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Quest logs are always helpful imo. Pillars has the expert mode though, that "hides" the details from your questlog, leaving each to just a simple note (or something like that anyway). So that might be somekind of a solution to you.

As what you said about the reading, I agree with you in the part that it is too much. It doesen't fit much in Pillars; it's more Torment-y imo (maybe that's why I got bored with Torment Tides of Numenera so quick). White March doesen't have that problem and the "boring" reading parts are shown through the scripted interactions with pictures and choices.

 

So my opinion about questlog and reading is, leave questlogs as they are - they are helpful - develop a writing style that fits in a game like Pillars.

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So as a thought experiment, do you think it would have made quests more engaging if they weren't listed, or you were forced to write your own quest journal?

 

No.

 

I have limited free time, so it may go several days between sessions. I need the quest log as a reminder, especially when I have a couple of dozen open entries in the log. Taking that away would not make it more engaging, it would be a waste of time.

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

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I understand the criticism even though I've played this game more than any other I've put in enough hours to finish it 20x over and only beaten it once! And not finished WM2! So I get it, for me the story also wasn't as fully engaging as I wanted, nor as reactive. And combat (as I am much much MUCH more of a melee fan then ranged) was entirely too droll and auto attack centric for my tastes.

 

Still, I grew up with black isle so nostalgia helps, I like creating characters almost as much as playing them, and I beleive in Obs's passions for making RPGs more then any other company. 

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Finished the game 4 times, twice before and twice after WM. In general, I loved the game (brought back BG2 nostalgia for me, even though there were flaws, reactivity and party dynamics being the largest ones).

 

Loved combat, I felt it was challenging on POTD while being manageable if I applied myself. While the story was sometimes slow to pick up and never quite fully attached to the PC, I felt the plot as a whole was pretty strong. The late game reveals (which truly only appear in Twin Elms) were IMO very clever and opened a myriad of moral outcomes. The end slides were also very well done, compared to other games.

 

I would strongly encourage anyone to finish the game, just for the reveals. WM is especially strong and most gameplay (encounters, reactivity, story, etc) mechanics are very well done.

 

Its in my top 3 of favourite games ever (with BG2 and Battle Brothers, man that game kills me), with maybe the Civ series. If you have the time, do complete it, its definately worth it.

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Story progression in PoE is actually very linear, and your choices have very little influence on the world surrounding you ; or when they do, it's only visible in the endgame textual epilogue.

 

I can guess how someone looking for a make-your-own-adventure kind of game can be disappointed. 

 

Actually, everybody who beat the game several times probably noticed how you always end up doing the same things in the same order. Replay value mostly comes from combat and gameplay variety between classes and builds.

 

Pillars of Eternity is a very good game nevertheless. It's close to Baldur's Gate in spirit, who was a little more open-world-ish but was very linear as far as the main storyline goes. Combat is fun and not repetitive, the environment is very pretty, the world is interesting, some of the companions are very endearing. 

 

But yeah, it's not the big ultimate RPG we all dream of. It's a crowdfunded game with limited budget, who prefered focusing on a few things and making them right rather than being crazy ambitious on paper and end up releasing a half-***ed, unfinished game (inXile I'm talking to you). 

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The problem with Pillars not being the uber rpg we all dreamed of was, I believe, that the team had no clear vision from start other than the general idea of aspiritual successor to IE games. It looks as different lead members took a portion of the game, developed it by themselves and then they met and stitched it together. White March (again) has a more clear vision of what it want to be that's why it's so good compared to base game.

 

Also, I'm ok with choices' concequence revealed at the end slideshow. I'm fan of that kind of ending in rpgs. Story, as linear as it may be, turns out great at the end (in both base and expansion) and has some tough choices to make. I know I said it many times, but I'm trying to point out how it's totally worth to play the game to the end :p

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Oh, I thought that was just me who got tired in Twin Elms. I'm fond of making new characters, and when I got to Twin Elms with my chanter, I stopped and made a druid...and a wizard...and a cipher and messed around at the low levels of the game for a bit. Then I took a break from the game, came back to it later, finished, and replayed a couple more times.

 

I think that it kind of shows that Twin Elms is a stretch goal, and that interferes with pacing and momentum. At that point, I was ready to be done with the game, and the new crop of side quests weren't that tempting. I don't think being forced to keep my own quest log would have helped. There just wasn't enough time for the area to be engaging without making the game much longer. I would have preferred to get on with the final quests at that point, which wouldn't have truly needed a new city.

