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Delryn

Whats up with this game? Or is it me? Probably me . . .

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I stumbled across Pillars only a few days before it's release and I was so excited!  I supremely enjoyed BG 1 and 2 though I never got into Icewind Dale as much because I felt it lacked the same depth of story.  Anyway, I leapt at the chance to play Pillars and I was especially elated that many of the reviews talked about not being limited to traditional character classes and it not necessarily requiring min/maxing . . .

 

So I start (and I won't give spoilers, though all this is early game stuff) and I was so excited that I could play rather organically rather than "meta-gaming" the game.  After the first major cutscene / event I was fatigued and so headed straight for the first town available.  While gathering information I stumbled over a couple of quests that I felt I could take while maintaining the "hey, i've gotta figure out whats going on here" idea . . . so I did them.  So it's not like I'm just straightlining the main quest.  But I'm also not going out of my way to 100% explore the few maps I've been in.

 

But then I get my information, head to the next major plotpoint, pick up a couple interesting characters along the way (so I have 4 in total plus a lion) and I find myself in the courtyard of my destination getting party wiped over and over.  Now, I'm on the standard difficulty and I'm used to playing BG on standard difficulty and never did I have this much trouble so early in either of those games.  I've played for like 2 hours of actual gameplay (not counting a lot of reading, ha!) and I'm kind of flumoxed.  Granted, I might just be horrible at this game and granted again, I don't have much experience with the new characters I've picked up.  My PC is a ranger with a lion that I made a "well rounded" character, but with an emphasis on dexterity and might.

 

So am I doing something fundamentally wrong?  Is this a game that requires min / maxing regardless of what others say?  Do I need to explore each map fully to grind XP before going to the next?  I believe my 4 characters are all level 3 as I get party wiped . . . Also, I was really hoping to avoid the "just dump all your points into one attribute / skill at every opportunity" method of play.

 

Can anyone offer constructive (emphasis on "constructive") criticism, advice or insight?  I thank you greatly if you can and do!

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it's a unique battle system, with mechanics such as engagement, that previous experience with IE games probably won't help with. i;ve had mroe than a few party wipes before even venturing past guilded vale on hard (shades at the temple with only 3 party members on hard...ohhhh boy). i dont think it requires min/maxing at all, but rather proper tactics w/ a good understanding of the unique mechanics

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Level 3? That's kinda low. Are you in Readric's Hold now? You can move through it with almost no fighting, but if you go against Readric in the end, that battle is really hard for less than a full party. It's one of those places where it may be wiser to come back later when you're stronger. You could also hire an adventurer from the inn in Gilded Vale and custom-build him into whatever role you want filled the most.

 

I agree the game doesn't require mix/maxing, you just need to take your time to get used to different mechanics.

Edited by Rosveen

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If you played BG1 and BG2 you must know that you can easily in both games run into areas that are too tough for your current level and you need to level up somewhere else (or get better loot) and come back later. 

 

This is no different. 

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Thank you both for speedy replies!  Very helpful but as so often happens, more questions follow!

 

Level 3? That's kinda low. Are you in Readric's Hold now? You can move through it with almost no fighting, but if you go against Readric in the end, that battle is really hard for less than a full party. It's one of those places where it may be wiser to come back later when you're stronger. You could also hire an adventurer from the inn in Gilded Vale and custom-build him into whatever role you want filled the most.

I agree the game doesn't require mix/maxing, you just need to take your time to get used to different mechanics.

 

I'm getting party-wiped in Caed Nua on my way to see the guy who apparently can tell me about myself.  I haven't gone to Readric's Hold at all.  I don't know how to do a spoiler tag or else I'd tell you exactly what I've done and where I've been.  Basically I was trying to follow the main quest line as organically as possible.  A couple minor side quests I did because they seemed like they would further my immediate goals but I didn't follow any sidequest plotpoints that I felt would take me too far off the trail of figuring out what was happening to me.

 

About hiring adventures . . . maybe I'm coming in with the wrong paradigm.  In BG I often made my own party because I felt the NPCs were too weak (I hate multiclassed characters, so happy they don't exist in Pillars).  But I always felt a little ashamed of that so I wanted to go through this game with just the characters the game itself presents.  (as a consequence, I don't really have a frontline fighter type as of yet . . . except my lion . . . not the best, I'm sure . . .)  Obviously its an in-game mechanic, but am I EXPECTED to make up my own characters to fill holes?  I'd hate to do that and water down my XP gain when I ditch that guy in favor of an NPC that actually has a story and dialogue and all.

