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So, with the corona and all, I decided to start the game again, as it's clearly the best one around at the moment. And I also decided to give myself a proper challenge, ramping up the difficulty. Whoa. And I couldn't deal with it. I mean, the digsite is just too much. I tried using the clearly designed choke points and so on, but both the boar (in one of the fights) and the drake (in the other) were too much for me. I'm clearly not good enough. So I decided to take the stealthy route, entering the sub-level and finding Oderisi there so that I wouldn't have to fight any battles at all. Gorecci Street: ditto. I took the south route to avoid the battle altogether(*).

And then, after leaving the first island... no problems. On the same difficulty level. I've done Fort Deadlight (no problem with the guards at the undergound docks -- I was able to use the gunpowder barrels to my advantage), Purakau and another bounty encounter. It's not exactly easy, but it's not difficult, either.

I have to say this is slightly peculiar. I can't think of another game where the beginning is just incredibly difficult but everything gets so much easier immediately afterwards. I can't help but think that Obsidian made a bit of a mistake here. Of course the game is still great.

 

(*) In other words: I was able to keep the difficulty level only because of my meta-game knowledge in both encounters.

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Yes, it's a bit much. Maybe Obsidian wanted to show that you don't need to fight every encounter but sometimes have to avoid fights. They did so with the bear cave in PoE. But that was a side quest. Gorecci Str. is also a side quest, but I don't understand the digsite. You can sneak past the Drake etc. - but chances that new players will become extremely frustrated are quite high. At least there should have been some tutorial-like warnings of explanations that it's always an option to void a fight and that XP from fighting is not very high anyway. 

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Yeah. Gorecci Street is a side quest, as you say, but you absolutely have to do the digsite. I don't know how many players would discover the stealthy option unaided, but probably not that many.

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1 hour ago, xzar_monty said:

Yeah. Gorecci Street is a side quest, as you say, but you absolutely have to do the digsite. I don't know how many players would discover the stealthy option unaided, but probably not that many.

Wait there's a viable stealthy option on digsite ?

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You  can also go through the training area with the skeletons.

If you return to the arena after finding Oderisi: there will be no Drakes etc. and the animancers + Aloth will wait for you outside the cage. 

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14 hours ago, Boeroer said:

You  can also go through the training area with the skeletons.

Btw, I did the training area after the area sub-level and after recruiting Aloth. Once you rank up the difficulty, the training area also gets really quite hard. The skeletal sorcerer isn't that bad, but one of the skeletal warriors is extremely nasty. The two encounters there were doable with Aloth and after the level gain I got from the adra pillar below, but I don't think I could have dealt with them without Aloth and on a lower level.

I suppose the main issue is that at low levels, on high difficulty, the real baddies can almost one-shot you to death. The drake breathes in a big way, and the boar hits very, very hard. Etc.

Edited by xzar_monty
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The skeletons can be nasty because they are immune to pierce damage. But you can lure them one by one etc. so they are more manageable than the whole Drake possy.

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1 minute ago, xzar_monty said:

Oh, right, you mean inside the digsite. No, I don't think you can avoid all fighting there. But you can avoid the fights before you go underground.

Yup, that's the issue. Fights down there aren't exactly easy, even if arguably not as much as the Drake's party. And you don't have any way of grinding more xp at this point. That's why I agree that the start is really difficult. At least Gorecci street can be skipped.

A bit like PoE1 : Raedric hold was arguably the hardest early game fight but could be skipped or reported. Caed Nua spirit parties or Maerwald could not...

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Do places have different setup of critters for different difficulties? 'cause there are no oozes in the dig site on veteran difficulty. A couple or three floaty misty things and some zapballs in the last room before the pillar, shrooms, zapballs and a mini drake in the room before, also roomful of imps with one spider but definitely no oozes.

Source: my chronic restartitis.

 

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Yes, among other things higher difficulites can increase the number of enemies and also give you more dangerous ones.

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I kinda accidentally did the stealth stuff on my first Deadfire run and i love that it paid off compared to POE 1. i thought it was nice that the level design supported this (it was one of the things i liked about POE 2 vs 1) and i enjoyed puzzling out how to get my entire party stealthed through whole areas lol. i really appriciated that i was able to for the most part get away with this and the dig site was the first example. I remember coming on these forums and everyone saying the beginning was so hard and they mention the dig site and i was confused but then realized i had skipped all the animal fights at the dig site lol. and then they leave once you finish with the pillar.

