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Hi everyone,

 

I recently purchased PoE and its expansions and being a BG2 vet, I decided to jump straight in to PoTD. As a power gamer and someone who likes to enjoy the story, I've decided to play with a full party of story NPCs. However, some preliminary research has led me to conclude that they are suboptimal for higher difficulties. So my question is what would be the best MC to carry them through PoTD?

 

The classes I'm interested in are currently paladin and chanters, unfortunately these two classes seem to divide a lot of the player base. Some say that a paladin is worthless because a priest does everything better and chanters take too long to actually do anything.

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I'd say that information is wrong or misleading. While the NPC companions are not optimized, they are 1 level higher than custom NPC followers, and that is usually a bigger advantage than it sounds. Once you hit max level with a full party, you can just steamroll everything anyway. Story NPC are more than enough to get you through PotD even if you don't minmax the hell out of them or your main character.

 

 

Paladins are usually played as melee tanks while priests are typically ranged squishy buffbots (closer to Aerie than Anomen). Your average paladin doesn't have a huge DPS but can take a lot of hits and has very good per encounter supporting abilities. You can also invest in per/int/res without gimping your fighting abilities, making that class a good candidate for a MC who wants to broaden his options in conversations.

 

Chanters' abilities are based on a timer, true, but it goes faster the higher the chanter's level is. They also chant, granting passive boons or ailments to others on the battlefield, just like bards. The invocations are very powerful all game long (Reny Daret is incredible during Act I where fights usually last long anyway), but later on, some phrases get powerful enough to justify leaving your chanter in the middle of the field doing nothing but singing while everyone around him burns. By that point you don't even have to wait for your invocations.

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However, some preliminary research has led me to conclude that they are suboptimal for higher difficulties.

 

Suboptimal? Yes. To the extent that it really matters? Not really.

 

People really overstate the importance of optimised attributes but because of the way attributes scale in PoE, they're really not that important. On top of this, a few of the story companions get extra bonuses which make them arguably better than player created companions; and the fact that player created companions can only be created one level lower than the main character gives story companions a real advantage in the early game which, coincidentally, is the hardest part of the game.

 

This isn't to say you won't find PotD hard, you likely will*, it's just not likely to be the story companions that are making it hard.

 

The classes I'm interested in are currently paladin and chanters, unfortunately these two classes seem to divide a lot of the player base. Some say that a paladin is worthless because a priest does everything better and chanters take too long to actually do anything.

 

 

The Paladin is probably the best main tank in the game (at least at higher levels), that's not something Priests can do better. It's true that a lot of Paladin support abilities can be replicated by Priests but that kind of misses the point. It's not harmful to have some of these abilities replicated since it allows you Priest to focus on doing other things (and you'll find your Priest has no shortage of things to do). On top of that, Lay on Hands is a brilliant single target heal (perhaps the best in the game) and Sacred Immolation is amazing (suddenly your Paladin is doing good AoE damage and healing as well as tanking).

 

Chanters are also excellent. They make very good tanks (in the early game probably better than Paladins, and good enough to tank most encounters in the game) and their chants are very useful. The third level phrase The Dragon Thrashed is so good that a lot of people consider it enough of a reason to bring a Chanter alone. Take a look at Boeroer's builds on the build list in this forum for some more information. It does take a while to build up enough phrases to cast an invocation but luckily fights take longer on PotD, and the hardest fights take even longer.

 

*Path of the Damned rewards knowledge about game mechanics. Actually all difficulties do, but it's most noticeable in PotD. To give you some idea of this, I found my first couple of playthroughs on Hard harder than my first playthrough on PotD, because by the time I made the step to PotD I had a pretty decent handle on the mechanics of PoE. 

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First of all : every class is viable on PoTD.

 

Paladins and Chanters aren't bad, but they're easy to make bad.

 

For chanters, the strongest strategy seems to abuse Dragon Thrashed, an AoE Dot Chant. There's a thread on this page discussing unique chanter builds, you might want to take a peek.

 

For paladin, you can either go support/living wall (high Res, shield, DR aura, hold the line...) or something with a little more single-target DPS (improved flames of devotions, sworn enemy, accuracy aura, paladin order specific stuff...).

 

Pure tank paladins are easier to build but they will do crap damage. However, they can be extremely hard to kill even on PoTD. If you want to go that road you'll have to rely on other party members for damage which might be not so fun for a MC. Also, don't forget Coordinated Assault.

 

For DPS Paladin I recommand to read a few guide before. I know there's a guide in this forum for a solo PoTD run with a bleak walker paladin, if you're interested.

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I only play with story NPC's. They are fine. You don't need a custom party for POTD. Your POTD best friend is the bestiary and knowledge about strength/weakness of your characters & enemies. If you find a zone where mobs are too powerful, come back later. After level 8-9 POTD is a cakewalk.

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As the others said: no problem with story companions. Since they are one level higher it's actually easier with them in the early game. The early game is the hardest part by the way.

 

One level+ compared to hirelings is a lot more power than a few "suboptimal" stat points.

 

You don't need any special class or build to play PoTD with the official companions.

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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It depends on the party composition and your playstyle. Chanters are the best trash mob cleaner in the game. Dragon Thrashed + Combusting Wounds will kill everything, especially if you can reliably debuf fortitude and/or reflex. Chanters also have extremely low micro requirements.

 

If you have a priest, most of what a paladin does can be replaced. The best support a Paladin provides is via single target accuracy buffs. So if you don't okay with a priest, a paladin will make the really difficult fights a lot smoother. Additionally, if you plan on playing with story companions, Pallegina has some awesome personal offensive skills as well. 

 

I personally prefer chanters because I like having at least one character that I can just completely ignore while they go do their thing. I also tend to play with slower but sturdier characters, which means the chanters can even get their invocations off in most early-mid game fights. Also, I like Kana while Pallegina annoys me so that's another reason to go for a chanter for me.

 

By the end game, even in PotD, the difficulty falls off a cliff so just pick whichever class sounds cooler to you.

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Cobusting Wounds doesn't work with DoT-effects like Dragon Thrashed. It used to, but this got patched some time ago.

 

But even without it the Dragon Thrashed is one of the most powerful abilites against mobs in the game. Another alternative would be a barb - especially with Heart of Fury. And with that ability Combusting Wounds works like a charm. :)

Edited by Boeroer

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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In terms of party composition I always like to go for three passive characters (fighters/barbarians/chanters/paladins/monk on AI/Ranger) and then three active characters (everything else) so the micro doesn't get too ridiculous.

 

All that being said, an aggressive chanter will probably bring more to a party than a Paladin (though it can be a little bit slow up to level 9). Through Ancient Memory/Beloved Spirits Chanters will probably bring more healing to the party anyway. However, Paladins can be used to great effect as well, for example Boroer's Counselor Ploi build (https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/89995-class-build-counselor-ploi-charming-paladin-supporter-tank/). 

 

Kind Wayfarers, Darcozzis and Shieldbearers are probably the best dudes to have around imo because of their on-hit kill and flames of devotion synergy talents. I've always found focusing on flames of devotion for damage only isn't great ...

 

edit: At level 13 all paladins eventually got Sacred Immolation, which is kind of like Dragon Thrashed. Doesn't do as much damage but is still good.

Edited by Livegood118
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