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Pillars of Eternity Minimal and No Reload Thread (spoilers)

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Comments

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,962
    The challenge never dies! I see the activity on the Obsidian boards around this challenge was low, but I'm back to trying my luck. Started as a Death Godlike Cipher with a badass portrait based on the cosplay of Haarhus from Disciples III. He looks like a Death Godlike should look, I suppose. ;)

    pzyu7nmih3t4.png
    p46slgwarwn5.png

    semiticgodSerg_BlackStriderBelgarathMTHArvia
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,962
    I made it to Defiance Bay, so that's something, at least. :) My character is a melee cipher (POTD) with points put into CON to be able to tank (13-15-15-10-15-10). Maybe not the power-gamey stat distribution, but I like him - mostly with a hatchet (although did switch to Gaun's Share), he can be on the front line along with Eder. I also gave Durance's Staff to Kana, so that he could reach (and damage heavily with his 16 Might) more enemies. I find Kana with a quarterstaff much more useful than when I only used him with missile weapons.

    I like that it's a Death Godlike, and I'm looking forward to special race dialogue choices.

    Here is how I dealt with phantoms in Caed Nua:
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    I try to minimize knockouts, but shades did knockout Aloth in the Temple of Eothas, and my main character got knocked out when this flame blight exploded.
    96mgmhlednr4.jpg

    Cipher: 60 enemies defeated, 4115 damage done, 1480 damage taken, 37.3 highest damage
    Aloth: 41, 4920, 445, 55
    Eder: 34, 4406, 2375, 41.8
    Durance: 28, 1796, 502, 45.7
    Kana: 46, 4318, 619, 40.8

    semiticgodBelgarathMTHArvia
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,605
    I think maybe one reason more no-reloaders don't get into no-reload PoE runs is that it's not a game over when the main character goes down, which makes the stakes a little lower. It's a little harder for the game to beat you, since only a total party wipe does that. So it's kind of similar to an Icewind Dale no-reload, and we don't see a lot of those either.

    My guess is that most no-reloaders prefer the Baldur's Gate excitement of "one mistake with Charname and it's all over."

    Regardless, I'm enjoying reading your run reports, @JuliusBorisov . I'm glad you're doing one. I hope you have a lot of fun. :)

    JuliusBorisovsemiticgodArviaSkatan
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member Posts: 14,407
    @BelgarathMTH: I think it's just that the no-reload community had a very long time to develop around a game that was positively ancient and much more famous than PoE at the time. PoE has only been around for a fraction of the time and I think fewer people generally play it, and I think the whole no-reload thing is pretty rare in gaming communities. I don't actually know of any no-reload challenges for any other games, aside from the PoE ones that were started by BG no-reloaders.

    PoE is more forgiving than Baldur's Gate, but that's not really saying much. The game is quite challenging from a technical perspective and it has a lot of complexity. It's not quite as vicious as BG can be, but beating PoE no-reload is still an impressive feat given that we're talking about an inherently chance-based game. Even most RPGs aren't quite as dependent on RNG as BG or even PoE are.

    JuliusBorisovBelgarathMTHArvia
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,962
    edited March 2019
    I try to have fun when I play, as I don't have a lot of free time. And I've learned that I prefer to try and play each game without reloads. I got this habit from BG, but now I treat all the games this way. Of course, it's impossible in such games as Dark Souls (where you learn them by dying over and over again), but in those games where it IS possible, I do try to take the consequences as they are and start again when it's gameover.

    I haven't been able to beat PoE, so it's definitely not easy (at least, at the PotD difficulty). Maybe you can choose the rule which @Alesia_BH tried: a no-knockout party run through PoE, which can be - I'd say - as challenging as beating BG with its "one mistake with Charname and it's all over." But I have difficulties beating PoE in no-reload, so going as extreme as a no-knockout run is not for me yet. You also have to know the game mechanics a lot to do that - for example, I've just had a situation when Eder has been knocked out at 1 Endurance (which usually doesn't count as a knockout), but his armor has given him a "Second Chance", and he has been revived in the battle, and the game has counted that as a knockout.

