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Hi, 

First-time PoE player here, thank you to all the people who contribute to this forum, it's been my go-to for getting acclimated and interested in this game. There are some people here whose posts come up again and again spanning multiple years, which really helps in terms of being confident of where to look for an answer.

I tried to play PoE a few times over the last three years or so but each time became frustrated with the amount of time I was investing outside the game to learn a system that was so familiar, but tweaked enough to be entirely different... I'm sure you know what I mean. With a busy schedule I want to be gaming during the time I set aside to game. Well that hasn't been a problem the last six months! Plenty of time to revisit time-hungry games in lockdown 😕 

So now I've re-specced my entire party about a thousand times, turned the difficulty to hard and dropped the XP gain to 33% to avoid overleveling and I'm really happy with the flexibility of the classes and the overlap/quasi-multiclassing fun, however, I'm less happy with the pause-fest that combat is. If my party members all have builds I find fun and interesting, they require constant management. I get through most encounters no matter how I build them, so, yes, I don't have to make builds that require management in order to complete the game, but that wouldn't be fun for me- Aloth with apprentice sneak attack and cheat cloak periodically jumping into the fray is more fun than Aloth at a safe distance with wands and debuffs.

Is there any fix for this conundrum? I'm having a hard time accepting that a game that put so much thought into so many details would provide such a limited means of fine-tuning the AI. DA:O is an older game but had a decent amount of options for customizing character actions in the base game, and you could mod it to include more actions and basic if/then/for each logic with some basic scripting. So for example I would set up my mabari (dog) to stay within X feet of Wynne (mage) unless someone was attacking Wynne, then depending on the distance and whether the attack is melee or ranged he would charge or use his stun howl, and return to Wynne when she was no longer being attacked. My party all knew their roles and I would give a nudge here and there, re-position for AoE, and use special abilities for specific encounters; so there were pauses but not many, and watching combat play out was satisfying, like watching dominoes fall. 

By comparison my PoE party looks like a soup sandwich. For example, I made the mistake of making Kana ranged and have to constantly move him closer to the fighters to make use of his abilities. I've got marking weapons for Pallegina but unless I stay with Eder he'll inevitably see something shiny and fight someone else. They're like a bunch of green soldiers who forget everything the moment the heat is on, which is kind of hilarious when I think about it that way, but gets old quick.

Considering the multiple times I've tried and failed to get into this game, it's pretty impressive and speaks well of the game that I'm at WM and this is my biggest complaint, but unfortunately it's tedious and annoying enough of an issue to me that I doubt I would ever play it again once I finish this playthrough. Is there something I'm missing that could help with this? And does PoE:2 handle this better?

Thanks!

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Hi! Unfortunately PoE has no refined system for AI settings. Just what you can see there. It's very basic. The only way to reduce micromanagement is to choose builds that work more reliably with those basic AI settings. For example a Monk with Torment's Reach needs a ton of micromanagement because of the optimal positioning of the cone - but one who uses Force of Anguish as main attack skill works relatively well if left alone. Same with a tanky sword & board Kana who mainly uses Dragon Thrased vs. a ranged Kana who uses support chants.

The sequel Deadfire has a build-in tool for creating custom AI settings which is quite detailed and allows for elaborated "scripts". 

  

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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