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"It seems these smelly mushroom's will be bathing in our blood tonight!". And with these last words the rest of the group got trampled by... smelly.... mushrooms....

 

Condolences, FNG. I imagine that encounter would be tricky for a low level melee party, fighting in the open field.

 

I'm glad you learned somethings though! Congrats on that!

 

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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I'm not sure I've been looking at it as well but I have to say. Focus generation was ussually not a problem and deflection is easily solved by not getting hit or controlling what is trying to. And the 4 int would wreak havoc on your AoE and durations of your control to be honest. I'll carefully say I'm not a fan.

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We haven't used it yet. I've merely noticed it.

 

For Alyssa, who primarily uses her cipher powers to disable, it seems unhelpful. 

 

For a cipher relying on single target damage spells, including single target DoT spells, it would seem to make sense.

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Nizidramanii'yt, Hearth Orlan Wizard (Poverty run)

 

Back to the poverty run! We need a little more XP before we tackle Caed Nua, since we've got very few resources to handle dangerous critters like Phantoms, so we run around in search of enemies and quests. We've got one big task ahead of us: the bandits around the lost shipment to Gilded Vale.

 

Here's one of the many problems with poverty runs: since your tanks can't wear armor, you're pretty much at the mercy of enemy weapons unless you're a wizard with Arcane Veil. And even Rosevine doesn't have the Endurance to handle a volley of crossbow bolts.

 

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We have a few moments before the next volley comes, so we buy some time with Slicken and follow up with Winter Wind. By the time the melee enemies reach us, they are badly wounded and Frost is already in position for a deadly Fan of Flames spell.

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Mora Tai helps clean up the surviving melee grunts in bear form and Frost finishes the last one with Concelhaut's.

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The next fight with humanoids plays out fairly similarly: Rosevine takes massive damage from introductory attacks, but Slicken keeps the melee fighters at bay for a moment, allowing our druids to blast them with cone-shaped damage spells.

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Finally, Nizidramanii'yt hits level 4 and takes Hardened Veil. I don't know if we're ready for Caed Nua, but we're as close as we're going to get. We pack our party against a wall, lure the Spirits closer, and open with Summon Blight. Frost and Nizidramanii'yt, our mages, are at the front, using Arcane Veil to avoid attacks (their low Fortitude doesn't matter if they don't get hit) and Concelhaut's to deal damage fast.

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The strategy works marvelously. One of our Blights keeps three Spirits distracted to the east while the rest of the party quickly dispatches the nearby Phantom. Wizards are fantastic for poverty runs (as long as your rules permit starting grimoires, at least).

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Druids are also very useful; their bombing spells offer substantial burst damage, earning fast kills and preventing the party from suffering from much pressure.

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Summon Blight offers a great decoy, but the spell takes a rather long time to cast. We only got our Blights out this early because we lured the enemy from a considerable distance away.

 

We try the same thing against the Spirits inside the castle. By the time the Spirits reach the alcove where the party is hiding, we've already brought out two Blights. The enemy does terrible things to the Blights, but since we got Flame Blights, they deal massive damage to the enemy when they fall.

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Dancing Bolts from our druids lets us make even more progress against the Spirits. By the time our mages engage the Spirits with Concelhaut's, the enemy is already mostly dead.

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Outside, we can't corner the party so well, which exposes our back line to pressure and gets Nizidramanii'yt stunned. Our druids bail her out with damage spells that take down the enemy before they get finish her off.

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Then we approach the Spirits with the Will o' Wisps at the back, and things start out much uglier. The Will o' Wisps fire off their bolt spells, and we quickly lose one of our druids. Mora Tai might have survived if he had used Second Wind, but confusion made that impossible.

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We've got Spirits bearing down on the party, but we've applied blindness and Combusting Wounds, and twin Iconic Projection spells do a lot against the low-Endurance Spirits.

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Rosevine takes down two Shadows with Autumn's Decay, and our mages put down the survivors with Concelhaut's. Our defenses might be awful, but a lack of items does almost nothing to diminish a spellcaster's damage output.