    For me, personally, to have fun with a game means I have to feel I'm doing things right - it's a subjective feeling, and it varies from game to game. For a long time in PoE it was a question of finding the right character - I tried thieves, druids, paladins, and then moved to ciphers. While I found a Moon Godlike probably the strongest race, I'm currently feeling myself as if I'm doing it right with a Death Godlike. I've never seen its race dialogues before, and to be able to see it now makes me happy:

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    Also, for a long time in PoE I've been trying to add more custom characters into my parties, but now I've come to a conclusion that the "right" way for me is to play it with existing NPCs (probably, just as you, @BelgarathMTH , came to the feeling of playing a "canon" party in BG1). Even more, I've come to a conclusion that I shouldn't hesitate and rush to take those companions I like as personalities. I really like Eder. I really like Pallegina. I like Kana. Now that I've managed to find Kana a good party place, giving him a quarterstaff with a long reach, I'm happy. Even while Hiravias and druids in general are fun to use, I just have a soft spot for Eder. His voice is a part of it.

    Here's my party going through the Raedric's Hold. I enjoy that all the party members feel more or less close in their effectiveness: I have 3 party members whose damage input is approximately the same, I have 3 party member who can tank, and I have 4 party members who generally get the final blow.
    raayyw00qnnp.jpg
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    Cipher: 70 enemies defeated, 5223 damage done, 1873 damage taken, 41.4 highest damage, 1 knockout
    Aloth: 50, 6467, 603, 55, 1
    Eder: 44, 5619, 3506, 41.8, 1
    Durance: 33, 2581, 502, 45.7, 0
    Kana: 54, 5808, 875, 40.8, 0
    Pallegina: 4, 857, 469, 27.9, 0

    P.S. Between these PoE runs, I've completed a Dragon Age: Origins run (for the first time in over 5 years), it was a no-reload run (on Nightmare) with a noble human archer who married Alistair. It felt great to be able to become a Queen (in the past I usually played mages, and they can't do that), to choose a ranger as a specialization, and to travel with both Morrigan and Wynne in one party. It let me finish the run without any second thoughts. BTW, from the no-reload point of view I've found DA:O an easier game, if compared to PoE, but this "easiness" didn't harm at all: I enjoyed all the characters, banters, and quests, and discovered them anew.

    Post edited by JuliusBorisov on
    BelgarathMTHArvia
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,962
    edited March 2019
    The fight against Raedric went fine. The keys to success were the following:

    - charm the enemy cleric by my cipher, and keep charming him when the spell ended;
    - confuse Raedric and a few enemies around him, and keep confusing him till the end of the fight;
    - summon an Animat to distract one enemy wizard, or even 2 of them;
    - keep Pallegina and Eder responsible for tanking 2 separate champions of Berath;
    - place Kana to provide good damage input and keep him out of enemies' reach.
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    Just as I had discovered that Kana is very good with a quarterstaff, now I found out bounding War Club of the Mataru to Pallegina is another good choice. Previously, I usually gave this item to a rogue, but it's actually very helpful on Pallegina, as she (due to relatively low STR) doesn't have much to damage enemies. The club helps in this regard, providing even more balance to my party, - now I consider Pallegina not only my tank, but also someone who can harm enemies.

    Still at the lvl 5, the party managed to defeat the group of lions without much trouble:
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    Here're my items so far - I was lucky to get the Ring of Overseeing (+10% Ability Area of Effect) while exploring the Raedric's Hold. I also killed Doemenels in their mansion for 2 nice Rings of Protection.
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    Cipher: 90 enemies defeated, 8862 damage done, 2628 damage taken, 46.3 highest damage, 1 knockout
    Aloth: 70, 9024, 1016, 55, 1
    Eder: 59, 8171, 4644, 41.8, 1
    Durance: 49, 4152, 748, 45.7, 0
    Kana: 86, 8832, 1472, 40.8, 0
    Pallegina: 16, 3256, 1258, 27.9, 0

    BelgarathMTHArvia
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,605
    @JuliusBorisov , Those fights deserve to become seen as RPG classics, especially the fight with Raedric. Out of curiosity, did you side with the necromancer or the priest of Berath, and did you sneak and bluff your way past the priests and paladins, or just direct assault your way in? (I always kill the necromancer, side with the priest, and direct assault my way in, since I usually don't have enough invested in conversation stats to bluff my way in successfully.)

    I'm still enjoying your run reports. You're making me feel nostalgic about PoE. I'll have to revisit it someday soon. I need to give PoE 2 a shot, as well. So many games, so little time. :)

    JuliusBorisov
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,962
    I killed the necromancer, sided with the priest, put on the robes on, and sneaked my way through - my INT gave me a possibility to bluff twice). I killed the guards outside the keep, though (as they were hostile). Siding with the priest of Berath seemed fitting for a Death Godlike, even Raedric noticed it!

    7pieg0csmwhw.jpg

    I'm happy these reports are interesting to you. I've made a large hiatus after my previous failure, and now I'm coming back, and enjoying this party and this character.

