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Hello! I've had Pillars of Eternity for a little over a year now and I've never gotten further than the tutorial because I fuss so much about how to design my party. I've been thinking things through and I think I'm about ready to actually start. But, I'm a little conflicted on the last two members of my party.


I'm certain I want these four:


Ranger, focused on the use of bows and pet for damage. 


Druid, focused on casting primarily but able to use Spirit Shift


Paladin, focused on tanking and support


Cipher, focused on damage and crowd control.


I'd like for one of these four to be the PC/Watcher and advice on how to build for one that can both perform that role and provide a decently high Perception and either Intelligence or Resolve would be very much appreciated. 


Perhaps the more interesting question I have is how to fill my remaining two slots.


I would be interested in using a Chanter, a Priest, A Monk, or a Fighter. What do you think suits my party's needs best? Are Eder, Durance and Kana good enough party members to suit most needs? What would you recommend to a first timer? I'll be playing on Normal but this is my first time playing an RPG of this sort, the closest facsimile I have is the experience of playing Dragon Age: Origins. Thank you for your time and advice in advance!

Edited by Latency-chan
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Well, if you are running a cipher, then consider its two awesome high-level abilities: Defensive Mindweb and Reaping Knives. To use the first one effectively, you need a tankadin (that's IMO the best choice here). For the second one, I'd recommend you using a good DW melee fighter for synergy. A rogue deals the best damage, but is a quite fragile char. An offensive-oriented fighter can deal a decent amount of damage and also is very tanky. It's the most reliable source of damage considering fighter's passive abilities, which also affect the Reaping Knives. A barb is a good AoE melee damager and can be also good with the Knives, although I personally prefer a 2H barb. A monk could seem to be a good subject for the Reaping Knives, but he is pretty devastative with his bare fists, whereas none of monk's abilities benefit the Knives. There is one more good aim for this ability: another melee DW cipher, it's a bit tricky, but they say it's a quite strong combo. BTW I've never tried this.


Also, running a priest is a good idea. The priest is arguably the strongest class in the game. Don't overlook its Painful Interdiction. A Fire Priest build described on this forum is pretty awesome, I like to run such a priest with minor tweaks added to the build.

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Reaping Knives and Defensive Mindweb are superawesome. As a first time player I wouldn't think about high level abilites and spells too much though - because it will take a long time to get them. ;)


Also I wouldn't focus too much on classes which ae a bit complicated to use or to grasp. A monk for example is very powerful and fun to play (in my hands) but it takes some time to really get the hang of it - they also mean a lot of micromanagement. If you have no problem with that then great. Today I think they are the best and most fun melee class - but I hated them at first. ;)


A lot of beginners like rogues a lot because they will deal very good damage in the early game compared to most other classes. Their "power curve" isn't that good, but for beginners the early expression is important to pervent frustration. They are also a lot better on normal than on higher difficulties (for reasons see below).


For the same reason fighters are good picks for beginners. Decent single target damage and CC options, very sturdy even when build offensively.


Chanters are easy to use as well and don't need that much micromanagement. They are a bit slow and some say even boring, but they have some awesome(!) tolls in their belt if you know the tricks.


Barbs are great for beginners as well if you can get around the fact that they start off a bit squishy. They will get meatier with every level. And they are good AoE auto-attackers who don't need much maintenance after the first few levels.


Paladin: alsways a good pick. This can't go wrong I guess.


Ciphers: I would use a cipher's power mainly for CC and not so much for damage (some exeptions). The reason is that ciphers do good weapon damage and ahve great CC powers. If you use CC to lower enemies' defenses and then hit them you are dealing good damage while reloading your focus - while you only deal damage with powers and focus will be gone. Of course if you can use powers which do both at the same time than use those. ;) Whisper of Treason (and mind control in general) is a very powerful tool! Enemies will focus their attack on their former friend and this takes the heat off of your party.


All "vancian" casters start a bit whimpy but become very useful after some levels.


Wizards have great CC and also damaging spells and are very versatile. They also have great self buffs. They also have the best summoned weapons for ranged as well as for melee combat.


Druids are good for CC and AoE damage as well. In addition Spiritshift is an extermely powerful melee tool if you build around it. I would recommend skilling this as a first timer because it's a lot of fun and very good right from the start. It doesn't gimp your spellcasting if you invest in Spiritshift, so why not? My favorite are boar and cat form beause both have the best damage potential (cat against light armored foes, boar against thick skinned targets).


I also consider priest to be the most powerful class in the game. Not only his Painful Interdiction is nice (it truly is), but his real assets are his accuracy buffs. Inspiring Radiance (+10 ACC) and Devotions if the Faithful (+20 ACC) stack with most other accuracy buffs you can use, giving your party +30 accuracy in order to use CC and damaging abilities with great precision and effect.

They are also quite easy to use (besides the micro that you'll have with all casters).


Now for the ranger: rel. easy to play - you only need to watch out for the pet. It can't tank in the beginning but should be used for flanking instead. If you want to deal good damage with the pet and ylso deal good singel target damage with your bow you might want to get the hunting bow "Persistence". It is the bow with the best potential damage in the game - but more importantly, it causes wounding which will trigger the pet's "Predator's Sense". This way you will make sure that Predator's Sense is always active as long as you two attac kthe same target. Persistance can be obtained quite early - and this combo makes a noticable difference.

Pets with the best damage: wolf (has higher base damage) and stag (has an AoE ability like the barbarian, but a bit smaller). I perfer the wolf for maximum single target damage (the higher base damage is very benefical when adding a lot of damage bonuses like Predator's Sense). For AoE I'd use classes like barb, monk and casters.


In general the official companions are better than hirelings - especially for the first time player. That's because they start one level higher than hirelings. They might not have the ideal stat spread for your build ideas, but one level makes a much bigger difference in the early game than a few stat points here and there. Once you gained several levels your minmaxed hirelings will indeed be better because the XP gap closes - but PoE is especially tough in the early game and gets easier and easier the more you advance. And right in that tough early game the offcial companions will be better and help you more. But of course you will not get them all at once - so I'd mix official with hirelings. Officials are also more interesting for the first timer because they have quests and do banter and all that.


Since you are playing on normal: here there are way less enemies than on Path of the Damned (PotD). That means that high singel target damage is more valuabe on normal than on PotD. Because of that rogues and rangers perform a lot better than when playing PoTD. Fighters and Paladins and shifted Druids, too. Also, chanters are a bit slow and people who play normal difficulty report that they seldomly use tha chanter's invocations because the fight is over before the phrase counter is full. Barbs hit a lot better on normal than on PotD because enemies' defenses are lower and the barb's accuracy maluses don't hurt as much. I'd take that into consideration.

Edited by Boeroer
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So, I'm hearing that Eder and Durance are probably the best bets for filling out the rest of my party. I'll probably use hirelings until I can find Hirvais, Grieving Mother, and Pallegina. If I'm focused on using the official companions then I think that essentially leaves me with Ranger as my main character no matter what! Though, Boeror is definitely tempting to me towards trying out a Barbarian, especially so that I can set my stats a bit tankier and get good dialogue out of it. As I understand, Barbarians want INT in this game in order to buff their natural AoE attacks which sounds a little goofy from an RP standpoint but kinda fun too. 

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