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With a ship, buying and selling cargoes at each stop could be an option.

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Everyone knows Science Fiction is really cool. You know what PoE really needs? Spaceships! There isn't any game that wouldn't be improved by a space combat minigame. Adding one to PoE would send sales skyrocketing, and ensure the game was remembered for all time!!!!!

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The one thing that bothered me most in PoE1's stronghold was that the companions I didn't have in my team weren't taking part in battles in stronghold or in the battle of Yenwood. It was strange and immersion breaking for me, because they were inside stronghold, but they didn't fight along with me against enemies. I hope that will change in second Pillars, no matter if we will have stronghold or ship.

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The owls are not what they seem.

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Stronghold:
 
Personally, I'm hoping for something two-fold - a Tortuga-like island that is your actual base and of course your ship, both of which can be upgraded. You could use the ship upgrades to gate off areas of the map you don't want players to get to (ie stronger design upgrades to negotiate stormier areas or some such thing). The island would be where you conduct the vast majority of your traditional stronghold business. 

 

If there's going to be a Stronghold, then perhaps its strength could be based on something other than massive fortifications? Perhaps a well-hidden sea cave large enough for a ship to dock inside, connected with a labyrinth of limestone chambers, some of which were previously shaped into living quarters. A secret base would be more fitting for a party is trying to hide from (or become) sea pirates. Of course, finding a way to expand it without revealing the secret will prove difficult. But possibly the party could rescue a group freed slave craftsmen who will willingly labor there for food and living quarters.


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

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The important thing to me is how it works. I don't like the split "real time vs quest turns" system at all. Turns are finite, pressuring you to metagame, and if you don't complete quests fast enough your barracks payroll will bankrupt you.

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