    BelgarathMTHArvia
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,962
    I survived what I could call one of the hardest parts of the game for the level I'm still at (the 6th level): the second quest of the Knights of the Crucible order.

    You can judge how hard it is just by the first encounter - I lost Durance in seconds:
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    It was due to the following reasons: Forge Knights are immune to being
    Charmed
    Confused
    Disease
    Dominated
    Poison
    Sickened
    Unconscious

    So it basically prevented usual gameplay with charming/dominating/confusing the toughest enemies. It also meant Aloth's damaging spells were useless.

    Crackling Bolts and Noxious Bursts spammed by these knights are so deadly. And by spammed, I literally mean it. They are no wizards who can stop casting after their spellbook ends.

    This was only the first group of enemies next to the entrance. I had to find other tactics to be able to complete the quest. And I found it! Ectophychic Echo by my cipher. Crushing damage (not Corrode like from Antipathetic Field - the knights are immune to Corrode), and huge, helped. It still wasn't easy.

    Also, the quest gives a great feeling of urgency, - I didn't feel I could leave the building to just go and rest in the inn. I was afraid the good folks would die.
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    The last fight was truly difficult. The biggest moments were when Durance first withdrew Kana, and then himself (Withdraw is a basically Otiluke's Resilient Sphere). If not for Ectophychic Echo, I'd have lost there.
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    Now my cipher has the biggest damage done among my party members.

    Cipher: 107 enemies defeated, 11027 damage done, 3469 damage taken, 46.3 highest damage, 1 knockout
    Aloth: 82, 10600, 1624, 55, 1
    Eder: 61, 8694, 5296, 41.8, 1
    Durance: 54, 4560, 1231, 45.7, 1
    Kana: 95, 9903, 1957, 40.8, 0
    Pallegina: 17, 4002, 1926, 27.9, 0

    And here are the inventory screens. Pallegina can now summon ... a noble creature... a DOG!
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    BelgarathMTHArvia
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,605
    What happens in PoE when a character dies? I mean, goes to zero health, not just runs out of endurance. I was always able to prevent it from happening in my runs, but I play on less than maximum difficulty. I don't remember any Raise Dead spell or scrolls.

    Good report, @JuliusBorisov , and congrats on beating a hard scenario.

    JuliusBorisov
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,962
    There are different options you can set.

    No knockouts injuries - I have this one turned OFF, so my characters get injuries when they get their Endurance reduced to 0.

    Maim companions before death - I have this one turned ON, so when my characters reach 0 health, they are knocked out for "one last time". After such battles, they're revived with 1 health and 1 endurance, and if they're killed in this state, they're gone for good.

    However, about Endurance reduced to 0 - priests eventually get a Revive spell, and a paladin can also do it once per battle if you choose such ability. If a character is gone for good, you can't revive.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,605
    Yikes. That's quite a death penalty. I was doing the right thing to prioritize not letting it happen to anybody. It makes that priest Withdraw spell even more important. So if the main character were to die after being revived with the 1 point of health and endurance, that should be a game over, right?

    JuliusBorisov
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,962
    Yikes. That's quite a death penalty. I was doing the right thing to prioritize not letting it happen to anybody. It makes that priest Withdraw spell even more important. So if the main character were to die after being revived with the 1 point of health and endurance, that should be a game over, right?

    I think yes, it will be.

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,962
    I'm continuing to discover new details. Turns out you can ask Kana about the area you're at (at least, about each of the city's areas), and he'll share some knowledge about it. This is rather neat!

    I've also found out the additional attributes of soulbound items (when you unlock them) differ depending on the class of the character equipping this or that item. Gyrd Háewanes Sténes, a soulbound scepter, gives either Spellbind: Gréf's Authority (a melee attack inflicting raw damage and stunning an enemy) for a wizard, or Spell Holding: Llengrath's Displaced Image for a cleric, or Spellchance: Restore Spiritshift for a druid.

    I've completed a few side quests and managed to infiltrate the Leaden Key base non-violently. Even while Godlike are unable to wear headgear, I got a special dialogue option at the door to put the hood on my head.

    A few screenshots:
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    In the Sanitarium Kana was knocked out (quite unexpectedly), but overall I like how Ectophychic Echo can be used: you can cast it before a battle starts and enter the battle with a beam between your 2 characters, which makes killing enemies much quicker.
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    My cipher is running ahead now with his overall damage input.

