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392 PoD playthrough thoughts


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So just finished (every hostile killed) playing through the beta content on Path of the Damned, and have a few thoughts and comments.


General thoughts are:


Difficult is uneven at the moment the Cean Gŵla, and Adra beetles are exceedingly hard as are groups of Spectres with there stunning ranged attack. Everything else is fairly easy and will only kill you if you make a major mistake.

If the Adra beetle gets to you while your still dealing with the wood beetles and stone beetles it's likely to be a wipe. Similarly the Cean Gŵla combined with a pack of spectres is a wipe unless played perfectly, as the spectres will work there way through your spell casters which you desperately need to heal your fighters and debuff the Cean Gŵla.


There are a fair number of bugs at the moment most of which I see posted in the bug forum, except maybe the sounds clipping when your in fast mode. Biggest annoyance at the moment is the incorrect and badly formatted descriptions for a number of items, and the abilities/spells that don't work.


Combat was reasonably fun once I got used to it, I won't sing it's praises but I feel it's at a similar level to BG1 and perfectly playable (once a few more bugs are eliminated). With regards to engagement sometimes I like it (when it works in my favour) other times it's a pain in the arse when I try to run the wrong character past some enemies. It certainly can make it easy to lock down fairly wide areas (the PoE maps seem to be a bit wider on average than BG2) and it makes careful positioning of your spellcasters and there AoE's important once the lines stabilise. It's possibly a little bit to powerful at the moment if someone engages your Wizard and you don't have a spell to break engagement the wizard is dead or will take >50% damage trying to escape (and thus is dead a couple of seconds later).


In many ways I've ended up playing the combat in a manner similar to the way I play BG2 (I nearly always play as a Spell caster or Rogue), careful scouting then start the attack with crowd control and ranged weapons, then follow up with debuff and very carefully played AoE. The survivors run into the fighters and the toughest of them get hit with more debuffs and more AoE that generally needs the caster to be carefully positioned so they don't wipe there own team. Add in ranged focus fire from and Sneak attacks from the Rogue and most things go down with the Cean Gŵla + Spectres being the major exception. Once I hit level 6 for small groups or temple guards I could switch to sneaking up and every one attacking at once any group of under 5 would be wiped before they could do any real damage.



With regards to the character building I couldn't make either a Barbarian or Ranger that was worth playing with and as others have noted Perception/Accuracy is pretty much the most critical stat.


Was very impressed with the Rod/Scepter with blast and penetrating blast and an wizard with decent accuracy they're pretty effective especially when the enemies group around the fighter or secondary tank.



Specific comments:


Played with 3 customs Chars and Fighter, Priest, Rogue.


Wizard: high Perception, moderate to high Intellect & Resolve with the talents Noble Weapons, Blast, Penetrating Blast, Rod

Cipher: high Perception, Dex and Intellect, Scoundrel weapons, Dual wielding, punishing whip, Sabre and Stiletto + Rod

Chanter: High resolve, Int, Adventurer weapons, Weapon and Shield, Ancient memory


At the end of the play through the Wizard had done the most damage (36%) then the Rogue (22%), Fighter/Cipher (13% ea) and Priest/Chanter (7% ea). For damage taken the Fighter soaked up 30% for only 14% of the KO's, Chanter 20% for 20% KO, Cipher/Rogue/Priest about 14% ea with 26%/20%/4% of the KO's while the Wizard took 8% of the damage for 16% of the KO's.


The Cipher is a bit of a KO magnet as she was specd with dual weapons to maximise focus generation she tended to be up close to the action fairly often. The Chanter worked fairly well as a secondary tank (Flail & Shield) providing a small amount of healing and useful secondary effects, summons and some control (paralysis) late game.


The Cipher with it's effectively unlimited control spells was critical to some of the harder battles where the mage burnt through all his spells and for areas where I chained multiple fights together with out resting.


With regards to the party I'd be most inclined to keep the Wizard, Priest and Cipher and while the other roles could be switched around between the different classes.





To deal with the limited starting equipment wiped out both parties for Cat & Mouse in the village, then provoked the Tanner by entering the back room, Entered the temple via tower and cleared the first couple of rooms of cultists (after sneaking past the beetles). The equipment from that is enough to set everyone up with exceptional armour and fine or exceptional weapons and provide enough damage and DR to consider taking on the beetles.


After that it's back up stairs and start working the way through the various quests and creatures on the out doors maps.


With regards to combat the hardest encounters are the beetles at the crossing while the party is lvl 5 and the Ghost/Spirit clusters in the gorge ruins.

Everything else is fairly easy even on PoD.


For the beetles the combination of poison, armoured stone beetles and the Adra beetles which can one shot most Chars on a Critical and take out half the party (Wizard, Rogue & Cipher) with one ranged attack if they're too close together. Ended up hammering them with spells (grease, web, rolling flame, and iconic projection) which allows often allows all the wood beetles to be wiped and major damage to be done to most of the others then leave the fighter to occupy the stone beetles and focus fire on the Adra combined with the Ciphers & Wizards Paralysis spells tends to finish them off with out to much issue. I suspect the beetles aren't currently balanced as a result of the armour changes.


For the various spirits and ghost it's there stun abilities that are the major problem (and insane stats for the bosses all defs >110) they've a nasty habit of targeting the spell casters which can quickly wipe them from the game and then it's a party wipe shortly after. Ended up having to split them up and drawing them away from the default area then using withdrawal on there initial target and dropping paralysis spells on them until one sticks (Cipher is awesome for this, though the Wizard spell is more powerful) then have everyone hammer the affected individual.



Any one else played through the beta on PoD?

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