Tag Archives: isometric

Tips for Pillars of Eternity

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.

Pillars of Eternity

Here are a few tips if you’re just getting started.

Combat

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.

Companions

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.

Items

  • 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).

Crafting

  • 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.

Exploring

  • 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.

Recommended Reading and Listening

It’s almost Christmas, and Dragon Age: Inquisition was my whole gaming life for a few weeks, so I think it’s time for some link love. I haven’t done this in a while. Here are some blogs, sites, and podcasts that I heartily recommend.

The Toast – One of the few non-gaming related sites on this list, The Toast is where I go when I need a laugh. Or a reason to have an evil smirk on my face (though I’m usually pretty good with coming up with my own reasons). The Toast does amazing things with classic works of literature and art, from dark rewrites of childhood favourites, to turning classic characters into dirtbags, to the fantastic Western Art History series. Also, amazingly for a larger site, it’s a place where it’s totally fine to read the comments.

Critical Distance aims to find all the great writing about games on the internet. Their This Week in Video Games feature is a great place to start if you want to find a good read and discover new blogs and writers.

A Game of Me is Carolyn Petit’s tumblr, where she writes a lot about video games and video games culture. Carolyn is a fantastic writer. Whether it’s a best of the year list, a quick piece of what games mean to her, or thoughts on the feminist agenda, I always find these posts worth reading.

Go Make Me a Sandwich focuses on sexist imagery used in geek spaces. Not just video games, but also tabletop, pen & paper, and comics. Some of my favourite posts involve criticism from an artist’s standpoint, and breaking down just how unrealistic and ridiculous the design of women’s bodies in games often are.

Podcasts

I only listen to a handful of podcasts, so I can recommend them all.

Justice Points is the podcast I’ve been listening to the longest. It’s a really great look at feminism and social justice in video games. Over the past year, Tzufit and Applecidermage have had some really amazing guests and have covered some topics that I don’t get to hear much about otherwise. Always worth a listen.

Cat Context features Liore, Arolaide, and Ellyndrial talking about the games they’re playing. They cover a wide variety of games and sometimes movies in a nice, short podcast. One thing I really enjoy is that the hosts don’t always agree, and the arguments are great to listen to. Aro in particular has a way of arguing that makes me feel like everything I once thought is wrong.

Isometric looks at video games from a different perspective, and these different perspectives are the highlight. Bri, Maddy, Georgia, and Steve all have wildly different tastes in games and it’s refreshing to hear about a game from many different sides at once. Occasionally too much time is spent on in-jokes, but it’s a very entertaining podcast and the hosts work really well together.

Less Than or Equal pursues equality in geekdom. Aleen Simms hosts a number of great guests who bring diversity to their chosen fields and hobbies. From the video game industry, to tabletop gaming, to books, Aleen and her guests bring something new to the table and give me things to think about.

Polygamer is a podcast I just recently discovered, that focuses on diversity and equality in video games. I’ve only listened to a couple episodes so far, but I think it’s going to be a mainstay in my podcast list. The conversations so far have been very frank and thought-inspiring.

I’d also recommend Contains Moderate Peril, though sadly they’ve just announced they’ll be ending the podcast soon. Still, if you’re not overly concerned about timely topics, the episodes are worth a listen.


 Do you have any recommendations for me?