    Cipher: 141 enemies defeated, 16920 damage done, 4077 damage taken, 55.7 highest damage, 1 knockout
    Aloth: 102, 13679, 1888, 55, 1
    Eder: 75, 10695, 6153, 41.8, 1
    Durance: 66, 5799, 1498, 45.7, 1
    Kana: 112, 12942, 2398, 42.8, 1
    Pallegina: 24, 5950, 2722, 28.1, 0

    BelgarathMTHArvia
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,962
    There's a quest where someone asks you to bring him a relic medallion which is currently with one of the girls in the brothel. I usually used Resolve to demand the medallion and make the girl understand she doesn't need it. However, in this playthrough I didn't have enough Resolve and had to buy the medallion out. It costs hugely, but the girl is not only happy to sell the medallion - this way she can start a new life, no longer needing to work in the brothel. She even gifts a special ring to you. And to add to that, you can find the girl later in the city, now as a free citizen.
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    It took me many years to get into such details, and moments like that are quite rewarding.

    The strength of my current party showed when I dealt with phantoms and shades. No knockouts this time.
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    I reached the 8th level, which will allow me to enchant weapons and armour from Fine to Exceptional. To get some money, I finally started to venture deep into Caed Nua.
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    My favourite fight - against Zolla and other Ogres - went without knockouts. :) The cipher lost all his health (so after the battle he was restored with 1 HP), but it doesn't count as a knockout. Aloth's Confusion and Tentacles help greatly in this battle.
    jd5x1rzq1afd.jpg
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    Oh, and in one of the previous fights my noble beagle dog critted and killed an ogre!
    ck5dsytw93fk.jpg

    As you can see, the cipher often reaches 1 HP, even will all the points in CON. Each time it happens it makes me more determined to finish the battle. I like these extra challenges when my party loses cipher spells and has to overcome enemies by other means.

    Cipher: 231 enemies defeated, 25873 damage done, 5944 damage taken, 87.5 highest damage, 1 knockout
    Aloth: 133, 19106, 2441, 55, 1
    Eder: 86, 13322, 8227, 41.8, 1
    Durance: 73, 6916, 2200, 45.7, 1
    Kana: 141, 17290, 3665, 47.2, 1
    Pallegina: 47, 9074, 4857, 31.6, 0

    And here are the inventory screens.
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    BelgarathMTHArvia
  • Jaheiras_WitnessJaheiras_Witness Member Posts: 593
    Let me preface with I'm not suggesting how you should play the game. On the point around your Cipher reaching 0 health in battle (maimed with 1HP after the battle), strictly speaking that's a death and game over. In PoE you are dead at 0 health and there is no resurrection. The "maim before death" is a bit of a cop-out option for people who can't abide a game over or losing a character they have invested in. If you ever play expert mode, that option would be forced off.

    So in the interest of true no-reload spirit, learning the game properly, and taking the stabilisers off the bike, I would recommend to switch that option off.

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,962
    edited April 2019
    Who defines the "true no-reload spirit"? That is a valid game option, and it's turned on by default. Those who play the expert mode like what it brings. It's their choice. I don't like how the resurrection is implemented in the game. In BG you can lose 5 members in a battle and then resurrect them (or even resurrect them during the battle). In PoE enemies' damage harms not only endurance but also health. This is odd if you approach the game that 0 health = death. Add to this that you can't disengage in PoE freely, and when on PotD enemies' damage is so high that you simply lose all your health in one battle, you can't even disengage. This "spirit", if you call it, is not difficult, it's silly.

    Instead, when you lose characters in battles when their health is still not 0, it's your error as a player, and you should try to prevent such errors. This is why I'm trying to minimize knockouts, and have only 5 of them for the whole party at the lvl 8. This is tactical and I like it.

    Maybe the "true no-reload spirit" should also mean no dialogue hints (Benevolent, Passionate, Lore 2, etc)? But then people will just use wiki and play according to it. I try not to spoil myself at all. I don't look for any info about future items and combinations.

    Anyway, I thank you for your opinion, @Jaheiras_Witness , but I won't accept that "spirit", at least not at this time. Previously on the page, I've reflected on what makes playing the game interesting for me, what makes it feel "right" for me. Using rules I find silly can just stop my joy of playing the game.

    Maybe for those who follow that "spirit" my run would look as untrue in the no-reload terms. I'm fine with that as I'm only learning the game and haven't even finished it, nor even started WM1 and WM2! If you find playing in the expert mode or only without the "maim before death" rule as the true way, that's great! It's hard to find the right balance. I feel it would kill the balance for me and stop me from playing it.

