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Update #81: The Front Line: Fighters and Barbarians

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Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director

 

In this, our final class update, we will be discussing fighters and barbarians. Along with the wily, pain-powered monks (covered in Update 52), these three classes form the front line. The front line defines the heart of any battle, where two sides tangle face-to-face. The responsibility of the front line is more than simply dealing damage. It means holding the line no matter what tries to break through. If the party rogue needs a breather, the characters in the front line need to be able to cover her retreat. If a swarm of xaurips descends on the group after the wizard hurls his fireball, the front line needs to be able to neutralize them en masse or absorb their attacks before they overwhelm the entire party. Designed to take punishment and tackle hordes, the front line are the first in and, more often than not, the last standing in any battle. Next update will focus on some brand new creatures that we haven't shown yet, so be on the lookout.

 

Each class holds the line in its own way. As covered in Update 52, the monk absorbs damage to fuel special attacks through the use of accumulated Wounds. These attacks can stun, push, or weaken individuals or small groups around them. While monks have to be monitored to ensure their Wounds do not overwhelm them, they can absorb a large amount of punishment and hamper enemy movement on the battlefield. In contrast, the fighter holds the line the traditional way: by standing her ground, blocking opponents, and being infuriatingly difficult to knock out. Barbarians are designed to jump into the fray swinging wildly. Lacking the accuracy and strong Deflection of the fighter, the barbarian makes up for his lack of discipline through sheer speed, savagery, and abilities tailored for fighting groups of enemies. We've already covered the monk's Wounds and how they play into their use, but the other two front line classes differ in how they stem the enemy tide and how players monitor and use them over the course of combat. To show you how they differ, let's look at the details.

 

pe-portrait-female-human-580.jpg

 

If one of Pillars of Eternity's eleven classes is the rock (we'll skip the obvious "pillar" joke), it's the fighter. All across Eora, fighters are known for their discipline, skill, and durability. In the Eastern Reach, they are often employed as caravan guards, soldiers, and personal bodyguards. Accustomed as they are to long marches, strange places, and life on the road, all fighters gain a minor skill bonus to Athletics, Lore, and Survival.

 

In combat, fighters are steadfast and stalwart. Even novice fighters enjoy the highest base Deflection defense of any class and the ability to passively recover a small amount of Stamina every second. As the levels rise, fighters gain access to weapon specialization, modestly increasing their overall damage for all weapons in a specific category. These categories are broader than they were in the Infinity Engine games. E.g. the Knight category covers battle axes, swords, morning stars, crossbows, and war bows. The Peasant category includes hatchets, spears, quarterstaves, hunting bows, and blunderbusses. The selections are designed to cover a variety of damage types, to include one- and two-handed options, and to always feature at least one ranged weapon. At even higher levels, fighters gain abilities to recover Stamina immediately after being wounded, to protect nearby allies from incoming attacks, to knock down groups of enemies, and even to yank enemy passersby into the fray. Overall, fighters are designed to be low-maintenance, reliable, and long-lived even in marathon battles. Here are more detailed descriptions of some of the fighters' abilities:

 

  • Defender (Modal) - Allows the fighter to trigger Melee Engagement on up to three enemies and increases the fighter's Deflection. While active, the fighter's attack rate is reduced.
  • Vigorous Defense (Active) - Dramatically increases all defenses for the fighter for a short period of time. 1/encounter.
  • Unbending (Active) - For a moderate time, the fighter will recover 50% of lost Stamina from an attack over the 5 seconds following it. This has no effect on the amount of Health lost and does not prevent the fighter from being knocked unconscious from a temporary dip in Stamina from a strong attack. 3/rest.
  • Confident Aim - 20% of a fighter's Grazes are converted to Hits. Additionally, the minimum damage for any melee weapon they use is increased by 25% of the range between the minimum and maximum.
  • Critical Defense - 20% of all incoming Crits against a fighter are converted to Hits.
  • Crippling Guard - When a fighter Hits or Crits with a Disengagement Attack, the target is automatically Hobbled for a brief duration.
  • Unbroken (Active) - This ability can only be activated when the fighter is at 0 Stamina. When used, the fighter will stand back up with 50% of her Stamina. For a short while, her defenses and Damage Threshold are both increased. 1/rest.