 

I'm glad that particular cities weren't stretch goals this time. If the narrative requires it, I'll welcome one. If it doesn't, I'd rather they save the idea for an expansion or another game. I think Obsidian has a firmer idea what they want to do this time and hasn't locked themselves into as much promised content, do I'm expecting Deadfire will be more cohesive (which certainly doesn't mean POE was bad - I love the game).

Edited by eselle28
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Dammit. Is it only me that I liked Twin Elms so much? I though it was a breath of fresh air after the tediousness of Defiance Bay. Also the companions strat to feel more alive at that point. They interjected and participated in conversations whay more (I almost forgot I have them with me till then!). The city itself felt more alive than Defiance Bay; it was more densly populated and its inhabitants were more active. Also the factions and the quests were more interesting. *Spoilers!* The druids who wanted the baera and the cat to fight, the pale elves with their god, the druids that helped the suciders etc. Waay more interesting!

 

EDIT: oh, the Orlan baby!...

Edited by Sedrefilos
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I thought Twin Elms had lots of good ideas, particularly that last thing you mentioned. I think the gating was part of my problem. I was ready to be finished, and the game had signaled to me that it was winding up, and then on the other side of the gate were a bunch of quests. Twin Elms struck me as something that would have shone in an expansion, especially with a new companion.

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You were ready to end the game? But you knew there was another city. Also it was too soon for it to end at that point... :(

 

Anyhow, just one big city in the sequel. Hope it'll be around from start to finish :)

Edited by Sedrefilos
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Guest Blutwurstritter

Pillars certainly lacked motivation. There is nothing that gives you a sense of urgency or pushes you to fulfill your quest. Especially the main quest is poorly designed, i barely felt any tension or excitement as it progressed and often had no idea how it would progress. The is no clear goal you are trying to achieve and for a long time it isn't even clear why you oppose the leaden key or why you should care for the hollow born crisis as you have no attachment to Dyrwood. Everything is presented as if you are an observer that is barely connected to anything that happens. This is something Baldur's Gate 1/2 did much better in my opinion since your character has a very clear motivation and your actions clearly serve to achieve your goal.

The problem with the text in Pillars was not the amount but rather the format in which it was presented. It was always extremely passive, like listening to monologues of other people. It never felt like leading a developing dialog with another person when you spoke to an npc, rather like clicking through his monologue options. Tyranny for example, did this much better.

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"This is something Baldur's Gate 1/2 did much better in my opinion since your character has a very clear motivation and your actions clearly serve to achieve your goal."

BG 2, yes. BG 1 was a hot mess for motivation, goals, etc. You start the game literally with no goal other than survive. There's a suggestion to go to the Friendly Arm Inn, and once you go there and meet your two new party members the game utterly fails to provide any clear goal or motivation until after Nashkel--which you only know about as a vague suggestion that stuff is happening there.

Really, BG 1 is *terrible* for clear goals and motivation.

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That's the old conflict between player freedom and story progression. A story is better when it is tightly controlled, linear, and scripted. That directly opposes the freedom to explore and do things at your own pace.

PoE tries to do something similar to BG2, with the urgence coming from something destroying your soul / mind (generally speaking). It just fell really flat in doing so.

Although, at least for me, it created a very strong secondary motivation with the prospect of ending the hollowborn plague. That was enough to feel sufficiently motivated (at least in RPG terms, where "this is the quest, you're supposed to follow it else there's no game" is commonplace).

Sure, that wouldn't apply to a PC who doesn't care about lots of dead babies and mad children, but then, I'm not really interested in playing such a character. :D

 

---

The point with Twin Elms is, I agree, mostly pacing. The game has a large hub with Defiance Bay, you're free to explore basically the whole map (and Dyrford has quite a lot of side quests, as well, even if it's not a big settlement itself), and then shuts off Defiance Bay while driving you to Twin Elms. Closing the main hub (even though it becomes accessible again rather quickly), making the game more linear, with possibly the large majority of areas explored, together with the feeling that you're getting closer and closer to Thaos and (after meeting Lady Webb) understanding his motives, seems like a sure sign of the end if you've played RPGs before. And then, Twin Elms opens up, taking all remaining urgency out of the story (side quests are supposed to be done, after all, and Twin Elms gives the impression that it has lots of them). It's no so much Twin Elms in itself, it's its place in the flow of the game that creates that drop in motivation.

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Therefore I have sailed the seas and come

To the holy city of Byzantium. -W.B. Yeats

 

Χριστός ἀνέστη!

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Guest Blutwurstritter

"This is something Baldur's Gate 1/2 did much better in my opinion since your character has a very clear motivation and your actions clearly serve to achieve your goal."

