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Good/earliest level for doing DLC content on POTD upscaled?


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Hi folks. Any suggestions for the best levels to start the DLC content? I've done the DLC content before but it was on veteran w/o scaling. I'm now playing PoTD upscaled and my party is around level 13/14. Is that too early to start on the DLC content? I'm a bit nervous about leaving it too late to start on the DLCs as I recall some of the DLC fights were pretty tough already w/o the enemies' levels and armour being upscaled.

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3 hours ago, Vasvary5050 said:

Hi folks. Any suggestions for the best levels to start the DLC content? I've done the DLC content before but it was on veteran w/o scaling. I'm now playing PoTD upscaled and my party is around level 13/14. Is that too early to start on the DLC content? I'm a bit nervous about leaving it too late to start on the DLCs as I recall some of the DLC fights were pretty tough already w/o the enemies' levels and armour being upscaled.

I usually start Beast of Winter around level 16 or so. Once you're through with that you should have the levels/gear to tackle the other DLCs. 

You maybe could start Beast of Winter at the level you're at but it'd be pretty challenging. 

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BoW at 13/14 can be rough, but I typically do it at around ~14 and have a couple times done it around late 13 (though that's pushing it and I believe I relied a lot on chanter summons). It basically boils down to your party build:

  • your ability to interrupt the main BoW antagonist while they are trying to cast Llengrath's Safeguard (or: if you have a way to repeatedly dispel effects)
  • how good your balance of sustain and damage are. BoW has a decent number of bullet sponge enemies that can attrition you out if don't have enough damage or enough sustain (including the main BoW antagonist and the optional secondary boss fight).

I think those are the main difficulty considerations. (There's also some really annoying kith-like enemies, by far the worst are archers that love to use Confounding Blind... I can't decide if the bullet sponges or the archers are the hardest part of BoW).

Edited by thelee
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@thelee @BoeroerThanks, this is really useful. I will wait until level 16. I'm finding POTD upscaled to be tough enough as it is without going out of my way to make it any more difficult (more on this in a moment). I do remember from my previous playthrough (which was on an easier difficulty) finding the dragon in BoW to be very difficult until I discovered the ranger's concussive tranquilizer ability (I plan to take a SC Ranger with me to BoW to help with the dragon).

Going off on a tangent about difficulty: I watched a video by Mortismal Gaming yesterday (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSYYBT4k7nk) in which he talks about "five of the easiest CRPGs". He seems to single out Deadfire as being super easy and talks about how you can just set up the AI for your characters and leave it to handle everything. Conversely, I'm finding PoTD upscaled to be plenty difficult, with lots of enemies with very high armour. I mean, I'm not finding it so difficult that I'm not able to win fights and make progress, but there are fights that go to the wire, that I have to micro-manage to win and where I plough through all the ability resources for my characters and only win in the final sprint. There are things that do make Deadfire "easier" than other CRPGs, like health, spells and abilities being restored at the end of fights and rest bonuses lasting until you next rest, but I consider these to be good QoL design decisions as I find having to rest and rebuff my party every 10 minutes or so in Pathfinder to be tedious rather than challenging. But other than these QoL design decisions, I find Deadfire to be plenty challenging enough. And there is no way I would leave these fights in the hands of the AI and just watch. I'm finding it very important to decide which targets to focus on, which abilities to use to reduce and penetrate armour, where and when to cast spells, etc. Which is good, I like a challenge, but then when I see Mortismal describe Deadfire as super easy it makes me feel a bit low like I must be doing it all wrong. I do wonder if he is playing on PoTD upscaled or not as I know on PoTD w/o scaling you can easily out-level the content, but I'm finding that the scaled up enemies can be really tough (seems to scale up their level, their penetration and their armour). So my question is, is Deadfire (on high difficulty) as easy for most players as Mortismal suggests? Is it just me finding it a decent challenge? (I haven't even started using Magran's Fire challenges yet).

Edited by Vasvary5050
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8 hours ago, Vasvary5050 said:

He seems to single out Deadfire as being super easy and talks about how you can just set up the AI for your characters and leave it to handle everything. Conversely, I'm finding PoTD upscaled to be plenty difficult, with lots of enemies with very high armour.

this is almost assuredly on the assumption of playing on "Normal" difficulty.

I think PoE is "special" amongst CRPGs because the hardest difficulty is actually a balanced difficulty mode, with encounters/etc deliberately tuned for it (in fact initially all the magran's challenges were intended only for PotD mode). This is in contrast to most other RPGs IME, which simply just multiply damage (skyrim, BG) or dramatically inflate stats (P:K/WOTR) or are intended as a niche challenge (IWD/2 heart of fury, FO4 survivor mode) and so are more like throwaway difficulties just for masochistic try-hards (I say that as a frequent try-hard myself who still generally doesn't indulge in the hardest difficulties of all those other games). So I could easily see someone with lots of RPG experience unknowingly sticking with "Normal" (or even Veteran, which is the main other difficulty advertised as broadly-accessible) and then being surprised at how easy it is.

 

edit: personally speaking, I find PotD satisfyingly challenging even now (though I do turn on some magran's challenges as well). I don't do the cheesiest strategies, so that keeps the difficulty up. Most of the head-banging-on-wall difficulty I've smoothed out over the years by developing a pretty optimized path through the game so I'm never underleveled for a quest/challenge (and sometimes deliberately overleveled, like for Family Pride quest or the Hanging Sepulchers, which can be brutal at-level), but even then I still have fights that I have to reload several times for. And it's a common joke around here that the hardest part of the game, especially on PotD, is the first island.

Edited by thelee
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I haven't beaten Deadfire as much as many on here have, but I have a decent amount of hours logged into it across different playthroughs and I do still find Potd difficult at times. I find it harder than Poe1's POTD mode which is much more easily broken by the overpowered vancian classes. Then again, maybe I'm just better at Poe1 than 2 🤷‍♂️.

For me a lot of the difficulty comes early and then late. Early on things are tough before you get the powerful gear and spells. And then late game can be tough with some of the difficult encounters in SSS and Forgotten Sanctum. The middle of the game tends to be easiest for me because there comes a point where I've leveled up enough from doing side content that even with upscaling I feel strong enough to dominate a lot of encounters. The DLCs (notably the last two, and BOW to a bit less of an extent) even the score a bit in that regard since you stop being overleveled at that point and monsters catch up.

Just my two cents on it.

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