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What's the best PoE2 difficulty for a challenging 1st time playthru?

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Hi all, super excited to get the game underway tonite! Just looking for advice on difficulty. This would be turn-based FWIW.

 

I'm not a min-maxer by any stretch, but am looking for something that challenges you to learn tactics, craft & use items/consumables, and explore sidequests to gain in power & tackle the main story. I have no problem dying occasionally & being forced to figure out a different approach. I'm not a total completionist but enjoy doing most sidequests.

 

In the 1st PoE, I started on Normal but after the initial challenge (IIRC Raedric's Hold was pretty tough?) things got way too easy. Wound up doing PotD alongside level-scaling (since I did both White Forges & was swinging Durgan Steel & soulbound weapons halfway thru) - although midgame I was stomping opponents, most of the big battles in the last section were a good challenge.

 

I was surprised because in 99% of games I have no interest in the highest difficulty - usually IMO they're for multiple playthrus or for people who really dial in the most powerful builds. When leveling my characters I'm more about roleplay & experimenting, I don't really care about efficiency too much.

 

Is the sequel the same, i.e. the highest difficulty is more like "Somewhat Challenging"? Any other tips?

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Posted (edited)

I found veteran somewhat challenging at first, but after getting a better grasp on how defenses work and how to get around them, I moved up to PotD because my party was obliterating most enemies. 

 

The first island is probably the hardest part (and it is indeed brutal, especially if you don't hire adventurers) but I'd say the challenge remains somewhat consistent after that, and there are some end-game encounters in the DLCs that can be hard at max level with a custom party. 

Edited by Woopee

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Start the first island on Veteran. If it's too hard, switch to Normal.

 

After the first island, if you went all the way on Veteran and enjoyed it, switch to PotD. If you switched to Normal on the first island, switch back to Veteran after that. If things remain difficult, switch back to Normal after a while.

 

I think this should be a pretty good short guideline to follow. Best of luck, enjoy!

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Yes the first island can be quite tough on Veteran, maybe start out normal and swap to Veteran as the above post says.


nowt

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Veteran is a great sweet spot. I think PotD should be changed to 'No Pen' because you will be seeing it all the time :p and the hordes on PotD get obnoxious so I'd say start with Vet.

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No Pen is the scourge of this game. It has to be said, though, that some classes (monks at least) can avoid it a lot easier than others.

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Start with Veteran/Normal. Whatever class you choose, make sure you put at least some points in perception. Otherwise, you will be seeing no pen! constantly and want to pull your hair out. If Veteran gets too easy, move up to PoTD. The hordes are a bit annoying though...

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PotD and berath challenge are a must, maybe expert too

and galawain challenge when maje Island becomes easy

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Start with Veteran/Normal. Whatever class you choose, make sure you put at least some points in perception. Otherwise, you will be seeing no pen! constantly and want to pull your hair out. If Veteran gets too easy, move up to PoTD. The hordes are a bit annoying though...

Perception has nothing to do with penetration though... does it? 

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Thanks everyone! I wound up doing Veteran but restarted with real-time combat mode - the turn based seems a little too slow & unpolished so far.

 

Already on Maje I've come across a fight that my party is completely unprepared for. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing - I'm doing some exploring to try & power up a bit - but it's surprising this early, especially considering it's just a basic encounter rather than a quest-ending challenge or whatever.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks everyone! I wound up doing Veteran but restarted with real-time combat mode - the turn based seems a little too slow & unpolished so far.

 

Already on Maje I've come across a fight that my party is completely unprepared for. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing - I'm doing some exploring to try & power up a bit - but it's surprising this early, especially considering it's just a basic encounter rather than a quest-ending challenge or whatever.

Gorreci Street and the first major battle at the next area you’re going to go are two of the harder battles in the game. Both can be solved through stealth if you’re finding them too difficult.

 

Things get easier from there going forward before starting to ramp back up as you get into the expansion content.

Edited by Breckmoney

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Posted (edited)

I would say Veteran plus only less XP portion of this mod, if you don't want to overlevel content too much:
https://www.nexusmods.com/pillarsofeternity2/mods/43?tab=files

 

Don't be discouraged by the opening isle (espessially Gorecci street) as it is as hard as the game will get. 

 

EDIT: Oh, and scale everything up-only. 

