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Default RPGWatch Feature - Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Review

August 8th, 2018, 21:24
No need to be so defensive. If people get bored by falling into a rut, they can be motivated to change it, or not and wait to be forced to change by gameplay mechanics, or not. I think the point is that either game gives you that choice. Choosing to do the bare minimum to win is a choice.
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August 8th, 2018, 21:42
What is it about this "defensive" claim? Is that the word of the day - or is it not possible to point out how silly a position is without being defensive?

Ok, so be it

Even so, I don't think that's how personal preferences work.

Personally, I enjoy finding the optimal strategy or set of tactics and then perform as efficiently as possible within that context. That's not a choice I made so much as the result of playing hundreds or thousands of games to discover what I enjoy and what I don't enjoy.

If enjoying games or features of games is a choice - then maybe we should all just choose to love all games and never disagree about any of them?

Not really.

The point is that PoE and PoE 2 are different, and there's nothing wrong with preferring one over the other.

We can, of course, discuss our preferences and clarify why we enjoy the combat in PoE more than the combat in PoE 2 - and vice versa.

But as soon as we go into the blame game and we start telling people they have only themselves to blame because they didn't manage to enjoy it correctly - then we might as well give up.

To me, that's like saying personal preferences don't matter or shouldn't exist.

I don't believe that's true for a second.
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August 8th, 2018, 22:05
Personal preference may either fully or partially drive your choice, but it's still a choice, I think.
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August 8th, 2018, 22:13
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Personal preference may either fully or partially drive your choice, but it's still a choice, I think.
I guess that would depend on exactly what we're talking about. I think it's possible to expand your preferences within certain areas - and to a certain extent.

But, for instance, once you reach a certain age and have a certain level of experience - it can be extremely hard, and we have to ask ourselves what the point is.

I mean, do we choose who we fall in love with based on our preferences in others? Do we choose what flavor of icecream we prefer?

If Pessimeister doesn't like the easy "button clicking" in PoE 2 - can he adapt and change his preferences until he likes it?

I mean, in that case - where does it end?

I think I understand what you're saying - but I think, when exchanging about games we like and don't like - we sort of have to assume that we've all played enough games to properly establish our preferences, and unless we like every single game out there (like, say, Fluent almost did) - then it's a bit unreasonable to talk about people having only themselves to blame for not enjoying something.

Well, that would be my position on the matter anyway.

That said, if some people believe this kind of preference is a personal choice - who am I to control that.

I just disagree, is all.

My suggestion, in this specific case, would probably be a simple rephrasing of the claim. Instead of using concepts like blame - then a milder approach and suggestion could work.

But, really, I think the best way to present an alternative to the "Tank is everything" approach to PoE combat, is to simply talk about how fun it was to do something else.

Personally, I felt the game went out of its way to make the Tank role absolutely essential to almost all the fights - and I felt like I was just playing it as it was intended.

My problem with PoE combat was more about the feedback, terrible pathfinding and crappy AI - but that's another story.
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August 8th, 2018, 22:54
Personally, I don't always follow my preferences, because I think it's healthy for me to step outside my comfort zone, to learn and experience new things, which to me is also more interesting to me than staying in my comfort zone. But I know a lot of the community prefer to game for comfort rather than learning. So that's cool, and I don't think anyone should judge other's on their preferences and choices, particularly for comfort vs learning vs experience vs challenge vs social preferences. I think each of us has a rather unique preference spectrum and we all should respect that.
Last edited by Thrasher; August 8th, 2018 at 23:12.
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August 8th, 2018, 22:58
Well, I play for fun and I have the most fun when games meet my preferences. But, as you say, to each his own

That said, some games manage to teach me new preferences by doing new things, but that’s so very rare.

Certainly, PoE was NOT such a game.
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August 8th, 2018, 23:13
Originally Posted by Darth Tagnan View Post

If enjoying games or features of games is a choice - then maybe we should all just choose to love all games and never disagree about any of them?
Yes, can we do this please? Can I always post first though?

On a serious note is POE2 combat really that much better than 1? For that matter is the game much better than 1?

I too have grown bored with POE1 in several attempts to play it to completion.

Sorry I havenít read the review, I will if someone can confirm itís not spoilerish.
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August 8th, 2018, 23:19
PoE was so long ago now I barely remember the gameplay. But I do remember at least one overpowering spell that I found necessary on occasions. Never played the expansions/dlcs/whatevers so have no opinions on those.

Learning how to best use a cypher and a chanter made the combat fun for me. And figuring how best use a new character system and combat system was a blast. Didn't need to learn much to figure out how to tank with Eder or bomb with Aloth.

And this is the problem with POE2 for me, not much new to learn. It doesn't help that it's so easy.
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August 9th, 2018, 11:01
Originally Posted by sakichop View Post
Yes, can we do this please? Can I always post first though?

On a serious note is POE2 combat really that much better than 1? For that matter is the game much better than 1?

I too have grown bored with POE1 in several attempts to play it to completion.

Sorry I havenít read the review, I will if someone can confirm itís not spoilerish.
Well, as with all things - it comes down to subjective tastes.

Personally, I think PoE 2 is much, much better than PoE in nearly every imaginable way - and I really, really mean that.

For me, the problems with PoE were many - and while I do concede the balance was eventually better than PoE 2 at launch, the challenge involved was less due to the mechanics and the systems - and more about much more basic fuck-ups by Obsidian.

Now, this is just my experience with PoE - and I was never a big fan of it.

