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I just finished the game after about 250 Hours in Pillars 1 and 140 hours in Pillars 2.

TLDR; That ending was absolute garbage.

So I pick up the two base games at discount on steam.  I lose it over how much fun I have with the first one.  I can't stop theory crafting over what I'll do in the second one as bits of info trickle in about it while I'm playing the first.  I finish it, with a few sore notes, but am completely satisfied with how it ends and my ability to choose how it ends with my characters' actions.

I strap in and start Pillars 2.  I'm immediately floored by the plot.  It's a freaking amazing and significant tie-in.  As with the first, I love the gameplay, but there's a few more sore notes there.  Nothing that's gonna stop me from enjoying it, and that's not what this post is about.  (I am, however, disappointed with the impact of my choice in the first game, but w/e)

I systematically clear all the content, reach the point of no return, and pick up the DLC's with the season pass.  I thoroughly enjoy them all and save my decision at the end of the Forgotten Sanctum so I can at least see the alternate endings it creates. 

Now up to this point, I'm a little confused about what Eothas wants to happen.  As far as I can tell, he's smashing The Wheel and after a couple generations we're all done.  Stuck in the in between forever according to Berath.  Woedeca, in our fireside chats, told me that reincarnation existed before the wheel, but was crappy on it's own (makes zero sense but I'll buy it).  All the gods, Eothas included, don't really talk about rebuilding the wheel at all before you reach Ukaizo.  They just yammer on about "what will kith do with or without us".  As if it matters since we're all doomed to being trapped for all eternity after one or two generations for all I know.  I can barely weigh in because the very concept of Kith overcoming this if Eothas succeeds seems absolutely foreign to me.

So I go into Ukaizo.  Up to now, I sided with the pirates long enough to get the Floating Hangman, then side with Rautai to keep Maia.  I sale into the storm, have a few ship battles to support my comrades and then some sea monster pops up only to be brushed aside because of what I did back at the watershapers guild:  Free the dragon, but keep a power source for water shaping.  Then the game hijacks my ride and forces me into the sub...why?  I'm on the Floating Hangman, I don't need the sub.  I shrug and carry on.

I'm met in Ukaizo by a couple statues.  Neat.   I head deeper into Ukaizo...which consists of 4 short locations...?  I get one more pirate fight and then it's off to Eothas after another pointless conversation with the gods because they don't seem to phased by anything I have to say, and they still haven't presented even the CONCEPT of reinventing the wheel as a possibility for the kith.  All I can think at this point is "well I can't really weigh in till I figure out why on eora Eothas thinks this is a good idea." (I could be remembering incorrectly here, and maybe they mentioned it, but I have more on the wheel issue later anyways)

So I go to Eothas having seen no boss battle yet. Kindof wonderin' when the guardian is gonna show up.  On my way up to him I'm just stewing over how unclear his intentions seem to be, and hoping I get a chance to understand it before weighing in.

At Eothas I manage to have ONE response that makes sense from my point of view: What about all those souls stuck in purgatory forever big guy?  He says that's only temporary and he'll make a safe haven for em.  Ok?  Still don't know what makes that temporary there, dude.   At the end of all the small talk I finally get to ask him a question.  WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IN YOUR GRAND PLAN!?  He says we gotta re-invent the wheel in two generations.   EXCUSE ME?!   So you're telling me that because you wanted Kith to grow right now instead of waiting out this little project you and your god buddies originally planned, you want us to just do what you all did AGAIN!?  In less than two generations!?  The dude's absolutely off his nut.  There's no good reason for this at all.  Why can't reincarnation go back to the way it was?  What's that? You BROKE reincarnation to make the wheel?  That's awfully convenient.  I was hoping I could just let you break the wheel and we'd find a way to live on with crappy reincarnation.  Nope, we're just doomed if we don't solve this problem you heaped onto us in two generations or less.  Good luck!