 

I think my overall problem might be lack of the right perspective on what this game actually is.  Its certainly a spiritual successor to BG but it is clearly NOT BG . . . perhaps its the same problem I had when I transitioned from WH40k to WarmaHordes . . . I'm just not thinking right about it or something.

 

All I know is I've loved this game so far.  The choicesa and interactions and minor scenarios I've seen so far give me great hope for the value of the rest of the game, I just don't want that awesomeness to be punctuated by extreme frustration during combat, ha!

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Spoiler tags: [ spoiler ] blah blah [ / spoiler ] without the spaces. 

 

1. If you're level 3 and Caed Nua you're not really underleveled, though some players will be level 4 after having gone through some more side areas and quests. Do you have the 3 NPC companions you'd be expected to have at that stage? Did you complete the Temple area in the Gilded Vale? 

 

2. We all remember a certain difficulty with IE games, but taht's often after several playthroughs. Difficulty varies a lot on, say, whether you really understand the combat system yet (things like engagement, damage reduction, accuracy, etc. work quite differently than D&D and therefore IE games); whether you use crafting and potions and consumables; whether you have enchanted your gear; and so on. 

 

I'm not saying you are doing this, but trying to just play it like an IE game will make things a bit harder. That doesn't mean you have to study manuals and guides for hours, but approaching combat as a new game with new rules will help.

 

3. There's no problem with going down to Easy if things are frustrating right now, and bumping it up later, too. 

 

You're not expected to use custom adventurers, it's meant to be 'balanced' without them.

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If you played BG1 and BG2 you must know that you can easily in both games run into areas that are too tough for your current level and you need to level up somewhere else (or get better loot) and come back later.

 

This is no different.

In all fairness, though, I never ran into this problem just following the main quest line. Sure, if you head straight north after visiting the Friendly Arm Inn for the first time and come across a couple Ankhegs you're gonna be in a world of hurt, but there were plenty of times I went into the Nashkel Mines as fresh level 2s and while it was tough, it wasn't constant party wipes.

 

I'm not trying to be defensive, I'm just pointing out that im going to the places the game naturally points me to go.

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With companions:

 

There's two in

 

 

Gilded Vale

 

Eder - Fighter

Aloth - Wizard

 

 

 

and also in the map below in

 

 

 

Magran's Fork at the fork of the road at the statue.

 

Durance - Priest

 

And then go back to Gilded Vale.

 

 

 

You can pretty much pick up all three in one go before you go off to do any quests or side quests.

Edited by Hiro Protagonist II
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With companions:.

Thank you! I missed one of those and I think having that character will help me a bunch! And I think I'll slow down and smell the roses, maybe pick a few, and spend nore time exploring. Thank you all for your help!

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You're probably doing something wrong, though I can't guess what. That area isn't particularily hard if you just focus on one enemy at a time. I went there with 2 companions plus the one you can pick up there at level 3, and didn't really have any problems. Just focus on one enemy, in particular the wisp that casts confuse.

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If you played BG1 and BG2 you must know that you can easily in both games run into areas that are too tough for your current level and you need to level up somewhere else (or get better loot) and come back later.

 

This is no different.

In all fairness, though, I never ran into this problem just following the main quest line. Sure, if you head straight north after visiting the Friendly Arm Inn for the first time and come across a couple Ankhegs you're gonna be in a world of hurt, but there were plenty of times I went into the Nashkel Mines as fresh level 2s and while it was tough, it wasn't constant party wipes.

 

I'm not trying to be defensive, I'm just pointing out that im going to the places the game naturally points me to go.

 

 

Yep, you're right about that. What you have to consider though is that you might be currently pretty bad at the game. That will go for many of us. When I fire up BG2 now, I've played it, and other D&D games, so many times that I'm starting from a pretty high level of competency. With POE, sometimes I find out basic things after dying several times because it's got several new rules and mechanics.

 

Arguably that means the game should have been balanced to be easier, but I like it this way, since when we play for a bit more and develop a competency it'll still have challenging options.

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If you played BG1 and BG2 you must know that you can easily in both games run into areas that are too tough for your current level and you need to level up somewhere else (or get better loot) and come back later.

 

This is no different.

In all fairness, though, I never ran into this problem just following the main quest line. Sure, if you head straight north after visiting the Friendly Arm Inn for the first time and come across a couple Ankhegs you're gonna be in a world of hurt, but there were plenty of times I went into the Nashkel Mines as fresh level 2s and while it was tough, it wasn't constant party wipes.