    I've been changing my views on the ways to play BG as well. In the end, for example, I stopped adjusting rolls and find that wrong. Looking for a good roll and taking it as it is feels more right at this time for me.

    My playthrough and that position might seem strange, but it's been really difficult to get into PoE for me. And I hope my current approach will let me finish it.

    One part of that is I prefer not to disable the forges on the lvl 7 of the Endless Paths of Od Nua to make the battle more challenging. It leaves blights in the battle.
    g4i6wetax5un.jpg

    This is how I approached the battle:
    - Pull of Eora (a wizard spell) to keep enemies in the centre;
    - Confusion to make them fight each other and lose spells on each other;
    - Summon 3 shades from a figurine;
    - buffing spells by Durance - to increase all defences, to increase damage reduction, to increase Might and Accurancy;
    - suppress affliction (when my characters were petrified and charmed)

    It worked, and everyone in the party stayed safe.
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    Cipher: 273 enemies defeated, 33066 damage done, 6727 damage taken, 87.5 highest damage, 1 knockout
    Aloth: 153, 23965, 2658, 55, 1
    Eder: 91, 15969, 9366, 41.8, 1
    Durance: 77, 8174, 2325, 45.7, 1
    Kana: 161, 21620, 3952, 47.2, 1
    Pallegina: 65, 11867, 5963, 32, 0

    And here are the inventory screens (there're a few changes):
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    BelgarathMTHArvia
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,605
    I've followed the no-reloaders in this community for years, though I rarely participate directly, and I've never succeeded at an actual no-reload. (I find the whole thing very interesting as a spectator, but I don't aspire to reach that level of accomplishment myself.)

    The only "true spirit of the no-reload" that I've observed over the years is that the players have complete transparency with each other about the rules and game settings they are using. I've found them to be a very supportive and encouraging community among themselves. The "spirit" of it is for every participant to have fun according to his or her own interests, to challenge themselves according to whatever they find interesting and fun, and to share stories, strategies, tactics, hints, tips, compliments, condolences, and encouragement with each other.

    JuliusBorisovArvia
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,962
    edited April 2019
    I completed 3 bounty quests: Warchief Iklak, Sly Cyrdel, the Dweller, and also defeated the fellow Death Godlike (who provided a unique dialogue reply). I like the animation for Kana's The Dragon Thrashed, The Dragon Wailed ability.
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    I think Eder's joke in the Heritage Hill is his best yet (he's offering Durance for Aldhelm (undead) to feed):
    xertqetrpg92.jpg

    Fights in Searing Falls were brutal, but the 9 lvl party handled them well.
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    The battle against Cail The Silent aka a huge drake was completed safely due to keeping Cail charmed/dominated, and taking all other enemies one by one. I also tried new lvl 5 spells by Aloth, especially the one which makes enemies unconscious.
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    I've spent a lot of money on enchanting my weapons and armor - in PoE it's not that easy to do that: besides money, you need rare gems like rubies and sapphires (which are also costly, but more importantly - they're hard to find/buy), and vithrack brains (which are cheap, but you can only buy 1 per each 24 hours in the city and your stronghold). However, this is the first time I did enchanting, and I'm glad to have exceptional versions of Hearth Harvest, Aloth's Leather Armor, Engwithan Scepter, Durance's Staff, Pallegina's Breastplate. I also enchanted Aloth's Leather Armor for +2 Perception. Eder is now wielding a badass-looking flail, which is also exceptional (Unforgiven).
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    Cipher: 369 enemies defeated, 49040 damage done, 9232 damage taken, 88.4 highest damage, 1 knockout
    Aloth: 222, 37911, 4190, 55, 1
    Eder: 117, 22700, 12028, 43.2, 1
    Durance: 106, 10713, 3703, 45.7, 1
    Kana: 271, 30584, 5932, 51, 1
    Pallegina: 87, 18105, 8866, 34.7, 0

    And here are the inventory screens:
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    BelgarathMTHArvia
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,962
    edited April 2019
    Everyone reached the 10th level, and the party completed the 10th level of the Endless Paths. The areas starting at the 8th level of this mega-dungeon are where I really start liking the encounters, and nearly each of them can finish you. I also like the visual design of levels, each of them is quite unique. Overall, I'm enjoying the Endless Paths.

