Pillars of Eternity: Endless Paths discussion time

April 7, 2015

Initially my plan was to write a full-game spoiler-based post about Pillars of Eternity, but since I figure most people haven’t finished the game yet, I’ll let that one sit for a bit. I do however want to talk about the Endless Paths, because I think the story within that place is very interesting, and I’m also unsure about of a few of the plot details.

Lot of spoilers here, so if you haven’t finished the Endless Paths and don’t want anything revealed, skip this post. Read the rest of this entry »


Pillars of Eternity review

April 6, 2015

This post will be a non-spoiler (spoiler post coming tomorrow) review of Pillars of Eternity, having now beaten the game, with a playtime of just under 60 hours. I didn’t complete all of the side quests, but I’m guessing I did most, including finishing the Endless Dungeon.

Quite simply, the game is one of the best RPGs to come around in years. The story, the game systems, the graphics/sound; everything works here and it all comes together. I ran into one bug during my playthrough, and even that is now fixed with the recent 1.03 patch. On normal difficulty I had plenty of challenging fights, but never ran into anything that felt impossible and prevented me from moving forward.

The six companions I used (Aloth, Durance, Eder, Sagani, and I replaced Kana with Grieving Mother) all felt like real people with real motives rather than party fillers. Most of their personal quests were great, and I especially liked Eder and Aloth. They also add in dialog many times during the game, and it was always solid and in-character. Looking forward to playing with the ones I did not in a second playthrough.

The ending, which to me is critical to get right, was fantastic. It’s often very difficult to get this right, to make an ending that feels like a proper reward for all of your effort, but PoE nailed it. A nice bonus here was that the ending did sort of a “world update” based on your actions, which I felt was great, especially with an expansion and sequel already in the works.

A few other random bits:

Surprisingly I liked the crafting here, as it was somewhat minimal but useful. Being able to take a decent weapon or piece of armor and ‘update’ it to a higher tier was nice but not mandatory. I didn’t use food much, but for tougher fights it seemed to give that little bonus I needed. Same with potions, though I used those more often than food. Scrolls I only really used on a few boss battles, but I could see them being very powerful/helpful.

I liked the pace of the game. For something that took almost 60 hours to complete, I never felt the game was dragging or losing the pace of the main quest. I also liked the three tier breakdown of quests. You had the main quest line(s) always at the top, the you had the big side quests in the middle section, and finally the third section was tasks, which were always small, short, and less story-important things you could do for bonus XP or items. I liked this because it made it easier to decide what to skip, or what to consume if you needed a longer/shorter break from pushing the main quest forward.

Surprisingly I don’t have a problem with the level cap being 12, mostly because it allows for the final area/dungeon to remain challenging, and especially the final encounter. I think a game like this really leaves a bad final impression if you grossly overpower the final encounter, and so having a level cap helps to control this.

The Endless Dungeon might be my favorite bit of content in an RPG ever. It really was amazing, right down to the finally. More on that tomorrow.

Unless you absolutely hate RPGs, Pillars of Eternity is a must-buy.


Pillars of Eternity: Two great moments so far

March 31, 2015

Spoiler Alert for Pillars of Eternity, unless you are to at least to chapter 3 or don’t care about spoilers, don’t continue reading.

Two scenes so far have really stuck out to me, the first being the Watcher you talk to in the keep (I suck with names, sorry) who is all crazy, and the second is when the traveling soul moves through the flesh golems in the mental institute (again more name problems).

I like the first scene a lot because it gives you a potential glimpse into your future and why being a Watcher isn’t all roses. Combined with everything else you know up to that point about how souls come back and all that, the whole thing just really worked for me and drove the point home. Plus the voice acting was fantastic and for whatever reason, I wasn’t expecting that turn in terms of who the older Watcher would be. I also think it really helped that this was the scene before the keep unlock and gaining access to the endless dungeon, two piece of content that are also amazingly awesome.

