too, was easy-breezy. We attempted to implement Enuhal's suggestions, but it didn't work out quite as planned. Maewald got stuck behind a flame bright, and so we had to fight them together, despite our best efforts. No matter. An opening salvo, including double Divine Marks from Ogrnd and Cassia, eliminated Maerwald before he could take offensive action.
 
 
Just clean up after that. Yippy-skippy!
 
 
The attentive ones among you will have noticed that we have a new party member, Sagani. I usually don't use Sagani, but since we have a couple of runs active featuring rangers, I thought I'd take the opportunity to learn the class. I'll be relying heavily on Serg and Enhual for tips on building her. Tell me what level 4 Sagani should look like and we'll go from there
 
Oh! And if anyone has a comprehensive list of Defiance Bay delivery quests, now is the time to share. We bought the labrador retriever- he's totally our mascot now. We'd like to fetch, fetch, fetch all day long.
 
Best,
 
A.

Edited by Alesia_BH, 02 November 2018 - 09:14 PM.

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#48
Alesia_BH

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Quick Note on Ashoka's Game:
 
As some of you know, I have, in recent years, taken to announcing theme songs for my NR characters. By title alone, it should clearly be Dilettante off St. Vincent's album Strange Mercy. But since that song doesn't really work, I've decided to go with Fear the Future by St. Vincent- the title here alluding to fact that even if we somehow, someway make it through PoE, we'll have to face PoE 2: Deadfire, a game that I don't even own yet.   
 
 
This shouldn't be taken to imply that the run is hopeless. Rather, it's intended to highlight the extent to which this run will have to be a communal effort, if it is to be a success. So yes, gentle friends: keep the tips and advice flowing. Let's get there!
 
Best,
 

 

A.

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#49
Alesia_BH

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In Baldur's Gate, disablers often lasted for 10 rounds, longer than most fights, which meant they were instant game-enders in many cases. I thought that since stun effects and so forth only lasted a few seconds in PoE, by contrast, they could generally be ridden out.

 

 

I thought that, too, when I first started playing. I see it differently now.

 

Losses in Pillars of Eternity tend to be deaths by a thousand cuts. Lost attacks can add up and subtlely tip the math against you. And even if nothing catastrophic has happened, you can slowly, gradually, find yourself at a dog-in-a-burning house moment.

 

https://imgur.com/a/ZkuUOhx

 

As in BG, I find it wise to understand the mechanics of incoming attacks, note the defenses they target, and buttress those defenses whenever possible. But it will take time -possibly a lot of time- to understand every attack and counter. That insight underlies the approach I've taken to learning the game.

 

Stage 1: Use a dual-paladin, dual-priest, high deflection, heavily armored party to insure high damage absorption, along with abundant healing and resurrection capacity- allowing me to view a lot of content and study attacks, while staying alive and making progress.

 

Stage 2: Leverage accumulated knowledge of attacks to develop focused (as opposed to brute force) defensive strategies and re-allocate resources towards offense as knowledge permits use of subtler defensive methods

 

Stage 3: Find an optimal balance between broad based defense, battle specific defense, and offense  

 

So far, it seems to be working- I'm definitely making progress. We'll see how it goes.

 

Best,

 

A.


Edited by Alesia_BH, 02 November 2018 - 09:15 PM.

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#50
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Ashoka: Pale Elf, Kind Wayfarer- Entry 6: Temple of Woedica

 
Progress! Ashoka has completed the Temple of Woedica quest and reached level 5.
 
Upon arriving in Defiance Bay, we recovered Ossric's family armor, choosing the peaceful option.
 
 
We retrieved our quest reward, left the city, completed some minor tasks in the Guilded Vale area, and then, finally, descended into the catacombs.
 