    First, Fampyrs, who spam domination. The main strategy is to paralyze them (via cipher's and wizard's spells), and keep them paralyzed, while you're dealing with the rest of each enemy group.
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    I also recommend to visit this level only after you complete the main quest in the Heritage Hill, for excellent insights explaining the story of the Endless Paths in Old Engwithan, as well as the main issue happening in the world - moving a soul and binding it to a body. I guess the story of PoE got a lot of criticism because it's not being well and easily told to the player, but those who play till this level of the Endless Paths and talk to a Fampyr will enjoy PoE more.
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    The 9th level of the Endless Paths has a room looking like an easter egg reminding about Bodhi's Lair from BG2.
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    Dealing with Cean Gwla, who are basically Banshee, is easier after you dominate/charm them.
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    Packs of Crystal Eaters and Vithracks are much more dangerous. Crystal Eaters (spiders) can petrify. After a character is petrified their endurance can end VERY quickly. So I tried to dominate Crystal Eaters and make them fight Vithracks.
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    I like an ambush at the start of the 10th level. The party is quickly surrounded by shades, spectres and Cean Gwla. Confusion from Aloth can help. I also used Pain Block - a spell by my cipher - to protect Aloth in a difficult situation.
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    When you let Vithracks cast targeting your characters instead of making them fight critters, you can get in trouble.
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    But Crystal Eaters get you even in bigger trouble. This is how Pallegina was knocked out (for the first time in the game). Petrification is brutal.
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    Cipher: 393 enemies defeated, 53000 damage done, 10613 damage taken, 88.4 highest damage, 1 knockout
    Aloth: 239, 42065, 5045, 55, 1
    Eder: 131, 26585, 13650, 51.7, 1
    Durance: 119, 11980, 4350, 45.7, 1
    Kana: 313, 33884, 6862, 51, 1
    Pallegina: 96, 20516, 10141, 34.7, 1

    Now I have 300 hours in PoE according to Steam. I have to admit that only after ~230-250 hours I've started to really enjoy this game.

    BelgarathMTHArvia
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,962
    edited April 2019
    Double-crossing a dragon! What a story!

    Mushrooms and spores from the lvl 11 of the Endless Paths were nuisance, but not much more than that.
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    Call to Slumber worked well against a (potentially very dangerous) group of Vithracks.
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    Charming one of the nearest spiders and making it block the way while my cipher destroyed others with corrode beams of Antipathetic Field helped not to lose anyone on the lvl 12 of the Endless Paths.
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    I forged the Blade of the Endless Paths and gave it to Eder (as well as enchanting his armor to Exceptional). I also was lucky to find Boots of Speed, which makes flanking enemies MUCH easier.
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    The battle against Guadian of Od Nua, his Animats and Adragans was won thanks to:

    - Pull of Eora
    - Kana summoning 2 ogres
    - Tentacles keeping other enemies busy while the party concentrated on one animat at a time
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    I dealt with the Spirit of Od Nua peacefully this time, and it felt much more rewarding, story-wise.
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    And I chose to talk to the Adra Dragon as well. It was so interesting to learn there could be a peaceful way to resolve the first dialogue (the Dragon also paid attention to my Cipher class). The Dragon asked to find a Dragon Hunter, use some witchcraft and transfer the Dragon's soul to the body of this Dragon Hunter. Of course, when appoaching this hunter, it felt wrong to do as the Dragon asked. So I double-crossed the Dragon, got a very neat ability for that. Eder commented that actually helping the Dragon Hunter was the right thing to do.

    I'm not going to face the Dragon at the lvl 10, though. It ended badly with my paladin, so I'm going to play the main story now.
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    BelgarathMTHArvia
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,962
    I often heard complaints that PoE is not "dark enough". I think such statements don't take into account certain quests which explain the cruelty of the world. The Sanitarium part is very brutal, as is the following events during a quest in Dyrford. Really, the story of Aelys is among the darkest story elements I've seen in games. And it is one of the rarest moments I actually prefer to kill an NPC.
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    The Skaen temple battle was not difficult for my party.
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    I also cleared the ogre's cave, and everyone in the party now reached the 11th level. This is now the furthest I've ever made it in PoE. I have 0 knowledge of what to expect in the game from now on.
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    Cipher: 453 enemies defeated, 60908 damage done, 13024 damage taken, 88.4 highest damage, 1 knockout
    Aloth: 277, 49903, 6077, 55, 1
    Eder: 180, 35811, 15848, 51.7, 1
    Durance: 132, 14375, 5142, 56.7, 1
    Kana: 407, 41808, 8765, 55.5, 1
    Pallegina: 111, 24317, 12463, 34.7, 1

    BelgarathMTHArvia
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,962
    edited April 2019
    I've been wondering what exactly I can point a finger at in terms of where PoE feels odd/wrong compared to BG (and I don't mean story or RPing). I think I've found an answer.