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Done! We muddle through the fights with the spiders (we need to take a trip back to town once or twice to deal with all these critters) and pick the lock to Maerwald's room. I never thought about whether lockpicks would be allowed in a poverty run, but since they're in the stash instead of our inventory, they're fine with the rules I set out in the starting post.

 

We open with Inspiring Radiance, Consecrated Ground, Insect Swarm, and Autumn's Decay, dealing some modest damage while letting us shrug off Maerwald's Corrosive Siphon spell. We get Armor of Faith and Blessing off the ground and nail Maerwald with a blindness spell.

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Frost is struggling to cast Combusting Wounds, but due to some bug, she goes several rounds without doing anything. Does anyone know why a character might refuse to take an order even when the action icon shows up correctly on their portrait? I don't see how she'd be unable to see her target; there aren't any walls getting in her way, and she's not disabled by anything.

 

Nizidramanii'yt is functioning properly, however, and knocks Maerwald off his feet with Slicken, taking advantage of his weaker Reflex defense.

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By canceling Frost's order, having her walk a short distance away, and re-issuing the order (and I think I had to do this twice), we finally get Frost to cast Combusting Wounds. It lands, but it's hardly necessary: Maerwald is already alone and blinded, and thanks to Consecrated Ground and Slicken, no one in the party needs to dedicate a round to healing. We take him down with Concelhaut's and shapeshifting.

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On to Defiance Bay!

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Nizidramanii'yt, Hearth Orlan Wizard (Poverty run)

 

We skip most of the wilderness fights on the way to Defiance Bay (we took down a single Pwgra using blindness and druid spells), we head to the Catacombs of Defiance Bay, where we suffer lots of damage from the Primordials, though nothing endangers the party's survival.

 

Then we tackle some skeletons, who remind us of our one biggest weakness as a party: we have no item-based damage reduction. Just like burst damage from crossbows knocked out Rosevine in an earlier fight, burst damage from the Skeleton Wizards' damage spells does horrible things to poor Nizidramanii'yt.

 

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Then another wizard follows up with Bounding Missiles, which knocks out Divinegon and costs us a Consecrated Ground spell. A healing spell from our other priest, Zovai, and Nizidramanii'yt's Second Wind bring our main wizard back up to speed, but the enemy still isn't done: another Bounding Missiles spell takes down Frost, our second wizard.

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Worse yet, we've got two Necrotic Lances coming up, and all we've been able to do is deal some light damage and blind one of the mages with Sunbeam. But our druids' Dancing Bolts spells have been making progress on the enemy. It's enough to finish off the non-blinded enemy mage, sparing us an ugly Necrotic Lance spell.

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Rosevine fails to finish off the other mage, but thanks to blindness, the Necrotic Lance misses us. Bad luck could have left us with two more fallen party members and two enemy mages still intact.

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We visit the cult at the bottom of the area and resolve the quest without violence, getting the whole party up to level 4. Now we're ready to deal with the Primordials I skipped earlier. A summoned Blight soaks up a Dank Spore's confusion effect, leaving the rest of the party fully functional. As long as the party is alive and well, we can deal massive damage with area-effect spells.

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After some Dancing Bolts, the enemy is spread out in just the right way for us to blast them with Iconic Projection. I must agree with @Alesa_BH; I've consistently found that Iconic Projection offers surprisingly solid damage output. Priests have good offensive capabilities; they're not just useful for healing and buff spells.

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Next up, Heritage Hill!

 

Right off the bat, we get crushed. Multiple mages accost us in the first fight, and a combination of Necrotic Lance and Bounding Missiles spells knock out three party members on the first round of combat.

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But our druids already summoned their Blights, who hold off the enemy fighters even after their summoners have fallen. With both priests still very much alive, our defenses are solid, and Nizidramanii'yt and our twin priests still have enough damage output to bring down the distracted skeletons while they struggle to kill our Blights.

 

We're not done with mages, however. In the fight by the tower, Nizidramanii'yt falls to a single Necrotic Lance.

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Notice the poor positioning of our Blights: one is at the choke point in front of the party, while another is surrounded by enemies beyond the choke point. I spread out the Blights because I hoped the more distant one could distract the mages, but mostly it just got our second Blight exposed to more danger.