I understand his intentions:  Free the Kith from any kindof influence of the gods by giving them a choice in the matter of living an existence with gods.  Make the choice of working with the gods to remake the wheel or don't, and live with the gods or live without em (kindof how you were ALREADY LIVING before you made the wheel in the first place).  At the beginning of all this, he also implied revealing to kith the truth about the gods, which gets lost somewhere along the way because nobody's being told squat about the gods in this ending.

So I want to stop Eothas now:
1.  Where is all his benevolence about giving us a choice regarding him busting the wheel at all.  We've been living with the gods for centuries, and aside from HIS OWN MEDDLING, it's been a pretty chill run.

2.  If knowledge of the gods existence as mortals and their involvement in the wheels creation was common knowledge, WHO CARES?  We've only ever known THESE GODS, they're the very definition of what a god is, so I see no problem there at all.  They're sustained by memories scooped up during the cycle of wheel, they don't need one lick of faith to function.
3.  So lets say Kith reforge the wheel.  There's no reason to believe we'll do any better than the previous gods, we're every bit as fallible as they were when they made the wheel, and what's this?  WE'RE on a time crunch!  There's no way kith won't bum rush to the first friggin solution they come across.
4.  This is an absolutely ridiculous gamble in the first place.  While it's true Kith have the wreckage of the technology, who knows how many centuries behind the engwithians the kith are in figuring out a solution to this ridiculous problem.  Again, they're VERY likely to completely rush into a very poor solution. 
5.  On top of all that, how many lives did it take to jump start the wheel the first time?  You're ok with a huge chunk of the now limited population being sacrificed just to get back to not being trapped in your little "heaven" for all eternity?

So all together.  Eothas claims to want to give Kith a choice but didn't ask a single Kith if they thought this was a good idea.  He claims to want to reveal the truth of the gods to Kith but this never really happens.  The best you can do is ask him to house the souls stuck forever in a happy place and give Kith a head start on the technology needed to keep existence as we know it from ending in a couple generations.

Yeah I'd really like to stop this madness and hoped I could talk him out of it.  Well tough.  I can't.  What a sham.  This childish god is gonna get what he wants and there's NOTHING I can do about it.  To top it all off.  I made what I considered to be the best choice back at the watershapers guild and apparently, that relegated the freaking BOSS OF THE GAME to a single footnote before Ukaizo.  Ugh.

So now, I'm thinking "Well thank goodness for the Wael DLC."  I had previously destroyed the Wael Titan body because I assumed I could either talk Eothas out of his ludicrous plan or at the very least we'd go back to the primeval reincarnation method.  Well, that's all off the table, time to sick a Wael Titan on Eothas to put an end to his misguided example of hubris and carelessness.

NOPE!  Eothas, who had a lot of trouble bustin' the wheel to begin with, has no trouble just pulling it down as he's dragged under by Titan Wael.  Absolute Garbage.  Never have I felt so powerless as the main character of an epic fantasy.  Most unsatisfying, infuriating ending of any game I've ever played.

I loved this game, and was planning to play it all over again.  I hope I can get over this and do it, too.

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Thank you for voicing your criticism in such a reasonable way even though you are disappointed. Too often it's all ranting, hyperbole and profanity - your post is not. 👍

Yeah quite unusual storyline. I think they planned Deadfire as a cliffhanger and would have resolved this in PoE3 (which might never happen). Which might have worked out then.

The decision to omit the Guardian when helping the Water Dragon was wrong in my opinion. There have been so many bug reports from confused players who expected a guardian fight because they didn't read the sheets on the way to Ukaizo properly or simply didn't expect such a "cheap" solution to that encounter. 

About the costs of building the wheel: I don't think that many sacrifices were needed to build the wheel itself. The main part of the mass scarification of Engwithans (and Huana) seems to have been used to create the soul constructs we call "gods". 