The party now tends to divide itself into two teams. Team A consists of Ashoka, Eder, and Cassia: Team B Ogrnd, Sagani, and Aloth. Itumaak moves between the two. Both teams contain a priest, meaning both have their own Concentrated Ground and Inspiring Radiance. Team B is squishier, but they can also deal damage quicker, and Ogrnd, with his shield equipped, is serviceable as an emergency tank. Both groups are self sufficient, although Team B could, in theory be over run.
 
Here we see an ideal situation, with Team A, aided by Itumaak, engaging in melee while Team B provides ranged support, enhanced by Ogrnd's spells.
 
 
Of course, it can't always work that way. Sometimes Team B will have to engage enemies at close range. That's exactly what we did in the focal battle of this quest: the troll/sporeling encounter over by the Woedica hood.
 
We could have used the bridge here, but I was very confident heading into this fight and I saw it as an opportunity to practice open field, close quarter tactics in a safe environment. I'm glad I did that. The battle was satisfying, fun, and educational.
 
We took our Rest: Accuracy v Primordial bonus and ate some food. We then engaged with Team A leading the way. Concerated Ground from Cassia and Strange Mercies from Ashoka -combined with high deflection and heavy armor- made Team A very nearly untouchable. At this stage, we see Team A making progress on the sporelings, while receiving support from Team B. The line is starting to break now, though, and Team B will soon have to defend itself.
 
 
Ogrnd fires up Consecrated Ground in preparation for Team B's stand.
 
 
Looking good- although that troll on Sagani will soon become a problem.
 
 
Sagani, whose bow is no longer needed, breaks for safety while Team A finishes up its foes and prepares to join Team B to close.
 
 
Ogrnd takes a well earned Withdraw after  heavy tanking duty. Sagani re-engages, now at a safe distance. 
 
 
Fin!
 
 
A little sloppy -that troll should have never reached Sagani, for example- but passable and satisfying. We're getting better. I'll fill you in on the level up choices and recent item moves in our next post. Toodles-doodles!
 
Best,
 
A.

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#51
Serg BlackStrider

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The attentive ones among you will have noticed that we have a new party member, Sagani. I usually don't use Sagani, but since we have a couple of runs active featuring rangers, I thought I'd take the opportunity to learn the class. I'll be relying heavily on Serg and Enhual for tips on building her. Tell me what level 4 Sagani should look like and we'll go from there

 
 

Here is 'my' Sagani:

https://imgur.com/a/P4dSVjo

 

At early levels I'm mostly concentrate on Itumaak - Resilient Companion (you'll don't like Bonded Grief 'debuffs'), Faithful Companion (for your tough companion not turn on you on the slightest opportunity), Wounding Shot and Stalkers' Link. Then I further strengthen Itumaak - Vicious/Merciless Companion and I'm pretty much set. 


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#52
Boeroer

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If you like Animal Companion's damage you should use Persistence (best single target dps ranged weapon anyway) and pair it with Predator's Sense, Vicious and Merciless Companion and also Brutal Takedown. Brutal Takedown is very nice because its damage is fixed and thus only has to overcome 1/4 of enemies' DR. Don't ask me why - it's the same with all fixed dmg abilites (look at Iconic Projection). Also Brutal Takedown provides two Knockdowns. Brutal Takedown's dmg does NOT profit from Predator's Sense and stuff though. Look at it als a fixed bonus that bypasses 3/4 of enemies DR and you will not be disappointed. Usually I can two-shot casters until the later game (Wounding Shot + Fox's Brutal Takedown => *pouf*).

 

Add Stalker's Link, Marksman and so on for Sagani. You don't need PEN shot because Wouding from Persistence (raw DoT) takes care of high DR since it's lash damage is calculated PRE DR. It also profits from MIG (25% raw lash becomes a 32.5% raw lash with 20 MIG for example). 

 

Persistence provides constant DoT effect (Wounding) even when not using Woundig Shot which means that the Animal Companion will always get the +50% dmg boost from Predator's Sense as long as you two attack the same target. The base dmg of Animal Companions scale with level. So even if they start out a little bit on the wet-noodle side they scale extremely well with level and any dmg bonuses you can provide them with. They don't attack very fast, but will bite through heavy armor easily aftr some levels. The fox is the same as the wolf - which means their base dmg is even higher.