 

No Nizidramanii'yt means no Slicken spell, and we have no other means of keeping the enemy wizards at bay. All we can do is focus our attention on the enemy fighters to bring them down quickly. We blast them with damage spells and weather the enemy wizards' attacks as best as we can, but ultimately, we can't keep pace with the enemy's damage output, and our second wizard falls.

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We've managed to isolate an enemy mage, but we can't quite pin it down. Eventually, Rosevine manages to summon a Blight, but she's too late to distract the remaining mage, who knocks out our other druid, Mora Tai.

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The Darguls paralyze Rosevine, but our numerous spells have done a lot to wear down the enemy, clearing out many of the melee enemies and wounding the last mage. Finally, one of our priests just barely manages to take down the enemy mage with a ranged attack.

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If you guys have been interested in Nizidramanii'yt's poverty run, then I have bad news: I don't plan on continuing this run any further.

 

There are two reasons for this. First, the party is kind of simple and gameplay isn't very diverse. We only have three different classes across six party members, and our same-class characters aren't that different from each other in terms of their functions and abilities. Plus, without items, there's not much customization to do and XP is the only thing of value we can obtain. This party has little growth in its future beyond gaining levels, and gameplay is not going to evolve very much as time goes on.

 

In a word, the run is going to get increasingly less interesting as time goes on.

 

The second reason is that, based on our progress thus far, the likelihood of getting past Thaos is extremely slim, and the odds of even getting close to him aren't much better. We're way too vulnerable to sudden knockouts from burst damage, and with no Scrolls of Revival or paladins on hand, it'll take ages before we'll have any revival options. This is a Hard run rather than Path of the Damned, so the numbers will be a little more forgiving, but the root problem is not something I know how to fix: we can't bounce back when things go wrong

 

Despite our success so far, the run seems doomed in the long run when I factor in how little experience I have with PoE.

 

A poverty run with my rules (they're much stricter than the ones I saw in Harpagornis' run) seems perfectly doable; getting to Defiance Bay didn't require strokes of luck or anything like that, and there are lots of other fights that you don't need items to win. But I don't think I have the game knowledge to complete this one, and I think a different run will be more enlightening.

Edited by semiticgod
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We respect your decision, Semiticgod. More importantly, we support whatever choice helps you roll your own joy. If you're not feeling this run, set it aside.

 

I made a similar decision with my solo rogue, Arista. She had met with success in the early game, in a challenging endeavor. But I saw troubles ahead for her and, more importantly, I felt I still had things to learn in the context of conventional party play. I think that was the right choice.

 

We hope to see a new run from you soon! Any thoughts on what that might look like?

 

Best,

 

A. 

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Frost is struggling to cast Combusting Wounds, but due to some bug, she goes several rounds without doing anything. Does anyone know why a character might refuse to take an order even when the action icon shows up correctly on their portrait? I don't see how she'd be unable to see her target; there aren't any walls getting in her way, and she's not disabled by anything.

 

That's annoying, isn't it? It happens predictably when you give a character two orders (with one being a modal or insta-cast) during a single pause. Arcane Veil + spell is the most common cause, in my experience. Cancelling all orders, unpausing, and then reselecting a new order, seems to fix it.

 

On occasion it happens for other reason that are harder to understand and remedy. It happened to Alyssa repeatedly in the Raedric fight: she couldn't get a single power off.

 

I'd appreciate commentary from someone more familiar with the Unity engine. Has anyone else noticed this issue? What are the best practices for avoidance and remedy? It may be a minor issue in the context of reload play, but it's kind of important for us.

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Alyssa, Wood Elf Cipher: Entry 6- Raedric Hold Revisited

 

After gaining a few levels in the D, we returned to Guilded Vale to end the reign of our esteemed lord, Raedric VII. In retrospect, we should have rejoined Eder for this. If anyone should kill Raedric, it's him.

 

I'll skip coverage of the minor fights in the sanctuary and cut straight to Raedric.