 

BG 2, yes. BG 1 was a hot mess for motivation, goals, etc. You start the game literally with no goal other than survive. There's a suggestion to go to the Friendly Arm Inn, and once you go there and meet your two new party members the game utterly fails to provide any clear goal or motivation until after Nashkel--which you only know about as a vague suggestion that stuff is happening there.

 

Really, BG 1 is *terrible* for clear goals and motivation.

 

While it is less clear than BG2 you still have a fairly good motivator by witnessing the murder of your foster father in the beginning, at least it is obvious who your enemy is and your motivation is very personel. I agree that afterwards it is not straightforward and clear cut as BG2, but still better than Pillars in my opinion.

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I think this is a game that will grow on people with hindsight. It was always doomed to fight a battle against nostalgia for a sixteen year old classic in combination with the AD&D system. For me at least, it succeeded at that task, especially in combination with WM. I enjoyed it more than many other cRPGs I've played over the last decade.

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

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I think this is a game that will grow on people with hindsight. It was always doomed to fight a battle against nostalgia for a sixteen year old classic in combination with the AD&D system. For me at least, it succeeded at that task, especially in combination with WM. I enjoyed it more than many other cRPGs I've played over the last decade.

Well put. This also gives me hope for PoE2, since the devs will be able to build upon this latest experience. I was speaking recently with someone who played vanilla POE and was disappointed by it. To them, POE was supposed to be BG3 or at the very least, a BG2 clone, a pretty impossible task according to me, given the circumstances of crowdfunding.

 

So far, I feel POE2 is aiming for this kind of game.

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Interesting post OP. I feel like it is usefull to do what you did. I guess i'll do it too, since i never finished it either. Though, i did not drop it. I kind of struggle to advance, because of some (numerous in fact) reasons, but i still find it is a great game, and plan to resume my playthrough soon. My very own reasons for struggling:

 

-Like someone else said on the FIG page, wizards spells are not appealing enough.

The guy spoke about some kind of power gamer issue, regretting the lack of utility spells both in and out of combat. I agree with this. There are barely any spell from Baldur's gate that i feel should not be there (even though some, very rationals, would argue that anything that has not enough of a measurable impact on the gameplay should be cut). Magic should not be all about ways to make DPS. BG had it right (or better, at least), imo. The fact that magic items only allowed more use/days and not more slots to memorize spells (and utuility ones if there were more of them) was a problem to me, too. Long story short: il lacked variations. Magic seems to just be another weapon.

 

-Some mechanics i deeply disliked that i could not fully ignore:

Rests heal everything (even severed limbs i guess. BG did it right, at least for me), bonus through rest and food that does not feel right to me (i never felt more clever or strong few seconds after eating fish), infinite stash (at least try to create some lore about it, like the bags in BG), numerous, souless and useless pets i can't bring myself to care about (unlike the familiars in BG, which i miss a lot), no healing spells for priests (combined to the rest issue, it's a problem for me, who does not use the endurance/health system at all, because i definitely dislike it), the early state of the stronghold (was way better in later versions of the game), ...

 

-The reading.

Although it's strange, i don't think it's a bad aspect of the game. Maybe the fact that reading became a chore quite fast is because the french localization was upright awful, and that i played several doens hours in english. I struggled quite a lot actually, and it was tiring. But sometimes, there was no purpose to some walls of text. I definitely feel that Pillars would lose its essence without most of the text it has, but still, me struggle reading was a huge factor why i did not finished the game yet.

 

-Companions.

I found myself having a real huge problem regarding the souless companions. When, occasionally, they would say something in a dialogue, most of the time, the NPC would not even notice it. Their skills were almost useless since for... reasons, they could not use them in dialogue. I could not understand why Sagani won't use her knowledge to warn the boy about him handling the knife the way he did, why i did not have the option. In the same fashion, i felt that whatever i could do, they would never be happy or bothered. They felt like bots, however well written they were otherwise.

 

-No multiclassing.

Well, it's weird, but it's true. Since the very, very start, months before the game was finished, i really, i mean really wanted to play a priestess/warrior of Eothas. I tried my best to emulate this muticlassing with a priestess. As a result, i may have spent more time reasearching how i could do this than actually playing. In the end she is... well ok-ish. But this damn flail won't have much of an impact in combat. Priests are way too vulnerable without a shield. In the end, i could not build the character i wanted, even though it was not a far fetched idea.

 

-Game was unclear and spells were a chore to use.

