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RPGWatch Forums » Games » Pillars of Eternity » My third play-through. White March Part 2 (Spoilers!)

View Poll Results - Which part of the White March was your favourite?

Part 1 2 40.00%
Part 2 0 0%
I like or dislike them about equally 3 60.00%
I don't really have a preference/other…(elaborated in comment below…) 0 0%
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Default My third play-through. White March Part 2 (Spoilers!)

June 25th, 2017, 12:23
As of last night, my Path of the Damned run with Pillars of Eternity+White March Parts 1&2 has inexorably come to an end. I started it back on the 5th of May and it has taken some long arduous sessions over the weekends to slowly but surely come to grips with the more challenging aspects of this difficulty level. Choosing encounters carefully in the early levels, relevant crafting and enchanting, all facets of the mechanics became important in getting ahead.

Main Party used:

Zahua (Monk. This guy is a real crackpot - quite entertaining once you get used to him. Some hilarious dialogues, especially those on hallucinogenic substances! Swapped out Eder for him after getting to Stalwart) *Greenstone Staff, Rain of Godagh Field*

PC B'Sin (Priest - I wanted to try a "duel priest" party idea, building my character as as battle-priest alongside more traditional support caster Durance) *Used Nightshroud, Lead Spitter*

Mirranda (An npc Barbarian that I built at level 2 in Gilded Vale instead of my regular Rogue. Swapped her out for Maneha in White March, then brought her back in again for the final run to Burial Isle. Squishy, but fun to build.)
** St Ydwen's Redeemer** Maneha used "The Grey Sleeper"

Durance (Still probably my favourite character from the game. Gruff, prognosticating, fire-bitten, angry, bitter and often just abstractly insane! Having two priests who can resurrect at high levels was truly invaluable. Both priests can both tank on Minor Avatar as well in a pinch. )
**Durance's Staff (with legendary upgrade), Wendgar**

Aloth (I've grown to like Aloth quite a bit. Although at first he can appear like a Khalid-ised Sand from NWN2, his psychological personal quest illustrates growth and has some nice dialogue moments.)
*used Gyrd Haewanes Steres, a soulbound scepter*

Kana (I used him for the longest ever; all the way to White March Part 2. Swapped him out for Hiravias for the two dragon fights as I wanted greater spell variety - especially Sunlance and Wall of Thorns)

Unfortunately I couldn't really find a slot for Devil of Caroc at any point and it is bit of a shame you don't get access to her until the White March. Given I'd had two-rogue parties in the past and wanted to experiment with Priests and Barbarians instead, I elected to skip her content for another time.

Some fun stats:

Party dispositions: (I tried to role-play an Aumauan Eothasian Priest, not always successfully. To be honest, it didn't quite have as many faith oriented conversations as I was hoping for. Sided with Crucible Knights as main faction.)

Benevolent 4
Clever 2
Stoic 2
Aggressive 2
Dipolomatic 3
Rational 3
Diplomatic 3
Honest 4
Deceptive 2

In game time taken: 10 months, 4 days
Real Time: 126 hours (easily rivaling IWD+HoW+ToLM in pure scale; arguably over long in fact.)

Most enemies defeated: Aloth (815) A distant 2nd is Zahua (591)

Enemy death count: 4131

Most Total Damage goes to Aloth, most hits to Durance.

Reflections on White March Part 2:

Overall, I found the second part of the White March to be not quite as satisfying to play as the first, save for a few select encounters. There's a certain repetition to the fights and similarities to specific sections of Icewind Dale II and from the main game. The Abbey of the Fallen Moon for instance reminded me too much of the Black Raven Monastery (IWD2) whilst the Iron Flail Fort felt too much like a Readceras/Raedric's Hold redux for my taste. That said, I ultimately failed to discover the diplomatic path through both of these sections and so fought the whole way through. This is definitely something to investigate in a future game. Some of the fights with the speedy monk types in the Abbey got a little tedious at times, but it was satisfying to beat it and I could minimise the tedium by playing in shorter sessions.

Whilst the frosty exploration and subtle touches of Heart of Winter found in Stalwart and the White March part 1 were certainly more enjoyable for me, there were several fantastic fights in Part 2. The first was the initial encounter with the Eyeless. I had an amazingly dramatic and absolutely desperate struggle for survival in this fight with just two characters standing at the end. The second was the loose sequel to the Concelhaut showdown - the big battle at Mowrghek Îen. I managed to win this on my second try, but the intimidation factor and the sense doom slowly coming your way is immense. The extra space the party has at the start of this fight is critical to use buffs, potions and effective positioning. Wall of Many colours was very useful in this fight and indeed in the other two dragon battles.