My experience was that the challenge of combat in PoE was largely about not knowing what the hell was going on - because the feedback was awful - and the pacing equally bad. I spent an inordinate amount of time micromanaging movement - because my characters would very often get stuck moving between each other.

I absolutely COULD NOT create a script that was comfortably doing what I wanted. They implemented basic scripting at some point - but it didn't really help.

As for the ACTUAL challenge - as in, overcoming harder fights when you were in FULL control of combat - I found it just about the same as PoE 2 is after the recent balance changes - with the notable exception of PoE 2 being much more prone to powergaming, because the system is much richer - and, as a result, much more fun.

In PoE, if you micromanage every single thing every single character does - I find that most fights are relatively trivial - even in PotD, once you reach a certain level of power. Now, I don't really remember exactly what that level of power is - but I'd say somewhere around level 6-10.

The difference in PoE 2 - is that you don't actually have to fight the interface, and you're not in much doubt about what's going on, your characters don't get stuck constantly - and you can actually create custom scripts to have your characters do pretty much whatever you want - whenever you want.

The end result is a game that FEELS much easier compared to PoE - but I don't really think that's the case. I'm sure there are edge cases - and I'm sure there are bosses where that's not the case.

It should be noted that I haven't completed either PoE or PoE 2 - but I have at least 100 hours in PoE (2-3 attempts past Defiance Bay) and I have around 60 hours in PoE 2 at this point.

Beyond this aspect of combat differences, PoE 2 also happens to look MUCH better, FEEL much better - and have MANY more toys to play around with during combat.

So, yeah, to me PoE stands absolutely no chance in hell of comparing well to PoE 2 in terms of combat - or much else.

Frankly, in many ways - we're talking night and day.

But that would be my opinion.
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August 9th, 2018, 12:05
A very late thank you for this great review. I haven't commented for a while to do my vacation and getting my new computer up and running. I'm really looking forward to giving this one a go, but have so many games in my backlog that wouldn't run on my old rig that it will have to wait awhile. First comes Torment, and then we'll see what comes next.
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August 9th, 2018, 21:08
For me POE 2 is still so easy that all I have to do is left click on enemies to assign targets, and let the AI figure out what to do. With maybe a forced heal thrown in sometimes.

In POE 1 such a lackadaisical playstyle would pretty much always get a party member killed.

So yeah, PEO 2 is still much much easier than POE for me.

Can't be sure of the difficulty settings I used on POE 1 but I thank at that point I had decided to play everything on normal.
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August 10th, 2018, 02:36
Oh, in terms of "mash buttons" level of difficulty, PoE2 is certainly much easier than PoE1.

However, as Dart pointed out: Once you figured out the PoE1 system and can counter it, it'll quickly become as easy as PoE2. Very few spells pack any punch in PoE1, and I found few of them to be genuinely fun as a result, but they are certainly efficient. It's simply a matter of debuffing or crowd controlling enemies at all times, after which everything is a breeze.

If I recall correctly, they reduced the effectiveness of Slicken greatly in a later patch, but blinding spells, such as Chill Fog, could still trivialize most fights.

As for playing it differently: That was my problem with PoE1 and its more difficult fights: Beyond certain exploits, they're all about crowd control or debuffing. I never felt I had any choice. I'd love to see anyone killing the Adra Dragon in vanilla PoE1 without a daft amount of debuffs and crowd controls (without getting it stuck or similar).

Also, if people want a more challenging experience in PoE2, just do what I did: Duo it. Or go even further and solo it. My 2nd party only consisted of two people most of the time, and that was certainly difficult. I did the same in PoE1 before starting PoE2, and I'd say they were roughly similar in difficulty, but I could vary my tactics more in PoE2, which made it a lot more fun.
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August 10th, 2018, 03:12
No tactics required whatsoever for POE2 so far. It’s a joke in comparison with POE 1. The game practically plays itself.
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August 10th, 2018, 04:23
What difficulty level are you playing on? Can you change it once you've started the game?
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August 10th, 2018, 04:35
I am certainly going to up it.

As I said before I just play on normal nowadays, but POE2 is too easy for that.

The point being that POE1 was much harder on the same settings.
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August 10th, 2018, 04:38
I played both games on PoTD (deadfire with level scaling). I found it harder than the first game, and more tactically balanced. The first game derived most of its difficulty from pumping enemies with high defenses and barraging the player with status afflictions. Deadfire on the other hand gets most of its difficulty from great encounter design.

If you think the game is too easy, they're adding challenge modes into the game to make it harder. The first two were added with the last patch, and already they made the game a lot tougher. The difficulty will be a nightmare once they're all added.

Last edited by Copper Coin; August 10th, 2018 at 04:48.
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August 10th, 2018, 04:43
It can't be any easier than setting the game on automatic, so I don't see how POE 1 could possibly be any easier. I bet you played on different and dissimilar settings.
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August 10th, 2018, 04:45
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
I bet you played on different and dissimilar settings.
Like I said, I played both games on PoTD.

Restart the game on PoTD with upscaling. If you still find it too easy, then you can complain.
Last edited by Copper Coin; August 10th, 2018 at 04:56.
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August 10th, 2018, 05:38
Excellent review sir.
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August 10th, 2018, 05:58
Thanks for all the replies seems opinions are split, so it still leaves me undecided.

I found POE1 pretty easy if like Darth said you micromanage all party members. I also limited my party to 4 to try and keep combat from devolving into a clumped up mess, Especially when they trap you in small areas or rooms.

I also didn’t find the watcher story line interesting at all. Does it continue or is thier a different story line?
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