 

As mentioned earlier, Alyssa was affected by a glitch here. Despite repeated attempts, she failed to cast a single power. Nonetheless,our party prevailed with ease. Here's our opening: Kana, Nautilus of Ogrammon; Pallegina, Oaken Scarab; Alora, Scroll of Defense; Aloth, Llengrath's; Alyssa, Psychovampiric Shield; Durance Scroll of Protection. The scroll use here was wasteful: a Circle of Protection from Durance would have sufficed.

 

 

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Most of the damage was done by Chill Fog + Combusting Wounds + Iconic Projection, as usual. Note that after abandoning an attempt to cast Psychovampiric Shield, Alyssa has moved on to Phantom Foes. That order, too, failed to resolve. 

 

 

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No matter. Honestly, there wasn't much Alyssa could add to this conversation. The AoE stuff had us covered. That Eyestrike, though? Yup: That also failed to resolve.

 

 

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Kana wins the race to the finish. We win. Yay! But remind me to do this earlier next time: L6 is way too late.!

 

 

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Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Does anyone know how many things trigger Combusting Wounds? If it applies multiple times from Chill Fog, would it also apply multiple times from Ectopsychic Echo? What about multiple beam spells like Ray of Fire, or cloud spells, or damage over-time effects like Envenomed Strike? Does it also apply to the negative Endurance effect from a chanter's song? It seems like an excellent way to magnify damage, both on crowds and on critters with high damage reduction.

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Hi all. I've been enjoying following along with your runs. I think this is a terrific way to experience the game and to share community around it. I'm excited to join in. Feedback is welcome. 
 
 
Aures, Wood Elf Paladin, Shieldbearer of St. Elcga: Introduction
 
Game Version: 3.7.0.1318 with White March I & II & Deadfire Pack
Difficulty: Path of the Damned
Settings: Maim Before Death: Off; Injuries: On; Expert Mode: On; Trial of Iron: On
Mods: None
Expert Mode:

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I'm going for my first Frozen Crown run with this group. I'm close to a completionist PotD run with another party using reloads, and I feel relatively good about going for a PotD NR along with expert mode. I've chosen a party to suit the lack of targeting circles (no wizard!). I also wanted to use some different companions than my current end game run, where I'm playing with all of the PoE2 companions plus Kana. 
 
This group will be all female and will feature 2 custom characters (a priest and a chanter), along with Pallegina, Sagani, and Maneha. I will use other companions until I'm able to recruit the full team. I haven't yet decided who will become the Hercule Poirot of Caed Nua yet, but easy money is usually on Durance or Kana. 
 
Main Character, Aures, Wood Elf Paladin, Shieldbearer of St. Elcga

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Main Character Description: 
 

A youngest daughter of an Aedyran noble house, Aures was groomed for service to her family, not through marriage, but through vows to the order of Shieldbearers of St. Elcga. Her education and training would include negotiation, diplomacy, and mediation, but most importantly, it would introduce her to the many important social connections that she would use to bring prestige and wealth to her family's name. That is, until she was sent to the family's colonial holdings near the Deadfire to negotiate more favorable business agreements with local officials.

Aures arrived on her family's estates in the midst of an uprising. The plantation's enslaved laborers, having been freed by a band of abolitionist zealots, had taken possession of the estate house, and were holding an uncle, cousins, and several paid employees hostage. The local militia had them surrounded and was prepared to burn the house down to put down the rebellion. Not knowing what else to do, Aures negotiated a deal for safe passage in return for the safe surrender of her family members and paid staff and a promise of no further harm to the family property.

The negotiations were a success, and while some of the locals thought it was unconscionable to let slaves go free, Aures knew that she had secured the best outcome for her family's interests. What she couldn't shake afterwards, though, was the words of the leader of the group, a dwarven radical who claimed to be a priest of Eothas and member of the Order of the Broken Shackles. "Who do you think is the villain in this story?", she had said.

The answer to that question changed everything for her. Leaving behind her family, her duty, and the wealth accumulated through hundreds of years of exploitation in the name of profit and family interests, Aures sought out the priest and the band of abolitionists, joining a new order and pledging her life in service to liberation.