Edited by Wormerine

h1dczBG.jpg

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Totally, it's Gorreci Street. At this level I just don't have much gear or tactical options, feels like the math is dramatically stacked against you unless you just keep reloading & get super lucky with the RNG?

 

I'll look into the stealth approach, but I do try to avoid the cheesing with stealth that a lot of games offer - i.e. temporarily respeccing everyone & pouring all their skill points into it, or inching along while metagaming the mechanics. Oh well. Seems like a weird spot for a huge difficulty spike, and one obvious enough they would have patched it by now.

 

Otherwise the game's awesome so far.

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Posted (edited)

Totally, it's Gorreci Street. At this level I just don't have much gear or tactical options, feels like the math is dramatically stacked against you unless you just keep reloading & get super lucky with the RNG?

 

I'll look into the stealth approach, but I do try to avoid the cheesing with stealth that a lot of games offer - i.e. temporarily respeccing everyone & pouring all their skill points into it, or inching along while metagaming the mechanics. Oh well. Seems like a weird spot for a huge difficulty spike, and one obvious enough they would have patched it by now.

 

Otherwise the game's awesome so far.

It’s been that way since launch, so I assume it’s supposed to be overly difficult in order to greatly encourage you to seek a peaceful option or something. Like there’s really no good reason that your Watcher would attack them other than they attack you, so sneaking past the looters and talking to their boss always seemed like the “moral” way to do things anyway.

 

You can also just come back after you pick up some more party members. Skipping past stuff and coming back later is also something I think Deadfire (and PoE1 to an extent) wanted players to feel comfortable doing.

Edited by Breckmoney

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You can also just come back after you pick up some more party members. Skipping past stuff and coming back later is also something I think Deadfire (and PoE1 to an extent) wanted players to feel comfortable doing.

Definitely. Hardcore gamers always complain about full scaling saying they like the feeling of finding an area they are not supposed to be in yet, only to come back and conquer it later. PoE embraced that and I think Gorecci St is supposed to be an introduction to it.

 

I'm not sure if it's worth it, though, because a non-insignificant number of casual gamers just stop playing when they encounter Gorecci Streets.

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Just leave on foot, and return to Gorecci from the south. Stealth past to the left, convince Ilari to stop looting, then commence looting yourself. I haven't bothered with fighting the horde of dudes who give just about nothing for the trouble in awhile.

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Posted (edited)

Gorecci (or Grocery) St has an easy stealth/diplomacy path. Talk to the jailer then when you travel to Gorecci st from outside the city you arrive at the bottom of the map where you can stealth and talk to leader. Unless you looking for a serious challenge this is the easiest approach.

 

Edit: just saw what Woopee said lol.

Edited by Verde

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PoTD, no pause, blindfolded, high on hallucinogens and every time a party character dies, you cut one of your fingers off.

  • Haha 1

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PoTD, no pause, blindfolded, high on hallucinogens and every time a party character dies, you cut one of your fingers off.

Only fingers? And here I am with only 4 toes and 5 fingers.

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Posted (edited)

 

Start with Veteran/Normal. Whatever class you choose, make sure you put at least some points in perception. Otherwise, you will be seeing no pen! constantly and want to pull your hair out. If Veteran gets too easy, move up to PoTD. The hordes are a bit annoying though...

Perception has nothing to do with penetration though... does it? 

 

 

I'm not sure this is what wingedchocolatecake meant, but perception does matter because on a crit you get a 1.5x multiplier on your total PEN, and perception improves accuracy and thus chance to crit in some cases.

 

It's because of this that on PotD especially perception is very slightly better than might in terms of net damage for much of the game, because in cases where you are underpenetrating, getting a crit can be a huge multiplier on your damage (going from 25% no pen hit to a full pen crit can be more than a 4x damage increase). However on lower difficulties with sufficient other accuracy bonuses, the impact of this 1.5x PEN multiplier gets muted and might becomes better again.

 

Still, I wouldn't go out of my way to get perception just as a PEN booster, but in terms of damage on PotD it does mean I would (and do) shoot for perception first.

Edited by thelee

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Posted (edited)

There is no reason whatsoever for anyone to play PoE2 on less than PotD difficulty if they have prior PotD experience from Pillars 1, which I recall as a harder PotD experience. Nowadays I'm much too impatient to play on anything other than PotD solo, as the downtime prospect of juggling five inventories and builds feels intolerable. :)

Edited by aphotic

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