 

Persistence, although being one of the strongest dps weapons in PoE, can be obtained very early in the Endlass Paths on lvl 4 (south-west of the map).

 

I usually skip Faithful Companion because I run out of points (and there are other options to deal with Mind Control in a party). Also because higher defenses on the Animal Companion most of the time only lead to grazes (if the do anything) - but a grazed Mind COntrol ist still a full Mind COntrol - just shorter. I rely on Priest or Paladin to deal with such things without the need to boost defenses which usually means a lot of investment for little outcome compared to immunites or suppression like Priests/Paladins can provide.

 

But Resilient Companion is also on my list most of the time. IN the early game it's very useful. Later on it doesn't matter that much - you can keep it or retrain.

 

You can also retrain Sagani once you get Twinned Arrows. At that point there's no need for Swift Aim anymore (they are mutually exclusive). SO if you took Swift Aim or Vicious Aim you can retrain, skip it and go straight for Twinned Arrows. Spares you a point that you can put to better use in the late game. 


Edited by Boeroer, 03 November 2018 - 01:10 AM.

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#53
Jaheiras Witness

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As far as defences go, deflection is only the most important in the first third of the game. It is still important after that in the sense of you don’t want to get swarmed/flanked/interrupted to death but generally once you are level 6/7 and have decent END, equipment and supplies, you can take a few weapon hits without too much bother. So the other defences become more important.

Fortitude is the most important defence by some distance. Simple reason: the effects that attack fortitude are the ones that get you killed: stun/prone/petrify etc. You might think that you can ride out a few seconds of stun but it ain’t that easy. You can get ripped apart in those few seconds and you also have to remember that if an opponent can stun you once, theyvan probably do it again, so you are risking a chainlock of stun if the first one gets you.

Will is quite important in party play but can be virtually ignored for solo. It’s not fun having your tank charmed: not only does he/she turn on you, but all the enemies that were attacking your tank are now attacking the rest of your party.

Reflex is possibly least important of the defences though you still want to boost it as much as you can. Generally effects that target reflex are either damage effects or some non-disabling status effects, so they can be ridden out.

Because of the way defences improve over levels and a lot of equipment boosts all/multiple defences, the main variation in defences comes from stats or spells. So if you want to boost Fortitude, you generally do it by improving MIG and CON (resting bonus/boons/food/drugs etc).

Another way of indirectly boosting all your defences is to use a scroll of protection or potions of recovery (yellow potions). These have to be used proactively (before status effects hit you, so at the start of fights) and they then halve or otherwise shorten how long afflictions apply for. The scroll on particular is great as it is AoE, good duration and can protect whole party.
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#54
Enuhal

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My typical ranger build looks a bit like this:

1 Wounding Shot

2 Resilient Companion

3 Predator's Sense

4 Vicious Companion

5 Stalker's Link

6 Merciless Companion

7 Driving Flight

8 Marksman

9 Marked Prey

10 Weapon Focus Peasant

11 Stunning Shots

12 Apprentice's Sneak Attack

13 Twinned Arrows

14 Heart of the Storm (in case I get storm caller, which I usually do - otherwise, when sticking with Persistence, this would be accurate wounding shot here and beast hunter at 16)

15 Vengeful Grief

16 Accurate Wounding Shot

 

This is not a fixed build - often times, I change around the order of things and skip one or two damage abilities/talents to get some defensive options early on. Like Serg BlackStrider, early on I focus on my companion, and by the midgame I make sure to increase the actual ranger's damage. Twinned Arrows is, of course, the most important thing when it comes to damage, and I would never leave the house without the utility of stunning shots and driving flight.