Now she finds herself en route to the Dyrwood, a place where every homestead and road tells the story of violent settlement and Aedyran profits. The violence of the Saints War and the horrors of the purges that followed were known to the order of the Broken Shackle, but news has begun to trickle out of the Dyrwood of new cruelties and oppressions. Some even mention a curse on the unborn. Aures has been given orders to establish an outpost for the order within the Dyrwood, shore up resources, alliances, and what support she can, and begin the work of liberation from within.

 
Custom Party Members:

Along with her come two trusted allies. Gregoria, that very same priest of Eothas, who, having begun her life squeezing profits from the land and people as a colonist, now serves the power of rebirth and redemption through the liberation of the oppressed, and Niclesa, a loud and braggadocios ship captain from the Deadfire, who some say took command of her first ship after leading a mutiny of the enslaved crew, including herself. If there's one thing Gregoria likes more than taking risks and making something exciting happen, it's telling everyone the story later. Her skill with words can even bring an edge to her allies on the battlefield.

 
Gregoria, Mountain Dwarf Priestess of Eothas

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Niclesa, Wild Orlan Chanter

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Party Plan & Builds:

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Edited by Ivanfyodorovich
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My understanding is that Combusting Wounds triggers on hits, but not DoT ticks. It originally did work with DoT ticks, but it was nerfed so as not to sometime in 2017.

 

It works nicely with spells and weapons that hit multiple time, such as Minoletta's and blunderbusses. Stationary AoE's and wall spells also work. It should work with beam spells, too.

 

In Alyssa's run we're currently developing safe usage conditions for Ectopsychic Echo. We've been keeping it simple thus far. Relatively soon we'll work in fineries. We'll be trying Kana, Touch of Rot (via Rotfinger Gloves); Aloth, Chill Fog; Pallegina, Combusting Wounds (via Ring of Searing Flames); Durance, Iconic Projection; Alora, Escape (over kill zone); Alyssa, Ectopsychic Echo (on Alora); Alora, Ray of Fire (via scroll). That should kill some folk.

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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It's good to see Ectopsychic Echo being put to good use. I think you'll find it very rewarding. I notice you're using your rogue at an Echo target, like I did. I don't remember if I used Escape for that purpose (like you intend to) or just used Shadowing Beyond to escape engagement while stretching the beam, but I think rogues are a good option as a target simply because they don't need to be at the front line. There's less opportunity cost with having them run out past the wall.

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It's good to see Ectopsychic Echo being put to good use. I think you'll find it very rewarding. I notice you're using your rogue at an Echo target, like I did. I don't remember if I used Escape for that purpose (like you intend to) or just used Shadowing Beyond to escape engagement while stretching the beam, but I think rogues are a good option as a target simply because they don't need to be at the front line. There's less opportunity cost with having them run out past the wall.

 

 

We'll use Shadowing Beyond at some points, Escape at others. 

 

The advantage of Escape is that it let's Alora safely clear hazard AoEs, and bypass chokepoint engagement areas, meaning we don't have to fight in the open or restrain our AoE casts to use EE. Escape is also per encounter, not per rest.

 

Take this test, for example, where we paralyzed our foes first to further insure Alora's safety. We're engaged at a chokepoint. Alora activates Escape.

 

 

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Alora is safely through the engagement zone; she receives the beam.

 

 

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It works. And the logic would be the same if there were stationary AoEs in place. Alora can jump over those, too.

 

Best,

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Welcome, welcome, welcome, Ivanfyodorovich! I've been noticing your name in the reader field. I've been hoping you'd join us.

 

I look forward to Aures's run!

 

Best,

 

A.

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@Ivanfyodorovish: Best of luck with Aures! It's always good to see a completionist run. They might take longer and they're less safe in certain ways, but they can be very rich and full.

 

I'm surprised to see someone try out Expert Mode, to be honest. It seems like it would be a huge disadvantage, and immensely inconvenient, to miss out on so much information. What information is still available in Expert Mode?

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I'm surprised to see someone try out Expert Mode, to be honest. It seems like it would be a huge disadvantage, and immensely inconvenient, to miss out on so much information. What information is still available in Expert Mode?