 

A QA (Quality Assurance) favorite at Obsidian, barbarians are the wild, unconventional counterparts to fighters. Barbarians need not be from the "hinterlands" of Eora, though the vast majority are. In the Eastern Reach, barbarians most often come from Eir Glanfath, though some can be found in rural Dyrwoodan communities or drifting in from abroad through port cities like Defiance Bay and New Heomar. Barbarians are often used as shock troops for dealing with mobs or simply to intimidate the easily-cowed with their ferocity. As the Dyrwood has settled down over time, the regular employment of foreign barbarians has slowed significantly, but they still make up the majority of Glanfathan front-line forces. Barbarians all have a strong skill focus in Athletics and lesser focus in Survival.

 

pe-barbarian-580.jpg

 

While fighters rely on disciplined adherence to proven combat techniques to weather difficult battles, barbarians charge furiously into melee and wreak enormous damage to everyone around them. Barbarians are relatively inaccurate, but every melee attack they make gives them an opportunity to strike out at bystanders. Barbarians have the highest Health and Stamina of all classes, which they need given their low Deflection -- a defense that suffers additional penalties when the barbarian frenzies. A barbarian's Frenzy is one of his most valuable tools, allowing him to dramatically increase his damage output and Stamina for a short period of time. However, in addition to suffering penalties to Deflection, the barbarian's Stamina and Health meters are obscured for the duration. It's not uncommon for barbarians to suddenly drop unconscious -- or dead -- when their frenzies come to an end. Many of the barbarians' higher-level powers shine when they are surrounded by a throng of enemies, outnumbered and often badly-wounded. Even so, they are designed to burn brightly and expire brilliantly in the unfortunate event that a battle drags on. Due to the nature of their abilities, barbarians are a higher-maintenance class than fighters.

 

  • Carnage - When barbarians hit with melee attacks, they automatically make reduced-damage attacks at all additional enemies within a short distance of the target.
  • Wild Sprint (Active) - The barbarian gains a large movement bonus that lasts a few seconds. While active, it allows the barbarian to ignore the stop effect from Engagement as well as the hit reaction from an Engagement Hit. Additionally, his Deflection is reduced during the sprint. 3/rest.
  • Blooded - When a barbarian falls below 50% Stamina, he gains a bonus to damage for as long as his Stamina is below 50%.
  • Thick-Skinned - Allows the barbarian to take only 1 Health damage per 8 Stamina damage received, instead of the normal 1 per 4 ratio.
  • Brute Force - When finesse fails, barbarians rely on brute force. On any attack that normally targets Deflection, the barbarian will automatically target the enemy's Fortitude if it is the lower defense.
  • One Stands Alone - When barbarians are Engaged by two or more enemies, they gains a bonus to melee damage. They cannot be Flanked unless they are Engaged by more than three enemies.
  • Vengeful Defeat - When barbarians are reduced to 0 Stamina and have melee weapons equipped, they immediately make instant Carnage attacks at every enemy around them. 1/encounter.
  • Heart of Fury (Active) - In a blur of movement, the barbarian performs a melee attack with each equipped weapon at every enemy within 2m. Each attack does increased damage and Carnage applies. 1/rest.

 

Our take on the traditional front line classes attempts to capture the spirit of their Infinity Engine predecessors while introducing some interesting and fun differences for players to experiment with. We hope that you've enjoyed this and all of our other class updates. More importantly, we hope that you enjoy making all the parties you can imagine when the game comes out. As always, let us know what you think in our forums. Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

Eternity at E3

 

Hey, everyone. This is Brandon Adler. I just wanted to give you a quick update about our E3 presentation.

 

Everything went really well and the game was well received by the gaming press. We gave short ten to fifteen minute demos in which we showed off the first few areas and explained the basic concepts of the game. After the demo we had a quick question and answer session and gave any interviews that we could fit in before the next batch of journalists. All in all, it was a grueling, yet rewarding, experience.

 

pe-e3-demo-580.jpg

 

There have been some questions about why we chose to do a closed door demo for the press and have not released footage from the demo. While the demo looked great, there are still parts of the game that need more polish before we release videos to the public. In addition, a lot of the demo footage was filled with spoilers and we would like to show off portions that are less critical to the story. Look for a video that shows some non-spoiler, polished gameplay sometime in the next couple of months.