Edited by Boeroer
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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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3 hours ago, Calypsopoxta said:

  Never have I felt so powerless as the main character of an epic fantasy.  Most unsatisfying, infuriating ending of any game I've ever played.

Your first two Obsidian games, I take? Otherwise you'd know they don't exactly do epic fantasies with the "Mary Sue McWishfulfillment the Spawn of Bhaal, the Fusrodah of Big Huge Lizards, the NPC of the GM etc etc yadda yadda" type of protagonist. Even their most bog-standard fantasy game's, "Neverwinter Nights 2", protag isn't that much of a power fantasy vessel (unless you go full hog on being Eeeeevil in MOTB, but even then it's arguable if there's any "you" left in that thing). So, no, you cannot fight a god in such a setting, let alone crush him with all the might of your Twenty Levels of Experience, because he's ancient construct of ineffable power and you're a temporary iteration of substance those constructs have been manipulating since their creation -- and were created with precise purpose to manipulate it. Your opinion having a sway on him is big enough. 

 

I do trust Obsidian won't start making power trip fantasies just because Deadire did not sell well, but still...fingers crossed. 🤞

 

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17 hours ago, Boeroer said:

About the costs of building the wheel: I don't think that many sacrifices were needed to build the wheel itself. The main part of the mass scarification of Engwithans (and Huana) seems to have been used to create the soul constructs we call "gods". 

I dunno.  I'm not saying you're wrong but nothing in the conversations felt like the kith sacrifices were specifically tied to the god making.  If anything, it makes sense to believe they needed a large surge of essence to start the flow of souls in the direction they wanted.  Like breaking a levy to make a hydro dam or something.  I could easily see it being both though.
 

15 hours ago, bugarup said:

So, no, you cannot fight a god in such a setting, let alone crush him with all the might of your Twenty Levels of Experience

Well I never expected to fight Eothas at least.  But I did expect to be able to use high social skills to maybe change his mind.  I would've even been ok if I had to take certain actions throughout the game to stop him.  What I didn't expect, however, was wael's titan to be so utterly useless.  Further, I've played plenty of Obsidian's games and yeah, pretty much all of them had very satisfying endings.  Even Pillars 1 was incredibly satisfying.  It's ironic that Pillars 1 emphasized the journey more than the destination, but had a satisfying ending.  Then in Pillars 2, it's pretty clear that your character has an immense impact on the lives of those in the archipelago but then the main stakes are an illusion.  My real beef was the double fake-out.  They really build you up with talk of convincing Eothas, but you absolutely can't stop him.  Then they gave me hope that another titan could stop him, and then it falls flat.

Speaking on the Wael Titan, the way I convinced him to do it was to play the idea of the kith crawling all over Ukaizo against him/her, and then he/she just left Ukaizo to the kith anyways...if nothing else he/she would've had to babysit the island if they were staying in character.  Whatever, chalk it up to Wael being the lolrandumb god...

I'm just gonna assume the endings were rushed, or they didn't have the time to think of how a third game could be tied in to both potential endings.

On the subject of a third game.  Yeah, I read up on how the lead didn't want to make one until he knew why the sequal didn't sell well.  The sad truth of industries like games and movies is that their success isn't always tied to their own merit.  My best example of this is the Avatar: The Last Airbender movie.  It was an absolute trainwreck of a movie that the fanbase absolutely hated.  It made a lot of money though, and you now why?  It had a fanbase.  They had to see it to know it was bad.  Advertising also plays a huge role in most consumer business success.

Honestly, how that's a concern when the game was crowd funded makes no sense to me.  I wise man once said "As long as you're making games, you're a success as a game maker."  You made enough money to finish it before it even released, and then sold some more.  I think that was a deflection and there's another real reason.  I think the lead was disappointed in his own game, but can't pinpoint where.  I might pop in and make a post about my nitpicks of the gameplay (for both games), but I had way WAY to much fun for any problems I found to be deal breakers.  Story wise, my second play through will be easier to roleplay now that I know the wheel's gonna break NO MATTER WHAT.  My biggest beef, again, was I felt I was set up with expectations that I could prevent said break somehow.