Looking back i definitely skipped so much fighting in whole areas 

Edited by draego
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I definitely get the idea behind Port Maje as a "tutorial-island", trying to build up the upcoming political conflicts in the area and pushing you towards the main story.

That being said, I think it's too rushed in every aspect and that problem also feeds into these early encounter-designs. The bear fight, being only a small sidequest, in POE1 is easy once you gather your buddies, Aloth and Eder, and being a small no-name (farmer, colonist, whatever) at this point you intuitively understand that fighting three bears (on PotD) on your way to town might be too challenging. Unfortunately, in poe2 the setup is completely different: You and your buddy Eder are dyrwood heroes, and while some of this power relied on your awesome weapons (which are now lost) it's hard to understand why you two are so much weaker at this point. 

For the watcher, one reason could be that he was basically dead and needs to recover the rest of his soul, I see that, but I think if that's the context than the writers should point this out more clearly. For Eder (and later Aloth) there is no real reason.. and I don't think that they've done themselves a favor by introducing these companions so early in the game. (Although it's nice to see Eder caring so much for you!). These "inconsistencies" are then exaggerated by the over the top encounter design in the digsite and gorecci street, throwing too many (in potd) and too powerful enemies at you. I mean on PotD there is suddenly a f****** drake in the digsite and noone mentions it. It might be that these encounters have been changed after the early criticism that the game would be too easy at launch?

At the moment I'm running a solo-run on normal difficulty (with berath's blessing) and now everything feels more organic and the enemy strength and group size feel more like challenges a watcher, all alone, would face. But for full-party-runs (where normal is no real option) the encounters on port maje are just over the top. If stealthing is supposed to be the go-to strategy, than the game should tell you that more clearly, since it's still supposed to be the tutorial.

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1 hour ago, Elric Galad said:

Restartitis is always chronic by definition 😉

That was so good, loved that.

Btw, it's amazing how often you spot pleonasms and other foolish faults if you pay attention. My pet annoyances are "very unique" (not a pleonasm, just silly) and that everyone's favorite, "at this moment in time". Please note, nobody ever has to say that, you can just say "now".

😀

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quick question to the OP: did you have hirelings? Going in is extremely brutal without a full party.

 

i think there are a few more after port maje that give gorecci st and digsite a run for their money, but the difference is that you can try to overlevel or work around the other ones - port maje you're just stuck. Family Pride almost always kicks my butt at around the time you are expected to do it (one skull and oftentimes no skull). If I don't want a slog I consciously overlevel it. Similar thing with the Hanging Sepulchers - when you can do it first without a skull, those Risen wizards and rogues and priests (with minor avatar wtflol) and teleporting wraiths absolutely make the fight brutal, especially if I don't have a priest myself for an easy source of heal/damage/interrupt (holy radiance).

Similarly, oathbinder sanctum is very very very brutal if you go there right when it's no-skulled and you actually want to fight the woedican cultists at the bottom. Especially with the 4.0 patch changes where they added in the steel garotte and woedica priest subclasses, you can just get overwhelmed with Garrote spamming (and getting repeatedly hit with writ of consumption sucks). I have to have a pretty powerful party or I just overlevel the dungeon.

 

On a related note - early fights with enemy paladins suck. High defenses, spammable healing, and an aura = a pure slog.

Edited by thelee
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1 hour ago, thelee said:

quick question to the OP: did you have hirelings? Going in is extremely brutal without a full party.

No, I did not. There was just my main character (monk), Eder and Xoti. I did consider hiring, but then I thought what the heck, I've never been one for using hirelings and I'm prepared to take the stealthy route.

Btw, as I tend to like diplomacy, I've solved Family Pride that way, so I haven't had to fight. The head of one of the families appears to have a nice shining armor, though -- I wonder if it's good. As for Oathbinder's Sanctum, I haven't been able to do that without a fight. I suppose it's not possible unless you choose an evil route of some sort.

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Both (Bardatto and Valera boss) have very nice unique armors. One reason why I often solve the quest in the most finite way...

Edited by Boeroer

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