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How can I make this game playable? (Lack of companion AI, problems with stealth build etc. Rant warning)


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Hiya!

 

I've currently sunk about five hours each in two different builds. I am having some serious problems enjoying this game at all, which breaks my heart. The writing is stellar, and I'm enjoying the exploration (ish) so far. This makes it all the more harrowing that I find the game to be unplayable for me. There are two main reasons why.

 

1. The combat.

 

Playing this game the right way seems to require a lot of combat micromanagement. So far, the combat has frustrated me to no end. My head hurts from all the detail, managing every party member every few seconds, trying to figure out what all the special abilities do. The lack of companion AI makes combat impossible for me to enjoy. Before anyone asks, I'm on easy difficulty. I find that if I play combat the way I'd prefer, charging in and attacking, occasionally using a few special abilities, I get absolutely slaughtered in encounters of any reasonable level of challenge. Given that combat is a very large part of this game, this makes the game difficult for me. I'm not prepared to get good at the management, because I'm just not having fun.

 

As a result, given Obsidians roots in Black Isle, and given the talk during design about any build being viable, I was hoping an alternative playstyle would work for me. I made a rogue with extremely high Dex, Per, Int and Resolve, hoping to stealth/talk my way through the game. Which leads me to problem no. 2:

 

2. Non-combat playstyles aren't really viable.

 

Having whipped up my talky, sneaky rogue, I started playing the game again. This lead to disappointment when I realized that this doesn't seem to work. The level design is full of bottlenecks making sneaking past enemies hard to impossible in pretty much any major quest. A lot of the more important quests seem to have situations (read: bosses and the like) that don't have any solution past combat (since this is a spoiler-free forum, I won't go into detail). In general, I have the impression that stealth and conversation-based skill can only supplement your play. In other words, I have a strong impression it would be impossible for me to play through the game without a lot of the combat I'd rather not deal with.

 

Sorry for the rant. I get that this game is more of a spiritual successor to games like Baldur's Gate (where playing through the game with a minimum of combat was out the window) rather than Fallout 2 (where you could practically not fight a single enemy if you wanted), I just didn't expect the level of methodical patience the game demands of me on the easiest of difficulty settings.

 

If I'm wrong, I'd love to be told so (and ideally, being told what I could do differently to get a low-combat experience that'd get me through the game). If not, well, I'm glad a lot of other people are enjoying what seems to be a masterpiece from the five hours I got into it. Also, if you feel like commenting about how I'm **** at the game (which would be a correct observation), there would be no need.

 

At the very least, I've gotten a bit of frustration off my chest. Thanks for your time, everyone who bothered reading this.

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If you want to just steamroll through the game without tactics or micromanagement, you're not going to have a good time.

 

That said, on easy you can probably build one of the retaliation tanks and just move that character to the front before anyone else and win all of the battles by just being there and surviving. That's fire godlike combined with monk, rogue or barbarian and a piece of gear with the retaliation property.

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This game will reward you for taking the time to learn its mechanics with really fun and engaging tactical combat.

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Look, guys, I appreciate what you're saying about the combat. I imagine it is a lot of fun for a lot of people. I'm not saying the combat is bad, I'm saying I'm really not having fun with it. Probably a matter of personal preference than anything else. That's not going to stop me from trying a bit more. Worst comes to worst, I might head into the dark realm of console cheats.

 

Sleazebag: Thanks for the tips. Duly noted.

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First off, (2), yeah, non-combat is not viable. Some combat is avoidable, but most of it is not, and if you don't enjoy combat, then you will have a VERY hard time enjoying the game.

 

In re (1), yeah, the game does require both micromanagement and an understanding of the mechanics to be enjoyable. Select all + auto-attack = party wipe. I've found it immensely rewarding though to have a fight go from a TPW to barely getting my armor scuffed simply by changing my tactics.

 

If you're willing to put in some work, I'd be happy to give you a few pointers.  

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On Easy if you want to not have to micromanage as much, you really need the party of 5-6. Something like Radric's hold at lvl 3 is pretty tough with only 2-3, but take in 6 and it's waaaaay easier. So play long enough to find/get the early companions (there's 4 very quickly if you follow the main quest path and explore maps a bit to find them) and/or hire/create more at the Inn's when you have the coin. Two fighter/tanks types in front, the rest ranged of some sort (wands and bows + spells) and you likely can, most of the time, just focus on the fighters while the others are support.

 

That said, there will be fights/enemies/areas where this doesn't work and you're going to have to step in and do a lot of micro-managing and constant pausing.

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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Hello!

 

I'm new to the forum and the game.

 

Lets start saying I have never played a game like this one before, I heard about Baldur´s Gate but didn't try it at all, so Pillars of Eternity is a whole new experience for me.

 

I'm loving it, I'm about to finish the main story! One of these days I will :D

 

 

I think the PoE designers want people to think, to exploit all the possibilities of every class in the party, so once the encounter is over you feel like it was an epic fight. 

 

Sometimes it took me like 1hr for killing a group of enemies, at some point I understood what the best strategy is so I ended succeeding.

 

For me is boring just to click 3-4 skills and let the fighting happen, however others dislike the idea of micromanaging. It is all about preferences.