 

Regarding the non-deflection defenses @semiticgod, they work just like deflection - accuracy vs. reflex is rolled if an attack targets reflex etc. - if you look at special abilities and spells, there are quite a few of them that don't target deflection, so especially once you start facing spellcasters or foes that have other ways of applying disables, you have two choices - have very high additional defenses or try to gain total immunity to specific disables via priest prayers (which, depending on your level, is not always an option). Those who are likely to get hit by such abilities and can't afford to get disabled (such as tanks, because getting disabled tends to ruin their deflection) should have very high additional defenses. Luckily, paladins are very good at this by nature.


Edited by Enuhal, 03 November 2018 - 01:21 AM.

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#55
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If you want to survive fort-based CC you should look for effects that shorten/suppress the affliction or make you immune or nigh invulnerable when suffering from a certain affliction.

 

Examples:

 

Wear an item with Preservation (e.g. Blaidh Golan) and Ilfan Byrngar's Solace in the second weapon slot. Once you get proned or stunned switch to that weapon slot with the shield. You'll get +100(!) to all defenses as long as the affliction lasts - because Preservations from items and shield stack. You will be untouchable. Little Savior does the same.

 

Wear Fenwalkers. They not only provide +20 defense against certain mean afflictions but also reduce their duration by 3 secs. That usually means you only get grazed (half duration) and then that reduced duration even gets reduced further by 3 secs. Supergood item if you don't want to put too many points into your defenses.

 

And all in all for a no reload run I would say a priest is mandatory simplky because of Prayers and Litanies against X which make the game a ton easier: no need for defenses if you are immune. Fights with Adragans which can be a major pain in the slapreceiver turn into cakewalks if you can't get petrified.


Edited by Boeroer, 03 November 2018 - 01:22 AM.

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#56
Alesia_BH

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Ashoka: Pale Elf, Kind Wayfarer- Entry 7: Heritage Hill

 
Do you know what time it is, boys and girls? That's right: It's zombie apocalypse time! Yay!
 
Ashoka and friends just completed the Heritage Hill quest. This was fun. It was easy enough that we were never in danger, but challenging enough to make things interesting. It was a lovely little vacation- despite the fact that we were surrounded by dead people and all.
 
In the opening fight by the gate we let Team B fight an air war with the undead ranged fighters while Team A ground through the melee foes. Here we see Team A breaking through, closing for the finish. No real damage here, aside from a pair of opening necrotic lances.
 
 
Moving through the graveyard, we used our now standard bulldozer tactic: we let Ashoka's defenses, and our support priests' spells, keep Ashoka on her feet, while Ashoka's Strange Mercies, in turn, heal everyone else. It's kind of hard to stop.
 
 
Things did get a little interesting when we accidentally pulled two crews at once.
 
 
Things got more interesting when I neglected to lasso Aloth, leaving him endangered. Fortunately, the solution was simple. Since there were so many low powered enemies on the field, we got everyone into Strange Mercy range and let Ashoka mow the ninnies down, tossing healing to everyone. Concecrated Ground kept Ashoka well. A Witdraw kept Aloth safe.
 
 
No significant damage, by the end.
 
 
The limit to the bulldozer method is Ashoka's health, as opposed to her endurance. We ran up against that boundary in the quest's central battle: the brawl at the base of the tower. The issue was that I underestimated the health damage dealing capacity of these blokes. 
 
Here we see the early stages of the fight. All is seemingly well, but, in truth, I've erred by ignoring the ranged casters.
 
 
Eventually, we were forced to toss Ashoka a Withdraw. And once Ashoka was out of the action, damage began to accumulate on the others. 
 
 
This could have been avoided had we chosen to be freer with our spells. Lesson learned: Against enemies that damage health, skimping on spells can end up being false economy. Whether you spend your spells, or take health damage, you'll have to rest. Might as well cast.
 
Into the tower. On level one, we let Ashoka, Eder, and Cassia engage in melee while Ogrnd and Sagani provided ranged support. Aloth and Itumaak circled around and took out the mage.
 