Edited by Calypsopoxta
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I think they could do both: not delving in superepic godslayer powerfantasy AND come up with a story where the protagonist feels more in control of what happens with the main plotline.

I personally don't have problems with the storyline of Deadfire, but I'm old(er) and have had my fair share of "peasant boy becomes uberman" stories - don't need anymore of those. But I remember I liked those when I was younger, too.

Some sort of (substantial) influence would still be nice though.

 

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Adding to what Boeroer said, it doesn't help the confusion about the lack of a guardian because of how accidental it can be to skip the fight, since it was related to a seemingly unrelated decision in a distant quest.

Also, if you have dug around the developer notes a bit, they actually consciously made Ukaizo thin and easily skippable because of how many players complained about the final part of Pillars of Eternity 1 after you jumped down into the pit. I think it's fair to say that most people agree they overcorrected. Even ignoring how easily you could skip the guardian fight altogether, originally the guardian was extremely easy and not even really a "boss" per se. (Most of my criticisms of the ending--mechanically--are gone now that there are high-level DLCs and the guardian gets boosted up as you kill megabosses, but at release it was incredibly anticlimactic to be able to kill the guardian on PotD without breaking a sweat at like level 12-14, despite the fact that all the gods seem to be speaking about the guardian in hushed tones).

I think it's definitely possible to have a good, engaging story where the protagonist is ultimately powerless. Raiders of the Lost Ark is my canonical example - Indiana Jones is absolutely worthless in that movie - the Nazis end up getting the Ark of the Covenant, and then God (?) destroys all the Nazis. If Indiana had just stayed at his university teaching classes and grading papers the narrative would've gone the same way. But it was and is still a blast of a movie and story to watch. I think there's a lot in the game post-release they did (like the Woedica book, some of the tie-ins with DLCs) where they tried to fix it up and improve the overall ending narrative, but similarly I think it's fair to say that maybe they cut things too aggressively or didn't quite get the factions to tie in well enough.

Edited by thelee
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why are so many disappointed for not fighting eothas in the end

how can main character fight something can hold ship in one hand and ignore volcanic eruption and tsunami

some action game allow something like that but dialogue in the game already tell player it is impossible to stop maros nua statue without another body of gods

ukaizo are mostly empty probably because how awful sun in shadow was in the first game

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I have not finished the game yet, but as far as I know, Eora does not need the Wheel to thrive.

Beast of Winter DLC reveals that Huana was once strong and prosperous, and Engwith was once very intelligent. Dragons have even existed before the Wheel. All these evidences point out that kiths and creatures have lived normally for generations without the Wheel. If reincarnation has even existed, it does its job perfectly fine. Or else, Engwith would not be so smart as they were. So, logically destroying it now should not affect Eora that much.

Anyway, since I have not yet finished the game, I might misunderstand something.

Edited by ekt0
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1 hour ago, ekt0 said:

Beast of Winter DLC reveals that Huana was once strong and prosperous, and Engwith was once very intelligent. Dragons have even existed before the Wheel. All these evidences point out that kiths and creatures have lived normally for generations without the Wheel. If reincarnation has even existed, it does its job perfectly fine. Or else, Engwith would not be so smart as they were. So, logically destroying it now should not affect Eora that much.

Anyway, since I have not yet finished the game, I might misunderstand something.

It's explained in more detail here:

https://jesawyer.tumblr.com/post/179141719626/poe1-the-wheel-is-a-naturalmetaphysical

Quote

The Wheel is a natural phenomenon that was regulated so heavily by the Engwithans that the destruction of the regulating machines does not return it to its natural state, but leaves it effectively broken.  Berath uses the analogy of a river that has been so extensively dammed for so long that removing the dams cannot possibly restore the river’s original, natural flow.  I.e., the machines at Ukaizo are now (at the time of Deadfire) integral to the Wheel’s process of taking souls into the Beyond.  When they are broken, the natural process cannot resume on its own because it has been subverted for over two thousand years.