 

 

Of course the game is playable, it requires patience, thinking and many beers  :yes:  :yes:

 

 

 

Tom.

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On easy difficulty you don't need to micromanage the whole party (preferably 6 members!) constantly. Have a tank and make sure they go in first well equipped. Arm everyone with ranged weapons. When necessary, tale down an enemy spellcaster with the opening volley. Swap ranged set to melee weapon when necessary, always swap them back after the combat ends. Know the few key special attacks (spells, abilities) you go to most, when you need the extra effort.

 

Maybe this sounds like much? I found it quite doable, and after learning the basics swapped to normal difficulty. Hard gets a bit too slow for me (for life reasons).

 

My first char was a rogue and on easy I mostly managed only her - to move into melee after the tank - and the wizard - to cc the mob so rogue can use Sneak Attacks.

Edited by Moira
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I'd give it some more time before you shelve it for good. I also struggled in the beginning and I'm a fairly experienced player. It's not easy or intuitive at first. But as I got a bit more playtime it started getting enjoyable really enjoyable. But yeah, the first couple of hours where tough, now it's just about perfect....

"Those who look upon gods then say, without even knowing their names, 'He is Fire. She is Dance. He is Destruction. She is Love.' So, to reply to your statement, they do not call themselves gods. Everyone else does, though, everyone who beholds them."
"So they play that on their fascist banjos, eh?"
"You choose the wrong adjective."
"You've already used up all the others.”

 

Lord of Light

 

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On easy difficulty you don't need to micromanage the whole party (preferably 6 members!) constantly. Have a tank and make sure they go in first well equipped. Arm everyone with ranged weapons. When necessary, tale down an enemy spellcaster with the opening volley. Swap ranged set to melee weapon when necessary, always swap them back after the combat ends. Know the few key special attacks (spells, abilities) you go to most, when you need the extra effort.

 

Maybe this sounds like much? I found it quite doable, and after learning the basics swapped to normal difficulty. Hard gets a bit too slow for me (for life reasons).

 

My first char was a rogue and on easy I mostly managed only her - to move into melee after the tank - and the wizard - to cc the mob so rogue can use Sneak Attacks.

Yeah, it just takes getting a little familiar with the game and the differences between the old IE games and PoE. Because even tho it harkens back to those old games, PoE is very different from them. :)

 

I started on Normal and was curious about the other difficulties so ran some of the same areas with Easy and Hard to see the differences. I think I like Normal, for my style in a party-game. Single-chr. games I tend to go for more difficulty but parties are different things, to me.

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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I'm not saying the combat is bad, I'm saying I'm really not having fun with it. Probably a matter of personal preference than anything else. That's not going to stop me from trying a bit more.

 

It might be that this just isn't the game for you.  If it helps any, I too found the combat to be overwhelming initially (despite lots of experience playing similar sorts of games in the past).  So many characters with so many options, and me unsure of exactly what they do or when to use them.  As I try different things I'm learning, though, and my play is improving.  I'm not an expert yet, and I'm sure there's room for me to improve, but I don't feel overwhelmed any more.  Hopefully this will be the case for you as well, if you continue playing.

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I'm only on normal but I've been doing well with a 'run right at these fools' style party.  I still use paladin heals, knockdowns, prebuffs with foods, and also potions.  I still focus fire diligently.  This style doesn't eliminate the need for micromanagement by any means but must simplify things quite a bit.

 

I too found this difficult at the beginning and I restarted a couple of times to tweak (min/max further) but the party never felt viable.  I felt like I'd have to give in to 'tank and spank' tactics before I discovered two things:

 

1) The Opening Volly:  You can vastly improve the performance of a six melee party by equipping guns or arbelests and murdering one mage (or priest) at the beginning of the fight.  After that first volley switch immediately to melee weapons and bash away.  This makes a BIG difference. 

 

But the even bigger improvement...

 

2) The Paladin Skill 'Zealous Charge':  I sometimes use the opening volly to lead in to the most difficult fights but only those.  This skill changes everything.  I play every fight in slow mode and my dudes still look like little crackmuffins chasing down nerd mages.

 

Give these a try - all I do in battle is to make sure that I go for mages types first, heal characters who are low, and focus fire when possible.  I really think that these simple changes make a massive difference.  My current party is doing fine without even six characters - I use my main character as a fighter, one other fighter, and two paladins - and I can travel with 'story' characters whenever I want.

 

GL

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Okay, so basically you need a party with classes that don't take much micromanagement - fighter, ranger, chanter, perhaps?  Take Eder, Sagani, and Kana, and make a couple of adventure hall people, choose summons for your chanter invocations, and simply auto-attacking on easy should become more viable.

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In addition to what others have said:

 

1. When you level up, take talents labeled 'Passive' for all of your party members - they will help you all of the time and you will have fewer things to think about.

 

2. Overuse the space bar. As you are learning how the game works, pause and assess the situation in combat very often and don't rush to unpause. As you get better at it, you won't need to pause as often or for as long, but pause early and often until then.

 

3. No, really, as a beginner, pause more, then take a deep breath and consider your options - the game will probably become a lot more fun when you aren't reloading from party wipes as often.

 

In the end, you may just not like the game, but if you try the things people have posted here, you will probably find that there is a lot to like about the combat once you get the hang of it.

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