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Veteran or PotD, Bleak Walker/Assassin or Bleak Walker/Black Jacket?


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Starting PoE 2 for the first time. Here are my questions. Is PoE 2 still easier than PoE 1?

I am asking this because I found PoE 1 on upscaled hard difficulty to be just about right during it’s hardest fights.  Still I didn't lose a single fight aside from one particular wraith ambush in the Durgan's Battery. Got it with second try. My playstyle has some additional self made limitations that make the game a bit harder. I don't sleep. Well I do, but my party doesn't, not until my gaming session is over. I've played this way since Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale days. I went through Durgan's Battery and Abbey of the Fallen Moon with a single rest. Those places I considered challenging. I don't want to give up on this playstyle and PotD isn't for me if it requires a lot of resting between battles. So, with this in mind, would you recommend Path of the Damned upscaled or do you think veteran difficulty might be enough of a challenge?

 

As for the classes. In both cases I will specialize in sabres and guns, just as I did in PoE 1. I am also keeping the attributes from PoE 1. Character is a Pale Elf with Might 15, Dexterity 8, Constitution 8, Perception 16, Intelligence 15, Resolve 16. She worked just fine in PoE 1. I shot a couple of guns with FoD and then rushed in to battle with dual Bittercuts once my tanks had tied most of the enemies.

 

For the Bleakwalker/Assassin I was thinking the following abilities.

1. Flames of Devotion, Lay on Hands & Escape

2.Fast Runner

3. Arms Bearer.

4. Smoke Veil & Dirty Fighting   (So, mainly shooting FoD from invisibility.)

5. Two Weapon Style.

6. Backstab

7. Blinding Strike & Gouging Strike  (Dual mortars. Does the Blind and DoT get applied to AoE attacks?)

8. Eternal Devotion

9. Defensive Roll

10. Inspired Faith & Scion of Flame

11. Zealous Aura

12. Exalted Focus

13. Smoke Cloud & Deep Wounds

14. Two-handed style.

15. Greater Lay on Hands

16. Improved Critical & Virtuous Triumph

 

For the Bleakwalker/Black Jacket I was thinking a quick burst damage with three sets of dual wield guns and then a charge in to battle with dual sabers. This one is closer to my playstyle in PoE 1.

1. Flames of Devotion, Lay on Hands, Disciplined Barrage

2. Arms Bearer

3. Deep Faith

4. Fighter Stances & Two Weapon Style

5. Confident Aim

6. Zealous Aura

7. Disciplined Strikes & Penetrating Strike

8. Eternal Devotion

9. Greater Lay on Hands

10. Quick Swith & Charge

11. Inspired Faith

12. Scion of Flame

13.  Conqueror Stance & Armored Grace    (Is Armored Grace recommended with Dual Wield and Miscreant's Leathers?)

14. Mob Stance

15. Weapon Specialization

16. Reaping Whirlwind & Virtuous Triumph.

 I guess the question is if either one of the builds is less than optimal, especially if I choose to play on PotD and/or if some of the abilities I've chosen are subpar or bugged.
 

Edited by Malaconia
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1 hour ago, Malaconia said:

Anyway, here are my questions. Is PoE 2 still easier than PoE 1?

imo poe2 is much harder than poe1. it used to be much easier, but one of the patches a long time ago significanlty amped up PotD and then later Veteran difficulty.

Some of the difficulty is a function of the new armor mechanics - high defenses and high armor are much more punishing to fight against in poe2 than in poe2; with scaling it's also much harder on potd (and a bit on veteran) to mitigate incoming damage. Some of it is just smarter AI/fights (early on, enemy rogue-types with finishing blows or blinding attacks are my bane). Some of it is just enemy fights being incredibly overleveled for the typical party compared to poe1 (early-mid game not uncommon to fight multi-skulled enemies, and casters flinging spells around way above what you yourself are capable of).

that being said i feel like the difficulty curve is less smooth than poe1. poe2 PotD (and veteran to a lesser extant) frontloads a lot of difficulty on the first island, and once you open up the map and pick and choose your path the difficulty curve drops down quite a bit (and then goes up again in the DLC, which are similarly linear to the beginning of hte game).

 

1 hour ago, Malaconia said:

4. Smoke Veil & Dirty Fighting   (So, mainly shooting FoD from invisibility.)

i worry that you might end up finding this underwhelming in mid-late game. enemies have more health than in poe1, so while assassinate + fod might be useful early on, it won't make as much of a dent later on. You also need to use a big two-handed weapon since if you dual-wield guns, you'll only get bonus on the first shot. And to get the backstab bonus you need to be extremely close to the bad guy (basically melee range).

 

1 hour ago, Malaconia said:

 (How much of a help Armored Grace is with Dual Wield and Miscreant's Leathers?)

armored grace is good so long as you are not stacking it with an armor-penalty-reduction pet on light armor. the speed up you get from dual wield and miscreant's leathers affects a separate parameter - armored grace merely reduces the penalty you get from armor, whereas the others will actually speed up your recovery regardless of how much armor penalty you have.

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Personally I found the first game much harder. Due to afflictions severely reducing defenses (and petrify even doubling damage intake), I had party members get stunlocked or instantly vaporized A LOT on my first play-through. Adragans were particularly deadly if you didn't prepare a bit in advance due to having both Relentless Storm and their petrify.

I've never found PoE2 super difficult. There are a lot lot lot of quests on Neketaka which have no combat whatsoever if you don't intentionally pick a fight. I think you can comfortably reach level 9 without much fighting and it makes the rest of the game easy.

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I just wanted to thank you both for your input. It helped me reach a decision. First of all, I'll start with veteran. As I mentioned earlier I prefer to have my party rest as little as possible and I am not too fond of load games either.  Overleveling is always a problem. On hard, even upscaled, chapter 3 was laughably easy after White March. I was actually starting to get bored with fights that were over in a matter of seconds while my party sustained practically no damage at all. White March 2 was fine, but again upscaled chapter 4 was a breeze with even the last boss fight being unable to damage my party.

I never had much of a problem with afflictions, but that was mainly thanks to Durance, who was my favorite companion and the only one who had a permanent position in otherwise varying party composition. I guess I'll alternate between Veteran and PotD if needed, even though I usually don't change difficulty midgame.

I chose Bleak Walker/Black Jacket. I think my main character becomes more of a jack of all trades this way, which may suit a first playthrough best, as I don't know for sure what I'll face.  Also I want to dual wield sabers and blunderbusses and I missed the limitations of assassination, nor did I really remember how short a range two meters is in this game, even though it is kind of obvious. Invisibility followed by assassination might have become too repetitive, nor do I really like the glass cannon aspect of that sort of character, especially when hearing that in this game opponents pursue weaker party members even more zealously. Being Black Jacket is more consistent with how my character was in PoE 1 and unlike Assassin makes her closer to the "never back down from a fight" Bleak Walker, who is unafraid to get her hands dirty in a straight up melee. Perhaps I'll create a hireling Assassin instead, as I am still interested to see how the class plays.

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