Story wise, I reasonably enjoyed the White March Part 2. I'd be curious to know what other players did for the main dilemma at its end, as I understand that depending upon what you did with the White Forge pagrunen spirits, the outcome can be quite different if you chose for your character to remain. For part one of my first experience with the White March Part 1 on Hard, go here: https://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30760

On Path of the Damned, the Adra Dragon proved to be my hardest fight. I had to come back several times throughout the last couple levels before I was adequately prepared. The breath weapon is quite brutal and can wipe a party almost instantly, instigating a reload if one is unfortunate enough to get caught in it. Amusingly the dragon was dominated by Wall of Many Colours and wiped out a couple of Adragan in the process, enabling an easier time loading up on status afflictions to keep it tied down. Keeping it prone, stunned, petrified or paralysed for as long as possible was the key to winning.

On completionism and level balancing:

After three play-throughs, I've come to the gradual conclusion that the game still has some pacing challenges/problems in making the Twin Elms content more palatable to players who are more completionist than others. In both of my previous games, I've tended to run out of steam once I get to Twin Elms, making it noticeably harder to linger and appreciate the content there. This time I made it to Twin Elms by level 10 after which I chose to begin the White March. By the time this was complete, my party was already close to the level cap of 16 long before starting the Act III content. This meant that I only really did a minimal amount of content in Twin Elms before heading to the endgame; a pattern I've managed to repeat. Maybe a mod to reduce experience is the way to go but ultimately I don't know if there's a quick fix for everyone here. Sometimes the game simply feels too big for its own good!

In conclusion, I'm very happy to have undergone this epic adventure and come out the other side of it successful! The terrific atmosphere and winter laden exploration has blended rather pleasantly with the present seasonal reality where I live. Maybe I'll endeavour one day to achieve the ever elusive Triple Crown? Who knows. I was never a solo player on the Infinity Engine games (as it always felt contradictory to the banter and party experimentation I enjoyed so much in those games) but maybe this is another challenge I could explore in the future.

Cheers, thanks for reading. Comments welcome.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Adra Dragon PotD.jpg (213.0 KB, 86 views)
File Type: jpg AlpineDragonPotD.jpg (141.8 KB, 79 views)
File Type: jpg Kraken WMP2.jpg (164.9 KB, 79 views)
File Type: jpg Mowrghek Îen fight.jpg (285.4 KB, 79 views)
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June 25th, 2017, 17:28
I keep meaning to head back to this game do Part 2. Thanks for posting this. Its been out for so long I'm not worried about spoilers etc. I tend to be a bit of a completionist so Xp gain in Part 1 was a problem. I can't imagine how bad it will be later.
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June 25th, 2017, 20:20
I agree with Twin Elms. There is something wrong, I'm not sure what it is, but it took me a couple months to come back to the game just to finish the Twin Elms part.

Just out of curiosity did you beat the dragon beneath Od Nua on Path of the Damned? Maybe I'm not that great at the tactical fighting in PoE, but I never was able to beat that one even on normal difficulty and the scale breaker (I think) ability.
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June 26th, 2017, 06:11
Thanks, Wisdom.

Yeah, it takes a fair bit of imposed self-direction and will-power to cope with the experience gain. I do recall someone making an IE xp type mod awhile back though. This is probably one of the benefits of playing solo - as skipping a fair few of the superfluous ways to gain xp, bestiary entries and whatnot would help slow it down. Maybe a pacifist solo run is the next interesting challenge.

@ Korplem.
I think what we're used to traditionally with experience gained from combat plays a role in the levelling balance. By the time we get to Twin Elms, a slow type of exhaustion begins to creep in, or at least that's been my experience. I still finish up of course, but the thrill in the sense of progress has definitely been diminished by this point.

Yes indeed, the top left picture above shows the end of the Adra Dragon fight on Path of the Damned. That was a tough one…I certainly don't blame players for choosing the non violent role-playing option in that encounter. (Raw damage, Eyes of Adragan and all of the 'wall making spells were very useful in my previous fights with it…)
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Diddledy high,
Diddledy low,
Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
Last edited by Pessimeister; June 26th, 2017 at 08:30.
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June 26th, 2017, 09:08
Oh, I didn't look at the pictures at first. Quite impressive! I'd be interested to hear about any more masochistic endeavors.
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June 26th, 2017, 11:32
Originally Posted by Korplem View Post
I agree with Twin Elms. There is something wrong, I'm not sure what it is, but it took me a couple months to come back to the game just to finish the Twin Elms part.
Overstaying the welcome.
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June 29th, 2017, 11:40
Thanks for the writeup Pessimeister. I can't answer the poll because I haven't played the game with expansions yet.
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June 29th, 2017, 12:33
Originally Posted by Korplem View Post
I agree with Twin Elms. There is something wrong, I'm not sure what it is, but it took me a couple months to come back to the game just to finish the Twin Elms part.
Cause the game is front-loaded. From Twin Elms onward it dries up severely.
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June 30th, 2017, 10:19
I like part 1 and 2 equally, as they really do belong together, and they improve the game quite a bit.

I too felt the Adra Dragon was the toughest enemy, though Llengrath is supposedly harder. I chose the diplomatic option though, as it's the most rewarding, so I've never actually tried that fight.
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June 30th, 2017, 22:48
Well that's one vote at least. Thanks Maylander.