 

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4 hours ago, ekt0 said:

If reincarnation has even existed, it does its job perfectly fine. Or else, Engwith would not be so smart as they were.

If Woedeca is to be believed, she states in your hot book chats that the wheel was real sloppy and that hollowborn were common.  I'm assuming this and potentially other shortcomings of the previous reincarnation process that was naturally in place inspired the Engwithians to 'find a better way'.

You bring up an interesting point as well.  Some of the dialogue surrounding the fact that memories are lost and/or eaten by the gods during passage through the wheel suggests it might not have been that way before.  While this could at first be seen as an advantage, don't forget that reincarnation rarely maintains itself as a Kith > Kith process.  You could come back as an animal, a bug, a tree...or even a blade of grass.  Or you could have likewise been any of those before being a Kith.  I'd be willing to bet if memories were passed on between lives, there could be very traumatizing effects.  I mean an awakened individual is very often considered mentally Ill with even one soul's worth of memories.

It's almost insulting, though, to suggest any natural cycle would have such a broken mechanism or two involved.  Nature doesn't really screw up the way science/magic tends to.  Nature takes it's time and evolves slowly with progress towards survival.  Seems incredibly far-fetched that there would be a natural reincarnation cycle that had things like common hollowborn births and maybe even past life memory mucking things up.

That is, unless it wasn't natural at all.  If you take a single line from the confrontation before the fight at the end of Forgotten Sanctum.  It is said there were others before the Engwithians.  I want to say even other gods that the Engwithian gods defeated?  Can't recall for sure.  I'd say that it's not so far fetched to think that there was once a different reincarnation cycle that wasn't so bad, and a race of Kith that predates even Engwithians meddled with it and created a very poor system in which they could gorge themselves on souls in a less efficient manner.  If this is true though, it's further evidence that Eothas' plan is/was childish and misguided, and we really should have had SOME method to stop him (not by fighting him, obviously).  The system currently in place is probably better than anything Kith stand a chance of making in a two generation time crunch.

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3 hours ago, Calypsopoxta said:

It's almost insulting, though, to suggest any natural cycle would have such a broken mechanism or two involved.  Nature doesn't really screw up the way science/magic tends to.  Nature takes it's time and evolves slowly with progress towards survival.  Seems incredibly far-fetched that there would be a natural reincarnation cycle that had things like common hollowborn births and maybe even past life memory mucking things up.

nature screws up all the time. a natural real life analogue would be infant mortality rates (and maternal mortality rates during childbirth) before the advent of more modern medicine and science.

all "nature" cares about is doing just enough to propagate the genetic material of a species. nothing more. our bodies are filled with tons of "useless" genetic material that does god knows what. our feet are anti-ergonomic adaptations of primate hands that are extremely prone to injury.

 

imagine that instead of "hollowborn" or "weak souls" and the engwithans creating the wheel and the gods, it was "cancer" or "alzheimer's" and cure for cancer/alzheimer's/hereditary illnesses and the engwithan perspective makes a ton of sense.

Edited by thelee
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2 minutes ago, thelee said:

nature screws up all the time. a natural real life analogue would be infant mortality rates (and maternal mortality rates during childbirth) before the advent of more modern medicine and science.

I tend to think of these as the usual opposing forces of nature applied to the weakest of a species.  Quite literally survival of the fittest.  Anything from a random bug bite to a wound from a predator, a new or evolving pathogen or source of food, or environmental changes that would require adaptation can be the cause of some of those mortality rates through a chain of biological reactions.  The rest can easily be chalked up to genetic deficiencies in an unchanged but still harsh environment.  Something as simple as stress can cause miscarriages and stillborns in a species unfit to cope with their lives.

