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Starting the game, advice?

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Hello everyone, I am brand new here.


I bought Pillars of Eternity ages ago, but never got around playing it. I finally want to start and wanted to ask if anyone had advice for character creation. I have a bit of experience with RPGs, the closest to Pillars I played seems to be Dragon Age and Planescape Torment, though these were a long time ago. I enjoy a good story and building up my character, preferably becoming outright OP towards the end (I fondly remember hitting a boss in Skyrim so hard, his script broke).

So my question would be:

- Normal difficulty okay? While I am not in for a big challenge, I doubt I would like if the combat felt like pointless busywork.

- What character concept is recommended for minimum frustration both in combat (that is, combat not being too hard due to a character being poorly setup for it) and story-wise (that is, not missing out on too much content because the character can hardly pass any skill checks).

If the game grabs me, I might to multiple playthroughs (did so with Dragon Age and Skyrim) though I am sadly rather fiddle in that regard (started Planescape Torment two or three times but never finished it, despite enjoying it), so I also ask to optimize my first try for a good impression of the game.

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Howdy! :)

Normal difficulty is good for the first time PoE player who has some experience with other RPGs. The mechanics are rather complex but on Normal they are forgiving enough.

Keeping micromanagement low for most party members can help to focus your attention on your main character who then can be fun even if he needs to be heavily micromanaged (often casters need to be taken care of more than "simple" melee character). Classes with potentially low micromanagement are Fighter, Paladin and Chanter.

Chanters are great - but they feel rather slow on normal difficulty. They don't feel that way on Path of the Damned difficulty since fights last a lot longer there and that's when Chanters start to really shine. On normal diff. often fights are over before the Chanter gets a chance to fire off an invocation. But once he reaches lvl 9 that changes. Because he can get a chant then that's very powerful. Also because chants become a bit faster with every 4th level. Before that one can get the feeling he's lackluster (on normal diff).

Fighters are easy to play and start strong. Their power curve doesn't climb like casters' though. Fighters can be used to hold the line and tank and to be reliable but not fanstastic damage dealers. Easy class to play 

Paladins are a bit similar but have more healing and support capabilities. While fighters do consistent damage, Paladins can deal pretty high spike damage but then fall off. Easy to play.

Rogues do a lot of single target damage with weapons but are quite squishy. Thus they require more babysitting. Playing a ranged rogue reduces the babysitting. Rogues start strong in terms of dmg output but don't climb like casters. However: on normal there are less enemies and that doesn't shift the focus to Area of Effect abilites (like spells) that much. Meaning that rogues do better on normal than on higher difficulties. Nor difficult to play but needs attention.

Rangers are less squishy compared to rogues but not as sturdy as fighters or paladins. They also come with an Animal Companion that has to be steered. So you get two bodies which is very powerful in itself - but steering two bodies means increased micromamangement of course. As with all classes: playing mostly ranged increases your survivability as long as you have party members who can take the heat. Their role is a bit like that of rogues. Easier than rogue but needs attention, too.

Barbarians do automatic area of effect damage called "Carnage". They start off pretty underwhelming because they have low accuracy and low deflection which lets them a) miss often and b) die quickly. That leads many beginner to the impression that Barbs are bad. They do start bad but climb a lot steeper than the other martial classes (except Monk, more below). The Carnage ability of Barbs transfers all weapon effects from single target to Area of Effect. That means that if a weapon causes stun on critical hit it will do in an AoE with a Barb. That can unlock crazy powerful passive crowd control and disabling. Also Barbs gain a lot of heralth and endurance per level. After some levels they squishyness is gone. They are beter against trah mobs than gainst bosses. Hard to play in the beginning, easy later on. 

Monks are the most powerful martial class in my opinion - but they requite deeper understanding of the mechanics and a lot of micromanaegement in general. They start strong and stay strong.

Wizards can be great Crowd Controllers and disablers and/or nukers and/or even great frontliners (using self-buffs). They have a steep power curve - mostly due to the fact that they start with abysmal values and only have very few spells per rest. but with every unlockes spell tier they can use more and more spells in a fight and that has a huge impact. Also the more self buffs you unlock the lesser the bad starting values matter. However, althoug they start weak with few spells: some lvl-1-spells are insanely good. If you know them you can have an easier time in the beginning of the game. Not easy to play but nice as main character.

Priests are the strongest class if you play with a party. Their buffs impact the performance of the party so much (once you get certain spells) and later they also get very good damaging spells. Having a priest in the party makes a playthrough easier - I guess nobody would argue against that. They can also heal but are not the only class that does that well. At buffing they are top notch though. They have the same shortcomings as wizards: start weak but grow strong. They have some hidden gems that one should use. Easy to play if you focus on the party buffs first. Truly shine when also used as damage dealer later on.

Druids can be a mix of melee + casting. They can be very good at both if build right. Due to their shifting ability they don't suffer so much from the lack of spells in the beginning. spell-wise they are a bit like Wizards. Less self-buffs but Spiritshifting instead. 

Ciphers turn weapon dmg into spells basically. They require a bit of experience and have to beed both good at weapon damage as well as casting. They are quite effective and have a solid power curve. They tend to struggle a bit in boss fights because they rely on weaoon damage to be able to cast spells - and bosses usually don't get damaged as easily as trash mobs.

The early official companions are Wizard, Fighter, Priest and Chanter, a bit later Ranger and Paladin, then Cipher and Druid (you can rush to all of them after the early game so this is not a fixed order). Rogue, Barbarian and Monk only come with the White March DLC.

Maybe a Rogue would be a good fit for you. Not only is a Rogue handy to have because he's the one with the highest mechanics skill (search secrets, search & disarm traps and pick locks) but he's also  fun because his dmg output is high - and if you watch out a bit it's not too hard or complicated to play. Just don't try to build a glasscannon.

But multiple instances of the same class in a playthrough is no problem at all - so you couls also pick Fighter or Paladin or whatever. 

I'd say stay away from Barbarian, Chanter and Monk for now. I prefer them, but they need a bit of experience to value their strength and circumvent their weaknessen.

Edited by Boeroer
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Thank you @Boeroer. Started playing and it was fun enough. Unfortunately, well let's say I am in a Throne Room and since I sneaked there, it is only now. that I see that level 4 is way too low for me, even just on normal. And leaving from my last savegame is a long and unfun way.

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