 

I'm not trying to be defensive, I'm just pointing out that im going to the places the game naturally points me to go.

 

I don't know, that mage in front of Friendly Arms Inn was a remarkably difficult fight compared to other early encounters.

 

My previous post was focused on Readric's Hold, if you didn't go there, then my comments don't really apply. I play like you, just with pre-made companions on my first run, but still, I think creating your own is a good idea if you're having trouble. Also, there's another companion in Caed Nua, just outside the gates.

 

Despite what some forumites say about standard difficulty settings being too easy for them, this game is different than old IE titles and there's a learning curve involved. I can honestly say my experience is similar to yours and I've played Baldur's Gate more times than I care to count. It'll just take time, I guess.

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Very good points, all. My excitement is rejuvenated! I'll be going in with fresh eyes next time I play. Though it is pretty hilarious from a role playing aspect... My last save was just after finishing one of those near party wipe scenarios to take a few steps forward and walking into more of the same. After about 10 seconds of fighting I tucked tail, turned my entire party around and fled. So the story continues from that point with suffering huge loss to pride. I can only imagine my character walking alongside his lion on his way backed to town, looking down at his lion and quietly whispering so his other companions won't hear, "I think we need to reevaluate our decision-making process, old friend!"

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Like you, I'm wiping a lot, but I have learned a few things along the way.

 

Use Scout mode - this will allow you to get to monsters/enemies quickly and get a few hits off before they notice you.

 

Formations matter - put your weaker characters in the middle of others, your mage can do a lot of damage if they are alive.

 

Use Spells, - they are there to help, don't just charge in and auto attack, use your spells.

 

Rest and heal a lot, use the common rooms in Inns, your Keep etc.

 

Get a well balanced Party, I too started a Ranger, grabbed the mage at the first town, then pre-made the rest of my group, a fighter, a rogue, a bard and a Cleric.

 

Target enemies 1 at a time, and make your whole party go after them, target casters and archers first, then everyone else.

 

I hope the above helps.

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I started on easy just because I knew I'd totally suck for the first five hours.  Now I've bumped it up to normal as I've got a full party and learned some tricks, keep at it!

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Glad to see I am not the only one kissing the floor all the time (and on normal that)...I already cursed every god available and .. yeah, also the devs, shame on me...but so far I managed to overcome all obstacles ... more or less ... :unsure:  But haven't entered Raedrics Fortress yet, or Caed Nua ... Guess I'll lose a lot of hair in the coming days...


Vox: The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it is my very good honor to meet you and you may call me Vox

 

Are you ... like a crazy person?

 

Vox: I’m quite sure they will say so.

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i also find this game pretty hard tbh, and i too havent had trouble playing BG/IWD etc.

 

on normal i have found several fights where i die pretty fast. usuaully against multiple enemies like shadows/phantoms, will o wisps.

and thats with 5 companions!

 

i also find that enemies do always go for the squishies at the back like my mages etc, and keeping aggro on my 2 fighters is next to impossible.

with shadows able to teleport all over the place making my life an exercise in frustration and much swearing.

 

doesnt help that 2 of my companions have melee weapons when theyre only chanter/priest.

can they use ranged, or wont they have the stats for it?

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As a quick update I now have a proper fighter and he makes all the difference in the world.  Combining that with a fresh take on how combat works and a little more patience while the game is paused and I'm doing much better.  I went back to one of the maps leading to Caed Nua and took out a couple forest trolls fairly handily (a single forest troll almost did me in on my first run to Caed Nua).  I also dispatched a couple forest lurkers, although the lurkers were a tough match and my fighter almost died outright.  All that was with the basic gear that characters came with so now we're back at the inn and I'm going to focus on upgrading whatever equipment I can and checking out the crafting / recipe system.

 

So my encouragement to folks struggling like me?  Keep at it, be patient, don't assume everything works just like BG I/II because it doesn't!  But this is one awesome game and its worth the time investment to learn how to play it right!

 

I think I can honestly say that after 5 hours of play time I am enjoying this more than I ever remember enjoying BG, which is saying A LOT!

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OP a lot of people are having this problem myself included. They tried to reinvent the wheel and failed miserably. The result is you need to create gimmick builds to survive. It's nothing like D&D. It's a deeply flawed and poorly designed CRPG system and game on so many levels. It's a shame because the art and writing are nice otherwise.


Midget soothsayer robs bank. Small medium at large!