The point I was making is that nature tends to correct this sort of thing over time by doing just that: weeding out those genes that did not manage to adapt.  In the time it would take Kith to evolve into self-awareness, tool use, language and history the cycle of reincarnation had plenty of time to 'get it right'.  Admittedly, the cycle of life will never breed the perfect being, as a hunter will ever evolve to hunt prey, and prey will ever evolve to endure the hunt (sometimes in ways we find less preferable, like rapid procreation).  Even nature has limitations of course.  I mean look at lifespan in general.  Why not just evolve into something that lives forever?  I think there's a jellyfish out there that've managed that one...*shrug*

I guess one could apply this to the reincarnation cycle itself...some opposing force rubbing against it, wearing it down, causing such events as hollow births.  I hadn't considered that I was looking at it as both natural and something without opposing influence to facilitate evolution at all.  Even so, evolution is (usually) slow.  Hollow births at the rate Woedeca implied along with the other shortcomings of reincarnation seemed to me like larger problems than a centuries evolved(maybe) system aught to have.  I still think it sounds like the symptoms of the kind of interference that stems from self-awareness.  In short, Kith meddling.

I agree completely that the Engwithian perspective makes sense.  They wanted to make things better and it, at least, looks like they did.  It's Eothas' plan I find irrational and reckless.  How was he even going to accomplish it on his first try anyways?  What was he gonna have Waidwen do I wonder.

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in poe reincarnation are obviously related to adra pillar

and engwithan once gain the ability to shape and grow adra

it was implied once all pillar are luminous and grow

no way of knowing how long did adra grow before life start exist

if a new system emerge after eothas destroy the machine on ukaizo it would likely take much longer than the few generation of life gods estimated

eothas's plan was desperate and radical

otherwise other gods would be able to prevent it

with the destruction of wheel eothas hope to force gods to aid or at least doesn't prevent reconstruction of the wheel

it would allow kith to learn some of the engwithan knowledge

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2 hours ago, Calypsopoxta said:

The point I was making is that nature tends to correct this sort of thing over time by doing just that: weeding out those genes that did not manage to adapt.  In the time it would take Kith to evolve into self-awareness, tool use, language and history the cycle of reincarnation had plenty of time to 'get it right'.  Admittedly, the cycle of life will never breed the perfect being, as a hunter will ever evolve to hunt prey, and prey will ever evolve to endure the hunt (sometimes in ways we find less preferable, like rapid procreation). 

i think it's worth pointing out that there are "steady states" in nature that are locally optimal but not globally optimal; they don't completely weed out for being suboptimal, so it's not that there has to be an "oppositional" force of nature.

An over-simplified example I can give to clarify this is sickle-cell anemia and malaria. Concerning the gene that produces sickle-cell anemia, if you get one healthy one and one mutated one from your parents, you end up not having sickle-cell anemia at all and instead become resistent to malaria (a plus!). If on the other hand, you get two mutated ones, you get sickle-cell anemia (very bad!). Because of the way genetics works, one could easily reason that people with one healthy and one mutated gene have an advantage in malaria-prone areas of the world, but this necessarily means that you will always have people born with sickle-cell anemia (with a simple punnet square you would see two malaria-resistent parents have a 25% chance of producing a sickle-cell kid), which otherwise should be weeded out rather quickly. And in fact a perfectly healthy parent with a sickle-cell parent (if they managed to live long enough without modern medicine) would you get you children with that malaria resistance at 100% rate.

So there doesn't need to be an "opposing force" per se the way you put it. In the world of Eora, "nature" has developed some sort of reincarnation process, and it only developed just enough to get it to work barely good enough, and the way it works is just well enough that it's not going to improve any further because it's stuck in a local maximum. You need some outside intervention (the Wheel) to get it kicked out of its local max and into a more globally optimal state.

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