I haven't run Expert mode myself but have most of those options off anyway and according this info there will no more Maim Companions Before Death, AoE Highlighting and Show Relative Defenses (i.e. the % popup on enemies comparing their known defense scores to your accuracy when you target them with weapon or spell) and other easy-of-use options. The Upper-Left window, showing their current status effects is still available, I believe. So all in all, it's not a big deal, especially for BG experienced player. It's really convenient to have AoE highlighting but when you get used with game mechanic you'll be fine with it Off. And for melee heavy party you don't need it On either.

Edited by Serg BlackStrider
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Yup, Expert Mode is basically meant to recreate the original infinity engine experience (for me, the three major differences to my usual gameplay are 1) no stash access outside of towns/resting, 2) no AoE indicators, 3) no infos on enemy stats/defenses). It does, however, feel inconvenient once you've gotten used to all of these things. Such is the way of games: People might complain about certain new features, claiming that their nostalgic experiences may get ruined by them, but once they've actually started using them, they don't really want to go back - which is why most people prefer to play without expert mode, despite many people initially being vocal supporters of it.

I think the actual disadvantages of expert mode aren't big at all once you have some basic game knowledge - as in BG, you'll get used to the spell AoEs relatively quickly, and a general idea on enemy defenses isn't hard to acquire. In truth, as FNGRenegade has said before, it's more annoying than difficult. I think it's mostly only used because it's part of the official Triple Crown settings (which is the reason I had it active with Liresh).

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I think the actual disadvantages of expert mode aren't big at all once you have some basic game knowledge - as in BG, you'll get used to the spell AoEs relatively quickly, and a general idea on enemy defenses isn't hard to acquire.

 

 

Agreed. Expert mode isn't burdensome if you've developed expertise. In BG I would have no use for the targeting circles and enemy information PoE provides. I intuitively know the range of each spell and I'm aware of the resistances and immunities of my enemies. 

 

Due to my comparative inexperience with PoE, however, the additional feedback and data are helpful- very helpful. Or so it seems.

 

The only thing I'm wondering is if the feedback may be slowing my development as a player. There is a distinction between knowing something and needing to look something up. Both allow one to make informed judgements, but retained knowledge does a better job of empowering creativity. I'm tempted to try Expert Mode relatively soon , in the interest of nudging myself into memorizing relevant combat information. I suspect I'll play smarter once the information is in my head, rather than on screen.

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Yeah, I found I already knew the aoe of most of the spells pretty well. Especially if you build your casters with a lot of int which basically expands the Extra AoE that hits only enemies and not your party as I understand it. It's a little harder to for example set up a perfect kill zones with the aoe going up the the toes of your tanks. But honestly I mostly noticed the issue when I accidentally shift click a good weapon and it goes into my stash and I'm sighing like oh... yeah now I won't be able to use it until I rest with a big risk I forget even when I do cause it's a little later. And it kind of promotes risk avoidance, I noticed I rested a lot more when peoples health were low because if they run out of health they die, it's not really harder it just makes you more risk averse which is not something I particularly enjoy. You can argue that no reload runs do that too but I actually don't really play them like that, I play normally the no reload part is only there because otherwise I feel there is no use. It's easy to doze off while playing when you can just reload the save right before the fight anyway. Especially in a game like PoE which makes 4 autos aves every time you zone if I don't play no reload it becomes a snooze fest for me.

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For those of you who would like to add your posts to the Beamdog PoE no-reload thread (you can find it here: https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/44369/pillars-of-eternity-minimal-and-no-reload-thread-spoilers#latest),@Serg_Blackstrider has shown me a pretty quick way of doing it while still preserving images during the copying process. Go to Edit on your Obsidian posts, switch to BBCode Mode via the button on the upper left of the Edit menu, and copy and paste the text into Notepad. Then use the Find and Replace Function, CTRL-H, to convert the image tags to the Beamdog style.

 

I kept the separate tags in another Notepad file, which let me do the copying and converting without messing without switching windows a lot.

 

NlPnf22.png

 

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