Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire comes from a long line of CRPGs that favor tactical and difficult combat instead of quick clicks and exploding meat sacks with loot in them, a la Diablo 3. Questing in the world of Deadfire is no small task however, and it is sometimes not the easiest thing to come to grips with. Luckily you have this nifty little guide with tips and tricks to help you navigate the shallows and avoid the biggest pitfalls. This is by no means a walkthrough of specific quests, rather a friendly pointer on how to think and play this one and other similar games in general.
Party questing and combat
Formation, formation, formation
Where you position your characters have a great impact on their effectiveness in combat in Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, just like in the old Bioware games. You don’t have to be very nitpicky with exact positions in a room, but it is very important that you keep fighters at the front ready to soak up damage and intercept enemies that are targeting your softer heroes like the wizards and the rogues. If you play as a mage or a character not built for hand-to-hand combat, there will be instances when a conversation leads to battle and your main character is at the front. When this happens, your first order of business should always be to move him and other soft targets to the back while rushing up with your fighters to intercept enemies.
Bring a mage
They can’t take a lot of hits but once they level up they offer the most variety in spells which are both devastating in attack and offer the most tactical variety to you. Mages give you options that fighters simply can’t. Also, don’t be afraid to use some spells that have status effects rather than direct damage. Sticking enemies to the ground with spider webs can be much more important than roasting them with fire at times.
And a priest
When your guts are being gnawed on by ghouls, you will be thankful that you have these heralds of the gods to drive them back and put those oh so important vital fluids back inside of you. They can be surprisingly good at offence if you spec them for it too.
Bleed the enemy mage
Fighting a mob that has a magic user? Make it your priority to cut him down to size as soon as possible. The enemy has access to pretty much the same spells as you do, and they can seriously wreak havoc on your heroes.
Stick to the shadows
Remember when I said formation was important? Well, one of the best ways to be able to control your formation is to invest in some stealth skills. By sticking to the shadows, you will usually be able to get a heads up on a situation before the first shot is fired. This can give you time to position your characters for optimal head bashing potential.
Unless you know what you are doing. Multiclassing will give you a lot more options, but you are cut off from the highest level of abilities and it is easy to be overwhelmed by one skill tree, let alone two.
Eat your peas and rest
When you rest in Deadfire, you get the opportunity to chow down on some of the food you have looted or cooked. Food and resting will give you pretty significant boosts that can carry you through a hairy situation.
Mind the armor
While all characters can wear any armor in the new Obsidian games, heavier armor will make them slower. This can seriously affect the effectiveness of a spellcaster for instance, since the time to cast spells and the cooldown in between will be impacted greatly.
Study the grimoires
You will get new spells with each level, but you can also pick up grimoires with additional spells. Take some time to check their properties since they will let you cast different spells than those you choose when levelling up. So, if you picked fireball instead of the lightning strike, you can pick up a grimoire with it and be able to cast both.
Spread out skill across your party
During your travels, you will sometimes have to make a check against your skills. It could be to bluff your way through a situation or to notice certain things about the situation you are in. In Pillars Of Eternity II, the party can accumulate skills as a group. So, if your main character has 3 in diplomacy and another one has 2, the party will have 5 in diplomacy for party checks. This is very useful to keep in mind when picking skills as you level up.
One of the more unique features of Deadfire is that you have access to your very own ship to go around raiding or “trading” with. The ship combat can be a little bit obtuse at first though, so here are some pointers.
Check the cannons
The cannons have different ideal ranges. Shooting outside of that range will significantly lower the chance of hitting something.
And the powder
It can sometimes be a good idea to change up the ammunition. Chainshot mostly damages the sails, grapeshot the deck crew and cannonballs are for the wood breaking stuff. The enemy AI seems to focus on taking care of status effects so if you manage to injure some crew or set the sails on fire, you might just buy yourself some free turns while they deal with those things instead of returning fire.
If you stop your ship you will gain a bonus to the hit percentages.
Stock up on the good grog and grub
Food and drink will affect your crew’s morale and ability in combat. If possible, give them the good stuff to keep them happy.
Prepare to board!
When you first encounter a ship, you can choose to do battle with it or go immediately for the boarding option. If you started a ship fight you can still attempt to board, which is best used when your crew or sails are starting to take heavy damage or when the enemy doesn’t have much crew left. Simply turn your boat head on and rush up to around 100 meters and an option to board will be available.
After a battle, the ship will need to be repaired and injured crew need to be healed. These things will take resources, so you don’t want to be caught on the open sea without any repairs left or having spent all your cannonballs.
– Walking around the big beautiful areas can be slow going at times but remember if you press F the game will speed up and characters move at double speed. Nifty for sneaking which otherwise can be painfully slow.
– Another timesaver is the tab key, which will highlight loot and other places of interest for you.
– Finally, I also want to say: Give. Gunpowder. Barrels. A. Wide. Berth!
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