    Unneeded difficulty spikes.

    The original PoE (before addons) had a lvl 12 cap. So it might seem absolute legit that you should be able to defeat the Od Nua boss, say, at lvl 11 - presumably, you'll need to continue playing afterwards to finish the main quest. Aye? The answer is no.

    What I've found searching the net is that players might find fighting the Adra Dragon difficult even at lvl 15, much later than the original lvl cap. Especially at the PotD difficulty. When I mean "difficult", I don't mean the level of fighting Firkraag, or Kangaxx, or any similar fight. You can win them on different levels if you know what you're doing. You can win the final ToB level on different levels, much earlier than the XP cap. But this dragon - it one-shots everything. And does it with an insanely huge AoE effect. And it can do that unlimited amount of times during the fight.

    It's no wonder the only reliable tactic for the dragon is either to fight it at the very end of the game (after all the addons), which - to me - feels very odd in terms of RPing, or to use cheese (eg. buy/craft 20 scrolls of paralysis - as if the player HAS TO KNOW IN ADVANCE paralysis will be the only thing that works against the dragon). It feels so odd that the highest (6th level) and the most dangerous wizard spell - Petrify - doesn't work on this dragon. All fire damage (and priests have their best damaging spells as Fire) are useless as the dragon is immune to fire. Come on, an adra dragon breathing Corrode is immune to Fire?

    If anything, all this evidence supposes you have to fight the battle again and again till you succeed.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/projecteternity/comments/7zh8fi/adra_dragon/
    https://steamcommunity.com/app/291650/discussions/0/1485482132157179446/
    https://www.gog.com/forum/pillars_of_eternity_series/dragon_battles_impossible
    https://www.neogaf.com/threads/worst-difficulty-spikes-in-games.1081996/page-9
    https://www.reddit.com/r/projecteternity/comments/4x2tps/is_adra_dragon_supposed_to_be_some_kind_of_a_joke/
    https://www.reddit.com/r/projecteternity/comments/31dc9u/how_am_i_supposed_to_cheese_the_adra_dragon/

    This is so wrong and so sad. I won't say I'm an expert in PoE. But I will say that a party of the 11 lvl with ALL the available spells/scrolls/food should be able to actually oppose a boss of the side dungeon, and should be able to kill it.

    You can see from the screenshots below how I defeated all the side enemies and only managed to get it the dragon to Injured.
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    I feel so empty at this time. It shouldn't be this way. A fully developed party with best armour and weapons, with top spells and scrolls should be able to fight fairly (not easily, but fairly) against this dragon. But it just can't.

    BelgarathMTHArvia
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,605
    edited April 2019
    @JuliusBorisov , Sorry for your disappointment. I also often try to figure out why I don't like PoE as much as BG. And I can never really put my finger on any one thing.

    I quit my last run because of one of those difficulty spikes you mention - the ogre druid party on the way to that last town after Defiance Bay burns. I also got that feeling of "Aww, come on. I don't really feel like playing this any more."

    I would certainly agree that the difficulty of the encounters in PoE is all over the place. I've never tried that Adra Dragon, but I've heard about it. I also didn't like the one time I tried the battle scenario for keeping ownership of Caed Nua. It felt like playing a completely different game all of a sudden, a game I really didn't want to play. Needless to say, I lost the battle, and I didn't feel like trying it again.

    Did you try the adra dragon fight before the final fight with Theon? I've heard that fight can also be fairly frustrating until you learn the ins and outs of it.

    In fairness, I've only ever defeated Melissan in ToB once, and I had to turn the difficulty slider to easy to do it. Do you remember your first few times against Melissan, or even Sarevok, or against Aec La'tec? I wonder if the "unfair" fights in PoE are really that different, or if it's just that we know the BG fights so well now, we don't remember what it's like to be beaten by them the first time?

    Regardless, I am very sympathetic to what you've pointed out. I'm sorry your run didn't end on a high note, because you seemed to be having so much fun with it before that dragon. :(

    JuliusBorisovArvia
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,962
    Yes, difficulty spikes are happening during the course of the game, not only in this dragon battle.

    I hope I'll overcome the current feeling and will finish the playthrough anyway, without this dragon encounter. I'll make sure to report my views about the final battle against Thaos in this thread.

