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I have to emphasize that I really like the story and the maps of the expansion, altogether it's well done.I have started fresh once again and regret nothing! But there are some things that bother me:

 

 

Soulbound weapons are class restricted, even when it makes no sense. I'd really have liked the Great Sword for my rogue. My Paladin uses a shield and the Barbarian two weapons, so they don't really have any use for a twohander. Also my druid might have liked either the Hunting Bow or the Quarter Staff. Bad luck.

It's not that I couldn't make it work, or respec or whatever, but since that's my 4th playthough, I kinda had an idea for my group constellation.

 

About NPCs

I am really happy that there is finally a rogue NPC, especially since getting the mechanic gloves is still random and none of the other NPCs makes a good mechanics guy. I have finished the game as a rogue before for that reason (I didn't like creating "soulless" custom hirelings), but now I have to say the game actually gets better if you have Lore and Survival instead. Your character can do more cool stuff (disabling feels obligatory rather than cool) and has better dialogue options. And while I know it's storywise totally ok, I still didn't like that you find it at the end of a heavily trapped dungeon. I basically had to train a replacement trap guy until the point where I found the Devil of Caroc, then I had to retrain. I had chosen Grieving Mother, so that was a lot of work (clicks). ;)

 

I really enjoyed how you got the monk NPC in your group and it was quite useful that there was a merchant selling monk stuff close to him. But this guy is every kind of useless for me. Maybe it's me not being good at monks (I solod the game with one, but it was a pazifist run), but I can't get a monk to work without interrupt. Well, getting -15 to interrupt from attributes basically locks me out of that guy. I planned him to be my "mageslayer", but he goes down very often and makes me rest a lot because of that. I was really planning to play with the 2 new guys, but I think I will kick him out. Or maybe I give him a shield and make him tanky, not sure yet.

 

Experience/difficulty

I did everything of Defiance Bay and a bit of Caed Nua before entering the White March and got to level 9 that way. The White march feels a bit on the easy side now, but is still challenging enough. But I fear that Dyrwood will be very boring with level 11/12-heroes and maybe even the whole rest of the game will be too easy. I like that have a lot of options for the midgame around level 8, but that also means that every option but the first you choose will be too easy. And in a vanilla playthrough,you have lot of incentive to do the White March first to hire the NPCs there.

That is of course a general problem with choice and I could counter it by increasing the difficulty. Also the monsters could level with the group, but that is very cheesy and destroys every sense of progress. It's somehow ok for named monsters/adventurer groups, but it's very stupid if trash monsters also level and some young wolf you overlooked in the starting area can later challenge you highlevel group.

I still think the areas should somehow interact, maybe by introducing recurring villians. For example, there could be 3-4 assassin ambushes at fixed points in the game - but you will always fight them in the same order (easy to hard), no matter where you fight them first. Or you have some kind of nemesis who you hunt over the whole world. He will always escape you and will grow stronger with every encounter. The monsters could reinforce because they have heard of you (like villagers also do). So they hire a few extra mercenaries - and even tell you so ("Hello adventurer, I have heard of you, that's why I hired those 2 priests when you approached my lair")! That's far more elegant than auto-levelling monsters, because your progress is still honored.
I hope you can improve on that. Otherwise, the next expansion might break the whole balancing, because you are almost constantly overlevelled.


I tried not to go overboard with spoilers, but still feel it isn't spoiler free.

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