 

If you would like to learn more about the demo and what was shown, take a read through some of these great articles:

 

 

 

Kicking it Forward: Harbour

 

ks-harbour-logo-580.jpg

 

Our friends at Tasty Minstrel Games have a new Kickstarter that needs your support. Harbour is a light-hearted fantasy board game where you and your friends play as ambitious entrepreneurs in a bustling port city. Play as one of the many colorful characters as you buy property, sell goods, manipulate market prices - and at times break the rules.

 

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Who did that portrait?

Kind of looks like Polina's "brushwork" but I can't be 100% certain.

 

and is that Calisca from the demo, or just a female human portrait ?

Edited by Sensuki

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in the next couple of months? boy thats very vague. I would love to see some more gameplay footage much earlier. why the press? we made this happen so we should get to see something....

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in the next couple of months? boy thats very vague. I would love to see some more gameplay footage much earlier. why the press? we made this happen so we should get to see something....

 

Obsidian have stated their reasons on this matter and they're not obligated to show us anything really. They will show us a gameplay video when the time is right and I can easily wait for that.

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Really sad to see how you held this material so secretive. I see more game play material from AAA developers these days. And with Indies and other kickstarters it is on a whole different level.... The excuses however are really bad. Not even Bioware or EA would pull this sort of reasoning.

 

 Either you guys have no confidence in your product or in people who backed this whole game......

 

Maybe you guys should take notes from other kickstarter projects.  Because right now you guys are far far behind the times in terms of publicity and marketing. 

Edited by Darji

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Sounds like we'll be getting a gameplay video around the time the closed beta starts? I guess that would naturally coincide with the game being polished enough.

I might be of a minority, but I couldn't care less if I get to see a bit of gameplay or not before release. I'm just happy the game is being made, which is what I agreed to when I said: shut up and take my money.

 

Lovely portrait, and looking forward to eventually building a party of glass cannons. As I always do.

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Hmm, I was keeping back on that footage disscusion running around forums, but in couple of months we should see complete game, not footage. This is disturbing.


I'm the enemy, 'cause I like to think, I like to read. I'm into freedom of speech, and freedom of choice. I'm the kinda guy that likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder, "Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecue ribs with the side-order of gravy fries?" I want high cholesterol! I wanna eat bacon, and butter, and buckets of cheese, okay?! I wanna smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section! I wanna run naked through the street, with green Jell-O all over my body, reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly may feel the need to, okay, pal? I've SEEN the future. Do you know what it is? It's a 47-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing "I'm an Oscar Meyer Wiene"

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Thank you for the class details and the artwork. :)

 

Just a quick question: can the Fighter's Unbroken ability be automatically triggered when Stamina reaches 0? I.e. is it set to active beforehand?

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Hmm, I was keeping back on that footage disscusion running around forums, but in couple of months we should see complete game, not footage. This is disturbing.

 

No... in a couple of months we may have a beta. Did you miss the late December release date announcement?

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Hmm, I was keeping back on that footage disscusion running around forums, but in couple of months we should see complete game, not footage. This is disturbing.

 

No... in a couple of months we may have a beta. Did you miss the late December release date announcement?

 

2-3 month before release can not be called beta anymore. It is like what EA does with stuff like Battlefield. It is a public Demo nothing else. But again that fits with their policy not to show anything at all....

Edited by Darji

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Hmm, I was keeping back on that footage disscusion running around forums, but in couple of months we should see complete game, not footage. This is disturbing.

 

No... in a couple of months we may have a beta. Did you miss the late December release date announcement?

 

2-3 month before release can not be called beta anymore. It is like what EA does with stuff like Battlefield. It is a public Demo nothing else.

 

 

Define "beta" for us, Darji.

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Can we move this "debate" to a separate thread please? I'd like to read comments about the Class update without constantly wading through the recycled E3 complaints. :cat:

Edited by rjshae
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"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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Hmm, I was keeping back on that footage disscusion running around forums, but in couple of months we should see complete game, not footage. This is disturbing.

 

No... in a couple of months we may have a beta. Did you miss the late December release date announcement?

 

2-3 month before release can not be called beta anymore. It is like what EA does with stuff like Battlefield. It is a public Demo nothing else.

 

 

Define "beta" for us, Darji.

 

 

Beta is something they work constantly on. They polish things change things in terms of  interface, dialogues and so on.  Beta is something you should constantly feedback about balance and through their changes. That will normally take many month if they do it for real.  Wasteland 2 for example had a Beta,  Divinity had a Alpha and Beta and there was a constantly change in these ones. If you give people the beta  2-3 month before release that means 1-2 month before everything should be finished  than you will not get the needed feedback.