    I was defeated, of course, when I played for the first time against Melissan, Aec La'tec, Irenicus, Sarevok. As well as many other encounters. But I reloaded and managed to win. However, what I've read and what I've seen myself - winning against this dragon (if I continue trying) might happen only by chance, or by cheese.

    Yes, "all of a sudden" is a good description. I don't think it's ok when you play normally for 90% of the game, even without using all you have, or using nearly all you have for more important fights, but then out of nowhere you get a fight which nearly comes from another game. I didn't get that feeling in BG, even when I didn't know it well.

    BelgarathMTHArvia
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,962
    edited June 2019
    Tried the battle once more. And once more it resulted in the same way. The area effect of the dragon breath is so huge that even while the party was far away, they still suffered. Several dragon breaths, and it's a game over.

    How can ONE attack turn this
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    into this?
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    Ok, we regrouped, and continued to fight, - only to see even characters standing quite far away suffering from another breath:
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    I know that @Serg_BlackStrider managed to complete PoE fully (with all the content) without reloads. How did you kill the dragon reliably (or, heck, even unreliably)? Was the key to it approaching the fight on higher levels (than 11 lvl)?

    BelgarathMTHArvia
  • Serg_BlackStriderSerg_BlackStrider Member Posts: 176
    Tried the battle once more. And once more it resulted in the same way. The area effect of the dragon breath is so huge that even while the party was far away, they still suffered. Several dragon breaths, and it's a game over.

    How can ONE attack turn this
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    into this?
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    Ok, we regrouped, and continued to fight, - only to see even characters standing quite far away suffering from another breath:
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    I know that @Serg_BlackStrider managed to complete PoE fully (with all the content) without reloads. How did you kill the dragon reliably (or, heck, even unreliably)? Was the key to it approaching the fight on higher levels (than 11 lvl)?

    Aye, I've done a completionist PotD Trial of Iron PoE/WM1/WM2 no-reload run. But the only dragons I've killed are Alpine (unintentional and thus unprepared, but they are easiest of all) and Adra. And Adra one was indeed at the very end of the run, right before jumping into the Pit. I've buffed Eder with food and sent him alone to soak that initial breath hit and then just tried to keep the dragon under control (spells/scrolls) and engaged with someone in melee (Eder/Pallegina/summons) - it seems that she doesn't use her breath attack if engaged in melee. RAW damage attacks also help since those are ignoring armor (you just need to rise your accuracy for them to hit reliably).

    JuliusBorisov
  • Jaheiras_WitnessJaheiras_Witness Member Posts: 593
    The adra dragon is quite easy once you figure out the strategy. I've had no issues in last few solo runs. And yes, you do want to be high level (13+) for health and accuracy.

    Your characters have nowhere near enough Endurance. You need to be 350+ to ensure you are still standing comfortably after breath attacks. You also want to spam Paralyse spells/scrolls constantly to keep it locked down (I have 10-15 scrolls in Quickslots). And never ever stand behind it, unless you want to get tail slapped for like 600 damage. Which for me means no summons, I do not want the dragon to turn and risk tail slap.

    So higher EP needed all round, engage head on with best tank, don't try to flank it, just keep it in constant paralyse lock, start casting another as soon as current duration is below 3 seconds. And that also means getting ACC as high as possible to ensure you are at least grazing with Paralyse.

    JuliusBorisovBelgarathMTH
  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 1,237
    edited June 2019
    @JuliusBorisov,
    Very interesting to read. I tried to not pay attention to too many details in case of spoilers, but I think I might add this game to my "might try that one next" list.
    After finishing my current BG/SoD run and NWN:EE and NWN2 and a BG no-reload attempt... so, probably when the kids will have graduated from high school in 10 years.

    JuliusBorisovBelgarathMTH
  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 1,237
    Pillars of Eternity was on sale this weekend, so I decided to give it a try. The manual didn't give too much information, so I created a human paladin, out of habit.
    I only made it to the second level of the Temple of Eothas when we (I had Eder and Aloth with me), after getting hit by a fireball trap and fighting several spiders, got flanked by three shadows and that was the end of it.
    I was playing on "normal" difficulty only. But I'm still getting used to the game mechanics, and I think I didn't make the wisest choices when I built my character.

    I'm going to start again with another class. Without an alignment system and next to no knowledge about gods in this setting, it's not so much fun to play a paladin.

    I'll also have to find a recruitable NPC who can find and disarm traps. I've seen that I can build party members, but I'd rather play with existing ones.

    The game looks interesting (if a bit creepy), it's just totally different rules that need some practice.

    JuliusBorisovSerg_BlackStriderBlackraven
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