The Llengrath encounter was more tense and had more going on, but I think the space given to the player makes it much easier to manage and adequately prepare for. Adra Dragon on the other hand is a little more tricky space wise, much more of a squeeze and the breath weapon packs more of a wallop compared to the two mini-lizards in the Llengrath fight. There was no way I was going to turn down that particular challenge after Concelhaut, lower rewards or not.

Must say I'm a bit miffed by the lack of 'Watchers expressing viewpoints and actually completing the game if the past week is anything to go by. Perhaps it simply hasn't been out long enough yet as a full package. Either that or, people don't like it enough to finish or simply aren't seeing the thread. *shakes sabre of encouragement to other players.*
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Diddledy high,
Diddledy low,
Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
Last edited by Pessimeister; July 1st, 2017 at 07:08.
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July 1st, 2017, 02:03
My guess is many of us played it through at release, and haven't picked it up again after that? I liked the game, but not enough to want to replay instantly or even after only a year.

I will do so this year though, at least that's the current plan.
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July 1st, 2017, 05:10
I've got a playthrough stalled out right between WM1 and WM2, just about to take on Concelhaut. Which would be my first time, so any advice?

To be honest though, POE is my "inbetween games" game, if that makes any sense. I'll play POE for a few days, then I 'll start something else. It's constantly on my "Now Playing" list.
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July 1st, 2017, 09:52
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
Must say I'm a bit miffed by the lack of 'Watchers expressing viewpoints pleting the game if the past week is anything to go by. Perhaps it simply hasn't been out long enough yet as a full package. Either that or, people don't like it enough to finish or simply aren't seeing the thread. *shakes sabre of encouragement to other players.*
I played WM1 and 2 together in my first play through of PoE, I waited for all the DLC to come out before diving in. I enjoyed them both at the time, but in honesty I can't quite remember the differences between them now. I'm a bit hazy on the plot overall of WM to be honest, which isn't really a ringing endorsement I guess! . I remember that tough as nails Dragon fight though, that was fun.
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July 1st, 2017, 12:36
Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
I played WM1 and 2 together in my first play through of PoE, I waited for all the DLC to come out before diving in. I enjoyed them both at the time, but in honesty I can't quite remember the differences between them now. I'm a bit hazy on the plot overall of WM to be honest, which isn't really a ringing endorsement I guess! . I remember that tough as nails Dragon fight though, that was fun.
Haha that sounds familiar. I also have a terrible memory when it comes to these things.
I did the same as you, waited and played through the whole game earlier this year (yes, this year and still can't remember crap! ).

IIRC, the first part was mostly about solving a crisis in Stalwart, the main village in Icewin… errr… White March, and the second part was all about the dwarv… errr… Pagrunen and restarting the White Forge to bring the White March region and Stalwart to its former glory and to fend off an attack by… *draws blank*… some evil army of demons or something.

Anyway, just like Icewind Dale, I loved the atmosphere in Stalwart and of the White March region in general. I voted for "liked them equally" as I really enjoyed the entire content.
I played the WMs back to back right at the start of act 3 so I was overlevelled (did not scale up). Playing it back to back, it was like one coherent experience for me anyway and I kind of ignored the split parts.

The only part I was not too fond of were the WM companions. I did their quests like a good completionist but that was about all the attention I was willing to give them. The quest with the weird LSD trip was pretty annoying actually. I was really glad when that was over.

But other than that I thought that the WM also had some beautiful maps, awesome locations and was tons of fun to simply explore and enjoy the atmosphere. I had a good time with it all.
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July 1st, 2017, 13:41
Oh yeah! I'd forgotten about the White Forge. My memory is terrible. I enjoyed that area. Completely agree with you that the maps were great, although I don't think I was gripped by the overall story. I never really took to any of the characters in PoE so it was no different to the base game really.

I've also voted for liking them both equally, which seems fair given I enjoyed them but can't differentiate between them.
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July 1st, 2017, 16:52
As far as I can remember, the first part is about rekindling the White Forge, the second part is about defeating the threat that was awakened after rekindling the White Forge. (nice job heroes…)
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July 4th, 2017, 06:13
Originally Posted by Nephologist View Post
just about to take on Concelhaut. Which would be my first time, so any advice?
Only to enjoy one of the more challenging encounters in the game.
Specific advice would depend upon your party make-up but you can use the entrance as a choking point to lure the supporting mobs in using buffs/traps/seals/Wall spells where you can on the way. Summons will help slow 'em down too if that's a viable approach for you.

In my Path of the Damned run, to begin with I tried sending a very well buffed Zahua to the top right as a decoy/distraction in order to clump more enemies together for AoE spells and to generally give me more time to prepare. It worked like a charm, only thing was that I had to strategically choose the right moment to resurrect him later in the fight. Having two priests and being around level 14 definitely helped matters. It was a long battle of attrition, but once I got Aloth one on one with Concelhaut himself, it was all kinds of fun and to some degree easier than my first go at him on hard.
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Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
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