I'm ok with complexity needing a learning curve, i don't like dumbed down crap. But the tooltips and mechanics were way too unclear. Tooltips lacked crucial informations or were not better than chinese for me. And i had a very hard time to figure out how i could possibly make use of this mere 2,5 seconds lenght status effects with the panels of the abilities of my 6 characters. I still don't understand why they would create spells with status duration this short. Why not replace these low level, low duration, AoE spells par single target versions with more duration? There are way too many AoE spells while i feel more effective single target spells would add variation and more possibilities. Including to adapt to different encounters, different type of battlefields, different deployments of the opponents, different scarcity, too. It's true for wizards and priests. Never tried the other spell casters. But i feel that priests and wizards definitely miss single target, strategic, pin point spells, buffs/self buffs. The whole AoE thing made things boring for me. These 2 elements made the use of abilities and spells in combat a true chore.

 

-Defiance Bay.

The town reminds me of the shots i saw about cities like Los Angeles on TV. Large roads, large places, large buildings. Even Purnisc lives in a building that is several times the average size for a house in my city of Pau (France). I get that US people tend to think sometimes that bigger is better. But it's disturbing in a med-fan RPG. This made the city even more empty. Because there is so much empty space everywhere. I feel like the city of Baldur's Gate made it right: clustered houses everywhere, narrow alleys. There was a really good med-fan vibe to it.  When we enter Defiance Bay, we are warned the city is overheated, brimming with refugees. Aside from 2 dwarves in the first area, i don't remember any refugee. And more than overheated, it felt dull. Which was a really big problem for me.

 

-I would have liked more "communitary settlements".

Don't know how to say it better. But i felt that the race mixing everywhere deprived all of them of a sense of identity. The dwarves in White March had an identity. They were dead, but i loved them. But by mixing too much everywhere orlans, dwarves, humans, aumaus, elves and such, in the end, everyone lose their interesting racial specificities. They are just people in the town with different sizes and shapes. Well... a shame. I loved Gullykin in BG 1.

 

-No rewarding combat.

The fact that even dragons drop poor ingredients did not fuel any urge to battle them for me. Though you could argue that Firkraag did not seem to have a bag to carry Carsomyr, i would say i don't care, for once. Too many good items are found at merchant's. Not enough are rewards for though battles or exploration. Add the fact that there is no XP for combat proper and combat tends to make me feel like "Oh... ****... another fight....". I never ever felt like this in Baldur's Gate. And i played it several tens of thousand hours over 15 years. Can't even count the number of my playthroughs.

 

-Crafting:

One major problem i had with the game. I disliked the fact that you could just press a button and get it done whenever, wherever, with whoever. I read on the wiki way back, that at start you should have needed to use some crafting place to enchant, found the recipes. This would have made more sense. Find a magic store to get ingredients, rares recipes to learn, and tools. Find someone who is capable enough for the most powerful enchantments. Learn about enchantment with lore, talk about it to this guy who run the shop. Make crafting a part of the world and the lore, show us people that make their living with it. Don't allow any party member to craft legendary weapons. Don't just randomly throw the crafting into the game. The recipe of 1 gem, 1 creature ingredient and copper was repetitive, and i could not fathom how these could bring the result they brought. The recipes seemed random. And the fact it needed copper looked like an obvious, really disturbing, cheep and irrational money sink.

 

-No rewarding items in the core game.

I see several reasons to this. One is the crafting system. Since you can craft most of the basic enchantments, it was rare to find really specific items. Another reason is the way you obtain these items. I feel like the way you get them is as important as their statistics for them to be memorable. There is no mysteries or secrets. No Kangaxx, no teleportation through a thief stone, no Crom Faeyr. And the last reason i see for this is probably the backer items. There where too many unique items that were just plainly basics and made uniques look bad (mere exceptional should not be unique). The merchant in the brothel of Ondra's Gift is the perfect example of this.

 

-Experience pacing.

I add to research a way to slow down the xp gains. I still don't understand why Obs felt the need to make players max their lvl out this early in the game. I had to tamper with the game files and the console (this forum helped since i'm no good at that) in order to avoid the problem. I would have dropped the game definitely once maxed out otherwise. If Obs really feel like they need to cater to people that just do the main quest, then, they should at least provide a slider in order to adapt the experience gains for the completionists. It should not be this hard to do i guess, since i only had to modify 2 hex entries to do so.

 

 

These and probably some others are the reasons why i struggle this much to finish the game. Although i see so many qualities to the game (graphics, ambiance, music, lore, quests, lenght, art, many game systems and mechanics, core concept, and so on), there are still many things that made me stop my playthrough thrice already. I'm still in the second act (Defiance Bay) and i've done with the excellent first half of White March (a blast).

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Does that remove my right to argue, critique or contribute to the sequel? You decide.