I liked the second scene because while it wasn’t a full reveal, it moved the story along significantly and was again not what I expected. I expected to go in and gather some clues about the Key organization, not to come face to face with who I expect is the big bad AND to see one of his unique powers at work. I also liked that it tied into the animancer’s struggles with his experiments well. Its rough enough that these guys are playing around with souls, they really don’t need a traveling soul intentionally screwing with them, and that happening made it easier to side with them and not just default to that they are all evil bastards.

I’ve talked to a few people who aren’t finding the story gripping in PoE. Those people are like an alien species to me just based on what I’ve seen so far, and I can’t wait to see where things go.


Boom Beach: Moving up to a 50-man Task Force

March 30, 2015

Quick note: I’ve increased the size of the Boom Beach task force to 50, so anyone interested in joining should do so now, plenty of spots available, and everyone is welcome.

Task Force name: Hardcore Casual, tag: #GQULQR2


Pillars of Eternity: Thoughts after a few hours

March 27, 2015

Whenever developers ‘remake’ a classic game, or attempt a ‘spiritual successor’, there is always a balance of what to keep and what to change/update, and if you don’t get that balance right, you disappoint. Often-times you not only disappoint, but also end up with a below-average product overall.

Pillars of Eternity (PoE), 4-5 hours in, gets most of the Baldur’s Gate formula right.

The graphics look good/great, but it also looks like Baldur’s Gate would if it was released in 2015. Same with the sound and voice acting, its all very solid, and the quest text is a mix of voice and writing, much like it was in BG (I find games with 100% voice tiring as too often you are waiting over something you aren’t fully invested in, while having lesser-important parts be written means you read through them at a better pace). The UI is parts BG theme, part smart UI design for 2015.

Combat, a very critical aspect, also feels like an evolved version of BG. You still can pause and then let things play out, and you still have spells and special abilities, but the entire game isn’t confined to AD&D rules, but instead uses a ruleset that likely better fits a computer RPG.

I love the stamina and HP systems too. Stamina is like a short-term HP pool that auto-regens during and at the end of combat, while your true HP pool can only be restored by camping or at an inn, and camping is limited by a consumable that you can only carry so much of. If your stamina hits zero in a fight, you are knocked down and out, until either your party wins and you stand up, or everyone is knocked out and you lose. Since HP don’t regenerate and aren’t easily restored, that system acts as a ‘wear you down’ mechanic during a dungeon crawl, and tougher fights that deal a lot of HP damage are more meaningful, while smaller fights with weaker creatures will likely only take some stamina that is fully recovered after the fight. Hopefully the above makes sense, but in short it really is a wonderful system to both capture the struggle of a single fight, while also providing a system to show long-term fatigue/damage.

The one ‘flaw’ for me so far is the need to use stealth to find secret, since this results in your party going around in stealth mode 99% of the time, which just feels off and is a bit annoying (you walk slower in stealth). I’d much prefer the game just do a skill check when needed, to still reward having a character with that ability, without forcing that extra click and slowness. Plus it would leave the stealth mechanic for, you know, actual stealth when you need it. I wonder if that’s something that can be ‘fixed’ with a mod in the future.

More as I get deeper with the game, but even this far in, its very easy to recommend PoE to any RPG fan, it’s a gem.


Pillars of Eternity: Weeee

March 26, 2015

30 minutes in review: BEST GAME EVER!!


Crowfall: Wallet-vote was strong

March 26, 2015

Not only has Crowfall (Fantasy EVE) funded, but its one of the most successful gaming Kickstarter campaigns in history. Again, who could have predicted Fantasy EVE was a thing people wanted… Glad it only took until the third month in 2015 for someone to cash in on that.

Now the long wait begins, although if alpha truly does start in the summer, its not exactly THAT long of a wait. And having donated at the alpha-tier, I’m good to go. Unlike every MMO since perhaps Shadowbane itself, I think I am going to follow this game closely as it develops, and will dive into alpha both because I want to play the game as soon as possible, but (assuming its not total garbage) also to help it get to were it needs to go.


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