It’s been great to see so many strong isometric RPGs come out in the last year or two, with more still to come. Pillars of Eternity was released at the end of March by Obsidian and it’s been great so far, and really brings up the nostalgia for games like Baldur’s Gate 2 or Planescape: Torment, while adding some cool new features and story.
Here are a few tips if you’re just getting started.
The real-time combat took a bit to get used to for me, here are some of the things I learned:
- Micromanage the hell out of your party. Even on lower difficultly levels, you can’t usually just let everyone auto-attack and still win.
- Combat can be over quickly, and your characters can be killed in a matter of seconds if you’re not careful. Be aggressive – use your abilities proactively, don’t save them for a time you think they may be more needed. If you’re up against a group of enemies, reducing their numbers quickly is key.
- Use the custom formations to put your party members in good initial positions (heartier melee in the front, ranged and casters in the back).
- Make sure your squishy ranged are actually equipped with ranged weapons (a quarterstaff will still have them running into melee range) so they stay in safe spots.
- Buffs and crowd control are just as important as damage and healing. I particularly like abilities that knock down enemies, or the big AoE buffs from classes like Priests and Druids.
- Read all your spells – some offensive spells will only hit enemies, but many have friendly fire as well.
- Sometimes, you just aren’t strong enough to beat a particular enemy yet. Learned from experience – don’t try to take on Raedric at level 3.
Here’s the list of all 8 possible companions and where you can find them, so you don’t miss any:
- Aloth (Wizard) – Gilded Vale
- Eder (Warrior) – Gilded Vale
- Durance (Priest) – Magran’s Fork
- Kana (Chanter) – Caed Nua
- Pallegina (Paladin) – Oondra’s Gift in Defiance Bay
- Sagani (Ranger) – Woodend Plains
- Hiravias (Druid) – Stormwall Gorge
- Grieving Mother (Cipher) – Dyrfold Village
The pre-created companions will all add something to the story as well as have their own character quests.
- There are 3 classes not represented by the pre-created characters – Barbarian, Monk, and Rogue – in case that impacts the creation of your own character.
- You can also make your own companions from an Inn.
- You’ll level up faster if you don’t have the party of 6, as each character will get more experience.
- Rope and Grappling Hook, Hammer & Chisel, and Lockpicks are very useful, especially at the start of the game. If you get a chance to buy or pick these up, do it. There are in-game events which will need them if your skill levels aren’t very high yet.
- Always carry the max amount of Camping Supplies (4).
- You don’t need to worry about recipes in the game, they’ll open up as you reach the appropriate levels.
- You can cook or do alchemy, to get foods and potions which will provide buffs. You can make scrolls, though I haven’t found those are needed much, or traps.
- Enchanting has been the most useful type of crafting for me. If you get a good, named piece of equipment, enchant it to make it even better.
- Don’t worry too much about saving materials for later, most things can be found again or bought easily.
- Make extensive use of the Tab button, which will highlight items you can pick up or interact with, and Scouting mode, which will reveal traps and hidden items.
- If Scouting mode is too slow for your tastes, pair it with Double Speed.
- The initial scrolling speed for the game is slow, it can be increased in the menu under Game.
- Rest often. It doesn’t seem that rest can be interrupted by monsters.
- Visit Caed Nua early, because it opens up some cool new stuff.
- You can’t get to Twin Elms until Act 3, don’t drive yourself nuts trying to figure out how to get there.
- It matters what exit you take from some screens. Exiting from the East won’t open up access to an area South of you.
That’s all for now! Let me know if you need more info, or if you have any tips for me.