 

I've played until I arrived in Twin Elms, I cleared out the entire 15 level dungeon but after I arrived in Twin Elms I saved the game

and then didn't return to it, eventually I uninstalled PoE to clear space for another game on my small SSD drive......

 

 

 You make some good points. There was a lot to like in Pillars but it didn't quite click in a lot of subtle ways. As several others have mentioned, the WM content was good and it improved the pacing of the base game since it gave you options to do a quest in one place or the other. I'm optimistic about Pillars 2 since I think the WM indicates that Obsidian is able to identify the issues and improve. 

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Someone mentioned Baldur's Gate II as a comparison, that was an interesting thought. I had a similar experience with Baldur's Gate II where I lost much of my motivation after moving on from Athkatla. I've remember some posts back for PoE where Josh talked about quest staggering and the questlog dump in BGII's early game which I think I may need to read again.

 

Some people pointed out the scope of PoE and its budget meant that the team had to narrow its focus, and rightly pointed out that Deadfire will likely be in a much better position. I sense a similarity to the Baldur's gate games.

Perhaps it was a case of wanting too much, the stretch goals are a perverse incentive when it comes to that. The second big city, Stronghold, crafting, 15 levels for the dungeon. All these are great if you can spend proper time on them, manage to make them interconnected, give them full polish. But perhaps with the resources Obsidian had the focus should have been narrower? I can hardly blame them, since I was one (of many) to push for the largest possible game. I wanted a second big city, I wanted that stronghold...

 

Abel also has some interesting thoughts, not being able to make the character you want to make due to limited customisability, something Deadfire will likely mitigate with multiclassing. (I still want to know if there are going to be class synergies) a focus on abilities/spells for combat but not utility, also a design choice. I heard that there will be a great deal more skills in Deadfire, which means that perhaps the focus may have shifted away from combat.

 

Someone said that the team had no clear vision for PoE, I don't agree. To me it's clear that they had a story to tell, and made choices to focus on the critical path story at the expense of other things. And when you want to do too much eventually things are not going to get the attention they deserve. I've heard the white march recommended by several people (I'll wait till it drops below 10 euro for both) and I think this might be so well received because its scope allowed the team to focus more on what they wanted to achieve.

 

I also intend to reinstall and play twin elms. (but first I will finish my first playthrough of T:ToN) I think steam might still have that save in their cloud.

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Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
---
Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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Is there a modern game which you like?

 

Is it a question, or a criticism?

 

Well, Fallout 4 is probably fancy "modern", so it may be more of a praise than a criticism actually.

 

You have some good points JFSOCC, and i mostly agree with you. Though i would never stress enough that White March is really worth it.

Edited by Abel
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Personally I don't think that not finishing the first game denies you any right for input on the second game... at least you played it.

 

Even though Deadfire is a direct sequel in story, tons of both small and big things will be changed. Even mechanically. So I suppose it would be more important to do research on the changes than play the first game - unless one is criticising the story, of course.

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Just what do you think you're doing?! You dare to come between me and my prey? Is it a habit of yours to scurry about, getting in the way and causing bother?

 

What are you still bothering me for? I'm a Knight. I'm not interested in your childish games. I need my rest.

 

Begone! Lest I draw my nail...

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White March Part 2 was the highlight of the game for me. Some really great encounters and good zone design.

 


I've heard the white march recommended by several people (I'll wait till it drops below 10 euro for both) and I think this might be so well received because its scope allowed the team to focus more on what they wanted to achieve.

 

 

Edited by bjon045
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-No rewarding items in the core game.

I see several reasons to this. One is the crafting system. Since you can craft most of the basic enchantments, it was rare to find really specific items. Another reason is the way you obtain these items. I feel like the way you get them is as important as their statistics for them to be memorable. There is no mysteries or secrets. No Kangaxx, no teleportation through a thief stone, no Crom Faeyr. And the last reason i see for this is probably the backer items. There where too many unique items that were just plainly basics and made uniques look bad (mere exceptional should not be unique). The merchant in the brothel of Ondra's Gift is the perfect example of this.

Besides that backer (without whom there would be no game) content you mentioned it's very hard to find unique items with quality enchant only (one such weapon on wiki) or even with enchantable properties only (two such weapons on wiki).

Vancian =/= per rest.

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Well, you have the better part of a year (probably more, knowing Obsdian) before Pillars 2 is released.  Then perhaps several months after that of patches. :o

 

Plenty of time to play Pillars 1 through from scratch, let alone from your Twin Elms save.  If you don't even WANT to reinstall at this point, don't?  It sounds like you disliked quite a bit of Pillars 1, although to be fair it has been patched quite a bit since, several mechanics are revamped entirely.

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