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OP a lot of people are having this problem myself included. They tried to reinvent the wheel and failed miserably. The result is you need to create gimmick builds to survive. It's nothing like D&D. It's a deeply flawed and poorly designed CRPG system and game on so many levels. It's a shame because the art and writing are nice otherwise.

 

Oh I really wouldn't go that far . . . I mean, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but despite my struggles I'd hardly call this an inherent flaw in the game.  It's more that I figured since I had so much experience with previous IE games that I could go into this one with a pre-established veteran status . . . and that just wasn't true.  I had to take a few minutes and realize that I'm playing a completely different game.  And as soon as I did that, plus taking my time to talk to a character that I'd walked past several times in my haste and adding him to my party, now things are going swimingly!  I'm not looking for an easy time of it, so I don't doubt difficulties lie ahead, but the frustration came from not understanding WHY it was so difficult.  Now I do and the game is actually quite balanced in my opinion since I've recalibrated my thinking.

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Halsy: You made a thread for that more general issue, so feel free to talk about it there:

 

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/72747-your-rpg-system-sucks/

 

Delryn: yeah, many of the tactics from IE don't work so well - it's clearly a very different system. Vanilla BG1 was basically winnable with sneak backstab, web and ranged weapons on haste, for example. None of that is true here.

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There are a few things I find help me get through the tougher fights, and I use some of these regularly just to keep from losing too much health in smaller fights:

 

1. The early fighter character I have not decided to permanently make my tank, but I've set him up with a shield and put him in defensive stance.  He also has a knockdown ability to use twice in each encounter, and I use it a *lot*.  My main is a sniper rogue, and this enables sneak attacks while the mob is down.

 

2. As others have said, focus your party on a single target -- and I usually find it's better to focus on the squishier mobs just to get the number of guys down quickly.  Sometimes I have my fighter step in and do a knockdown, then engage with the rest of my party.  This seems to prevent some bad cases of the entire pack ignoring him and going straight for my wizard.

 

3. Speaking of the wizard, his ability you can use in each encounter does some AoE damage.  Make sure you're using this, and try to pick a target that will cause some nice splash damage in a pack.  Don't be afraid to burn all of his spells on a really hard fight.

 

4. Traps.  The few really bad fights I encounter, I have traps on hand and will set it up so that I can 'pull' them in a way that causes the group to bunch up and trigger something like a noxious explosive trap.

 

I do tend to explore everything before I move on, so I did the temple in Gilded Vale and Readric's (sp?) hold before going to the fort.  The hardest fight for me was in the hold at the end.  That took several reloads with 4 party members at level 3.  It was extremely satisfying when the last one went down though.  :)

 

I find the combat a lot more interesting than BG's, but you really have to make good use of your abilities at your disposal.  In BG you could get a way with a lot of auto-attacking and focusing your interactions on your mage and priest.  Here all the classes have something to bring to the fight that needs a little more management as the difficulty increases.

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They don't do level scaling, so as a general rule, if something is too hard, it's not a bad idea to go do some other quests and return later. The other thing that can help in the early game is hiring extra adventurers from the inn. Full party makes things more manageable.

 

Engagement is the big thing I've had to get used to. You want to send a tank or two into the fray first to keep the enemy front lines occupied. Then once they've engaged the enemies, you can sneak your damage dealers forward and either take out the support enemies or flank the front line guys to give them and yourself a bonus. I also recommend using pikes or other long range weapons with your damage dealers - you can keep them out of trouble that way and worry less about giving them heavy armor.

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If you played BG1 and BG2 you must know that you can easily in both games run into areas that are too tough for your current level and you need to level up somewhere else (or get better loot) and come back later. 

 

This is no different. 

unfortunately you could find easy ways of dealing with hard enemies like basilisks and then become extremly powerful in short time... hope we dont get it here

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What has worked for me so far is to not overthink things when there are hard fights. In the courtyard, which is pretty rough I guess, I sent Eder in to aggro as much as possible, used the priest to cast the endurance spells on Eder to keep him up while my two mages (Main is a mage) used fan of flames on all of it, Eder included. It`s a sort of brute force approach I suppose but that`s what I`ve been doing. Trying to angle my spells in seems to just result in missing a lot of the enemies and therefore making the fights longer. Better to just wing it and hope the enemies die before Eder:) And the entire keep was doable on hard with four characters at level 4 in this way, although I did have to return to town a couple times to buy camping supplies. Of course I didn`t really have to do that at all because you can rest at the priest. But I didn`t know about that and got to him almost at the end of clearing the whole thing.

Edited by SKull

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