 
Straight bulldozer on level 2.
 
 
After chatting with Incantha, destroying the machine, and rescuing Saeda, we claimed the quest's grandest reward: the spider figurine. Admittedly, Eder found the process of claiming said reward something other than rewarding. This was the only knockout of the quest and the only knockout that any current member of the crew has sustained.
 
 
The party is currently celebrating at the Goose and Fox. Eder is drinking for free tonight: he earned it.
 
Best,
 
A.

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#57
Alesia_BH

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Gratzi, Boeroer, Enhual, and Serg!

 

Our Sagani thanks you. And I think our Itumaak may even let you pet him!

 

Best,

A.


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#58
semiticgod

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I think I see the issue. In Baldur's Gate, disablers needed to be long-lasting to make an impact because you could only use so many of them. In PoE, disablers are short-lasting, but they can be used much more often. I've noticed that stun effects tend to turn the tide of battle, so I can see why Fortitude matters so much. It looks hard to maximize Fortitude, though--I don't see as many options to increase it as there are to increase Deflection, and both appear to be percentile rolls. If you're rolling a d100 in both cases, a +10 bonus to Fortitude isn't as meaningful as a +25 bonus to Deflection.

 

It also means that disablers are less prone to good or bad luck in PoE. In Baldur's Gate, relying on a small number of high-powered disablers to win a fight was a losing strategy in no-reload runs, because you might have, say, a 10% chance of landing no disablers, and if you were counting on them to win, that amounted to a 10% chance of death. In PoE, having unreliable options isn't as dangerous because you get so many more chances for them to work.

 

That might not seem like an important detail to you PoE players, but for a BG player coming to PoE, that's a huge difference in no-reload strategy. Investing in offensive status effects in BG1 was only good for no-reload runs if you could stack saving throw penalties, which took a lot of work. It's much more viable in PoE!

 

I noticed some Xaurip Champions a while back using an area-effect disabler suppression ability that seemed incredibly strong, effectively negating all forms of status effects for many seconds, party-wide. I assumed those Xaurips were paladins, which gave me the impression that paladins could block most disablers for a fairly long time. Sounds like paladins are a very good choice for no-reload runs.

 

@Alesia_BH: I remember having trouble against those Skeletal Wizards, too, since their high accuracy and range let them get past my tanks with magic missiles and whatnot. I had the same problem with enemy druids more recently; their damage output reached past my tanks. I also remember Xaurip Priests doing a lot to help their buddies survive. Bringing down enemy spellcasters seems very important, but they're not that much more fragile than enemy fighters, and while we can slow down their spells by interrupting them, we don't seem to be able to stop them entirely. Shutting down spellcasters doesn't seem feasible unless you're flat-out killing them.

 

That also poses a positioning problem. Spellcasters linger at the back, but if you send your tanks out to get them, the disengagement will let the enemy's tanks get extra hits, and it also runs the risk of letting enemy fighters switch targets to apply pressure on your own spellcasters. And with PoE's low mobility, you tend to get stuck with a bad position; you can't wiggle your way out of it.

 

Positioning and buffs make a huge difference in combat, and both of them are decided at the beginning of combat. Sounds like the first few seconds of combat really set the stage for success or failure; you need to establish an advantage early in PoE.


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#59
Hulk'O'Saurus

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Always keep Scrolls of Protections and Defence ready to go. 

 

Petrification should always be at the back of your head, and you should always have means to deal with it. 


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#60
summatsupeer

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@alesia_bH thanks, I think i'll just enjoy reading and seeing how other people do things whilst I finish my current save. I'm into WM2 + Act3, might join in after but don't think i'd last long without reloading!
 
@enuhal I need to remember to enchant more often I think.
 
@Serg BlackStrider I tend to give them shield+melee incase they get jumped... maybe I need to improve my positioning and CC then I can keep them dishing damage out using rod/scepter/wand!

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