 

 

As they said before. They are already in a Beta status in their studios. And this is the moment Beta testers or backers in this case should be involved. 

 

 

A EA beta or Demo is something you only do balancing stuff through data they collect  from players.  

Edited by Darji
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2-3 month before release can not be called beta anymore. It is like what EA does with stuff like Battlefield. It is a public Demo nothing else. But again that fits with their policy not to show anything at all....

guessing you don't work in software

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Hmm, I was keeping back on that footage disscusion running around forums, but in couple of months we should see complete game, not footage. This is disturbing.

 

No... in a couple of months we may have a beta. Did you miss the late December release date announcement?

 

2-3 month before release can not be called beta anymore. It is like what EA does with stuff like Battlefield. It is a public Demo nothing else. But again that fits with their policy not to show anything at all....

 

 

Back in the days game companies made games that didnt need to be fixed by average joe "beta" testers. PoE is a story driven SP game and they know what they are doing. A "fully developed" demo is perfectly fine.

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Oooh, shiny.

 

But wouldn't crossbow fit better in the peasant weapon group rather than the knight one? It wasn't exactly an elite weapon.

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2-3 month before release can not be called beta anymore. It is like what EA does with stuff like Battlefield. It is a public Demo nothing else. But again that fits with their policy not to show anything at all....

guessing you don't work in software

 

 They said so themselves that they are NOW in Beta. So do not come with that kind of stuff.  

 

And yeah I will stop now so people do not get upset about the "great" written update you guys get every 2 weeks which means nothing at all.  I will play their game when its finished and then move on but I will not back anything else from Obsidian anymore because in my opinion They do not understand the meaning of a kickstarter project at all. 

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Hmm, I was keeping back on that footage disscusion running around forums, but in couple of months we should see complete game, not footage. This is disturbing.

 

No... in a couple of months we may have a beta. Did you miss the late December release date announcement?

 

2-3 month before release can not be called beta anymore. It is like what EA does with stuff like Battlefield. It is a public Demo nothing else. But again that fits with their policy not to show anything at all....

 

 

Back in the days game companies made games that didnt need to be fixed by average joe "beta" testers. PoE is a story driven SP game and they know what they are doing. A "fully developed" demo is perfectly fine.

 

That is not what backers were promised  and that is my gripe here. 

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Sounding great! Warrior abilities are exactly as I thought they would be! Great artwork and concept as well!

 

Either you guys have no confidence in your product or in people who backed this whole game......

*eye roll*

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Thanks for the interesting update!

 

It is becoming increasingly difficult to choose a class to start with as they all seem interesting in their own ways. I can't wait to see more of the creatures or more video footage. I like the portrait, too.

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Beta is something they work constantly on. They polish things change things in terms of  interface, dialogues and so on.  Beta is something you should constantly feedback about balance and through their changes. That will normally take many month if they do it for real.  Wasteland 2 for example had a Beta,  Divinity had a Alpha and Beta and there was a constantly change in these ones. If you give people the beta  2-3 month before release that means 1-2 month before everything should be finished  than you will not get the needed feedback.

 

With all due respect to inXile, the "beta" they released wasn't a beta. It wasn't even remotely feature complete, and has gone through dramatic changes since.

 

I guess you thought you'd be a big part of the design process for PoE? Other than those backers at tiers including items, that was never how this project was pitched in my recollection.

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The blond ladies eye seems a little off somehow, askew or misplaced, maybe that's just my perspective.

 

Edit: The lady isn't a demonstration of a Fighter is she? One would think that their role as the punchbag would leave any Fighter horribly scarred and rather forbidding looking, as well as carrying a lot more muscle to aid in their armour bearing.

Edited by Nonek

Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Thank you for the class details and the artwork. :)

 

Just a quick question: can the Fighter's Unbroken ability be automatically triggered when Stamina reaches 0? I.e. is it set to active beforehand?

 

No, it's manually activated when the player chooses.  Depending on the circumstances, you may not want the fighter to immediately stand back up after going down.

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Normally I wouldn't post about this, but I want the talk about video footage to stop in this thread. There are already three other threads that are discussing this issue and I don't want this thread to be taken over by the same discussion. If you would like to talk about this issue please go to those threads or start a new thread about that topic. This thread is going to be reserved for discussing the class update, not Obsidian's marketing plan.

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